Seven years ago, when I was 41 years old, I decided to join the conversation about sexuality and what it means to me. I knew that I would probably receive a hailstorm of criticism about my decision to post a provocative image of myself along with my piece entitled, Sexuality: Does Spirit Wear Clothes?
I’ve decided to revisit that piece and introduce it to a wider audience. I’ve also decided not to edit it, so that it retains the essence of who I was then. As is expected, I will probably lose a number of people who will either misunderstand my intentions, judge prematurely based on their own cultural and religious biases, or not take the time to read my perspective to gauge why I would desire to freely express myself through partial nudity.
What I find disturbing is that as humans we either have no desire, or are incapable of seeing the world through the eyes of others. We believe that our way of thinking, believing and seeing is the only and right way. We ignore other cultures who were born into nudity; we call them primitive, rather than sensible and practical given their environment. At the end of the day, the world doesn’t revolve around only our way of seeing. Still, we have the right to separate ourselves from that which we do not agree with. But I ask that as you do this, as you move on to see the world only as you would like to see it, take a moment to not only listen to other perspectives, but respect them to the fullest, so others will find it easier to respect what you believe.
We are all here, together, for better or for worse. Find your freedom and live it, fearlessly. Allow others to live their way, as long as no physical harm is done to others or the planet. We only have one life. Be your authentic self and express your unique views.
As Rumi wrote:
“Forget safety. Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation.
I fearlessly destroy my reputation.
Yes, that’s me. Don’t run. This is a serious discussion about sexuality, sexiness, and spirit.
Sexuality is such a touchy subject for some. But I’ve decided to venture into it fearlessly. Part of that adventure is to show that anything I say, I can back it up with action…hence the photo…which I believe is very tastefully done.
Let me define what sexuality is for me. Sexuality is not necessarily about sexual intercourse. Sexuality for me is more about the idea of what is sexy, the natural body and how we view it, and spirituality as it pertains to our sexual and/or reproductive abilities, including the process of nurturing offspring. I believe sexuality is much larger than the crass and canned definition employed by some. Sexuality is about our connection to the universe and how that connection affects us on this plane of existence. Sexuality is when I touch a rock and feel its warmth. It is when I smell a gardenia, an orange or a mango. Sexuality is a conversation that awakens something inside of me, bringing me to a new level of awareness. It is watching a new life suckle at my breast. It is laughter. It is engaging in life and all it’s beauty. Sexuality is me. It is you, it is us. It is everything earth and ether. It is naked truth. It is touch. It is love. This is how I view sexuality and the vein in which I will write.
There is a school of thought that says sexuality in general is a private affair and never to be discussed publicly. Others delineate what, specifically, should or should not be private when it comes to sexuality. I believe that all life is art, filled with something majestic, beautiful, sensual, magical, mysterious and profound. This life-art includes sexuality. And there is nothing private about it. It is like a beautiful painting, work of literature or piece of music…it tantalizes the senses to awareness. It awakens something sleeping within. It breathes life into things lifeless.
There was a time when wearing clothes was unheard of in nearly every ancient culture on earth. In some of those cultures, if one was seen with any type of covering, they were thought to be spiritually bereft. As a matter of fact, the majority of humans have spent far more time without clothes, than with clothes. This historical fact is worthy of note and not something we should dismiss as the simple behavior of “uncivilized” peoples. There is wisdom in the past, particularly within cultures that are the mothers of our existence.
Look at the picture I’ve posted of myself. What do you see? In this almost spiritless hodge-podge many call a culture, many Westernized minds would see a sex object—a woman who is possibly an exhibitionist and seeking the next hot sexual threesome, or just seeking attention. But those from other, more “simple” cultures, or those who are of a higher spiritual sensibility will see a woman sharing natural art…a woman who recognizes the beauty of her baby’s milk (her breasts), the beauty of birth and life, and is comfortable displaying her gift of natural essence handed to her from the universe. It shows a person at ease with nature in its purest form. In that image, I am 41 years old (taken a few months ago this year), and in it, I am feeling in touch not only with this cycle of my life, but the universal source. That image, for me, represents freedom, love, honesty, truth and nature. It is the image of my ancestors, their memories of who they were, their cycles gone…their dreams, beliefs and hopes for the future—the cycles to come…it represents a future not bogged down by the strange notions of this modern culture that has strayed from spirit and truth. This new, foreign culture is not from my ancestry. It is a strange thing.
Some will feel offended by this and spare no words to express their upset. But they would not spend that same energy on speaking out and taking action pertaining to the wars that ravage the lives of millions of people; nor rage against the air, food, earth and water being raped of every drop of nutritional value and life sustaining energy. They would make every attempt to shame me into submission and into removing my image, but in their cowardice, they would never call to the carpet, with the same fervor, their government or other entities that continue to destroy every semblance of what many hold dear. Their life could be falling apart, yet they would still choose the easy victory of harassing me about a picture that celebrates sensuality, sexuality, art, beauty, nature, love and life.
What am I trying to prove with this image you may ask? I want to show that people are not as adaptable as they’d like to believe themselves to be. I want to show that there will be those who saw me one way yesterday, and will now see me a different way today because of what they’ve been trained to believe. I want to show that delving into the perceived touchy space of sexuality does not change who I am spiritually. I am still the same person who strives endlessly for truth and an understanding of self. I continue to seek a higher self, whether through writing, reading, meditation, or visual artistic expression. My spirit does not wear clothes. It breathes freely. It is naked save for the essence of who I am and what I am—and that essence is not made of cotton, silk or wool.
Some will ask, so does that mean we should all walk around naked? I ask, weren’t people doing it for hundreds of thousands of years, even into today in untainted villages? Being fully clothed is a recent historical incarnation. And somewhere along the line we were made to feel uncomfortable about something that is as natural as drinking water. But does this mean we should all go naked you’ll ask again? That is not for me to decide. I am in a culture that has a host of hang ups. So save for my private space online, I doubt there will be a collective space, anytime soon, for us to truly move back in time and recapture a long period in history where nature truly ruled within the human species. Nature is no longer given the respect it deserves. Sexuality now gets relegated to some obscure idea that no longer seems attached to nature or truth. It is separated as a lower thing, not deserving of serious discussion and attention. Why? Could it be that those who have no regard for it have turned it into something ugly and dirty? Is it religious fervor? It is like manipulating people one day into believing that the rose is the ugliest flower on earth. All flowers for that matter would be made to seem like disgusting things not meant to be discussed in public. They would be hidden away, made private…nasty little things that might make people do nasty little things. But flowers have not yet suffered that fate. Our sexuality and naked bodies have. Sexuality needs to be left alone to be what it is, without hinderance—natural.
My body is art. Your body is art. Our bodies are nature in all its purity. We are reproductive energy…food…life. Just as we take pictures of flowers without questioning why we need to, so too should we feel comfortable photographing our natural bodies, without questioning why we need to. We photograph mountains, trees, rocks, rivers, oceans, animals, and proudly display them on our walls, but then question the photographing of our natural selves. And when this photographing is done in many off the beaten path mediums, it is often treated with vulgarity, rather than respect…and photographed in a way that shows this gross disregard for the beauty of the natural body. Those with little regard and respect for our beauty bastardize it rather than praise it and present it with a reverence fit for goddesses. My image honors me and it honors those who honor and respect the human body in all its naturalness.
There is nothing about any part of us that should be treated with shame, or disrespected and presented disrespectfully. We were made by the universe, a universe filled with infinite possibilities and infinite creations. Our bodies are glorious and divine creations, like a flower, tree, rock or jewel, all naked creations filled with sexual creative potential. Our bodies are the undulating oceans of the planet…the strong and proud mountains that move about the earth even as they seem unmoved. We are the trees, free to allow the wind to move through us, around us and within us, unhindered, uncovered, primitive.
I am art. You are art. We are sexual art. Allow this knowledge to set you free. Spirt runs naked through the universe, follow it.