Thursday, December 1, 2011

Needs

One friend (you know who you are) recently wrote to indicate that recent posts here seemed to indicate that I was having a "rough time" in some capacity or another and that she hoped I was ok.  I truly appreciate that she took the time to express her concern, and to offer a cyber hug despite the fact we've never actually met in person. 

I want to take a moment to allay any similar concerns.  While it's true that there's a significant amount of upheaval and change in my world right now, change that I didn't really anticipate, I feel compelled to say that the change is happening as a result of unexpected opportunity.   It has involved a bit of a life pivot, but I've come to appreciate the value of overall life agility and awareness as critical life skills.

One of the things I learned in college that has come in surprisingly helpful over the course of my life is the concept of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.  The simplest explanation is that it is a pyramid of increasingly complex human physical and emotional needs, all of which need to be addressed to reach the point of becoming "self-actualized".  Lowest level needs are those we need to address simply to live - food, shelter, etc. - higher levels address deeper levels of needs (ie, to be appreciated, to be loved, etc).  Anyway - I find this model to be an important life guide...

I've made some crazy, irrational decisions in my life believe me.  Thankfully, I have survived (and actually learned from) them all, and they're nothing to be sorry for.  But recently I've been addressing some of those lower level needs.  I'm actively making decisions to address them, rather than to try and address higher levels hoping that more basic needs will somehow get met.

This isn't a bad thing.  It's just a thing.  There's actually something exciting in life about new beginnings and in a way this is one of those.  A new beginning that addresses a bunch of things.

I have found it to be important to have various life "guides" to help provide direction at any point in time.  Another helpful one for me is something I've mentioned before - Kalhil Gibran's "The Prophet" provides a significant measure of wisdom that sometimes calms the seas.  I find that one passage, in particular, makes itself relevant over and over again in my world.  It's the passage titled "On Reason and Passion" (read it here). 

Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgment wage war against your passion and your appetite.
Would that I could be the peacemaker in your soul, that I might turn the discord and the rivalry of your elements into oneness and melody.
But how shall I, unless you yourselves be also the peacemakers, nay, the lovers of all your elements?
Good stuff.

And I do love all my elements. My reason, my passion, and the balance I sometimess have to force myself to find between the two.  One, by itself, makes me too measured and careful. Those things don't always come easy to me.  And the other, alone, can make me too impetuous and reckless.  It's finding that middle ground, or at least being able to recognize to which side you need to lean sometimes, that truly provides the kind of life guidance you need sometimes.

So, back to real life now, those are the key elements in my world at the moment.  Measured reason and managed passion.  And the end result is good overall focus, a cautious sense of optimism, a comfortable life speed and general direction, and a continuing awareness of self.  I hope all the above continue for a long time....

I certainly can't speak for anyone else but one of the real values of my transition was a clearer understanding of self and life direction.  The gender part was certainly a critical component - perhaps the most visible one - but it can't and shouldn't overshadow the fact that it can be so much deeper than that.  The process of gaining congruence involved change across every aspect of my "self", it was not simply physical.  As difficult as it was to concieve and do at the time, I suppose that's partly why it has become such a critical continuing aspect of my life.

Anyway - that's a lot of words and I don't expect it will make sense to some, or even most.  But this blog is as much my opportunity to express myself to myself as it is to try and share with others.  It's a form of therapy.  That's why I continue to do it.  Because it works....

Tuesday night was Happy Hour at a local Japanese restaurant with $5 martinis and wonderful hors d'oevres.  Today I got my hair done (one of life's simple pleasures) but will most likely squander it by going for a sweaty run at the gym.  Tomorrow after work one of my co-workers and I are going to the Art Walk (the first Friday of every month) in downtown Charleston for a little art, a little food, and a little "adult beverage".  Saturday I've got a number of errands to run and some work to do.  Sunday it's supposed to get back up to 70 sunny degrees here, and I may go to the Holiday Parade or simply go for a long bike ride.  I don't get these kinds of "down" weekends very often so I suppose I should appreciate it while I can.  I've got a bunch of traveling coming up...

I recently learned that two of my worlds are intersecting.  I'll be doing an event in Atlanta in a couple of weeks with Johnny Weir, the figure skater.  And, most of the make-up I buy is made by MAC.  Johnny just happens to be the spokesmodel for the most recent MAC collection, "Glitter and Ice".  Now I'm doubly intrigued.

Onwards.  Time to get to the gym.  I've got a number of training miles to run before going home and having dinner.  Back to my hierarchy of needs - both are demanding attention right now.  :)

2 comments:

Mae West said...

Thank you for letting us know that all is well with you! It is admirable that you are embracing major life changes with such a good attitude!

I fully understand what you are saying about your blog being a form of therapy. My blog has quickly become the same for me as well as a creative outlet that I can share with those who care to read it. To be honest, I credit you and your blog for getting me started on mine. Thank you so much for that! Here's to you maintaining your measured reason and managed passion.

Sophie Lynne said...

I learned Maslow in college as well (we use it a lot in the Education field), and use it a a blueprint as well.

So the question becomes (and I don't have the answer): how far up the pyramid can one (like me) truly go if something as basic as Gender is a major issue?