Healing the Soul, Skyclad

On The Broken Road: A Journey to the Magical Other

Healing the Soul, Skyclad – Volume 1

This is the first in a series of stories that takes the idea of being clothed by the sky, being au naturel, as a means of healing trauma. The main character of this story is introduced is a scene where he is nude. His nudity is an unconscious response to trauma, a response that is healing on different levels. I use the term skyclad intentionally because it has a spiritual connotation that goes back to the beginnings of humanity’s response and relationship to itself and to its creator.

Our creation story begins with humans in a state of perfection and holiness, unclothed in the Garden of Eden. A traumatic act caused this state of holiness to be broken. Feeling the shame of this trauma, and all victims of trauma feel shame, humans hid. We are told that we can return to the Garden of Eden, to heaven by doing the work to regain our innate holiness that remains within us. The real journey we all take is about healing the soul and regaining the purity in which we were created. Our creator knew us as perfect and good when there was nothing to hide and nothing to hide behind. Heaven isn’t clothing optional, nor was the Garden of Eden. You have something to hide? You can’t get in.

Trauma takes many forms: physical trauma, relationship trauma, psychological trauma, emotional trauma, and identity trauma. Trauma is real and it marks one for life. One can’t wish it away, or drown it with alcohol, or wipe it out with drugs, or erase it with therapy, or ignore it by filling life to the brim with things and activity. Rather than ignore trauma, we learn to see it as it is. Only then can we make choices to learn from the trauma and heal.

I will posting links that will allow you to download an e-book version for free, as well as for the purchase of a print version. Print versions will be available at a price that includes cost of production along with shipping.

Healing the Soul, Skyclad

On The Broken Road: A Journey to the Magical Other

Healing the Soul, Skyclad – Volume 1

On the Broken Road: A Journey to the Magical Other.

Healing the soul, skyckad – Volume 1

This is the first in a series of stories that takes the idea of being clothed by the sky, being au naturel, as a means of healing trauma. The main character of this story is introduced is a scene where he is nude. His nudity is an unconscious response to trauma, a response that is healing on different levels. I use the term skyclad intentionally because it has a spiritual connotation that goes back to the beginnings of humanity’s response and relationship to itself and to its creator.

Our creation story begins with humans in a state of perfection and holiness, unclothed in the Garden of Eden. A traumatic act caused this state of holiness to be broken. Feeling the shame of this trauma, and all victims of trauma feel shame, humans hid. We are told that we can return to the Garden of Eden, to heaven by doing the work to regain our innate holiness that remains within us. The real journey we all take is about healing the soul and regaining the purity in which we were created. Our creator knew us as perfect and good when there was nothing to hide and nothing to hide behind. Heaven isn’t clothing optional, nor was the Garden of Eden. You have something to hide? You can’t get in.

Trauma takes many forms: physical trauma, relationship trauma, psychological trauma, emotional trauma, and identity trauma. Trauma is real and it marks one for life. One can’t wish it away, or drown it with alcohol, or wipe it out with drugs, or erase it with therapy, or ignore it by filling life to the brim with things and activity. Rather than ignore trauma, we learn to see it as it is. Only then can we make choices to learn from the trauma and heal.

I will posting links that will allow you to download an e-book version for free, as well as for the purchase of a print version. Print versions will be available at a price that includes cost of production along with shipping.

A Naked Peek At Strawberry Fields

I am bringing a small part of my novel here, one of the scenes from the Strawberry Fields Summer Festival that took place in August of 1970. As I mentioned in a previous post, I was there toting a 12 string guitar and thinking I was in heaven as I listened to most of the performances. It was a unique moment in Canadian history that will never be replicated for Canada has changed and can’t go back to the way it was, even if it wanted to do so. Now, the story:

~

As Donald drove in through the gates into the Mosport Freeway Race Track grounds and found a place to park, the three young men saw that the radio had not been exaggerating the numbers of people at the site. If anything, it seemed they had under-estimated. There had to be over a hundred thousand people there instead of the predicted fifty thousand. It seemed that the number of people in line behind them would soon take that number a lot higher. They had each paid their fifteen dollars at the gate and walked down a dirt road to the camping area. They had planned on being early so as to have their tents set up near the stage where the musicians would be playing. With almost five hours to go before the first act would appear on stage, they saw that there was no way they could get a close site. The got as close as possible and left Rainier to set up the two pup tents while Derek went back with Donald to get the larger tent that Donald was going to use. It wasn’t long before all was set. They had time to kill and a lot to discover while waiting.

As they walked around the grounds they passed a group of about fifteen naked young men and women splashing at the edge of a dugout. Derek snickered and told Donald that they should go back to the dugout and join the nudies. Rainier shook his head. He just couldn’t understand what was happening to his friend. Over the past few days, Derek was so totally out of it, that Rainier was beginning to think he would have to take him to a psych ward, the same as he did with Céline. He wasn’t yet aware of the fact that both Donald and Derek had been swallowing tabs of LSD, acid. It wasn’t long before Derek and Donald decided it was time to take a time-out for a joint or two.

Rainier stuffed his backpack into the back of the tent, took his guitar and went wandering around the site hoping to find a good spot to watch the performances that evening. He spotted a group of four young people, two guys and girls, who were all playing guitars together. As they noticed him, they called him over and encouraged Rainier to join in on the jam session. They played for more than an hour. As they took a short break and talked about the music to come with performances by Luke and the Apostles and Feliciano, one of the girls began taking off her clothes saying how hot she was. It was hot, very hot. And so when she challenged them to do the same, saying it was time to get real the rest of the group soon found themselves naked.

With their clothing in a heap, and again playing their guitars, a bigger crowd of listeners gathered some of them stripping off their clothes and then dancing to the rhythms. Someone was passing out glasses of Kool-Aid and bottles of water. Rainier hated Kool-Aid, as it reminded him too much of poverty, and happily accepted water to quench his thirst. After another hour, he found himself the only one still playing. The others had stopped and were now swaying as though hypnotized by the music that could barely be heard for the increasing noise of the festival crowd. There was little doubt that the kool-aid had been spiked with LSD.

Rainier decided it was time to head back to the tent and make himself a bite to eat as he was hungry. He hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast time. The groceries were in Donald’s tent so Rainier shouted out, “knock, knock” before entering. Not hearing anything, he walked in and saw Derek passed out in the tent with a skinny, long-haired girl who couldn’t have been fourteen years old sitting dazed beside him. Both were nude. Surprised at the sight, he suddenly realised that he had forgotten his clothes where they had fallen while playing with the others hours earlier. How hadn’t anyone noticed and commented on it to him as he walked back to his tent carrying his guitar? Grabbing a loaf of bread and a bag of chips which he tossed into his little tent; and then putting on a pair of shorts, he left and went looking for his lost clothes.

Rainier was still wandering around, still in search of his clothes, when the music started playing. There were too many people around for him to locate the place he had been playing with the others. It began to seem a hopeless task. While walking, searching the ground for his clothes, he passed by a quite a few Volkswagen minivans decorated with swirls of colour and paisley flowers, and all the colours of the rainbow; he passed old buses, small circus tents and thousands upon thousands of people simply sitting or laying on the ground. He knew he would never find his clothes, and that he should just give them up as lost. After all, he had only lost a pair of cut-off jeans and an old tee-shirt.

He tried to retrace his steps, looking for the landmarks he had made during the search. He was surprised more than once seeing people making out on the ground, oblivious of the people standing around them, some of them watching them as if at a show. People selling weed in vans with their doors opened for all passersby to see the joints, water pipes, hash pipes as well as roach clips and more. Some were selling more booze that he had ever seen in one place. Everything was in plain sight with no fear of police and arrests.

Though the sun was setting, the heat was still almost unbearable in this swarm of bodies that were in constant motion. It was relief when Rainier finally reached his tent. There was no way he was going to move from the spot until noise and swell of bodies came to a rest. He also realised that he didn’t need to get any closer to the stage. He actually could see the stage from where he was sitting, though the people on the stage were not very big or even recognizable. More importantly, the sound system ensured that he could hear the music over the constant hum. He had already eaten the chips and was still hungry, so he decided to eat some of the bread with peanut butter, the only sandwich filler he had brought along. He searched in Derek’s empty tent and found a couple of bottles of Coke and took one of them. It would have to do for the night as that was all there was to drink. He definitely wasn’t going back into Donald’s tent to get something out of the two coolers of food and drink that they had brought with them.

~

Rainier woke up late the next morning. He had only slept about five or six hours, but the tent felt like a sauna. Crawling out of the tent, he saw that there were still people arriving at the festival site. Rainier felt grubby and sticky and he needed a shower. However, there wasn’t any chance that he’d find a shower on the grounds. Remembering the dugout that he had seen when they arrived the day before, Rainier thought it would be good enough. At least it was wet and would cool him off. Taking a towel out of his backpack, he walked towards the entrance where he had seen the dugout. It was impossible to walk in a straight line to get to the entrance road as the tents, vans, and scattered cars weren’t parked or set up in any kind of order. As well, many had simply spent the night in sleeping bags on the ground in whatever spaces they could find. Even though so many were sleeping, he could hear the noise of incoming traffic and excited voices.

There were others who had also woken up and were sleepily wandering in search of toilets or perhaps friends they had lost sometime during the party that had gone on until the first hint of dawn. Reaching the road, the way became easier. There were still cars and vans coming into the grounds having to drive to the distant edges of the festival site in search of a place to park themselves for Saturday’s festival program. Rainier spotted the dugout and saw that he wasn’t going to be the first into the water. There had to be at least two dozen people already splashing at the edges of the pond. Like the day before, all were stark naked.

Rainier was careful in choosing a place to put his towel and shorts before joining the others in the pond. He stood on the edges with his feet in the water for a few moments before he walked further into the pond, making his way towards the centre where he could hopefully swim. Rainier reached a spot where it was deep enough to totally submerge himself and then swim a bit, mostly treading water and feeling the water move across his body. He was a comfortable distance from the others and was able to watch them while he moved slowly through the centre of the pond. He hadn’t brought any shampoo or soap and began to wonder if he could share a bar of soap that was being passed around on the edge of the pond. The idea was enough to have Rainier bridge the distance and then hold out his hand as though he was next in line for its use. A young woman with long, dark brown hair and a dark complexion saw his hand reaching for the soap. Giving Rainier a smile, she simply said “Peace, Man,” as she passed it on. He quickly soaped under his arms, his genitals and then his hair so that he could pass the bar of soap on to another guy who was waiting his turn.

After almost an hour in the pond, Rainier climbed back onto the shore and retrieved his towel. The air was more than warm enough with a breeze to dry his body, so he just towelled his hair. Standing there, not self-conscious of his nudity, he folded up his towel and placed it on the ground for something to sit on when the girl who had passed him the bar of soap asked if she could use the towel to dry her hair as well. Rainier was quick to give her the towel and watched her use it. He couldn’t help but notice the thatch of black hair that hid her vagina and the dark aureoles that surrounded the nipples of her full, young breasts. She saw him looking and smiled. Then, handing him the towel, she walked off to join up with her group. As they left the pond area, she turned back, gave Rainier another smile and a wave of her hand.

Rainier turned back to look at the others who were still in the pond and to sit. There wasn’t any rush to get back to the tent. Besides, he would likely want to go into the water again simply to cool off before heading back for something to eat. As he watched, he noticed how there was no one making out. He wondered about it after having seen people unabashedly making out the evening before on the grounds, wondered why there was a difference. The scene was as innocent as one would find at a normal swimming pool with people simply having fun in the water. Maybe, he thought, it was because they weren’t stoned or drunk. They were simply young people having a good time.

Hunger pangs told him it was time to head back to the tent and get himself something to eat. Once back, there was still no sign of Derek or Donald. Rainier went into the larger tent, opened up the cooler and took out a carton of juice and broke off a hunk of cheese. The cooler was still full of most of the stuff they had brought to the site. Taking the food and juice out of the tent, he returned to the front of his tent, sat down and ate while waiting for another day of music to begin.

A Naked Peek At Strawberry Fields

Strawberry Fields Festival, 1970

Strawberry Fields Festival, 1970

I am bringing a small part of my novel here, one of the scenes from the Strawberry Fields Summer Festival that took place in August of 1970. As I mentioned in a previous post, I was there toting a 12 string guitar and thinking I was in heaven as I listened to most of the performances. It was a unique moment in Canadian history that will never be replicated for Canada has changed and can’t go back to the way it was, even if it wanted to do so. Now, the story:

~

As Donald drove in through the gates into the Mosport Freeway Race Track grounds and found a place to park, the three young men saw that the radio had not been exaggerating the numbers of people at the site. If anything, it seemed they had under-estimated. There had to be over a hundred thousand people there instead of the predicted fifty thousand. It seemed that the number of people in line behind them would soon take that number a lot higher. They had each paid their fifteen dollars at the gate and walked down a dirt road to the camping area. They had planned on being early so as to have their tents set up near the stage where the musicians would be playing. With almost five hours to go before the first act would appear on stage, they saw that there was no way they could get a close site. The got as close as possible and left Rainier to set up the two pup tents while Derek went back with Donald to get the larger tent that Donald was going to use. It wasn’t long before all was set. They had time to kill and a lot to discover while waiting.

As they walked around the grounds they passed a group of about fifteen naked young men and women splashing at the edge of a dugout. Derek snickered and told Donald that they should go back to the dugout and join the nudies. Rainier shook his head. He just couldn’t understand what was happening to his friend. Over the past few days, Derek was so totally out of it, that Rainier was beginning to think he would have to take him to a psych ward, the same as he did with Céline. He wasn’t yet aware of the fact that both Donald and Derek had been swallowing tabs of LSD, acid. It wasn’t long before Derek and Donald decided it was time to take a time-out for a joint or two.

Strawberry Fields Festival

Strawberry Fields Festival

Rainier stuffed his backpack into the back of the tent, took his guitar and went wandering around the site hoping to find a good spot to watch the performances that evening. He spotted a group of four young people, two guys and girls, who were all playing guitars together. As they noticed him, they called him over and encouraged Rainier to join in on the jam session. They played for more than an hour. As they took a short break and talked about the music to come with performances by Luke and the Apostles and Feliciano, one of the girls began taking off her clothes saying how hot she was. It was hot, very hot. And so when she challenged them to do the same, saying it was time to get real the rest of the group soon found themselves naked.

With their clothing in a heap, and again playing their guitars, a bigger crowd of listeners gathered some of them stripping off their clothes and then dancing to the rhythms. Someone was passing out glasses of Kool-Aid and bottles of water. Rainier hated Kool-Aid, as it reminded him too much of poverty, and happily accepted water to quench his thirst. After another hour, he found himself the only one still playing. The others had stopped and were now swaying as though hypnotized by the music that could barely be heard for the increasing noise of the festival crowd. There was little doubt that the kool-aid had been spiked with LSD.

Rainier decided it was time to head back to the tent and make himself a bite to eat as he was hungry. He hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast time. The groceries were in Donald’s tent so Rainier shouted out, “knock, knock” before entering. Not hearing anything, he walked in and saw Derek passed out in the tent with a skinny, long-haired girl who couldn’t have been fourteen years old sitting dazed beside him. Both were nude. Surprised at the sight, he suddenly realised that he had forgotten his clothes where they had fallen while playing with the others hours earlier. How hadn’t anyone noticed and commented on it to him as he walked back to his tent carrying his guitar? Grabbing a loaf of bread and a bag of chips which he tossed into his little tent; and then putting on a pair of shorts, he left and went looking for his lost clothes.

Rainier was still wandering around, still in search of his clothes, when the music started playing. There were too many people around for him to locate the place he had been playing with the others. It began to seem a hopeless task. While walking, searching the ground for his clothes, he passed by a quite a few Volkswagen minivans decorated with swirls of colour and paisley flowers, and all the colours of the rainbow; he passed old buses, small circus tents and thousands upon thousands of people simply sitting or laying on the ground. He knew he would never find his clothes, and that he should just give them up as lost. After all, he had only lost a pair of cut-off jeans and an old tee-shirt.

He tried to retrace his steps, looking for the landmarks he had made during the search. He was surprised more than once seeing people making out on the ground, oblivious of the people standing around them, some of them watching them as if at a show. People selling weed in vans with their doors opened for all passersby to see the joints, water pipes, hash pipes as well as roach clips and more. Some were selling more booze that he had ever seen in one place. Everything was in plain sight with no fear of police and arrests.

Though the sun was setting, the heat was still almost unbearable in this swarm of bodies that were in constant motion. It was relief when Rainier finally reached his tent. There was no way he was going to move from the spot until noise and swell of bodies came to a rest. He also realised that he didn’t need to get any closer to the stage. He actually could see the stage from where he was sitting, though the people on the stage were not very big or even recognizable. More importantly, the sound system ensured that he could hear the music over the constant hum. He had already eaten the chips and was still hungry, so he decided to eat some of the bread with peanut butter, the only sandwich filler he had brought along. He searched in Derek’s empty tent and found a couple of bottles of Coke and took one of them. It would have to do for the night as that was all there was to drink. He definitely wasn’t going back into Donald’s tent to get something out of the two coolers of food and drink that they had brought with them.

~

Rainier woke up late the next morning. He had only slept about five or six hours, but the tent felt like a sauna. Crawling out of the tent, he saw that there were still people arriving at the festival site. Rainier felt grubby and sticky and he needed a shower. However, there wasn’t any chance that he’d find a shower on the grounds. Remembering the dugout that he had seen when they arrived the day before, Rainier thought it would be good enough. At least it was wet and would cool him off. Taking a towel out of his backpack, he walked towards the entrance where he had seen the dugout. It was impossible to walk in a straight line to get to the entrance road as the tents, vans, and scattered cars weren’t parked or set up in any kind of order. As well, many had simply spent the night in sleeping bags on the ground in whatever spaces they could find. Even though so many were sleeping, he could hear the noise of incoming traffic and excited voices.

There were others who had also woken up and were sleepily wandering in search of toilets or perhaps friends they had lost sometime during the party that had gone on until the first hint of dawn. Reaching the road, the way became easier. There were still cars and vans coming into the grounds having to drive to the distant edges of the festival site in search of a place to park themselves for Saturday’s festival program. Rainier spotted the dugout and saw that he wasn’t going to be the first into the water. There had to be at least two dozen people already splashing at the edges of the pond. Like the day before, all were stark naked.

Rainier was careful in choosing a place to put his towel and shorts before joining the others in the pond. He stood on the edges with his feet in the water for a few moments before he walked further into the pond, making his way towards the centre where he could hopefully swim. Rainier reached a spot where it was deep enough to totally submerge himself and then swim a bit, mostly treading water and feeling the water move across his body. He was a comfortable distance from the others and was able to watch them while he moved slowly through the centre of the pond. He hadn’t brought any shampoo or soap and began to wonder if he could share a bar of soap that was being passed around on the edge of the pond. The idea was enough to have Rainier bridge the distance and then hold out his hand as though he was next in line for its use. A young woman with long, dark brown hair and a dark complexion saw his hand reaching for the soap. Giving Rainier a smile, she simply said “Peace, Man,” as she passed it on. He quickly soaped under his arms, his genitals and then his hair so that he could pass the bar of soap on to another guy who was waiting his turn.

After almost an hour in the pond, Rainier climbed back onto the shore and retrieved his towel. The air was more than warm enough with a breeze to dry his body, so he just towelled his hair. Standing there, not self-conscious of his nudity, he folded up his towel and placed it on the ground for something to sit on when the girl who had passed him the bar of soap asked if she could use the towel to dry her hair as well. Rainier was quick to give her the towel and watched her use it. He couldn’t help but notice the thatch of black hair that hid her vagina and the dark aureoles that surrounded the nipples of her full, young breasts. She saw him looking and smiled. Then, handing him the towel, she walked off to join up with her group. As they left the pond area, she turned back, gave Rainier another smile and a wave of her hand.

Rainier turned back to look at the others who were still in the pond and to sit. There wasn’t any rush to get back to the tent. Besides, he would likely want to go into the water again simply to cool off before heading back for something to eat. As he watched, he noticed how there was no one making out. He wondered about it after having seen people unabashedly making out the evening before on the grounds, wondered why there was a difference. The scene was as innocent as one would find at a normal swimming pool with people simply having fun in the water. Maybe, he thought, it was because they weren’t stoned or drunk. They were simply young people having a good time.

Hunger pangs told him it was time to head back to the tent and get himself something to eat. Once back, there was still no sign of Derek or Donald. Rainier went into the larger tent, opened up the cooler and took out a carton of juice and broke off a hunk of cheese. The cooler was still full of most of the stuff they had brought to the site. Taking the food and juice out of the tent, he returned to the front of his tent, sat down and ate while waiting for another day of music to begin.

Naked Reflections on Being Authentic and Transparent

As I sit here this morning wondering what I will write about, with too many ideas racing though my head, I turned to a collection of images that are resting on my desktop, images I have both taken and collected from other places. I think back to a number of years when I was constricted, barely able to breathe for the tightness in my chest and the vice-grips that had imprisoned my soul. None of it made sense as I had a good life as a parent and spouse with a good career that had earned me a lot of community respect. What had been responsible for my dark state of being within the embrace of family and community? What had changed between then and now when I can once again breathe without worry of the shadows that are still present on the periphery?

My writing since that time of darkness, a writing that had found its way into a number of formats – discussion groups, poetry, reflective journals, blog posts and stories that acknowledge the reality of darkness that broods with a life of its own, within the compass of my life. As the stories emerged, I found myself battling the emerging monsters and ghosts, never able to defeat them, but finding a way to co-exist with them. I created a space where whatever and whoever it is that I identify with as my self, a legitimate space hard-earned.

As the spaces opened up and breathing returned, somewhat to normal, other images of the unconscious emerged, images of those moments in time when I had previously felt whole. More often than not, the images showed a transparent self, one that didn’t hide in closets or in cardboard boxes. I saw myself without the borrowed clothing of others. Yes, I saw myself without clothing, daring to be exposed to the universe. Of course, I was a child, a youth, and later a very young man when these rare experiences were lived. To be graced with these images bathed in light in a world and life that was otherwise darkness, allowed me to remember, to re-member that child, youth, young adult into a much older adult. And so I dared to search again for those spaces and places where I could risk being authentically and transparently myself.

My life has changed, dramatically because of my work with writing and with my risking being vulnerable. I have learned, perhaps for the first time, that it is okay to be me. I now know that I don’t have much choice but to be authentically me if I am to continue breathing without the power of the darkness once again imprisoning me so that I become only a shell of a man.

Naked Reflections on Being Authentic and Transparent

Sometimes it is enough just to be yourself.

Sometimes it is enough just to be yourself.

As I sit here this morning wondering what I will write about, with too many ideas racing though my head, I turned to a collection of images that are resting on my desktop, images I have both taken and collected from other places. I think back to a number of years when I was constricted, barely able to breathe for the tightness in my chest and the vice-grips that had imprisoned my soul. None of it made sense as I had a good life as a parent and spouse with a good career that had earned me a lot of community respect. What had been responsible for my dark state of being within the embrace of family and community? What had changed between then and now when I can once again breathe without worry of the shadows that are still present on the periphery?

My writing since that time of darkness, a writing that had found its way into a number of formats – discussion groups, poetry, reflective journals, blog posts and stories that acknowledge the reality of darkness that broods with a life of its own, within the compass of my life. As the stories emerged, I found myself battling the emerging monsters and ghosts, never able to defeat them, but finding a way to co-exist with them. I created a space where whatever and whoever it is that I identify with as my self, a legitimate space hard-earned.

As the spaces opened up and breathing returned, somewhat to normal, other images of the unconscious emerged, images of those moments in time when I had previously felt whole. More often than not, the images showed a transparent self, one that didn’t hide in closets or in cardboard boxes. I saw myself without the borrowed clothing of others. Yes, I saw myself without clothing, daring to be exposed to the universe. Of course, I was a child, a youth, and later a very young man when these rare experiences were lived. To be graced with these images bathed in light in a world and life that was otherwise darkness, allowed me to remember, to re-member that child, youth, young adult into a much older adult. And so I dared to search again for those spaces and places where I could risk being authentically and transparently myself.

My life has changed, dramatically because of my work with writing and with my risking being vulnerable. I have learned, perhaps for the first time, that it is okay to be me. I now know that I don’t have much choice but to be authentically me if I am to continue breathing without the power of the darkness once again imprisoning me so that I become only a shell of a man.