Nu comme le jour où je suis né

Month: April 2022

Finding Joy in Mundane Tasks

Leaves that have blown in from somewhere

The sun is out and there are hopes that it will climb into double digits today. Regardless, there are chores that need doing in our back yard and I am loathe to put on clothing if not 100% necessary. Cleaning off the deck is first on the list as we will be having company come in the late afternoon. Ordinary life means ordinary tasks. I once heard a description of what awareness means that bares repeating here.

A wise man, a Buddhist monk of some sort who had achieved full awareness was asked to explain what was in store for him by a novice monk.

“Before you start on the path to awareness, you carry water in pails from a well, work the garden, chop wood, and perform mundane tasks. The work is done unconsciously without any awareness of the mysteries of becoming fully conscious. When at last, usually at a ripe age, when all the mysteries of life are learned, you become a guru, a teacher.”

“But why are you still carrying water from the well? Shouldn’t others be doing it for you?”

“Ah, but that is the reward. Now I get to do these vital tasks fully aware of their importance. Now, I can be fully present when doing them. The water still needs to be hauled, weeds still need to be hoed, and wood still needs to be chopped. I may as well enjoy these tasks.”

I can’t claim to be fully aware nor fully enlightened. However, I can be fully present when doing mundane tasks. It makes life so much more enjoyable.

The Wayback Machine

Naked gardening chores

It’s -2 Celsius with a feels like temperature of -7 because of wind. The rain water in the blue barrel is full and has frozen. I adapted and hooked on a different spout to move rain water into an alternate barrel, an old hot water tank. Saving rain water is vital for our garden. Once the alternate tank is filled, I’ll add on to the spout to have the water go directly to the rose garden. Nothing is growing yet, but it is best to be prepared. Naked gardening has a lot of work that goes on in the background.

Okay, this post isn’t about naked gardening. As some of you know, I have been restoring old posts from cached archives. As a result, about 200 post that I had thought were permanently lost have been retrieved. There are a few more that will make their way to the archives on this blog site, mostly posts from 2013.

For those that may have lost or deleted old blog sites, some of those old posts can be found using something called the Wayback Machine, which was where I found my old posts. I do know that ALL the missing posts aren’t able to be found. I have likely only recovered about 20% or less of my old posts, most of which weren’t worth keeping anyway. At least I have some continuity.

One of the problems is the typical loss of photos that were in the original posts. So, if you didn’t archive your old photos, that could become a problem. Now, is all of this worth the effort, and believe me it was a lot of work? I mean, they are old posts. In my opinion, the posts were mostly about recording my navigation through time. They are there for me much like a diary. I guess one could call it the Diary of a Canadian Naturist Man.

Why do people keep journals or diaries? For the most part, they are written in booklets created for that purpose. We give diaries to our children, sometimes with keys attached so they can feel the sacredness of their words. I know as a writer, I have found immense use in reading journals of long dead, famous authors. As a psychotherapist, being able to read journals of Jung has taught me so much. The world would be so much poorer without those private thoughts being brought to us through time.

Do you keep a journal or diary? Does it matter if it is in an off-line format? Why? I am interested in what you have to say. And yes, I keep a journal that is not published online. To safeguard it’s privacy, I keep my journals secure. Once I am gone, I imagine my children or grandchildren, whoever finds them, will be shocked at what is read. But that is important too. There are no saints. We are all flawed. Some of us need to admit that safely, in our journals.

Feeling Warm Despite the Weather

Into every life a bit of snow must fall

Yesterday, it was more like early spring with the temperature climbing to 8° Celsius by the afternoon. This morning, the wind is howling at 50+ km/hr winds out of the north and snow is falling. It’s a good day to remain indoors. Needless to say, I didn’t spend any longer than necessary time to have this image captured.

The challenge was there. One of the things I have come to realise is the fact that if we play it safe, we don’t learn much about ourselves or others. Why disturb the status quo? Why rock the boat? Taking risks increases the heart rate flooding the body with endorphins. That surge of energy more than makes up for temporary discomfort. Believe it or not, I didn’t feel the cold north wind as much as I had thought in terms of freezing.

When I go outside in weather like this, I still feel cold when bundled up in layers. Yet, when my skin is exposed, I feel much warmer. Two afternoons ago, my wife and I sat out on our deck for tea. Because it was sunny, I quickly lost my clothes to feel the blast of sunshine on my body. My wife was wearing a sweater and commented that it really wasn’t that warm out. Had I been clothed, I would have agreed with her. It’s strange.

The Enchanted Mirror

The enchanted mirror

Mirrors. Do they tell us the truth? We all look in the mirror, some of us more than others. We have all sorts of reasons to look in the mirror, at least I do. The mundane reasons I find for myself have to do with shaving, brushing my hair, trimming my moustache and beard, and checking out the matching of colours and the fit for the clothing I need to wear for a given event. But then there are other reasons, usually quite critical reasons.

Lanie has given me permission to once again use one of her photographs for this post, one that lends itself to the question of what one sees when looking at oneself in the mirror. The mirror becomes enchanted as it somehow plumbs behind the obvious fact of the person looking into the mirror. It is no accident that fairy tales talk about magical mirrors.

Mirrors capture mood and intent of the subject. Mirrors dare us to ask questions about the stranger that appears in our stead. Whether we know it or not, we know so little of that person staring back at us in the mirror. Do we dare ask questions? Do we dare peeling back the layers? Do we risk opening the Pandora’s box and let the hidden and mostly unknown [as well as the consciously repressed] aspects of self appear? What if we don’t like what we see?

We can never put back what emerges into the unconscious. Even if no one else discovers what we have learned about self, we must live and somehow integrate what we have learned … or else we will suffer.

à la prochaine – until the next time

Easter Sunday Pancakes

Well, I didn’t go for a free-hike as I had hoped though I did manage a bit of clothing-free time before turning back for the return half of my 8 kilometre hike yesterday. The sun never did break through the thick cloud cover which cast a gloomy mood on the day. Despite the dreariness of the skies, I walked at a good pace until I met with mud on an old dirt road. At that point, I was forced to walk in the ditch to avoid the mud. It is too early for free hiking. There will be ample opportunities and time for long free hiking treks in the months ahead.

This morning, Easter morning, the sun is out though it is -8 Celsius. We are at home alone for Easter, something that is not typical. We usually have one or more of our children with their children home for the short holiday. When they are here, the tradition is that I make pancakes. Even though I was at home alone for the morning with my wife at work in the nursing home, I made a small batch of pancakes that will feed me for four days. I have planned this for a few days. It is a small thing, but even small things count in the big picture.

One of my projects for the next while is to recreate old posts that I had published in the distant past. The first one is up for December 2004. The second post jumps to February 2007 when we were in China. If you are interested, just check out the archives.

à la prochaine – until the next time

Active Imagination and Nude Art

Lanie – photo by John Duder

Lanie has once again given me permission to build a post around one of her images, this one taken by John Duder. Lanie is a model in the UK for those that don’t know her. When I look at the image, my imagination takes off in the direction of mythology with her as a mother-goddess figure that emerges out of darkness.

The feminine brings life out of darkness. Life is conceived deep within the goddess Gaia. But is isn’t just her power to give birth. She has the power to draw in the masculine who plants the seeds that will gestate and then flourish when finally emerging from the darkness into the light.

A man is drawn in like a moth drawn to a solitary light in the darkness. The goddess swallows the essence of a man, not the man himself. But, it isn’t all mythology. In this mortal world, an ordinary man and an ordinary woman become god and goddess for a moment to perform the same miracle. What draws the ordinary mand and woman together is an unconscious fascination with the other. At least, that is the hope. There are too many assaults on mortal women by men and women who are too damaged to see the goddess within every woman.

There is a fine line between active imagination and acting out unconscious desires. Assaults on others are all about the acting out. The ego gets confused and contaminated with the shadowy world of the unconscious. With active imagination, there is safety for both self and other as the unconscious gets expressed as art, whether that art be in photographs such as Lanie’s above, paintings such as those from the Renaissance, sculptures such as those by Rodin, dance and theatre, or in poems and stories.

Active imagination can bring out the best about who we are as individuals and as a society. I use the word “can” as it isn’t always the case. The darkness of who we are deep within ourselves, or as a culture is also expressed via active imagination. However, since the expression of our personal and collective shadow is contained within various art forms, they are contained safely.

We need to see the truth of who we are deep within, both the shadow self and the light self – self as a god or goddess – self as a demon.

à la prochaine – until the next time

Gathering Past and Present Posts

Welcome back Naturist Lens

Years and years ago, I had a blog site called Naturist Lens. Since then, I have switched platforms several times which resulted in losing subscribers to my posts. I have been using WordPress.com for them. However, because of the inability to use “plugins” without paying an exorbitant amount of money, I have gathered all my posts via export files, and brought them back to my home site which uses WordPress.org. Since I already pay for this home site for other blog sites and general web presence, and I had access to many, many free plugins and paid plugins, it only made sense. For the next while, I will be tidying up this site’s archived posts, replacing photos where needed.

Because my name is front and centre in the URL, there is a risk factor. Using this URL is basically the same thing as taking down a privacy fence around one’s home. Since I am officially old, I don’t really care all that much anymore. After all, my family and friends already know about my preference when it comes to clothing.

With that said, a bit of trivia is now in order. It is -9 Celsius outside with a feel-like temperature of -17. A gentle snowfall is in progress though it isn’t adding up to very much so far. We are hoping for a huge dump of snow as the ground is dry and powdery because of last year’s drought conditions. I weighed in at 167 lbs which tells me I have been stable for two years at this weight.

Trivia aside, life goes on here on the Canadian prairies.

à la prochaine – until the next time

A Conflict of Worldviews

Okay, so today’s topic takes me back to a conversation I once had with a writer friend who has written more than 50 books, many of them being naturist fiction. While my wife and I sat with him somewhere in the Netherlands, we talked about the world accepting people being nude in general public settings. There was one conclusion that we all agreed upon – it wasn’t going to happen. He is a naturist, as are many, many other people I know who are pragmatic people. We can look at the world without tinted glasses and have little problem decoding the near global worldview that nudity is tolerated, if even that, in very limited places.

Now, people who embrace nudity aren’t exactly a homogenous group. Every political, economic, social, or religious group will find members who self-identify as nudists or naturists. And then there are others who make no such distinction and simply take moments in their lives to enjoy being clothing free. Yet somehow, there is an unreasoned expectation that the group should abide by some sort of belief and behaviour code. Zealots are loud in their attempt to herd the larger group into some sort of homogenous group where the enemy are people who embrace clothing and being clothed. The above image is quite clear that it is an “us versus them” dynamic. Well, that is an approach that will ensure that the freedom to be nude in the general public will never happen. Besides, in my opinion, it is more harmful than helpful.

My wife is one of those people who prefers to keep her clothing on. She actually likes her clothes and enjoys exploring new fashions, colours, and textures. I love my wife and don’t see what I would have to gain by “joining the fight against textilism.” She is comfortable with me slipping out of my clothing when time, place, and conditions allow [which is the majority of the time]. At times, she slips out of her clothing to join me in social situations where it is safe for her to do so. She is comfortable with her body. I have no desire to “control” her or abandon her for not mirroring the way I want to live.

As someone with a long history of providing mental health services, I have learned that those who try to control others, do so out of their own issues of self-identity. Anyone who is different is viewed with a lens coated with fear which morphs into anger. Those kind of people need people to provide affirmation. Those who disagree become enemies.

Most people don’t care one way or the other. They want to live their own lives, people such as my neighbours. They have seen me without clothing, usually when I am in my yard. They don’t make a big deal of it, nor do I go out of my way to have them notice me. When they come over for a meal or we go to their place, I wear clothing. For me, it is about respect. They are good people who don’t need or want to be nude or be overwhelmed with always seeing me nude. When we are together and I am wearing clothing, it is easier for them in terms of being comfortable to talk, to laugh, to share a meal, or an evening for wine and hors d’oeuvres. Both of us come out of this as winners. They know who I am and accept me for who I am and continue to be good neighbours and friends.

This might be the best scenario in a world that only sees things in black and white, as dualities. Nude or clothed with no in between. The only solution to this polarisation would be for a near-extinction event which wiped out most of humanity thus allowing for a reset. But even then, human nature will reassert itself and we will find ourselves as polarised as ever. My advice, try just being you. Forget about being a clone of someone else.

à la prochaine – until the next time

Passing Thoughts About Images

As I mentioned in my first post, I live in a northern, temperate climate. Since it is April, early April, there is no guarantee that there won’t be snow. We had snow last night and there is more such moisture happening for the rest of today. I don’t mind snow, at least in the right seasons. This morning, despite the snow, feels rather nice. Because the world had warmed up in my corner of the universe, it wasn’t so cold on my feet to check out the world contained in my backyard.

I left my footprints behind me as I wandered onto the back deck, just as I have left footprints on beaches by the water’s edge. And just like those footprints in the sand, my snow-edged footprints will disappear as though they were never there. I think my life is like that to an extent. In time, my presence will fade from memories, perhaps even from myself. What remains when presence has faded? In fifty years from now, I will be nothing but a foggy memory for a select few. A few photographs such as this one taken this morning, will tell only some of the story. The story seen in this image is non-sexual in content and intent. So what story will emerge in the years to come with images such as this one.

I use photographs for a variety of reasons. Currently I am creating a book for my youngest grandchild who will turn three years old later this spring. The book is a picture book that tells the story of his first three years of life, pictures that show the people in his life interacting with him. As he grows older, memories of his first three years of life will fade and perhaps disappear. That’s normal. It is rare for anyone to remember the first four years of life. This book will preserve those initial memories. Perhaps, the photos in this book will allow him to remember more of his early childhood.

As I said, I use photographs. I literally have tens of thousands of photographs going back decades. Most of these photos are of people, places, and events. A small number of them show nudity. Over the past ten years, the majority of these nude images are of myself. Other than rare sharing of selected images with select others, no one sees these images other than me. I keep a journal, a private journal where I place one or two such images as illustration of the day’s events. Now, I wonder about these images. What if they became public and everyone who knows me were to see them?

That’s a daunting thought. I mean there are my children and grandchildren to consider. There are siblings, cousins and other extended family members to think about as well. There are neighbours and community members with whom I interact with on a regular basis. What about those whom I don’t know but who could have an impact on my life should they see those images? I mean, should I destroy them and hope none that have been shared fall into the dustbin of time? What do I have to gain? What do I have to lose?

Many of the others whom I know through Twitter, believe that the photos, theirs and mine, will change the world to become more tolerant, more accepting of the unclothed body. They speak of #NormalisingNudity and #NormalisingNaturism [I use the Canadian version of these hashtags – it isn’t a spelling mistake]. To be honest, I just don’t see that happening in my lifetime. What I do see is that the world is drifting to a less liberal worldview, a more fundamentalist worldview where differences will be less tolerated. It’s just my opinion, and I don’t pretend to be an authority.

So, why do I even bother with images where I or others are dressed only with air, skyclad? Honestly, I am just being me. I won’t be changing the world, my community, or my family. I don’t want to control others. I also don’t want others to control me.

à la prochaine – until the next time

%d bloggers like this: