Nu comme le jour où je suis né

Month: October 2018 (Page 2 of 2)

Nudity and the Shock Value Within a Clothed World

normalising nudity

The issue of nudity and sexuality is one that haunts all attempts at normalizing nudity in social contexts. It is also an issue in couple relationships. The problem is that we are all hard-wired, as mature and maturing adults, to respond to visual stimulation, perhaps more so for the male than the female. A naked body is sexual – instinctively. How we respond to nudity is biological, as well as conditioned by our societal programming and the setting (context) within which one finds oneself when presented with the sight of a nude body. No surprises here.

Being nude in a clothed public space is often about shock and perhaps awe. The Naked World Bike Rides are one example. The approach is different, more of a social party than protest, but the protest is real. The intent is still to challenge society and governments. It definitely isn’t about being at one with nature, about relaxing into one’s body and connecting with one’s inner self. Nor is it about simply being transparent and honest about oneself with others.

There is an agenda, a point that is being made, a protest even if that agenda is driven by the unconscious self. People respond to that protest and typically equate nudity with the protest. Often the focal point of the protest is lost by the impact of the nude body which cuts below our consciousness into gender responses and unconscious personal and collective shadow (complexes) triggers.

Nudity laws first appeared on the books in the Canadian Criminal Code because of Freedomites, a radical sect of Doukhobors using nudity to protest against the Canadian government. Both men and women took part in the naked protests which often included burning their own property buildings. Nudity was all about shock, about forcing the government to do something to honour promises made. Governments rarely respond well to shock confrontations. And of course, governments actually represent the typical psyche of the people for whom they govern.

So, why do we get nude? Why do we want or need,to be nude, especially when society has strictures against nudity? The truth is, in spite of all the words that rush out in defence of nudity, we really don’t know the answers. The truth is, we all struggle with a basic question of identity and purpose. “Who am I, really?” I spend a lot of my time nude. I am learning to respect the need for nudity and perhaps I am also learning, somewhat, where this need comes from. As a result, I do my best to ensure that my nudity doesn’t get in the way of meeting my needs when with others. With most people, I remain clothed though many know I am a naturist and spend time nude. With others, I am comfortable being nude as they are also nude – nudity is something in common, not a challenge.

Obviously I don’t have any answers. What I do offer is simply that each person becomes just a bit more conscious of their intentions and their needs. Perhaps, we can then find the world to be less affronted, shocked, or fearful in response to our nudity.

Naked Before God

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

Risking authenticity

As a naturist, I get to meet others who are comfortable in their own skin. 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

Authentically me

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. Others such as Paul Z. Walker and Will Forest, two men who are both authors and naturists, lessens the sense of aloneness and alienation.

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!

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