I remember at a young age learning the difference between want and need. At the time my connection to the lesson was understanding that I didn’t actually NEED the very cool, new, blinged out, My Little Pony I saw advertised during Saturday morning cartoons… I really WANTED it – A LOT.
As an adult the things I think I need can be a little more subtle… and particularly during the holiday season the list has a tendency to grow if I don’t nip it in the bud. Even in my day to day life I often have to remind myself the difference between need and want. I NEED to pay bills today… I NEED to call the plumber… I NEED to get to the fabric store because I NEED to get that material for the back of this quilt that I REALLY NEED to finish.
I believe that need vs. want can be like should vs. could… its a sublte way we can shame ourselves and others. Choice is the place of empowerment… when we stand in the space of choice, of want, then we are empowering ourselves with a choice. I WANT to pay bills today because I WANT to be on time with the payment. I WANT to call the plumber because I really WANT the choice to use the disposal returned to my family. I WANT to go to the fabric store… and if I don’t get to it today, that’s quite all right.
As I was drinking tea this morning, I pondered really what are the fundamental needs of anyone. If we strip away all the comforts and accumulations of life… what do we really need? I think the list of needs is actually shockingly short:
1. Love: to be given and received
2. Clean Air: to breath
3. Clean Water: to drink
4. Healthy Food: to eat
5. Health Care: to heal and keep our bodies whole
6. Movement: to keep our bodies healthy and strong
6. Quality Clothes: to protect our bodies
7. Shelter: to protect us from the elements
Really, at the end of the day – that’s the list. That’s it. That’s all we need to live.
Love of course is an open and intangible need that includes lots of things like support, encouragement, acceptance, honoring of boundaries, safety, etc, etc, etc… and will be defined differently for all of us. I think some would argue that love is not actually a requirement… food, water, air, clothing, and shelter are enough to get by. I dissaggree. Those things are enough to survive. To simply exist. To hold on for a period of time until things get better, until we enter a space again of living. I think also some would say a relationship with God and the expression of Art are requirements of living… I agree… I think God and Art fall into the category of Love. However, the expression of art can be charcoal on the walls of a cave or a dance in a field of wildflowers. Don’t get me wrong, I ADORE having easy access to all the beads, yarn, glue, fabric, canvas, glitter, and so forth I can stand… and the funds to aquire them, the space to contain them, the time to use them are a luxury.
I think more than anything this morning, I aware that all of my NEEDS are being met… I may have a lot of wants… and I am truly blessed to have my needs abundantly covered.
I am curious to know what you think about love being a fundamental requirement of living? Are there other things you think could be added to the list?
Let me know what you think…