Naked and Nude: Suffering and Release

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keswick-male-nude-sculpture-arms-outstretched-extra-large-13562-pNaked.  Nude.  Same or different?  I guess it depends on one’s perspective or use of the word. Both words indicate that a body is void of clothing. But the word naked (unlike nude) is also used to express vulnerability or transparency.  Therefore the phrase “I’ll get naked with you” doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get to see that cute freckle on my (CENSORED).

With all the taboos associated with words like naked and nude, is it any wonder that we resist the desire to bare our souls too?  

There is an interesting connection between being nude (without clothes) and being naked (vulnerable, transparent) that you may not be aware of.  And a personal Facebook story describes it best…

A few years ago, an FB “friend” was baring her soul in various posts. Having just lost an adult son to a fatal accident, her posts were heart wrenching and filled with grief. This woman and her son were both strangers to me, yet oddly her grief-stricken messages really pulled me in. She chronicled the difficult journey of retrieving his body (from another country) as well as her suffering, growth and miracles. I was mesmerized enough that I reached out to this stranger and personally thanked her for sharing so candidly, because…well, it really touched me.  Her “being naked” was absolutely magnificent.

Just prior to connecting with my new FB friend, my uncle (83 years old) died. Heart issues made for an unpleasant final year of his life. Shortly after he died my aunt told me she’d held out hope over the past year that he’d last a lot longer, but she knew the end was close at hand when he started pulling his clothes off in the hospital bed.  She said the nurse told her that patients sometimes to do that right before dying because they don’t like the feeling of clothing – it makes them uncomfortable. I found that interesting, but I have my own theory.

During a deep depression years ago, I pulled off all my clothes and sat around my house bare-ass-naked for days. I never mentioned it to anyone figuring eyebrows would raise!  But to me, there’s something so primal, so healing, so freeing in being completely naked and it actually made me feel better (or at the very least, laugh at myself!)  Maybe the nurses were right and it’s simply discomfort, but to me, it’s more a desire to become one with the creator again and there was no better way to do that than to get fully naked.

Interestingly, my FB friend happened to be a hypnotherapist and a counselor.  She told me that patients tear or pull their clothes off, not to relieve agitation, but as a result of the release of agitation. In other words, as the body begins to relax (let go, surrender, accept), people who have been extremely agitated, in pain, suffering tend to unburden themselves by getting rid of things that constrain (like clothes, jobs, relationships, etc.)

She said the mind and body want to be free but sometimes can’t find an exit. When the door is slightly opened (through illness or depression), a release occurs, even if we aren’t consciously aware of it, and anything that feels restrictive wants to be removed. That explains my getting completely nude during my depression (since without a job or relationship, clothes were the only constraint left to remove!)  And it explains my uncle trying to remove his clothes, not because they bothered him, but because he had already accepted death. She also shared that hypnotherapy is a form of release, and that during sessions her patients would often remove things. Shoes, socks, belt, shirts, pants, false teeth…one patient even handed her a false eye while under hypnosis!

naked boy by poolIn a subsequent conversation, my FB friend shared some pictures of her son with me. I saw that he was an avid mountain climber. Another synchronicity! I couldn’t wait to tell her that I had just returned from a trip to Mount Shasta in California! Obviously she and I were meant to connect, so I sent her the following message:

“I just hiked my first mountain – Mount Shasta in Northern California. A few days into my trip, I heard there was a mineral springs where you could release all the toxins in your system – that was something I’d always wanted to try. At this mineral springs the staff leads you to a private room where you sit in a bathtub full of piping hot water. After about 5 minutes, you head outside to a public area and bathe in a man-made basin filled with spring water (55 degrees!) pouring right out of the mountain.

“I was caught off guard when I saw women and men all swimming together in the basin completely nude. I had never stripped down in public before, so there I was, one of the few people with a swimsuit on. There was no pressure to go nude, a few people didn’t. But watching the majority of people be completely uninhibited and comfortable in their skin, I was faced with a decision. Swim suit or birthday suit.

“I stood there and froze not knowing what to do. Then I buried my face in my towel and cried. Not a reaction I expected from myself. I’m typically bold and uninhibited, so what was my problem? I had to get to the bottom of it or I knew I’d miss an important opportunity to grow. So I sat off to the side and went into my feelings until I figured it out.

“For 50 years, I had lived by someone else’s rule book. Maybe it was my parent’s rule book, or my ex-husband’s, or the rule book from various churches I’d attended. Or the rule book from the other side of the country. It didn’t matter whose rule book it was, I was no longer willing to buy into someone else’s rules! It was time to take a stand. (Birthday suit!)

FreedomProject_Claire

“On the last day of my trip, I climbed further up the mountain than I had the previous days. I went to Mount Shasta looking for something – hoping to connect with some spiritual being, or an Ascended Master or maybe a UFO. I was praying for some amazing connection to occur that last day. And what I got was far better than connecting with St. Germain or a spaceship.  I connected with ME. At the highest point I could reach that day, the words, “Free Spirit” came to me loud and clear. I remembered the free spirit I was as a teen ager, before constraints were put in place. Before I left home at 18 and had to fend for myself, before I started watching the news and letting fear take over and rob me of joy. Before I bought into a life of hardship that took me down difficult roads that damaged my self-worth. Fear had kidnapped my free spirit for years and I found it again on that mountain.

“I tell you this because you shared photos of your son. I saw his dreadlocks and his “life-is-too-short-to-live-by-the-rules” expression. I could so relate! He looks to me as if he lived exactly as he wanted and I hope you don’t mind me saying – he died exactly as he wanted as well. I know that doesn’t take away your pain or longing for him, but as a mother, I guess it would be easier to know your son died smiling at how he lived his life rather than the alternative. My heart is with you during this temporary goodbye with your son. And my heart is smiling at the free spirit that waits on the other side for the both of us!”

Yup.  No doubt we will reunite in the place where naked and nude are the norm, where suffering no longer exists and where release from constrains is permanent.

freedom

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9 thoughts on “Naked and Nude: Suffering and Release

  1. John McAdam

    Hey Lynette:

    Had to respond to this one. I feel guilty for knowing you better than you know me due to these posts. I enjoyed the past to current to future flow of nakedness here. I am always surprised by how much you have to say. As a fellow blogger I struggle to write an article every other week.

    You are a beautiful person so keep on writing…

    John McAdam

    • John, that’s beautiful! Thank you so much! It’s comments like yours that keep me inspired to write! And the reason I have so much to say is I put this off for years until the words were creating a bottle neck and stopping me from functioning otherwise! So I guess it’s all just spilling out fast and furious now… until I run out of stuff to say 🙂 Thanks again John xo

  2. Lynette,

    You continue to amaze me. Your blogs are incredible. I cannot tell you that you are doing what you are meant to do but it feels that way when I read what you write.

    Lynn Everard, Friend and Fellow Blogger

  3. Reblogged this on Bare Naked Talk and commented:

    “Naked” is speaking one’s truth. We were born naked and lately I see a growing number of people getting naked – not stripping down, but getting painfully honest about themselves, what’s important to them, and who they are in this world. PAINFUL doesn’t begin to describe the pain in revealing the true you – I know this first hand. I have been stripping down for the last 18 months and even chopped off some hair last night in a moment of desperation. Our inner truth will come out whether we try to stuff it or not. This blog begged to be reposted.

  4. Edward Ebden

    I came to your heartfelt article by searching for a lovely little male nude figurine Libra Male Nude – Arms outstretched that I had seen in the English Department Store John Lewis.The athletic figure is in an unusual but wonderful pose with his arms outstretched almost like aircraft wings;I thought it would be a wonderful pose for a beautiful female friend and naturist therapist to pose for a terracotta statuette.
    My wonderful friend,trained as a psychotherapist teaches us liberation in guided meditation to remove our clothing and to be closer together to our creator.I am often asked why do I need,along with naked yoga,to be unclothed.But it is a natural human need that helps me, someone who suffers from black dog depression,to feel truly free, moving away from a naked state of shame and vulnerability (see Beebe Brown on You Tube) to a nude place of total safety with my wonderful and generous friend both as my therapist and facilitator, for whose love and care for others I will be forever grateful.

    • Edward, I loved your message! Thank you so much! One thing that has helped me tremendously, is to embrace the black dog. I avoided it, ignored it, ran from it, and hid it from everyone. I judged it, therefore I attracted others into my life who gladly judged it too. The black dog got so big I could barely breathe. I finally came to the conclusion that the only way to move forward and find satisfaction in life again, was to turn around and face that dog and embrace it. In a literal sense, that meant embracing the quirks about me, the “oddities” that set me apart, made me different, made me feel like I never fit in. Embracing the dog meant no more advertising myself as something I’m not. Being honest about my quirks (“I’m emotional, I’m sensitive, I get excited over rocks and clouds…and f— you if you can’t handle that!”) It also meant not taking on projects to make others happy. That kind of thing. I started following the beat of my own drum. That’s when the dog finally shrunk down to a reasonable size that I can manage. I have come to love the dog, because when it shows up, I know I’m most likely doing something anti-me (or following someone else’s drum again) so I make adjustments. Best to you, Edward! xoxo

      • Edward Ebden

        Dear Lynette,
        Thank you so much for your post to me, wonderful that you learn to live with the proverbial ‘ Black Dog’.
        He comes to me from time to time and I am learning to accommodate him ( or her).When he is not there I find walking real black dogs,like Labradors, really helpful,like the lovable Rosie even if you cannot let her off the lead as she would not come back.
        I loved your comment on Rocks and Sky!So many wonderful painters have been inspired by them and nature in general.
        As a naturist ( when I can) I have found Naked Movement classes in London lead by Calu Lena,who hails from Columbia.She has a wonderful command of South American music that is wonderful to dance to naked.I also do classes in Bristol and Glastonbury lead by Gauri Algar .She is a psychotherapist and gives me great positive guidance to help me move my life forward into new pastures.Annette Ross also in London teaches Dynamic Yoga,started by Godfrey Deveraux’s,her Naked Yoga classes really help me and I find it all deeply spiritual.Being honest to God,the Goddess or the Divine essence in life.I am lucky,I know of people whose lives have been destroyed by Depression.

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