Naked Mondays…it is officially a “thang” in the Sterrett-Goodell household. Fair warning to you all. If it’s Monday and you are planning to visit, you may want to call first. I may be naked.
Naked, you say.
Yep, that birthday suit that I came into the world with. All bared and bold and beautiful.
It still shocks my partner who looks at me with part consternation and part humor when he arrives home to this, with such comments as, “What is going on here.” Despite my lack of proper attire however I quickly point out…”What, I am still working”.
Thank you digital nomad, laptop lifestyle for making this dream a reality.
In fact, I think I do some of my best work naked. It is free and liberating to be honest. Although most offices will frown upon such behavior maybe its time to work remotely. There are so many benefits after all.
Survival of the ice-age aside, couldn’t one argue that clothing is just another shackle of the patriarchy. That is how Ancient garments like Sari were admonished in India under the British rule:
“The sari was worn without a blouse and petticoat before the British Raj. During the prudish Victorian era, baring one’s chest or being blouseless was seen as improper, so the Raj promoted the wearing of blouses and petticoats with ruffled hems.”
Another way for capitalism to get their claws into us through our undergarments, clothes, jewelry, make up. In fact, according to an article from the American Psychology Association credit card companies themselves “ are conditioning people into building debt at a very young, vulnerable age…”. Since the 1970’s we’ve become commercial animals, especially with the advent of mail-order catalogs and online shopping.
People may have more physical objects and possessions now than they had in previous generations, but many of them are deeply unhappy…Psychologists can be part of a movement to push back some of the influences of commercialism in our lives.
Another way to subject us to sexism and racism and classism. We’ve see in cultures like China, Japan, and sadly the British again:
In his seminal work, The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899), Veblen claims that the wealthy class exercised fashion leadership through sartorial display of conspicuous leisure, consumption, and waste. The dress of people in this group indicated that they did not carry out strenuous manual work, that they had enough disposable income to spend on an extensive wardrobe, and that they were able to wear a garment only a few times before deeming it obsolete.
Isn’t it just another way to turn us all into sex symbols and others into a source of ridicule. How about the overweight young girl who eats food for money.
Or the anorexic supermodel who die after suffering from a severe psychological disease. One, that according to the website eatingdisorderhome.com does in fact, have “the highest fatality rate of any psychiatric disorder.” .
So here I am working away, and fueled by the fire that I have a right to this experience without labels or judgement. And I do it from a place of mindfulness which is something I teach and coach about. I teach people about breath connection, body scans, body awareness. I teach people about ANTS aka “Automatic Negative Thoughts” and how they plague our mind and our daily life. In fact, most of the time the subconscious is making a decision before we even know it has happened. So if I am constantly telling myself:
· “get dressed
· “cover yourself up”
· “no one wants to see that”
· “you can’t be naked”
· “Its not proper”
What kind of message does that send to the rest of me about shame, body awareness, body consciousness and body acceptance. So it is with this sudden surge of passion for nakedness that I write today, because when we become more mindful it opens us to a higher awareness, higher consciousness, and moving beyond those habitual habits and beliefs.
Holding space for myself in this way is extremely challenging. I don’t always like my body after all.
I have peaked and fallen off peaks of weight loss, binge diets, fad diets, fasting. I spent nearly five years of grueling training in running, triathlons and weight lifting. I wake up everyday wondering what I’ll eat, about calories, about weight loss, about exercise.
I realize now, that while these activities were fulfilling, they are a goal, an ideal, a level of perfection that has been engrained in me that I should pursue. Deep, deep, really deep down is the gnawing self doubt, hitching a ride on my body acceptance, disguising itself through body shaming and self sabotage. Deep, right.
This is something I am still coming to terms with. Everything leading up to this moment was actually taking me away from my body, was trying to tell me to have some other type of body. Really, to be some other type of person. I’m tired of thinking this way, of letting these thoughts consume everyday. It is exhausting. I just want to accept my body just as it is.
Let me repeat that, I just want to accept my body just the way it is.
And so why can’t I?
My soul chose this physical incarnation for this lifetime, for a reason. I’m coming to that realization after months of intuition and soul work with a local intuit. Why can’t I accept it my body and acknowledge all that I do, and don’t do for my body is exactly right. If I want more, I get more. If I want less, I get less. It is up to me. At least I am regaining control, not my subconscious driving the bus.
So prepare to release your shackles, liberate yourself from the patriarchy, from 18th century inspired British oppression, from labels and judgement and ridicule of self or by others. Just let it all hang out.
Find one day, one single day … make it one hour if you need to, or maybe 5 minutes after your get out of the shower or bath. Allow yourself to be naked. Suspend disbelief at whatever your body may look like, feel like, sound like. Just be with your body, love it, cradle it, accept it. Don’t get naked to server yourself sexually (although I encourage that too) or to serve or entertain your partner (although that is encouraged too!).
Nakedness does not always have to be associated with or a conduit for sexually charged energies. Do it for you and you alone.
These small doses of complete acceptance and complete awareness of the moment are a fantastic practice for self-care, and mindfulness, and create small, growing impressions of positivity, love and acceptance that will imprint on you at a very deep level. Slowly it may help you shift your beliefs about yourself, about your body in profound ways. It can be transformational, or at least it has been for me.
With this king of radical acceptance, it can be a conduit for radical change in the areas of suffering when we look at the physical, emotional and physiological suffering we may cause ourselves each day. t can make us more confident at home, at work, out in the world. It can help us realize the wonder that exists all around us at every moment instead wasting another moment wishing it could be another way.
In the face of longing and in the wake of regret we can miss out on the most important things - what is happening, right now, in this moment.