Previous Post – Chapter 4, The End of Shame – Living Shamelessly
Take a few minutes to think about what makes you joyful and happy. It may be the smile on the face of your children, meeting with your best friends, walking in the woods or reading a book sitting on your couch. As the ideas flow through your mind, grab a notebook and write all those down. Go and come back in a few minutes.
With the list you are contemplating, are those activities come with any additional benefits. For instance, meeting with your best friends carry the additional benefit in increase bonding. Reading a book may help you to learn more about a fascinating topic, hence helping your career.
It’s probable that you came up with a lot of activities, events and benefits. This simple exercise that I’m doing regularly helps me a lot keeping my focus on what contributes to my happiness and dedicating more times to those activities and events. Above all those activities that make me happy, nudism comes first.
Nudism, though, is neither an activity nor an event. It’s a state of being, a lifestyle, for some, a philosophy. Having discussed with hundreds of nudists, most say that being nude makes them happy. At least, it makes them feel good and it contributes to their happiness. Nudism makes me happy. Nudism has many benefits, as we’ve seen in chapter 3. But nudism has its fair share of drawbacks too.
Go back to the list of activities and events that make you happy. Think about the dark side, if any, of them. For instance, if you love cooking and eating, eating too much or unbalanced can lead to various ailments. Nudism comes with its dark side as well. Some people will reject your nudity. You may lose friends and family members. You may get fined or even end up in jail. It may limit your choice of holidays. Nudism is often misunderstood. We’ll see in the last two chapters how to overcome those resistance and live a nudist life.
The ultimate question about each of those activities and events that make us happy is, do the benefits outweigh the disadvantages? As long as it is so, you can experience them shamelessly. If not, you either need to reconsider your choices, find ways to be more balanced or just move along.
Benefits vs. Constraints
Whenever I talk about the many benefits of nudism to textiles, I almost always hear the hus, hmms, ahhs, and, the killer word, but! Vitamin D is great and needed, but I cannot be naked in my garden. Being nude feels comfortable, but people may come up and see me naked. I love to go to the beach, but there are few nude beaches.
Buts are joy killers. Buts are half-empty glasses. Buts are life disablers!
I don’t know a thing in life that has only benefits, do you? Everything has two sides, a bright one and a dark one. Benefits face constraints. Our lizard brain sees constraints as negative things we need to avoid: saber-tooth tigers, poison ivy, sharks… Constraints also help us appreciate the benefits and put limits so we can avoid decision fatigue.
In an article entitled The Benefits of Constraints, the author provides five keys to overcome constraints: intention, awareness, boundaries, courage, and discipline. When it comes to nudism, I can relate to them immediately:
- I set my intention to be nude and enjoy nudity whenever and wherever I can.
- My awareness of the possibility of nudity, its joy and risks are known and pretty clear.
- The boundaries are defined by the environment and the law I need to abide by, but whenever I can push them, I will set my intention and bring some courage.
- Courage is sometimes necessary to explain nudism to others and make them feel okay with nudity.
- Finally, discipline is needed to set nudism as a priority for a joyful life, as we will see in the coming pages.
The author closes his article on a powerful idea: “We often think we’re too constrained to be able to start or finish the stuff that matters. It’s more likely that it’s the opposite: we’re not constrained enough to start or finish (only) the stuff that matters.” Many people think nudism has so many constraints that it’s difficult to enjoy it fully. I challenge them to see it the other way round. If nudism had more constraints, we will find more ways to enjoy it to its fullest. Don’t let the constraints stop you, leverage them to enjoy nudism even more fully.
Top up those constraints with all the benefits we have seen in chapter 3. When you stop and reflect about nudism, you realize it has physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, and social benefits. Few lifestyles, if any, but nudism, have all those benefits.
It happens that I have doubts about my love of nudism. Should I continue embrace nudism? What if I stopped so I can have easier relationship with textiles? Let’s go back to the majority and not stay in the minority. Yes, my inner voice sometimes whispers that the constraints are there. My answer is to smile, stay or get naked and reaffirm my intentions clearly.
You probably heard that what you think becomes real. Our brain does not make any difference between fantasy and reality. So if you think about having a great day, this great day may not happen as you think it should have, but the early thought may shield you against less good things and actions. In the Medium article Why Is Feeling Joyful Important, Murray “MJ” Blehart reminds us that “thoughts, feelings, and actions create reality.”
After having tested many goal-setting methods for my personal life, I chose to set intentions more than goals per se. Goals, particularly SMART ones (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based), have always seemed artificial and are never entirely met. Intentions are looser but define a clear path that can be followed and enjoyed.
Joseph Yao lists 5 Key Benefits of Setting Intentions: they have no limits, affect every aspect of life, keep us centered, improve effectiveness, and make use more mindful. A goal may improve effectiveness but does not have four other benefits. It’s one of the reasons I believe intentions are more powerful than goals.
We can set daily, weekly, monthly and even recurring intentions. Every time we set an intention, we light a beacon for our life. Intentions are also easier to explain without going into the SMART details of goals. Some of my yearly intentions are directly linked to my practice of nudism: be nude every day as much as I can, favor nudism for holidays, weekends and recreational activities.
Why set nudist intentions, you shall ask? The first answer that comes to my mind is joy. Being nude makes me joyful and contributes to my happiness. When I’m clothed, I long being nude. When I’m nude, I dread being clothed. Setting nudist intentions is my way to choose joy.
Some may call it an obsession, I call it a “joysession.” Of course, the pun is intended. Spending time naked is definitely a joy session. Nudism is a joy session! By setting clear nudist intentions, I consciously chose joy. Being naked makes my heart smile.
“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” Henri Nouwen
Choosing joy is a courageous act. Entertaining joy around us requires discipline. You see the pattern here. Nietzsche wrote “that which does not kill us makes us stronger.” While I believe it’s true in a sense, I also believe strongly that which makes us joyful makes us stronger.
Joy is contagious for us and for others. Joy contributes greatly to our and others’ happiness. When we are feeling down, stressed or tired, joy lifts us. Fake it until you make it, as they say? Yes, it works. For me, it’s setting my nudist intention for the day and getting naked as much as I can. Intentional nudity, intentional joy!
Your joy intentions may not be linked to nudity and nudism. So be it! But isn’t it a chicken and egg issue like physical activity for instance? I experienced over the years that when I don’t feel going running is the time I need to go. Why? Because it will pump in my body the right hormones to make me feel good and contribute to my health. The same happens with nudity as we’ve seen in chapter 3. Being nude boosts metabolism and acts as a joy enabler. Is being nude brings joy or is being joyful leads to nudity?
Being nude brings joy that allows to enjoy nudity even more. Whenever I feel down, I get naked and some chemical magic happens. When I feel joyful, I feel the urge to get naked. Nudity leads to joy that leads to nudity. Joy leads to nudity that leads to joy. Choosing joy is choosing nudity, and choosing nudity is choosing joy. Choosing nudity is creating a virtuous circle of joy and happiness.
I can still be joyful while clothed. There are many social situations in life when nudity is just impossible. This should not prevent joy from happening. Once again, joy is a choice. When nudity is possible, which happens more often than not as we will see in chapter 9, choose nudity and joy will come.
Are you ready to live a joyful life? Read on (soon)!
Next part – A joyful life
Strip Nude, Stay Nude, Live Nude and Share the Nude Love!