Melvin – Fleshing the Naturist’s Hide On the Journey

Fleshing the hide.

I am continuing on with what I discovered in Hollis’ book, On This Journey We Call Our Life. As I read, I thought of Melvin’s work with hides, a work that has a meaning that defies simply being a way to earn money. It is a work that somehow connects to something deeper for Melvin, especially in doing so while in his own natural state.

In the book, near its end, I found these words written by James Hollis as he talked about his own journey:

“Speaking for myself, all that I believed possible in the first half of life – complete understanding and management of life – proved to be delusory. At midlife I was blessed by the psyche with a deep depression. … I was being asked to confront old ways, life-diminishing complexes, to open to a larger feeling life, and to find a deeper relationship with the inner world.”

Removing the hide’s hair.

“Opening up to a larger feeling life, and to find a deeper relationship with the inner world.” Yes, that nails it right there. Though it may appear to the outer world that we are retreating away from deep relationships with the world, when we build a deeper relationship with ourselves, we in turn enter into a more authentic relationship with the world at large.

Naturism has that impact on my life, opening me up to a larger “feeling” life. I can only speak from my experience, but when my clothing is set to the side, I “feel” more fully. I feel my environment and I feel my body, and perhaps more importantly, I feel a resonance that tells me that this is what I have needed to be alive, to escape the shadows and the darkness of being an invisible person in an impersonal world.

So why does Melvin and so many others, choose to live as much as possible, a naturist life? What is it for them, for you, that makes the risk, the vulnerability worth it all? I am wondering what you can add to this conversation. Tomorrow I hope to be established in my Cusco, Peru home and will have time to once again connect with you here.

A Naturist Journey Called Life

I am at the airport, waiting for my plane to leave for Toronto, Canada as this post gets published. I wrote it up ahead of time in anticipation that I wouldn’t have the opportunity while spending my day either in the air or waiting in airports for connecting flights. The day is going to be long as there is a long wait in Toronto before I can board my flight to Lima, Peru. Then again, another long wait through the night in Lima for the next flight to Cusco, Peru where we’ll be spending a week and a half exploring the world of the Ancient Incan civilization.

On This Journey We Call Life

As I write this post, I am in a reflective state of mind. As a man who has had a career that demands introspection, I can’t seem to step outside of that nature of who I am as a person and how that has shaped my life to include naturism. I first communicated with a man called James Hollis twenty years ago. He’s a Jungian analyst and an author that I respect. I have most of his books and there is one that I thought of this morning in the wee hours before the dawn when I was sitting having coffee and staring out the window at the fog. Now, when this happens, I trust that there is a reason, and that I must honour it to see where it takes me. When coffee was done, I went to the bookshelf and pulled off this book knowing that this was the one I was called to explore. And then I read:

“While we might on some days prefer to simply be happy carrots, relieved of our urgencies, our anxieties and impossible desires, we also suffer greatly when we are not living the life which our psyche wishes us to live.”

Reading Hollis’ book

As I read those words, it dawned on me that so much of what I have felt, and from what I have heard from most people I know from the world of naturism, is about the “pull” to naturism that leaves us suffering when we deny or push back in an attempt to be “normal” among the crowd. I know I sometimes have the tendency to push back and wear clothing to keep the peace, or to attempt to convince myself that I don’t “need” to be different in this way. God knows that I am different enough in other ways. But, it invariably leads to me suffering and depression.

When the clothing comes off it feels like I can breathe easier. This is where and how I am supposed to be, the place my “psyche” is demanding from me in order to allow me feel that I belong on this particular path on this particular journey. Hollis calls it “living the questions.”  And when we refuse to live the life our psyche puts before us, we suffer. We don’t have faith in our call and retreat. We show bad faith:

” … bad faith will always demand some payment – in the body, in our relationships, in our disturbing dreams, or in the burden our children will have to carry for us.”

Something for you and I to thing about. Do we trust, or do we hide and deny hoping that somehow we can become “happy carrots?” Once one has tasted the joy and the freedom of being truly oneself, the Pandora’s Box refuses to let us put it back without psychological and physical costs.

Nudity and Joy – A Therapeutic Combination

Therapy , Nudity & Joy by Aileen Goodson

I am a retired therapist. I still occasionally have someone appear wanting some help on occasion. However, since my retirement, I have worked as a “life coach” in such instances. That said, my training and my interest in psychotherapy has continued. I still take the odd course – continuing education credits. I have never worked as a therapist while in the nude or have had clients who approached their therapy while nude. But … but I have thought seriously about it, about the possibilities.

One of the books on my reference shelves is this book, Therapy, Nudity & Joy.  I have been through the book a few times, a book that looks dispassionately for the most part, at nude psychotherapy. Each time I did this I focused on the “therapy” aspect that looked objectively at how therapy was impacted when the client was “nude.” Somehow or other, I never considered the “joy” component. Why is a matter for a different post that may or may not be written. Today’s post focuses on “JOY.”

Holly celebrating the freedom at being fully authentic with joy.

Over the past few years, as a member of different social-media naturist groups, I have seen many, many images that showed the joy of naturists when they find themselves in a good place where clothing can be dropped. However, it was only when one of my newer social-media friends posted an image with a positive message written across the surface of the image, that it finally dawned on me – joy, pure and simple joy is one of the greatest gifts that have been given to me while I am nude.

So why is this? I returned to the above book and found a pointer to the answer I was looking for:

Each child, virtually without exception, has been raised to feel and believe as a matter of external verity that the parts that have to do with sex, the related parts of the body, their functions and the associated wishes, sensations and ideas, are evil, obscene …” [Mark Reid, psychiatrist]

That’s where the joy comes from. To dare to step out of the dark shadows into the full light of consciousness shows us truths that have been denied. Of course this is true for every proscription that society has imposed upon humans since time immemorial. As a collective we battle our fears by exerting control upon others. Imagine the feeling of utter relief when one can stand outside of that and discover that it has all been a lie. Holly has done that, I have done it, and so many others have discovered this truth.

When the body and mind experience freedom and a connection with the earth, there is joy.

Mountain Naturists As Friends

Melvin as the great mountain chef

I’ve had a long-distance friendship with Melvin and his wife. We are both located west of centre in North America but in two different countries. We also share some of the same weather patterns though likely winter is more miserable here on the Canadian prairies. While I am getting ready to head to South America in less than a week with my wife. Melvin and his wife will remain in the firm grips of winter. Of course, it’s all by choice.

At our age, we choose our lives. Both of us have chosen naturism as the background, perhaps even the foundation ethic for our ‘golden years.’ Regardless of the fact that neither of us are what one might call wealthy, we are indeed wealthy because we get to choose how we live our lives.

Working with deer hide to make supple leather.

Melvin is a mountain man where I am more rooted to lower elevations. Both of us have been hunters though I have switched to hunting with a camera rather than with a rifle. For the past number of years, Melvin has become invested in taking deer hides and turning those hides into supple leather.  You can see Melvin at work in the photo here, using a tool to remove the last bits of flesh so that the hide can be worked into boots, moccasins, jackets, and other artefacts. At one time many years ago, I used deer, moose, beaver, muskrat, and even rabbit pelts to make mitts, hats, moccasins, sandals, and wall hangings that I would craft using beads like my Ojibwa and Mohawk ancestors.

Until hell freezes over, or something falls off

But of course, neither Melvin nor I could live our passions without the support of our wives. I lucked out with a queen, or perhaps the word goddess would be more appropriate (see my Naked Poetry 3 book and you will get a good idea). Melvin has his own goddess who is part trickster from what I have learned over the years. This photo gives a hint of her sense of humour.

I haven’t met Melvin or his good wife in person, yet. Somehow, I get a feeling that at some point in time we will bridge the distance of geography and find time to play cards, go for walks, and simply enjoy hanging out together – but, it can’t be in the winter time as I intend to continue fleeing winter as long as my health allows.

Naturist Images and the Confessions of a Soul

Three red roses

A number of years ago, forty-seven years ago, I met a young woman who captured my heart. Almost a year later, we were married and I gave her a bouquet of three red roses. Today, the symbolism of three red roses continues to have the same emotional impact as that August day.  Symbols are powerful, almost magical in the lives of everyday humans.

Three pink roses

I was struck by this image of a friend of mine, an on-line friend from the naturist community. It was simply because she is a beautiful woman, but perhaps it fell to the roses, three pink roses. This friend, like myself is married. And, like myself, she is a naturist edging deeper and deeper into the world of naturism that is characterised more by a need than a want.

We are both married to non-naturists which makes for finding ourselves in complicated situations with respect to our life-partners whom we both love. In spite of that deep and abiding love, we challenge our partners with our nudity, with the images we share with other naturists as we attempt to build some sort of community with like-minded people who embrace naturism as a way of being. Nudity is held separate from a sexual agenda.

Perhaps if there was no tension with regards to social nudity, there would be no need for naturist imagery. It’s an idea that I can’t prove one way or another. As it stands at present, the images are an attempt to achieve some sort of “presence” with others who are naturist, some sort of affirmation. Yet the existence of our images causes a certain level of stress and tension in our relationships. There is an element of risk, perhaps even fear for both the naturist and non-naturist in our relationships.

All naturist images, are acts of confession. Naturists discard clothing in hopes of discovering the hidden aspects of themselves, hidden even from them. Unconsciously, they discard clothing which have become camouflage, hiding the truth about who they are, not as men or women, but as something more. Once the portal opens to show glimpses of the real “self” hidden beneath clothing and other camouflage, it becomes almost impossible to close that door. It becomes like a Pandora’s Box.

However, it isn’t like this for all who get to see the person hidden within. Some climb back into their clothing. The fear of what might be exposed is just too great.

Tis the Season to Write Nude

Honouring the craft of writing a novel.

It’s that time of year again, the time when many writers dedicate a month to the craft of writing a novel. The objective is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. It sounds simple until you start such a project. I have been successful in the past with this annual project, so I don’t anticipate a failure. That said, I don’t assume anything. Life, and the muse may have other things in mind for me.

I have begun the new novel with a very sketchy idea. I want to write a story, or more correctly, a series of stories that tell a larger story. It seems that the weather has decided to encourage me to stay indoors so that I can focus better on the task. With snow, wind, and cold temperatures, writing while nude has become a bit of a challenge. I have finally accepted the need for using a small heater in my office, along with a pair of socks so that my feet stay warm without getting too hot, a problem that I have with wearing my slippers.

One thing I can tell you about the novel, it isn’t about naturism. Another thing I can tell you is that it is an important story for me to tell. With that said, I promise you that there will be more naturist stories to be told in the future.

The Mad, Naked Barber of Saskatchewan – Happy Halloween

Halloween horror story with the mad barber.

It’s here, the holiday that I use to dread above all other days – Halloween. Needless to say, the dread was all about having to dress up in some sort of costume. This year, I simplified things quite a bit. Other than the props of two cordless hair trimmers so that I can be in character as the mad barber of Saskatchewan, I did manage to find a pair (loose definition of pair) of socks for the “Dressing up” part.

The bags of chips (crisps) are ready and waiting at the door for the arrival of all sorts of goblins, ghosts, and all manner of scary (or just plain cute) little beggars who will wait for whatever treats might fall into their pails or bags. Sadly, I will have to ditch my “costume” in order to avoid any unpleasantness that might otherwise come my way. No, that doesn’t mean just removing the socks, it means putting on something more concealing, something to hide my true self behind. This is Saskatchewan and to “scare” the little ones and their escorts with nudity would not be tolerated. At least I have a few more hours left before I have to put on the camouflage of material.