Relationships are like sand castles, they are constantly shifting and changing with the wind, the rain, and the tides that sometimes engulf us. One of the significant things to realise is the fact that all relationships that we engage in have one thing in common – ourselves. When we are not fully conscious (and to tell the truth, no one is fully conscious), the unknown about ourselves finds a way to be the wind, rain and tides that act upon our relationships. What is vitally important for us to do is the work to uncover, unmask all that is hidden within. We have to risk being vulnerable as though walking through our relationships stripped of everything behind which we hide and protect our soft and vulnerable center.
Not only do our unknown aspects of self work to stress our relationships, there is always the unknown aspects of the other, our significant other, having the same effect upon our relationships. The result is that relationships are never as stable as one believes, especially as one ages and changes on the individual level.
If one person due to some reason or other, usually a crisis of some kind, decides to risk doing the work to unearth the unknown lurking within each of us by stripping away all the defenses, lies, and magical thinking that we have used to protect ourselves; the other has no choice but to respond to the changes in their partner in the relationship regardless if the relationship is to a parent, a child, a lover. All with whom we engage in relationship are buffeted by the changes within us. But how that “other” responds to our changes is not always for the better.
We see that in the world of naturism and nudism. Where one person frees themselves from the bondage of clothing, from fear of being exposed and vulnerable, there is a response in the others with whom that person is in relationship. Some decide to abandon relationship. Some decide to go on the offensive as though to save the person from him or herself. Some decide to risk opening up themselves having seen something in the other that seems to be about healing. Why are the responses all so different? It is encoded in their original relationships as an infant and child to parents and others within the orbit or those early years. Where there is a refusal to do the work of individuation, the responses are fear responses, fear based on both personal and collective shadow factors.
Using active imagination while risking a state of undress opens up portals to the inner self that have been barred for too long. The role of active imagination in therapy has a positive history in helping a person to heal themselves, to heal their soul and psyche. The role of being nude, especially outside in sunshine, adds a physiological dimension to the act of healing. Learning to be comfortable with one’s outer self, the physical self, goes a long way to enabling one to learn to trust and accept the inner self. In my opinion as a therapist, and my experience in doing the work of healing the self, naturism is a powerful and positive component of therapy.