I was recently looking for some photos to print for a Christmas project. And as always, an hour later I was sucked into scrolling down photo memory lane. I stopped for awhile and reminisced on photos of a trip Steven and I had taken to Cape Cod, MA.
It was our first annual beach tour. The goal was simply to take in as many beaches and explore the new shorelines as we could in one week. Scrolling through, I got to a part of the trip where we discovered this really remote beach.
We hiked in, and just past this amazing climb over the bluff we see this massive empty beach. Quiet and peaceful, with nobody there but us. So we found our spot in the sun and set up camp. We waded in the warmer bay side water, with soft waves and a steady breeze; ate lunch… and the waded some more.
Im not sure which of us had this idea, but we decided to embrace the seclusion and take our bathing suits off. I do not exaggerate, at least 3 hours went by and not a soul had walked this stretch. In fact, I remember seeing a bird or something off in the distance perched on a rock. And I kept thinking is that a person? But it never moved.. and just confirmed that we were alone.
So here we are sunbathing nude, on this amazing shoreline, and well, we took some photos. And these are the photos that I found today when scrolling through photo memory lane.
And I have to admit, I love them. And I wish I could have them on my walls with no judgement. The freedom we felt being naked on this beach, surrounded by this epic nature is something that I’ll always have to look back on and cherish.
There really was no deep meaning for why we got naked that day-we just took our suits off because we could. You only live once, right?
But tonight as I was laying in bed I realized the bathing suits, or lack there of was only a metaphor. A symbol of something that had been standing in the way of my true freedom. So then the question came,
“What would I take off today if no one was looking?”
Obviously, I’m not going to get nude anywhere around here, and I want to shift gears here to the energetics of what we “wear”. As I fear everyone is thinking that I’m some kind of a nudist.. and that’s not where I am going. It’s the stories, the narrative, the labels we use to identify with-
Labels expressing our roles in society… like being a mother, like being a woman, or the title of our career. Maybe it’s being a stay at home mother. Maybe it’s being a working mother, or woman without any kids.
All these labels we use to organize ourselves…. actually strip us of who we really are.
Because if we identify with those labels, and how society portrays those labels to us… then it directly correlates to how we feel about ourselves.
No matter who is conveying the worth to you, it’s never the whole picture. We are worth a lot more than a word and the sounds it makes up.
What happens to our feeling of freedom when we remove these labels?
I know for me the label mother, has been complex. Being called a mother is an absolute honor, and my heart dances every time I hear it. But it also seems to create a lot of inner tension; because it’s a big label to live up to. It seems no matter what I do as a mother I am not doing it right.
If I’m at work, I wish I was at home. Seeing pictures from your sitter on your lunch break of your child at the park, feeling guilty your not there. Or being at stay at home mother, playing legos on the floor for hours; feeling guilty, wanting to pull your hair out because you haven’t spoken to another adult all day. This label I identify with has basically made it so that no matter what I am doing… I’m doing it wrong.
What labels are limiting you from a true understanding of the vastness within?
In yoga philosophy, it is believed that our true self is buried under layers and layers of false selves… veils that cover the light within. These veils cover up who we really are, and we then blindly identify as this false self, and are fooled into living this default persona.
I loved this quote from Paulo Coelho, and felt it really summed it up for me. He says,
“When I had nothing to lose, I had everything. When I stopped being who I am, I found myself.
What do I need to lose, so that I may find everything that I am? And how do I take the veils off to uncover the truth.
It’s funny how yoga philosophy and getting nude at a beach in your twenties, can teach you similar lessons in life. That only in taking off the veils, removing the cover ups, and losing the labels… will you get to the core of who you truly are.
In my research, the best way to shed these layers is to first know that they are there, standing in your way of pure freedom. Then we can try the following:
Seek first, what you are not.Just like in that quote from Paulo, you find yourself when you stop being the false self.
Do the work.Pay attention to your feelings. Begin a daily meditation and journaling practice with the goal of connecting deeper to your true self.
Remove the labels. Disassociating with the physical plane, focusing on the breath and your feelings, until you can feel that you are something more than this body.
Be brave. Let yourself be vulnerable. Raw and uncovered.
Wake up each morning, and commit to loving yourself! The layers come from trying to seek love and acceptance from others. As soon as we find that acceptance from ourselves we can be free and happier.
I’d love to hear from you, how you believe your veils impact your life and your authentic self. What being a mother means to you? How you plan to shed the layers, or do you plan to keep them?
Beach: Bound Brook Wellfleet, MA
published 1/28/19 on Harness Magazine See article here,