As I look around my community, the micro community and the macro community, I can’t help but notice that everyone is wearing clothing, or at least, that is what appears to be the norm once people leave their homes to interact with their community. Over the years I have “dropped in” to visit friends and family without announcing my intent to visit beforehand. I have yet to come into a home and find people scrambling to get into their clothing. It seems that only in cyberspace or in private enclaves is there any sense of people living, working and playing in the nude. So why don’t I keep my clothes on and be normal, be like almost everyone else in the universe?
A few months ago I posted why I have shifted my life to include being nude at opportune times – at home, in private nature spaces and along clothing-optional stretches of beach. Nothing has changed since that post other than the sense that my need for being clothing free seems to be stronger than ever. Not only do I feel that naturism is part of my healing process, I also have begun to experience joy. Simply being without clothing brings a sense of lightness to my spirit. It is as though I have escaped from a locked box in which the universe is darker and sadder. Who wouldn’t want to feel more joyful in their lives?
I have begun to read another book that has nothing to do with naturism or nudity, a book by Thomas Moore called Dark Nights of the Soul. Like myself, Moore is a Jungian and a Catholic who finds room for other ideas and other faces of spirituality including Buddhism. I have often written about dark nights of the soul in my primary blog space called Through a Jungian Lens. In this space, I want to focus on naturism, the unclothed human body as well as the uncovered human psyche. Returning to my reading of Moore’s book, I came across these words:
“A true dark night of the soul is not a surface challenge but a development that takes you away from the joy of your ordinary life. An external event or an internal mood strikes you at the core of your existence. This is not just a feeling but a rupture in your very being, and it may take a long while to get through to the other end of it.” [Moore, Dark Nights of the Soul, p. xiv]
Darkness taking one away from joy – this is what it feels like when I feel opportunities to be nude are slipping away leaving me with a bleaker future. My wife notices this working within me when I seem to tumble into depression. When the schedule of life seems to be piling up leaving me less and less time for private nudity, the only nudity that appears to be possible; whatever joy that is left within me is boxed in and padlocked. Of course this is all within my own head as the world isn’t denying me anything – the world just is. Moore’s words do signal to me that I need to locate joy and move toward it.
This explains feelings of anxiety when a planned moment of being clothing free seems to evaporate in front of my eyes. Rather than remember that I have already had moments of nudity behind me and that there will be other moments of nudity in front of me, I can only feel loss. Maybe an hour a day, several days a week used to be enough; but today, it isn’t enough. Naturism is not a pill to be taken when the symptoms of depression present themselves. Naturism is about feeling the freedom of being me, that sense that I am okay as me. I don’t have to cover up and hide behind ideas or clothing or anything. Naturism allows me to grant myself permission to be authentic. And that more than anything, is about creating a sacred space for the nourishment of joy.