A Canadian Naturist

The world through a naturist's lens

Category: depth psychology (page 1 of 6)

Nude Psychology and Personality

I have been thinking for a while about where this blog site is going to go next. Several years ago, I gave a presentation in Mexico about Typology as explained by Carl Gustav Jung in his book, Psychological Types, volume 6 of a 20 volume series containing most of the writings of Jung. It is from this book, for the most part, that I will look at personality and the penchant by some for being nude. For those who are interested, an online site that will allow you to find your “base” personality type can be found here.

There are 16 types according the the popular Meyers-Briggs test. However, according to Jung, there are fewer types. He begins with stating that humanity is divided into those who are extraverted [his spelling], and those who are introverted. He then posited that these two groups contain a number of different sub types: thinking and feeling in the “rational” category, and sensing and intuition in the irrational sub types. He doesn’t include “Judgement” or “Perception” as qualifiers as are found in the Meyers-Briggs test. However, for the sake of keeping it simple, I will use these last two determinants. Just for your information, I have tested as INFP for several decades, and have taught typology in psychology classes, as well as being a student of Jungian psychology for more than thirty years.

no tension

Now, to begin with introversion and extraversion. It is important to note that no one is 100% introverted or extraverted. However, when there is no tension of any kind, we find ourselves in a resting state of either introversion or extraversion. I think you can relate to the idea that in spite of being an introvert, one can relate to others: family, colleagues, friends, and function in a manner that is rational. The opposite is true, an extrovert can find themselves alone and function. That is the tension demonstrated above.

introverted nudity – solitary nudity

We stretch ourselves with engagement with life. Yet, when the tension disappears, we return to our “natural” state. Introverts need to retreat in order to recharge their batteries, extroverts need to engage with others in order to recharge their batteries. Neither state is a statement about worth as a person, just a way of understanding self and other.

extraverted nudity – social nudity

Now as far as nudity is concerned, I am more like Mr. Stephen Gough, the Naked Rambler, in that I enjoy most of my nude moments while alone. I have friends in the naturist community who are all about social nudity. I take part in social nudity from time to time, but it is tiring when it becomes too much, forcing me to retreat to my camping trailer, or return home.

Now, before I get too carried away, I will send this out to you and invite you to tell me about your introversion or extraversion and your test type if you should so choose to disclose it.

Problems Defining Self as a Naturist

Joy Nelson in a meditative pose outdoors

There is a problem in the world of naturism. Well, the problem isn’t just in naturism, but more about the use of the word, naturism. Joy is not a naturist by self-definition. When I look at the many people I know in the face-to-face world who claim to be naturists, I am beginning to think that perhaps no one is a naturist. The word is too hard to define. That said, there is a consensus in the “naturist” community for what the word is supposed to mean. Nudity is front and centre. Add in the idea of being in one’s “natural state” whether indoors or outdoors, doing “natural” things while “au naturel.” Meditation, hiking, housework, reading, watching TV, a picnic, exercise, sunbathing … the list is long as it includes anything you can do clothed, normal activities in your life.

Joy Nelson, a Canadian, is a person who doesn’t define herself as a naturist though so much of what she presents to the world in her images, shows a naturist idea or ideal. It is there where we need to look when in search of what exactly is naturism – the ideal. It’s a concept which seems easy to understand – no clothing, natural activity, no agenda for the nudity other than as a state of being. We can all get there from time to time. However, just as in meditation, one can’t stay there. Alan Watts basically said the same about not being able to stay in a state of Zazen as a Zen Buddhist. We basically are humans, needing no permission to be human as we stumble in and out of more than one philosophy.

I am a Buddhist … at times. I am a Jungian … at times. I am a naturist … at times. I am a normal textile person … well the normal part is iffy … at times. I am an author … at times. I float in and out of roles and personae as does everyone else. How do I, or you, put a label on who we are. I know that for this blog site, I self-identify as a Canadian Naturist. However, That is only one part of being a complex being. One thing that is central to the naturist philosophy, for that is in the end what it is, is the state of not being sexual, with a sexuality intent. It isn’t pop-porn. It isn’t for titillating others. It isn’t about hooking up with others. There are a lot of “isn’ts” and that is important to know.

Yet, those isn’ts are about naturism, not about being human. We are sexual beings, with sexual desires. We are individuals who need the interaction with others. There is a hierarchy of needs that need to be met as humans and no one philosophy: Christianity, Buddhism, Naturism, consumerism, or whatever – which can provide us with all of our needs. What we need to do is to become better aware of ourselves, make choices that allow us to be ourselves in our best version, and accept we are as authentic, unique humans. And somewhere along the way, have some fun.

Nakedness and Shame

George Bernard Shaw as the Thinker

“We live in an atmosphere of shame. We are ashamed of everything that is real about us; ashamed of ourselves, of our relatives, of our incomes, of our accents, of our opinions, of our experience, just as we are ashamed of our naked skins.” —George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, 1903

George Bernard Shaw embodied this rejection of shame, rejecting sublimation to the collective unconscious which brings out the worst in humans in communities across the world. It doesn’t take much for neuroses to become embedded into a culture.

We gather together in communities, primarily out of fear of being alone. We view the others outside of our communities as inferior or even enemies. Within our communities, those who don’t accept the collective neuroses as moral truths are shamed with the intention of having conformity, unity. In the end, no one naturally fits into the collective paradigm and as a result we end up with individuals who suffer in shame, in self-doubt and expend a lot of money and energy to hide their natural differences from the average modern man.

George Bernard Shaw – relaxing & reading

Freedom from shame, a state of being that can best be thought of as a free spirit, a person who rises above the collective, or as Friedrich Nietzsche called this type of person, an overman, a superman. Today we all credit the beginnings of modern social nudism to the FKK movement. In reality, nudity was a normal part of life in Europe until the 18th century. Driven underground and declared an act of deviancy, it took a rebellion of youth encouraged by Nietzsche to live in harmony with nature, to embrace nudism, meditation and natural healing to bring nudism to the modern world, in spite of modern man who was and remains, ashamed of his naked body.

Shaw wrote the words above more than a hundred years ago. As I read them, I realised that nothing has changed, unless we have moved even deeper into a collective culture of shame and being offended by differences.

Joy on Trusting Your Naked Self

Joy on Trusting Yourself

Joy had a short and simple post with this image and the suggestion to “trust yourself.” It was left at that.

It all seems so simple, but that idea of self-trust isn’t so common in our modern world. We are told to trust our economists, our politicians, our bosses and co-workers, our clergy – well just about anybody and everybody but ourselves. It makes you wonder just how that came about.

I did some digging and came up with a short article in Psychology Today, by Rick Hensen called, Trust Yourself. Rick concludes his article with:

Be your whole self; it’s your whole self that you can trust. This day, this week, this life—see what happens when you bet on yourself, when you back your own play. See what happens when you let yourself fall backward into your own arms, trusting that they will catch you.

Somehow, we end up trusting the roles people play, the idea of them as more knowledgeable than we are. After all, the collective we live in has given authority to these leaders of state, church, and so on. However, when it comes to individuals, we aren’t very trustworthy at all. Why? Because we don’t trust ourselves.

We don’t trust ourselves because we know the darkness that lurks beneath the surface. We know that we aren’t trustworthy because we lie to ourselves and others. We would trust ourselves if only we were saints. Growing up we were taught to distrust ourselves because we were flawed, owners and holders of original sin. We heard the inner voices that confirmed our flawed self. It’s a catch twenty-two situation.

Naturism, for me, has provided a crack in that way of thinking. Risking being clothing free allowed my body a chance to speak for itself. When confronted with the fact of one’s body, the reality of it; one has no choice but to be honest. When seeing others similarly nude, one becomes gentler with oneself. This body is me! For good or bad, this body is me. We become attuned to our bodies. We begin to care for our bodies in spite of any fashion magazine tries to assert the disastrous idea that we shouldn’t trust our bodies unless they conform to a certain standard that somehow is constantly shifting.

Once we accept the truth of our bodies, another crack appears and we begin to listen to our inner self, begin to trust the inner self. It isn’t easy work. There are so many voices, including a few within our own selves that want to claim that authority, wanting us to trust them because we are not trustworthy.

So, as both Joy and Rick suggest, we need to claim our own authority, to bet on ourselves, and trust ourselves. Naturism is a pathway that can help us with this.

Morning Reflections on Nudity in Images


As with most mornings, I sit with my wife on the love seat in our living room, slowly waking up with fresh-ground coffee in our mugs. This morning, my head was swirling with scenes that could become part of my latest naturist novel. But it wasn’t just the novel that vied for my attention.

Yesterday, I sent out a tweet that bemoaned the inundation of images that purported to be naturist images. Of course, I am used to this phenomenon of men posting images of beautiful, trim and slim young women in all sorts of poses. Maybe the women were naturists, but the intent of the men tweeting the images was not about naturism.

I received the latest copy of AANR’s magazine called, The Bulletin. I had left the magazine on the kitchen table and my wife reacted to the image on the back cover, another “beautiful young thing” in all her glory in an advertisement for a nude cruise. The magazine was advertising the nude cruise for whom? The advertisement was selling a product using sex appeal. Now, how many women would resist booking such a trip, especially women of a certain age.

Of course, single men would buy a ride on the boat hoping that the promise of catching the attention of the “beautiful young thing.” But the problem is, very few single men belong to AANR, which is predominantly a club focused entity; and you typically can’t belong to a club when you are a single man. So, why did AANR accept the ad the way it was designed. I mean, the advertisement could have featured a man and/or a woman that didn’t look as if they were models.

Nude images are fraught with problems for the person captured in the image, and for the photographer, the worst of which appears to be how the images are used by others for an intent that has nothing to do with the photographer’s intent. It irks me to no end when images are turned into objects of fantasising and then hashtagged as #naturism.

Alchemy and the Naked Transformation of the Inner Self

I am bringing here, a series of blog posts that I wrote in 2013 that look at alchemy from a naturist and psychological point of view. While doing so, I will be editing my original words, something I hadn’t done at that time. There are four stages of alchemical transformation: Negredo, Albedo, Calcinitras, and Rubedo. I’m not going to bore you with all sorts of psycho-babble as my wife calls it. I want to simply talk about how naturism works its magic of healing, beginning with the body and reaching into the depths of the soul.

I accept that naturism allows a person to achieve a physical state that is in holistic and in balance with the earth. As well, naturism allows on to develop a healthier relationship with others and with oneself.  it is desirable that one looks for a psychological balance as well since we are as much spirit as we are body. I am not an alchemist. However, there is much in alchemy which allows me to better understand myself, allows me to remove all the layers that hide the essence of who I am. In a way, it is the mental version of stripping off my clothes to reveal the authentic core of who I am.

In following the model of alchemy from a Jungian psychology standpoint, the exposure to the naked self allows for a transformation at a conscious level. With that transformation, one is able to live more authentically, more aware in the world. Awareness, enlightenment – these are the goals, to become as fully aware as possible, aware of oneself, others, and the world. Now, to begin

The dark night of the soul, this is something that is intimately known by all who suffer depression, a place of darkness, a place of shadows from which we want to flee. This depression and darkness appears to be something “out there,” something to which we feel we are victims. Typically, we run like hell trying to escape, trying to hide from the darkness. Drugs, sex, money, work, new places, new hobbies, redecorating our homes, a new car, a new spouse: we try anything to banish that darkness. But, the darkness refuses to be banished. This is the dark night of the soul.

If we are like many others, we head to a doctor’s office for some pharmaceutical relief; or to a psychotherapist’s chair for some answers, some other strategies to banish the darkness. We do this only as a last resort knowing that if we don’t do something we will descend into insanity or commit suicide. It isn’t a pretty picture, but it is real.

“Alchemy announced a source of knowledge . . . It is harsh and bitter or like vinegar, for it is a bitter thing to accept the darkness and blackness . . . and to pass through this valley of the shadow. It is bitter indeed to discover behind one’s lofty ideals narrow, fanatical convictions, all the more cherished for that, and behind one’s heroic pretensions nothing but crude egotism, infantile greed, and complacency. This is an unavoidable stage in every psychotherapeutic process . . . it begins with the nigredo . . .“ (Jung, Mysterium Coniunctionis, CW 14, paragraph346)

So, the pain of depression serves as an impetus to finally do something about the pain when all the other avenues prove fruitless. So, one enters into psychotherapy. However, before the work can even begin, there is a need to create a place for the work; a safe, even sacred place. Like a surgeon preparing for an operation, there is the need to build a sense of safety in the relationship as well as place. The therapist needs to become aware of the boundary limits (or lack thereof) of the person and to build a sense of trust in that person as well as to have the person enter into a trust relationship with the therapist.

As time goes by, the two begin to test each other, test the boundaries of safety. And when there is a sense of safety, the belief that the container of their relationship has become sacred in its own way, then the work may begin:

“In the early period of analysis, the primary work is the establishment of the boundary, the analytical temenos, in which the analysis is to take place.” (Hall, The Jungian Experience, p. 78)

There is real vulnerability for both therapist and the person entering into this work of depth psychology. It is as through the establishment of temenos, a safe and sacred space where one is safe enough to strip of their psychic layers, as if stripping off clothing in order to expose the wounds that have led to the therapists office.

“From a psychological standpoint, this stage is experienced as entering a dark and chaotic unconscious inner world. St John of the Cross has referred to this as the first of two dark nights, the dark night of the mind, which is an encounter with the darker aspects of our self (that which Jung called “the shadow”). At first nothing appears to make sense, indeed all the therapist can do at this stage of the process is to be fully present and empathise with the client, who in the process of articulating their experience, facilitates it further.

During this part of the work, the “client” tells his or her story as it is known and sensed by the ego, the clothed self, This telling is vital and it is enough for the therapist to listen and support without trying to fix anything.

The therapist tracks the appearance of complexes, contradictions, images and fears through the process of working with dreams, journaling, sand play, and other active imagination strategies. For the client, it almost feels that everything is getting worse as old sores are laid open, exposed to the light. It must be stated that the process doesn’t wait for all the shadows to be exposed. The shifting to the second stage, albedo begins when the therapist and client begin to tackle what has been exposed. Only so much darkness can be held at one time.

Naked and Vulnerable Even When Clothed

In the underworld of dreams

Sometimes there is a real need for darkness. Darkness is a place where we are the least sure of ourselves, and perhaps that is a good thing. Why do I say this? Well, more often than not, our ego gets in the way of our becoming wiser, more complete beings. In the darkness, we fall asleep and enter into a level of connection to something bigger than the boxes we put around the world and ourselves using our minds. In darkness, we give up control and the doors open to a universe beyond all of our imagining, a world within which we find ourselves at home – curious, isn’t it?

A suit of modern protective armour.

When we wake up to the light of a new day, when night is pushed away, we dismiss the dreams, the forebodings, the flying, the embracing of everything that is too absurd for our conscious mind to accept. We know better, or so we try to convince ourselves. And so, we arm ourselves to do daily battle with the outer world, encase ourselves in protective armour whether that be a business suit or other uniform that validates ourselves as “one of them.”

Sleep – a time when the self wanders free of the mind’s control.

When we are asleep in the night, we are naked whether our bodies are clothed or covered with blankets and sheets. We find ourselves in scenes and scenarios where we are participants but not the author. We are unable to hide, even from ourselves. And exposed, we come to see the shadows that make us feel uncomfortable and uneasy. We come to realise that these shadows are other faces of ourselves, denied faces that rebel against being banished. In the night, while asleep, we are stripped of our ego, our conscious control.

What emerges is a rare kind of honesty which we dismiss when the light comes on moments after waking. In the light, we quickly put on our clothes to banish the lingering sense of vulnerability. But, we can’t cover up the gnawing sensation that we are still exposed, still vulnerable, and that life will discover our unease and unmask us as frauds. expose all of our warts, wrinkles, all the stains on our soul that lurk in the shadows waiting to erupt and embarrass us in the eyes of others in the world. No matter how many layers of clothing or makeup we put on, no matter whether there are designer labels or no-name brands of camouflage, we continue to feel naked, exposed, and vulnerable.

A Naked Writer and Winter

It’s snowing again. It appears that winter is here to stay until spring. Today is the second day of NaNoWriMo – the National Novel Writing Month. So far I have written more than 7,000 words of the 50,000 word target for November 30th. With the weather being what it is, I don’t imagine I will be tempted all that much to spend much of my time outdoors rather than at the keyboard.

Hopefully, she becomes one of my readers of naturist fiction.

As for what I am writing, it’s a mystery, even to me. Other than having already planned for a cast of characters and location for the story which is set in today’s world, that is about all I know.

I finished the revisions of the third book of my autobiography and it is now out to several Advance Copy Readers before I take the next step of publishing. If any of you wish to become one of these readers, just drop me a note here in the comments section and I will get right back to you. Now, it’s time to add in another few hundred words while there is still time today.

Naked Perfection Isn’t Found Out There

Art by David Joaquin

Sometimes I find images without looking for them, images that are powerful statements. This image to the left is the latest image that found a path through my thinking mind to reach deep into the core of my psyche, that place that we call “Soul.” The artist who created this masterpiece has many images that evoke the voices and stories of North American First Nations.

The image is powerful. The raven embraces the feminine, Mother Earth, as though to protect her.in the darkness with the shadows pressing. And, I am left with the question: Will he swallow the sun?

Adobe Photoshop Perfection

There is no doubt in my mind that we are hurting as a human race. We know that there is something wrong, but we aren’t exactly sure what it is that needs fixing in us as a people, and in the world in general. When we look in the mirror, we flinch and protest that this can’t really be who we are, this stranger in the mirror, especially when we are faced with our naked selves. Somehow, the internal images we have of ourselves don’t match what our eyes see. How do we solve this problem? Most often, we cover up the outer self, as well as engage in all manner of efforts to physically change what is seen in the mirror. Make-up, diets, exercise programs in expensive gyms, sunlamps, designer label clothing, tattoos and piercings, plastic surgery: the efforts to reshape and hide behind disguises attempt to hide the ugly truth that stares at us in the mirror. Yet, in spite of all the money, time and effort we devote to erase that ugly truth, we can’t unsee the self hidden from the eyes of others.. Life just isn’t fair.

Perfection has never been so simple

It isn’t just our bodies that are betraying us, we see that so many people around us are working overtime to convince us that we need to work harder and spend more money to become worthy humans, to be lovable. We try to convince each other that we are only worthy if we embrace the latest in everything.

Yet there are voices that would tell us that we are already beautiful and perfect. In spite of those closest to us who love us as we are and tell us that, we dismiss these affirmations of our outer and inner self. After all, regardless of the truth, we convince ourselves that they are obliged to affirm us in spite of our ugliness, our imperfections which we so desperately want to banish. We look out and see the images of perfection in all of our media. We see all those smart and fashionable people who seem to have what we are desperately seeking. And we become angry, especially with ourselves. We hate being defective, imperfect. And so we hide and deny as much about ourselves as we can.

What we need is what we can’t seem to give ourselves, a compassionate acceptance of our body, mind and soul.

Naturism – I Say Good and Society Says Bad

It has been a while since I have looked at James Hollis’ book, Why Good People Do Bad Things, so it just felt right to bring the book out from the shelf where it has lain idle. Why? Well perhaps it has to do with the fact that being nude, even in one’s own yard, is doing something bad when it comes to the modern world. If nudity wasn’t “bad” from a societal perspective, I wouldn’t worry about being seen. Yet, there is a need to worry in my part of the world. It only takes one phone call to the local law enforcement agency to have the weight of the society deal with my “bad” behaviour.

Of course other naturists/nudists wouldn’t view my nudity as me doing something bad – maybe for some, my choice of place and time for nudity would be viewed as a bit controversial or risky given the environmental and societal conditions surrounding my nudity.

Getting back to the book, I found something in it that bears repeating here, a quotation that fits what I am talking about.

As children, we learn to “read” the world around us to find what is acceptable, what is dangerous. Many learned that matters of sexual character were not permissible in their family or religion, and so associated their own natural impulses and desires as something evil, or at best furtive and contaminated. [p. 205]

Nudity, in spite of all the noise made by naturists and nudists to the contrary, is sexual. One’s skin is the body’s largest sex organ and allowing oneself to free the skin from the constriction of clothing elicits a sensual presence to oneself. Sexual does not mean that being nude implies that one is on the verge of copulating with another person (willingly or unwillingly on their part). Sexual does mean that one’s sexuality is not disguised or denied as though that sexuality – bare skin, exposed genitals (overt or implied) – was indeed something to be ashamed of.

Toddlers exhibit a “natural” way of being when they lose their clothing to run freely in their “birthday suits.” We teach these toddlers that it is unacceptable to be natural in this manner. We, as a society teach our children based our beliefs that come from religion, societal prejudices, law, and our personal world of unconscious complexes.

Hollis goes on to explain further.

The by-product of our necessary collusion with the realpolitik of childhood vulnerability is guilt, shame,inhibition, and most of all, self-alienation. We all, still today, reenact these collusions, suffer this shame, and retreat from our wholeness. [ibid]

And here we find the hidden roots of body shame. Because of the silence from others, the self comes to believe that he or she is wrong in being different, even bad. Stolen moments for nudity where one feels pure joy, soon turns to feeling guilty for standing outside the norm. After all, everyone else can’t be wrong, right?

I will be back. Until then, ask yourself a few hard questions and see just how much you want to avoid admitting that this also speaks about you and your experience.

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