Nu comme le jour où je suis né

Month: January 2020

Hammock Musings in Ecuador

Hammock writing time

It will likely come as no surprise that I am writing this post while comfortably ensconced in a hammock that is gently swaying. I think the post’s title gave it away. It’s mid afternoon, siesta time for many, but not for me. There’s something about sleeping in the daytime that I resist. Rarely do I take my laptop to the hammock, instead I use my tablet.

We returned from a 10km beach walk not too long ago, a walk which included some naturist sunbathing time. As usual, I was able to get a beach photo. However, since I have posted more than my fair share of bare beach bum photos, I decided to pass on adding yet another such photo, at least for the time being.

The neighbours with whom we shared the yard, have gone. Until a new set arrives, we have the whole property to ourselves. Naturally, that means a few different photo locations for my archives. Again, I find myself questioning why I take these photos, the vast majority of which I never share with anyone. What is the purpose if not for sharing? Obviously, they aren’t about being an exhibitionist, these archived photos. The occasional image makes its appearance here, usually cropped so as to fly under the radar and interest of porn hounds – yes, they do collect photos of old men such as myself, daddy issues. Different photos will make it into my personal, off-line journal. The rest, saved onto an external hard drive. Why? I don’t really know, you’ll have to ask my shadow.

Today, I didn’t do any cropping. No porn hound worth his reputation as a connoisseur of male anatomy photos would see any sexual merit in  adding this photo to their collection. Yet, the fact that a penis is visible reduces the possibility of sharing this post via a number of social media options. When I crop my photos, I get some feedback about caving in. It’s as though every photo MUST include a prominent penis if I am to legitimately call myself a naturist. Of course, that is their problem. Since they don’t make up the board of directors for policing naturist photos, I ignore these comments and injunctions. Most, thankfully, offer no comment about the photos and censorship. Nudity is implied in such a manner, that no one has the faintest thought that I might be faking it and not really be a naturist/nudist.

So why? Why the photos in the first place? For me, it is part of my therapy. There is a reason that I use the term skyclad therapy in so many places. Naturism was an integral part of discovering enough value in myself to avoid seeking an early exit from existence. It had nothing to do with my part-time practice as a mental-health counsellor over twenty plus years. Counselling and therapy sessions were conducted with both client and counsellor wearing clothing.

Why do you have pictures of yourself, naked? Why do you sometimes share them? What is your story? I am listening and waiting to hear from you.

Naturism Doesn’t Make a Person a Better or Worse Person

Dishes are done

It’s Sunday morning in Olon. I am a rather subdued person at the moment. I didn’t sleep all that well and woke up tired. I could blame it on the heat and humidity, but that would be a stretch. The truth is, I am slightly depressed. Maybe the overcast skies this morning are partly to blame. Maybe the constant political warfare in Canada and the USA is to blame. Maybe it is just something I ate. Of course, it is easy to blame someone or something for how one feels, especially when those feelings are negative about self and/or others.

One of the topics that has me wondering and perhaps a bit grumpy, is a recent debate -a kind word for disagreements- about normalising naturism. Nudity and naturism, in our western world, is definitely not normal, not the norm. The nude body is the natural state for all human beings. No one that I know, or have ever heard of, escapes the fact that clothing is an “add on” for a host of reasons. Nudists and naturists are outliers in our contemporary world. It is the way it is and nothing I can say alters that fact. Humans in a state of nakedness is a rare event, rarer when in the company of other people. None of these points can be translated to say that there is anything inherently moral or immoral about a human without clothing, or about a human wearing clothing. Being a moral or an immoral person is about something beneath the skin.

Polarised thinking and living, what I call “fundamentalism” with or without a religious underpinning, exists in people whether they are nude or wrapped up in so many layers of cloth that determining gender is literally impossible. Throwing the word “naturist” or “nudist” out into the world as a self-descriptor, and expecting that somehow one is magically more honest, more ethical, or more moral is all about using the terms naturist and nudist as a mask to hide the negative aspects of self, to hide one’s shadow. People vested in clothing project their discomfort of self onto others, people vested in nudity do much the same. The risk in shedding clothing is accepted and embraced as though one is a martyr for a cause. Why was the clothing removed? Honestly, though most seem ready and willing to proffer answers, the truth is usually buried in the unconscious. And few are willing to peel back the layers of consciousness to see what lurks below.

I am not an activist, nor do I care much if others become nudists or naturists. I am self-aware enough to know that something about being out of my clothing is therapeutic for me. I guess that means that I am selfish when it comes to being naked. I don’t for a moment that being nude makes me a better person vis-a-vis other people. It does make me a better and kinder person to my “self.”

Being a better person has to do with self respect, and a healthy respect for others whether they are buried beneath layers of material or nude. It begins with the eyes which dare to look into the eyes of others, daring to transform a relationship from “I-It” to “I-Thou.”

And your thoughts?

Being a Normal Naturist versus Normalising Naturism

Night on the beach solo

Last night I went for a beach walk, solo. Once on the beach, my shorts joined the flipflops to be carried for the journey down the beach and back. Each year since coming to Ecuador, this has been on of my things. Why? Just because it feels good. Night’s darkness means that no one pays attention to my being on the beach, let alone being there while naked.

It isn’t about some sort of naked activism or about normalising naturism which is an activist endeavour. No one was considered nor were social boundaries being tested. It was me, the sand, the approaching tide, a solitary night heron, and a few passing silhouettes. I was simply being in the moment.

The same can be said about almost all of my moments spent nude, for me they are “normal ” moments. Skinny dipping in the sea is always away from others. Sunbathing is also done in relatively private settings. I have no intention of changing the cultural mindset of Ecuador. I am a normal human doing normal things, nude as often as possible.

Normalising Naturism – Finding the Middle Way

No wish to offend

Today, I am writing this post while in a hammock on the patio. The four foot fence of sorts that separates me from the passing traffic, somewhat provides some discretion for those who might otherwise be offended of my nudity. I do have a wrap handy in case someone breaches the space, someone such as the local caretaker. I have zero intentions of offending others. I also have zero intention of giving up my freedom to be clothing free. I think I have managed to find that delicate point of balance.

Living in an imperfect world, finding that middle ground is a real challenge. The mid point seems to be constantly shifting. As much as I’d like to be nude at all times, weather and climate permitting, the real world within which I live forces me to choose the times and places for my embracing nudity. I can’t expect or demand that it is the responsibility of society to do the work of finding the middle ground. Should I misjudge that midpoint, I find myself constrained to less time and place for nudity.

This blog site, along with Twitter, is part of my stretching the midpoint. Normalising Naturism is the strategy I, and others like me, are using. Even my use of photos, cropped photos, is intentional. Full nudity is implied in a natural context in such a way that those who aren’t nudists or naturists might stay long enough to read the posts and/or the tweets. Sticking around, they can learn that there is a real difference between naturism and pornography. That learned distinction is vital. It is what will eventually give all of us more time, space, and place for living more of our lives free of clothing. This isn’t missionary work, this is self work.

Normalising Naturism – Outdoors in the Sunshine, Indoors in the Shadows

I’ve been getting a lot of sunshine these past few days. For a few days, I got to do some nude sunbathing as I mentioned in a previous post. For the past two days, I got to do some nude frolicking in the surf near the same spot as I went sunbathing. Frolicking might not be the best descriptor – being battered around by the powerful surf is a more apt description. My wife and I call the event “free, deep-tissue massage.”

Because the tide is always shifting, the times for our beach hikes is constantly changing. However, in spite of our best efforts to walk at low tide, we have been edging closer and closer to high tide and walking in the heat of the day. Upon our return to our apartment, a quick cold shower, followed by a cerveza con limon [beer with lime added] is enjoyed. Now, with the sun beating down on the patio, we are chased inside for some relief from the sun. The skin can only take so much sun – besides, I really don’t want to put on any more sunscreen today.

It’s all about balance – sun and shadow in equal parts. And that goes for our psychological aspect. Too much of either has a cost to mental health. Too much light in one’s life leads to burnout. For me, that meant too much of being in the outer world, the ego world. Introverts need time in the shadow world, the inner “imaginal” world. However too much of this invariably leads me to slip into a depression. Again, the task is to find that balance point and have one’s lived life dance between the light and the shadows.

In literal terms, that balance has allowed me to avoid getting a sunburn.

Normalising Naturism – Relating to the World Through the Lens of Naturism

A safe spot for sunbathing

I have a cold, or at least that is what it appears to be, complete with coughing, stuffed up head and fuzziness. As a result, we only walked for six kilometres this morning. As we got closer to the end of our walk, I spotted a likely place for some sunbathing. Actually, I made mental notes of three likely locations for use in the future. Because it is a weekday and there is basically no beach traffic, I had planned for this eventuality by carrying a beach blanket in my small carry bag. For a half hour, I got to be swimsuit free. It was all I was hoping for with the exception of the sun deciding to hide behind clouds cutting my time short.

So, what is it about, this searching for opportunities to be clothing free? In my case, it isn’t about being an exhibitionist. I make a point about ensuring that I am unlikely to be seen, especially if I am not in my home/casa/rental. With the conditions being “safe,” I waste no time in ditching my clothing. Would I consider being nude in public where others are not nude? The short answer is “No!” There are too many complications that would make life for those who are close to me, very stressful. Getting naked is about relieving my stress, not about adding stress to others. In a setting where others are nude, I don’t wear clothing. I am very comfortable with nudity when others around me are comfortable with my nudity, or nudity in general. But all of that said, I would love to be nude as often as possible given weather conditions.

Life somehow gets to be partially framed with naturism in mind. For example, as we drive down any road, in just about any country, I can’t help but notice which properties would be excellent choices for a naturist home. Homes in the countryside with a large yard surrounded by trees rates the highest in my eyes. To have a sizable number of acres bordered by trees and containing small meadows, a pond, and a scattering of copses of bushes and trees would be perfect. As we drive, none of this kind of thinking appears until I see a property that looks appealing. Passing the property, that thought disappears and I focus on the ride itself. Consider that the naturist thoughts are more unconscious responses, a spiritual / psychological / physiological response to what I see. In other words, there is a foundation about who I am that has to do with being authentically me – nothing hidden, no shame about self, no judgment about others.

Playa de Olón, Ecuador – A Subtle and Subdued Experience

The town and the beach looking south

This is the beach we have been walking in OlónEcuador. We haven’t walked the full distance yet. To the north, I am guessing that it is about round trip hike of about 16 km from our casa. To the south, about a 4 km round trip hike. For the past two days, we have walked 10 km per day. The other days, just 8 km hikes. We may extend our average hikes to 12 kilometres later on during our stay, but if we don’t we are certainly getting enough exercise as it is.

The walk happens while we wear bathing suits in spite of the fact of there being long stretches where we see no one, especially at low tide. Since the beach is a highway of sorts for motorcycles and an occasional pickup truck, it’s a risk I don’t want to take. On the weekends it is much busier. Rather than complain about the status quo, I simply am grateful that I can be walking the beach rather than hiding in my house while it is -30+ Celsius outdoors back home.

The town is just as interesting as the beach for us. You can read about the town here, so I won’t spend any time with that other than to say that there are many beautiful paintings done on the sides of buildings. I’ve included one of the most recent paintings here. It almost appears as if there are twice as many wall paintings than when we left here in April, 2019.

One of our social activities is what is referred to as Wine Wednesdays. It is the only time we deliberately meet up with other gringos. There are other meetup places and events, some happening daily, but we aren’t in Olón to hang out with expats. We are here for the beach, for our escape from winter, for a quiet peacefulness. And for me, the frequent night strolls down the beach when the tide is right, wearing nothing at all make up for the daytime beach strolls which we also typically do during low tides.

Worshiping the Sun One Day at a Time

The walk is done

I have just come back from an eight kilometre walk along the beach. We are starting off slowly with a shorter distance as neither of us are quite up to speed yet after all the flying and wasting time in airports. Of course, I wasn’t able to walk while nude. This is a no no in Ecuador. Because of that, I am restricted to wearing a swimming brief that is tan through in design – Kiniki brand.

Since the brief is quite brief and it has been stretched from last year’s use, more sunlight is able to reach my skin. However, today, it was a moot point as it was basically cloudy for our walk. Still, how often do you see a couple on a beach at our age wearing almost see through, tan through mini bathing suits?  It doesn’t leave much to the imagination. Still, it comes off when possible.

At home, the new home in a rented one-bedroom condo, I don’t wear anything indoors and use a wrap on the patio to avoid issues with the passing public. There are other times I will be able to be clothing free in my quest to be nude as often as possible here in Ecuador. I’m off to a good start. Today was day one with another eighty plus days to go.

Finally in Olon, Ecuador

Our new home in Olon

Well, we are finally here in Olon. It took longer than I had planned, but the end result is sunshine and warm temperatures not far from the Equator. There are two windows which have window seats. I can already tell that this might become my go-to writing corner.  We are closer to the beach than last year, about one block – short block – away, all on a sandy path. And, it is many, many times quieter.

Our journey was memorable. We left from our home airport about two hours later than originally planned – airplane issues. When we finally did get off the ground, we arrived too late for our connecting flight to Quito, Ecuador. The airline put us up at a good hotel which we got to use for about three hours before needing to take an alternate flight, this time to Cancun. Once on the runway, our plane turned back to have us disembark because of mechanical issues. Another few hours later, a replacement plane took us to Cancun. We had to circle around Cancun for almost an hour to get slotted in for a landing. The result, another missed connecting flight and another night to layover, this time at an all-inclusive hotel along the Caribbean Sea. The next afternoon we boarded our flight to Guayaquil, Ecuador. By the time we arrived and cleared customs, we were too late to catch the bus to Olon. Another night in another lodging. Finally, we got on our bus for the three hour trip to Olon. We left our house at 12:00 pm on January 3 and arrived here on January 6th at 1:10 pm. Naturally, the airline lost our luggage somewhere along the way with all the rescheduling, and rescheduling of our flights. There’s more to the story, but that is irrelevant for this post.

This is our third year at Olon, and it will likely be our last as we have other places we want to spend the winter. We had originally thought to try a different place this year, but getting too comfortable with Olon made it hard to move on. We both think that the universe has been telling us that we have to get out of our comfort zone and move on. I think we both agree that this time we will listen.

We aren’t doing too much today. We went out for an incredible lunch, then grocery shopped so that we could make our own dinner and tomorrow’s breakfast. Now, we are just relaxing. She is in her hammock, while I am on the window seat writing this blog post. We are too tired to do anything more. It will be an early bed time for us. The beach can wait until tomorrow.

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