Lately I find that Maslow´s heirarchy of needs has nearly continually been bashing me over the head with its applicability to understanding people and life. Little by little, I am striving to push forward in making the transition from just surviving (eating, sleeping, pooping), to adapting (feeling safe in body and resources, building relationships), to thriving (respect by others, confidence, spontaneity, creativity) . I have to say that I am finding the third stage to be by far the most challenging. Perhaps that's because I did not even conceive of thriving as being something I had to work on here. I worked so hard over the past seven years to learn how I personally could thrive in Portland that I think I figured I would just carry that over and continue on in my growth, picking up where I left off. Not so.
I am learning that every new incarnation of me must undergo the same struggle, the same process of surviving, adapting, and hopefully, eventually thriving. Now that I think about it, each of my overarching phases in life have involved that very process. Growing up in a home and town whose rules, manners of behavior, and culture were very different from my nature required surviving and at the most adapting, but I can´t say I ever reached the stage of thriving. That requires a level of self-knowledge and conscious intent that only relatively recently have I come to possess. I have gradually transitioned from subconsciously bumbling my way through my development as a person to a conscious, intentional search for books, friends, documentaries, outlets of expression, and lifestyle habits that assist me in my growth.
Some challenges here include very limited access to the greater world and its ideas, language and cultural misunderstandings which chip away at one´s confidence to express oneself, and reluctance to change (weird for me to admit, considering one of my great fears in life is stagnating in growing and changing, but I have found I am still quite enamored with the Tegan that Portland birthed). Fortunately, I still have some pretty inspiring relationships and memories from the other universe I used to inhabit and the search is well under way for sources of inspiration and catalysts for growth in Paraguay. I have a handful of close fellow volunteers who are undergoing similar struggles and epiphanies. I am surrounded by trees (although there are fewer and fewer every single day). And I have found friendships in strange places in Paraguayans...one example being the spunkiest, most bizarre nine-year-old girl, whom we´ve lovingly dubbed¨Toad¨in Guarani.
I hope this post finds you all happy, healthy in heart and body and mind, and growing as people.
So very much love,