Last week around this time my husband and I woke up to a beautiful day in Hawaii; our first mission of the day was to partake in a local nudist beach. And, when I say partake…I mean, we-took-all-of-our-clothes-off-in-a-public-space. And, the result wasn’t shame, rather something I wasn’t quite expecting.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself. You see, last Thursday Adam and I were headed to see volcanoes – I. Know. Volcanoes. Are. The. Coolest. – and were curious about a black sand beach that was close to where we were staying. We eventually made our way down to the beach and were caught a little off guard when there were nudists everywhere. Oh, and dolphins…who also happened to be nude too. Adam saw the look in my eye and knew we were coming back the following day to see what this beach was all about.
Of course, I researched how to be a nudist. Are there proper protocols? Dos and Don’ts? What I found was that to be nude in public was quite like being clothed in public. Be respectful of others and don’t forget the sunscreen.
So we stood there, naked, on the beach, with the sun on our skin and felt free (both literally and figuratively!). I was so surprised by this emotion – I thought I would feel exposed or improper, but I definitely didn’t have ANY negative feelings. The hardest part was the act of taking our swim suits off when I originally thought the hard part would be standing naked in front of people.
Without anything to cover us up, our bodies became less the topic of conversation and more a vehicle in which to explore the world. My body is an asset: I use it to climb down to black sand beaches, give a massage and lift heavy things. My body allows me to express on the outside what I’m feeling on the inside and it does so without any thanks; it actually receives more negative treatment and resentment than praise because it ins’t “perfect”.
My mindset didn’t change completely because of one experience at a nudist beach (it takes time, work and longer writing sessions), but what is starting to happen is quite spectacular – I’m appreciating what my body can do for me and also, what I can do for my body.
If I treat it right then it will treat me right, giving me gifts of movement, touch, and (hello!) life.
I’m working on actively choosing to appreciate the things I can do as a result of having a healthy body instead of worrying about some ideal that, in achieving it might not allow me to do the things I love to do.
So tell me, what does your body do for you?