Who Are the Proponents For Legalised Nudity?

Wishing that somehow it was a bit different.

The sun came out briefly while I was taking care of some business in the house. Now that the tasks are done, the clouds have rolled back in lending a sense of greyness and heaviness. Earlier in the day, I took this photo before the sun made its brief appearance, an image that is wistful in mood.

The draw to naturism sees me outside regardless of the temperature which in this case was almost 5C. If it would have been sunny, the temperature would have been much more bearable. Still, I’m a Canadian and refuse to allow the weather to lock me indoors.

At present, our Federal government is looking at the criminal code with the objective to make it more in keeping with the present mindset when it comes to youth. There are a few aspects of the Canadian Criminal Code that touches on nudity. Surprisingly, the few changes already proposed appear to be lessening the penalties for nudity in certain cases. Since the changes are focused on youth, it is unlikely that there will be an elimination of section 174 dealing with private and public nudity. I wonder if it would be productive to contact the committee to take advantage of the opportunity to make other changes such as legalising the right of Canadians to be nude?

As you may or may not be aware, I am a Board member of the Federation of Canadian Naturists [FCN]. The Board is considering its options with regards to the changes to the criminal code. I won’t be talking about that discussion, as it is still in progress. Rather, I want to look at who would be for and who would be against the legalisation of nudity in Canada – simple nudity that isn’t overtly sexual in terms of activity. As I ponder this topic, I begin to suspect that there are opponents within the naturist community itself to adopting the new standards now in place in the U.K.

Why do I say that? I look at determining who would have the most to lose with changes to the status quo – the answer being the various naturist clubs scattered throughout the country. Our clubs are basically hidden and locked communities which are strict about who they allow to know their locations and who can enter through their gates. They are basically the only game in town. For most single, naturist men, those gates are firmly closed. I visited one of these Canadian naturist sites and found out that all prospective visitors are vetted before the club agrees to allow the guest to experience their site. Yes, I was checked to ensure that I was a valid member of another naturist site. I was welcomed as my home club did communicate the vital information that my wife and I did indeed take part in their club activities. That was important as I was to visit this site on my own while my wife was working.

Others whom I know, are not allowed to attend in spite of the fact that they are married. Without the participation, or anticipated participation of the spouse, the doors remain closed regardless of the spouse’s past participation. With the naturist club being the only game in the province, their membership becomes a captive audience. Inclusion in their group boosts the ego. No one wants to risk losing the only space available for social nudity.

Eliminate the “need” to be part of the exclusive group, and the group typically goes the way of the dinosaurs. Do groups such as AANR or TNS really want to have all the laws change to allow nudity to be a legal choice? The need for advocacy would disappear, and with it, their rationale d’être. The national groups need something to rally the troops, so-to-speak. With that need, membership money flows to these groups, money which doesn’t give a person one hour of social nudity as the groups don’t hold land or operate clubs. Clubs are affiliated. The enemy is clear … but not so clear at all. The textile society is claimed to be the enemy. Yet, below the distraction of pointing fingers at our neighbours, competing groups for the same audience are soon cast as villains as well. Who truly speaks for naturists and nudists?

My intent is not to present an answer but merely to ask the questions so that you can think about this and make choices accordingly. After all, it is your money and your future as a naturist that is at risk.

Celtic Gods and Goddesses Slumming

I am trying out a new approach to a story that I have been researching for a number of months. Abbéville is a real place in Picardy, France, not too distant from a town where it appears my family had its roots. Recent DNA tests highlight the Celtic roots of my ancestors. The characters below in the story are Celtic deities that would have been familiar to people in the 800s and through to relatively recent times in spite of the efforts of the Christian Church. Please, let me know what you think of this opening.

* * * * *

Chapter One

Lugh

The sun came through the branches to leave a mottled appearance to the almost invisible path through the forest. The morning was promising a hotter than normal day for early June as I made my way towards the village of Abbéville with Cernunnos, Áine, and Brigantia at my side. Abbéville wasn’t our destination, but it was the place where we would rejoin the mortal world in the guise of ordinary people. Our real destination was a village called Longuet. Our journey would have been much quicker had we walked directly to the village, but we didn’t want to appear there without establishing a normal presence in the area.

Áine

The Christian Church was always on the lookout for heathens and heretics.

Áine was like a sister to me, a younger sister. Her red hair stirred with the passing breeze. She wore a green skirt that contrasted with her hair and the gossamer wings that had been folded an made invisible as we walked, the only one amongst us to be wearing any clothing. Her horse, a roan, followed with the others as we made our way down the faintly visible trail. Unlike Brigantia, her pale skin was unmarked.

Brigantia was more like my twin sister with long blond hair.

Brigantia

Her body was covered in blue tattoos that were hypnotic to anyone who dared to stare. She walked holding onto her golden spear that was longer than she was tall. Though beautiful beyond imagining, seeing her left most men quivering in fear. Her horse was as black as midnight

Cernunnos

Cernunnos was my best friend. Like me, he had dark hair, almost black. Like Brigantia, his body was covered in blue tattoos. And like her, he was fearsome in his appearance, especially when he wore his crown of antlers. His physical power evoked both awe and fear among men, and desire in women. Cernunnos was quick to take advantage of these women who wanted nothing more that to mate. Like Brigantia, he carried a weapon, a long oak staff that was stained from battles from the past. Unlike the rest of us, Cernunnos had no horse. When he shape-shifted, he took on the aspect of a stag.

We had left almost two hours earlier from an unnamed hamlet secreted in the depths of the forest. The place was warded so that strangers wouldn’t stumble upon it by accident. The power of the warding came from a krommlec’h in the form of a circle of stones surrounding a raised stone altar. The hamlet was Cernunnos’ home if it could be said that he needed a place to call home.

As we neared the first signs of other people, each of us hid our natural appearances behind clothing and a small spell that would prevent others from noticing us too much. We blended in with the typical physical appearance of others making sure we were non-descript, something that wasn’t too hard for us to do. What clothing and supplies we needed were taken from the packs on the horses before they were released to return on their own to Cernunnos’ hamlet in the forest. The magic needed was activated to disguise my sword, Áine’s spear, and Cernunnos’ staff to look like ordinary walking sticks. Readied, we slipped from the forest onto the rutted trail that led to the river crossing that would take them into Abbéville.

“Loo, I have to say that you look much better as a peasant,” laughed Cernunnos. “You might even find a toothless hag or two actually lower their standards to take you into their beds.”

“Cern, you’re a pig,” Brigantia spoke with a disgusting tone. “All you ever think about is your staff and where you can bury it.”

“Ugh!” Áine added. “Can’t you talk about anything else?”

“You’re such a prissy one,” Cernunnos laughed. “As if you don’t enjoy a good time in the sack as anyone.”

Lugh smiled at the banter that had begun to emerge, talk that made them sound like locals. They had arrived at the river crossing and found themselves in a small crowd that waited to cross the river in flat-bottomed boats that were tethered to a long rope that spanned the river. The convivial conversation of others surrounding them was just as raunchy. A few of the others frowned and shook their heads. Their threadbare brown robes proclaimed them as belonging to the Church. Lugh held out a few coins to pay for their passage to the opposite shore. Since it was a market day, the town of Abbéville was attracting quite a few, a situation that would make it even easier for Lugh and his companions to blend in.

Brigantia was barely controlling her anger when Lugh spotted her ready to strike a large oafish and overweight man who had just fondled her buttocks. Lugh gave a shake of his head in warning. The last thing they needed to do was to have her teach the oaf a lesson which would have him think twice about taking liberties with women he didn’t know. There were too many clerics around who would attribute any such retribution as a sign of witchcraft. Rather that strike the man with her walking stick, she turned and glared at him. Just enough of her fury showed in her eyes to have back away lifting his arms as if proclaiming his innocence. The incident passed and soon they found themselves walking through the market place in Abbéville.

 

Being Fully and Honestly Present When Naked

No Time To Lose – being fully present in self.

As I sit still with my thoughts today, a blustery day with the wind from the east, whipping trees that result in leaves falling onto the ground, I found a moment of well-being that is hard to explain. It isn’t explained away as happiness or sadness, a mood of some sort that could be understood through some sort of psychological or physiological analysis. It is almost as if I can stand outside of myself, and by that I mean step outside of my controlling ego. I took this photo, ostensibly for my journal where I chronicle some of my life, especially anything to do with naturism and being skyclad.

Why this particular pose? It was meant to simply record a nude state of being with the temperature outdoors included. However, now that I see the result, I find something else being exposed. The almost smile is in sharp contrast to the original intent of the photo. Regardless, I had an image for my journal and then retreated into the warmth of the house. Rather than beginning to write in the journal, I opened up a book on my shelf written by Pema Chodron called No Time To Lose. It was a random choice, and just as randomly, I found these words which were originally written twelve hundred years ago, words that I somehow needed to hear.

“What I have to say has all been said before

And I am destitute of learning and of skill with words,

I therefore have no thought that this might be of benefit to others;

I wrote it only to sustain my understanding.”

[Shantideva, Bodhicharyavatarta 1.2]

For some time, my ego has inflated itself with the idea that I have something important to write for the world. Perhaps my wisdom would touch someone through the novels I write, or the poetry, or my autobiography, or even here in my blog posts? Of course I know that most people have never heard of me or will ever read my words. And the truth is, none of that is very important. I mean, I’m just another wounded person wandering around the planet who hopes that he doesn’t pollute the world too much.

I’m not the smartest person regardless of what my ego often tells me when it points out the high IQ scores, scores that don’t comfort me when I screw up doing basic, ordinary stuff. I’m not the most talented in any area of the arts or life. Yet, I am not the worst either. No matter how hard I study myself and the world, I continually come back to the truth that I am just a man, often naked – nothing more, nothing less. So why do I write? For whom am I writing?

As Shantideva said so long ago, “to sustain my understanding.” I get to understand physically, visually, and psychologically that I am me in a time called now, a being that is not to be weighed with judgements. This is something that I need to meditate upon.

Wandering in the Wilderness With My Clothes On

Putting the Buddha fountain away before freezing weather arrives.

The title of today’s blog post could be seen as misleading, especially because of the word, wilderness. I haven’t posted here for some time and it has mostly to do with mood and energy levels. For the past four weeks, the weather has been unseasonably cool with temperatures often in the single digits [Celsius]. Yesterday, there was a break in the cloud cover allowing the temperature to soar to 13 C. I took advantage of the small window of opportunity to spend about a half hour outside without clothing. I emptied the Buddha fountain and placed it in the garage for safe keeping over the winter. Then, I simply sat still in a protected area to soak in the sunshine before the clouds rolled back in which they did before too many more minutes passed.

More than anything, it has been the dreariness and lack of sunshine – cloud cover, smoke-filled skies – that have me coping with a loss of energy. It is almost as if I am suffering a seasonal-affective disorder -S.A.D. The wilderness was an inner landscape that denied me access to a more expansive inner world of imagination, creativity, and connection with the muses. I didn’t even have the ambition or desire to meditate.

The S.A.D. experience left me listless when it came to writing or taking photos. Added to the influences of weather and mood was a road trip to be with my son’s family. My wife and I were baby-sitters for a week for his two children [eight and one] and two dogs. For them, I had enough energy to invest in being grandfather. When each day was done with the last one in bed, I soon followed suit with no energy left to even watch TV. My wife and I returned to our home two days ago and found ourselves immersed in catching up with harvesting the garden and putting up produce for winter consumption. Again we filled our daytime hours only to be drained come the night time.

Today, as I write this just prior to our midday meal, the sky is grey, the temperature is 8 Celsius, and there is a faint hint of a shower in progress. A few moments ago, I took our squash off the garden to store in the protected garage for the remainder of the autumn. I have hedge trimming, and cedar trimming to do before too many more days pass. My hope is that I get a few more windows of sunshine so that I can do some of these yard tasks nude.

I guess I must be getting acclimatised to the greyness as the words are once again beginning to flow.

Naturists as Outliers and Deviants in a Good Sense

The price of being different, being true to yourself . . .

Naturism is a deviant practice in reference to the modern world in which I and many other naturists find ourselves. When I say deviant, I am not declaring that naturism is a state of immorality or evilness. Rather, I am strictly talking about the practice of naturism within the context of the modern western world, especially that of Northern America. The larger society is phobic about keeping clothing on regardless of the weather and activity conditions. Common sense is not a consideration. I like how Thomas Moore looks at the term deviancy as “veering off the straight line.”

“Humans often have a preference for straight lines. We think of evolution and human development as following an uncrooked path toward perfection. We expect our neighbors to walk the straight and narrow”.

Religion somehow, likely through the process of falling into and growing power in a world that was ripe for exploitation, began to believe in its own messages, which were created to increase and solidify its power, messages which basically said to give up personal autonomy in favour of the collective ruled by the Church. In accepting the authority of the Church as the true and only mediator between the Divine and self, people took comfort in having someone else become responsible. Tolerance of the outliers, those who didn’t fit too well into the role of faithful, was lost and in its place, grew a fear that the collective would suffer for the actions, the straying away from the straight and narrow. The Church reinforced this collective fear, blaming all the misfortunes of life and nature on the presence of these outliers.

Today the church has been supplanted in power by the economy where the dollars are doled out to the faithful, those who follow the new straight and narrow, one that strategically keeps the church as ally. Fear of being denied heaven has been replaced with fear of losing all the riches promised and given for following the straight and narrow. Heaven and earth are now both at risk. No wonder there is no tolerance for those unable or unwilling to follow a straight line through life, the outliers, those who deviate.

Some of the outliers find themselves circling through life like the seasons. A different reality, a different heaven catches their attention, a reality and heaven that isn’t based on fear. They know, intuitively that they need to honour the soul of the earth, the soul of humanity, and one’s personal soul. Rather than retreat from confrontation with the dark moments, the tragedies, the storms and winter; we are invited, perhaps even required to get caught up in the seasons of life rather than spend all of our energy trying to go in a straight line to some dubious final destination.

Back Home From Another Road Trip

Checking out the Hosta and other plants.

It has been a bit since my last post. I am back home after selling fifty books on the last road trip. I now have a month off until I again hit the road for more grandchildren then more selling of books in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta. I have to say that it is good to be home. One of the first things that I noticed was that a hummingbird was taking in the nectar of the flowering Hosta plants.

Now that I am back home again, I have again returned to meditation and to walking in the countryside. Both were set aside as I made my way through hours of driving to, and through, and away from cities.

On another note, I have been elected to a two-year term as a Director of the Federation of Canadian Naturists. I’m not sure what that all entails, but I imagine that it will be an interesting two years with involvement in their magazine goingNatural which now has my friend Alex, a.k.a. HappyBare, as the editor.

Now, it’s time to go and be of some use as a helper so that we can put up a new batch of dill pickles for the coming year. Our children and grandchildren raid our basement shelves [with our permission of course] for sauerkraut, dill pickles, canned tomatoes, and even home-made sausage.

Another Naked Gardening Day

Carefully picking beans so the plants can produce more for another harvest.

It’s time to lighten up a bit here at Naturist Lens. Tomorrow I take my small trailer and head off to Regina, then Winnipeg where I will be doing more book-signing events. I will be staying at the Legacy Naturist grounds near Winnipeg for four nights, my first time to visit this venue.

There aren’t many purple bean plants in our small garden, but the harvest is excellent.

Today, I spent my time alternating between harvesting purple and green beans, as well as spinach, and finishing with the packing and preparing for my camping adventure. The gardening I was able to do naked. The camping trailer work required clothing as it is parked in front of our house, in full view of the passing public.

I’ll write again from Winnipeg.

Fundamentalism Denying the Naked Truth

Catching morning rays while sitting in my armchair

I was sitting in the living room this morning with my wife, enjoying a cup of coffee after breakfast. We were looking out the window and talking as we usually do before we get busy with planned projects for the day. At one point, the idea of people trying to build up their own sense of worth by putting down others came up. Both of us found many examples of this basic human tendency from our workplaces where there is a fear of superiors and a disdain for inferiors in the pecking order of the workplace. The idea that we are all simply just humans doing a job the best we can, that we all have lives that are not our jobs, seems like a foreign concept. And, as usual, that got me thinking. I knew that this needed to be taken here, if not for you, my readers, then for myself so that I could spill out what I needed to say and free up energy for the projects of the day that lay ahead.

We are born naked; every last one of us was born without clothes, without much more than an immediate fear of an unknown world, born hungry. Somewhere along the journey babies learn that the world contains others somewhat like him or herself. Typically there is power in those relationships where the baby is powerless and learns that she or he is powerless in the face of the parent. Every baby also learns that she or he has a body and that the clothes on the body is not part of who they are. And when the baby is able to slip out of the clothes and become familiar with the body, there is a real pleasure in the sense of discovery about the self.

Babies soon become toddlers and the lessons begin to teach the child that the self needs to be hidden behind clothing as well as lies. And at this point in time, the need to find a new way to define the self arises. Does the child learn to relate to others and thus re-establish a relationship to self in terms of equality? Or. does the child learn to compete, to dominate, to retaliate with passive resistance? Whatever lesson the child learns, that lesson is carried forward into adulthood following years and years of practice.

Perhaps the child becomes a manager of a facility. As the manager, work relationship patterns emerge that can be traced to lessons learned while growing up. Will the manager dominate the supporting cast of characters in the workplace? Will the manager collaborate and validate the staff to achieve workplace needs? Unknown to the manager is that this is all occurring at the unconscious level.

Beneath the roles and the relationships each of us finds ourselves involved with as adults, we are still naked. Stripped of our roles, our titles, our wealth, our own ignorance, we are all vulnerable and naked. Why do we cower and grovel like some insecure pet before our bosses, our mates to whom we given over our own power of self, our authorities be they presidents or shift bosses? Each of these powerful others are really no different at all. They are all naked beneath their clothing in spite of how much they may have paid for that clothing. They all have to deal with the elimination of body wastes using the same body parts. They all have to deal with body health issues that come with passing viruses and other nasty sources and that come with aging. Beneath the veneer of job or social rank, the same insecurities weigh in to trouble sleep and give rise to troubling dreams or frightening nightmares.

Oppression in the name of God, Jesus, Jehovah, Allah, etc.

What pisses me off are those who adopt a fundamentalist way of being in the world which needs to deny the value and worth of others in order to shore up their own insecurities. False truths and supporting dogma are used as weapons of mass psychological destruction. Young girls and boys, women and men are all enemies until and unless they mindlessly adhere to the dogma and enter the crusade to purify the world of others. Particularly frustrating and devastating is the crusade to deny the body, to wrap the body in darkness and declare it to be the tool of the ultimate enemy of humanity.

What brings on this rant? Well, it has several sources. The first that pops into my mind is how a government such as exists in Canada, has devalued the feminine, defunding groups that have women’s issues at their core, and has no will to deal with the issue of so many aboriginal women going missing in Canada. The message is clear – they are not worth it.

The second issue is that of how a political group in the U.S.A. has shut down government using the issue of entitlement, the right to good medical care by the lower classes within the country, the funding of which would eat into the entitled wealth of those who are working so hard to deny and defund.

And the last issue? Probably it was something I ate last night.

Navigating Gender – Not Just What the Naked Body Tells Us

image found via Google Search

Gender is an aspect of our individuality.”  These words from Thomas Moore got me thinking about gender and my own identity. When a person is nude, gender is an obviously physical thing as this image illustrates. But what gender are we as individuals? The obvious answers are either male or female, but as science and life teaches us, there isn’t always an obvious answer even on the basic physical level. When it comes to the psychological level it gets even more complicated. Identity is forged individual by individual and we still don’t have a full knowledge of how gender and identity are tied in with our physical bodies. The scientific and supposedly objective criteria of defining gender by one’s chromosomal configuration falls flat on its face when confronted by bodies appearing to be male or female, which contradict what the chromosomal structure would have us believe. Hormone therapy, surgery, and other strategies used by a considerable number of people to have their bodies reflect the gender that is buried within their individual psyches.

Gender and identity

Perhaps, Thomas Moore has it right when he says that “Gender is a state of mind, a product of the imagination.” Of course, Moore is talking about how each of us self-identifies based on psychological rather than simply physiological factors. Our physical bodies are containers, not the sum total of who we are as human beings and individuals. We experience our bodies and develop relationships with these bodies we find ourselves in. Most often the inner self (the psychological self) and the outer self (the physiological self) are in accord and we are comfortable in male bodies with a solid masculine sense of identity, or females with a solid feminine sense of identity. But even that simplistic self-identity is charged with unnamed influences both within and without to cause confusion. We are each individuals with individual histories in unique settings and contexts and relationships.

I am a man and feel myself to be fully masculine, but . . . and it seems for each of us there is a niggling but somewhere in the background lurking . . . but what I experience as my masculinity isn’t what any other man experiences and understands. And, as I get older, I find myself, both physically and psychologically, mellowing in my grounded identity as a man and as masculine. The hard edges are being eroded allowing me to become a fuller person, richer.

Is Nudity Psychologically Harmful For Children?

Is it okay to be naked in front of your kids? Daily Mail. UK

I am asking this question because almost all of the outrage being expressed against nudity, especially nudity in the home and in public, is prefaced with “My God! What if children see nude people? They’ll be scarred forever!” As a naturist and as a therapist, I obviously don’t believe that nudity in itself causes psychological scarring for children or for adults. We are all nude beneath our clothing and are born nude. We are the only species that covers up because of some sense of shame at our nakedness. But at the same time, I don’t want to let my opinions get in the way of truth, so I went out searching for answers.

Suffer the Little Children to Come Unto Me, 1633, Cornelis van Haarlem

Curiously, I didn’t find any scientific or psychological studies that confirmed that seeing nudity (oneself or others) was psychologically harmful in itself. Where there was harm, other factors were also present. However, I did find serious studies that basically stated that nudity was not the factor in the psychological scarring of children, studies such the one led by Paul Okami (cited below), Higgins and Hawkins (1984), and Dr. Conrad Manning. What was interesting in doing the research was the

Pool in Calgary Canada that was at the centre of vicious rants about traumatising children by seeing naked adults in swimming pool, scarring them for life – 2018.

fact that few children in North America saw any adult nudity while children.

“Given the vehemence with which clinicians and child-rearing specialists often condemn childhood exposure to parental nudity, it is paradoxical that their dire predictions are not supported by the (scant) empirical work that does exist.” [Okami, Olmstead, Abramson, Pendelton, Archives of Sexual Behavior. Volume: 27. Issue: 4, “Early childhood exposure to parental nudity.”

Another study by Lewis and Janda (1988) studied the literature and conducted a study of Seventy-seven males and 133 females to assess the relationship between exposure to nudity and adult well-being.

“The results suggest that childhood exposure to nudity and sleeping in the parental bed are not related to poor sexual adjustment. In fact, for boys, exposure to nudity in early childhood appears to be modestly related to greater

comfort levels with regard to physical contact /affection.” [Lewis and Janda, Archives of Sexual Behavior Vol. 17, No. 4, 1988 “The Relationship Between Adult Sexual Adjustment and Childhood Experiences Regarding Exposure to Nudity]

Studies aside, society judges harshly. And as with all harsh responses, reality is not the issue, only the dark shadow hanging over and within a society and its constituents. Will children be scarred by the sight of nudity? If our collective shadow has its way, we will make sure that they do. Left to nature, never!