At Home and Naked in a Prairie Town

Feeling welcome?

This is the sign on my back gate. Of course, our neighbours are always made to feel welcome when they enter through the gate. We have a similar gate at the front of the back yard with another welcome sign on it, and it is used as well. One of the things I need to mention is the fact that when we know someone is coming, I have to wear clothing. Our yard is not a clothing optional zone if there are other people in it. Such is life in a small town on the Canadian prairies.

Thankfully, the town is near deserted during the summer with most going to their cottages in nearby locations leaving me to enjoy my yard as a naturist private paradise. I don’t have to worry about privacy fences in spite of the fact that I have been spotted in the yard, in the buff, on numerous occasions. I guess it’s the fact of very few children in our area which is almost a senior citizen’s corner of the town. My neighbours have seen me nude in my yard while they were also in my yard for one reason or other, as well as in my home. It is as good as it can get for a prairie town.

Emma – A Face For the Feminine Psyche

Emma – photo credit to @DiogenesSunClub

As usual, I checked with Emma about the use of some of her photos. She submitted a few images which I hope will put a face on the feminine psyche.  Now, just exactly do I mean when I say the feminine psyche?

Well, first things first. The feminine psyche isn’t a woman, and it isn’t a man. The psyche is the sum total of the conscious and unconscious aspects of “self.” Often, the word psyche is translated to “spirit” and/or “soul.” That aside, I simply want to keep it simple – self.

Emma immersed in the water, symbol of the unconscious.

Recently I had a DNA analysis done, well actually two separate DNA tests. The first was to answer one particular question: Do I have any First Nations ancestry? That test came back with a positive result. Hidden within, beneath the level of conscious awareness, the DNA tells a story that is bigger than the me I know. The DNA confirms what I intuitively knew and added a twist that seems to answer a question I hadn’t yet asked of myself.

A second DNA test was more open-ended in intent and the results were more surprising. Well, to be honest, my research had more than hinted at what the test stated as shown in the image to the right. This area of Britain, France, and northwestern Europe appears to be my dominant ancestral homeland.

But before I go one, I want to remind you, and myself, that this isn’t about DNA, but about trying to uncover/discover just who one is beneath the ego and conscious exterior of self. Each of us has the ancestral past influencing us physiologically and psychologically beneath the level of our consciousness. That ancestral past includes all of the men and the women of that past. Too often we tend to only follow the paternal links in trying to trace our roots.

Within each of us lies the roots that both paternal and maternal whether we like that truth or not. Our unconscious knows the psychic energy of both as the feminine and masculine self. Only the energy of these ancestors remain, coded into each of us as archetypes. Go back far enough, to beginnings, and what emerges is the union of the masculine and feminine which creates a separate and somewhat conscious being. Return to the present and we arrive at self, a separate and somewhat conscious being.

Emma – Glad to be me.

Daring to look within and acknowledge the truth that we are not really all that separate from each other, daring to strip off all of our camouflage and deceits, we can arrive at a measure of self-awareness which in turn frees us.

Being clothing free allows one to confront the self in a particularly vulnerable manner. Seeing the self without coverings is for most, a painful reminder that we are more than a mind. Our bodies, like our unconscious contents, force us to be honest should we dare to be naked and vulnerable. This final image of Emma clearly shows us just how liberating it truly is to come out from hiding and denying.

Dare to ask and then do the work to uncover the answers  waiting for you to begin your own heroic journey of self-discovery.

Together, Naked, We Are Stronger

I belong to a naturist group that is located in Saskatchewan. Like most other western Canadian clubs, the Green Haven Sun Club is affiliated with AANR – the American Association for Nude Recreation. Before I experienced my first club experience in late May, 2013, I had taken out membership with the FCN, the Federation of Canadian Naturists. Thankfully, that membership card allowed me to participate without having to pay higher rates that non-naturist federation people had to pay. Of course, I wondered why a Canadian club had affiliated themselves with an American organisation rather than a Canadian organisation. To be a club member, an AANR membership is required.

Manitoba Naturist Club

Earlier this month I got to experience a new club in Manitoba, and was surprised that the club itself didn’t require membership in either AANR or FCN. Becoming a member of the club  didn’t require affiliation with either organisation. The choice was as up to the individual, and if I remember correctly, the choice not to be a member of either was also acceptable. However, to be a visitor at that club, membership at either was required, as well as membership with a registered club so that the club could be contacted to follow up on the proposed visitor’s character before allowing him or her in the gate. This prairie club was very protective of its privacy and well-being.  While I was at the club’s grounds, two of their executive were at Green Haven attending the Annual AANR-WC convention. Another member was in Quebec attending the Annual FCN convention.

The clubs from Manitoba to the Pacific Ocean appear to be AANR-WC clubs first though they accept FCN members as visitors. For most of western Canada, the feeling of separation from eastern Canada in almost all things is familiar. This sentiment has unfortunately been echoed in the naturist communities. I have heard too often, “The FCN is only about Ontario and Quebec.” Most are waiting for the FCN to prove themselves by focusing and solving western Canadian naturism issues – “What has the FCN ever done for me?” is the common complaint and excuse for not becoming involved in the FCN. So, as a result, there really isn’t a collective national voice.

When I look outside of Canada, I find that the FCN is recognised in a significant manner with the INF – International Naturist Federation. Looking at the mandate and the international participation in the INF, I noticed one glaring fact. AANR is not represented at this international body. The Naturist Society, another American group didn’t fill in the gap leaving the U.S.A. outside of the loop. It is interesting to me to note that both the AANR and TNS see themselves as speaking for Canadians as well as Americans.

I have to admit that I find this all rather strange. The splitting into separate groups doesn’t do naturism in North America in general, and Canada in particular, any good at all. Separate voices that distrust each other while all wanting the same thing is irrational. Will we be able to eventually bridge the divides amongst ourselves? If not, there is little hope that we can bridge the divide between naturists and textiles in North America.

Lanie – The Naked Truth About Mirror Images

Lanie – a natural woman

Like most naturists that I have met online, I find that I am drawn to photos that celebrate the human body, a natural human body that doesn’t apologise for not being sculpted to fit the template promoted by the fashion industry.  I take photos of myself that are ordinary in terms of presentation. Lanie as a model, has learned to be very comfortable with who she is and adapts to the various projects for poetry and art that are asked of her. She makes it look so easy.

Lanie daring to see the truth of who she is in the mirror

As she looks in the mirror, as I look in the mirror, we are both faced with bodies that are not perfect by standards that have been arbitrarily set by some unknown and faceless group. Yet the bodies and faces that are reflected in the mirrors in front of us tell us of a different kind of beauty that is based on honesty.

I know that I could be more than just a bit fitter with muscles that are more defined. But, I accept that the reflection is acceptable as I have learned that it is what lies within the body that is vital. Bodies age. If we are held hostage by the mantra to be forever youthful withing a body that compels others to remark on our appearance, we find ourselves prisoners to others who weigh and judge – all based on appearance.

The truth is, once we can look in the mirror and accept what and who we see as worthy, we become free and we become better people. We find ourselves judging others less and accepting others for the sum total of who they are.

Holly Embracing the World of Naturism

Holly in the countryside

It is that glorious time of year when basically all of my online friends who are naturists are busy being outdoors enjoying sunshine and warm temperatures. Holly is finding the time to explore more of the naturist world in the U.K. as she finds herself trying to make up for the years she lived with social conventions and missed out on all the possibilities to enjoy the world, when possible, without clothing.

Holly along a rock wall

I can remember when I first ventured out to experience sunshine without clothing as an adult. It was nine years ago in Mexico where I found a tiny, sunny niche and dared to remove my short-sleeved shirt and shorts. I felt nervous, a bit of fear that I would be caught, and an indescribable feeling of well-being. Over the next few years, I tried pushing my personal envelope to sneak more and more of such rare experiences until in 2013 when I went to my first organised naturist campgrounds.

Holly’s shadow on the wall

Unlike Holly who seems to have dived in without any hesitation, I continued to flirt at the edges of participation as a social nudist though I risked more and more as a private naturist while outdoors. It is only with the past few years that I feel more confident about being able to keep my non-naturist relationships with others without fear of losing them because of their imagined responses to my nudity. I moved slowly, a process that has allowed me to avoid the loss of significant others in my life such as my wife.

Holly daring to be authentically herself

My neighbours have accepted the fact of my being nude in my home and in my yard most of the time. I do put on clothing when they come over as they aren’t really fans of seeing an older man who is nude. They have all seen me naked and have simply shrugged their shoulders – to each his or her own – is what they tell me.

Since Holly is carving out her own entry into the world of naturism at a much quicker pace, she will likely have to deal with a resorting of her relationships with neighbours, family, and friends, something that I have had to do and continue to still deal with. For both of us and for so many others who are naturists, it will be something that will continue to challenge us in a world that is not really all that nude-friendly.

Naked Before God – Just As We Are

I wonder if, sometimes, we don’t sit working at our work and suddenly hear a summons which we might, if sufficiently attentive, understand as the voice of God calling us, just as we are.” – Allen

I have a friend, Allen, who I met a number of years ago at the NOOK, an online social network. For a number of years we have exchanged emails as well as the occasional interaction at the NOOK. I find it interesting that those who become friends at various social media sites soon find a way to enlarge the connection via other media.

Sometimes, as Allen pointed out to me, the plumbing of the depths of the other happens over time simply through reading blog posts. Since I write a lot, others can get to know me better through my words, especially when they are read over time. Time has a way of exposing the core of who one is. As a result, our friendship over time has become stronger. When I felt it was time, I asked Allen to allow me to bring some of his images and words here. Because he has learned to trust me, he agreed.

“Even this morning I dreamt of myself naked in the presence of others, in a bookstore! “

Both of us are interested in Jungian psychology. Both of us, in our own fashion counsel others. Both of us have worked with Jungian analysts and have learned the value of dream work. And from what I have learned from Allen, both of us have experienced being naked in dreams. I remember doing a dream project in the nineties with a group of about twelve others. I was surprising the number of dreams that included nudity though none of the group were nudists/naturists. All were academics or in the field of psychology.

“one will never have to say, when one draws one’s last breath, there was never a time when I felt alive.”

 

Both of us are what I could say, oriented to a spiritual dimension. Does it matter the form or the roots of one’s spiritual expression in daily life? I don’t think so. What matters is that one heeds the call to be greater than.  Allen wrote to me: “I wonder if, sometimes, we don’t sit working at our work and suddenly hear a summons which we might, if sufficiently attentive, understand as the voice of God calling us, just as we are. ” I heard Allen’s words to be in reference to soul as well as humans clothed in nothing but the skin we were born with – “just as we are.”

So, it is with satisfaction that I can now share my friendship with Allen to you.