Summertime on the Prairies

In the summertime . . .

In the summertime . . .

School is out in our small prairie town and that means it’s officially summertime on the prairies. The temperatures and sunshine are proof that there is indeed a time called summer. However, that said, just two days ago one of our prairie cities had almost a foot of hail fall creating a winter scene. Thankfully, our garden got spared the destruction that hail brings in its wake.

Today the school kids picked up their report cards at the school where I used to be the principal before I retired. Waving their records of success (everyone succeeds regardless of effort or ability in these times of not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings) they rushed home and piled into vehicles heading off to campgrounds towing trailers behind them. Others rush to the cottages by the lake which lies only fifty kilometres away to live in sardine fashion around the tiny lake. It’s summertime.

The exodus leaves the tiny prairie town almost abandoned. I like that because that means even more privacy when I dare to step outside the boundaries of the “safe” zone.

Summertime on the Prairies

In the summertime . . .

In the summertime . . .

School is out in our small prairie town and that means it’s officially summertime on the prairies. The temperatures and sunshine are proof that there is indeed a time called summer. However, that said, just two days ago one of our prairie cities had almost a foot of hail fall creating a winter scene. Thankfully, our garden got spared the destruction that hail brings in its wake.

Today the school kids picked up their report cards at the school where I used to be the principal before I retired. Waving their records of success (everyone succeeds regardless of effort or ability in these times of not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings) they rushed home and piled into vehicles heading off to campgrounds towing trailers behind them. Others rush to the cottages by the lake which lies only fifty kilometres away to live in sardine fashion around the tiny lake. It’s summertime.

The exodus leaves the tiny prairie town almost abandoned. I like that because that means even more privacy when I dare to step outside the boundaries of the “safe” zone.

Hazards for Naturists in Public and Private Spaces Outdoors

Wildlife in the Garden of Eden

Wildlife in the Garden of Eden

I’ve borrowed another of Emma’s photos that shows her joy in being bathed in the sun . I like to think of it as a small version of the Garden of Eden. For, that is what it feels like when I am naked in the sunshine with the flowers, trees, and open spaces.

The past few days have been dark, wet, and cold; and as a result, the garden wasn’t so inviting to be in. Today, the sun has returned and I am able to spend hours in the garden, even while I am writing up this post, skyclad as I was created, as the original woman and man were created.

I promised you a rose garden.

I promised you a rose garden.

I am thankful for sunshine and warmth as they lift my spirits when they are assaulted by the shadows of the collective unconscious. In my own garden on the Canadian prairies, there are a number of roses in scattered locations such as this island of roses I created for my wife. In the sunshine during the warmest part of the day, it is an inviting place to be as the mosquitoes retreat waiting for a passing cloud to re-emerge and torment a person. It’s a good thing that there are a few ecologically friendly products that persuade mosquitoes to search elsewhere for a meal rather than on my body. Of course, being ecologically friendly means that a determined group of biting bugs can still get their meal of fresh blood without dying a horrible death.

But, mosquitoes and other biting insects aren’t nearly the worst hazard a naturist faces when skyclad outdoors. By far, it is the human species that are the most vicious and dangerous.

The Angry Voices Speak Loudly and Carry Clubs

Weighted down with worry of the future which appears to be heading into darkness,

Weighted down with worry of the future which appears to be heading into darkness,

I don’t have a good feeling about the direction we are going as a human race. Few people are happy anymore. I mean, truly happy. No matter how much they have, which is more than humans have ever had in the history of humankind, people somehow feel cheated.

They see others with more and sense that it just isn’t right. That more should belong to them. Entitlement – it has nothing to do with ‘deserving’ something because of extra effort. It is what is felt to be deserved. That others have irks us to extremes. If those others have less and hope for the smallest of shares in the wealth, the entitled lose it. They want these inferior others (they have to be inferior as they are different) to disappear out of the country and take their needs with them. If the entitled could, they would build walls around their wealth and space to keep others out. There just isn’t enough for all and the entitled sure aren’t going to give up any part of what they have worked so hard to achieve.

Trump in the U.S.A, and Brexit in the U.K. are a taste of what is coming as people dig trenches, lines in the sand that are meant to keep out refugees, to keep out foreigners who would work for less pay, to keep out others who are different in other ways such as religion, colour, sexual orientation, etc. If there is a difference, then there is a belief that those being different don’t belong. Where do naturists fit into the changing dynamics of societal change that is gaining steam?

There is a fundamentalist foundation to this anger and retreat from the idea of embracing neighbours to create a borderless world that John Lennon dared to Imagine. James Hollis talks about the retreat into a society of anger in his book, Why Good People Do Bad Things:

“It is the very erosion of the old “certainties” that has given rise to fundamentalism around the world. Whether Muslim, Jewish, or Christian, fundamentalism flourishes in a context of fear and uncertainty.”

When we look closely at this fundamentalism we don’t see any evidence of tolerance of differences. If anything, the fundamentalists become the harshest and loudest in condemning anything and everything about naturism, about the naked human body. There are few rights in place, if any in most places, for those who would peacefully would like to live without clothing when weather and circumstance would make such an act sensible. Nude beaches are being shut down yet the porn industry is becoming stronger than ever. Nudist camp sites are being turned into clothed-only campsites. Within the nudist sites, security is becoming more and more of an issue with the basic rule of thumb being not to trust people, especially unattached men. With other threats looming on the horizon, people are abandoning the naturist sites in favour of what is best called free range naturism.

Not there is anything wrong with being wild and free in itself. All nudists and naturists risk at least a little, being nude “off the protected spaces.” Yet, if we abandon the naturist venues too much, they will be lost to us. The angry voices would like nothing better, even using our fear of them as proof we know of their righteousness. Yet at the same time, there is also the fear of our venues becoming more of keeping us within, locked within. I don’t have answers, only this dark cloud that hangs over telling me that it is only going to get worse. Time for me to meditate.

Smile – Every Smile Counts

It takes the presence of another, even if that other is buried deep within you, to smile from the heart.

It takes the presence of another, even if that other is buried deep within you, to smile from the heart.

Smiling feels good. Even when a person is depressed, the smallest smile adds light in what is felt like a deep and dark hole. One of the things I cherish about naturism is the element of joy that seems to appear much easier than when I am clothed. As I listen to others speak of their naturist experiences, joy seems to rank as one of the prime responses to being nude, especially if one is able to be nude in the presence of others who are also nude.

Being nude with others allows one to feel safer than being in the presence of others where one is the only one without clothing. At those times one is truly vulnerable and at risk. It wasn’t an accident that collectives have used nudity as part of punishment for some perceived crime against the collective. Removing the offender’s clothing in those instances is more about stripping them of dignity and protection. Then, with the message given, the sentence is then carried out leaving the offender to meet that sentence without a stitch of pride or peace that would allow the offender to endure the punishment with personal dignity. I think of Jesus, stripped like a common criminal and made to carry a cross through jeering crowds, whipped like a brute animal along the route. Naked like other common criminals punished by the Romans, he was hung from a cross. It is only after the fact, centuries later, that we placed a loin cloth to somehow make the event more spiritual and less brutally human.

Being fully self, non-judgemental with others, gives rise to joy from the heart.

Being fully self, non-judgemental with others, gives rise to joy from the heart.

However, being without clothing by choice with others who have made the same choice is empowering. There is a sense of real freedom rather than oppression. It is so easy to accept what one sees in others who trust us enough to drop their clothing and be fully present. With nothing to hide, to disguise when one risks being clothing free, one begins to accept the “self” with all its perceived imperfections. It is as though in accepting others as they really are, we break through a psychological barrier that allows us to be honest and accepting of ourselves. No wonder there is so much evident joy in social nudism. We have stopped being our own oppressors.

Ancient and Holy Rituals and the Sun

Solstice meditation

Solstice meditation

It is the summer solstice here on the Canadian prairies. For a short while this morning there was sunshine which I took advantage of for a meditation in the garden. Since then, the skies have been cloudy and mosquitoes have come out in force. I decided it was a good day to get caught up with my book work following the journey through Alberta which had me deliver books to six different Chapters book stores in Calgary, Edmonton, Sherwood Park, and Red Deer. All that is left is the planning for book signing events in those cities.

I was in contact with McNally Robinson Books in Saskatoon with final arrangements being made for the July 5th book signing event. Now, I have just finished a counselling session with a male client who, like most middle-aged men, is having life issues that have roots in childhood that are mother and father related – complexes that demand to be dealt with if one is to find peace in the second half of life. Like other men and women who have navigated midlife crisis, I have found rituals such as meditation that are part of the “peace” plan.

Nudity and the sun has a history that goes back at least 3,500 years. The Egyptian pharaoh, Akenaton and his queen Nefertiti are on official record as worshipping the sun while nude. And they weren’t the first. Egyptian priests had a practice of being hairless and thoroughly clean when it came time to worship, to stand in the presence of their deity. Nude priests and nude worship date to an another civilisation, the Sumerians. What was done by primitive tribes before the first civilisations became established can only be guessed. Yet, due to the lack of a need for clothing in the warmer climes where civilisations arose, we can safely assume that nudity was normal, especially for the shaman who acted as intermediary between their tribal groupings and the spirits of the other worlds filled with gods and goddesses. For all peoples throughout history, the summer solstice has been a time to worship the power of the sun. The sun meant life and as such, it typically figured at the centre of worship.

Naked meditation has been a practice in India dating back to a time before Akenaton and Nefertiti during the era of the Harappan civilisation in India. The practice continues into present times with Digambara holy men, the naked Sadhu of Jainism. It is comforting to know that my practice has early roots, and is not simply the signs of perverted madness. Who knows, I just might be on the right track?

Ancient and Holy Rituals and the Sun

Solstice meditation

Solstice meditation

It is the summer solstice here on the Canadian prairies. For a short while this morning there was sunshine which I took advantage of for a meditation in the garden. Since then, the skies have been cloudy and mosquitoes have come out in force. I decided it was a good day to get caught up with my book work following the journey through Alberta which had me deliver books to six different Chapters book stores in Calgary, Edmonton, Sherwood Park, and Red Deer. All that is left is the planning for book signing events in those cities.

I was in contact with McNally Robinson Books in Saskatoon with final arrangements being made for the July 5th book signing event. Now, I have just finished a counselling session with a male client who, like most middle-aged men, is having life issues that have roots in childhood that are mother and father related – complexes that demand to be dealt with if one is to find peace in the second half of life. Like other men and women who have navigated midlife crisis, I have found rituals such as meditation that are part of the “peace” plan.

Nudity and the sun has a history that goes back at least 3,500 years. The Egyptian pharaoh, Akenaton and his queen Nefertiti are on official record as worshipping the sun while nude. And they weren’t the first. Egyptian priests had a practice of being hairless and thoroughly clean when it came time to worship, to stand in the presence of their deity. Nude priests and nude worship date to an another civilisation, the Sumerians. What was done by primitive tribes before the first civilisations became established can only be guessed. Yet, due to the lack of a need for clothing in the warmer climes where civilisations arose, we can safely assume that nudity was normal, especially for the shaman who acted as intermediary between their tribal groupings and the spirits of the other worlds filled with gods and goddesses. For all peoples throughout history, the summer solstice has been a time to worship the power of the sun. The sun meant life and as such, it typically figured at the centre of worship.

Naked meditation has been a practice in India dating back to a time before Akenaton and Nefertiti during the era of the Harappan civilisation in India. The practice continues into present times with Digambara holy men, the naked Sadhu of Jainism. It is comforting to know that my practice has early roots, and is not simply the signs of perverted madness. Who knows, I just might be on the right track?