I spent this weekend celebrating the summer Solstice on a beautiful property outside Asheville. To those that find their spirituality in connection to nature, the equinoxes and solstices have special significance. We gathered around a fire On Saturday night and invoked the directions, deities, angels and ancestors that had meaning for us. We celebrated the turning of the earth, and the warmth of the sun that nourishes our seeds (and our plans) so that we may harvest in the fall. The invitation now is to be active, outward bound and DOING, as opposed to the winter time of contemplation and patience. Now is the time to tend your garden.

So why is this post called permission to be naked? Because this was a clothing optional event, it was possible to be physically naked. I also took the opportunity to be emotionally naked. Let me say that I was possibly the oldest person at this gathering. I am full figured and soft. And I have grown to love my body. This is saying a lot. When I first started my  journey out of sensual and sexual shame and repression, when I looked at myself, all I saw were my flaws. I was in a workshop where we had to stand in front of a mirror and only comment with approval. I liked my eyebrows and my fingers. Now I revel in the lushness of my thighs and breasts, the curve of my hips, the length of my neck. I’m also quite fond of my neatly trimmed, soft pubic hair and the deep red folds of my pussy, with all their mystery.

There were other people naked too. So I gave myself another permission. Permission to look. Often, when someone else is naked, we are ashamed to be caught looking at their genitalia. For that matter, we even sometimes are afraid to look in other people’s eyes. Being able to look on myself with approval has enable me to look on others the same way. More than that, I look now with eyes that are interested and curious. Who is this work of art standing before me? What can I notice about them, physically, emotionally. Who are they? This is so delicious. I am endlessly interested in people. I have been accused of being too probing. I don’t care. When I ask you something, you can tell the truth, lie or refuse to answer (just like at one of our Being Socials). I really want to know what it’s like to be you.

So I looked. I saw bodies of all shapes and sizes, breasts, pussies, cocks, balls, asses, hair, no hair. They were sitting, walking, dancing, sleeping, meditating. Again, I was looking with inquiry and admiration. No agenda. And I let myself be seen, without fear, or self-judgment. At one point, I made a request of a group that I had been talking to, would they be willing to put me in the center and lay hands on me to run loving energy? This actually felt more vulnerable than being undressed in front of them. Would they reject me for my need? They didn’t. What emerged was a beautiful sharing where each person in the circle got their chance to receive. We shared in this way straight through the actual solstice point of 12:39 pm, and it was sweet and powerful, and intimate.

Permission to speak. How often in life do we withhold asking for what we want or saying how we are feeling because we are afraid of how we will be perceived? As we say at Being Socials, these words unspoken are barriers to intimacy. We spend our energy keeping things back, and create distance from the person they are about so that we won’t say that risky thing. And the risky thing could be positive or negative. In the process of my looking, one young man had, what I felt to be really handsome genitalia. when I ran into him later away from the group I told him. “Can I give you a compliment?” I said. He nodded. “You have a really beautiful cock.” I meant just that. I had no subtext, it didn’t mean I wanted to sleep with him. I just wanted him to know I saw and appreciated something about him, and my clarity of spirit must have shone through, because his eyes lit up, he smiled, thanked me, and hugged me. (Before you jump on me for having a “judgment” that this penis was more beautiful than others, you can appreciate everything, and still have preferences. and that is a topic for a whole other blog post!)

Later this week, we leave for Philadelphia to lead a Being Social on Friday and a Sense and Sensuality Circle and Authentic Sexuality Play Party on Sunday. These are going to be great opportunities for people to give themselves permission to see and be seen, to share their wants and needs and the inner workings of their hearts. I can’t wait!