A Naturist’s Bucket List

Bucket list - bucket

Bucket list – bucket

Recently I read a short article asking what would be on “your” naturist bucket list. Now for those not in the know, a bucket list is a wish list of things one wants to do before one dies, before one kicks the bucket. I saw the movie called The Bucket List in 2007 and at that point, added the expression to my vocabulary. Now that I am retired, I am looking ahead to more adventures with my life partner, and perhaps for some of these adventures, it will be necessary to do it alone.

For example, my wife wants to go skydiving at some point and go white water rafting. Well, these bucket list items will have to be spit into a solo bucket list item, the skydiving, and one that we can do together, white water rafting. Together we are planning fall (September and October) and winter (January, February and March) travel adventures. There is so much of the world we want to see. However, we both know that life is unpredictable and that we don’t know how many years lie ahead of us. So, as a result, we are building our travel adventures one a priority basis. And should we live healthy long enough, we might even fit in all of these travels before deciding to sit back and be satisfied with the view from our back deck for our final years.

But what about a naturist bucket list? Well, there are some things and some places that come to mind. I want to begin with places. Montalivet and La Jenny, France are the first two that come to mind, and in that order. Yes, I want to try golfing au naturel as one of my bucket list items. As I think on other places, a beach on one of the Greek Islands and a beach in Croatia come to mind. A final destination, perhaps a naturist beach in Brazil. Sticking closer to home, I would like to visit at least one naturist site in each Canadian province. Anything more than these would be a bonus. Perhaps more places would be added should life treat me kindly.

What about things to do while clothing free? Well, it seems I have done most of these bucket list desires already. I have already spent time on beaches while nude – Canadian lakes and rivers, the Mediterranean Sea, the Caribbean Sea, the Indian Sea, the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean are places that quickly come to mind. I have been able to swim naked in these places as well. I also got to swim nude in a hotel swimming pool when I was twenty-one with a group of similarly aged co-corkers. I sleep naked. I have done many things naked within our home. I have visited at the home of a naturist for an afternoon of visiting and BBQing while all were clothesless. I have spent time at a naturist campground with others. And, I have spent time in the prairie hills enjoying short hikes and the immense silence under the prairie sun. There are other things which I have been able to experience naturally over the years which I can’t think of at this moment. So, what else is there that I want to do while nude?

Golfing is one thing that comes to mind, but as I said above, that is an event that is part of the La jenny experience near Bordeaux, France. I would like to canoe/kayak nude at some point on one of our northern lakes; and fish nude while there. I was just going to add making a snow angel, but then remembered a winter in Nelson, B.C. when I was attending university – while visiting a prof’s home on the mountain, a sauna experience and then a romp in the snow was an experience lived. I want to write a book of naturist poetry while nude and have it published and then read by others.

What is on your bucket list, your naturist bucket list?

Khalil Gibran – Unveils The Naked Beauty of Humanity

Gibran Khalil Gibran

Gibran Khalil Gibran

There is something moving within me that is about poetry. A long, long time ago I was enchanted by a Lebanese poet named Khalil Gibran, author of The Prophet, one of the first books that I bought. His words and vision acted powerfully upon my young spirit aching for beauty in a world that seemed too full of war, discord, fear, sadness and ugliness. In his words I could feel the breath of nature, the kiss of whatever it is that is the human spirit and soul.

“Beauty is life when life unveils her holy face. But you are life and you are the veil. Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror. But you are eternity and you are the mirror.” ~ Khalil Gibran, The Prophet

The Divine: Mary Joseph and Jesus - Khalil Gibran

The Divine: Mary, Joseph and Jesus – Khalil Gibran

Somewhere, tucked away in his words I saw beneath the layer of the world I was growing up in, the world of the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and generational poverty in a dysfunctional family. Beneath the ugliness was holiness. It was all the inspiration I needed to begin searching for something more than what was presented, dressed up in the media and paraded as the “latest holy grail” purchases that was guaranteed to fill in the emptiness.

“And the weaver said, “Speak to us of Clothes.”
And he answered:
Your clothes conceal much of your beauty, yet they hide not the unbeautiful.
And though you seek in garments the freedom of privacy you may find in them a harness and a chain.
Would that you could meet the sun and the wind with more of your skin and less of your raiment,
For the breath of life is in the sunlight and the hand of life is in the wind.
Some of you say, “It is the north wind who has woven the clothes to wear.”
But shame was his loom, and the softening of the sinews was his thread.
And when his work was done he laughed in the forest.
Forget not that modesty is for a shield against the eye of the unclean.
And when the unclean shall be no more, what were modesty but a fetter and a fouling of the mind?
And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ” – Khalil Gibran, The Prophet

Resurrection - Khalil Gibran

Resurrection – Khalil Gibran

These words were written a lifetime before I was born, before father was born. These words speak of the vision I hold within of naturism as a holy and healing way of being. I hear echoes of words spoken in Genesis when nakedness was perfection, the time before sin and shame. It is as though we, as humans have found all kinds of reasons to hide the perfection and beauty and holiness of our human bodies.

    “For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink form the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.”  – Khalil Gibran, The Prophet

Road Closed: Naked on the Prairie

Road Closed

The road, or what once had been a road
on the prairie was etched between fields
of canola, wheat and field peas
where the dirt was exposed, the soil
was cracked from the heat of the sun

Walking along the trail with
only the company of grasshoppers
of different sizes and colours
for company, it was easy to
forget being naked, being exposed
to a chance meeting with another
human

The trail rose, curved, fell
and rose again as it approached
a valley where the nearest
habitation was too far for
its inhabitants to spy on
a naked male form etched on the skyline
against the strong rays
of an afternoon prairie sun

Movement in a field
brought a halt to the steps
which had taken on a measured rhythm
the movement, a lone pronghorn buck
that had been resting in a field of lentils
noticing the antelope and being noticed
in return in the silence and sunshine
told both of being seen
the antelope moved closer
turned sideways and then slowly walked away

For an hour walking into the sunshine,
thinking disappeared leaving only the sounds
and sensations of simply being in a time
and place, simply being
a meditative awareness of self and world
without holding on to either and
demanding, needing anything more
and then stopping to see and read
a sign that marked the end of the trail
“Road Closed.”

Naked on the Naked Prairie

Naked On The Naked Prairie

The dust of the road disturbed
by a passing truck drifted
revealed the rusted iron rails
of an abandoned track
two threads leading into
a haze-filled horizon.

Curious and abandoning the road
confident that freedom
lay somewhere up ahead
he dared to hope.
The rails choked with weeds
whispered an invitation
in the heat of the afternoon’s silence,
an invitation to bare it all in empty spaces.

Following the twinned rails of iron
as it turned passed a clump of scrub trees
with enough distance from the grid road
shorts joined a tee-shirt
being carried in one hand while
eyes focused on avoiding pitfalls
which lay between wooden rail ties
a smile of freedom began to form.

Heat and distance and sunshine,
sweat beginning to bead on
the naked body now glowing
as it strode with longer strides
with head held higher as the edges
of society faded in the haze left behind.

The empty spaces soon filled with
life and colour and sound
with three deer staring back unafraid
of a human wandering naked on the prairie.
Birds, dragonflies, moths, grasshoppers and butterflies
moved with deliberation as though dancing
through the afternoon
like the wanderer
naked on the naked prairie

The Naked Innocence of a Maiden

Naked Artist - From the collection of photographer, Dan Martensen

Naked Artist: with permission – photographer, Dan Martensen

Once again, I am back with an image. As I mentioned in the recent past, I am using images leas and less. Images are too important to be just plopped into a post without having something important to add. This image is here courtesy of the photographer, Dan Martensen. I took the liberty of cropping the photo and a few other “touchups” so that I felt comfortable with its size and feel.

I have been reading from Thomas Moore’s book called The Soul’s Religion, a book I am finding to be very powerful in terms of its resonance with what it is that is within me. Moore talks about the holiness of images, not all images of course, but of those images that are more that its objective contents. On my principal blog site, Through a Jungian Lens, I often talk about the numinous aspect of an image, those pictures whether painting, sculpture, photographs or drawings that evoke a response that tells one that there is more to us than what our science and technology, our modern world would have us believe. On this blog, I am not in search of the numinous as much as I am in images that talk to us.

This image is soft, is feminine, almost a modern idea of the classical “maiden.” We know she is a she without being overt in displaying a genital shot. The principal point is that though she is unclothed, naked, she evokes a sense of innocence in spite of her nakedness, perhaps even because of her nakedness. I see more than a “literal” image. I see that innocence and naturism go together. All the images of Adam and Eve with fig leaves paint a sordid picture of nudity. The fig leaves tell us of shame, our shame at our nakedness beneath our clothing. This image is different. It tells us that our natural human appearance can talk to us about honesty, about the way it could be.

I spent the past few days at a naturist camp where there were others who were managing to live without negativity with regards to naked human bodies. While there, a neighbouring girl who is just beginning to become a women, had no issue in talking with adults who weren’t wearing clothing. She was excited to talk about her taking part in a roller derby this weekend and asked if we would come to watch her participate. This girl was all innocence, all potential, a woman-in-waiting – a maiden.

And this image of my neighbour as well as this image of a young woman painting point to more than the literal situations. They invite us to see a depth for naturism that needs to be seen, felt, heard, and lived. If we dare, life can rid itself of self-shame, the shame induced by a phobic world that would have us hide, cover-up and at the same time provoke our instinctual sexual appetites with all the power that an advertising industry can command.

Nudity as Deviance

I am reading a few sections out of a book called Tolerable Differences: Living With Deviance, by Robert Stebbins (1996). Of special interest in the book is the section on nudism and at the beginning when deviance is defined. Here is an important look at deviance:

Deviance from or non-conformity with the norms of the group with an interest in morality is one of humanity’s oldest concerns. Collective life is possible only when certain crucial rules of behaviour are observed by all or a large majority of the members of the community. These rules are an important part of the complicated, standardized solutions that evolve in response to the problems people encounter while living in proximity to one another.  They are nothing less than strategies for personal and social survival. Such solutions take years to develop and crystallize. They are seen by most community members, especially those who have the greatest power and interest in preserving the status quo, as indispensable to the quality of community life.” [p. 1]

This makes me step back and do some deep questioning about naturism, and about why I have embraced naturism as part of my healing process and perhaps even lifestyle. There is no question that naturism/nudism is about not conforming to the moral belief of the larger society. What does it say about those who engage in nudity, especially social nudity? Is there at its depths, something immoral about human nudity in terms of personal and social survival? Why has humanity moved away from its natural roots where nudity was normal? I don’t know the answers, nor if answers are to be found. And if there are good answers that would unquestionably support the inclusion of naturism within the collective norm, would society then accept those answers? In my opinion, there is too much power, authority and money invested in the status quo. If anything, power is invested in keeping the bulk of human society in a controllable state of unconsciousness. Real awareness, consciousness, would have too many people question the status quo and thus present a real threat to those invested in maintaining the status quo.

Reasons For Being A Naturist – Part 2

Naturism in the world - even a in a northern climate.

Naturism in the world – even a in a northern climate. – used with permission – Norwegian Naturist Federation.

Last day I began to talk about the reasons for being a naturist according to K. Bacher. I talked about the comfort value and the mental health value that naturism provides to humans who all are born nude – the human natural state of being. Bacher goes on to talk about the word modesty, a word often used as a reason to try and enforce non-nudity by the larger society which somehow fears nudity, even their personal nudity in private.

Of course one has to understand that we are born nude and that as children we don’t have a sense of shame with regards to our naked body until the adults in our lives teach us that being naked is somehow bad, that we should hide our nakedness, that we should be ashamed of being nude. We are carefully taught modesty as being defined as wearing clothing. That said, even nudity as in the exposure of one’s genitals is not universally regarded as something shameful. For some it is the back of the head, or the face, or the . . . the list goes on and it changes over time. For example, it was considered immodest to show one’s ankles in the western world just a century ago. Now, one can be wearing a bikini and still be considered modest. Rational? Not really.

“Shame comes from being outside mores, not from specific actions or conditions.”

That pretty well captures it all. Mores change as societies change. And, societies are always changing.

The next category supporting the rationale for being a naturist has to do with sexual health. As Bacher aptly puts it, “Sexuality is a matter of intent rather than state of dress.” And it is sexuality that is at the heart of sexual health. In our modern world, the art of seduction is all about how one dresses, applies makeup, and how one carries one’s body. Again, as Bacher puts it:

“Clothing focuses attention on sexuality, not away from it; and in fact often enhances immature forms of sexuality, rather than promoting healthy body acceptance.”

There are real reasons for fear of sexual exploitation. Sexual abuse of children (boys and girls), rape of girls and women, and molestation are just a few of the reasons to be concerned about. However, in all of these cases, nudity wasn’t a catalyst for sexual abuse and exploitation. Two of the biggest areas of sexual exploitation are pornography and advertising. If nudity was not repressed there would be no pornography industry. Naturism as a socially accepted way of being is the greatest threat to that industry.

These four categories comprise forty-nine of the 205 reasons for being a naturist as put forward by Bacher. I encourage you to read 205 Arguments for Naturism and see these forty-nine reasons. I will return here with part three in the near future.