Monday, June 7, 2010

The Sugar

When I think of a pyramid, what usually comes to my mind is the food pyramid. (I know that the nutritionists have come out with something new, but I grew up in the age of the pyramid.) You've got wheat (the staff of life) on the bottom, followed by fruits/veggies, followed by meats and dairies, followed lastly by one of my favorite things in the entire world: sugar.

We have to have our fill of all the other things on the pyramid before we even think about taking in that sugar, and when we do eat it, it has to be sparingly. In fact, there is no recommended dosage, because, basically it is not recommended that you eat it, but it makes everything taste oh, so good. :)

Recently I learned of a pyramid that a psychologist, Maslow, made in 1943. Maslow studied "exemplary people" like Lincoln and Einstein to name a few, and formulated what he called a "Hierarchy of Needs."

At the bottom are things that we need for absolute survival (air, food, water, etc.)
Then as you go up the pyramid, the next level is security (personal, financial, emotional)
The next level is love, family, friendship.
Next is esteem, confidence, respect of and for others.
And last, at the very tip of the pyramid is creativity, spontaneity, and other forms of self-actualization.

Similar to the food pyramid, the things at the base are absolutely important, and you have to have the basic building blocks of those needs in order to move upward.

This is why, when I feel like I am barely surviving (whether it be emotionally because my children are driving me crazy, or are having health issues, or physically, because I feel so sick myself, or I am at odds with someone I care for, etc) It is really hard for me to sit down and write. My mind does not want to think about what my characters are going to do to survive their problems, but what I am going to do to survive my own problems!

Writing can be a great escape, but I have noticed that I really do have to be in a particular place of health and security for me to allow myself to sit down and write. Some things can be taken care of quickly, others require patience, and yet others require help from someone.

Maslow's Hierarchy is only a theory, but I like that it reminds us that we do need to take care of our basic needs for survival. Everything on this pyramid is a NEED, not a WANT-- including creativity. But when I see Creativity's small little triangle at the very tip of the pyramid, I can't help but think of the sugar on the food pyramid. And I'm reminded that, like sugar, creativity makes everything in life just a little bit better.


  1. So true. I also find that when my mind goes blank while writing, a litle chocolat works wonders, and ideas flow. So combining the tops of the pyramids makes sense -- distorted or not.


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