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By walking naked you gain far more than coolness. You feel an unexpected sense of freedom from restraint. An uplifting and almost delirious sense of simplicity. In this new simplicity you soon find that you have become, in a new and surer sense, an integral part of the simple, complex world you are
walking through. And then you are really walking.
Colin Fletcher, The Complete Walker III
And the weaver said, Speak to us of clothes.
And he answered:
Your clothes conceal much of your beauty, yet they hide not the unbeautiful, and though you seek in garments the freedom of privacy you may find in them a harness and a chain.
Would that you could meet the sun and the wind with more of your skin and less of your raiment, for the breath of life is in the sunlight and the hand of life is in the wind.
Some of you say, “It is the north wind who has woven the clothes we wear.”
And I say, Ay, it was the north wind, but shame was his loom, and the softening of the sinews was his thread.
And when his work was done he laughed in the forest.
Forget not that modesty is for a shield against the eye of the unclean.
And when the unclean shall be no more, what were modesty but a fetter and a fouling of the mind?
And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the wind long to play with your hair.
from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
BRAVE NUDE WORLD
A NUDE YEAR RESOLUTION
By Jeff Goodrich
A healthy mind is a healthy body. Unfortunately, we live in a dysfunctional society which fears nudity and pervertedly associates nude with lewd. As long as society continues to teach that nudity is only reserved for lewd situations and people have no concept of chaste nudity, nudists will not gain much ground in regards to body freedom and acceptance. Nudists must educate them and teach by example. Nude is NOT lewd. Nudity is not harmful in and of itself. One’s behavior, what one does with the body, is what matters.
But, how many of us are still afraid to be nudists? How many of us hide our nudist literature? How many of us put our nudist photos in an album with other family photos? How many of us have nudist photos hanging on the wall? We all still harbor certain fears that hinder the wholeness, and full acceptance of a healthy mind toward our naked bodies. Even if we accept our bodies many of us fear what others will think of us if they know we are nudists.
In the Spring 1984 (No. 1) issue of Clothed With the Sun, J. C. Cunningham put forth the philosophy he and his family adopted, in regard to their nudism, in an excellent article entitled “How About A Nude Year Nude Revolution Resolution?” I took his philosophy to heart the moment I read the article and fully practice the suggestions put forth. Much of my own practice and philosophy was inspired by that article.
To fully enjoy the wholeness of the nudist experience we must shed our fears of being known as a nudist, or being seen nude. We must free ourselves of the fear of society’s negative opinion of us. Many of us are afraid to be nudists and go nude in our own homes in case a neighbor might see us through a window or unexpectedly come to the door.
I do have nudist literature on my bookshelf and coffee table, in plain view. A few friends and non-nudist acquaintances have made comments, but I have received no adverse reaction from anyone. I also have framed nudist photos on the wall in the hallway. Any visitor needing to use the restroom would see them. At home, in the daytime, I do not pull the shades, and do not worry about some chance viewer. If someone should ring the doorbell, I simply ask “who is it?” If it should be someone who is aware of my nudist lifestyle and respects it, I will answer the door nude. For anyone else, in the interest of courtesy I will don a pair of shorts.
I decided, some years ago, to be nude as much as possible, without fear of being seen nude, or being known as a nudist. One must still be discreet and sensible, however. A nude revolution will not be effective if one regularly flaunts nudity and is regarded as a pervert or a lunatic. Rather, one should be as nude as is socially acceptable (or tolerable) in the proper situation and perhaps “push the envelope” as much as possible.
I am fortunate enough to have a privacy fence around the patio in my backyard where I can soak in my hot tub, sunbathe, BBQ, etc. in the nude. The only time I am visible to the neighbors behind me is when I am on the stairs to the back door. When the neighbors cannot be seen, and there is no evidence they are watching, I simply don’t worry about them catching a brief glimpse of me coming or going from the house. If the neighbors are present I will wrap myself in a towel to avoid upsetting them. I have lived in this location for six years and have never had a problem. Once, the meter-reading lady from the power company unexpectedly walked in the gate to my patio while I was standing, nude, next to the hot tub testing the water. She simply smiled and said, “excuse me” and went about her business. I just remained inwardly calm and went about my business. If we panic and scramble to cover-up we are declaring that we are ashamed of our naked bodies and are afraid to be seen.
Many nudists are not yet out of the closet if they continue to cover-up for the sake of imaginary people who are not there, but might be. Cunningham states that “it is fear of these ‘mights’ that keeps us in the closet and from enjoying nudity uninhibitedly. This unfounded fear thoroughly disarms us and aborts our supposed revolution. The only way to overcome this fear is to recondition our mind to accept the fact that we will be seen nude once in a while. That must no longer be something to avoid, but must be an accepted given.”
When away from home, I also seek out locations to be nude, whether hiking, swimming, camping, sunbathing or just relaxing. On secluded and little used trails, I hike nude, and if by chance, I should encounter others I casually greet them and keep moving. On many occasions I find a nice location to stop and sunbathe on a rock, read or just relax and eat my lunch.
If I find some location to swim, I will automatically go nude if no one is there. If others should arrive I will remain nude, having already established the dress code there, and if they don’t like it, they can move on. However, in the interest of avoiding a potential confrontation, I would either leave or get dressed if they voiced an objection. It cannot be said that I am flaunting my nudity because if others arrive to find me already nude they can move along to another area. If someone is already there, and I wish to go nude, I will ask if they mind if I don’t wear a suit. If they object, I can move along to another spot out of sight.
Do not be afraid to be known as a nudist. Many of us panic when we think of the last person we want to find out that we are a nudist-- perhaps friends, coworkers, our boss or, most importantly, relatives. If you want the peace of mind as a nudist, these are the people that must know. You will still be inhibited if they don’t and fear their reactions if they should find out your secret. You will be surprised how many will actually envy you when they find out that you are a nudist. They will envy the freedom, the self-acceptance, the acceptance of others and the lack of body shame and self-loathing because they know that they are imprisoned by their clothes and oppressed by their own (as well others’) body shame and fear.
If we are to truly live, one day, in a Brave Nude World we must speak up, lead by example and not be afraid to get involved in a quiet revolution. We must be politically active. We must stop teaching our children body shame. The naked human body is not obscene or disgusting. It is what one does with it that matters. How can any living creature in its natural state (i.e., naked) be harmful to its own kind? It defies all natural law, logic, reason, common sense and sanity to say that simple nudity is at all harmful, yet we are taught to believe this is so. Who is being harmed and how are they being harmed? These beliefs are extremely misguided and totally unfounded. It is a sad commentary on the depth of humankind’s universal dysfunctional belief systems in regards to the hatred and self-loathing of our physical bodies.
Cunningham states, “even if you are not much enthralled by the thought of participating in this revolution, you will not even experience total peace of mind for yourself and you will not fully enjoy nudity until you are thoroughly prepared to be nudists, to be known as nudists, and to be seen nude by any chance viewer.” Perhaps, one day, we will live in a Brave Nude World where nudity is as accepted and as normal as the birds, the grass and the trees. I have taken these concepts and made them my personal philosophy and live by them. Let yourself be free. You have nothing to fear but fear itself.
Perhaps one day we will live in a Brave Nude World where we have the freedom to practice a clothing optional lifestyle wherever we choose, in a world where nudity is accepted as a normal, natural part of life, and the human body is no longer criminalized. Why not start now, wherever and whenever you can?