What brings you to sleep outside on a bunk bed, under a mosquito net?

In Whatever on July 1, 2012 at 9:49 am

What brings you to sleep outside on a bunk bed, under a mosquito net, to shower with a bucket of water, to work outdoors day after day in the sweltering heat or dig out more mud than you could ever imagine with a horde of strangers thirty years younger than you?

It’s a question I often ask myself as I chase one disaster after another with All Hands Volunteers, a disaster response NGO that extends hands-on assistance to survivors of natural disasters around the world.

Gratitude maybe. The understanding that I have been blessed, what does that mean.  I am not suffering or in pain wondering where I will sleep tonight, tomorrow or if I have a job. But that in itself is …not enough.

I could sit home, in the comfort of my living room, sleep in a warm soft bed, relax and watch TV, eat to my heart’s content…not enough.  Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, says when you have the basic physiological needs: breathing, food, sleep and then are able to move up the pyramid through safety, love/belonging, you reach the remaining elements of esteem and self-actualization.

Is Abraham Maslow right?  Human motivation is based on people seeking fulfillment and change for personal growth.  According to Maslow self-actualized people are fulfilled and doing all they are capable of.  

Hmmm self actualized … No matter what age we all need to feel we are ‘becoming’.  We are not static; we are always in search of the meaning to life.  In Le Petit Prince written by Antoine de St. Exupery, the fox says, “here is my secret. It’s quite simple: One sees clearly only with the heart.  Anything essential is invisible to the eyes… It’s the time you spend on the rose that makes that rose so important—-People have forgotten that truth.”

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