Monthly Archives: July 2014

Picking Apples

Like Adam before me, I found myself picking apples off a tree wearing nothing but sunshine.

Like Adam before me, I found myself picking apples off a tree wearing nothing but sunshine.

It’s another hot day here on the prairies. After our morning walk I was given a few tasks for the afternoon and evening while my wife went off to work. One of those tasks was to pick some of the apples off the low-hanging branches as they were getting in the way of mowing the lawn. Naturally, I, being who I am, decided to pick the apples skyclad. And no, I wasn’t worried about being kicked out of the Garden of Eden. I wasn’t ashamed of my nakedness like Adam and Eve. And, I am sure that the Creator would have appreciated my being comfortable just how she/he made me. I filled the pail and found that the branches, lighter due to my efforts, took their normal position above our heads so that we could mow the lawn without ducking.

There is no question that passers by on the street which I was facing, could have seen me, but not necessarily my nakedness. After all, there was a fence in the way and an open space between the two houses that stood between myself and the street. I only take reasonable risks as I really have no intention of upsetting people in our little community with my nudity.

When the apples were picked, it was time to pick some rhubarb which my wife will make into some delicious jams and fruit. Later, when it cools off, I will be watering the vegetable garden which is verdant and showing signs of being bountiful this year. Gardening is a traditional prairie past-time in small towns, however it is not so common in larger towns and cities. Gone are the times when people raised or hunted for their food.

A Sunny Day On The Prairies

Hiking from home to the Mondau Hills.

Hiking from home to the Mondau Hills.

It has been a good day for me with the sun shining and warmth filling every pore of my body. This morning I drank my morning coffee outside and then meditated before hanging out a few loads of laundry on the clothesline. Of course, everything was done skyclad.

When it was noon, I decided to go for a hike without knowing how far I would hike. I left my home wearing a pair of shorts, a hat, hiking shoes and toed socks while carrying a day bag with two extra pairs of socks, a large bottle of water, and a wrap which my wife made for me for cover-up purposes when necessary.

I walked to the corner, almost a kilometre from my house. At the corner we have friends living on the northwest side of the road. As I turned south, I passed two more farms that are active within a few hundred metres. One and a half kilometres later I crossed a grid road and then walked passed another friends home, one of my golfing buddies.

hiking nude

hiking nude

No one was at home, so once I was passed the row of trees that hid the little used dirt road from his house, off came the shorts (see star). It was a long walk of five kilometres from that point to the base of the Mondau Hills with the last part just a faint tractor trail that wound its way down from the plain towards the old lake bottom which is now hay land.

The journey was quick with five of eight kilometres walked skyclad. Of course I kept my senses alert in case I needed to put on the wrap in order to avoid getting in trouble. Going back was a repeat of the outward bound trail. I stopped before my friend’s house to put my shorts back on and to change my socks. Three hours and fifteen minutes later after walking in full sunlight with a temperature of 28 C. (82 F.), I was back at home. It was a good day for hiking as most of the hay is cut and curing, the crops have all been sprayed, and most people were indoors with their air-conditioners or gone to the lake. Most days this wouldn’t be a possibility for nude hiking with the exception of perhaps the last two kilometres on the outward leg..

Back home, the clothes came off the clothes line, and then I enjoyed some cold ice-tea before heading inside to write up this post. I am looking forward to the next week as sunshine is forecast for each day with temperatures getting even warmer.

A Few Private Moments In Time

Cleaning up after an noon meal on the patio.

Cleaning up after an noon meal on the patio.

The wind is still blowing and my allergies are having their own private festival. Since it is quite cool and overcast, most of the time, I don’t feel guilty for hiding in the house seeking some relief however fleeting that relief might be. In spite of the sneezing, runny nose, stuffed and achy head, I do take time to play games outside with my grandchildren. As I sit in my office and write up this post, my grandchildren are off to the swimming pool with their dad, and my wife and our daughter are off to get a few more groceries to feed all, I have a rare luxury of being alone and cleaning up the lunch mess on our patio table. This time alone is treasured and chores don’t intrude on this alone time. If anything, I am able to do a better job of it because of no distractions. As well, I get to do them skyclad.

Just out of curiousity, I did a web search to see if there was any way that naturism was useful as a way to relieve allergy symptoms. The first thing that popped up was a book called Beat Your Allergies, in which the author Rob Hicks includes the suggestion of including indoor naturism (Why getting naked might be just what the doctor ordered) as one strategy. I don’t have the book, so I have little to say about the book or exactly what the author is advocating. That left me with doing the usual routine of nasal spray (Dristan), headache pills (Advil) and allergy meds (Reactine)  so that I could return to some semblance of being a sociable person.

With my nasal passages again open, I am ready to rejoin my grandchildren for a few hours of bonding time.

Naturism And The Search For Self

It is a good day to stay inside where it is dry and warm.

It is a good day to stay inside where it is dry and warm.

As you can see, the weather outside is frightful with the wind gusting up to 100 km/h bending over trees and the rain blurring reality as I look out the window. Inside, my four visiting grandsons are busy with computer games, eating, running around the house and listening to music. This is definitely not one of those peaceful times that one associates with retirement. It is definitely not a day for being skyclad. All of that said, it is a good day because of the presence of my grandchildren, a loving wife and a warm home.

In a few days, silence will again fill the house and the temperature should move from today’s high of 15 C. (60 F.) to a summery high of 30 C. I will have time enough for sunbathing in our yard, and taking hikes into the countryside where I can perhaps hike some of the distance while nude. In the plans are a visit by my wife and I to Helios, a naturist campground community near Edmonton en route to hiking in the Canadian Rocky Mountains by Jasper, Alberta.

An image from Norway that asks this eternal question.

An image from Norway that asks this eternal question.

I have been spending some time writing for a winter project which involves presenting Jungian psychology concepts while interweaving a bit of Buddhism and Naturism into those presentation. The first presentation is all about “self.”

Most people take great pains to create a self-image that they come to believe is the truth about who they are. Teenagers are famous for this as they adopt clothing styles and attitudes that will mark them as individuals, as unique. Yet for all the effort, all we are doing is creating barriers that hide the truth of who we are. We are investing most of our identity in our camouflage. The camouflage is not just the clothing we choose to hide behind; our camouflage involves what we do, our societal roles, our relationship roles, our games with ourselves. We get lost in a minefield that has been created by our minds.

Naturism is one path by which we can begin to recover what we have lost. It isn’t the only thing we need to do if we are to regain the wholeness of self. But, it is a good start.

Learning To Be Patient And Present

One breath at a time

One breath at a time

The birthday is done and life continues on as if it never occurred. That is a significant reality that is worthy of a bit more thought. Time, in spite of our best efforts, seems to have no markers, no sense of following a straight line for measuring days, months and years. Now matter how we think and attempt to control time, we are always stuck in the present moment with the past a the future just holding the value of some misty idea in our heads. I can now say I am 65, but that means nothing in terms of my waking up from a sleep world into a world where I continue to experience the simple fact that I am.

I have four of my grandsons staying at my home for a change of experience from their normal experiences of daily life. I get to play, to referee, to sit in the stands encouraging, to tell stories and to be there quietly when both they and I need quietness. There is a constant ebb and flow that is amazingly similar to breathing. It doesn’t matter what I have written, what photos I have taken, or that I consider myself as a Jungian psychotherapist, a Buddhist, and a naturist. All that matters is that I am here, breathing and being, present in these moments that shift with my breath.

Sitting on my back patio with my wife in the early morning while others are still sleeping, letting my body soak in the morning sun; shifts into a state of being clothed and talking with the first of the grandchildren to wake up. As the sun creeps higher into the sky there is a constant shifting of activity and presence, like some sort of dance. My thoughts take me to times decades past before returning to the present where I engage with one of my grandsons who is trying to build a bird house out of old wood. Then my thoughts turn to the future as I check out weather forecasts for the following two days in spite of the fact that weather forecasts are not all that reliable. Then, it is back to the present and being present. We’ll make a final decision on future activities at the last minute based on the then current conditions.

I guess that I am older as I can tolerate this ambiguity of present, past and future much better than in the past. I don’t need to attempt to control the universe. Que sera, sera.

Authentic Relationships Versus Fair-Weather Friends

Walking in water on a hazy and warm, summer day,

Walking in water on a hazy and warm, summer day,

Like most people, naturists often find the weather to be a prime topic, especially when it comes to conversation starters. Perhaps this universal dialogue about weather is more than just a way to break the silence as one reaches out to connect to others. Weather is closely tied to our moods. Here on the Canadian prairies, farmers are focused on weather – what is has been in the past, what the weather is like at the present, and perhaps more importantly, the weather forecast.

Cool and wet summer morning.

Cool and wet summer morning.

As I write this, it is cool and cloudy out with light showers, not what one would call great weather for enjoying a naturist moment out-of-doors. However, it really isn’t as bad as one would think. Risking going out into the cool and wet conditions allows our bodies to feel a wider range of sensation, something that lets us know that we are alive.

Relationships are a lot like the weather. Since we are never able to always hold to one mood, nor are those with whom we engage in a variety of relationships, we learn to navigate through these changes if we are to continue to have relationships. We don’t run off and hide just because the weather changes, that is the conditions of mood and attitude. We all know that we go through dark (cloudy and overcast) moments in our lives. When we emerge through these dark moments, we hope and more often than not, expect others to still be there for us. We don’t want these others to just be fair-weather friends.

This hope is fragile for many of us as we are unsure of our worth to others. So many feel unworthy because of the shadows we try to keep hidden from others, especially those who mean the most to us. If we don’t value ourselves because we have yet to deal with the ghosts and shadows of our inner world, we believe that others would flee from us if our shadows were to emerge and be visible. We are afraid to expose these shades of darkness and be naked and vulnerable. It is much easier to simply hide and deny, and wait for a sunny day.

Daring To Expose The Hidden Inner Self

Trying to define what naked means - it definitely is not about clothing or its absence.

What naked means – it definitely is not about clothing or its absence.

This morning, I found this posted to my Facebook timeline by my good wife. It actually brings a deeper sense of being understood to have these words and this poster show up. Though the poster talks about a couple relationship, the idea of letting others into the depths of who you are extends way beyond the safe and private union of a couple. The role of parent and child, or even grandchild often allows the barriers between self and other to drop enough for the authentic self to appear.

Daring to expose the truth of who we are.

Daring to expose the truth of who we are.

Unconditional love, the kind that we hear about especially in association of Jesus, is the hardest thing for us as humans to give. As parents, we typically want to control the parent-child relationship and so we engage in manipulative behaviours that basically tell the other that we will still love them if – nothing unconditional about that version of love.

However, sometimes it happens the way it should. But it takes a willingness to allow our children to see what we don’t even want to see about ourselves. I am not talking simply about ditching the clothing and allowing the truth of our aged bodies to be present. There are bigger and more harmful barriers. Behind these barriers we hide in fear that no one would love us if they knew the truth about us. And of course, that shuts the door shut until something breaks within us that puts serious cracks in our defensive walls. When those cracks appear in spite of all our efforts, we often get surprised that instead of pushing our children away, the cracks make us more human, less god-like. It is at this moment that we catch the whiff of unconditional love. Do we dare follow up and risk even more honesty with ourselves and others? Or, do we retreat out of doubt and fear and work even harder to make our barriers even higher, stronger and thicker?

Will you dare becoming naked in spirit?

It is finally hot outside

Puma SwimwearToday’s weather makes me think more of the heat in Mexico during January through March. When we left Mexico in early April, we promised that we would shop for bathing suits before the onset of winter in Canada. After all, one needs a bathing suit when on a public beach. Last winter I bought my swimwear in Playa del Carmen, a pair of Puma bikini briefs which sat about 7 cm below my belly button and had 5 cm between the side waistband and the leg.

This year we both have kept true to our words and have gone to the trouble of Marcuse Desiregetting new swimwear. I have just received my new bikini briefs, a pair of black Desire briefs by Marcuse. As I searched through on-line catalogs, I made sure that I vetted choices with my good wife. After all, she will be seeing them on my while I walk along the beaches in Mexico with her. These swimming briefs were her first choice. Like the Puma bikini swimsuit, the side measures about 5 cm. However, the front (and the back to some extent) is a bit briefer than the Pumas. The distance from belly button to the top of the waistband is 13 cm. As you can see, this change will require that I change my grooming habits when these are to be worn. What was hidden is now on public display. Again, the idea is to not offend.

Another thing to consider is the motivation to do the work this autumn so that my abdomen is less paunchy. So far, the spring and summer has allowed me to avoid adding more than a few pounds since our return from Mexico. I actually hope to end up returning to Mexico weighing a few pounds less. Our eating habits and our constant beach walking allow us to find a very comfortable weight – for me, fifteen pounds less than I have weighed on average over the past dozen years. I wouldn’t have been able to wear these bikini swimming briefs a few years ago. So what has made the real difference? The adoption of a naturist life style which is all about respect for nature, the environment and for one’s own body.

Being Present In One's Breath

Meditation on the back deck in sunshine.

Meditation on the back deck in sunshine.

It is now warm enough in the morning for me to meditate outdoors again. For those who are new to reading here, I always meditate nude unless I am away from home and must find a somewhat public place to meditate such as in a hostel. Meditation is more than simply sitting still for me. Meditation is an act of freeing myself from my own negative energies that try to convince me that my thoughts are reality.

Thinking again. Yes, the problem with many of us, if not all of us, is that we think and mistake what we are thinking for truths. “I am unworthy because . . .” or “he is evil because he is naked.

As a psychotherapist I have learned long ago that it isn’t what has happened to a person that sends her or him into mental health counselling. Rather, it is what the person thinks about, how the person responds to what has happened. We all know people who make a big deal out of something that, for us, is very insignificant. We can’t understand what the drama is all about for them and so we dismiss them and their suffering. Yet, beneath the surface there are associations that are triggered which links to some ancient pain, a pain that is locked into the head, into the thinking patterns.

Meditation is a vital key to learning how to let go of these thinking scripts and allow a person to be more present in the present, rather than stuck in a past scene that plays over and over again like an old vinyl LP record that gets caught in a groove. The old scripts don’t disappear, they simply lose their power. It all starts with breathing and being present in that breath, being present in the body that breathes.

Being Present In One’s Breath

A moment in the sun - a long moment for meditation.

A moment in the sun – a long moment for meditation.

It is now warm enough in the morning for me to meditate outdoors again. For those who are new to reading here, I always meditate nude unless I am away from home and must find a somewhat public place to meditate such as in a hostel. Meditation is more than simply sitting still for me. Meditation is an act of freeing myself from my own negative energies that try to convince me that my thoughts are reality.

Thinking again. Yes, the problem with many of us, if not all of us, is that we think and mistake what we are thinking for truths. “I am unworthy because . . .” or “he is evil because he is naked.

As a psychotherapist I have learned long ago that it isn’t what has happened to a person that sends her or him into mental health counselling. Rather, it is what the person thinks about, how the person responds to what has happened. We all know people who make a big deal out of something that, for us, is very insignificant. We can’t understand what the drama is all about for them and so we dismiss them and their suffering. Yet, beneath the surface there are associations that are triggered which links to some ancient pain, a pain that is locked into the head, into the thinking patterns.

Meditation is a vital key to learning how to let go of these thinking scripts and allow a person to be more present in the present, rather than stuck in a past scene that plays over and over again like an old vinyl LP record that gets caught in a groove. The old scripts don’t disappear, they simply lose their power. It all starts with breathing and being present in that breath, being present in the body that breathes.