Because it’s December 1st

Predawn shadows

Predawn shadows

The novel project with NaNoWriMo is done for this year. However, the novel isn’t completed. Now that I have written the story, I find that I need to go back to the first and second books in the series and make some changes. I already have book four in the series beginning to unfold in my head so I need to clean up the previous books so that they all truly fit together. It’s a good thing I haven’t published book two yet. Book one will have a different cover that better indicates the idea that it is a psychological fantasy book that uses naturism as a foundational fact of life and one’s humanity.

Nudity isn’t used for titillation, but simply as a state of being. Because of that, I’m not sure if one can say that the book fits into what I could best call a  naturist genre if there is such a thing. Yet, because nudity is not presented in a deviant, offensive, or sexual, I wonder if the natural nudity in the book forces it into the genre of the naturist sub-culture.

Regardless, for now the writing is done and it is time for me to pack up my stuff to make the annual trip to Mexico where I hope to enjoy three months of sunshine and warmth resulting in storing ample Vitamin D without tan lines. It’s time to emerge from behind the keyboard and out of the shadows to be more fully present in outer life in the outer world.

Navigating Plot Twists in a Novel

Thinking time as the novel gets more complicated with new twists.

Thinking time as the novel gets more complicated with new twists.

The novel is approaching 40,000 words and is nearing the end of one major thread in the plot. Before today is over, I will be shifting the setting to a different European location leaving the Camino Portuguese behind as the trio of protagonists complete their pilgrimage to Santiago.

Due to the complications that arose during the pilgrimage, they must remain in Europe to resolve those problems before they return home to North America. And since I write as though guided by an inner voice, at times like this, I need to step outside the novel to make sure that the next steps are logical and fit with what has happened in the story.

It’s morning, not long after sunrise as I take this break from the novel while waiting for coffee to be ready, coffee I made earlier while it was still dark outside that now needs to be reheated in the microwave oven. I have been awake for almost five hours and will be working on the book for another eight hours before it will be time for me to again interact with other humans. We’ll see where the rest of today takes me in the novel.

A Prairie Winter Scene

Red Pheasant Reserve Cemetary

Red Pheasant Reserve Cemetary

This morning I made a trip to visit a brother-in-law who lives about three hours from my home. I left in morning darkness and soon found myself travelling through low-lying fog with the temperature hovering around minus three degrees Celsius. I was worried about frost build up on the windshield, but was fortunate that the fog was more interested in sticking to trees and bushes. Naturally, I slowed down as I drove north.

The drive takes me past two First Nations Reserves, Red Pheasant and Mosquito. I decided to stop along the highway at the cemetery for the reserves to get this photo as I wanted to get a full winter scene without having to worry about serious cold conditions. The fog slowed down passing traffic which gave me ample time for the photo while my car was parked on the edge of the highway. I was surprised at how warm I felt while not wearing clothing.

Regional Campgrounds at Biggar

Regional Campgrounds at Biggar

After a good visit with my brother-in-law, it was time to drive back home with a care package of wild meat which I will be making into sausage once we return home from Mexico in the spring. I was surprised at how once I came close to the First Nations reserves on the way home, the heavy fog was still in place. I drove about eighty kilometres through the fog which disappeared near the town of Biggar.

The sun was making brief appearances so I stopped at the local campgrounds to get a few more photos. It has been a good day. There are some things about being a Canadian and winter that are priceless.

 

Trauma and Sexuality

Daring to be authentic.

Daring to be authentic.

I remember seeing this photo for the first time, many years ago. Their relationship defied what the adoring public wanted from their hero. The public wanted rebellion, anger, fantasy; the last thing they wanted was authenticity. Stripped bare, daring to expose their ordinariness, their flaws, their pain, and their love; the mystery of the iconic troubadour was exposed. In the end, that honesty cost John his life.

How dare we as individual humans step outside of irrational norms, or even very rational norms to tell the truth of ourselves. Our culture thrives on keeping the masks on, denying even when we are caught red-handed. We lie to the world about who we are, about our dreams and fantasies. We even lie to ourselves, denying our shadow, our darkness that hungers for what is denied, even if what is denied is beautiful.

Clothed in gold.

Clothed in gold.

We tell ourselves that it is important what others think. What would our children say about us or think about us if we were so honest, fully authentic, daring the exposure of our pain, joy, confusion, anger, and bodies? We irrationally belief that our children and grandchildren will be traumatised, not only by what they see, but also by the reactions of extended family, friends, community, and the larger world.

For those who dare to risk, bringing the edges of shadow into the light of consciousness with intention, life takes on a sharper and fuller quality. Taking the risk sets one apart from others who cling desperately to social norms. Yet, over time, the separation dissipates with familiarity. It is now almost normal to be homosexual in orientation, but only if it isn’t “in their face.” However, the sight of genitals still shocks. What is it about human sexuality that appears to traumatise?

33% of all females, 17% of all males experience sexual assault

33% of all females, 17% of all males experience sexual assault

Assault – sexual assault. Early life experiences taught us that our bodies, our sexual bodies are targets. It doesn’t matter that the abusers wore clothing or not. The touches, the groping, the claiming of authority over our sexual bodies by others scars us leaving us, and those who are aware of that abuse, in a state of fear.

Survivors of abuse, and the society around them, usually equate abuse with genitals. Predators prey on the bodies, the genitals of their victims. Predators hide their own bodies. The power that comes from hiding in the shadows, behind uniforms, suits, and respectable clothing allows predators to gain trust and access to their victims.

Being naked would visually expose the predators. excitement when near intended victims. That visual warning would eliminate trust and much of the access. We know that, but we are frozen in our fear.

I have used naturism to reclaim my authority over my body, to lessen the fear. And for those who know me and see me as I am, my nakedness does not inspire fear even though many of these people have been victims of sexual abuse as well. If anything, there is a sense of safety.

A Moment of Warmth Before Winter

BBQ in progress this afternoon.

BBQ in progress this afternoon.

It is a strange day with heavy cloud cover yet with temperatures reaching almost 15 Celsius in the mid-afternoon. By the time I ready to BBQ, it had dropped to a still balmy 12 C. I have to take advantage of the warmth when it appears for it won’t be long before we have temperatures well below freezing – forecast for the next two weeks is bleak.

The clothes are dry.

The clothes are dry.

Taking advantage of the weather means hanging out the laundry to dry outdoors. When the weather is bad, the drying happens on lines I have strung in the basement. Of course, when there is a “rush” for dry clothes (almost never), there is a dryer in the utility room along with the washing machine.

When the clothes were finally off the clothesline, I noticed a late rosebud on the island of rosebushes. Then, sadly, it was time to head indoors. It gets dark early with sunset for today before six pm. It was gloomy dark grey before sunset. The evening will be spent au naturel inside, working on more preparation for my NaNoWriMo project for next month. The novel writing exercise begins in five days. And as in the last two books, Rene Beauchemin becomes the protagonist. I still have a lot of work to do if I am to be ready.

I will return with a continued exploration of the masculine and the feminine through art.

Risking it All for the Love of a Woman

Venus, also know as Aphrodite, by the sea.

Venus, also know as Aphrodite, by the sea.

Aphrodite, the goddess of love, of beauty, also known as Venus. This image painted by Henri-Pierre Picou in the 19th century is just one of many that depicts the goddess. She is soft, not hard and angular like a man. She is vulnerable, yet modest in spite of her naked vulnerability. She invites trust and blossoms with worship.

As the goddess of love, she excited passion in the hearts of gods and men, and by this power ruled over all the living creation. Now, any man who has found his personal goddess and taken her as his wife, knows all about being ruled by her.

Emma as a creature of the sea.

Emma as a creature of the sea.

She is a goddess, an archetypal presence that pulls us into her depths, the depths marked by the sea in which we never master. As we catch glimpses of her, we see her as we need to see her, as a blinding light of perfect beauty. And, perhaps sadly and dangerously, we only see that surface beauty. There is a depth to her that takes one into her dark depths, the place of both birth and death. Like all gods and goddesses, she has a dark and light aspect.

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A sensual, playful nature pulls us into her embrace, entices us to “master” her. Yet, no sooner do we sense a feeling of dominion, we experience a death, a small death of ego and will. We are vulnerable and ripe for domination by this goddess. We shrink within her, become children to her. And she has the power that calls to us again and again to submit.

maaritIn the darkness we reach for her, search desperately for her knowing that we are only complete when consumed by her.

The goddess lies dormant in all women. Unconscious of their power as creators of the universe, they are as wounded as the men who covet them, desire them, risk all for them.

Sexuality and Meaningful Relationships

Hadrian

Hadrian

Hadrian, a Roman Emperor took a lover, Antonius who was deified by Hadrian upon his death. Antonius died young, by the age of twenty.  For Hadrian, the relationship was meaningful.

Antonius as Dionysus

Antonius as Dionysus

In the Roman Empire, Roman men were free to enjoy sex with other males without a perceived loss of masculinity or social status, as long as they took the dominant or penetrative role. Greek society did not distinguish sexual desire or behaviour by the gender of the participants, but rather by the role that each participant played in the sex act, that of active penetrator or passive penetrated.

Why do I bring up this topic here? In the modern western world, there is a disproportionate number of men who identify as naturists or nudists in comparison with women. I don’t have any scientific evidence to support my belief that this discrepancy is based on the predominance of men who are homosexual (or bisexual). Though I publicly self-identify as a heterosexual male, I have had many men express “love” for me, a desire to engage in sexual activity with me, or simply to share my intimate photos with them for their self-gratification. Perhaps, strangely, I am not bothered by this interest in me. It is an interest that I don’t find threatening in spite of the fact of being sexually molested by “men” when I was a very young boy.

My preference, sexually, is to engage with a woman. I realise that this is a psychological as well as a biological preference that has little “ego” involvement. Yet, not just any woman would fill me need. There is a deep-rooted (think of complexes and archetypes) that needs to be activated otherwise, all I am left with is a feeling of sexual indifference. For me, sexual union is all about relationship. Without relationship it is no more than a desperate attempt at collective masturbation. In a sexual relationship that is charged with the power of union, what Jung termed mysterium coniunctionis, the “other” becomes a “magical other.” That other awakens within the “self,” a fullness and a depth that lies hidden beneath the “ego.” Does this “other” that seems charged with magical energies have to be a woman for me? Probably. But, I won’t ever rule out the possibility of finding the energies align to create a “fated” bond with another man.

I know better than to “protest too much.”

Adopting a New Look and New Attitude

Ugolino and His Sons, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux

Ugolino and His Sons, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, 1867

If you have seen this page before today, you will notice that there has been a drastic change in the “look” of the site. I have cleaned up the poetry sections to bring them up to date with images of the books and some relevant information. I am leaving the sister site at Naturist Lens as it was in the past. I have brought back the images that were deleted for this site. I still have a few more images left to take care of, but that is something that time will take care of. For the future, this will be the “full” site as the Naturist Lens site has significantly less number of posts. As well, the images will be “safer” at the Naturist Lens site so that a larger reading public can get passed the images to read the content. With that said, I invite your comments. Now, on with today’s post.

I found this image at the Met Museum. This image seemed appropriate to me as something different that what Carpeaux had likely intended. I see the image as being the ego being beset by various internal aspects, desires, needs, etc,, that are denied by the ego. The problem with shutting the doors to the unknown presences that lurk within the unconscious is that they grow in power and force, waiting for a week moment, for a crack in our “will.” Then, they emerge to mess up our carefully orchestrated lives. It would be much better if we were more conscious of our inner sons and daughters, and with that awareness, we would open the barricade, safely, to get to know them more intimately. In the process, we would discover a fuller sense of who we are, really.

Naturism is, or perhaps I should say, “could be,” one of the barriers that we could let down while still in control. What do we learn about ourselves when we stop hiding from ourselves? What do we learn when we stop hiding from others – even if those others are a safely selected few in a naturist community? What we will find out will surprise us as everything uncovered has both a dark and a light aspect – the faces of good and evil. We empower the darkness when we deny its exposure to the light. And when that darkness emerges, as it will, it will catch us by surprise and without the skills to safely contain it which then makes us victims of our inner darkness.

Saucy Hybrid Thanksgiving

Skinny dipping in October in the U.K.

Emma skinny dipping in October in the U.K.

My friend, Emma has been having a good time with a flurry of naturist activity in the U.K., before the dark season of winter sets in, a very S.A.D. time of the year for most naturists in the northern hemisphere. Bracing skinny dips in the sea, and saucy moments (in her words) that celebrate the shear joy of being alive and being free to be oneself.

Here in North America, my opportunities for naturism are not as abundant due to both weather and social convention. Basically, it has been reduced to private moments indoors. I am in the U.S. of A. visiting my daughter and her family, a time for chess games, card games, charades, hikes involving hide-and-seek, trampoline football, and other creative ways to spend time until we retreat to sleep in order to recharge batteries for another day of grandparents disturbing the normal status quo of their home life.

Oh baby it's cold outside

Oh baby it’s cold outside

In a couple more days we will return home to Canada while they return to life as they know it.

Because they don’t celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving, and we won’t be at their place for the American Thanksgiving, we are celebrating a hybrid Thanksgiving this weekend with turkey and pumpkin pie with all the trimmings normally associated with our respective Thanksgiving feasts. One of the post-feast treats will be the traditional “grandson-grandfather” pancake preparation of “Papa’s Pancakes.” And yes, it’s a big deal that is never missed when I am in their home or they are visiting at my home.

 

The Problem of Shadow Denied

Hannibal

Hannibal

I have just begun watching a video series recommended to me by a long time friend that I met on Twitter. The series is called Hannibal. I have seen many FBI based stories, some with no bloodshed, and most with the focus on the FBI in white hats while the bad guys (black hats) are never as clever as the forces of good. Hannibal challenges all of that. I found myself riveted to my seat while the story unfolded, a story of blood, death, evil, and empathy. Without knowing the story of Hannibal Lecter, one meets this “Doctor” as he is brought in to work with a younger FBI “profiler,” called Will Graham. It is this meeting of minds that heralds a relationship that challenges. Who does it challenge? As the viewer, I can only say that it challenges me. I don’t want to say much more than to watch the series if you dare to look at your own shadow.

Daring to meet the shadow side of self.

Daring to meet the shadow side of self.

I have written in the past about the problem of evil and about how good people do bad things. Of course, sometimes the definition of “bad” is individual dependent. For example, for myself, being skyclad – nude outdoors clothed by the air – is “good.” There is no intent to harm others, to threaten others. For many others, the majority in our western world, being naked anywhere if not in the bath or shower, or under the covers (even that is debatable) is something “bad” that needs to be punished. Of course, since I am a mild-mannered sort of person, I rarely post images of myself that “cross the line,” that is full frontal images. But on occasion I do. I find myself reacting against my own psychological straight jacket, that sense of social propriety.When I was confronted by this video introducing the series, I began to sense that this was important.

When the shadow is denied, there is a cost.

When the shadow is denied, there is a cost.

I know that each of us has a shadow. Most people stay as far away (unconsciously) from that shadow, projecting what does emerge onto others. Anger, fear, revulsion, hatred, prejudice – so many emotional responses laid upon strangers because they trigger the darkness within ourselves. A few people are aware of the dark stranger within themselves. As a therapist, it is my job to have my clients become more “self” aware, and that includes awareness of their own shadow. A lack of awareness is the primary reason they find themselves in need of counselling.

Hannibal dares us to look into the darkness, to become familiar with that darkness. But just how familiar do we get? Shouldn’t we deny the darkness? There is a problem with that. Denying the darkness doesn’t get rid of the darkness, it just leaves us more vulnerable to its appearance in our lives. We can approach the darkness, ever so carefully to learn about the monsters within ourselves. With knowledge, then we can avoid being caught with our pants down. We can avoid becoming a victim of our darker self.