Naturism and the Rejecting of Shame

“We live in an atmosphere of shame. We are ashamed of everything that is real about us; ashamed of ourselves, of our relatives, of our incomes, of our accents, of our opinions, of our experience, just as we are ashamed of our naked skins.” —George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, 1903

George Bernard Shaw – The Thinker

George Bernard Shaw embodied this rejection of shame, rejecting sublimation to the collective unconscious which brings out the worst in humans in communities across the world. It doesn’t take much for neuroses to become embedded into a culture. We gather together in communities, primarily out of fear of being alone. We view the others outside of our communities as inferior or even enemies. Within our communities, those who don’t accept the collective neuroses as moral truths are shamed with the intention of having conformity, unity.

In the end, no one naturally fits into the collective paradigm and as a result we end up with individuals who suffer in shame, in self-doubt and expend a lot of money and energy to hide their natural differences from the average modern man.Freedom from shame, a state of being that can best be thought of as a free spirit, a person who rises above the collective, or as Friedrich Nietzsche called this type of person, an uberman, a superman.

Today we all credit the beginnings of modern social nudism to the FKK movement. In reality, nudity was a normal part of life in Europe until the 18th century. Driven underground and declared an act of deviancy, it took a rebellion of youth encouraged by Nietzsche to live in harmony with nature, to embrace nudism, meditation and natural healing to bring nudism to the modern world, in spite of modern man who was and remains, ashamed of his naked body.

Shaw wrote the words above more than a hundred years ago. As I read them, I realised that nothing has changed, unless we have moved even deeper into a collective culture of shame and being offended by differences.

Naked Before God

In a world where nudity is not about shame.

I am bringing back a piece I wrote four years ago. I hope you enjoy it. …

I know that it has been said so many times that it almost seems redundant to say it once more, but it has to be said. We are born naked – all of us – without exception. It doesn’t matter what religion or what philosophy or what ideology one has; we were conceived the same way – a naked penis inserted into a naked vagina in order for naked sperm to join naked ova (yes, I know that science has allowed a few other options) and create new life. Love doesn’t have to have anything to do with it, but it is better for most humans when it is done in during a moment of shared love. A number of months later, a new human slips through the birth canal of a woman to emerge, still connected with the mother via an umbilical cord. This new human emerges through the vagina which is again naked, that must be naked if the baby is to actually emerge into the world. This new human is naked.

Now, if we listen very closely to what our society, we learn that this natural, naked body that we are all born with, is somehow something to be ashamed of, something to be hidden for it is gross, leads us to think and do all sorts of perverted things. We almost become sure that it is even evil. For example, what about the idea of praying to whatever version of the creator, deity, God that you believe in – would you pray naked? What about your visions of heaven, or whatever form of afterlife there may be according to your faith – is heaven clothing optional, clothing obligatory, or nude only?

Try to remember that the Creator went to a lot of trouble to create the earth, the heavens, all the animal and plant life and humans. And, with all of them, the creator didn’t plan on clothing factories. The first humans were nude and the creator stated that it was good. This is the same creator that somehow knows everything, or so we claim. We know we can’t really hide from the Creator – not behind doors, behind trees, behind others, or behind clothing. The Creator sees all, knows all. And most importantly, the Creator doesn’t make mistakes. The words of this Creator are treated as gospel. Humans are fallible, but the Creator is infallible. For those that believe in any religion that has a deity, this is just the way it is. I come from a Christian background and in Christianity, that is the way it is as well.

God created Adam and Eve, naked. It’s in the Bible. When he was done creating the first man and woman, naked, he said it was good. He didn’t tell them that they had to cover up or he would condemn them to hell. Nope, it was all good. A little further along in the story of the Bible, Adam and Eve try to hide from God, not a smart move as God knows all, sees all, sees right through their hiding and their covering up. And that wasn’t so good for Adam and Eve. They covered up their naked bodies and felt ashamed of their nakedness. Can you imagine the audacity to question God’s take on nakedness? He created two beautiful humans, nude; and these two fallible humans were ashamed of that creation. So begins a sad story of man’s fall from grace.

Today we have absolutely no problem believing that this perfect creation was a botched job, that God messed up big time. And, we have absolutely no issues with fixing that initial problem any way that we can – jail time, shunning, stoning, murder, shaming, slandering and the ultimate threat – God will send you to hell. Yep. Our good churches and church leaders have had a long conversation with God and got Him to see the error of his ways and straighten out His act. We’ve even convinced God to set up some robe factories so that all the angels, saints, and God Himself have their offending bodies covered.

Listen in – I’ve gone through the trouble of transcribing the conversation that took place between a gathering of Church leaders in Constantinople about 1800 years ago.

Church leaders: Why did you have to make people naked? It’s just not right!

God: I didn’t see a need to cover their nakedness. As I said in the good book. I saw what I had done and said it was good.

Church leaders: Well, in case you haven’t noticed, it hasn’t been good. Have you seen the stats lately? Fornication, rape, murder, mayhem, adultery – you name it, it’s all there.

God: Umm, what’s that got to do with me inventing humans naked?

Church leaders: Everything! Naked people have no shame, no morals.

God: I can’t say as I exactly see it your way.

Church leaders: Yeah, we know. You still haven’t admitted that your mistake with Adam and Eve being naked was the reason for them breaking your rules. Can’t admit that you screwed up there – yet. Well, we have hope that you’ll come around and make it better.

God: How do I make it better in you viewpoint?

Church leaders: Well first, no more of this naked nonsense. It’s got to stop. We thought that from now on, you wear a big robe and a beard so that only a few parts of your face and your hands are all the skin that shows. What d’ya say. Can you do it?

God: In case you didn’t notice, I have a perfect body.

Church leaders: Good lord already. We can’t have you running around with your dick flopping around. First thing you know, everyone would be running around displaying their junk.

God: Junk?

Church leaders: You know, penises. Now as we were saying. This has got to stop. Cover up the angels, the cherubim, the saints. Clean up your act and let us edit your words so that it stays that way.

God: Edit my words? What do you mean? You want to re-write the book? Wouldn’t that be like, lying?

Church leaders: Think of it as problem solving. We could have you add in another commandment. Thou shalt not be naked. We’ll take it from there as your representatives down here on earth.

God: Are you out of your minds? Ten commandments, not eleven. You can’t just mess with the truth, guys.

Church leaders: Yeah, we hear you. We took a vote earlier just in case this was a sticky point. How about we toss out the “coveting of neighbour’s goods?” It will be easier to fill the church coffers and we force people to keep their damned clothes on.

God: Count me out on all of this. I still like my work so far. As for wearing robes, I don’t think so. Heaven has perfect climate if you want to know. Everyone up here is naked, just like the Garden of Eden. No crime to speak of either. In case you guys haven’t yet figured it out, sin is a state of mind, nothing to do with a lack of clothing.

Church leaders: Yeah, we thought you’d say something like this. As a precaution, we’ve hired the best advertising agent money can buy to sell our message.

God: You can’t be serious? You actually have signed a contract with the devil?

Church leaders: We sure as hell couldn’t count on you, could we? We’ll clean up your mess. All we ask is that you keep your mouth shut and keep your nose out of our business.

God: Nothing good is going to come out of this. I feel sorry for humans with this lot in charge. Life on earth will become like living in hell.

We Are All Works of Art Risking Authenticity

Holly proving that we are all works of art when we are willing to set aside critical filters.

As a naturist, I get to meet others who are comfortable in their own skin, people such as Holly. Some I meet in the face-to-face world, and some I meet in the world of social media. Regardless of where we may have met, the people are real. They have families, they have jobs, they have friends, and they do their best like everyone else to have meaningful lives. No matter how you look at them, they simply come out looking like normal people, because that is exactly what they are – normal. For those who are not naturists or nudists, this is hard to understand, how I can say they are normal when they are so obviously naked in a world that is obsessed with covering up their bodies which are natural. We’re all born naked. We aren’t our clothing and shouldn’t be defined by what we wear or don’t wear.

Clothing is a cover-up – a hiding when conditions in our environment don’t demand clothing. Clothing is supposed to be functional. However, we use clothing to strut our stuff, or to give ourselves authority, or simply to hide in anonymity. Yet, as soon as one removes the clothing, the situation changes immediately – authority is gone with the exception of any real authority that comes simply from being older and perhaps wiser; lust is diminished as nude human bodies become the norm – we are all familiar with the use of provocative clothing, the skimpier the better, to entice and exploit.

Clothing is essentially a poor means of hiding from ourselves. Removing our clothing forces us to finally deal with the truth of who we are. Everyone has baggage, has skeletons in their closets. Everyone has been wounded in life and has scars – some visible but most invisible because they are scars to the heart and soul – the psyche. The challenge with being without clothing is to take the next step and expose the scars and do the work that would heal those scars.

How does one recognize these scars after so many years of cover-up  and denial? Look for heat. Track your emotions to find what was present or happening when fear made an appearance. What was happening or present in the environment when anger or joy entered? What sounds? What smells? – All of these are triggers that date back to the woundings of the psyche. Track these over time and patterns will emerge that paint a fairly clear picture.

So then what? Well, one begins by realising that the wounds are old, that they are not the present circumstances. Then, one has to accept that the wounding did happen and that it can’t be undone by drugs, exercise, therapy or salvation in some church. The wounding happened – end of story. Now, one has to begin the process of lessening the unconscious power of the wounding over our present life. This is where therapy of some sort comes in. We gave to take ownership of ourselves rather than leave ownership in the hands of someone who has wounded us, someone who may even be presently deceased. If the soul is to be truly healed, we can’t give our power away to someone else – a spouse, a therapist, a guru, or some authority out there – somewhere – who will save us from ourselves and take away our sins and pain.

No, the buck stops with us. We can’t hide from ourselves and our own authority and responsibility over ourselves. Strip off the clothes and expose the scars – be vulnerable. And then, risk it all to change, to heal. Then through the eyes of others, and our own mirrors, we become true works of art.

Naked and Being More Holistic and Complete

“to be nude in nature is to enter into dialogue with the elements in a way that is much more holistic and complete.”

I have asked for and received permission to use this photo of a man, a married man with children like me. Like me, he is on a spiritual journey and has embraced meditation, nudity and naturism as part of that spiritual journey. He is many years younger than I am and he lives in America.

The discovery that there are more and more people such as myself and my friend Will Forest shown here, who is also a writer of naturist fiction, was a gift. To know others who are looking beyond, beneath and within for meaning as humans has given me greater courage to be myself, to dare being fully myself.

A long time ago I wrote about how Sydney Jourard’s book, The Transparent Self, had been a part of the influence that helped explain my personal shift to consciously becoming naked and vulnerable in the external world. I have also frequently referred to Jungian psychology as “peeling away layers” to reveal an authentic self. And, I have frequently spoken about how meditation au naturel has served to connect me with a larger sense of the universe, a spiritual dimension that cannot tolerate disguises, masks or false images.

In our religions we are taught that humans were made in the image of their Creator, perfect creations, created naked and vulnerable and beautiful. Somewhere along the way we have lost that innocence and learned to believe that the Creator made a mistake in creating us naked. We have learned to that to be naked is to be sinful, even evil. Our holiest garb has us so covered in cloth that our bodies have disappeared within the coverings so that we become sexless beings.

Learning that I am constantly changing with each breath, each moment and interaction with the world, teaches me to be more gentle with myself and the world, as well as it teaches me to cling less to old habits, beliefs and false security. I was surprised earlier today to find these words that led me just a bit further along my journey to being an authentic and transparent being.

“We are given changes all the time. We can either cling to security, or we can let ourselves feel exposed, as if we had just been born, as if we had just popped out into the brightness of life and were completely naked.

Maybe that sounds too uncomfortable or frightening, but on the other hand, it’s our chance to realize that this mundane world is all there is, and we could see it with new eyes and at long last wake up from our ancient sleep of preconceptions.”

Waking up, stripped of protective clothing and facing the world totally vulnerable and honestly is frightening in many ways, particularly in this modern world which is hell-bent on punishing those who dare to be authentic in any form. But as Pema Chodron points out, it’s our chance. I grew tired of darkness, of fear and of hiding. Now I dare say, This is who I am!

A Snowy Day on the Prairies and Still Skyclad

It’s not something to cheer about, but sometimes snow is magical.

It’s not really that time of year again as autumn has just begun, even here in Canada. But the weather doesn’t seem to be paying attention to tradition in the least. Thankfully, this snowfall like the one’s before it will disappear before winter sets in for good. If the meteorological forecast is to be believed, we will hover between 3 and -3 for the next two weeks with occasional dips to lower temperatures to be expected. As a result, the carrots and the beets came off the garden today – yes, harvested from beneath the snow as the ground has not yet frozen.

The goingNatural magazine for the FCN, summer edition has just passed its final go through. Now, it is up to the webmaster to make it available through the website for members to peruse on-line. Alex and I will begin working on the autumn edition which will hopefully be ready to be read by the end of November. It took us about six weeks to get this first-for-us edition out. Assuming we do the same with another two month between editions, we’ll have the winter edition out by the end of January. Then, we hope to return to the traditional publishing pattern following the seasons.

I just got home from an unexpected return to Red Deer to care for grandchildren for five days. With any luck, I will get to stay home until October 19th, a full two weeks of “she-he-we” time. I have a short story to continue with hopes of getting it published by a “traditional” magazine. I am also intending to do a major re-write of the third book of my autobiography as it has become too large and cumbersome. The lack of focus is glaring. The reader would only get lost in trivia rather than get something out of the re-wounding and healing processes.

On another front, I have updated my author site to reflect the fact of my being an Indigenous writer in Canada. For those who eventually read the three book series of my story, that fact will have the story become more truth-telling than story-telling.

Now, it’s time for a cup of tea in the living room with my wife. And yes, I am and will remain clothing free until it is time for our evening meal. I always dress for meals shared with my wife and others.

Getting Ready For Winter While I Still Can Naked

There’s yard work to do before the snows of winter arrive for good.

I have returned from a four-day book-signing journey that took place in Edmonton. It was while I was there talking with various managers of Indigo and Chapters stores that I came to realise that I am a best-selling author on the Canadian prairies. Now just to determine what makes an author a best-selling author, one needs to know the parameters. I was placed on the best-selling author list at a weekly a McNally-Robinson Bookstore for selling the most books by a local author during a certain week-period last year. This year I am easily pulling in top selling prairie author at various cities for various weeks, and even months. So, what does that mean?

Typically as I learned this past weekend, a local, prairie author sells about three to five books. Usually, as in this past weekend, I average between 40 to 50 books sold on a weekend. In June, a three-day total was more than 60 books sold in Calgary. It doesn’t sound like much, but when it is taken in comparison to other prairie authors, it is quite impressive. I got confirmation of that in each store where I have sold books this year with the exception of two stores where “I” made the mistake of booking an event on a summer holiday. Still, even on those days, I sold more than the average prairie author. All of that said, I won’t be making a living selling books.

I have sold more than 800 paperback copies of my books over the past two and a half years at such events. I likely have sold less than a hundred paperbacks via other means. As for eBooks, I haven’t been tracking them though I do receive monthly payments from Amazon, and occasionally from Smashwords for my books. To be honest, I don’t put any energy into online sales at all. When I am not out selling books at book-signing events, I prefer to be writing books, poems, and stories – as well as writing up blog posts.

Yet, it isn’t all about writing. I have a home and yard that demands some of my time as well. I will be trimming hedges and bushes, raking up leaves, winterising my camping trailer and other home-owner tasks that are necessary to get ready for another Canadian prairie winter.

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.