After spending the last 4 weeks at my clothing optional "paradise," I'm ready to report on my findings...or at least my impressions.
I was sitting in the hot tub with a few other naked people several nights ago, 2 of which were athletes--a young woman getting ready for her body-building show and a young man who was a mixed boxer or whatever they call those people who employ their hands, feet, head, elbows and genitals to beat the shit out of their opponent--and an older plus size lady.
There it was--the juxtaposition. When they all got out of the tub, I saw the extremes of the human physical condition. But here's the rub (pun intended), they were all very gracious, friendly and affable. So, if I put judgment aside, I was sitting in the midst of an all-together (also pun intended) fine group of human beings.
My community (fast becoming my family) is characterized by dramatic contrasts. First of all, there is the environment--120 acres of pristine land with forests, cougars, deer, and all the comforts of home- hot tub, pool, sauna, cold running water, as much food as I want, etc.
There is the staff which, like many families is about as dysfunctional as you can get. Emotionally immature, reactive, blaming, victimizing, making excuses, low self-esteem, undeveloped--and that's just me.
Then there are the guests and the people who live on the property, which includes this unique and very tiny aggregate of people who prefer to walk around naked--no matter what their size and shape, and I happily among them.
Just last night there was an open mike--mostly nude people dancing, singing, playing music and Rochelle and I performing a couple of our sketches-- for the first time totally nude, (well, Rochelle wasn't so nude) which we were never able to do in Kansas.
The staff is full of contrasts and conflicts. Some of us are very competent and helpful while others of us struggle to get to our best, and it seems that I have become the go-to guy for all the venting, complaints and whining --often directed at the other staff members. I try my best to stay out of range of the barrage of verbal abuse. "I just work/live here. I know nothing."
The other curious thing is that staff members come up to me asking what to do about problems and issues that require an executive decision. "But I just got here." I whine. The manager, just the other night, asked me to decide who was going to be the chef for the evening among a selection of candidates some of whom, including me, aren't really cooks. "It's your call," I said. Whew! Escaped that one!
And yet, as A Course in Miracles says, "Everything other than love is a call for help and healing." Lots of calling here. All day long I am besieged and challenged by this quirky mixed bag of love and asking for love.
And that doesn't include the guests with their needs and complaints. ("Oh, by the way," says one guest, "All the slats fell out of our bed last night.")
Just yesterday, with 40 guests for the weekend all wanting breakfast at the same time and a young man, obviously not a cook but being the cook, trying his best to deal with it and the guests having to wait up to 45 minutes for their breakfasts. Not happy campers (literally). So about an hour later I found myself giving my first all nude apology to a group of 40 naked people all lined up for their class photo. (Do not do this at home)
Now, because I do tend to exaggerate for the sake of irony, my comments may be offensive to some. If so, I hope you will come and talk to me about them and let me know how you feel and what we can do to make things better. Sometimes, we find ourselves in a system that is less than perfect and we can rise to the occasion or allow it to bring us down to our less-than-best behavior, the inevitable consequence of living on an immature slowly evolving planet. Whatever we do or say, if we can have dialogue, we can all improve. So, let's talk.
But, this is my community and for better or best, I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it and to be a source/catalyst for love, healing, evolution and most helpful--humor.My home is clearly a place for me to practice what I believe and teach, staying centered when people are dumping on me, exerting self-control in the face of all that free food, not getting sucked in to the ongoing crises that beg for solutions, as well as sorting out the complex array of forces that contribute to this place being what it is, so we can make it more congruent with the beautiful nature that is its context, and of course staying in the "awareness"--practicing the Presence of God.
Oh, one more thing. Dotted throughout the human landscape I get to experience the most lovely moments of true connection and the sharing of love. Intimate moments (don't go there) of mutual recognition and gratitude. These moments usually come unexpectedly, so I have to stay ever alert to the inevitable miracle hidden a midst this denuded juxtaposition at my clothing optional home.