Honouring the Decision to Live as a Naturist

Considerations as I work on adding a closet shelf.

Our Easter company has departed and now life returns to its normal rhythms and flows. With the move from my old office into a new space which now feels even more like an office because of its smaller size, the old room now returns to its original intention, that of a bedroom, a guest bedroom.

In the room are two large closets – his and hers – with lighting. Since this room is going to be rarely used, the decision to add an extra shelf for the storage of bedding, means that I now have a project to occupy some of my time.

Of course, I’m not really just writing about a closet project; it’s just another excuse to look at the human psyche, especially in my role as a psychotherapist. Typically, one thinks of therapy as a big work, not small tasks. Yet, when a big work has resulted in a shift of change in awareness [think of my relocating my office with its significant amount of labour attached to it] one is left with many smaller tasks which need to be done so that the “new self” has something to hold onto in the new world.

In terms of making a life change to embrace naturism/nudisim, one needs to then restructure the small things in one’s life to allow that life change to have a strong foundation for survival. Not doing the small tasks typically results in a person feeling cheated by life as opportunities for naturism or nudism slip away. Just as in my changing offices where there were a myriad of small things needed to be done to allow my new office to feel like “my sacred space and place,” a person needs to make tiny changes that support and honour the choice for life as a naturist.

Small things such as sleeping nude, taking care of morning ablutions while still nude, relaxing in front of the television in the evening with the drapes closed, are just some of the small shifts in the way one lives that support and honour the shift. There are a lot of blog posts by a number of naturists and nudists that can provide one with more advice, perhaps better advice. Surfing the web to find these is yet another means of honouring the decision to be a naturist.

 

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The Illusion of Privacy

There is no privacy in the real world.

There, on my back deck, I survey the scenery of my back yard, and the view of neighbours’ homes. I read, have coffee, sometimes write, and simply relax on this back deck when the season and weather is cooperative. As much as possible, this is done skyclad. There is a back lane between my property and that of the neighbours for vehicles and passersby to navigate when there is a need.

In all honesty, I can’t begin to claim that I have privacy in my own yard. The fence is only five feet in height with spaces between the boards. Yet, I take the risk of nudity in my own yard. I have been seen by several of my neighbours. No one makes a comment about my state of undress. After all, I have published books that basically advertise to the world that I am a naturist.

Earlier this year, in January, the NSA was given an expanded mandate with regards to collecting our emails, phone calls, and other data that exists in the world. The following passage from the New York Times explains:

“The new rules significantly relax longstanding limits on what the N.S.A. may do with the information gathered by its most powerful surveillance operations, which are largely unregulated by American wiretapping laws. These include collecting satellite transmissions, phone calls and emails that cross network switches abroad, and messages between people abroad that cross domestic network switches.”

When we put that together with the fact that Internet Service Providers store all of our browsing history in some form or other, the illusion that we have any privacy at all, even if we build ten-foot high security barricades around our homes, is shattered. Now, our neighbours are able to get into the fray with the use of drones. These powerful flying cameras are now sold for use by children.  So much for privacy fences if there is any interest on seeing what’s going on in our yards by curious others. When you link that to what satellites are able to record [think Google Earth] one is left to wonder if there is anywhere one can “get off the grid” and escape detection. The answer is basically “No.”

With that knowledge, we can actually set ourselves free. Lose the illusion of privacy and one can decide “to hell with the world, I’ll just do what I need to do.” So my neighbours see me – then what? so what? They are more concerned about their own privacy than about your lack of concern for trying to hide just who you are.

I am a naturist. It is just the way it is.

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A Blustery Day on the Prairies

A good excuse to sit in my office and write – It’s a blustery morning with rain, cold, and strong winds.

It is a rainy day, light rain that has arrived at the right time, since I finished mowing the lawns just yesterday afternoon. The downside is that at 4 C., and with strong winds continuing to blow with extra energy, it has become an indoor day. My time to be nude is going to be a lot less today as family arrives early in the afternoon for the beginning of our Easter gathering. Some of our family won’t be coming as there is a blizzard going on in northern and central Alberta where they live. Thankfully, there is no snow in the forecast for the southern half of Saskatchewan where we live.

Besides writing, the time has been spent with sous-chef preparations for this evening’s meal, the part where I cut up vegetables to be used in Taco salads and Taco wraps. There isn’t much time for philosophical musing, or delving into the wonders of the human psyche. When the spare moments arrive, we will promptly engage our guests in some sort of social activity or other, likely card games or board games. The traditional round of street hockey and game of cricket will be delayed until our next gathering at the end of June – weather delay.

Happy Easter! – Joyeuses Pâques! – Felices Pascuas!

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Running Out of Gas

Running out of gas on a bleak, overcast day.

The weather is less friendly today as far as both skyclad time outdoors and my being energetic. Of course, that must mean that the sun has yet to put in an appearance. Well, technically, the sun is present, but it is well hidden by thick, grey clouds. It is especially in the afternoon that I personally find myself running out of gas.

I found an interesting article at Psychology Today that talks about this phenomenon :

“As the sun begins an earlier dip into evening darkness at this time of year, our mood and mental energy seem to dip with it. Known as the afternoon slump (or the brain-dead zone), most of us feel a stronger urge to be in bed with a pillow over our heads than to continue with our work obligations for another few hours.

Indeed, the fatigue sometimes seems so overwhelming, especially when the work preceding late afternoon has been mentally and emotionally stressful, that our bodies feel as if we’ve been on a construction site all day.”

The article talks about carbohydrates as a solution as opposed to a sugar fix. I wonder what they would have found if the subjects were given a healthy dose of sunlight while nude? At least the article agrees that “running out of gas” is a real problem that could use a real solution.

Again, it all comes down to “light” and the filtering or absence of light. This phenomenon is part of why I have done a lot of research for the use of nude therapy for treatment of depression, midlife crisis, and PTSD. A structured regime of sunlight therapy, especially while nude, does more, in my opinion AND experience, than pharmaceutical therapy.

Of course, there is not enough structured experimentation to either validate or refute this thesis. Nor, is there likely to be such experiments, at least in North America where prudity is the norm.

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Cherishing Differences Even When Skyclad

Good friends, M and S on a hike in Montana, Big Sky Country.

I have written in the past using photos provided by M and S who live in Montana. Retirement is not treated as a time for sitting back in a rocking chair for this couple who are filled with a zest for life, a zest that takes them walking trails on the slopes of mountains and through wilderness valleys.

I sometimes find moments in the wilderness to be free to wander as I was created. But to be honest, not that often.

M studying a map in order to reach a mountain destination

There is the issue of the trails being public trails. And then, a much more serious consideration here on the prairies, is the presence of mosquitoes and other biting insects. For me, following dirt trails away from cultivated land, into the rolling hills, a landscape that is semi-desert with the requisite cactus and a distinct lack of humans. There, like M, I take time to note where I am. If I am lucky, a mule deer, or pronghorn antelope, or a variety of birds appear to keep me company. And, like M, the occasion merits being captured by the camera.

S poses for M beside a rock on a mountain slope hike, her shadow etched on the stone.

 

Unlike M and S, I take my strolls into the quiet of nature alone if I am to be skyclad like them. My wife is very supportive of my need to be skyclad, but doesn’t find the same need in herself. I take the time to meet my needs, when time and opportunity permits. And when the situation is right, she shares time with me while skyclad.

Relationship demands respect of and from the other(s) in a relationship. The greater the differences, the harder to balance those differences without demanding that the other mirrors the self. We cherish so many shared needs, activity, and habits – but more importantly, we leave space for the other to be a unique individual. The time of trying to mould the other to fit a desired template, has passed.

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Stealing Moments of Skyclad Sunshine

Soaking in the sunshine even when the temperature is rather cool.

For the past two days, we’ve been getting scattered sunny periods with the temperatures cresting above 10 C. By no means it this sunbathing weather, but it is enough to re-introduce the spirit to sunshine without the need to hide behind sunscreen or sun-blocking clothing.  It is hard to describe just how important sunshine has become to me. With the sun’s appearance, it feels like I can finally breathe freely.

Today, as with most days since our return from visiting family, we have gone for a long walk, training so-to-speak, for our planned European Peace walk. Next week, I am hoping to walk longer distances each day for the next four weeks. Then, it will be another round of visiting family before we fly off to Vienna. Walking in the sunshine energises both of us, where walking during overcast conditions leaves both of us feeling more than just tired. Maybe it is an age thing – we are both getting older.

I’ve been noticing that I am thinking more and more about extending naturism in my life without any idea of how that might happen. The truth is, I am clothing free a good portion of each day when we are at home. Because of the season, most of that is done indoors. Living in a community, a textile community, means that outdoor naturism is limited in a major way – at times in my own yard is basically all that can exist. In the summer, I do go to a naturist campground or two for short stays to find full freedom.

There is a different shadow that steals my energy, that of the community. For my own protection, I must hide behind curtains [or at least out of the direct line of sight of passersby while the draperies are left open during the day] and behind clothes. That has resulted in my becoming a thief of sorts, stealing time in the sunshine when it looks as though others are absent. This leaves me feeling somewhat less at ease than is wanted. It seems I want more naturism in my life, not less.

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Psychological Fear of Being Naked in the Light

The world goes colourless when there is not enough light.

Today’s photo was taken yesterday when the sky was overcast which allowed only a low level of light to reach these northern prairies in Canada. One of the things I noticed when going over my photos, including this one, was the fact of muted colours. The rich bronze colour I am used to seeing was not there. If anything, the world looked anaemic. Of course, this gave me the only excuse I needed to write up this blog, a follow-up to the last post, chasing away the light.

I took the photo while taking a break from doing my taxes for 2016. And yes, I did my taxes while clothing free. Doing taxes is a depressing activity regardless if one ends up paying more taxes or getting a refund, at least as far as I am concerned. It felt like I was digging in the shadows, searching for buried – well, I can’t really call it buried treasure – for buried numbers. Like most who do their own taxes, I had papers strewn all over the office in scattered piles that I hoped would provide the needed numbers. In the end, the taxes got done and I was worn out in spite of the fact that I managed to squeak out a small refund from the government. A depressive fog had settled in while I hid in my office from the tiny bit of light that was outside.

With the lack of sunshine, there is a significant change in our energy levels, in our libido. For some, it is more serious than for others. This is especially noticeable in northern climes where the number of daylight hours is at its lowest point. In Canada, we talk about the phenomena as “cabin fever.” In medical terms it is called “Seasonal Affective Disorder – S.A.D.” But of course, not everyone is affected the same. For some, the winter is a time when energy blossoms. These are the people who need to hide from the sun during the summer. But for the rest, and majority of the human population, light equals energy – energy equals libido.

So, why do most of us continue to hide from the sun? We use sunscreen lotions and sprays [yes, I know, there is the fear of skin cancer] for protection. The more worried we are about cancer, the higher the Sun Protection Factor [SPF] we use. We even resort to buying clothing based on the SPF of the fabric. We don’t critically evaluate our real needs for protection, needs that change based on our adaptations to being in the sunshine. We base our decisions on fear that has been induced by the manufacturers of sunscreen products. We ignore the basic truth that these manufacturers are in it for profit, not for our basic human welfare. We base our decisions on the illusions fed to us by the clothing industry that echoes the petrochemical industry with their sunscreen products. We make our choices to hide from the sun out of fear.

It’s as simple as that. We are afraid of stepping out of the shadows – psychologically afraid.

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Chasing Away the Light and Hiding in the Shadows

Exposed and vulnerable – risking the light rather than living in the shadows.

I love the sun. I treasure the transformative heat. It is as though each time, I dare being cooked to the point where a new “I” rises out of the ashes of the old “I.” This is psychological alchemy. But, there is more to the story that skin cancer worries or prudish covering up worries at work here.

I walk a lot in the various towns and cities we visit in North America. In both Canada and the U.S.A., my wife and I have noticed that the vast majority of the houses we pass as we wander these communities, have their draperies closed during the daytime, especially on bright and sunshine filled days. I realise that there are a a number of good reasons for this in the opinions of the people living in those houses. The majority want privacy. Some want to protect their furniture from becoming faded because of the intense sun’s rays. Some simply want to escape the distractions of a passing world. And then there are others who simply prefer living in the shadows.

In my home, draperies are opened when we wake up in the morning so that we entice whatever light that exists to fill our home. The draperies stay open until after sunset and the darkness returns to the land. Then, we turn on lights within our home until it is time for us to go to bed, and to sleep.

So how does this play out in the larger world, this hiding from the light? When I look at my home community, province, and country, I see that logic and common sense  seem to be almost figments of imagination. We all have our polarised ideas and ideals to which we cling to with fierce determination in spite of what might be considered opposing facts. Of course, we can’t see or hear anything clearly when our filters are engaged, not even the things we do or say are evident to us.

In the world-at-large appears to be spinning out of control, we seem to be digging shelters that are purposely hidden in the shadows within which we can sort of protect ourselves from the forces of darkness and the forces of light. We need to hide. There is conflict and that only means pain. We want to build walls to keep out the world. And that need is reflected in our communities and countries. Trump wants to build walls to keep out what he perceives is darkness. In the U.K., the same sentiment is being enacted as a wall of nationalism is being erected to keep out their perceived darkness. The drapes are being closed in the hopes that the problem goes away if we somehow just stay out of the light.

Plato’s cave as described in his book, “The Republic.”

We don’t want to know the larger story, we feel much more comfortable looking at the shadows which we then project as reality. I think here of the shadows in Plato’s story of the cave.  In his writing, Plato discusses:

“And if some one were to drag him violently up the rough and steep ascent from the chamber, and refuse to let him go till he had drawn him out into the light of the sun, would he not, think you, be vexed and indignant at such treatment, and on reaching the light, would he not find his eyes so dazzled by the glare as to be incapable of making out so much as one of the objects that are now called true?”

As Plato notes, humans have an aversion to light. We get angry when what is exposed by light contradicts what we hold as our truths. Of course, this is not just about humans in the past, this remains as psychological insight for today. As a culture we are fleeing from awareness – of self and other. We are fearful of being exposed and vulnerable, so we hide in the shadow imagining and hoping to be saved by the light that is filtered. The hard reality is that we need to be dragged into the light to expose to make ourselves vulnerable. Carl Jung had this to say, words that are more important now than perhaps ever in our human history:

One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious.”

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Daring to be Bare – Naturist Poetry

First sunbathing of the early spring season at home.

The sun came out and the temperatures soared to 10C/50F. In spite of the brisk breeze which denied the “feels like” temperatures to match the actual temperatures, I found a spot in the sunshine in the back yard to spend some quality time sunbathing. In the end, while having my skin slightly roasted, a poem was born which I intend sharing with a Clothing Free web presence that is hosting a naturist poetry competition. Whether the poem is enjoyed by others or not, it was enough for me to celebrate this occasion, a rare occasion in early April, for nude sunbathing on the Canadian prairies.

Daring to Bare

Looking out the patio door at the thermometer
Watching through the morning
For the temperatures to slip past freezing
Into friendlier temperatures
The time to slip outside
Bare as the day I was born
Had arrived.

Feet slippered with nothing else
Offering protection against the still chilly air
Walking through shadows on the deck
Descending stairs to reach a bench
Beside the garage
Which offered a slight windbreak,
I stretched out with my back to the sun.

Slight whispers of cool breath
Slipped over my skin
As I waited for the sun to begin heating
Back and buttocks,
A neighbour opened her door across the lane
Peering out in search of her two dogs
Unaware that a man lay naked
Only a short distance away
Easily seen.

It wasn’t long before
The sun’s rays worked magic
And warmth became pleasant heat
Making the risk of
Daring to be bare
Worth the moments in the sun.

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The Second Rene Beauchemin Novel

Second novel in the Rene Beauchemin series.

The cover of the second novel in the series that tells the story of René Beauchemin, features the original art of my daughter. In the story, René returns home to Ottawa where he tries to re-engage with his psychotherapy practice. He learns the identity of Freya as a Norse goddess, wife of Odin. Yet, he struggles with his attraction with her as a woman.

René journey of transformation continues with the appearance of yet another figure from his unconscious who strangely seems to be aware of the background behind the story. The appearance of another woman in René’s story only serves to complicate things for René.

On the naturist level, René shifts, with help from his friends, to being a full naturist who becomes comfortable with nudity in social situations. On the fantasy level, the tangled webs between reality, the Nordic and Celtic deities, and fantasy promise that the story will continue into future novels. On the psychological level, we get to see René in action as a therapist using Jungian psychology as his counselling foundation.

The book is available through a number of outlets:

  1. Createspace print book
  2. Smashwords eBook
  3. Amazon print book
  4. Amazon eBook
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