Smiling feels good. Even when a person is depressed, the smallest smile adds light in what is felt like a deep and dark hole. One of the things I cherish about naturism is the element of joy that seems to appear much easier than when I am clothed. As I listen to others speak of their naturist experiences, joy seems to rank as one of the prime responses to being nude, especially if one is able to be nude in the presence of others who are also nude.
Being nude with others allows one to feel safer than being in the presence of others where one is the only one without clothing. At those times one is truly vulnerable and at risk. It wasn’t an accident that collectives have used nudity as part of punishment for some perceived crime against the collective. Removing the offender’s clothing in those instances is more about stripping them of dignity and protection. Then, with the message given, the sentence is then carried out leaving the offender to meet that sentence without a stitch of pride or peace that would allow the offender to endure the punishment with personal dignity. I think of Jesus, stripped like a common criminal and made to carry a cross through jeering crowds, whipped like a brute animal along the route. Naked like other common criminals punished by the Romans, he was hung from a cross. It is only after the fact, centuries later, that we placed a loin cloth to somehow make the event more spiritual and less brutally human.
Being fully self, non-judgemental with others, gives rise to joy from the heart.
However, being without clothing by choice with others who have made the same choice is empowering. There is a sense of real freedom rather than oppression. It is so easy to accept what one sees in others who trust us enough to drop their clothing and be fully present. With nothing to hide, to disguise when one risks being clothing free, one begins to accept the “self” with all its perceived imperfections. It is as though in accepting others as they really are, we break through a psychological barrier that allows us to be honest and accepting of ourselves. No wonder there is so much evident joy in social nudism. We have stopped being our own oppressors.
I got to spend four days in the Eagle Hills near Battleford with my trailer parked at the home acreage of the man who is in charge of the Prairie Suns Nudist Club. On Friday, he took me on a hike through the Eagle Hills to the west of the acreage. Once we were away from traffic, we were able to doff the clothing and hike nude while we discussed all sorts of topics that were dear to his heart, especially Christianity and nudity.
I set up camp on the acreage, while waiting for a naturist pot luck event set for Saturday afternoon. B. and his wife, N. were great hosts. Somehow in the middle of nowhere, they had a solar heated pool and a hot tub for the cool mornings and evenings as amenities. It was too warm, the wrong season for putting the sauna to work.
Since I had somehow forgot to pack the power supply for my laptop, I was forced to enjoy the sunshine without interruption for most of the days that passed. It was the first time I had been to the acreage for a nude gathering without my wife. So, I had to make do with calls home in the morning and late evening to fill her in with my adventures and to find out how her days and nights had passed.
The pot luck was attended by eight people, a much smaller group that last year. I contributed to the pot luck by making a potato dish in the slow cooker – potatoes, bacon, onion and cheese. It was a recipe that my wife had suggested that I make for the event since it cooked while I was hiking without my worrying whether or not it would be undercooked or burnt. I don’t have the best attention span and get easily distracted.
That served to have the topic of how to meet the changing demographics if the club was to survive. I suggested that instead of focusing on getting members for the club, that the group create open-invitation events which would be clothing-optional. Art and nature photography, body-painting, writing camps for those interested in poetry or short stories, drawing classes for the human nude, and music camps for those interested in sharing their musical talents and perhaps picking up a few ideas from other musicians. Advertising events could take many forms and would hopefully create a larger network of prairie people who would come to share an interest in social naturism.