Maslow's ladder that is. How many years have I spent scrabbling toward the topmost rung? At some point haven't I achieved the "right" to frivolous waste like lotion-infused tissues (see "Mankind's Greatest Inventions"), pre-packaged salads and 47 colors of nail polish?
What does self-actualization require? This will be my discovery in 2007. Maslow's basic needs are expressed as air, water, food and sex. I've got that covered in spades. The next rung includes security and stability. I'm privileged to have attained these to the level which any American can really possess them in the post-Katrina, post-9/11, post Patriot Act world. The third rung consists of social and psychological needs for love and acceptance. Again, I'm truly fortunate. Beyond these lie the peak experiences available to self-actualized individuals. Nowhere on the heirarchy of needs do I find a new sofa, cherry red lipstick, the crisp, creamy pages of a new book, sparkly earrings or an electric can opener.
If I'm shooting for profound moments of understanding, happiness and rapture (I'd settle for less), a self-sufficiency in the world, and an awareness of truth, justice, harmony and goodness, there isn't anything stopping me. Peak experiences must be based on choice and I can choose to find them in simpler ways. It may be harder but the journey may be, in itself, a peak experience.