Thursday, July 16, 2009

90-day sensual challenge

My friend Maia, a documentary filmmaker, has been running a project for the past 90 days that she's coined a love challenge. It's been inspiring to listen to what she has to say about it, and the ways in which people are coming together to challenge each other about what love is and how to engage with it in our daily lives.

Of late, I have been feeling completely overwhelmed and over-saturated by the intensity of images and applications being thrown at me from all sides. Today while writing an email to someone a chat-window popped up without any prompting from myself with a conversation from the person I was trying to write a message to appearing out of midair. We are more and more likely to be connected to our phones and wires and knobs and such directly, chip-to-brain and hand-to-machine. I did grow up reading science fiction, so a part of me might be a little more worried about this than parts of you, but I do feel that my concerns about the collective lack of attention span, and the shortening of said fuse by the (seemingly) day are founded, and important to pay attention to.

One way in which this is noticeable in my own life is my ability to go throughout my everyday tasks without being fully aware of my environment. When I am on the computer, I hardly ever notice the sounds of the wind, or what my cats are actually doing. Now I don't necessarily think that the humans I've grown up around have been encouraged culturally to develop those aspects of their bodies, the ones that respond to their immediate surroundings, but I do think we all have a responsibility to do so regardless, even if it means by ways of a rather painful un-learning of the speeds in which we have become accustomed to intaking certain information and ignoring most else.

What I am talking about here, on a fundamental level, is a certain cultural lack of sensuality in our daily experiences, and I don't just mean of the hubba-hubba sort. The rainstorm that poured down on me as I biked home reminded me of this, as I took the time to stand out under its heave and tow for a few minutes before going inside. The power of the plane flying directly overhead reminds me of this if I think about what its sounds represent, and the intensity of the imagery of its trajectory, a straight line above my roof quickly-disappearing-into-other-lands-and-times. The smell of dark, damp soil at night, the way your hand feels against face.

This being said, I feel like in order to begin to reinforce some of the desires I have to unlearn the speed at which I wizz past so much and the obliviousness I often have to the things I have time to notice, I am going to engage my whole being in a 90-day sensual challenge. To remind myself of what it means to really *feel* out my environment, and to ask my body to be less lazy about the gifts of the senses I have been given.

In honour of the painting I chose here, by Georges de la Tour, a dude who was very, very much into subdued and mysterious lighting, the challenge will start tomorrow at sundown. I am going to only use candlelight for the next 3 days once the sun decides to go elsewhere, and act like there's a power failure in the house. I will explain more as to why later, as right now I need to experience the sensual activity of getting into bed and going into the land of nog-nog. Goodnight one and all.

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