Quietly Shifting From Demons To Plain Strange

Mowing the lawn skyclad.

Mowing the lawn skyclad.

We are busy with preparing for a ten-day excursion away from home which will involve two weddings book-ending a four day stay at Helios Naturist Club near Edmonton, Alberta which is about six-hours drive towing our small camping trailer.  Of course, one of the things that need taking care of is the mowing of our lawns, the neighbour’s seen in the house in the background, at least the part behind the white garage top left, and the chain link fence area along the back lane. I also mowed my next-door neighbour’s back yard as well. The only time I had to wear anything was when mowing our front lawn. The town is almost empty and there is no fear of being seen. And yes, you see right, our back fence is not what anyone would call a privacy fence.

But enough of the small talk. As I listen in on the conversation of other naturists from around the world via social median, I am seeing something that contradicts the words spoken. In spite of the collective belief that naturism is under attack by the society at large, the evidence points to something else, a quiet no-comment most of the time. Of course there are incidents of negative response to being seen nude. But so many times, that negative response doesn’t appear. Perhaps there is a deep, almost unconscious acceptance of the validity to live as one chooses as long as it doesn’t interfere in the lives of others in a significant manner. For the most part because of media, the naked body has become just another choice that isn’t much different from dressing in various fashions. The key is that the naked body is becoming less threatening.

The threats are coming from elsewhere, real and imagined. Politics, economics, global warming, political protests, religious unrest, etc. – there is an overload of change staring all of us in the face. Will we be able to keep our jobs, our homes, even our country? Media blows every event into crisis status regardless of the event. An example would be the response to a speech given recently that had very strong echoes of a speech given eight years earlier. Not a good thing, but certainly nothing that warrants the pundits and talking heads of media to basically lose it. Rather than simply point the fact out to the public, a decision was made to treat the issue as though it was equal to the shot that started World War I. Nothing is said about the “heroes” of modern day, our professional athletes who basically say the same few sentences week after week, sport after sport, as if there was nothing else worth saying. For these “heroes” the media and the public don’t hear the echoes, but rather treat the inane statements as folk wisdom. Who says that there is any common sense in the world.

The world of naturism exists with less defensiveness as it wanders the back lanes, the silent spaces in nature, and within their clubs and homes. As long as naturists don’t decide to become the perverts and sexual predators that have been the irrational beliefs by the opponents of body freedom, society will continue to move very, very quietly into unconscious acceptance.

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Naturists as the Holders of Projections

Using light to create a canvas.

Using light to create a canvas.

Early morning light, as it pours into the house through venetian blinds created an effect that I had not anticipated, an almost blinding light on skin. After a few attempts to reduce the intensity of light, something emerged that had me stop. I thought I had accidentally stumbled upon an image of rudimentary art as shadows emerged. Light became the paint that was textured by shadows. Colour was barely hinted at because of the intensity of light.

Strange how what emerged was something that the eye couldn’t see though it existed none-the-less. Was the photo “photoshopped?” In this instance, I would say “No!” for nothing was added. It is more that what exists was simply being seen thought a different lens. When we change a lens, we get different results with what is seen. The same can be said for how a society “sees” naturists.

How do non-naturists really see those who adopt a worldview that includes ditching clothing when conditions warrant – warmth and safety? For the most part, without treading on each other’s territory, intruding into personal spaces, naturists are not seen. For the most part, “others” who are different are unseen as well. It is only when naturists are seen entering into the edges of personal space [which can be quite large for some people] that the non-naturists react out of an irrational fear. What they see is their own projections, not the reality that stands within sight. They only see through filters that were created by themselves as individuals and their collective [culture]. When they respond, react to the sight of naturists, their fear inspired anger colours their response even more so that reason retreats.

Knowing that this is the way it is, if there is to be a change in their response, it becomes the task of the naturists to somehow present themselves in a different light, one that reveals without threatening. How can naturists do this? I don’t know that answer though I am searching for it along with many others who simply want to be real people rather than holders of the projections of others.

 

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The Issue of Censorship and Social Media

David censored

David censored

I was reading from a website called the National Coalition Against Censorship [NCAC] an interesting article and decided that I needed to bring their opening words here:

“It is somewhat ironic that, in a society where sex appeal is used to sell everything from perfume to cars to shampoo, and where the consumption of porn involves some 40 million Americans (hardly a minority), artistic representations of nudes are regularly banned from being shown in public places.”

Emoji use in censorship - what is the message?

Emoji use in censorship – what is the message?

Social Media, led by Facebook, has made it a crusade to protect humanity from genitalia, buttocks, and uncovered female nipples. Their campaigns have significantly helped reshape the Censorship landscape with people now engaged in censoring themselves with the use of emojis [small digital images or icons] to cover the “offensive” sexual areas of the nude human form. Some have taken to being artistic in their efforts to make light of the fact of self-censorship such as found at the Plaid Zebra with a variety of images including this one to the left.

The defence given for censorship of nudity lies withing a number of factors such as law, religion, morality, and probably most important – politics and economics. In other words, fear is the operative word. And, when it comes to fear, there is no easy answer as fear is individual and collective, and for the most part, irrational.

Cloth covering genitalia highlighting, tittilating, and sexualizing without crossing the line.

Cloth covering genitalia highlighting, titillating, and sexual fantasising without crossing the line.

In the world of depth psychology, whatever it is about ourselves as an individual, and as a collective that we disown, we project onto others and then use all manner of tools to punish those others who hold our shadow. We fear our bodies, we punish those who have no fear of their bodies, we fear our sexuality, we punish others for being comfortable with their sexuality. In many ways, this has morphed into what I can only call the politics of nudity. And, the results of censorship becomes ridiculous.

There's money to be made from pornography whereas there is none from naturism.

There’s money to be made from pornography whereas there is none from naturism.

There is the economic factors to consider, an area that is definitely fear driven. Facebook, and others fear the loss of revenue. There is also the fear of being sued for being complicit in some offended citizen’s lawsuit based on an image found on their social media service. This fear enables the highly sensitive and easily offended, even with innocent and non-sexual imagery containing nudity, to control the agenda of social media.

Pornography is protected as the worst of the worst of human sexual scenes involving nudity generate billions of dollars that become part of the economic fabric of western culture. It is no wonder that simple nudity that has no objective other than for the individual’s well-being, is prohibited so fiercely. If our human society came to accept nudity as a natural phenomenon, the porn industry would effectively lose most of its customers.

Who really drives the anti-nudity movement that feeds irrational fear?

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Public Participation in Clothes Free Adventures

Sea of Hull - Spencer Tunick.

Sea of Hull – Spencer Tunick.

Like so many others, I am amazed at what is possible in our modern western world when it comes to being nude in public spaces. The recent “Sea of Hull” living art installation is one that has captured my attention. The ability to bring together thousands of adults, both men and women, to create these scenes in many different countries around the world is astonishing.

Emma as a participant at the Sea of Hull.

Emma as a participant at the Sea of Hull.

I can’t imagine persuading ten people to become art subjects for a photo shoot in my town. Perhaps it is the fact of the sheer numbers of people involved, something that helps preserve a sense of anonymity for the majority of participants that would otherwise never think of appearing in public unclothed. Those who are committed to naturism, people who are activists in their own right such as Emma here on the left, took part in the Sea of Hull event even though it meant a long drive in order to take part. For such individuals, it is being a part of the whole while still finding a sense of individuality, a secure sense of self in the process.

A couple who became living works of art in New York City.

A couple who became living works of art in New York City.

Other examples that come to mind are Body Painting in public spaces such as recently took place in New York City, and

Lady Godiva at the London edition of the WNBR.

Lady Godiva at the London edition of the WNBR.

World Naked Bike Rides in cities around the globe. Most of the WNBR events become a mixture of unadorned skin, body-painted, or semi-nude participants who are trying to get across the message of using less fossil fuels for navigating cities and towns.

I have never taken part in such events and don’t see any change for me in the future as I live in a part of the world where these events don’t occur at all. But that somehow doesn’t seem to bother me as I like solitude and taking time for smaller events at a local Naturist Club.

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What the Mirror is Trying to Tell Us

Taking advantage of a break in the weather

Taking advantage of a break in the weather.

I am back for a few moments as I take a coffee break on an otherwise showery morning in Alberta. In another two hours I will be en route to a campground with my grandson who is “waiting” for time to leave.

It is hard to be very enthusiastic when so much of the world seems to be crumbling around us. Isolated individuals are continuing to fall under the influence of the collective shadow of their home cultures, a shadow that is not limited to the Islamic world as we see America falling under the weight of rampant racism that is resulting in intensified conflicts, conflicts that are burdened not only with colour, but also with issues of gender and religion, with the greatest conflict is centred around weapons, a conflict fed by fear of other and the need to be armed.

I am losing hope that there will be a collective “turning on the lights” so that the collective will become aware that the enemy is found in the mirror staring back, the individual shadow magnified as fear dims the lights and dims consciousness. Time to stop thinking so much and go back to playing with my grandson.

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Meditation Au Naturel

The practice of meditation au naturel is priceless.

The practice of meditation au naturel is priceless.

It’s been a driving day towing my camping trailer to my grandson’s home as we will be heading to a camping site by a lake (his father, him and me) for the weekend. The drive passed through sunny stretches and pouring rain and thunderstorms, several times. By the time I reached my destination, I was very tense as the wind made towing the trailer a bit more of a challenge than normal. Life is like that on the prairies. Normally it is dry, but already this early summer we have slightly more than doubled the normal annual precipitation. We recorded more than 100 mm (4+ inches) in less than 24 hours on Monday. Needless to say, it is a good thing I add meditation to my ritual of handling the stresses that would otherwise leave me too tense and perhaps too edgy.

Mediation is vital in my opinion, for anyone who wants to get more “self” control. Without this control, I find myself “reacting” rather than responding with considered reasonableness. And, it often happens that I can listen better, let it wash through me without having it stick within me like some nascent cancer. To meditate skyclad outdoors in sunshine is the ultimate experience for me. However, even nude meditation indoors is treasured. And when there is no opportunity for either experience, even clothed meditation works on allowing me to be more present and more pleasant in my interaction with the universe.

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In the City for Dinner Out with Grandson

Rain and cool temperatures don't mean hiding inside the camping trailer.

Rain and cool temperatures don’t mean hiding inside the camping trailer.

I am away from Green Haven Sun Club for the rest of the afternoon and early evening because I am taking my first grandson out for a “birthday” dinner. Because there is no wifi at the naturist site, I have only had very limited mobile service which meant no blogging. For me that hasn’t been a problem because it has been all about writing and sunning for the few hours each day that sunshine was available – it’s been cloudy and rainy and cool for the most part which means a lot of writing has happened, a good thing.

I have more than doubled the word count of my second novel with Frieda and Rene, a novel that is getting complicated with the entrance of another woman, Angela, and the drama of Rene’s son finding out his father is a naturist. It’s even more complicated than it sounds, but that is all that I can say about the story without saying too much. I guess that you will have to buy the book and read it when I publish it in the future [smile].

Writing a naturist novel in a naturist campground while naked - it's as good as it can get.

Writing a naturist novel in a naturist campground while naked – it’s as good as it can get.

The book signing event went well in Saskatoon on Tuesday evening with a number of books being sold in the process. I don’t have a count yet as I have been out of the loop. That information will likely be available when I return home this weekend. Before I go home, I have another book signing event in Regina at the Chapters store there.

My time at Green Haven has been a blessing. To live without the need to wear clothing is hard to describe in a way that makes sense to those who are more comfortable wearing clothing. The social aspect, meeting old friends and new people who are similarly nude, is precious for someone like myself who is normally limited to being nude in the home and within the confines of the back yard. I have been lucky on the book sales front as members at the club are buying my Naked Poetry books and the novel. It’s amazing how I can mix business with pleasure without putting on a stitch of clothing.

I will be back, probably on Sunday when I am home. Enjoy what’s left of Nude Recreation Week. Now, it’s time to head out to the restaurant my grandson chose for our meal together. Ciao!

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Mark Twain on Clothing, Nudity, and Democracy

Mark_Twain-Shirtless-ca1883Mark Twain:

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”

Another of his priceless quotes:

“Strip the human race, absolutely naked, and it would be a real democracy. “

And yet another quote:

“There is no power without clothes. It is the power that governs the human race. Strip its chiefs to the skin, and no State could be governed; naked officials could exercise no authority; they would look (and be) like everybody else”

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Independence Day – A Celebration of Freedom

Painted woman.

Painted woman

It’s the 4th of July, Independence Day in the U.S.A. The statue of liberty, a gift from France, the land of my European ancestors, stands proudly as a symbol of liberty and of enlightenment.

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Well, she really wasn’t intended as a symbol of welcome for immigrants though that is how she has been viewed and understood since the above lines of a poem by Emma Lazarus were written.

We are proud Americans!

We are proud Americans!

In my opinion, America has lost its way with its fear of foreigners that is more about exclusion than inclusion. Naturists are excluded regardless of nationality, skin colour, or religion. So many are focused on building a wall to keep out Mexicans and finding ways to keep out Muslims and others of colour. Yet, there still remains a solid core of Americans that embrace the whole of humanity. It is to these Americans that I add my wishes for a great day of celebration of freedom.

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Dignity and Peace in a World Filled With Chaos

A man who embraces his authentic presence in nature.

A man who embraces his authentic presence in nature.

At one of the naturist/nudist online communities that is based in Europe to which I participate, has allowed me to become friends, virtual friends with others who share my passion. One of the newest friends is Lukas, a man from the Netherlands. Images, such as this one, tell so much to a reader about the person, and about naturism itself.

The fact that tan-lines are absent is visual evidence that naturism is more than a philosophy, but somehow has become embraced as a life practice. The image also rejects shame while at the same time doesn’t flaunt sexuality. Too often, nudists and naturists tend to make genital exposure as the focal point of their images. Unfortunately, such images tend to confirm the belief in those opposed to human nudity, especially public human nudity, that nudity is synonymous with sex – and sex is synonymous with sin or evil. Images that treat the nude human body as simply natural, doing natural tasks allow views to learn that there is no threat to morality with genitals being seen. The message becomes, nude can be normal, nonthreatening. The nudity fades into the background with a different story emerging.

As I see this image, I can feel the oneness with nature, the sense of being able to breath easily with the sun working its magic to engage the human spirit. There is a sense of philosophic calmness, almost a moment of Zen to be sensed. I don’t see charged sexuality. I don’t see “see me I’m naked.”  I do see personal self-acceptance, of being at peace with oneself. I do see a man who treats his body well and in turn treats the world he lives in well. I see human morality portrayed with dignity.

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