Noticing the rise of the wind. Gazing upward at the twinkling canopy. Feeling in sync with the cicadas. Watching gradations in the day’s light. Being excited when the children find another black cricket this summer. The every day is where I experience wonder.

Recently, it has become clear how much my life is atuned to beauty. And I have come to realize that to me, beauty is one of my life’s essentials. I have made many a decision in my life, based on beauty, more than other factors. People don’t always understand these decisions, and it can be hard to explain, but there is certainty in following the beautiful path.

If we were to look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, postulated as essentials that need to be fulfilled in order, you may remember how it goes: basic needs, safety, love and belonging, self-esteem, self-actualization. Not bad. The idea here, is that the lower level needs to be met before a person can progress to the next level of need fulfillment, and so on. That if someone does not have enough food to eat, they cannot progress to activities that help them rise to their highest selves and abilities, because their energies are focused on survival.

We could debate the merits of Maslow’s perspective. Certainly, hungry individuals have done amazing things in the arena of self-actualization. Viktor Frankl and his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, comes to mind as an example.

So, I have spent some time thinking about what essentials I want in my life. The current list: love, peace, beauty, simplicity, creativity, purpose. And so, I wonder from others, if you sit down and think about it, what are essentials to your life? Have you thought about what makes your quality of life satisfactory, exciting or exemplary? What a wonderful, rich area to ponder. And what if, in doing so, you change your life, like in a really good way? A worthy investment, it seems.