How difficult it is for us to “find the time” for the things that matter. How difficult it is, as Blaise Pascal suggested, for us to truly “live in the present,” where life’s real delights linger.
Westerners have forgotten the present. Bit by bit they have whittled it down to nothing, and to retrieve it, they must undergo a genuine re-education.” – Jean-Louis Servan-Schreiber
In our “Sleep. The New Sex,” post we quoted Pascal’s warning, that if we don’t learn something about this (about ourselves, the life we’re living, the world swirling around us, etc.) that we just may miss out on life altogether.
“We live in times,” he writes, “that do not belong to us; the future or the past, and fail to live in the only time (the present) that truly is ours to live.” “It’s inevitable” he suggests, “that we may never live, but only hope to live…” – Blaise Pascal – 1623-1662
Many have mused that “the time between being too young, and then too old, is far too fleeting; that life flashed by without the attention or the living we long for. We risk, as Pascal suggested, never actually, living, but only hoping to live, and of course, planning to live.
In Servan-Schreibers brilliant little book “The Art of Time,” he writes about how difficult it may be for us to “take time,” to move away from the wild activity and schedules that certainly mark this fall season, as things “ramp up” once more. He suggests that while we may long for this in our lives, we may be afraid of stopping, to let better and deeper things begin to seep in.
Often, we act as though it is legitimate to take time for ourselves only when we have satisfied all the demands of others – in other words, never.
Sometimes, we are so imbued with this that we instinctively class as spineless laxity every moment not devoted to pure action. Hence an observable distrust of preliminary reflection, a period of recuperation, creative reverie, relaxation, the acquisition of knowledge that is not immediately useful. – Jean-Louis Servan Schreiber, “The Art of Time” (2000)
Though we may resent the never-ending demands on our lives, the mad-pace and and over-commitment (The “Tyranny of the Urgent” as Charles Hummel put it), we may not realize how difficult it may be to cut into the tightly woven fabric of this forever forward tumbling into the future (Pascal) .
It is easier to be busy, to thrash about (perhaps complaining all the while) in part of course, because so much of our identity may be wrapped up in this “doing,” this activity. Reflecting, stopping, waiting, desiring, imagining, and just “being” is devilishly hard work. But as Richard Swenson once wrote, the really exiting and juicy bits of life are found in the “margins” of our living.
“Margin – the space that once existed between ourselves and our limits.”- Richard Swenson, from Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives
Sex, especially good sex, lives in the margins of our lives. To be honest, how much room (and energy) do we have left? But as Ovid (43-B.C-17 A.D.) wrote, “Take away leisure and Cupid’s bow is broken!”
Don’t despair. Let’s think about some possibilities here.
Different months of the year conjure up different thoughts and feelings.
For instance, what do you think of when you consider December? Office parties, driving home in the dark, concerts, weary shopping expeditions, traffic jams, travelling, Christmas of course, and perhaps some time off
January? The hopes of a new year, post Christmas blues, days beginning to lengthen a wee bit, but still frigidly cold for many. New resolutions!
March? Spring Break! Yipee!
May? Well! (From Wikipedia article) “In 1995 San Francisco-based sex toy and education shop Good Vibrations declared May to be “Masturbation Month.” Since then, it has encouraged people to get sponsors as a fund raiser for charities with a sex-positive focus.” You didn’t know? Missed it? There’s always next year. A good fund raising fit for your organization?
But what about September? For many, the most intense time of the year. School starts with a fury, sports are back into full swing and parents back into very serious driving mode. Gone are the lazy halcyon days of summer as we return (sigh) to our regular commitments once again.
How do you feel about November? Do you associate it with spacious days and regular and happy sexual encounters with your lover, or to you instead grit your teeth for the cooler days, and the plans ramping up to Christmas?
We suggest that you think about taking some things back. And what better way than to also schedule regular, brisk, and rejuvenating lovemaking. This may require strict discipline as you say no to things that scream for your attention, but you also know (it’s all over the internet) that sex is very good for you, and perhaps the very best antidote to the weariness and fragmented exhaustion associated with this time of the year.
Where to begin?
1. If you have the copy of “A Private Affair” then you’ll have a two of the colourful game pins. Wear them for the month as a subtle, secret and happy reminder.
2. Ovid reminds us that the subtleties of seduction and the earthy pleasures of love cannot survive a busy and harassed life. “Take away leisure, and Cupid’s bow is broken.” Therefore, you will need to sit down with your beloved to seriously consider what you’ve planned, and what can be tossed! This includes the crazy hellish schedules we so often commit our kids to! WHO are we trying to keep up with? WHAT are we trying to do? And WHY don’t we say “enough!?”
3. Write some dates (perhaps a special notation – *S) in your books, into your paper or PDF calendar, wherever your life is laid out. Set some goals for 2009/2100 (gotta start somewhere). If Douglas and Annie Brown “Just Do It!” could take on the challenge of 100 days of sex, then perhaps you could suggest to your lover that you increase your flying frequency 100%, from 1 to 2 times/week, or from 2 to 4 times/week; heck, some might think of a full 5-days/week try-out. After all, it’s just for one month!
4. Just do it. It’s good for you, like flax seed, pomegranate juice, Vitamin D, sun screen, olive oil and exercise. Think of it as your own private fall schedule, (your personal “fall into bed” campaign?) to get things back on track, and to “take back September!”
Think of it… as the rich fall harvest, of the spring time and summer of your love!
May you reap a bumper crop!