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.


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The Problem of Shadow Denied



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.

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Removing the Constrictions

Enjoying a book about Norse gods and goddesses.

Enjoying a book about Norse gods and goddesses.

The past number of weeks has been a busy time for me with most of that time spent writing, visiting family, and preparing our home for winter. Yesterday I registered for the 2016 running of NaNoWriMo which will have me writing at least 50,000 words in thirty days or less.

The day before, I finally finished the second draft of my second novel with the protagonist, Rene Beauchemin. The new novel will flow out of that novel’s ending, taking Rene back on the pilgrimage trails to walk from Lisbon, Portugal to Santiago, Spain. I have already begun to outline the story – the middle of what I envision will be a three part story – the thirty day walking plan. Since I will be walking that route with my wife next summer and autumn, the research I am doing now will be put to good use.

Sunshine and 9 degrees Celsius - a good day to be skyclad on the prairies.

Sunshine and 9 degrees Celsius – a good day to be skyclad on the prairies.

On a different note, the weather has turned sunny and a bit more pleasant. I had basically written off the hope that I would be able to spend time outdoors in sunshine while skyclad. Because the yard has bushes, trees and fencing, the wind is kept down to a light breeze. Once this post is finished, I will be heading back out for a long walk in the countryside, some of which when I get far enough out of town, will be done skyclad.

Why do I get so much out of being skyclad? It is a question I constantly ask myself. The best answer that I find is the fact that it is then that I find myself able to “Breathe” freely. Clothing restricts and contains. Somehow, it is my psychological state that feels restricted and contained more so than my physical self. I wonder what it is for others?

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Keeping it Simple and Real


Mundane life makes one present in life.

For the past week I have been busy with the normal rhythms of life, of autumn on the Canadian prairies. With winter threatening as the geese gather to feed before their long pilgrimage to the southern climes of North America, I like many others, have been cleaning the last of our produce from the garden. The garden is now tilled and prepared for a long winter’s sleep.

Because of the need to focus on the prosaic tasks of autumn, gardens, and winterizing our camper, there has been no thoughts given to this blog site. There will more than enough time for that in the months that will follow.

Gathering the last of the garden produce.

Gathering the last of the garden produce.

I have been lucky in that the weather has warmed up just in time for the work to be done. We only had one rain day which was appreciated as it softened the hard clay that passes as our garden soil. For the past two days I have tilled the garden and added more than 200 litres of peat moss before tilling it a second time. I am pleased with the result though I have the beginnings of blisters on my hands in spite of wearing work gloves while manhandling the garden tiller. There is a sense of satisfaction in manual tasks done well.

Now that most of the work has been completed, I am turning once again to writing. The second novel in the pilgrim series is just entering into the first rewrite using the comments I have received from my three critical readers. Constructive criticism is vital for a writer.

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Hiking in Bare-Bear Country

Hiking - Yes, this is bare country and that is bear spray in my holster.

Hiking – Yes, this is bare country and that is bear spray in my holster.

For the past two weeks I have been in Kananaskis country with my wife where we got to hike on trails alongside, and sometimes high up on slopes that had me wondering if I was going to fall hundreds of metres onto rocks and streams below the trail. Hiking in the fall is a bit dangerous if not prepared. We had bells (rarely used) and bear spray (always carried in a holster as in the photo) at hand when we hiked. Grizzly bears are active in the area as it is feeding on mountain berries season while they pack on extra fat for a long winter’s hibernation. Luckily we didn’t need to use the spray though we were in the same vicinity as at least one bear – he left a fresh dump of scat on our trail. Hiking bare in bear country doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be prepared.

At the summit of a ridge where the fire lookout tower overlooks the Kananaskis lakes and valley.

At the summit of a ridge where the fire lookout tower overlooks the Kananaskis lakes and valley.

On our hikes we did get close to a cow moose and many Spruce Grouse. We knew there were coyotes near by and elk as we passed their relatively recent droppings as well. The weather was perfect for hiking in the mountains though the mornings were always hovering just above or just below freezing. The day we climbed the highest, the temperature at the top had made it to 2 C. by lunch time. Thankfully the sun was out and I got to sunbathe before we hiked back down the trail. As you can see, snow on the trees behind and below us tell the story of winter’s approach. I am fortunate that my inner furnace works well.

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Erections and Perceptions

erectionA friend of mine in cyberspace sent me an email commenting and wondering about my photos which generally let the viewer know that I am skyclad, but somehow not showing my penis. Now this practice makes sense if using social media such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter; but it doesn’t make sense on a naturist site where seeing full frontal images with male and female genitalia is the norm. What is not normal in most “real” naturist sites, be they virtual or real-world venues, is the presentation of the male genitals with an erection. The naturist world weighs heavily on the belief that naturist is asexual, non-sexual, and overt sexual displays such as an erection, need to be either hidden by a towel, or better yet, non-existent. There isn’t much threatening about a limp penis.

naked-old-man-erectSo, what drives men to show images of themselves with an erection is complicated with no clear answer that covers all. For some, perhaps the majority, it is simply about insecurity and the need for praise (See! I’m a big boy now). So many men are criticised as being childish by their female partners and/or their mothers. Flaunting an erection is a response to the doubt that many face regarding their status as “real men.” For older men, it is a protest statement that defies ageing, a statement that there is still a vital man hidden behind the wrinkles and grey hair.

Why? Why do men show images of themselves that show an erection? tumblr_naegjzNmur1qfqu7go1_250There is no simple answer. And, the answer changes dependent upon which school of psychological thought a psychotherapist has as a base, which philosophy informs the lens through which the therapist views the world. My view is through a Jungian lens, a depth psychology lens that has more than the brain and the body as determinants. For cognitive (brain-based) and behavioural therapists, showing an image (or the reality) of an erection is dysfunctional and abnormal. The problem can best be “fixed” by reprogramming behaviour and by critical analysis that educates the ego to rethink behaviour.

However, in depth psychology, the lens through which I understand the human psyche, the answer lies in the unconscious, the shadow regions of the self. Contrary to what most believe, we are a mystery to ourselves and the unconscious aspects of ourselves does impact our behaviour. In other words, there is meaning that hasn’t yet connected with the ego, the aware part of ourselves. The behaviour is symbolic of something deep within that needs attention.

Addendum: I have lost my Facebook account due in large measure because of this post. I guess that “education” has different meanings for FB. There is no education if there is a nude image involved.

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Body and Mind – In Harmony or in Conflict

A detail from Michelangelo's statue of David/

A detail from Michelangelo’s statue of David/

It’s not working the way it should! It used to be longer and harder. What the #%&#@ is wrong with me? It’s one thing to be flaccid as the day goes on, but what about when I am trying to make love to a person I love?

There is something about erections that is vital to a man’s psyche. An erection is associated with virility, and virility was what separated men from boys. When the erections disappear, males suffer a loss of identity as a virile man. Either the male needs to redefine what it is that makes him a man, recreate himself, or he may lapse into a depression of sorts if nothing else can become the focus of his manliness. Without erections, he feels neutered, a eunuch.

Sculpture in the Round Erotica Stone House of the Vettii Italy Sculpture of a man with erect phallus Mulas, Eros in Antiquity,

Sculpture in the Round Erotica Stone House of the Vettii Italy Sculpture of a man with erect phallus – Mulas, Eros in Antiquity – Pompeii

With the modern world challenging the whole notion of the masculine, often viewing the masculine in negative and primal terms, men know that they are men in spite of what they hear from the world. The erect penis is the enemy as it is the erect penis that has raped women, has subjugated women. This symbol of power for men is a symbol of domination by men for women. That said . . .

In so many couple relationships in the modern world, the man follows the woman. She leads, and she leads with the knowledge of her power, especially over a man’s sexuality. With a few words or even a “look” she can deflate a man’s ego and his penis.

Perhaps this is why we now have so many men taking photos of their penis, especially an erect penis. Those images are not necessarily shared. Sometimes they are just there, in the background in an archive of photos as proof that in spite of what happens in the moment, they know that deep down they are men.

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