Monthly Archives: October 2016
I remember seeing this photo for the first time, many years ago. Their relationship defied what the adoring public wanted from their hero. The public wanted rebellion, anger, fantasy; the last thing they wanted was authenticity. Stripped bare, daring to expose their ordinariness, their flaws, their pain, and their love; the mystery of the iconic troubadour was exposed. In the end, that honesty cost John his life.
How dare we as individual humans step outside of irrational norms, or even very rational norms to tell the truth of ourselves. Our culture thrives on keeping the masks on, denying even when we are caught red-handed. We lie to the world about who we are, about our dreams and fantasies. We even lie to ourselves, denying our shadow, our darkness that hungers for what is denied, even if what is denied is beautiful.
We tell ourselves that it is important what others think. What would our children say about us or think about us if we were so honest, fully authentic, daring the exposure of our pain, joy, confusion, anger, and bodies? We irrationally belief that our children and grandchildren will be traumatised, not only by what they see, but also by the reactions of extended family, friends, community, and the larger world.
For those who dare to risk, bringing the edges of shadow into the light of consciousness with intention, life takes on a sharper and fuller quality. Taking the risk sets one apart from others who cling desperately to social norms. Yet, over time, the separation dissipates with familiarity. It is now almost normal to be homosexual in orientation, but only if it isn’t “in their face.” However, the sight of genitals still shocks. What is it about human sexuality that appears to traumatise?
Assault – sexual assault. Early life experiences taught us that our bodies, our sexual bodies are targets. It doesn’t matter that the abusers wore clothing or not. The touches, the groping, the claiming of authority over our sexual bodies by others scars us leaving us, and those who are aware of that abuse, in a state of fear.
Survivors of abuse, and the society around them, usually equate abuse with genitals. Predators prey on the bodies, the genitals of their victims. Predators hide their own bodies. The power that comes from hiding in the shadows, behind uniforms, suits, and respectable clothing allows predators to gain trust and access to their victims.
Being naked would visually expose the predators. excitement when near intended victims. That visual warning would eliminate trust and much of the access. We know that, but we are frozen in our fear.
I have used naturism to reclaim my authority over my body, to lessen the fear. And for those who know me and see me as I am, my nakedness does not inspire fear even though many of these people have been victims of sexual abuse as well. If anything, there is a sense of safety.
It is a strange day with heavy cloud cover yet with temperatures reaching almost 15 Celsius in the mid-afternoon. By the time I ready to BBQ, it had dropped to a still balmy 12 C. I have to take advantage of the warmth when it appears for it won’t be long before we have temperatures well below freezing – forecast for the next two weeks is bleak.
Taking advantage of the weather means hanging out the laundry to dry outdoors. When the weather is bad, the drying happens on lines I have strung in the basement. Of course, when there is a “rush” for dry clothes (almost never), there is a dryer in the utility room along with the washing machine.
When the clothes were finally off the clothesline, I noticed a late rosebud on the island of rosebushes. Then, sadly, it was time to head indoors. It gets dark early with sunset for today before six pm. It was gloomy dark grey before sunset. The evening will be spent au naturel inside, working on more preparation for my NaNoWriMo project for next month. The novel writing exercise begins in five days. And as in the last two books, Rene Beauchemin becomes the protagonist. I still have a lot of work to do if I am to be ready.
I will return with a continued exploration of the masculine and the feminine through art.
Aphrodite, the goddess of love, of beauty, also known as Venus. This image painted by Henri-Pierre Picou in the 19th century is just one of many that depicts the goddess. She is soft, not hard and angular like a man. She is vulnerable, yet modest in spite of her naked vulnerability. She invites trust and blossoms with worship.
As the goddess of love, she excited passion in the hearts of gods and men, and by this power ruled over all the living creation. Now, any man who has found his personal goddess and taken her as his wife, knows all about being ruled by her.
She is a goddess, an archetypal presence that pulls us into her depths, the depths marked by the sea in which we never master. As we catch glimpses of her, we see her as we need to see her, as a blinding light of perfect beauty. And, perhaps sadly and dangerously, we only see that surface beauty. There is a depth to her that takes one into her dark depths, the place of both birth and death. Like all gods and goddesses, she has a dark and light aspect.
A sensual, playful nature pulls us into her embrace, entices us to “master” her. Yet, no sooner do we sense a feeling of dominion, we experience a death, a small death of ego and will. We are vulnerable and ripe for domination by this goddess. We shrink within her, become children to her. And she has the power that calls to us again and again to submit.
The goddess lies dormant in all women. Unconscious of their power as creators of the universe, they are as wounded as the men who covet them, desire them, risk all for them.
Hadrian, a Roman Emperor took a lover, Antonius who was deified by Hadrian upon his death. Antonius died young, by the age of twenty. For Hadrian, the relationship was meaningful.
In the Roman Empire, Roman men were free to enjoy sex with other males without a perceived loss of masculinity or social status, as long as they took the dominant or penetrative role. Greek society did not distinguish sexual desire or behaviour by the gender of the participants, but rather by the role that each participant played in the sex act, that of active penetrator or passive penetrated.
Why do I bring up this topic here? In the modern western world, there is a disproportionate number of men who identify as naturists or nudists in comparison with women. I don’t have any scientific evidence to support my belief that this discrepancy is based on the predominance of men who are homosexual (or bisexual). Though I publicly self-identify as a heterosexual male, I have had many men express “love” for me, a desire to engage in sexual activity with me, or simply to share my intimate photos with them for their self-gratification. Perhaps, strangely, I am not bothered by this interest in me. It is an interest that I don’t find threatening in spite of the fact of being sexually molested by “men” when I was a very young boy.
My preference, sexually, is to engage with a woman. I realise that this is a psychological as well as a biological preference that has little “ego” involvement. Yet, not just any woman would fill me need. There is a deep-rooted (think of complexes and archetypes) that needs to be activated otherwise, all I am left with is a feeling of sexual indifference. For me, sexual union is all about relationship. Without relationship it is no more than a desperate attempt at collective masturbation. In a sexual relationship that is charged with the power of union, what Jung termed mysterium coniunctionis, the “other” becomes a “magical other.” That other awakens within the “self,” a fullness and a depth that lies hidden beneath the “ego.” Does this “other” that seems charged with magical energies have to be a woman for me? Probably. But, I won’t ever rule out the possibility of finding the energies align to create a “fated” bond with another man.
I know better than to “protest too much.”
If you have seen this page before today, you will notice that there has been a drastic change in the “look” of the site. I have cleaned up the poetry sections to bring them up to date with images of the books and some relevant information. I am leaving the sister site at Naturist Lens as it was in the past. I have brought back the images that were deleted for this site. I still have a few more images left to take care of, but that is something that time will take care of. For the future, this will be the “full” site as the Naturist Lens site has significantly less number of posts. As well, the images will be “safer” at the Naturist Lens site so that a larger reading public can get passed the images to read the content. With that said, I invite your comments. Now, on with today’s post.
I found this image at the Met Museum. This image seemed appropriate to me as something different that what Carpeaux had likely intended. I see the image as being the ego being beset by various internal aspects, desires, needs, etc,, that are denied by the ego. The problem with shutting the doors to the unknown presences that lurk within the unconscious is that they grow in power and force, waiting for a week moment, for a crack in our “will.” Then, they emerge to mess up our carefully orchestrated lives. It would be much better if we were more conscious of our inner sons and daughters, and with that awareness, we would open the barricade, safely, to get to know them more intimately. In the process, we would discover a fuller sense of who we are, really.
Naturism is, or perhaps I should say, “could be,” one of the barriers that we could let down while still in control. What do we learn about ourselves when we stop hiding from ourselves? What do we learn when we stop hiding from others – even if those others are a safely selected few in a naturist community? What we will find out will surprise us as everything uncovered has both a dark and a light aspect – the faces of good and evil. We empower the darkness when we deny its exposure to the light. And when that darkness emerges, as it will, it will catch us by surprise and without the skills to safely contain it which then makes us victims of our inner darkness.
My friend, Emma has been having a good time with a flurry of naturist activity in the U.K., before the dark season of winter sets in, a very S.A.D. time of the year for most naturists in the northern hemisphere. Bracing skinny dips in the sea, and saucy moments (in her words) that celebrate the shear joy of being alive and being free to be oneself.
Here in North America, my opportunities for naturism are not as abundant due to both weather and social convention. Basically, it has been reduced to private moments indoors. I am in the U.S. of A. visiting my daughter and her family, a time for chess games, card games, charades, hikes involving hide-and-seek, trampoline football, and other creative ways to spend time until we retreat to sleep in order to recharge batteries for another day of grandparents disturbing the normal status quo of their home life.
In a couple more days we will return home to Canada while they return to life as they know it.
Because they don’t celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving, and we won’t be at their place for the American Thanksgiving, we are celebrating a hybrid Thanksgiving this weekend with turkey and pumpkin pie with all the trimmings normally associated with our respective Thanksgiving feasts. One of the post-feast treats will be the traditional “grandson-grandfather” pancake preparation of “Papa’s Pancakes.” And yes, it’s a big deal that is never missed when I am in their home or they are visiting at my home.
I have just begun watching a video series recommended to me by a long time friend that I met on Twitter. The series is called Hannibal. I have seen many FBI based stories, some with no bloodshed, and most with the focus on the FBI in white hats while the bad guys (black hats) are never as clever as the forces of good. Hannibal challenges all of that. I found myself riveted to my seat while the story unfolded, a story of blood, death, evil, and empathy. Without knowing the story of Hannibal Lecter, one meets this “Doctor” as he is brought in to work with a younger FBI “profiler,” called Will Graham. It is this meeting of minds that heralds a relationship that challenges. Who does it challenge? As the viewer, I can only say that it challenges me. I don’t want to say much more than to watch the series if you dare to look at your own shadow.
I have written in the past about the problem of evil and about how good people do bad things. Of course, sometimes the definition of “bad” is individual dependent. For example, for myself, being skyclad – nude outdoors clothed by the air – is “good.” There is no intent to harm others, to threaten others. For many others, the majority in our western world, being naked anywhere if not in the bath or shower, or under the covers (even that is debatable) is something “bad” that needs to be punished. Of course, since I am a mild-mannered sort of person, I rarely post images of myself that “cross the line,” that is full frontal images. But on occasion I do. I find myself reacting against my own psychological straight jacket, that sense of social propriety.When I was confronted by this video introducing the series, I began to sense that this was important.
I know that each of us has a shadow. Most people stay as far away (unconsciously) from that shadow, projecting what does emerge onto others. Anger, fear, revulsion, hatred, prejudice – so many emotional responses laid upon strangers because they trigger the darkness within ourselves. A few people are aware of the dark stranger within themselves. As a therapist, it is my job to have my clients become more “self” aware, and that includes awareness of their own shadow. A lack of awareness is the primary reason they find themselves in need of counselling.
Hannibal dares us to look into the darkness, to become familiar with that darkness. But just how familiar do we get? Shouldn’t we deny the darkness? There is a problem with that. Denying the darkness doesn’t get rid of the darkness, it just leaves us more vulnerable to its appearance in our lives. We can approach the darkness, ever so carefully to learn about the monsters within ourselves. With knowledge, then we can avoid being caught with our pants down. We can avoid becoming a victim of our darker self.
The past number of weeks has been a busy time for me with most of that time spent writing, visiting family, and preparing our home for winter. Yesterday I registered for the 2016 running of NaNoWriMo which will have me writing at least 50,000 words in thirty days or less.
The day before, I finally finished the second draft of my second novel with the protagonist, Rene Beauchemin. The new novel will flow out of that novel’s ending, taking Rene back on the pilgrimage trails to walk from Lisbon, Portugal to Santiago, Spain. I have already begun to outline the story – the middle of what I envision will be a three part story – the thirty day walking plan. Since I will be walking that route with my wife next summer and autumn, the research I am doing now will be put to good use.
On a different note, the weather has turned sunny and a bit more pleasant. I had basically written off the hope that I would be able to spend time outdoors in sunshine while skyclad. Because the yard has bushes, trees and fencing, the wind is kept down to a light breeze. Once this post is finished, I will be heading back out for a long walk in the countryside, some of which when I get far enough out of town, will be done skyclad.
Why do I get so much out of being skyclad? It is a question I constantly ask myself. The best answer that I find is the fact that it is then that I find myself able to “Breathe” freely. Clothing restricts and contains. Somehow, it is my psychological state that feels restricted and contained more so than my physical self. I wonder what it is for others?