Nu comme le jour où je suis né

Month: May 2015

Natural in the Moonlight

Standing beneath the moon, clothed only in reflected light

Summer is coming in spite of this spring’s resistance. This afternoon, in weak spring-like weather conditions, I moved my camping trailer into our driveway so that we can spend time over the next short while making sure that the camper is ready for our first outing of the year. I know that what is waiting for us is not the warmth of summer that lasts well past sunset. Other than that, the day has been spent frivolously as though I was a dancing free spirit.

The photo to the left was borrowed from somewhere in cyberspace. It fits my mood at the moment which is somewhere between here and fantasy land. At times like this I find it hard to focus and to make what I write worth reading. The tendency is to be too playful, perhaps too in your face in terms of risking / daring in my home village on the prairie, especially on a Saturday when there really are people moving about outside, including parents and their children. The Shadow wants out and it’s taking a lot of energy to keep some sort of balance.

This afternoon I walked to our town’s solitary drug store where three of my books are on sale (not the Poetry books as they are too risqué for this mid-western town on the Canadian prairies) in order to pick up a cheque based on the sale of 25 books. First blood in the sales world that is not online. The store is waiting for the next book order to come in as others are still waiting for their copies of the books. Life is good.

Making Sense in a Non-Sensical World

Doing the research

It is evident to most who come to read the posts here, that I am a nudist/naturist/naked-when-I-can-be human being. It might be less obvious that I am a spiritual person who thinks too much, a quasi-philosopher, and a poet. Some don’t get past the exposed skin, with some hoping that genitals are showing for their personal enjoyment.

Thankfully, as far as I can see by the amount of traffic on this site, there are not many coming for sexual gratification reasons. I live as much of my life as I can without wearing clothing. In the modern western world, this means I sleep nude, and enjoy private nudity in my home with rare outdoor experiences. I wish, like every other person who feels best when they are naked, I could go without clothing even more often. I wish I had the “right” to be bare in my corner of the universe. And that, is where I branch off into today’s topic about “rights.”

Does a person such as myself have the right to nudity? Should I have the right to go bare anywhere? What would make my “rights” supersede the rights of others to be protected from the nudity of others? There are quite a few groups taking on the role of activists promoting the “cause” demanding that society changes the laws surrounding the exposure of the naked human body. It doesn’t take long for activism to become confrontational as not many in this modern western world are comfortable with seeing others, let alone themselves, naked.

When one looks at this simple example, one can begin to understand that where one group has a right, the opposing group by necessity doesn’t have a right. The only way to solve the problem is to avoid contact with opposing groups and live behind barriers that afford both groups some semblance of enjoying their “rights.”  But even that gives us problems. Simply knowing that one group is doing/being in a different manner is enough to incite more confrontation. In the end, it never is about who is right or wrong, it is about which group is the most numerous and/or who is in control.

If that isn’t enough of a problem, nudists become their own worst enemy as they find ways, to split their own supporters into opposing camps. The attempt to define “true nudists” as those who live naked twenty-four hours a day, three hundred and sixty-five days a year, defies common sense. Walking to the post office to get the mail on a day such as today on the Canadian prairies requires clothing because of the elements, not because of societal taboos. Does this make me “less” of a nudist, perhaps even nullify my “right” to understand myself as a nudist? Fundamentalism creeps in because there is an us versus them mentality, an attempt to perhaps survive as a deviant grouping – yes, if one doesn’t follow the collective, one is a deviant by definition.

Those embracing a clothing-free lifestyle or partial lifestyle begin to have a sense of their “rights” within the lifestyle, rights such as access to public spaces while nude. Another right surrounds photography. Can I, should I be allowed to post images of myself that depict me nude whether or not genitals are evident? Should others have the right to download my images or images of others which feature nudity? Whose rights supersede? What about the rights of people in media such as photo journalists? Do they have the right to capture/take images and publish them as news stories? Do police and other surveillance authorized officials have the right to film naturists whether in person or by the use of drones or even satellite photo imaging? It all gets complicated. Even more complicated when we see that authorized (commercial – think porn industry) publishing of nude images of people are ignored by the public at large while considerable energy and anger is directed to small groups and individuals who engage in simple nudity with no ulterior motivation other than it feels good.

Thinking Too Much

In the throes of thinking too much

It has been a busy morning as I have been working with others in an attempt to sell my books. With contracts being signed for consignment sales, books have been ordered and now are being tracked to ensure delivery to the book sellers. Now, as you can see in the image, it’s time for a break. The only problem that presented itself was the fact that it was only 8 Celsius out (46 F. for my American friends). It’s a good thing that the wind, and yes, it is windy, was blocked by my neighbour’s garage and my garden shed. As long as there is sunshine and protection from the wind, being outside with a cup of coffee is absolutely delicious.

So what have I been thinking about, thinking perhaps too much about this morning? Well, as might be easily guessed, it is about spiritualism, psychology and naturism. I am finding that it is becoming increasingly more and more difficult to separate the three of these. This gets all bound up in images for me, images that are more than a simple recording of what was seen. Images for me become a bridge between – between my “self” and my “ego” – between me and an “other” or others – between myself and the world in which I am contained – and perhaps confusingly, between my “self” and my “Self.” This last word, “Self” is a weak approximation of the infinite that is within a person. In the Bible, we hear of Jesus saying that “the kingdom of God is within you.” That notion of a boundless universe existing within one’s being simply blows the mind. How can the “self”  as we know it, contain all of that? And, how can we ever possibly define it, refer to it with any hope of being understood. This is where the capital S comes into play – self expanded to Self.

Of course, I have the excuse of being a psychotherapist for finding myself wrestling with thinking too much. Part of my self-cure is to get some clothing on and go for a walk in the countryside with my wife. Clothing is necessary in that we live in a small prairie town and the local country roads are busy with tractors and trucks during the annual planting of crops.

Who One Sees in the Mirror

The eyes of a stranger

In spite of how many times we see images of ourselves, whether it be in a mirror or in photos, we always find ourselves looking into the eyes of a stranger. We see a human body in some state of repair or disrepair, yet we know that even this human body doesn’t quite fit with what we feel about this human body. So much remains hidden in spite of standing naked in the image. How dare we say that we are “authentic” beings?

Beneath the surface of skin lies another dimension of “self.” We peer into our eyes hoping to catch glimpses of this mystery person. And, at the same time, we dare not look too deep into the shadows within for fear that we let loose the darkness hidden there, letting our demons out to define us to those we love and hold close. We are curious, cautiously curious. We grasp for a small glimpse of some aspect of ourselves that will affirm something positive about ourselves. With that small glimpse, maybe we could return to the outer image and find satisfaction with ourselves negating the impulse to go too deep into the inner landscape of “self.”

It would be so much easier if “what you see” is “all there is.”

The Boring Truth of Naturism

Another cup of coffee

Nudism, naturism, just being clothing free is really not all that interesting if authentic. If one thinks about it, one is simply leading one’s own prosaic existence, doing “normal” mundane things with only one difference – the lack of clothing. So what is interesting about watching television, doing the dishes, drinking coffee, reading a book, going for a walk, sitting still in the sunshine, mowing the lawn, washing windows or the car, or sitting with another person simply chatting and sharing a favourite beverage? In our world, these activities are almost non-events. Neighbours, strangers, and family rarely take note of our existence while we are so engaged other than to offer pleasantries. No one in their right mind would consider any of these events/activities as being sexual in nature. There is no calling upon fear or offense in the minds of others.

Yet, if one dares to be bare while doing any of these mundane, daily activities, one does risk censure by others around us, often followed by sanctions. So, why even bother recording mundane activities such as pouring a cup of coffee and sharing it with the universe? What’s the point? Surely if the intent is to be an exhibitionist, there are better, more sensual or erotic images that could be recorded.

There is something about daring to be bare that is subversive to the dominant culture. For whatever reasons, choosing nudity takes one out of the pool of being subservient into a contrasting pool labelled as deviant. Simply by choosing the individual over the collective, one becomes a threat to all with a vested interest in the “status quo.” That vested interest isn’t necessarily economic or about power – it is about self-validation. Too many of us find our validation in the eyes of others, in the collective. We dress in the fashions required, we hold the political, social, religious, and secular attitudes that best allow us to “not rock the boat.” The last thing we want to do is to have to prop ourselves up. We need propping up by all the others who don’t have the courage to be an individual.

Nudity isn’t offensive because of sex, it’s offensive because it challenges one to step outside, to risk vulnerability.

In the Face of Fear of Aging

Sisyphus -1870, Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones,

Life is curious and becomes more mysterious as one gets older and perhaps a bit wiser. Strangely, one even becomes less fearful of the unknown as it expands, less fearful of one’s own mortality. Now that I am officially old as far as the Canadian government is concerned (I qualify and receive Old Age Security Benefits), I somehow seem oblivious to the fact that my own death can’t be all that far distant in the future in relative terms. It just doesn’t seem to matter anymore. What does matter is simply that I am alive and well at this moment, perhaps in the best shape mentally and spiritually of my life.

Many people approach old age frantically and with fear. I don’t know if it is simply the fear of “death” as a natural consequence of life that we will all experience. Rather, I think it is a fear of what will result when death does come. Judgement Day – somehow some deity will see all of the shadows, all of the defects, the lies, the meanness, avarice, jealousy and whatever else is tagged with the term “sin.”

Death exposes each of us in ways that we never want to be exposed. The stuff we leave behind us hidden in our closets, on our hard drives, and perhaps most importantly, in the minds and memories of others that escapes from the rigid confines, passwords, and strength of our characters as we bluff and bully our way through life evaporates freeing what has been so long hidden and denied. Since I have basically stripped naked in front of the world – my family, my community and strangers – through my “Broken” book series, and through my “Naked Poetry” series, there aren’t any secrets left to worry about..

It is quite liberating. I think of Sisyphus who must toil forever rolling a boulder up a hill. My boulder has been taken from me leaving me free to smell the scents in the air, to cherish the sounds that reach my ears (sometimes with the help of hearing aids), the textures of the world that meet my skin, the tastes of new life that had somehow materialized out of the shadows with the withdrawal of mask, armor and camouflage behind which I had previously hidden from life. So others can see my body – nothing there that is anything but natural should they only dare to see their own bodies. So others can know my history – we all have histories.

Today, I can dare to be authentic in the world, naked where and when practical and possible, honest without fear of someone “finding out” some dark and dirty secret.

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