Nudity is not enough.
There. I said it.
Last week in “beyond nudism into living” I shared my desire to branch out topically. Where? Well, beyond discussions where nudity dances center stage. It’s not that I don’t love living in my own skin. Actually, I’m clothes free most every chance I get. And, I have my eye on some potential teacher connections for naked yoga. But, after reflecting a bit this weekend, I realized why nudity is not enough.
Inspired by a Twitter chat a few weeks ago, I started a food journal. But, this journal isn’t for counting calories or obsessing over what I eat. Rather, I track my energy after eating and drinking. Whether I feel foggy, alert, weird, worked up, I write it down just to observe.
As I prepared this week’s naked soul reflection episode, I realized something. Writing in my journal presences me. Without judgment, jotting down how I feel puts me in touch with my body. Maybe I thought a particular food would make me feel weird, but it didn’t. Or, perhaps I couldn’t figure out what to eat. Well, writing down how I feel whenever I nourish myself helps me solve that question now!
More than anything, though, the writing practice shows me my small victories. So, even noting times where I’d normally binge into emotional eating, but don’t. I write that down, too. And what I realized is that, victories happen even if my body appears the same in the mirror. Writing out all of this goes beyond just the visual of my body, revealing changes in how I behave. So often I go by the mirror, look at my naked body and think that nothing changes. But, in fact, change happens all of the time. And this is why I share this post today. Because the healing living goes beyond just nudity.
why clothes free is awesome
As I mentioned, I find clothes free living awesome. I love spending time in my own skin. In fact, I’m quite comfortable walking around naked at home and in social settings. Last summer, when we played at a clothing-optional festival, I pranced about clothes free. And, I didn’t feel at all uncomfortable even though most folks wore clothes.
When I work clothes free, I feel much sharper. I have no idea why this is the case. But, it’s true. Whenever I shut the door at the office and drop the dress, clear focus. Boom. Done. I might not have all the answers, but even my questions are better!
And as this tweet states, well, nature:
I was watching the birds in my backyard and meditating about how beautiful nature is, and I just want to be part of it. That's my naturism!
— Lousua (@Lou_Suarez) February 5, 2017
I love connecting with nature clothes free. Seriously, clothes free camping is the best thing since stuffed penguins. Or, maybe it came before stuffed penguins. I don’t know. But, you get my point. Spending extended time clothes free in nature presences me to nature. It reminds me that I am human and that I am part of this ecosystem. Heck, if the postal service obliges, I will just live outdoors in a tent. Well, but winter. Anyway, I love living clothes free.
why nudity is not enough
After all that excitement in the previous section, why this? Well, here’s the thing. For some of us who wrestle(d) with eating imbalances, the visuals become an issue. As I mentioned, I love spending time clothes free. Living, breathing, being clothes free lifts my spirits in so many ways. But looking in the mirror is a separate beast for folks with eating disorders.
Truth: I am drop dead gorgeous. I kiss myself in the mirror, because yum. At the same time, some folks like me have distorted interpretations of our physical images in the mirror. We look in the glass, and the filters in our minds, well, they warp our interpretation. So, while I feel completely comfortable living clothes free, I might not have an accurate interpretation of my reflection. When I look in the mirror, I might label it “huge”. And, nothing anyone says wipes that away.
So, you see, in many ways, living clothes free brings me tons of joy. But, the story doesn’t stop at just “naked”. In fact, the physically naked part might be just the first (or 3rd, 12th, nth) step. And, with stepping out of clothes comes the work of stepping into living. One principle in yoga that stays with me during this “living” process is svadyaya or “self-study”. This is the practice of reflection, observation and presence.
That’s exactly what this food journal gifted me, self-study and presence. It helped me move beyond inaccurate interpretations of my image into the truth of how I feel. So, maybe I look at my body and initially think “huge,” but then my food journal rebuts. It puts me in touch with how I feel. That reflection work grounds me when my warped sight deceives me.
why this is important
Why does this matter?
It is important, because many naturists/nudists often speaking solely to nudity. You know, naked pictures of strangers everywhere. Burn the sarong and so forth. But, nudity is only part of this whole endeavor. We have to partner our nakedness with true living in order to heal deeply. Indeed, we must study ourselves. Rather than truncate the story at, “Oh hey now I’m naked,” we must dig and inquire over and over again. We must willingly look into how we are being and what we do.
Engaging this kind of work will also help us connect with others in the world more authentically. Often I observe naturists “butt” into a conversation chanting, “Naturism will fix it!” Honestly, that feels very insincere and it can resonate as quite jarring to unsuspecting people. I see folks do that on Twitter all of the time and I slap my head. But when we connect clothes free living with other things authentically, we connect with others authentically. And when we share, we do so organically. That resonates powerfully with others.