Before I get into today’s post, I want to make one observation. As of the moment I find myself writing these words, I have 666 comments. Does this mean that my blog site now has come to the attention of the master of lies, the serpent who persuaded Eve and Adam to cover up their nakedness? If so, I am sure he is royally pissed off that I am not living up to the lie of nudity as perversion. [I hope this gets at least one chuckle along the way.]
Today is Saturday, the 29th day of February, a leap year. It is raining, a gentle rain to be sure, but it is wet none-the-less. Lightning and thunder have been our light and sound show since early yesterday evening. It isn’t what one could begin to say is pleasant beach weather. Since we have been walking ten kilometres, day after day, for quite some time, this is a pleasant diversion which allows me some extra time for writing and editing.
I have just finished the revised edition for the first book of my memoirs. A new cover and ISBN have been uploaded to Amazon in preparation for being republished. Naturally, the old edition has been unpublished. It will be a few days before I advertise the new edition. The book is significantly different with the presentation of the story though the contents remain the same. If anything, the book is more honest in being told from a first person point of view with real names for all of the characters included in telling my story. There is no question that the retelling reveals more than simply removing clothing ever tells about a person.
I am now turning to the second book in the series. Again, there is to be a major shift from the third person to the first person. The original reads like a novel, not an autobiographical work. Since the original was based on “my” journey that is similar to the song by Rascal Flatts, Bless the Broken Road, I am keeping the original title and giving credit to the title where it is due. The story of this second book is about love lost, a broken hearts, and finally arriving at the place and time I was supposed to go to meet the woman I didn’t know I was looking for, my Magical Other. The story is archetypal as well as being an honest recounting of my personal experience. It is a story that could be told of many others who have found themselves on the broken road.
The “Carnaval” crowds are gone and the beach is basically empty, especially in the early afternoon when the heat persuades so many to retreat indoors to air conditioning and afternoon siestas. For some reason, I tolerate heat very well. I left our place at noon and walked just over one kilometre to a place that has the least amount of beach traffic. It’s the place where I skinny dip most days.
Once there, the Kiniki mini brief tan through swim suit came off. A ground sheet was placed and I got to spend a glorious hour doing absolutely nothing other than basking in the sunshine.
Then, it was time to go to the water. Since the beach site I chose was about 70 metres from the water’s edge, I was a long walk to get to the water to cool off. With no one in site, I made that journey carrying my swim suit “just in case.” No one showed up in either direction for hundreds of metres in both directions. I had about 250 metres to the north where a few people were in the sea. To the south, it was about 500 metres to reach a few more who wandered the water’s edge.
Once in the water, I had another long walk to reach deep enough water to submerse myself. It is more than another 100 metres from the water’s edge to waist deep water between between surf swells. It is sand all the way to point where the surf begins, that place where surfers head out to in order to wait for a big wave to ride.
Finally, after being pummelled by the waves, the equivalent to a deep-tissue massage, I returned to my blanket to begin packing up and making my way back to the apartment. Carrying my stuff in a draw-string bag, I walked almost 400 metres before finally deciding to put my swimming briefs back on. This is Ecuador, a non-naturist country. But as I am learning, there is always somewhere and sometime for the freedom to be nude in a nature setting.
I have been thinking more and more about Normalising Naturism [#NormalisingNaturism] and have come to the conclusion that in our modern western world that includes basically all first world countries, naturism will never be normal. There is too much embedded deep within the “normal” human psyche that works against this ever happening.
Many who proselytize in favour of living clothing free have this idea that once a person actually tries being clothing free, they will become nudists/naturists/whatever. It’s a nice thought, but the real world and real people don’t fit this paradigm at all. Given the chance, many wouldn’t even take that opportunity because of a host of reasons. And of those who somehow do take the opportunity to try it, even try it more than once, a sizable number would end up saying, “Thanks, but no thanks. This just isn’t for me.”
Though they make decisions to not adopt naturism as a preferred way of living, experiencing it does chance attitudes towards those who are naturists. Attitudes become more positive, a good thing. Why doesn’t the experiencing of a naturist activity result in the adoption of naturism into their lives? I will blame it on a few millennia of cultural hard wiring, not physical hard wiring.
In the collective of humanity, nudity is not the norm when people gather together. This isn’t a statement of rightness or wrongness about that reality. The collective of humanity doesn’t even think about social nudity unless they are confronted by it. The collective response to social nudity is rooted in a collective unconsciousness. Nudity is something that is found in frustrating dreams, nightmares, pornography, or in fantasies. Nudity is not found is any social context in the modern world, nor is it even remotely considered to be on the cusp of becoming the normative standard.
Nudity is not normal and nothing we will do will change this in our lifetime. Perhaps, if things work out, we can get a positive result in legal terms. Legalising nudity is our best hope. And realistically, in a world that seems to be devolving, there are serious issues for mental well-being, economic well-being, and even physical safety that will have the collective’s focus.
So what does that mean for us who want to live, as much as possible, our lives being clothing free as often as practical given many environmental, social, and economic realities that are part and parcel of being in the world? Perhaps, just being ourselves, authentic and ethical. We live as we must taking all reasonable opportunities to be nude. Avoiding the role of being a missionary, a zealot attempting to convert and save the masses – the truth is, fundamentalist preaching about naturism and nudism is offensive as is any type of fundamentalism. I’m right and your wrong, so you’d better do it my way, is disrespectful of others who choose differently.
I am a naturist. I love being a naturist. I love some people who are naturists, and don’t have a lot of respect for some who are naturists because it isn’t about the state of dress or undress. I love some people who feel safe and comfortable in their clothing. Again, it isn’t the clothing or lack of that has me choose who will be in my orbit. Yes, I admit, there are those who will, and do, make decisions not to have me in their orbit because of my choice to be a naturist. Perhaps I am better off for that.
The best I can do, is to be me. I am an “outlier” in real terms. Walk through your community and you will find that unless you are in a gated naturist community, it would be a very rare thing to find a nude man making toast for breakfast in his home. It’s not right or wrong. It is just the way it is. People in my very conservative community know about my penchant for being nude. My books have sold exceedingly well in this tiny village of 500 people, books that disclose the reality of my association with naturism. I don’t hide behind a high privacy fence, or behind darkened draperies behind my windows. I am seen as non-confrontational and non-threatening – weird but not dangerous.
I don’t presume to challenge the community with my nudity at social activities, while shopping, or even strolling around the town. Yet, I am seen, physically seen when nude without a resulting confrontation. When I am seen, I’m in my home, in my yard, or perhaps down a rarely used country lane in the prairie hills. No one presumes for a moment that my being nude has a sexual intent. Mowing lawns is not about sexual intent. Being seen while nude doing normal non-sexual activities is key to diffusing the gut response nudity.
The key? As best that I can see it, live as normal as possible, be nude when possible, and be respectful of others.
It’s time to add a few more words here for all who find their way to this page. The past few days have not been all that wonderful. Of course, no one in their right mind would ever expect that every day needs to be perfect, or some resemblance to Paradise. Just like the weather and the seasons are constantly changing, so do our moods and our relationships. As you can tell by the photo, I am spending some time in shadow country, the place where the unconscious and the shadows are contained behind seemingly impenetrable barriers. Seeming is the right word.
As much as we think we have control of who we are, what we say, and what we do, our shadow has a different opinion. The shadow slips out and creates havoc while we are unaware of its presence. Later, when we come back to our conscious selves, we are confronted with the messes we have unconsciously made. “Did I really say that? Did I really do that?” are quickly followed by adamant denials. We are left wondering why the people around us would say such mean things about us.
Naturally, we see this happening to others. We have witnessed the things said and done which are fervently denied. Yet, we think ourselves so in control that we react in the same way when it is our turn to be caught, or should I say, others have witnessed the shadow sides of ourselves in action.
So why am I writing about this, today? It likely comes out of no going through a second round of editing my first volume of the autobiography, at least in part. There is more in the equation – there is always more in the equation – but I am not ready to discuss it here. Some parts of my life are not for public consumption. Suffice to say, that this state of being will pass, like all storms pass, and I will return to a life that I cherish.
As I have mentioned previously, I am editing my first volume of my autobiography in order to have it ready for audio recording. In a way, I am sweeping away the unnecessary debris that was cluttering up the original version. In the original version, I got carried away with detail and complex sentences. The editing process is having me reduce the complexity for straight forward simple sentences. If anything, I am removing the chatter and noise, the fuzziness.
Retelling the story of one’s past is all about trying to bring clarity to an otherwise out-of-focus set of memories. Editing that story after letting it sit for a few years allows one to discern between unnecessary information and critical information. I am nearing the end of the first pass through the book. It will need at least one more revisit before I am satisfied. Then, I hope to find someone [or more than one someone] who will proofread the result. Before you consider volunteering, be warned that the book contains about 90,000 words.
The story isn’t a novel. It is cold, hard, dark, and disheartening. Yet, one reads it knowing that the child survives and becomes a man with the nurturing aids of running, music, art, poetry, and naturism. There is a book two and a book three in the series. Both will eventually get the same treatment. This first book has sold well. I have sold more than 700 copies of the book, about 400 of these as paperback books.
I guess, you could say, this story is where naturism entered my life, making a positive impact on my way of being in the world. Perhaps you could even say, it was critical for my managing to make it to this ripe old age of seventy.
I woke up to dark skies again this morning, after a night of dream-filled sleep. The dreams were quickly forgotten once I had left our bed to check out the weather from the front patio. Since all the draperies were still closed on the other two residences in our small compound, I was in no rush to retreat to my quiet corner which is less visible to all concerned parties. This is part of the reason why I love early mornings no matter where I find myself. For a while, I own the space and I am free to be my authentic, nude self.
Now, it is 7:30 am and the sky has lightened with a few scattered bits of blue sky peeking through the clouds. I am still nude on the patio though discretely, partly shielded by a lawn chair and a hammock for passersby. Anyone who would think to look would know that I am nude, an implied nudity as there is no way to see genitals while I am typing on my keyboard. The plan is to go for a beach walk later in the afternoon. Until then, I will likely continue to do some editing of a book that I intend on re-releasing in the relative near future.
“What does life ask of us, and how are we to answer that summons? Does life matter in the end, and if so, how, and in what fashion? … these questions … many of us have forgotten them in the steady drumbeat and reiterative abuses of daily life. But our choices reflect our values and our putative answers to these questions, whether we are conscious of them or not.” James Hollis, Hauntings, 2013.
That’s the problem with having the world to myself, I begin to think rather than simply bask in the moment without a thought or care to disturb me. I know I am not alone in this. I would venture to say that most people who make it into the second half of life find themselves asking so many unanswerable questions. The questions are real and there are answers. However, those answers are typically hidden from our consciousness. And perhaps, that is a good thing. It likely is more comfortable and socially safer to keep those answers buried deep within a tomb.
We don’t like to complicate our lives, willingly. We want to be like others so as to avoid discovering that regardless of all the people with whom we surround ourselves, we are essentially alone. No government, no agency, no family member, no church, no one is responsible for us in the end. Regardless of our illogical wishes, we will die. Perhaps, we need to rethink and revalue our lives. That begins with daring to discover who we are as individuals, unearth the hidden aspects of ourselves, strip ourselves of the protective camouflage behind which we have hidden. We must risk being vulnerable.
Perhaps, this is what is behind so many people coming to embrace naturism and nudism, taking the risk of being vulnerable. With social naturism and nudism, the risk is minimised. There is perceived safety in numbers. However, there we again find ourselves living the values and choices framed by a group and not by one’s individual psyche. We are left haunted by those choices and values we have refused to recognise about ourselves.
Enough Sunday musing for now. Until the next time.
It has been a few days since my last post. With a bit cooler temperatures and a later low-tide, I find myself with a bit of unstructured time for writing another blog post. As usual, I include a photo showing a snapshot of life for me in Olon, Ecuador. This is how I live, mostly clothing free. Consider it to be “normal.” This is a photo taken by my wife for whom my nudity is “normal.”
Since I don’t have most of my photos “let it all hang out,” does that make me any less of a naturist? Does my habit of occasionally cropping the photos I post here, offend those who see themselves as “true nudists” or “true naturists”? Of course, I know the answer to my own questions. Yes, there are those who consider themselves to be the arbiters of “pure” nudism/naturism, who are offended. In my opinion, they are fundamentalists who are all about controlling others.
Now, in the world of Jungian psychology, this need to control others has its roots in their conscious inability to recognise their own shadow and thus control it. The problems one sees in others, and this includes me, are really about one’s inner self being denied.
I want my blog site to be “friendly.” If one is to help gradually shift the general perception of naturism, the most likely approach to succeed would be to be obviously nude without triggering the fear of nudity in others. These others become more likely to take the time to read a blog post and hear what is being said. An image that is too challenging means that the words don’t get read and an opportunity for having naturists viewed as normal humans is lost. Yet, sometimes it is necessary to challenge.
When these self-proclaimed guardians of nudist/naturist purity protest, are the saying they need to see the genitals? Why? Now, I’m not averse to having others see my genitals. After all, I do go to naturist campgrounds and gatherings on private acreages. However, I am averse to comments focusing on my genitals. It is creepy. It leaves me feeling like the commentators, always by males for some strange reason, have some sort of ulterior motive for the photos. I do know that photos of older men are “lifted” to be used on “daddy” sites for the gay community. I don’t have any problem with the gay community gathering photos for various purposes. I do have a problem of them being gathered without permission.
It isn’t about gay or straight, it is a problem of why does someone want my photo, or your photo? Why do others demand that the genitals are showing? And often, why do these connoisseurs of nude photos make uninvited sexual comments? Why is the assumption always that if a nude photo is present, it was posted with a sexual intent?
It was another sunny morning and early afternoon in Olon, Ecuador. Just before noon, I decided to head out with the sole intention of getting some sunshine. I had several hours to myself and I intended on getting the most out of them as possible while the sky was blue.
I walked about a kilometre down the beach to reach the location where I had previously been able to sunbathe when the tide was out. Since the beach was basically empty, I took advantage to get a photo with myself at the edge of the water before setting up my beach sheet at the edge of the grass. This was what I had come for, pure bliss in the sunshine. I had managed to lay still for a short while before wondering about the abandoned casa which lay just about forty metres from my location, off the beach and behind a broken fence.
So, I went exploring. I didn’t have to worry about being seen as the property was abandoned. So, I risked exploring au naturel. It was a short adventure as there was little about the place that was remarkable.
The only thing that was notable was that I was able to stay nude the whole time, from beach to the casa, wandering around the casa, and returning to my sheet and continuing to sunbathe.
About an hour later, after having had motorcycles, bicycles, beach walkers, and even one half ton truck pass by while I lay on the beach sheet, I was cooked and needing a swim. This location is where I typically stop with my wife for some swimming rather than wait until we get to the main beach in front of the town. As almost always, I swim nude in the sea. Well, swim might be a misnomer as the surf is too strong for swimming. Rather, we play in the surf which revels in knocking us about while the currents alternately shove us towards the shore or drag us out to be battered by another incoming, powerful wave. This is prime surfing territory.
Back home, photos downloaded from my phone, shower taken, and a late lunch eaten, it is time for me to return to editing.
The sky is mostly blue with scattered clouds creating pleasing tableaux. We began the morning with coffee on the beach which is less than a 100 metres from our apartment, rather than on our patio. Of course, that meant I needed to wear shorts. Even though it was early, the beach was already busy. One red car had backed up to the edge of the beach to provide a fully amplified system for beach goers pleasure whether they want it or not. So, with coffee done, we left the beach. Sundays are the busiest on the beach, especially during the “summer holidays.” We are in South America where the seasons are reversed.
Back at the apartment, it is quiet, the way I like it. Because of the crowds, there is no morning or afternoon beach walk in our plans. That time, will be reserved for me to work on some of the editing work waiting patiently for my attention. Before I begin, I decided to take a bit of time to connect here, with you.
“Sometimes, to our dismay, we find that we have been living someone else’s life, that their values have and are directing our choices. While this life we are leading never quite feels right, it seems to be the only alternative.” James Hollis, Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life, Introduction.
James Hollis is a Jungian psychoanalyst, not a naturist or nudist as far as I know. What he is talking about here, however, is vital for everyone including naturists and nudists. Because nudity is generally unacceptable by the majority of humans for a host of reasons, naturists such as myself, find themselves living our lives according to the choices made by the overwhelming majority. We circumscribe our lives to fit in and avoid conflict or worse. Again, I am talking here about most of those who see themselves as naturists and/or nudists. There are a few who would reject this citing their own “completely free” lives as examples.
Though many would see my life as blessed with time for being nude, I don’t have almost any nudity in my life as soon as there are others in the picture. Going for groceries, to the restaurant, going for a beach walk, visiting other snowbirds [northerners fleeing the snow and cold of the Northern hemisphere], or simply going out for a stroll to sight see – all require that I wear some clothing. During these times, the values and choices of others trump my values and choices. Since I have no desire to test the legal system, either at home or abroad, I capitulate.
However, when I have the opportunity, typically at home or in a naturist venue such as a naturist campground which is my home club, I get to live the values and choices that best fit who I understand as belonging to me. Yet, even then, I know that this isn’t fully the truth. As long as there is another person in the equation, each of us “adjusts” to some degree to facilitate some sort of relationship, friendship or otherwise. If we don’t, it is likely that we are so egotistically wrapped up in ourselves that we barely acknowledge others nor see that we need others other than as a sycophant audience.
My wife is supportive of my predisposition to being nude. Yet, at times enough is enough and she asks for me to adjust somewhat to match with her values and choices. Relationships are a continually fluctuating ground of values and choices. Why? Because each person in any relationships, whether as friend, foe, mate, or family relation, is constantly changing. What worked last week or last year, and sometimes even yesterday, doesn’t work today. And if it still works, there is no guarantee that it will work tomorrow or further into the future.
Of course, to best navigate all of this, it is imperative that we get to know as much about ourselves as possible. What are our triggers? What are our fears? What gives us joy? What leaves us indifferent? Learn as many of the answers as possible, and continue to ask them over time will see the “self” emerge stronger and more resilient. And that “self” that emerges like a phoenix out of the flames and ashes, does affect change in others whether we wish that to happen or not.
What values and choices do you compromise in order to live within the values and choices of the broader human society?
It is 33 Celsius in the shade this afternoon in Olon. We went for our usual beach walk, this time walking 9 kilometres. As always, we walk barefoot on the sand. There was barely a faint breeze and it was hot in the full sunshine. Still, the alternative would be to be in Canada shoveling snow or going for a walk while wearing several layers of clothing. There is no way I’m going to complain. It was our choice to walk for an hour on either side of twelve noon.
With the first draft of the short story completed, I am returning to some other editing work for the present. I need to put a bit of space between myself and the short story so that I can have fresh eyes for it. That should keep me out of mischief for a few hours.
With the extra heat, we are lazy and have decided to go out for our evening meal rather than cook at home. Fish with mushroom sauce is on the menu in this fishing village, thick fillets of Dorado. I am sure that some cerveza will find its way to our table as well. Life is tough in the tropics on a Sultry Saturday.