Nu comme le jour où je suis né

Month: December 2020 (Page 1 of 2)

With a Little Help From My Friends

Where there is light there is hope

The sun is shining. I will be going out for a countryside walk of an undetermined distance this afternoon, This morning, I took down the Christmas decorations. It is a tradition to take down the decorations before New Year’s Day so that we drag as little of the old year, as possible, into the new year. It doesn’t have to make logical sense. It is the way it is. Where there is light, there is hope and life.

The walk happened. Sunshine, -12 Celsius, a pleasant breeze made it feel like – 18. We walked 8 kilometres with two of them through soft snow [think walking in loose sand by the sea] making it a good workout. Now, pleasantly tired and parked beside my laptop with a good, hot cup of Earl Gray tea, ready to relax. Leftovers for supper means that there is not much left to do for the rest of the day.

Yesterday, I finished the third rewrite of my second book in a series of historical fiction. Now, I just have to do a final spell-check before I get someone [any volunteers] to read it before I risk publishing it. The book has about twenty-one thousand words, just like the first book, A Tale of Two Vikings. The working title of the book is The Crusade of Princes. Part of the reason I want a few volunteer readers is to perhaps find a better title for the book. The First Crusade only forms part of the book, albeit a significant part. There is no hint of naturism in the book, though there is an element of speculative fiction with the appearance of a couple of Celtic deities to serve as links between parts.

While that process is underway, I will return to a naturist novel that has been sitting in limbo for several months. Also needing my attention is a naturist space opera of sorts. It will likely be several more months before I can return to the space opera. When and where I get time to work on book three of the historical series which could end up with five to seven books in the series is hard to tell. I think I’ll need to live to be 157 if I am ever going to finish the stories that are yet lurking beneath the level of consciousness. And then there is a book that is being requested that will be the hardest task – the survival guide to navigating through midlife while holding a relationship together. Perhaps, if I can do that topic justice, it will end up being my legacy. Sigh, I get tired just thinking about all of this.

Now, if you would consider reading a small book, a historical novella, please leave a comment here, drop me an email or Twitter direct message, and I will get back to you. Thanks in advance.

From Darkness to Light

Early morning darkness

I’m sitting in the darkness of early morning with only my screen and a fireplace set on low flame providing the only light. Outside, a full moon makes the snow appear to glisten, while two female mule deer wander slowly down the street, stopping only metres away from the window to listen before slowly sauntering across the street to an empty lot. It’s cold outside, well sort of cold at -12 Celsius. There is a light breeze blowing making it feel like -16 C. It’s the perfect time for one’s thinking to be less than bright and cheerful. As I scroll through my social media accounts, there is little to find that inspires hope. Stress is the norm. Frantic activity becomes a weapon to beat away the shadows that threaten. All of us need to find and use strategies to channel our frustrations. Our mental and physical well-being depends upon it.

It has been a year of losses for so many of us, if not most of us. Some have lost loved ones, some have lost livelihoods, some have lost connections with others, and most have lost faith in the governments that have been elected to protect us. I am trying to put a veneer of positivity in my own life. After all, I have everything I would ever need. I have no debts. I have good health, and I have family though I can’t visit them except virtually. Covid19 did enter my world in a personal way when our middle child got the virus. She works in the medical world, a front-line worker. Thankfully, she got over it without damage though her three children and her husband lived in fear until she was cleared and able to return to working full-time with covid19 clients. She messaged me to let me know she just got the first dose of vaccine. Needless to say, it did a lot to ease the pressure in my chest.

In a few days, 2020 will come to an end. The vaccine has become the symbol of a pathway out of the darkness of 2020. Will I get the vaccine? When it is my turn, I will. I want to travel again so that I can actually see my children and grandchildren face-to-face, to hug them, and … the list is so long. Like everyone else in my network, both virtual and actual dimensions, there is a thread of hope that begins to grow as the nights begin to diminish, even if ever so slowly.

How long will it take? No one knows. We only know the now. There is no choice but to hold the tension of what is. Being present, even though it is painful in so many ways, is vital. Slipping into the dimension of the past, constantly looking at the world through a rear-view mirror only feeds depression. Escaping into thoughts of the future feeds a crippling anxiety. We have managed to get to today, and that is a major victory. The knowledge that there is a spring and summer to follow has fueled our collective psyche since humans became conscious beings, allowing us to walk through the darkness of time of year, of spirit, and relationship with others.

The full moon told me this, as did the flame that ripples in my fireplace.

Naked Musing on Boxing Day

Boxing Day morning

It’s Boxing Day in Canada. It is snowing again, and the wind is blowing in from the northeast. The house is quiet with the exception of soft piano music that banishes the early morning silence of Boxing Day. I have finished the research needed for the last part of the Crusader novella that is all finished except for a rewrite of the last chapter. It is a writer’s kind of morning. Within all likelihood, the novella will be ready for the New Year. It’s also a morning for just wondering about the future.

The afternoon is all about online family activity with games and virtual visiting. With Covid putting an end to visiting once summer and outdoor gatherings became history, I have likely managed to see more of my grandchildren through virtual activity and video chats than I would have seen of them in a normal year.

Regardless, there is nothing like having a little one crawl into your bed to have a morning talk with a grandparent, or hugging your adult children, just because. From all that one can hear, it appears that a more normal world will be here by the end of the next outdoor season because of the vaccine. That will mean travel to our children’s homes. However, other travel will continue to be put on hold until the aftermath and fallout of Covid19 has begun to settle giving rise to new normals in other parts of the world. I don’t imagine that we will leave North America until 2022.

How has your world changed? How have you adapted to the changes?

Christmas Morning

Christmas morning coffee

I woke up early this morning, before five o’clock. I turned on the coffee pot, put up the temperature to a balmy 17 Celsius, then turned on the fireplace, before retreating to lay in bed for another ten minutes while waiting for the coffee to be ready. Then, with a fresh cup of coffee in hand, I pulled up my rocking chair in front of the fireplace and set the coffee down before opening the draperies to the darkness outside. Then, I turned on the lights that frame the windows as well as the tree. It’s Christmas morning on the Canadian prairies, a white Christmas. I will be home alone as my wife is off to work a holiday shift in the local nursing home.

Thoughts of Christmas 2020

Home alone at Christmas

What a strange Christmas season! I have to admit that we often have Christmas to ourselves now that our children are grown up with homes and children of their own. Our first Christmas away from family was in 2004 when we spent it in Cuba. It was a year when our children were spending Christmas with their in-laws. Then, we were in China for four Christmases as I taught in a Chinese university. Those years, we used Skype to connect. Then another Christmas out-of-country in 2017 when we were in Ecuador, another in-law year. However, technology has always been there for us to bridge the distance. But this year, we are home. Before the Covid19 pandemic reared it’s ugly head, we had already made the decision to be home for this Christmas, and for next Christmas as well.

I guess in a way, we have learned, as a family, to bridge distance. It was something that had to be learned at some point. This was going to be our year to host our family for Christmas. With borders closed and lockdowns in place, we are turning back to technology to make our Christmas connections. It all began today with watching the youngest grandchildren open their gifts from their grandparents. The big celebration comes on Boxing Day was everyone will gather together using the “Room” feature of Messenger. We used Zoom for Easter and had a few issues with the time limitations that “Room” will avoid. Of course, we have tested it out with just about everyone.

There is a real sense of togetherness using technology. It has helped us navigate distance as a family when weather, work, or pandemics keep us apart. Our children are as much gypsies as we are. Frequent voice and video chats even when there isn’t a holiday involved has us all keep up with the small things in our lives, whether it is a well-pitched inning by grandson number five, a band performance by other grandsons, sledding down hills by the littlest, or playing games.

How are you going to spend Christmas this year? Will you risk travel? Will you risk extending the “bubble”? Will you be working? My only wish is that you find something positive in the day for yourself. If nothing else, join me in toasting the day with a glass of wine [or your beverage of choice, even if it is the evil eggnog].

Joyeux Noel! Merry Christmas, Blessed Yuletide, Feliz Navidad!

It is Yuletide

Yuletide 2020

It’ll be a white Christmas on the Canadian prairies. Since I am in North America, and I live in a modern world that has mostly Christian roots, the word Christmas is the go-to word for this time of year. Personally, I prefer Yuletide [The period of celebration of a pre-Christian festival associated with the (northern) winter solstice, later absorbed into the festival of Christmas]. It’s a northern thing, this pagan Yuletide, northern European to be more exact. Beginning on the night of the winter solstice [December 21/22] the yule festival was a three day/night affair in the land of the Nordic gods and goddesses. An interesting tidbit, Yule is actually a variation of the Nordic god, Odin’s name.

However, perhaps the winter solstice celebrations have even older roots in the northern hemisphere. The Celts have traditions that are traceable back five thousand years. The burning of a log [yule log] and the gathering of mistletoe are just two of those ancient solstice practices. Burning the yule log was all about using light to fight darkness.

Christmas wasn’t celebrated until around 200AD with the date for Christmas being January 6th. And it stayed that way for another two hundred years when it was changed to December 25th. The bible doesn’t have a date or a season for the event. The only supported thesis is that by piggybacking onto the existing pagan traditions of the Nordic and Celtic peoples, the Church could persuade the pagans to become Christians. It wasn’t a great beginning as it was built on deceit. Yet here we are in the twenty-first century celebrating globally, the Nordic and Celtic pagan festivals of winter solstice.

Interesting side fact, there are a few historical records that indicate that the yuletide was twelve days in length. Now, we have the twelve days of Christmas immortalised in a Christmas carol. The twelfth day of Christmas being January 6, the same original date chosen two hundred years after the birth of a baby that has been deified as the Christ in Christmas.

Now for a final bit of trivia. That birth was apparently tied to a Christmas star. There were two celestial events that may fit the perception of a Christmas star around 2000 years about. One in winter 7BC and the other in June, 5BC. Those dates are all about back-dating knowing the movements of planets. There was nothing in the night skies that we now use as the birth date of baby Jesus. The use of AD, to date the birth of Baby Jesus was invented in 525 AD by a monk Dionysius Exiguus. That is as close as we get to a probable birth date. No wonder Christianity borrowed from other belief systems.

With all that said, I wish you the best this Yuletide. Be safe, wear a mask when you need to interact with others outside of your immediate household, wash your hands frequently after contact with the world outside of your domicile, and keep a safe distance when life asks/needs you to leave the tiny sanctuary that is your space.

Social Distancing and Writing Nude

Social distancing at home

Unlike many others, I am social distancing in the truest form of the word, and though I am an introvert though and through, Even in this relative isolation, I am feeling all of the angst, anger, and frustration, and even fear that is swirling like some sort of toxic gas in my community. All if this is in response to the pressures to have everyone limit their bubble to their home partners. In response, my neighbours seem to be visiting each other now more than once a day despite the instructions of the provincial government. They are already moaning about not being able to go anywhere and visit anyone, and about their families not being able to return to visit in their homes. And then they wonder why we don’t come over for wine and hors d’oeuvres or a neighbourly meal.

My wife and I do go out of our home. Every day we go for walks. When the wind blows too strongly, we put on our winter boots with ice cleats and walk around town, walks that range from three to six kilometres. When the wind abates, we head out into the countryside for longer walks ranging from six to twelve kilometres. On those rare moments we pass anyone on our walks, they are always at least five metres away. Our rationale is simple – if we can’t travel to see our children and grandchildren because of COVID19 rules, then we aren’t going to replace them with non-family whom we are also required to avoid in this period of stringent rules. Now, this does take a toll on the psyche, even for an introvert.

Since my last visit here, I have written/edited everyday. I have also put up two more posts at a sister site called Through a Jungian Lens. The site is not about naturism in any way, shape or form. It is focused on psychology. More specifically, it is about my resonances with Jungian psychology. The present series of posts deal with issues of the masculine which in our modern world seem to come to the forefront as both men and women reach midlife. If interested, don’t hesitate to check it out.

As well, I have returned to an older work-in-progress, a historical novel that is eerily realistic. It is hard to actually describe it as a novel as the plot line of history has already been written. My story in this book follows one man through a number of decades from his appearance in history [a real man] at the Battle of Hastings to his reappearance in the first Crusade, the Crusade of Princes. The man existed and had his name recorded in both events. In telling his story, there was no option but to fill in all of the holes that history leaves behind. This book about a Crusader is the follow-up to my recently published book, A Tale of Two Vikings.

I am hoping that over the next few days, I will return to speak more about personality types and naturism. Until then, stay safe.

A Naturist’s Time For Self-Care

Emma does yoga for self-care

A number of my naturist friends are showing us the way to a healthier way of being. Emma, Baz, Grahame, Earl and many others are vested in stretching themselves via yoga. Some follow a live video feed, some have a private alone-time yoga. What has gone missing are the group nude yoga sessions. I have to admit that I don’t do yoga anymore. I don’t have the discipline to follow through with best intentions. However, I do meditate using a half-lotus position and have done so for many years. Unless it is absolutely necessary, I meditate nude, just as my friends do yoga in the nude. Meditation is as much about the body as it is about the mind and mindfulness.

I have done meditation in groups, but have always done so while clothed. For a while, I was part of a Buddhist sangha, where I attended weekly meetings for dharma teachings. Sitting meditation and walking meditation were done at each of our meetings. And then, I got to attend makeshift dharma with others while in Mexico. Two seated meditations were part of each weekly meeting. With no Buddhist dharma teacher, I became an assistant to a kind gentleman who organised these weekly meetings. However, now in the time of Covid19, I find myself in solitary meditation all the time.

Even more common with most of the naturists I have come to know, are the walks in the out-of-doors. In my face-to-face world, I have noticed a sharp increase in people out for a walk, often in small groups even though it is winter. I go out almost daily for walks ranging from three to twelve kilometres. The short distance is reserved for walks around the town when it is too windy to walk out in the countryside. Even in this time of covid19, one doesn’t have to walk alone when out-of-doors. I rarely walk alone in the winter time when I am required to wear clothing because of the elements.

But it isn’t just through exercise of various types how we all find ourselves taking care of ourselves, Many are now investing time and energy into the preparation of good food for our bodies. I am surprised at how so many of the naturist community have become much more conscious of what is being eaten. That isn’t to say that “treats” aren’t being prepared and eaten as that would not be true. However, balance is becoming important. More are baking rather than buying bread and other baked goods, such other naturist friends such as, Robert, Donna, and so many others. Yesterday, for example, I was busy cutting up homemade noodles to be used in homemade soups.

How are you taking time for self-care? Comments welcome

Joie de Vivre Enhanced While Nude

Senses activated

Today I want to continue to look at the extroverted personalities, focusing on the Extraverted Sensing ES/Se type, and how that might appear in the world of naturism. I have a few people I know who belong to this group, though they may not know it at this point. When I provide you with the relevant information, you will likely have a few candidates in mind as well. It would be fun to have all naturists find out their base personality type. It could actually help us communicate better with each other.

When I was a school administrator, I used a similar personality type test that was used within our wider educational system for this specific purpose, to allow staff members to better understand their coworkers, as well as allowing me to better deal with the staff members. There are real practical world uses for knowing one’s own type, as well as the type of the others in one’s life. It could save us all a lot of grief when it comes to interpersonal relationships.

I have found two descriptions of extraverted sensation that might be of interest and of help in understanding the type rather than use references to Jung’s book on Personality Types:

extraverted Sensing (Se): deals with the present and the physical, and action – it’s “hands-on” – when we think of quick reflexes or (sometimes) extreme sports, this is extraverted Sensing (Se).  It’s observing all of the details of the here & now, and enjoying sensation – eating, sleeping, sports (skiing, swimming, football, cricket, etc), dancing, playing in the rain, etc.  It’s also enjoying external details – colors, scents, sounds, etc, which is why many people with good development of Se enjoy things like painting, or car repair, photography, or woodcarving, etc, etc.

The second description adds more information to be considered:

Se – Extroverted Sensing
Extraverted Sensing occurs when we become aware of what is in the physical world in rich detail. We may be drawn to act on what we experience to get an immediate result. We notice relevant facts and occurrences in a sea of data and experiences, learning all the facts we can about the immediate context or area of focus and what goes on in that context. An active seeking of more and more input to get the whole picture may occur until all sources of input have been exhausted or something else captures our attention. Extraverted Sensing is operating when we freely follow exciting physical impulses or instincts as they come up and enjoy the thrill of action in the present moment. A oneness with the physical world and a total absorption may exist as we move, touch, and sense what is around us. The process involves instantly reading cues to see how far we can go in a situation and still get the impact we want or respond to the situation with presence.

Joie de vivre, the joy of life. We all have it to some degree, even if it is almost invisible to ourselves and others. For the extraverted sensation type, it is front and centre. I have naturist acquaintances who like nothing better than to golf nude, to bake nude, to hike nude, to be full out in life while nude. For the ES [Se] personality type, it is all better when life lived out fully is done with the company of others. In this time of Covid19, that often means turning to Zoom or other platforms while waiting for the world to turn and allow us to go back to being social animals.

Here are two good descriptions of ES [Se] personality types. Read them and see if you fit one of them better than the other. ESFP and ESTP. The others ESTJ and ESFJ are actually extraverted thinking personality types ET [Te]

It’s a Matter of Who is in Control of Nude Activities

Today, I will begin with looking at the first of eight personality types, the Extraverted Thinking, the ET type. If you “tested” for this type, your three other functions will have smaller percentages assigned. The percentage number doesn’t have to be a large number. An example could read something like extroversion 4%, sensation at 6 %, and thinking at 11% [note that I am ignoring the J/P scores the way, this is a sign of a VERY balanced personality. A different person might test with extroversion at 53% intuition at 65 % and thinking at 83%. in both examples, the personality type is ET. It all then becomes a matter of degree.

But before I go on, I want to remind you about the extroverted attitude [Jung calls it the extraverted attitude] with reference to Carl Gustav Jung’s words: “The extravert … has a positive relation to the object … affirms its importance to such an extent that his [her] subjective attitude is constantly related to and oriented by the object.” C.G. Jung Vol. 6, paragraph 557. And a second quote: “If a [person] thinks, feels, acts, and actually lives in a way that is directly correlated with the objective conditions and their demands, [that person] is extraverted.” C.G. Jung Vol. 6, paragraph 563

Now, with two rational functions and two irrational functions, one of the four becomes the strongest function, the go-to function when all things are equal. I want to begin with the Thinking Rational Function. Here is what Jung has to say about thinking as the strongest function [of the four]: “As a rule, one or the other function predominates, in both strength and development. When thinking holds prior place among the psychological functions , i.e., when the life of an individual is mainly governed by reflective thinking so that every important action proceeds, or is intended to proceed, from intellectually considered motives, we may fairly call this a thinking type.” C.G. Jung, vol. 6, paragraph 584

Okay, so much for Jung. Now, what about the Extraverted Thinking type? And, how would that look like for a naturist/nudist? Or, does it show up at all in naturism and nudism. Good questions. Who is most likely to drop their drawers, so-to-speak, to get naked, an introvert or an extrovert? When one goes back to the differences, if one is an introvert, there is less likelihood in being in naked social environment. On a balance scale, it takes more energy to be with others rather than being with oneself on one’s own. The introvert would tend to solitary nude ventures. It would be interesting to test all the members of each naturist resort, club, etc. The same goes for events such as World Naked Bike Rides, or Naked Fun Runs, or Naturist Club swims at a public pool in the off-season. There is no monopoly on who would enjoy being nude. However, there is a difference in where and when nudity happens.

Now, if we go to the chart at the beginning of the blog post, we get a good idea of who this person is. First off, they have reasons for everything and aren’t unwilling to let others know those reasons. The stronger their percentages, the more they want to control the decisions and the activities in a nude social environment. They are very valuable people in a club and on an executive. Meeting agendas, activity planning and execution, whipping up the community to make events more successful [I am focusing on their positive traits here] are just some of their skills. Of course, I am simplifying all of this. The point is that as a naturist, you likely can think of someone who fits this description.

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