Is it spring or is it winter? Snow one minute, sunshine and warmth the next, only to return to overcast and dropping temperatures. That is how I can best describe the Canadian prairies at this time of year. There have been days recently, that said, ‘maybe you can go free-hiking.’ The temperature is just about right and it is sunny. Yet, as soon as one steps outside to take such a walk, there is a prairie wind that subtracts between five to ten degrees. And so, I have to tell myself to be patient. The weather and time will come so that I can once again go hiking au naturel.
I woke up to snow this morning. Hiking while nude was not going to be on the agenda. Instead, I compromised and wore warm clothes to get in my daily walk into the countryside. Since the New Year, I have hiked more than 500 km [300 miles], all of them while wearing layers of clothing. I have to walk. It is the only way I can maintain some sort of fitness. When I add in meditation, the two act in concert to lower my blood pressure and body weight. Of course, diet is vital in having this happen. By that, I don’t mean going on a diet, I mean eating healthy – vegetables, fruits, grains, root veggies, and a variety of meat choices. When I don’t follow my own rules, I suffer. A recent post spelled that out in detail. I can now say my body has regained some of what had been lost. As a result, my mental well-being is better.
Unsaid in the last post, was the role that being clothing free plays in maintaining better mental health. Nudity is therapy. One doesn’t need social nudity in order to gain psychological benefits that comes with nudity. If one is able to spend some time in the sunshine, even if through a window, the body responds. When the body responds, the psyche responds. Social nudity acts upon a different level of the psyche. Since humans are basically social animals, being able to be nude safely in the company of others who affirm and reaffirm one’s being part of the group, adds significantly to one’s sense of self-identity. Social nudity encourages one to set aside self-criticism. The need for protective camouflage and strategies in order to find a tentative sense of belonging, is unnecessary.
Yet, for those of us who have very little, if any, opportunities for social nudity, especially in this era of a pandemic, getting outside to be nude in the sunshine along some river, sea, or lake; or walking down some nature trail where people are rare and wildlife live in safety; that is the best psychological medicine one can get. For a lucky few, outdoor nudity, healing outdoor nudity, gets to happen in one’s own private spaces in a garden.
I realise that many, too many, live in urban areas that are distant from sacred forests, meadows, and waters. There are real barriers of an economic nature that don’t allow for making the necessary journeys to find these places. For these people, perhaps the best that is available is quiet meditation in a bedroom. Whatever one’s condition, one can only do what is possible. We take what we can get. No one is better than another. The person living nude 24/7 365 days a year is no more of a naturist than one who steals precious moments just to remain sane. We need to remember that.
How many minutes a day does it take to be a real nudist or a real naturist? It isn’t measured in minutes or hours or days. It is a state of mind. Tune out those voices who judge. Listen instead to your body, mind and soul. Those are the only voices that count.