Category Archives: Jungian Psychology

Living Your Nonsense

The Life of a Dreamer

The Life of a Dreamer

There, it is said. None of this is real. I am simply dreaming this existence where I find myself unclothed in Mexico. I’ll have to blame it on a book I am reading by Daryl Sharp called Live Your Nonsense. After all, it’s really not at all sensible to be walking around, or laying around for that matter, in the nude.

Now that I find myself still naked in 2017, I am beginning to wonder if this portends more of the same for the New Year. If so, there will have to be something more interesting to do with that nakedness. But what? In two months time I will find myself back in a frigid northern setting that is considered to be North America’s equivalent to Siberia. I’m returning early as I will become a grandfather for the seventh time. Needless to say I’m excited about the new addition to the future of humankind. There is only one downside to that return … little place for nudity. I have no intention of freezing bare skin when the temperatures drop making even ice crack. That means it will become a waiting game for the arrival of summer. But until then, it’s best to stay in the present here in Mexico.

This afternoon I returned to the beach to find my usual sunbathing spot where no one would be offended by my nudity as they walk by along the shore. I am seen by some, ignored by most, and find a few who gawk and take second looks. A few decide to stop between me and the shoreline so they can stare out at the sea and remark on the diving pelicans. When that happens, it usually involves a couple. He rigidly makes sure that he doesn’t look as he doesn’t want her to know that he is interested in a sun-baked penis. She glances occasionally while talking up a storm to her beau. And so I turn over to let the sun toast my backside which then prompts them to continue on their journey. It was obvious to me that for a few moments they were also Living their nonsense.

New Year’s Eve and Resolutions

Standing firm in the face of doubts. The making of New Year's Resolutions.

Standing firm in the face of doubts. The making of New Year’s Resolutions.

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, at least not for the past four or five decades. However, this year I am deciding differently. I feel a need to put it in writing and to have others know in hopes that in doing so, what I resolve may actually come to be. It isn’t an easy thing to think carefully through one’s dreams, habits, instincts, and fears in order to arrive at resolutions that actually mean something.

For example, I had thought of making a resolution to travel. That soon showed itself to be a wasted effort as I already travel, and travel much more than the average person. I have already booked my registration to take part in the European Peace Walk [EPW] which will take me to six east European countries. I also thought that I should resolve to document my travels with photos and blog posts – again, that is my normal behaviour which thus makes the resolution a farce. So what could I do that honours the inner self that has been often ignored or passed over for the agendas of others? That is where I needed to begin my search.

I typically cave in when confronted with the claims for control by others. For example, I tend to accept the viewpoint of significant others when it comes to my being nude – when and where and how much – a habit of mine (knee-jerk reflex) that leaves me frustrated and angry, angry at myself for being so weak. This has to change. The holders of control want it changed so that they don’t have to take the blame anymore for my feelings. I want it changed so that I can have better respect for myself. Where will that take me? Good question. I don’t know. Only by doing what needs to be done will the answer emerge.

I have to plan my outer life better and thus make time for the things that I want to accomplish. There are rounds of visiting to children and grandchildren that will happen with return visits expected from them. There is the EPW to fit in. Scheduling book-signing events and attending them are also important to me. I also want time at at least one naturist campground. I can schedule that camping with a book-signing in a nearby city, but is a dedicated camping that I most want, not an add-on to fit into someone else’s life so that it isn’t inconvenienced.

More than anything else, I don’t want to be lurking at the edges. I want to be fully present in my life.

There, I guess that about sums it up for resolutions. I will check back here in a year’s time to see how it went. Just how badly do I want it? Will I find the courage to be true to myself regardless of the costs? We’ll see.

There’s Darkness in the Sunshine

There's Darkness in the Sunshine

There’s Darkness in the Sunshine

There’s Darkness in the Sunshine – Okay, so how does that work? I am hoping the image helps with the idea. Basically, we get caught up in the light, in the sunshine whenever it puts in an appearance, that we forget that there is a dark shadow hanging around just out of our attention. In the image, there is sunshine and warmth, plenty warm enough to go outside without the need for clothing. Yet, here I am, still inside, in the shadows.

I am back in a location I have spent the past four winters, the same artist’s studio just three short blocks from the Caribbean Sea on the Mayan Riviera; just a kilometre away from a naturist friendly beach by the Desires Pearl Resort. Ten days into this fifth year, it all seems to be changing on me. Yet, little has really changed. I am left to accept the fact that I am the one changing. But of course, that is only part of the story.

What has basically changed is the feeling of permission that I get from myself and my significant other. What lays behind this shifting of permissions is perhaps simply the fact that we are both getting older. I don’t want to disturb her, and she doesn’t want to disturb the world around us. We are both feeling vulnerable in our own unique ways. The slightest sound that might indicate that another person just might somehow look in and see me nude, has my wife on edge. Her on edge has me rush to cover up so that she can have a better sense of safety. Though our landlady has officially accepted my nudity and given her permission a number of times over the past years, the assumption that she has only done so under the duress of having to find someone else to live here. I hear about how our landlady is extremely uncomfortable with my nudity whenever she stumbles upon it on rare occasions. As a result, this safe container that is our private part of the property has ceased to be safe for either of us.

Adding to the dilemma is that the landlady wants to open a business in the front part of her house and use the studio as part of her own living quarters next year. We’ve been given notice that the place won’t be on the market next winter for us to rent. The business has already begun to operate following the landlady’s departure from her former place of employment. So, we have begun looking at alternatives for next winter and soon found two very good choices, two very different choices. I found one that we had both looked at for the past two years, a place we were familiar with as friends had stayed on the property. She found a different property. One has privacy spaces outdoors, the other doesn’t. As we debate the pros and cons of both places it appears that the higher cost for her choice doesn’t seem to matter as it is the “best” choice.

So why do I concede so quickly? The truth is that if she is uncomfortable, on edge, worried or any other descriptor that holds a negative weight, the chances of enjoying winters in Mexico becomes quickly reduced to a very low number. Choices. Choices have consequences. Do I settle for a choice that leaves me in the shadows, on the fringes of depression, or do I choose to lose even more?

Because it’s December 1st

Predawn shadows

Predawn shadows

The novel project with NaNoWriMo is done for this year. However, the novel isn’t completed. Now that I have written the story, I find that I need to go back to the first and second books in the series and make some changes. I already have book four in the series beginning to unfold in my head so I need to clean up the previous books so that they all truly fit together. It’s a good thing I haven’t published book two yet. Book one will have a different cover that better indicates the idea that it is a psychological fantasy book that uses naturism as a foundational fact of life and one’s humanity.

Nudity isn’t used for titillation, but simply as a state of being. Because of that, I’m not sure if one can say that the book fits into what I could best call a  naturist genre if there is such a thing. Yet, because nudity is not presented in a deviant, offensive, or sexual, I wonder if the natural nudity in the book forces it into the genre of the naturist sub-culture.

Regardless, for now the writing is done and it is time for me to pack up my stuff to make the annual trip to Mexico where I hope to enjoy three months of sunshine and warmth resulting in storing ample Vitamin D without tan lines. It’s time to emerge from behind the keyboard and out of the shadows to be more fully present in outer life in the outer world.

Trauma and Sexuality

Daring to be authentic.

Daring to be authentic.

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.

Clothed in gold.

Clothed in gold.

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?

33% of all females, 17% of all males experience sexual assault

33% of all females, 17% of all males experience sexual assault

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.

Risking it All for the Love of a Woman

Venus, also know as Aphrodite, by the sea.

Venus, also know as Aphrodite, by the sea.

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.

Emma as a creature of the sea.

Emma as a creature of the sea.

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.

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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.

maaritIn the darkness we reach for her, search desperately for her knowing that we are only complete when consumed by her.

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.

Sexuality and Meaningful Relationships

Hadrian

Hadrian

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.

Antonius as Dionysus

Antonius as Dionysus

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.”

Adopting a New Look and New Attitude

Ugolino and His Sons, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux

Ugolino and His Sons, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, 1867

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.

The Problem of Shadow Denied

Hannibal

Hannibal

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.

Daring to meet the shadow side of self.

Daring to meet the shadow side of self.

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.

When the shadow is denied, there is a cost.

When the shadow is denied, there is a cost.

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.

Removing the Constrictions

Enjoying a book about Norse gods and goddesses.

Enjoying a book about Norse gods and goddesses.

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.

Sunshine and 9 degrees Celsius - a good day to be skyclad on the prairies.

Sunshine and 9 degrees Celsius – a good day to be skyclad on the prairies.

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?