Monthly Archives: January 2016
Another day in the sub-tropical paradise on the Mayan Riviera. We have returned from our usual two-hour walk along the beach followed by another half-hour in the sea. A short two-block walk takes us to our little private sanctuary where clothing is not essential – well at least most of the time. As you can see, the sunshine is working its magic in painting my body a rich shade of browns and reds with not much in the way of tan lines in spite of wearing a mini swimsuit. I can hardly imagine just how dark I will be come the end of the first week in April when I will be back home in Canada.
Back in the casa, or should I say in the garden behind the casa, I am continuing the work on the third book now having reached 25,000 words. Because of that focus, I am not finding much time for social media. As a result, I miss hearing the voices of friends that I have made on various platforms, friends who share and celebrate naturism in their lives. Enough said for today as it’s time to return to the book while the muse is still cooperative.
It’s not often that I let it all hang out in my photos here at Naturist Lens. Why today? Well, it just seemed so natural. I tried cropping to perhaps be less confrontational for some but found that the quality of the scene was severely compromised. At least this isn’t being too overt, too sexualised. The last thing that the photo would do, perhaps could do, would be to stir someone’s fantasy. That said, it is beyond question, enough to affront and offend.
We live in a culture of hate in modern North America. We hate those who are different from us – different colour, different politics, different religion, different values, different anything. The roots of this lie deep in all cultures and are hard to escape. Probably at some point, this was essential to our survival in tribal units of a long distant past. It’s not easy to get past this basic hatred, but it is possible.
Another reason lies in proximity. Our hate lessens when distance grows. When the difference is in our faces, the anxiety level goes up. With social media, Internet, global news saturation, ease of travel across time zones and continents, we don’t have much relief from the difference of others.
To make matters worse, if that isn’t enough, when our collective’s belief system codify the badness of difference, through religious, political, and even legal codes, those who are different are scapegoats that hold the darkness of the collective. We make enemies of strangers because they are different – nudists, Muslims, indigenous peoples, socialists, those of black African ancestry – basically anyone that is not White, Anglo-Saxon and Protestant (very grudging acceptance of Papists, Catholics). Being W.A.S.P. is like a birthright to entitlement and everyone else is seen as stealing from us simply by having what we want. When others dare to do what we don’t want them to do, we punish them through laws, shunning, invasions, blockades, etc.
We segregate ourselves from these dark others. We build gated communities, we create tax systems to ensure that these others don’t get to near to us on an economic level. We use every tool we can to keep them out of our churches unless they come to acknowledge our superiority by being converted to the truth. We segregate others as much as possible – nudist camps behind locked gates, refugee camps in far-away countries, slums in our cities – our creativity at keeping these others at bay is taxed to the limit.
But it isn’t so simply defined for many in our own protected group also give rise to fear, to hate in us. Men versus women with women at the disadvantage. Heterosexual versus homosexual; liberal versus conservative; rich versus poor; middle class versus those in poverty. And within even tight groups hate shows its face – a small church community is rife with backstabbing and politicking and slandering and belittling the others who don’t hold us high thus denying us of our rightful place at the top of the tiny heap we call ours.
What to do in this culture of hate? Dare to be authentic. It’s powerful. Dare to be compassionate. Dare to let go of your own hatreds by accepting that the hate projected is about personal darkness denied. Lose the “special” and narcissistic self-definition. Learn that there is nothing that separates in the end as all are part of one whole that is indivisible.
I’d have to guess that all of my neighbours have seen me skyclad in my yard or in my home in Canada. It was something that took a few years of easing myself into the open areas of the yard regardless of the season. The reaction of my neighbours has been significantly non-reactive. I wonder if it is due to the fact that most of the community has either read the hard copies or digital copies of my books that tell the story of my childhood, and the other books that presents poetry accompanied by nude photography.
Here in Mexico, my landlady who lives in the front of the house has frequently seen me skyclad while I write, relax, sunbathe, or am otherwise occupied in the yard. Of course the windows are never shuttered making it easy to see inside the suite where I am almost always nude. I did let her know in advance, asking permission to have the yard and garden as clothing optional when she doesn’t have company wanting to share the yard.
In none of my nude adventures outside of the safe areas of home and holiday home, have I been confronted about my proclivities though many know that I am a naturist. No one comments or asks. In all situations it is simply one person engaging with another person assuming the best of each other. It works. Always assume the best and you will generally get a positive response. With negative responses I try to listen so that I can hear what is the real issue. So far, it has never been an issue about my nudity.
So, how did it happen that I have been gently accepted in my community, and tolerated for my nudity in my home and garden areas? I would think it has to do with having my community know who I am. For several years I was the school principal, and I was respected for my role and efforts. With the years following seeing me take on roles of university instructor and Director of education in distant areas and always coming home to the community when contracts were completed, I affirmed to the community that they were my home community of choice. I was a professional from the city who had chosen their rural community as my home. They were aware of my continuing professional activities as a counsellor, writer and photographer, activities which they adopted as a celebration of their community.
Thinking back to how this has all unfolded over the past fourteen years, I am certain that by not rushing out and confronting them with the reality of just how different I was, allowed time and experience to build enough respect between the community and I. That said, I refrain from overt challenges to the broader community. In allows my receptive neighbours time and opportunity to serve as a buffer between myself and potential antagonists within the community. I guess, like the story of the tortoise and the hare, slow and steady will always win the day.
I loved this photo the moment I saw it. It could have been a photo of my wife and I taken more than forty years ago if one thinks in terms of the ages of the young man and woman in the photo.
We are different in so many ways, a difference that has been accentuated as we aged. I am like this young man, naked in heart and spirit and, when circumstances permit, in body. She loves clothes, feels comfortable in clothing. Yet, that doesn’t prevent her from crossing her comfort zone boundaries to be with me when the social situation is naturist. In turn, I respect her choice to be clothed and to take part in her social situations that require clothing. It has become a curious dance of give and take.
One of the dangers in a relationship is found in the belief that a couple has to agree on everything. As soon as one partner banishes a certain value or belief so that harmony in a relationship can be maintained, the relationship and the individual is in serious trouble. Only healthy individuals can make a healthy relationship. If that means one embraces naturism while the other doesn’t, the relationship can survive and thrive through respecting the choices of the other. If the relationship can’t survive the differences, then the relationship is doomed and will either come apart or the individuals will come apart.
I am going to borrow some images from the past to use in this post with the hope that I don’t offend anyone in any way. As well, I am going to borrow a few other images from FB of friends who I have found to be “real” people, “natural women.” If at some point, a person wants a photo removed, simply ask. With that, I will begin the post dedicated to the natural woman. This first photo is my wife. She is my Magical Other. For those who have bought my poetry books, you will recognise her instantly. She is in her sixties with this photo taken less than a year ago. Is she a natural woman? In her opinion, yes. She accepts who she is and her body as it is. She is confident being herself without worrying about the opinions of others when it comes to body image and personal identity.
I was fortunate to be able to have other women allow me to use their photos in my photo books which are still available for purchase at Amazon.
These women have adopted a belief system that says the hell with having other people control their body image. These women have managed to thrive in a world that would have them hide their natural beauty.
They have claimed control of their own destiny, defined themselves rather than having the men in their lives define them, rather than having media define them.
In the process of daring to be real people with real bodies they have earned the respect of those around them in the face-to-face world. There is an authenticity that refuses to be compromised, refuses to be tamed and constrained.
With the doors pried open so that they can be the women that exist beneath the skin, Natural women evoke the goddess in all women. And, in the process, they become part of the archetypal Great Mother, the energy force that birthed a universe.
We are back in Puerto Morelos after spending a day in Playa del Carmen visiting friends. Since it was a cloudy, windy and at times even rainy day, it was a good break from sun worshipping and activities that are becoming almost habitual. Our morning ritual of coffee in the garden was continued, coffee served dark and rich. Of course the dress code for morning coffee for me is au naturel.
We got dressed for a trip to the farmers’ market for fresh fruit and vegetables and a loaf of homemade whole grain bread, before we had breakfast. Once both breakfast and shopping were done, we went for our morning walk on the beach with swimming and sunbathing following before we had a late lunch.
I realise that for anyone reading this blog post, none of this sounds very exciting. But, that’s the whole point. Living as a naturist is just the same as living in clothing – normal living. There is nothing extra exciting or sexually charged with natural nudity just as there is noting basically exciting or exotic about wearing clothes. Life is what we make it. I choose to live as much as possible without clothing. It’s as simple as that.
I find it difficult to understand how I could be doing my life in a carbon-copy fashion with the only change of being clothed would elicit no response from the world at large, but simply by doing the same potentially boring life without clothing the world at large becomes offended and frantic and in a rush to protect the world from having to be witness to my life. People are so fearful that they take offense at almost everything that suggests that a different world view is valid. Even wearing clothing is offensive if the clothing doesn’t fit within what the collective tells us is appropriate. We are offended by baggy pants with boxers showing; we are offended by no clothing; we are offended by women’s breasts; we are offended by men in skirts; we are offended by women in burkas and men in turbans – the list of things that offend us are legion.
We see ourselves as victims of those who offend us. Somewhere along the way, we began to believe that those who offend us should be punished, and if possible – punished harshly. We claim that our rights and freedoms have been trampled by the offensive others who don’t live life or believe as we do. There is no way for us to understand that this kind of thinking attacks the rights and freedoms of others. We become so ethnocentric that all else becomes heresy, evil, and a threat to our very existence. So, we do our best to deny the rights of others, putting into law everything we find offensive.
In terms of naturism, beaches become battlegrounds where only the offended have rights. We scream about how we are sinful, agents of the devil, how children are traumatised by the sight of a woman’s breast or, horrors, her genitals in plain view. Our screeching terrorises our children. They see our horrific response to nudity and learn to be terrorised. After all, children learn their truths from the truths of their parents. No logical reasoning is heard or tolerated. The terrifying shadows within have been woken and someone must be punished. It doesn’t matter that those shadows belong to us, are hidden within us. Someone must be punished.
It’s a beautiful day here in Puerto Morelos, a cool and very breezy, sunny day. The beach walk will likely happen this afternoon when it is warmer. Until then, I have time to write.
Book three in the “Broken Road” series is well on its way. As I write, now more than thirteen thousand words, I am discovering so much about the response of the unconscious self to the effects of childhood trauma being revealed, bit by bit. This third book is about midlife – midlife crisis – which sets the scene for all sorts of disturbing changes and responses to ordinary life. I read an article earlier about the signs that one is finally coming to grips with stuff that has kept us imprisoned in a provisional life. Basically it comes down to accepting the call to an authentic life or pushing back and denying anything and everything that would expose the darkness of the past, denying the path ahead in favour of maintaining the status quo regardless of how bleak and boring that status quo is. It’s all about taking the risk to make the journey, our personal Odyssey or epic voyage of self-discovery in an amazing world.
The novel is on hold with the first seven thousand words committed to a document. For me, it is first things first. The same goes for poetry. All that will wait until the time is ripe for their emergence. Now, back to writing.
Today’s photo was taken with my Nexus tablet. I do like the tablet, but a camera it is not. Photo quality is grainy which prompted me to play with the image to see if there was anything I could do to make it somewhat interesting and worth keeping. I used various effects and textures to create a strange looking photo that appears to be water-stained and from the early days of colour photography. What was the point? If anything, it was simply to say, that what we see is only a filtered version of reality.
Since each of us has unique physical characteristics from our DNA to fingerprints and voice prints, it should come as no surprise that we all see and hear differently. Of course, it is all about waves of energy, clusters of energy and our body sensory organs which unpack the data from these clusters of energy to come up with an image or sound. Without much thought, we then are certain that what we heard or saw is exactly what was in the information.
It is that certainty that gets us into trouble. We react to the sensory data as if that data contained the truth and nothing but the truth. Yet in our childhood games such as the whispering game where we say something into each others’ ears, what emerges at the end of the group of individuals playing the game is often far from what was originally said. Another example is to present a scene where everyone has an opportunity to witness the scene and then have these witnesses tell what they witnessed. Police do this all the time and rarely get the same scene described by witnesses. In spite of that, these witnesses would have no difficulty standing in a court of law to give their evidence as gospel truth.
It is as though we abhor uncertainty. We want a crisp and clean world where everything is either A or B with no shades of possibility in between. We carry this need for clarity into all of our relationships and all of our values. It’s “I’m right and your wrong” thinking that does so much damage to our relationship with others who come from different cultures, different philosophies and often something as simple as different towns not so distant from each other. To let go of certainty and learn to live with ambiguity is hard work.
What makes the work worth the effort? One learns to be gentler with oneself, for we are our greatest challenge when it comes to clarity, to certainty. We are often a greater stranger to ourselves than the person we have never met.
As I walked along the beach today, our usual ten kilometre walk, I began to think of the bathing suits that were on display and why they were on display. Now I was wearing a bathing suit as well such as the one to the left displayed here with the exception that I was wearing the blue and red version of that Marcuse Champion swim brief. Of course my body doesn’t look like this twenty-something’s model’s body.
So why was I wearing this type of swim suit? Well, to tell the truth, basically it was because I “had” to wear some sort of bathing suit and it was the lightest, least constricting with ease of movement, bathing suit I could buy and wear without getting myself into some sort of legal trouble. If possible, I would have walked the beach with no bathing suit. But then again, that’s just me.
Of course, very few of the hundreds of males we saw on the beach this morning were wearing bikini swimsuits.
The normal choice was for baggy, just above the knee swim trunks. a number of men were wearing regular summer shorts suggesting that they were on their way to somewhere other than the beach, perhaps en route to the village for a meal or shopping. The younger, mostly very fit young men were wearing a version of swim trunks and board shorts with a name brand underwear band exposed just above the top of the swimsuit. “Why these choices?” I wondered to myself.
As for women, there were a fair number of bikinis in all styles from quite revealing to discrete versions. One-piece bathing suits were quite popular, perhaps more than half of the women were wearing a one-piece in front of various resorts along the beach. In front of the village, two-piece bathing suits were more prevalent. I guessed it had to do with comfort level in terms of what was exposed to the eyes of others. What surprised me was the number of women who had tops and wraps around their bathing suits as they enjoyed the beach. Wearing a bathing suit was one thing, letting others view their “exposed” body in those bathing suits was a different matter altogether. The use of one-piece bathing suits was not segregated by age group though more younger and “fit” women were wearing two piece suits than the older women. So why these choices?
When one thinks about it, no bathing suit is needed to actually swim unless one is competing at a level where a few hundredths of a second are often what separates winning and losing, time which becomes a factor of air resistance which includes the hair on one’s head. No bathing suit is needed to sunbathe. When there has been enough or even too much sunshine, a loose cover-up is better than any bathing suit. Bathing suits therefore become a article of clothing worn for a different reason than for swimming or sunbathing. It wasn’t that long ago that swim classes in schools and pools at the YMCA required no bathing suits to be worn. That practice changed in the sixties when women were finally allowed to use the pools.
The real reason for the exclusion of women was the assumption that athletics were not for women. And as for the requiring of bathing suits once women were allowed in the pool has to do with “Christian” values that saw women as moral problem because of their allure. Every women became a modern day Eve who would lead men into temptation if not controlled. I guess the same can be said for “Islamic” values as well. One good Christian site encourages the use of one-piece bathing suits in appropriate locations with an eye to not being provocative. The illustration above would be inappropriate as it is “inviting” and “suggestive” to men. Of course, it’s the women’s problem and fault if men get too excited.
Now, I am a man, and as a man, I take full responsibility for my thoughts and actions. Regardless of how a woman dresses, I am responsible for my response. That is what becoming a conscious male, a man, means – being self-responsible. I have been on nude beaches and at nude swimming pools and have seen female bodies without any bathing suit without having to wrestle with the temptation to have my way with these women and girls. Seeing a woman in a bathing suit or nude does not get a rise out of me, but I can’t say the same when looking at my wife. The circumstances of arousal then have nothing to do with material or lack of material. It has everything to do with the person and the relationship.
Our society has to stop apologising for men who have no sense of boundaries, and place the blame for their conduct on them rather than the women who frequently become the victims of these men. Parenting is a good place to start – teach your children well that a human body is naturally nude and that nudity is not a gateway behaviour to evil. Teach your children that all people, not just men, need to be treated with respect. Teach your children that they are responsible for what they do in life, that they can’t lay blame on someone else for their own inappropriate behaviours.
Bill of Human Rights
In this world that spans continents, nations, states, communities and scattered rural habitations, human beings have universal rights and freedoms that cannot be usurped by any social organisation or individuals. A social organisation is present when two or more humans are gathered together regardless if the reason is for entertainment, government, religion, service, or other reason.
- The right to life. Upon birth, each human is accorded the right to life. It is recognised that every human will suffer death at some point in time, however, that death cannot be precipitated by any other human or social organisation.
- The right to death. At any point in time once a person has reached maturity, a person can make a decision to end his or her life. In the case of such a decision where there is a living will requesting an end to life when certain conditions are met, the living will takes precedence over the demands of any other person or persons who have been given the power of attorney or guardianship.
- The right to worship. No law can obstruct an individual’s right to worship when the form of worship does not do harm to any person. Harm is defined as emotional, physical, psychological, verbal, or sexual. The right to worship does not give any individual the right to terrorise or deny the right to worship of others.
- The right to medical service.
- The right to adequate and nutritious food, as well as potable water.
- The right to shelter.
- The right to safety.
- The right to live in peace.
- The right to choose the manner in which one lives without negatively impacting on the rights of others.
- The right to gather with others.
No individual or social organisation can discriminate in any form or manner which results in any of these basic human rights being violated. Discrimination can be defined as sexual, religious, race, culture, gender, sexual orientation, or any refusal to give service or attempt to deny the rights of an individual or group. No law shall be passed to deny individual rights.
I have refrained from including the right to be clothing free as it can be included in various rights listed above. Laws prohibiting being clothing free are currently built upon religious grounds or economic considerations. Such prohibitions against nudity are critical for the big business of fashion, clothing, pornography, alternative lifestyle resorts, and nudist organisations. Without prohibitive laws, economic activity will be forced to focus on real needs rather than manufactured needs. If you are interested in current beliefs about the hoped for bill of rights for nudists, please check out the AANR document here.
Humans are prone to breaking laws and doing dark deeds. Rather than focus on laws that try to define every potential dark deed, we need to think of what humans require, universally, for a good life. I think here first of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and then extend from there.
Of course, there is much more that needs to be considered to make this a truly worthy document. I humbly ask that you add in your thoughts here so that I can consider how to include what is necessary to ensure that all life is considered worthy.