I may be somewhat unusual. Other’s could speak to that more clearly than I. But I think humans are benefited by periodic assessments of goals and means. I think that what works today may not tomorrow and innovation is key to our journey.
As winter approaches and thoughts turn to more indoor pursuits, it seemed a good time to reflect on what I am doing, what I want to be doing, and what I should be doing.
First, as you may already know, I function with some negatives. I’m lazy. No point in denying that. I’m also steeped in the concept of delayed gratification. This helps to get around the laziness by pairing what I don’t want to do with something I do want to do, and then denying the latter until the former is done.
I also function with a reasonable amount of guilt. Note I said reasonable, since I think a certain amount is useful in motivating thought and change. But when all is said and done, I don’t do as much as so many others, and I feel self-absorbed to a degree.
I have come to conclude after nearly six decades upon this whirling dervish of a planet, that we as sentient creatures need five needs addressed to be whole. They are, in no particular order, the needs of the body, the needs of the personality, the needs of the intellect, the spiritual, and lastly the creative impulse.
I think most of these needs require attention mostly every day, but at minimum, several times a week. So, for no other reason than I thought of it last night, I thought it was wise to assess how well I’m doing and make whatever adjustments are necessary or at least compelling.
The needs of body are obvious: food. Not just any old food, but good nutritious food. I’m fairly good at that, though many would conclude we eat a diet too high in both fat and sugar. No matter, we don’t eat out of boxes or freezer sections. I C O O K. I make biscuits, I don’t open a box of Bisquick or Jiffy or that tube stuff. I make salsa, I don’t unscrew jars containing manufactured “salsa.” I do it, because I enjoy cooking and frankly my digestive system appreciates it. I can bake a loaf of bread with work time down to about 10 minutes. I figure it counts that we don’t eat a lot of additives and preservatives.
I walk a mile a day, six days a week. I seldom miss. I use a treadmill if the weather is too nasty to walk outside. I don’t like it, but I admit that it makes me feel better than when I don’t.
Psychological needs are those things we need to feel loved and respected, valuable. Much has to do with relationships and building good ones that compliment one’s needs. A touchy feely person is not advised to try for an intimate relationship with a cold withdrawn type. You get the drift. We need validation, acceptance. We get them from friends and relatives. We feel satisfaction in finishing tasks. Any number of things throughout a day can be psychological pluses in our lives. We seek to cultivate them.
Intellectual needs are met by thinking hard on subjects that don’t always make themselves easy of understanding. We have to stretch, concentrate, push beyond our comfort zone. We need to learn every day, and things that matter to us and to the world. Reading can be the solution to this, but so can judicious use of the television and computer. I read a lot during the day. I’m reading upwards of 4-5 books at the present for instance.
Spiritual needs are essential and must be met daily I think. This can mean any manner of traditional religious practice, but may involve no religion at all. Walking in nature and seeing the immensity of the world can point one to something larger than self. That is the point here. It is getting outside yourself and your petty needs and wants. It is engaging in the greater world. I can imagine sitting at the ocean’s edge, steeped in the tides, and sensing the enormity of the moon and it’s power on this planet. I can, religiously, see this in the context of a God who has created a series of laws that permit this evolution of the universe.
Lastly, we need to feel creative. And here we have many choices. This doesn’t have to relate solely to a hobby, but can be more mundane things. It can also be one’s life work. This would be most true of those who are artistic and make their living from art. But the rest of us can do it as well, through crafting and cooking, gardening, and so forth. We create beauty, serenity, life.
When we have balance between these various components, I believe we are in synchronicity with the world and with life itself. We are nurturing all those parts of ourselves that require attention.
Since we live in a world that tends to keep score, we may neglect one or more for long stretches. We may be forced to “schedule” fun time and intellectual time, and relationship time. If we needs to that, then we should, for neglecting any of these for long leads to imbalance and inauthentic living. Our human experience is meant to be expressed and experienced in all it’s totality. To miss any aspect is to deny ourselves in a real way.