Monthly Archives: May 2016
Life is good, too good to waste many hours of feeling upset and angry with the world. My morning meditation is one of the vital rituals that allow me to find perspective, to realise that anger, sadness, fear, and almost all other mental state are for the most part, creations of my own mind. Of course I used to be fully controlled by my emotions and reactions to life, making myself into a victim of my own shadow. I need to remember that lesson learned, especially as I work with others in my counselling practice.
Now, many are probably wondering if I actually offer psychotherapy “skyclad.” The answer is “No!” I focus on the client and their needs. I become an active listener and prober as together we “uncover” and “lay bare” the wounds that have brought them to my office. It’s a long process that has them strip away accumulated barriers and defence systems that are now getting in the way of their healing. We peel away layers of pain, exposing the rawness that needs the healing air of awareness. I guess you could say that it becomes a psychological skyclad experience.
Almost always, the laying bare of the psyche is all about the client. However, since I have published my story and having it become a best-seller in my community, my clients probably know more about me than the profession would deem healthy. Yet what do I say when a new client comes for help when they found the courage to do so because they had read my story and deduced that if I could make it through the darkness, then maybe there is help for them to do the same from someone who has been there? I accept them as clients and turn the spotlight upon them, to bring light into their lives.
The weather is keeping me indoors. We had a few moments of sunshine, however it is mostly rain, wind, thunder and lightning. I took advantage of a break in the rain to plug in the camping trailer so that the refrigerator will be ready for packing in time for a naturist retreat near the end of the week. I packed a few things into the van which I use to tow the trailer.
I spent a good part of my day putting books into boxes along with consignment contracts for my book drop off road trip coming up in another two weeks. There is a lot of paper work to do in order to have everything in place.
Unlike Emma, I don’t get to play in a sandbox in the day light or at night at my naturist retreat. No sand. However, like Emma, I will be wearing a smile. For three or four days I will not have to worry about pleasing, appeasing, anyone else. I simply get to be me. I don’t have to worry about offending anyone – well, that is as long as I stay within the safe boundaries of the retreat perimeter.
Talking about safe boundaries, Facebook doesn’t weigh in as a safe place in any way, shape or form. You want to escape violence? Facebook is a haven for violence up to and including beheading of humans. You want to escape stalking? Facebook wants you to avoid pseudonyms making it so much easier for those who want to make your life a living hell in cyberspace. You want to avoid body image issues? Facebook turns a blind eye to visual and textual assaults of those who are not up to the “norm” – and that includes the whole issue of gender identification. You want to be authentic and honest in presenting yourself – no can do. Cover up. They will let you parade around in a thong or other hyper-sexualized outfit as long as . . . well, that is a blurry line unless you are obviously a naturist. Porn stars get the benefit of the doubt while naturists are put on suspension or banned outright.
Facebook is a “private” enterprise that has become ubiquitous in the “public” sphere. It almost feels like a public space leaving us to begin to believe that we have “rights.” Yet, we don’t. I am still on suspension from Facebook because of a few of my blog posts. The images in those posts seemed to have offended someone, or more than one someone. However, the posts which have been deleted were only those that featured Emma. Methinks Facebook is misogynistic. Someone has mother complex issues who is reporting, and someone at Facebook shares the same anger.
The naturist community is very friendly and accepting of others. I have met naturists of various ages from children to great grandparents. I have yet to find them to be judgemental about others regardless of body size and shape. It seems that with the clothes absent, there is a corresponding openness to relationship with others – that is unless there is a motivation on the part of one party for more than friendship. That is when things get complicated. But then again, that is the case regardless of whether one is wearing clothing or not.
M. and S. are friends of mine from one of the best naturist sites to be found. We have known each other for a few years and over that time have come to trust each other. There is a genuine acceptance of “other” in spite of differences that come with different countries and different interests.
Like me, they find the time and places where being out of their clothes is both safe and comfortable. Their home is as authentic as they are with gardening, gatherings of like-minded friends, and with joy as they do the work that is necessary to build a home. There is no apology needed to excuse their preferences to live as much as possible in their natural state. I am blessed with friends such as this couple.
In a few days, I am off to spend time with a different couple on an acreage where we will be clothing free as long as weather permits while out of doors. B. and N. have hosted us a few times with their annual spring naturist potluck BBQ. I get to take my camping trailer with us so that I can enjoy the freedom of life in the countryside au naturel.
Normally I would have cropped this photo so as to not offend anyone. However, it is likely that the only people who read posts at this blog site are naturists or nudists themselves. For others who aren’t naturists or nudists, I think most are open-minded enough to “expect” to see a fully “naturist” image when reading at this site.
The act of trying to appease the unknown is more a statement about myself than of others. The roots of trying to appease go deep, back in time to early childhood. At some point, the reactive motions of the present need to let go of the triggers of the past. Learning to be present in this immediate time space is vital for all of us on our life journeys. At some point each of us needs to be fully and honestly ourselves and not hiding behind walls built in the past based on fear.
Fear is the operative word. It is a toxin that permeates all of our interactions with others. We fear censure, we fear getting into legal conflict, we fear having those we care about abandon us, we fear our own shadows (the skeletons, the ghosts, and the memories of our individual pasts), and we fear our communities which appear to be hell-bent on controlling us as much as possible. Our social media is just an extension of those communities. Mob mentality becomes judge and jury and even social-presence executioner. The mob decides what is “acceptable.” The mob punishes when that fuzzy line of acceptability is crossed. So, we as individuals, train ourselves to hide most of who and what we are.
This is not about morality, this mob-mentality. It is simply people and organisations fighting its own shadow. The enemy is out there, the enemy is personal and collective shadow unconsciously projected onto those who show less fear, or worse, no fear.
I can’t change Facebook or other social media sites. I can challenge them, shake them up. To acquiesce is to feed and reinforce the mob-mentality. Silence is a vote of confidence in the mob-mentality that is the foundation for social media. It is better to create new portals, new networks where the freedom to be honest and authentic are possible as the mob is challenged. At some point, lights may turn on.
Now it the time to “appease no more.” Now, about the photo. I am holding my naturist novel which you can order from Amazon.Com 🙂
As the blog title suggests, it’s time to say “Enough is enough!” Like others in the recent path behind me who said enough is enough in the “Idle No More,” movement, I am making a personal choice to stop enabling the anti-nudity majority. I refuse to give up authority over myself to people who, regardless of who I am or what I am, will never have respect for me.
I can understand why they are unable to respect life choices of others; these “anti-everything”others have no real respect for themselves. Everything they disrespect about themselves is projected upon others. The more and greater their self-hate and self-disrespect, the more strident their voices and efforts to punish others. It shows up in all areas of their lives, not just in the world of naturism. Not able to control their own “shadow,” they do their damnedest to control others.
Walk into any staff room of any world of work enterprise and you will encounter the individual and collective shadow operating. Those with the most repressed shadow contents become the workplace and staffroom bullies. This phenomenon is not limited to staff rooms, it shows up in committees where someone always seems to emerge as the most powerful voice who is unwilling to back down from a stance forcing the others to acquiesce or quit in protest. It shows up in gatherings of friends. It shows up in classrooms and in school hallways. In any of these or other scenarios “appeasement” doesn’t resolve any issue to a level of satisfaction. So, why should appeasement work when adopted as a method of navigating the outer world that is basically anti-nude or simply indifferent to naturism and nudism?
The image I chose for today’s post is a first step in declaring “appease no more.” It is a real picture of a real man. It isn’t a “suggestive” photo. It isn’t photoshopped in hopes of obtaining an idealised image. It is simply me. I am saying I’ve had enough of censorship.
It has taken a long time to find peace in myself. The doubts have been replaced with confidence. Yet, when it comes time to post a photo, the confidence seems to wither a bit. I find myself doing some judicious cropping so as to not offend any of my readers. The photos then offer some evidence that I am truly skyclad, that it isn’t all talk without the action to affirm the words. I guess I am still telling the truth and illustrating that truth in images. But, something insidious is happening below the surface. I find myself undermining my own words.
In an attempt to appease some unknown reader, I censor myself and present what is now being called “Facebook Friendly” images. And, I am not the only one. Besides the strategy of “cropping” images to remove “offending” butt creases and genitals, we use judicious placement of hands and arms, or more creatively, photo-edited stickies to cover nipples, butts and genitals.
All of the strategies then “somewhat” appease the angry presences that want us gone from all social media. I say somewhat because where complete nudity is evident in spite of following the rules, images get reported and removed because someone was still “offended.” The more we appease, the less satisfied are those who have made a mission to recraft the human race in their image – fully clothed and asexual. And in the process, we find our rights to be “authentic” disappear beneath the waves of outrage.
We retreat in fear behind closed doors, behind drawn curtains, and even then we keep a wrap or cover-up handy just in case it is needed. We become prisoners in our homes. If we become a bit less fearful we build high walls, privacy fences, so that we can dare to be outside when the weather permits.
However, for many, the right to be bare only comes within the confines of a gated area with strict rules to keep naturists inside and everyone else outside; or, within the permitted resorts that cater to nakations. This isn’t to say that resorts and other naturist options are not appreciated and valued; however, there is a difference in being hidden away, and choosing a secluded place for a needed retreat from noise and too much interaction.
We appease and then wonder why those whom we appease aren’t more willing to give as well as receive. We somehow are shocked that instead of easing up, the “reaction” focuses on increasing restrictions and out-right banning of nudity. A policy of appeasement doesn’t work. It has never worked in the preludes to wars and other bloody conflicts or in negotiations of most economic endeavours. Giving others power has the effect of having them want even more power.
There is a need for any and all who value personal authority for “self” to reclaim that authority from the “others” who have their own personal agendas. What do you value about yourself, your planet and your relationship to the world?
I will return to continue this theme of reclaiming the “Self.”
Emma pays us another visit on the blog site (with permission) to add her voice to the growing assemblage of naturists who are fed up at being demonized for being honest about who they are and what they believe in – the right of humans to not wear clothes. Yet, for all the
bravery, we cover up a bit even when we are free of our clothing when there is a chance that we might disturb or offend someone.
Living in a culture that has a fear of the nude human body, we find ourselves at odds with that society. It doesn’t matter that we have risked being authentic to ourselves. The phobia others have of their own bodies are transferred, projected onto anyone who doesn’t resonate with their belief systems that have the naked human body as somehow being something to fear to sometimes the point of irrational panic and believed trauma. So we ask ourselves “Do we wear the minimum of clothing in order to keep the peace, in order to stay on the right side of our communities?”
The problem with covering up is that clothing enhances the “sexuality” of the subject. The briefer the clothing, the more the “other” may become “excited.” Our culture then blames the scantily covered with “asking to be raped or sexually assaulted.” Yet, curiously, certain clothing or activities seem to tell us a different story of the human psyche. Take part in body painting and the naked body becomes “art.” Well, that is true with the exception of body-painted males. A painted penis is still a psychological threat to the collective psyche.
Naked Bike rides are a different story. Here, hundreds can ride down main streets of cities, drawing crowds numbering into the thousands, most armed with cameras to record the nudity passing before them. No one is offended, no one is traumatized. Logic doesn’t enter into the equation.
Yet, given a simple natural scene that is as far away from the possibility of being suggestive or inviting in a sexual context, all hell breaks loose. It is precisely the images of naturalness, non-sexuality, innocence, and otherwise simply being a normal human doing something incredibly normal (perhaps even boring) that infuriates the collective who raise their voices in injured protest asking the authorities to deal harshly with us for disturbing them with our presence, with our evident joy in simply being alive and at one with the world.
The response of most naturists and nudists is to appease the angered, the collective mob. And in doing this, we empower that mob thus worsening the situation for all who dare to go bare. I will have a lot more to say about this in future posts.
Windy. It’s very windy today. Going outside is not very enjoyable when wind is gusting and buffeting a person. As a result, I am inside for most of the day, working on the networking necessary to build a business and to sell books. At the moment, all looks good in terms of a local context with local meaning on the prairies. But there is a lot of work left to do. I need to set up a website, not an offshoot blog site, for the Retired Eagle Books business.
I am waiting on a new mobile phone with a new number that will be associated with the business. With the new phone activated, I can then create business cards that can then be left with book stores as I find them in my travels. I am also contacting a number of people to act as marketing and sales agents for my books in other countries, perhaps even in other regions of Canada. Since the naturist market is not very big in book-selling terms, there is little incentive for others to become agents. However, it isn’t so bad with my “normal” books which are selling very well.
And so, I have decided to add to the business by inviting others to submit their books and book ideas so that I can publish them under my Retired Eagle Books brand. The focus on naturist and Jungian themes will allow these books to be published without worrying about paying for that service. The only cost will come when books are ordered when I will add on a fee for service. Books then become available to the writers at just above printing and handling costs to do with as they wish. Books would also be placed on the Amazon paperback and eBook platforms with the majority of royalties paid out to the authors. I know I won’t get rich doing this, but at my age, I am more interested in keeping busy and doing what I can to make a difference in the bigger picture.
A return visit from this image (used with permission of course). The original post has gone the way of the dinosaurs due various factors. Emma James has asked me to convey to my readers, that whilst she did agree to my using this picture in a blog, she had no insight into what I was planning to compose. Further she is keen to stress her recent ban on Facebook had nothing to do with this picture, which was shared on twitter not Facebook. My error on the source for the image and my misunderstanding of the rationale for the ban, caused some consternation which I hope is has now been resolved.
My original intention was to speak of how nudity is sexual only in certain contexts. In this image, no sexuality is implied. The scene is self-explanatory. She is drinking water out of necessity after having engaged in a hike with others on what was obviously a very warm day in Europe. Full nudity is evident, but at the same time, the triggers for some (nipples, buttocks, genitals) are not seen. The image is solely “naturist” in composition and intent. Yet, some humans are triggered by the obvious fact of nudity regardless of what is seen. The triggers are in response to their conditioning, their cultural and/or childhood histories. Yet somehow, the modern western world has allowed this minority response to become the determinants of what is or is not acceptable.
As a society we are becoming terrorized by perceived micro-aggressions. Universities, schools, businesses, and other groups become afraid of the consequences should they fall afoul of the empowered voices who feel offended by what they hear, see or even understand in any given situation. This is all driven by the need for “power.” The intent is to control our environment to the point where the rights of others is absolutely curtailed. Every bit of power/control gained leaves the person wanting more and more power and control. What if the bubble created becomes a personal utopia? The ego rationalises that to achieve that utopia, all is fair in regards to the outer world and others.
So, what is really happening in the photo? Simple, Emma is drinking water with the intention to meet a basic need due to the activity of hiking on a very warm day. Does clothing or the lack of clothing make any difference? In truth, it only makes a real difference to Emma who chose not to be wearing clothing. She has the basic right of maintaining her legitimate power of “self.”
“Healing a Broken Man” is now on sale in various locations, as well as on-line at Amazon. It is the final book in the autobiographical series that hopefully sheds light on why a rather ordinary man somehow found his path to healing via naturism, Buddhism, and Jungian psychology. The focus is on the movement from unconscious presence to becoming aware of all the warts, bruises, scrapes, and stains on the psyche. The work was not simply one of removing clothing, it was a serious peeling off of layers of denial and ferreting out skeletons from the closet.
It is a naturist book at its core, a testament to the healing power of being honest in one’s body, mind and soul. Now that it is being distributed, first in my home community, my neighbours get to understand a bit more of that strange man who is rumoured to sometimes be naked. Was it a courageous act to write this story? I don’t think so, it was more about spilling one’s guts out, like purging after drinking or eating too much, a purging that allows one to finally breath again. I hope you take the chance on ordering the book and reading it. If you are interested, the book can be found at CreateSpace and at Amazon.