November 16, 2015
(If we live with an open and grateful attitude, every day will bring a gift. This is one of 365 gifts during the year I turned 70.)
Among the 24/7 media voices covering terrorism in Paris, one speaker made me pause. “Terrorists deliberately targeted the everyday life of ordinary Parisians.” She explained that in the past, terrorists have targeted particular groups of people for their ideology or actions but this time it was anyone doing what they might do on an ordinary day. The latest atrocious attacks were on no one in particular.
I began to imagine what ordinary might mean to Syrian refugees and millions of people around the world, even some in our own country. In my life, ordinary means that I wake up with certain expectations: I know that I will eat today; I do not hear gunshots outside my house; I have consistent shelter; I give and receive love for others; I feel valued and value others; I am a moral and creative person.
Although millions of humans on our shared planet do not share my ordinary, according to Maslow, we all share a hierarchy of needs—visualized as a pyramid of five basic needs, with the most important at the bottom. Maslow believed we start at the bottom and when one need is fulfilled, a person seeks to fulfill the next and so on to the top.
The most basic is physiological— food, water, breathing, sex, sleep. Safety comes next—security of body, employment, resources, health, property. Following that is love and belonging—friendship and family. As we near the top, we need self-esteem, achievement, respect for and from others. Finally, there is self-actualization—morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice, acceptance of facts.
My ordinary days rise to the top of the pyramid but there are too many who are stuck at the bottom, lack even the most basic needs that should be fulfilled in anyone’s ordinary day.
My gift today is an ordinary day.
> Day 343: No Erasers
You can find links to my other posts on this project here: