Nu comme le jour où je suis né

Month: October 2018 (Page 1 of 2)

Naturism – I Say Good and Society Says Bad

Nudity – good or bad?

It has been a while since I have looked at James Hollis’ book, Why Good People Do Bad Things, so it just felt right to bring the book out from the shelf where it has lain idle. Why? Well perhaps it has to do with the fact that being nude, even in one’s own yard, is doing something bad when it comes to the modern world. If nudity wasn’t “bad” from a societal perspective, I wouldn’t worry about being seen. Yet, there is a need to worry in my part of the world. It only takes one phone call to the local law enforcement agency to have the weight of the society deal with my “bad” behaviour.

Of course other naturists/nudists wouldn’t view my nudity as me doing something bad – maybe for some, my choice of place and time for nudity would be viewed as a bit controversial or risky given the environmental and societal conditions surrounding my nudity.

Getting back to the book, I found something in it that bears repeating here, a quotation that fits what I am talking about.

As children, we learn to “read” the world around us to find what is acceptable, what is dangerous. Many learned that matters of sexual character were not permissible in their family or religion, and so associated their own natural impulses and desires as something evil, or at best furtive and contaminated.

[p. 205]

Nudity, in spite of all the noise made by naturists and nudists to the contrary, is sexual. One’s skin is the body’s largest sex organ and allowing oneself to free the skin from the constriction of clothing elicits a sensual presence to oneself. Sexual does not mean that being nude implies that one is on the verge of copulating with another person (willingly or unwillingly on their part). Sexual does mean that one’s sexuality is not disguised or denied as though that sexuality – bare skin, exposed genitals (overt or implied) – was indeed something to be ashamed of.

Toddlers exhibit a “natural” way of being when they lose their clothing to run freely in their “birthday suits.” We teach these toddlers that it is unacceptable to be natural in this manner. We, as a society teach our children based our beliefs that come from religion, societal prejudices, law, and our personal world of unconscious complexes.

The by-product of our necessary collusion with the realpolitik of childhood vulnerability is guilt, shame,inhibition, and most of all, self-alienation. We all, still today, reenact these collusions, suffer this shame, and retreat from our wholeness.

[ibid]

And here we find the hidden roots of body shame. Because of the silence from others, the self comes to believe that he or she is wrong in being different, even bad. Stolen moments for nudity where one feels pure joy, soon turns to feeling guilty for standing outside the norm. After all, everyone else can’t be wrong, right?

I will be back. Until then, ask yourself a few hard questions and see just how much you want to avoid admitting that this also speaks about you and your experience.

Rewilding – Naturism as Therapy

Naturism is a therapy, nature’s therapy for the soul. There is no better way to simply experience the fullness of being alive in the world than to make oneself fully vulnerable to that world. It doesn’t take long for a person to “fit” within the natural world, the world of nature, when one chooses to be intimately present.

Joy Nelson shows us just how powerful it is when one risks being fully and authentically present in nature, a process she refers to as rewilding. Tossed away are more than one’s clothing. One is stripped of persona and becomes the primal human, the original man or woman before the artifice of social constructs.

Daring to be a primal man, I have found that I am able to get much closer to animals, to be seen as less of a threat when I put myself in their environment without need of camouflage, of clothing. When there is a need to hide, there is an aura of danger that then emanates from one’s body and psyche, an aura that permeates the natural world which then becomes wary of something unnatural in the shadows. Animals quickly disappear. Not only animals, but that vulnerable inner-self returns to the shadows to hide.

Yes, making oneself vulnerable is risky, very risky in our modern western world which understands that the norm is to be hidden in the shadows, to be cloaked in camouflage and disguised behind a grab-bag of roles. Strangely, the more we hide our essence as a human, the more we are trusted, the more we suffer. We find ourselves aching for something that has been lost somewhere along the way. Yet, we too often cling to the camouflage as though a child holding some sort of security blanket.

When we dare look within ourselves, beneath the layer of clothing and persona, we find a hero or heroine, a primal being that if given a voice and presence, teaches us that we are whole and healthy if only we dare to be whole and healthy.

Unconscious Responses to the Naked Body

“Those who do not consider the implications of the divided human soul remain unconscious and are therefore dangerous to self and others. Those who do stop and look, and ask why become more and more attuned to the complexity  of their own psychological processes; their lives grow more interesting to them; and they become less dangerous to themselves and others.” p. xiii

A conscious choice to work nude

Okay, so where do fit into these set of statements made by James Hollis? Is what I am doing by reading Hollis’ book – Why Good People Do Bad Things, analysing so much of my present life and my history; part of what he is asking each of us to do? Perhaps, I hope so.

I can’t pretend that I really know what I am doing or why I am doing it all the time. Nor, do I think that most of the human race can claim to such awareness. I know that personally, I catch myself and wonder “what in hell was that all about,” hoping that somehow I didn’t cause too much damage in the process. I can’t absolve myself if I have caused damage simply because I didn’t realise it, consciously, at the time, that I had no intention.

As for my life becoming more interesting, I would have to say that it has, at least to me. I am fascinated with the human body and its response to nature when one is not wearing clothing. I know that my nudity doesn’t harm my body as long as I keep alert for environmental conditions which require that I cover up in order to protect my body. Does my nudity cause real harm to others – physical harm, psychological harm? I don’t think so. If anything, others harm themselves psychologically in their irrational response to seeing a human body in its natural condition. However, the modern world I live in is working hard to having simple human nudity be legislated as something decidedly evil. Is the collective right? Not even a little bit; however, the collective has power on its side and has little patience with being questioned on its irrational responses to nudity.

I have to admit that psychologically, I am far from being aware of all the nooks and crannies that exist within me. I have learned that I, and by “I” I mean my ego, am not consciously in charge of all that I say and do. Study and analysis has taught me about complexes and archetypes, including a personal shadow. I know that I need to be wary of my own self so that I don’t project too easily my own shit onto others. That is part of the key, monitoring my anger, my frustration, my moments of hatred, and signals that I am holding too hard onto some belief or idea. Perhaps this is a good start to being attuned to the complexity of my own psychological processes.

Tension Between Naturists and Textiles in Relationships

Along the Red River

Life sometimes gives us more that we seem to be able to handle. When that happens, we typically retreat into quietness and depression It’s that old “fight or flight” response that is hard-wired into our bodies, not something that we consciously think about. Yet, there are times when we have time to think when faced with something that is stressing us out. When we have the space and time and place to make conscious decisions about how we will respond, we have to consider that this space/time/place is a gift.

I am a naturist or nudist or whatever, that much I know, as do a good number of people in my life including my spouse and our children. It isn’t exactly that I have chosen to be a naturist; it is more like I have opened up enough to the fact of the inner naked person that has lurked inside my head and body. My ego had long denied this inner nude self for many years, too many years.

But, rather than wallow in regret, I am simply relieved to have finally been able to emerge – come out of the closet? – into life as a more authentic me. I began to think that others were in the same place, that perhaps even most people would be unconsciously hiding their naked self behind a wide variety of belief systems, and that if given the opportunity of experiencing the liberation from being clothed all the time, that they would naturally shed their clothing at the appropriate times and places that would present themselves.

However, this really isn’t our present reality. Some people get to experience that liberation and still find themselves stressed. Even after several deliberate attempts, they remain uncomfortable when unclothed. Their inner self is as clothed as their outer self. It just is what it is. Something we have to accept.

We don’t need to waste time trying to convert and change others. The last thing the world needs are another two sets of missionaries: missionaries preaching the ethic of being clothed, and missionaries preaching the ethic of being clothes-free with promises of heaven for all who convert to either way of thinking and believing. What we need to do is focus on being as authentically ourselves as is humanly possible.

So what about the situation where  both sides are committed to being together in a relationship. The person needing boundaries that are marked by clothing finds him or herself stressed when the other is naked in what is perceived as their personal space. That invasion of personal space within which a person thrives best creates all sorts of anxiety and stress.

Unconsciously, there is then a need to do something to protect that personal space – fight or flight. Strangely, the person who is comfortable, even thriving with being clothing-free has no sense of the personal space of their significant other being challenged their nudity. That is, unless there is a phobia about wearing clothing, a different issue entirely. So how does this problem get solved?

Does one create nude zones for the partner who finds a need for being clothes free? Such nude zones are only limiting one person in the relationship, the nudist. The give and take could include the creation of a time for nudity as well, a time when the non-nudist feels the least uncomfortable with their partner’s nudity. What emerges through these negotiations is a compromise in which the non-nudist accepts that he or she can’t deny the right of the nudist to clothing-free time; and the nudist accepts the fact that the non-nudist has acknowledged a right to nudity. So far so good. The relationship has made room for differences. Both feel a sense of accomplishment.

But time does strange things to a relationship. The nudist begins to feel more and more comfortable with nudity in the relationship to the point where the boundaries that were set begin to be compromised. The non-nudist becomes uncomfortable with what has been allowed and needs relief from their discomfort. Occasions of nudity begin to creep outside of designated times and places, or occasions of nudity become constrained.. There is an ache to have more time and space where the spirit, mind and body are able to be fully nourished for both.

Tolerance to the other, lessens. The differences become even more highlighted in the process. Yet, neither wants to have the relationship end, so there is a retreat back to the original position, or perhaps a renegotiation that allows the nudist a bit more time and space. This dynamic continues to reappear until either one or both are tired of the constant tension.

What then? Since it is hard for a couple to arrive at a perfect balance, it is perhaps even harder for a community, a society. What are your thoughts and experiences with this tension between naturist and textile in relationships?

Why is it Necessary to Take Nude Photos of Oneself?

Why did I take this photo?

I have been wondering why I find it necessary to take skyclad photos, why anyone who is a naturist/nudist or someone who simply enjoys being nude needs to take photos of themselves. Why the images? Why are they posted to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, or other social media sites? Having spent way too much time wondering about this, I think I may have arrived at an answer that fits many who are like me.

Images are there to help us, to help me, get out of our heads.  They become a visible proof that we are more than just feelings and thoughts.There is an honesty, or at least an attempt at honesty, expressed in these images. Risking being vulnerable enough to be honest, is not the same thing as posting images for exhibitionist purposes. The images I am talking about have nothing to do with lewdness, lust, or then tension of sexuality. Intention, it all comes down to intention. Images that are exhibitionist have a motive of obtaining sexual satisfaction or to shock. So, what is the intention?

If you take photos of yourself au naturel, why do you do so? What is your need? Why do you allow others to see these images? Why the risk? All images have a purpose and meaning. However, we rarely know what the purpose and meaning of our own images are about. There is a story, a story of at least 1,000 words for each image. More often than not, the story is yet to be discovered, as the image is more about unconscious projection than that it is about conscious intention.

Up against the fence

As for myself, the images tell the story of my reclaiming my authority rather than having the authority projected onto others. I refuse the authority of the shadows from my childhood. I refuse the authority of a church that would tell me that my naked body is sinful. I refuse to be a victim. Of course, there are laws and a broader society within which we all find ourselves. For our own safety, we find that fine line between “in your face” confrontations and in hiding from the world and our own fears.

Why do you take and post photos? Why do you take and then bury your photos so no one ever knows they were taken? Why do you avoid taking photos of your authentic, human reality? Pick your question and then share your answers below..

A Buddhist Meditating Naked

Meditation in China, 2011

Every morning I meditate when I am at home in a special spot, special for me. On the wall I have photos of lotus flowers that I took in Vietnam as well as an image of Buddha that I found in Thailand. On the small altar are books, incense, a candle, a silk scarf and name card that were presented to me when I took refuge as a Buddhist. There are more things in my special space, a sacred space. When I meditate here, I do so completely nude. Even the glasses and the hearing aids are set aside. This is the authentic self, not my ego self, daring to cut through all the illusions we create with our minds.

Why am I a Buddhist? I don’t know the complete answer as I am still discovering what Buddhism is after my introduction to Buddhism forty-six years ago, about the same time as I discovered the healing power of naturism. I didn’t connect the two for a long, long time. It wasn’t until nine years ago that I was pulled into sitting in a pool of sunshine, sitting naked and totally vulnerable. During one of my retreats in 2009, while in Mexico, I found myself searching for a secluded area and stripped off my clothing and meditated. It was the beginning of my present practice. However, it wasn’t until I was teaching at a university in China after having retired from teaching and school administration in Canada, that I made nude meditation a common practice.

With the decision to enter into a formal relationship with Buddhism, I took refuge in 2012, a year after the above photo. It didn’t matter that I had read about Buddhism, or meditated, or had my own little wooden effigy of Buddha in my home – the act of taking refuge took me to a different place, a place that I realise isn’t about Tibet, or Thailand, or even any particular school of Buddhist belief. I was discovering more and more about the bare facts of who I was. And that, is a journey that is still in progress.

When Nudity Becomes Normalised

She sat in the rocking chair

I was sitting in my usual chair seen here, reading while nude, while my wife sat on her chair just a few feet away, talking on the phone, when one of our neighbours quietly entered our house. She had been over for a BBQ supper earlier with her husband. We had said good-byes as they were off on a camping trip the next day. Usually when she entered our home, she would call out as she knows that I am usually nude in our home. She had seen me naked in the past, instances that were likely more of a shock to me than to her.

Well, to continue the story, she entered our home without knocking, or making any noise at all. She saw me looking at her as she stood in the kitchen were she removed her shoes in silence. Then she walked into our living room passed my wife to where I sat reading, just as I am in this photo. She then sat in the empty rocking chair next to my chair, and asked me to write out the rules of a game she intended to play while camping, as she was taking two of her grandchildren camping with her and her husband. My nudity was obvious, with nothing hidden from her view.

My wife gave a momentary start, but then ignored her presence as she continued talking on the phone.Though I didn’t know the rules of the game, I set my book aside, the only thing that had partially hid my genitals, and I took the pencil and paper she handed me. Seeing my situation and wanting to help out, my wife went to the games closet calling our neighbour to follow her, and got out the rules for her so that she could write out the rules for herself on the paper. When our neighbour was done she left with a thank you and a smile.

Since that day, I can’t begin to count the number of times that I have been seen nude by her and our other neighbours. This is the new normal in my world. Do you have a story to tell about a similar situation? I hope to hear from you here in the comments.

Nudity and Authenticity

Tilling dressed for the season

Naturism is not just about taking off one’s clothing. Nothing is that simple for us humans. Naturism almost always talks about the honesty of being naked, as if by removing one’s clothing, one reveals the authentic person that one really is behind the clothing. That is simplistic thinking. Who we are as individuals is so complex that even we are not really aware of our own depths. We have a limited consciousness about who we are. We consciously carve out an identity in relationship with others, or so we think. With this conscious knowledge of who we are, we make decisions about just how much to reveal.

The naked body is just that, a naked body, not our identity or our conscious sense of self. When others meet us when we are naked, they still have a lot to learn about us in order to know us as more than just a body.

What do you think? Is nudity enough for being authentic? Is it all  you see is all there is?

Men and Their Unconscious Fascination with Their Penis

It’s just a penis

It’s slightly depressing out as far as weather is concerned and I have a cold adding a level of misery to the situation. Of course, this means that my approach to the world is tinged with a sense of greyness rather than the clear light of sunshine. As a result, this post reflects my mood – and in a way, that is honest as it can get.

So many images of men, posted by men, featured the penis. It was as if for many, the male identity has been reduced to the penis. The images which elicited this response showed male penises standing up proud, more often than not, but with the faces of their owners, for that is what the men have become, owners of a separate thing of power. Clear sight has been compromised. By empowering the penis, men have become blind to what they do as they follow the will of instinct, blind to what they do others and themselves in service to primal instinct.

This morning, as I turned to Twitter and Facebook in order to see what my on-line community was up to, I met with a few images that at first made me mad, then changed to sadness. I am not offended by the sight of a penis. However, I am saddened at how men have lost their sense of self as they use their penises as their avatars, use them to tell the world that they are real men while hiding their faces as though ashamed of being discovered. For, if discovered, the world would then learn their lie – that they are victims.

All men have a penis. Real men have consciousness and awareness of their responsibility to the world. Real men are compassionate, thoughtful, insightful beings who make the world a healthier, safer, and better world. Real men aren’t servants to the penis, the symbol of power of body over mind and heart.I have heard too many defend the images of penises without the critical identifier of the faces of the men who now belong to these penises. What was troubling at first was the defense that these were natural images of a man, rather than a psychological statement of importance of how some men, perhaps too many men, have unconsciously stopped looking at the whole picture of themselves and the world. By following their dicks, men become blind to what is happening to the world around them.

Navigating Depression with Nudity

Weighed down

It is hard for me to understand which came first, the tendency towards depression, or the trauma that was visited upon me during my childhood, boyhood and youth. I guess it doesn’t really matter. But at times I wonder. Did I have a genetic inheritance of depression? Was that predisposition to depression a factor in marking me as a candidate for abuse by others? Or, was the realities of being abused the root source of depression? I am lucky; I survived where many others didn’t including one of my brothers who couldn’t handle the shame and the pain.

Nudity is one of the reasons that has allowed me to navigate through depression and emerge back into the light. I consciously made the choice to make time for myself while clothes-free time. I learned this strategy at an early age, in my teenage years. It wasn’t a reasoned or conscious choice. Rather, it was more about rebelling against and finding sanctuary in my body, in nature.

Over the years, I have met many who have turned to nudity as a “feel good” place whether it is in a tiny apartment, withing a locked bedroom, or in a quiet place in some secluded nature setting. Nudity has this surprising side effect of being a light in the darkness. In a state of depression, there is a heavy darkness that steals one’s energy. It seems there is little one can do to escape the gloomy situation. Yet, within very little time, being nude somehow creates a condition where the repetitive scripts that haunt one’s head is short-circuited. The body begins to feel awakening awareness that one is more than one’s thoughts.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is yet another face of depression that steals life from those who suffer the disorder. Nudity has become one method of therapy that works:

“Several Vietnam veterans living in Tampa Bay, Florida say that being nude relieves feelings of anxiety, stress, and fear more than any other treatment they had received before.” Marie Meador

For most people, depression is not a very serious problem. This isn’t to say that one doesn’t experience depression, but the depression doesn’t interfere too much in one’s life. Among many I have met who have no issues with depression, nudity still ends up creating a better sense of wellness, even a sense of joy. When one feels the spread of wellness within, one wonders why the world has such a hard time with nudity.  But that, is a different story completely.

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