Life Without Pockets

Michelangelo’s David

In my middle years, it became increasingly clear to me that the things that worked for me in my younger life just weren’t serving me anymore. I didn’t plummet headlong into a mid-life crisis. But I found that, despite having a good job and a lot of freedom, I was depressed, anxious and alone. I had spent years in a kind of induced coma maintained by booze and any other soporific at hand. I travelled widely soaking up new experiences, but along with the contents of my suitcase I was always lugging along the same emotional baggage with me wherever I went. So as I moved from country to country with various jobs, each time I unpacked I was decorating my new life with the same old trappings that I should have discarded years ago. I wasn’t conscious of this at the time, but the voice inside eventually became so deafening that I couldn’t ignore it any longer. This site is a response to that voice.

Ridding myself of old habits that were long past their sell-by dates is just part of the process. Aristotle said ‘nature abhors a vacuum’. Finding new ‘habits’ and new ways to be in the world is essential to fill the spaces left in my life and soul by the shedding of the old ways. One of the pathways that has helped liberate me from my past has been embracing a naturist lifestyle. Naturism for me is not just about shedding my clothes. It is about shedding all of those complexes and inhibitions that weigh me down, and impede my development as an individual. It is a very liberating and even spiritual experience. And contrary to what many people may think, it has nothing to do with sex. It is also simply a wonderful feeling to be free and naked in the great outdoors.

I’m a newcomer to naturism, and one comical observation I have made is that when one is not used to being naked in front of other people, it’s hard to know what to do with your hands sometimes. There are no pockets to shove them into. No mobile phone to keep them occupied. When I’m completely comfortable being naked in front of other people without wondering where to put my hands, I will have progressed both as a naturist and an individual. I guess pockets are also a metaphor for all of those things I carry around with me that I think I need – phone, keys, money. Well, I do need them sometimes. But not all the time. So being naked is also an opportunity to rid myself of those worldly attachments, for a while at least.

This site is about my journey as I navigate this middle passage of my life, which includes embracing naturism, nurturing my soul through meditation and mindfulness, and analysing and recording the process through poetry. Although the poetry can be accessed on a separate page, I decided to also make it available on the homepage with the blogs. For me, the poems are expressions of my thoughts at the time they were written, just as the blogs are. Only in a different form. Constructive commentary on both are welcome.


In the Sun

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_2654And so … after many months, I finally get around to putting some more words down. I could make all kinds of excuses. I’ve been so busy with work that by the time I get home in the evening, it’s all I can do to get out of my clothes and put my feet up. That even at weekends I’ve become lazy and am happy just to relax rather than go in search of adventure. There are other things that make me inactive at times, but one thing has been constant during these past months – and that is that I’ve been naked whenever possible. What started as an exploration, then became more of a habit has now become a way of life.

But this way of life has largely been confined to home and garden, with few opportunities to engage socially with others naked, or to wander in nature without clothes. But all through the months of work and discreet naturism I promised myself that I would plan ahead to spend this end of year vacation naked and free.

So I find myself writing now from an island in the Atlantic Ocean. Outside the waves are crashing on the rocks. The skies are blue and the sun is mild and warm. At dawn I wake and walk out my front door naked, greet my neighbours and plunge into the ocean before breakfast. This village is open. No fences, walls or gates. No lists of rules. No dos and don’ts. There is an assumption that as intelligent human beings, people know how to behave in a naturist environment. And when someone does wander in with other ideas, someone will tell them off before long.

There are couples – male, female, mixed. Singles. Few families. The sound of a car is a rarity. Only the ocean. Occasionally someone passes by naked between my front door and the sea, smiles and waves. People are open, friendly. Some arrive and stick to themselves, but after some days they seem to lose the will to be unsocial and start chatting. The natural grumpiness, wariness, weariness, whatever, that they have packed and carried with them – like the few items of clothing in their suitcases – falls away. It serves no purpose here.

I’ve met and chatted with people from many countries. All of us naked under the sun enjoying this priceless freedom. And there’s a sense that, while each person is unique, we are all somehow the same. We have all ended up here. Discovered this time and place and way of living and being. Surrounded by so many naked people of all shapes and sizes and colours, it does not take long to realise that a person’s true beauty comes from within.

The Wind’s Longing

Sun and Crows2

To wake

And look across

At an empty pillow

The mind

Fills in the gaps

Nature abhors

A vacuum

You are there

Even when

You are not there


Lines of joy


Through half-closed eyes

The blanket dips and rises

In charcoal-grey

And moss-green memories

My mind sketches

The mountains and valleys

Of where you used to be



My soul circles

And flutters within

As faint waves

Of panic


To rule my day


I breathe

And map

The blue contours

Of my naked body


On half a bed

And recall

The words

Of The Prophet


Would that you could

meet the sun and the wind

with more of your skin

and less of your raiment


Walking now

In the hallway’s


Cool tiles



The kitchen door

I enter naked

Into the garden


A warm breeze

Envelops me


Soul and body

Move as one

The day

Has no rules


I breathe

Out of Nazareth

backlit blur close up dawn

Bob Dylan sang about roadmaps for the soul. Some people say Jung drafted one. I say it too. As I read through his writings, as I have been over the past months. And those described as Jungians that came later. I recognise the landmarks of my own soul. Or self. Awake, conscious, I try to pick up these pieces of myself – my anima, my shadow, my battered ego – but just replace them where I found them.

When I was a child, I used to play a game. Facing the mirror, I’d turn around slowly until my back was to it. Then I’d spin around as quickly as I could to see if I could catch the reflection of my back before it too spun around. I never saw my back. Just my own face staring back at me.

I’m not sure exactly what age I was when I began wondering what was behind the mirror. But once I began to wonder, I began to change.

Happiness is knowing what I don’t know. Realising that there’s one more piece of knowledge just out of reach. Just beyond understanding. And that it will fall like ripe fruit eventually. When it’s ready. No. When I’m ready.

The pieces of myself are there too. Just beyond reach. With force of will I can get my mind around them. Intellectually. But then they cease to move. Only when my back is to the mirror do they come to life.

In dreams time and light play by different rules. In dreams it is a small thing to spin around and still see one’s back reflected in a mirror. In dreams all of my secrets are whispered. When I am ready, I listen.

But when I take a secret back with me into the waking world. Open my eyes. Open the curtains and expose it to sunlight. The whispering ceases. Gradually at first. And then with an inaudible pop, it’s gone. Back behind the mirror.

The numinous parts of myself can’t survive long in the conscious world. Forced to do so, they prowl like wild animals imprisoned in a zoo. They live free in dreams. They look back at me from the mirror. And smile.



The rain dances

Along the top of the grass

Drawing shapes in the morning air

On its way towards my window


Your naked back

Still sleeps

Tan, gentle, and warm

Beside me


Beneath a sheet


I steal this moment

Caught between

The approaching showers

And your numinous warmth

When suddenly

An eyelid flickers

Above a fleck of mascara


The room is still and silent


At the threshold of reason

I hear

The muffled sounds of dreams

Behind your eyes


Waves crash onto the shore

A cloaked woman

Disappears over the crest of a hill

As a man sits naked

On the beach

Watching after her

His feet submerged

Beneath the inrushing waters


In dreams

As in life

You are a mystery

I kiss the small of your back


You quiver in response

And roll to face me

As your eyes slowly open

One at a time

And the last motes of dream

Glimmer and fade


The heat of your hand

Reaches towards me

I close my eyes

And accept the invitation

Of your flesh


Now one

We embrace on the sands


To the ocean

That encircles us


Like Prometheus and Andromeda

We are both chained here

Dreaming of freedom.

Breathing Out

BloggingIt’s been a strange couple of weeks. A lot of reading, writing, and trying to be naked when possible. The weather never gets too cold here. The houses have no heating systems during June and July, the winter season. It’s colder indoors during the day than it is outside. From Monday to Friday, when I’m working, I wear my ‘daily uniform’ during the day. Then enjoy allowing my body to breathe in the evening time at home, unless it gets too cold.

The weekends are when I get to breathe out. I’m lucky enough to have a back garden with high enough walls to afford me privacy from the neighbours. But just at the back. I place a wicker chair and table in the back garden, where I can feel the warm sun on my skin, or move into the shade under the trees if it gets too hot.

I have a worker in the garden, who usually helps me to bring the furniture out. Then he tends to hang around the front garden, keeping a bit of distance. For some weeks I’ve wondered if he realises I’m naked back there, and whether he cares.

From my sacred spot at the back, I often go back and forth to the kitchen to fetch things from the house. At first, I was always careful to put on my shorts in case I ran into him, but I found this to be a bit of an inconvenience and gradually stopped.

Yesterday, as I came out of the house naked, my worker was coming along the side of the house. Well, the cat’s definitely out of the bag now I thought, as my bare backside made its way to my happy place in the back garden. However, I was conscious that my nudity might make him uncomfortable. A short while later, my phone rang. I recognised his number. He just needed to tell me something but didn’t want to invade my privacy I guess. This made me feel a bit uncomfortable, so I decided to be honest with him.

Later that afternoon, now wearing shorts, I told him – by the way, when I’m at home I like to be naked. It feels good to me, especially to be in the sun in the garden. It’s natural and just feels more comfortable to me. If you need me for something, just come and get me. You don’t need to phone. Before I could really get the words out, he said – no problem! Sure. It’s fine.

In a previous post, I wrote about how wonderful a feeling it is when people pleasantly surprise us. Make us realise that our assumptions and worries were unnecessary. Now it has happened again. My concerns were unfounded, and my worker pleasantly surprised me. Showed me that he is open-minded and doesn’t see anything wrong with me being naked and natural in my own garden.

Today he needed something from me so he came to the kitchen door at the side of the house. I fetched what he needed and brought it out to him – naked. As I sit here writing this, naked in my back garden, I’m carrying one less unfounded worry. One less piece of baggage inside. I feel like I’m breathing out.


gray asphalt road in between brown orange leaf trees during daytime

I wake

Cold notes

Enter my ears

Twittering of birds

In the eaves

In their morning conversation


I rise reluctantly

Shedding the warm comfort

Of blankets


Crisp bedroom air

Rubs against my naked skin

As I tiptoe

To the bathroom

And back

Eyes still half-closed

Crawl under still-warm blankets

Clinging to remnants of dreams


Involuntary stirrings

Grip my loins

As blood, oxygen and dreams

Shake themselves loose

And press against the mattress


A first few lambent rays

Sneak in

At curtains-edge


The sun will overpower

This fading cold


An indifferent neighbour

Will drown out the sacred silence

With a careless radio


In the garden

Birds will continue to chatter

Argue and insist

And I will fall

In and out of dreams

Until naked inside and out

I will be forced to rise

And greet the day


In the shower

Drops of water

Will trap the sunlight

Entering from above

Through the small square window

As they splash

In slow motion

Against my skin



I will swaddle myself

In the day’s uniform

And wink at my reflection

Concealed behind layers

In the bathroom mirror


Over breakfast

I will arrange my daily choices

Painting pictures in my mind

Of the day ahead

Suspecting within

That each day is an involuntary stirring.

Don’t Make Assumptions

Although I live in a warm climate in Africa, opportunities to be naked outdoors are very limited. My own garden doesn’t offer much privacy as people passing on the main road can see right in. So most of the time, I’m confined to being naked indoors, which is OK, but just not the same. I miss the feeling of warm sun on my skin, and the direct contact between my bare skin and the earth.

This week, I was out of town for work at a lodge by a lake with sandy shores. In the late afternoons, if the work ended early enough, I would plunge into the lake, which is vast, warm and refreshing. When the work went later, this wasn’t an option as the mosquitoes emerge in droves at dusk and this is a malaria zone.

It was my last day by the lake before returning to the hustle and bustle and noise of the city. For some reason, I woke up at about 5AM, much earlier than I was planning to rise. I rolled over in the bed but was just not falling back to sleep. Eventually, I peeked out through the curtains to see that the sun was rising, and decided to head down to the beach for an early morning swim and maybe to take a few photos.

Morning TrafficI was the first one up in the lodge and had to get the guard to unlock the gate leading down to the beach. It was still very early but the traffic of locals walking up and down the beach was busy. People rise very early here. Many fishermen setting out in their boats, children with their schoolbags already making the long trek to school, some people jogging on the beach, and many others starting about their daily business. For the communities living by the lake, the beach shore is their main thoroughfare.

As I walked along the shore, I wasn’t holding out much hope that I would find a discreet place to sit and be naked and enjoy the beautiful sunrise and view of the lake. After walking some distance, I set my towel down under a tree on a dune back from the shore. People here are very friendly and most waved to me (the white guy) as they passed by, coming from both directions along the shore. When there were some lulls in the traffic, I took advantage to remove my shorts. I even managed to take a few photos of myself naked enjoying the beautiful morning. Whenever I saw people approaching, I covered up – not out of modesty, but so as to avoid offending anyone. This is quite a conservative country.

Early Morning by the LakeHowever, at times people emerged from behind dunes and bushes, whom I didn’t notice until they were already quite close. Then they would pass by and wave as I sat there naked, although sitting in a discreet pose. And then I realised – they really weren’t all that bothered. They were getting on with their morning business, and if I was sitting there naked admiring the view, well … whatever. Good for me.

I had made the assumption that the sight of a naked white man sitting by the shore in the early morning would offend or shock passers-by. It was a wonderful feeling to suddenly realise that, not only were the people passing by friendly, but they also appeared to be carefree. None of them paid much attention to me, other than to wave and smile. And then I remembered the Four Agreements of Don Miguel Ruiz from his book of the same name. Number 3: Don’t make assumptions!