On Being a Naturist in a Textile Community

SONY DSC

The border of our Belizean garden, a safe place for sunbathing

Mmmmm – I feel good and rested and at peace. It’s amazing what four weeks without much of an agenda, lots of sunshine, a place to enjoy that sunshine without worrying about clothing or offending others can do for a person’s well-being. I know that at some point I will be returning to the real world, and by that I mean the world where I have my home, my neighbours and community; a place that is more of a fish bowl than being a stranger in a strange land.

Our Canadian prairie garden

Our Canadian prairie garden

At home I have a persona that has put me into a social class that is above many others, and that has its own drawbacks. Neighbours who have become friends are drawn to the house to see my wife and simply to be in proximity as though by being in proximity their own status will rise accordingly. Since we live in a small town of only 500 people, all eyes are watching. There is no chance to hide away in the back yard, garden area for sun bathing as our neighbours enjoy dropping by to have a beer, glass of wine or simply to natter away with their tales of gossip about other neighbours and events. The only time that being clothes free can happen is in the late evening when we lock our doors for the evening and the draperies are closed. The doors get locked to let neighbours know that we are done for the day.

I love my home and I truly appreciate my friends and neighbours in this town we adopted near the end of my career. I have no intention of leaving to find anonymity in a city, anonymity and privacy. So what is a person to do? Having had so much freedom from clothing here in Belize and Mexico, how will I deal with constantly being under the lens and needing to wear clothing? To risk more would be to risk being a member of the community. Since we came as strangers to this community, all that we have going for us is our participation in this very conservative, even red-necked community. Getting caught with my pants down would shut doors faster than could be imagined. Needless to say, I won’t risk this for either myself or my wife.

Now, this is a story that most naturists have to tell. The place names may change, but we all are part of communities that don’t understand or accept the philosophy of naturism and nudism. We deal with it and make the best possible of our situations as we carve small parts out for our own private needs.

On Being a Naturist in a Textile Community

SONY DSC

The border of our Belizean garden, a safe place for sunbathing

Mmmmm – I feel good and rested and at peace. It’s amazing what four weeks without much of an agenda, lots of sunshine, a place to enjoy that sunshine without worrying about clothing or offending others can do for a person’s well-being. I know that at some point I will be returning to the real world, and by that I mean the world where I have my home, my neighbours and community; a place that is more of a fish bowl than being a stranger in a strange land.

Our Canadian prairie garden

Our Canadian prairie garden

At home I have a persona that has put me into a social class that is above many others, and that has its own drawbacks. Neighbours who have become friends are drawn to the house to see my wife and simply to be in proximity as though by being in proximity their own status will rise accordingly. Since we live in a small town of only 500 people, all eyes are watching. There is no chance to hide away in the back yard, garden area for sun bathing as our neighbours enjoy dropping by to have a beer, glass of wine or simply to natter away with their tales of gossip about other neighbours and events. The only time that being clothes free can happen is in the late evening when we lock our doors for the evening and the draperies are closed. The doors get locked to let neighbours know that we are done for the day.

I love my home and I truly appreciate my friends and neighbours in this town we adopted near the end of my career. I have no intention of leaving to find anonymity in a city, anonymity and privacy. So what is a person to do? Having had so much freedom from clothing here in Belize and Mexico, how will I deal with constantly being under the lens and needing to wear clothing? To risk more would be to risk being a member of the community. Since we came as strangers to this community, all that we have going for us is our participation in this very conservative, even red-necked community. Getting caught with my pants down would shut doors faster than could be imagined. Needless to say, I won’t risk this for either myself or my wife.

Now, this is a story that most naturists have to tell. The place names may change, but we all are part of communities that don’t understand or accept the philosophy of naturism and nudism. We deal with it and make the best possible of our situations as we carve small parts out for our own private needs.

Banks Stealing the Clothing Off One's Back

Scotia Bank in Belize

Scotia Bank in Belize

The morning is done and it is almost time for a late lunch. A good part of this morning was spent at the bank trying to convert Belizean money back into American dollars. I learned another lesson in the process, one of those hard lessons that banks around the world are so eager to teach.

First, I was required to have my air plane ticket as evidence that I was really going to leave Belize in the next few days. Of course since I came into Belize on the ground using buses and taxi, and was returning to Mexico the way, that caused a significant problem. Luckily the bank had a good solution, a surcharge of more than $30 US as well as a regular banking fee for doing money exchange as well as foreign exchange rate overcharges. In all, it would only cost me about $70 US to get a maximum of $350 US returned to me.

Belizean $50 = US $25

Belizean $50 = US $25

Needless to say I left the bank with all of my Belizean money unchanged and found a different route to solve the problem. The problem did get solved without costing me any extra charges as I gave the money to a trusted individual here who will give me the American dollars.

Back at the villa, I spend three-quarters of an hour during the hottest part of the day to “cook the devil out of me” in hopes of controlling my temper and getting back to a state of emotional balance. It worked. I am a bit darker on the outside and a lot lighter on the inside, Life is so much easier if one could ignore the presence of banks – and cheaper as well.

Sunbathing in Munich, Germany

Sunbathing in Munich, Germany

Enough of banking and money. The sun is out, a strong breeze is helping to keep it cool and there is little to do other than enjoy nature for the last few days in Belize. Belize is a beautiful place missing sand beaches. I will leave richer with photos and interesting experiences as well as an absence of tan lines. The side garden of our villa here provided me with a naturist space in spite of being surrounded by a very conservative, fundamentalist community, both expat and Belizean.

 

Banks Stealing the Clothing Off One’s Back

Scotia Bank in Belize

Scotia Bank in Belize

The morning is done and it is almost time for a late lunch. A good part of this morning was spent at the bank trying to convert Belizean money back into American dollars. I learned another lesson in the process, one of those hard lessons that banks around the world are so eager to teach.

First, I was required to have my air plane ticket as evidence that I was really going to leave Belize in the next few days. Of course since I came into Belize on the ground using buses and taxi, and was returning to Mexico the way, that caused a significant problem. Luckily the bank had a good solution, a surcharge of more than $30 US as well as a regular banking fee for doing money exchange as well as foreign exchange rate overcharges. In all, it would only cost me about $70 US to get a maximum of $350 US returned to me.

Belizean $50 = US $25

Belizean $50 = US $25

Needless to say I left the bank with all of my Belizean money unchanged and found a different route to solve the problem. The problem did get solved without costing me any extra charges as I gave the money to a trusted individual here who will give me the American dollars.

Back at the villa, I spend three-quarters of an hour during the hottest part of the day to “cook the devil out of me” in hopes of controlling my temper and getting back to a state of emotional balance. It worked. I am a bit darker on the outside and a lot lighter on the inside, Life is so much easier if one could ignore the presence of banks – and cheaper as well.

Sunbathing in Munich, Germany

Sunbathing in Munich, Germany

Enough of banking and money. The sun is out, a strong breeze is helping to keep it cool and there is little to do other than enjoy nature for the last few days in Belize. Belize is a beautiful place missing sand beaches. I will leave richer with photos and interesting experiences as well as an absence of tan lines. The side garden of our villa here provided me with a naturist space in spite of being surrounded by a very conservative, fundamentalist community, both expat and Belizean.

 

Naked Psychology 101 – Pt 6

Naked Calendar scene at Saint Nicholas Church

Nakedness as such is not to be equated with physical shamelessness… Immodesty is present only when nakedness plays a negative role with regard to the value of the person…The human body is not in itself shameful… Shamelessness (just like shame and modesty) is a function of the interior of a person.” [Pope John-Paul II, Love and Responsibility]

I bring back the words of Pope John-Paul II that I had quoted in part five for a reason. Our response to nudity is bound within the collective unconscious response of our societies. For many in the western world, there is a certain deafness to the words of those who are charged with the authority that dictates what is moral and immoral behaviour. Clearly, the leader of the Catholic Christian church states that nudity and immodesty are not one and the same. Rather, immodesty is a “function of the interior of a person.” And it is this interiority which is the focus of psychology.

Psychiatric help

Psychiatric help

Depth psychology, whether it be Jungian or Freudian, focuses on what is to be found in the psyche of a human, beneath the layers of persona, beneath the layers of clothing that costumes and lends authority in the collective society. Each human wraps themselves consciously and unconsciously in layers of deceit, self-deceit and conscious deceits to mislead others about the vulnerability of self. Humans not only are beset with body-image issues, they are constantly wrestling with negative images of the self that lays underneath the skin.

In spite of all the books, prophets, church leaders and repressive leadership that is more concerned with power and control of others in an attempt to deflect the individual uncertainties of those with power, the fact that every human is born without clothes is vital to understanding what it is to be human. Catholics, Protestants, Jewish and Moslem people, take your pick of any guiding belief system – everyone is born naked. And in every belief system, the new born babe is viewed as perfect and uncorrupted. It takes time and the influence of the world to change the infant from beautiful perfection into a neurotic individual that is cloaked in shadows, masks and disguises.

Waiting . . .

Waiting . . .

For the next few parts, I want to focus on the developmental realities of humans as the move from infancy into adulthood. There is much we have learned along the way, and all of it is valuable in spite of the fact that developmental psychology does not give the complete story and evidence of what it is to be human. I wont be going into prenatal, post-conception issues at this point but will focus on the psyche from the moment of birth, when the nascent human slips out of the darkness of the womb into the light of creation as an individual.

As much as some psychologists would have us believe, a newborn child is not born as an empty-headed entity just waiting for life to write, to program that newborn, or as it is often called tabla rasa. In spite of any observable signals or evidence, each child appears to be unique and comes with a history, and not just a history of life within the mother’s womb. Rather, there is depth to the infant that has nothing to do with that infants awareness of self or other. This depth can’t be written off as simply instinctual programming. Parents know this, especially those parents who have had a number of children. Psychology, however, is hesitant to deal with this preferring instead to work with scientific models, statistics and case studies that are more sociological than psychological. Psychologists become enamoured of their models and leave aside all that refuses to fit into their models. And to make matters even more confusing for anyone truly interested in following the psyche of the infant, there are dozens of models of human development to choose from – take your pick. But, rather than get lost in the minefield of politics in developmental psychology circles, it is necessary to leave theories aside and watch the child and the child’s parents in order to get some sense of what is going on.

Newborn - like all, born naked and vulnerable

Newborn – like all, born naked and vulnerable

I want to start with this simple, perhaps too simple approach – the infant exists in an embryonic state of darkness feeling no separation from the mother, no awareness of mother or self as separate entities. Is there awareness at all? Physiologically, yes.  Psychologically? Here the answer begins to get complicated. I would say yes, there is a psychological awareness that is totally unconscious of itself at the personal level, but at one with the mother and the world within which the mother finds herself, a collective level of unconscious participation.

With the emergence from the womb, all that begins to change. With the lights coming on the senses begin to work with the heritage of the collective unconsciousness and the evidence that is presented by the senses to have an infant become self-aware. That emergence is done stark naked.

Life Simplified

Life simplified

Life simplified – an image found on Twitter – thanks to its owner.

That just about says it all. There is no straight line, just a tangled mess in which we find our selves neither coming nor going, but simply wandering erratically all over the map that is life. There is simply a beginning (at least of this particular version of our life) and an ending..

So what do we do with this? Perhaps we aren’t meant to do anything more than just live, simply be consciously present wherever we find ourselves at any given point in time. Finding myself in so many different cultures and countries, I am slowly learning that it is pointless to dwell on “What if?” or to dwell so much in the past or the future that one misses life that is staring one in the face. Life isn’t fair, isn’t supposed to be fair or unfair. Life simply is.

Today I walked passed a park in the late afternoon, a place where young Belizean children were playing. There was laughter, squealing and lots of running around but never getting too far from the others. Not too many steps further along the path and I saw a young man and woman sitting beside each other though not so close as to be touching each other. Her face was aglow with a smile while listening to what I can only presume is her beau. These same stories I have seen in Asia, Europe, North American and Latin America with faces that span the whole racial spectrum. Life happens and that life is shared in context with others. In spite of racial differences, cultural differences, and economic differences, the same motivations hold, the same stories continue to play out making all of us united in more ways than we are conscious of. But, if we really think about it, this shouldn’t surprise us, for we are all in the same boat – we are born, we suffer/enjoy life and we die. It’s that simple.

Life Simplified

Life simplified

Life simplified – an image found on Twitter – thanks to its owner.

That just about says it all. There is no straight line, just a tangled mess in which we find our selves neither coming nor going, but simply wandering erratically all over the map that is life. There is simply a beginning (at least of this particular version of our life) and an ending..

So what do we do with this? Perhaps we aren’t meant to do anything more than just live, simply be consciously present wherever we find ourselves at any given point in time. Finding myself in so many different cultures and countries, I am slowly learning that it is pointless to dwell on “What if?” or to dwell so much in the past or the future that one misses life that is staring one in the face. Life isn’t fair, isn’t supposed to be fair or unfair. Life simply is.

Today I walked passed a park in the late afternoon, a place where young Belizean children were playing. There was laughter, squealing and lots of running around but never getting too far from the others. Not too many steps further along the path and I saw a young man and woman sitting beside each other though not so close as to be touching each other. Her face was aglow with a smile while listening to what I can only presume is her beau. These same stories I have seen in Asia, Europe, North American and Latin America with faces that span the whole racial spectrum. Life happens and that life is shared in context with others. In spite of racial differences, cultural differences, and economic differences, the same motivations hold, the same stories continue to play out making all of us united in more ways than we are conscious of. But, if we really think about it, this shouldn’t surprise us, for we are all in the same boat – we are born, we suffer/enjoy life and we die. It’s that simple.