Friday Update (03-03-17)

What I’m reading
I finished reading The Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England by Mark Morris. The book was a good historical account of the events leading up to and following William the Conqueror’s invasion of England to take the crown promised him by his cousin, Edward the Confessor. For me it was of historical and genealogical interest. I’m a fan of English history and William the Conqueror is quite likely my 29th great-grandfather.

Next, I read The Tower of London by Alison Weir. The book was a bit shorter than expected given the Tower’s nearly 950 year history. It seemed to be an overview of the Tower’s history, leaving me yearning to learn more about many of the events that took place within its walls.

I’m currently reading Co-ed Naked Philosophy by Will Forest. I’d been hearing about this work of naturist fiction for a number of years and finally decided to read it. It’s apparently based on actual events and deals with a group of college professors and students who disrobe for a philosophy class. It also deals with the characters’ experiences with public nudity at an unofficial nude beach, streaking on campus, and other situations. Throughout the story the author echoes many of my own ideas about naturism, body acceptance, and nudity.

Concepts and ideas I’m toying with
Nudity as our natural state. After all, we come into this world naked so it’s our default state. Clothing is something we add to the default so it’s an aberration. All clothing is manufacture, it’s not natural. Therefore, wearing clothing is not natural, though we’ve been been conditioned to believe that it is. Wearing clothes may have become normal but that doesn’t make it natural.

Man’s war against himself. Actually, this idea germinated with the previous concept. If nudity is our natural state then it seems reasonable to assume that being nude is, at some level, a primal part of our nature that has been culturally suppressed over many millenia. When we look at the history of the world, we see that civilization has generally been a conflict with Nature. As civilization and technology advanced, we escalated the war on Nature and separated ourselves more from it. But we are a part of nature so the more we try to separate ourselves from it, the more we separate ourselves from our own nature and our humanity. At some point our war against Nature escalated to include humanity and ourselves among the enemy, making us the enemy we seek to destroy. Ultimately, we are the war’s casualties. I’m certain the mankind will fight the war until we bring about our own extinction and Nature prevails as it always does.

Parties I’ve attended
I first learned about Dayton Warm Breezes (DWB) back in October but it was only this last Saturday that I attended on of their events, a house party at a member’s home. Other than everyone being naked, it wasn’t any different than any other house party. A masseuse was available to give massages and the host had a hot tub all warmed up but I didn’t partake of either. It was the first time I’d participated in social nudity in quite a while (having been exclusively a home nudist for the past few years) and I realized that I had, indeed, missed the social aspects. I still enjoy my nude solitude but there needs to be a balance. There’s another house party coming up soon and I’m planning to attend and formally join the club.

Games I’m playing
Words With Friends. I’ve been playing this Scrabble-based game on my mobile phone for a couple weeks now and it constantly reminds me how much my vocabulary, which I had believed to be above average, have slipped over the years. My 14-year-old granddaughter consistently trounces me. But she’s never shown me any mercy when it comes to games.

Quotes I’m pondering
“Dangerous does not mean exciting or bold. It means likely to cause great harm. The most dangerous idea is the only dangerous idea: The idea that ideas can be dangerous.” ~ Daniel Gilbert

“Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that numbers of people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience. Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running and robbing the country. That’s our problem.” ~ Howard Zinn, Failure to Quit

These quotes have particular relevance as the extremist conservatives who have infested our government at the highest levels work to destroy every great accomplishment our nation has made in the last century. Ironically, they’re doing it under the battle cry of “Make America Great”. If anything, these people are destroying America’s greatness.

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Yoga Sans Clothes

Nude Yoga t450
Certified yoga instructor Jeffrey Duval, left, and student Todd
Erickson roll up their mats following a nude yoga class in New York.
Fans of nude yoga say the nudity aids in deepening their yoga practice.
(AP Photo/David Goldman)

High Noon: Yoga Sans Clothes asks, “Isn’t yoga difficult enough without this twist? Is this something you’d be interested in doing?”

The answer to the first question is “No.” Yoga isn’t difficult. Sure, some of the poses are challenging but you work to your own limits on any given day. Is nude yoga something I’d be interested in doing? You bet!

I’ve a naturist for a number of years. I find nudity in situations where clothing isn’t necessary for warmth or protection to be perfectly normal and natural. To me, a nude human being is a person in their natural state. From naturism I’ve learned to accept my body as it is while at the same time striving to make it a better place to live. I’ve also learned to accept others for who they are, regardless of physical appearance. My yoga practice reinforces these ideas and I find that the two philosophies work very well together.

One of my biggest distractions in doing asana is having to interrupt my focus to adjust my clothing because it doesn’t want to stretch in the same way or direction that my body does. Practicing yoga in the nude obviously eliminates this distraction and during my home practice (where I practice in the nude) I find I’m able to focus on my breath, the pose and my intention. At the studio where I attend classes, nude yoga is not an option so I deal with it.

Would a practice with other nude yogis (either mixed gender or same sex) be distracting? For some, yes, especially if they were unaccustomed to being nude with others or hadn’t developed an attitude of body acceptance. I haven’t yet done nude yoga with others so I can’t say with one-hundred percent certainty that I wouldn’t be distracted but I’m reasonably sure I’d find it no different from a nudist venue.

Many of the comments I’ve seen in blog posts or news articles stress the “Ewww” factor in regards to certain poses that might expose body parts some would rather not see. I find such comments to be juvenile. These body parts are common to all of us. To my way of thinking, one body part isn’t any more or less offensive than any other. If seeing a particular part of the human anatomy offends or titillates us it’s because we’ve chosen to be offended or titillated by it. If you’re attending a nude yoga class to indulge in moral outrage or to be titillated, then you’re there for the wrong reasons.

Another reason, I’d probably not find nudity distracting is that in every yoga class in which I’ve participated, I rarely spend any time looking at others in the class. Most of the time, I’m listening to the instructor and focusing on my practice — my breath, the pose, how my body feels in the pose. About the only time I do look at another student or the instructor is for guidance when I’m unsure about a pose.

I’m not saying I don’t get distracted by bodies in a yoga class. I do. However, I have the respect and presence of mind to accept it, let it pass and return my focus to my practice.

Moral Nudity?

Here’s a search term that led someone to my naturist blog: moral nudity. I’ve been trying to figure out how these words might go together but I have yet to find a connection.

Moral is not an adjective you can logically use to modify the noun nudity. Nudity is neutral, neither moral nor immoral, good nor bad. Morality is a value judgment best applied to behavior, intentions, or purposes, not to a physical characteristic or state. To say that it’s immoral to be nude is like saying it’s immoral to be poor, to be a sports fan,  live in a certain area, or to practice a certain faith.

I hear Christians talk of avoiding or not engaging in certain activities because it may cause others to “stumble and fall” into sin or temptation. How are we to know what might cause our neighbor to to be tempted? Wouldn’t it be better to show him a new perspective, change his attitude, or teach him how not to stumble? If someone falls prey to temptation because of me and that wasn’t my intention, isn’t that his weakness? And if I am aware of his weakness then shouldn’t I help him to overcome it rather than merely removing that which might tempt him?

Avoiding temptation doesn’t make us stronger. Learning to overcome and neutralize it so that it no longer tempts us shows real strength of character. I’ve faced and overcome many personal demons. I’m stronger for it and those demons no longer pose a temptation for me.

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Social Engineering

I was in a forum earlier today and I made a comment about changing cultural norms to bring about greater public acceptance of nudism, getting the following response: “Trying to change cultural norms is what social engineering is all about. What gives a minority the right to try to manipulate the norms of the majority in that way?”

Does a minority have the right to try to manipulate the cultural norms of the majority? Isn’t nearly all social change brought about by some minority attempting to change existing cultural norms? How about women’s suffrage, civil rights, gay rights, to name a few changed cultural norms? Have majorities throughout history suddenly had epiphanies and just decided that commoners should be able to own land, that women should be able to vote, that blacks should have equal rights, and that gays should be accepted?

Social engineering occurs all the time. It’s called public relations, advertising, entertainment, campaigning, and protesting. sometimes it’s not quite so subtle. Whatever you call it, it boils down to social engineering. Governments, corporations, religions, and special interest groups all engage in it. Apparently this person feels it’s okay for the majority or those who represent (or claim to represent) the majority to use social engineering but forbid a minority from doing the same.

The majority has no vested interest in changing cultural norms. Their vested interest is in maintaining the status quo.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world: indeed it’s the only thing that ever has!” — Margaret Meade

Naked Saturdays

Song: It Don’t Come Easy
Artist: Ringo Starr
Album: Ringo’s Best
Released: 1971


Today’s Quote: “Never before did I get so close to Nature; never before did she come so close to me… Nature was naked, and I was also… Sweet, sane, still Nakedness in Nature! – ah if poor, sick, prurient humanity in cities might really know you once more! Is not nakedness the indecent? No, not inherently. It is your thought, your sophistication, your fear, your respectability, that is indecent. There come moods when these clothes of ours are not only too irksome to wear, but are themselves indecent. Perhaps indeed he or she to whom the free exhilarating ecstasy of nakedness in Nature has never been eligible (and how many thousands there are!) has not really known what purity is–nor what faith or art or health really is.” ~ Walt Whitman, A Sun-bathed Nakedness

 

My “local” naturist club has announced the dates of the summer visits to clubs with property and I have marked my calendar. The scheduled naked Saturdays are 21 June, 12 July, and 9 August, locations are yet to be determined. They also announced activities for 26 May and 1 September, as well as 11-15 September but these are taking place in Pennsylvania, too great a distance for me to travel presently. Perhaps one day I will make the pilgrimage to White Thorn Lodge for the great Superbowl of Volleyball. There may also be a couple of unscheduled trips to Paradise Gardens.

Maybe I can use some of my economic stimulus check to create a little mini-resort for myself. Oh, wait a minute. That’s “my” dream; my dreams don’t come true.

Kitchen Pass

Today’s Quote: “On the outside it [nudism] seems like it’s about looking and seeing…. But once you’ve been inside you realize it’s more simple than that, deeper than that. It’s simply about being….and enjoying some innocent freedom.” ~ “Be a Nudist” in response to a MySpace blog post about a first visit to a nudist resort


Song: One Week
Artist: Barenaked Ladies
Album: Stunt
Released: 1998


I am finally a card carrying nudist. Yesterday evening I attended my first swim sponsored by The Buckeye Naturists and got my membership card. (The swim I attended in January was hosted by Have Sun Will Travel, the other club.) I had a great time and was surprised I didn’t look like a prune after spending nearly two hours in the pool playing volleyball. Being in the water definitely affects your movements and balance. It also works the muscles differently. I’m not sure how exactly but I felt certain muscle pull that I normally wouldn’t notice when playing on a court. I guess it’s because there’s more resistance in the water.

Looking forward to summer.