For the first six weeks in Mexico this year, I have not been doing sitting meditation. It seemed that every time I sat down my head would race to wander through the story I am busy writing. It became so frustrating to find the next word or sentence popping up in my head which then sent me back to the computer before those words could be lost. I have tried simply letting those words sit quietly in my head to wait for meditation to end, but they only ended up getting lost and then having me get angry about losing those words.
As a result, I turned to walking meditation. As in sitting meditation, it was all about the breath, feeling the inspiration and exhalation of each breath. Walking used up the energy that grew out of that attention to breathing. Between the walking and the breathing, I was able to tame my mind so that I could simply be in the sunshine attentive to the environment of sun, sand, and sea without needing to make mental judgements.
Now that the first draft has been completed and I now have the beginning, the body and the ending of the story in place, I am returning to sitting meditation which I can do skyclad. By necessity of environment, walking meditation had me wear a bathing suit, the least I could wear. There are six weeks remaining before I head home to Canada, plenty of time to regain the habit of sitting meditation au naturel, plenty of time to complete the book’s rewrite.
Each day, weather permitting, which is about nine days out of ten, my wife and I stroll the beach for about four and a half kilometres in each direction before heading into the sea to cool off. Of course, I have to wear a swimsuit such as this one on the left. I have four such swimsuits which are what I could best describe as just covering the essentials. In spite of being “well dressed” for the beach, I do get my fair share of shocked looks which are often followed by grinning and blushing, usually by the younger set wearing knee long board shorts with designer underwear peaking out to be suitably in style.
This is my preferred swimsuit, if only the world wasn’t so paranoid about human bodies.
Once the walk is done, then it’s into the sea where the suit becomes an arm band much like the tattoos of barbed wire that many younger people now wear. Of course, I keep some distance from other swimmers so that there isn’t an indignant response in spite of the fact that all is out of sight beneath the waves. Seeing the bathing suit on my arm is a declaration of freedom, even if that freedom is carefully disguised by the sea. It’s the principle that counts.
I get confused, to say the least, by the responses to my near nudity on the beach as we pass resorts filled with “cool” and “privileged” guests. I wonder why they cover up so much, even to the point of wearing a cover-up while moving from gardens to seaside, sometimes even struggling the wrap when taking their places on the lounge chairs lined up beneath palapas. I also wonder why so many women wear full bathing suits rather than take a minimalist approach. On the average, about six out of ten women we pass avoid bikinis, even the more discrete versions. Even then, there is a tendency to wear some sort of wrap that hides nothing, as though they are protecting their modesty.
As for the guys, they strut with arms held slightly apart from their bodies as if they have just finished lifting weights while dressed in board shorts that do anything but flatter their attempts at being macho. It’s hard to be a hunk when the gut bulges out like a woman preparing to deliver twins. In their attempts to look cool, the can of beer in the hand with a ball cap worn backwards thus not offering the eyes any protection from the sun, completes the fashion.
When will people stop being afraid of human bodies? When will they stop being the slaves of a fashion industry that works overtime to tell them that they are imperfect unless they get the latest styles, a look that is passé the moment they become available at the local shops in their cities. It is always a merciless race to be worthy in the eye of the critical public. No wonder they are aghast seeing my wife and I, two seniors in their sixties, not give a shit about fashion, just simply wearing as little as possible and feeling free in the process. It’s good to like who you are and the body you come wrapped up in.
I am writing at a good pace, the final book of my Broken Road series. In this book I give a prominent place to naturist as a path for psychological transformation to better mental health. So far, more than 50,000 words are committed to the first draft.
As I write each chapter, I send a copy to my wife to read so that I can confirm that what I intended to say is actually said, and said in a manner that does no harm to others in the process. After all, the book is my story and has no authority to tell the stories of others. I sense that the story is rushing towards a completion in the not-too-distant-future. And, as with all of my writing, it will sit still for a bit before I return to it from cover-to-cover in order to make corrections, additions, and deletions so that the tale is ready to share with others, before I dare publish it.
This book needs that extra care and attention because it tells all in my world about my being a naturist, the why and the how of it all. Some are aware because they read my blog posts, or have seen my Naked Poetry books; yet, most in my extended family and community are unaware of my naturism. So, in a way, there is a risk that is waiting to be taken when I bring the book out from the confines of the computer into the real world.
Growing older can reward a person with peace and well being in spite of the effects of time on the body. There is no doubt that I don’t have the buff, fit body that I had when still in my forties while I was still running marathons. Twenty extra pounds later, I find that I am satisfied that time has not done more damage to my body. I know that I could lose a bit of weight and likely feel better, but there is no rush. Rather than weight, I have refocused my eating habits while keeping up with activity by walking a minimum of eight kilometres a day.
When the walk is done, I have time for sunbathing, a deliberate choice when the sun is cooperative for it is the sun baking my body that clears out the old ghosts and shadows that used to rule my life. And, on most days, I take the time to write my story. I write for myself and learn as I write about myself. Time, with the aid of photographs and a decent grasp of depth psychology principles allow me to understand what happened to me on the journey back to better mental health. Like most who enter the field of mental health counselling, I had a history of my own to cope with. Doing the work to heal, I learned how to be a better guide to assist in the healing process for others.
We all go through life carrying wounds that came with growing out of childhood into adulthood. Some have wounds that nag in the background, and others are crippled by their wounds. Regardless of the severity of our wounds, it is our response to those wounds that allow us to either ignore them for the most part, or get help in order to mentally, and sometimes physically survive. I have survived my wounds through a variety of methods with naturism taking a prominent role in that journey. I have learned that I can be gentle with myself as the seventh decade of my life approaches. No one expects me to look and act like a young, virile man so that pressure is off the table. That allows me now to smile a lot more with honest smiles. Learning how to be more gentle with myself has given me the gift of being more gentle with others. Perhaps this is what is meant by entering one’s “golden years.”