Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Day Off The Grid

Well, Frank doesn't do this very often, but today I truly stepped off the grid.  San Luis Obispo was my destination yesterday, and tomorrow I will head back home.  Today was for stopping and breathing and meditating and soaking up the sun and the waters of the ocean and natural hot springs.  I headed down US 101 only about eight miles south of San Luis Obispo and spent over four hours on a clothing optional beach called Pirate's Cove.  The day was spectacular.

I enjoyed the water.

along with many others on this glorious day.

And I observed once again something that settled in even deeper today.  I have often said that this country is repressed about sexuality, which I have used as a reason why so many can't relate to my nude photography.  Today, for the first time, I did the u-turn and reflected on my own repression.  Why is it that someone like myself, who has photographed many women up close and personal, still finds the desire to sneak in a photo from afar on a nude beach?  Why do I so often wrestle with the question of whether my nude photography is appropriate as art?  Why do I worry so much about what others will think of my work?

These people on the beach today taught me a lesson.  They played volleyball and talked and laughed amongst themselves in ways that were truly natural and easy going.  It didn't make any difference what kind of body each had, or how young or old they were.  There was a lack of self-consciousness and a comfortableness with each other that reminds me again of how wrong so many of us have it when we relate to our beautiful nude bodies as something not perfect or as something that brings awkwardness and even shame.  These people are not perfect either.  I'm sure they have many of the same hangups and problems that we do in our lives.  But in this one very deep and basic way, in this area of how we feel about our very bodies, they have so much to teach us.  I really enjoyed my day on the beach.  I found the one small spot of shade that there was (I am not a southern California boy!), closed my eyes, listened to the rhythm of the waves, and followed my breath in meditation for almost four hours.  Sure, I did some people watching, and the people watching I did was a meditation in life as well.

On my way back from the beach, I stopped at Sycamore Mineral Springs and rented an hour of time in a natural mineral spring wooden hot tub.

You know, I have never understood why people, unless they can afford to on a regular basis, go to get a massage or to soak in a hot tub.  In my mind, if something is healthy or good for my body, and if it's not something that I can do regularly, then why would I pay to do it just once?  Well, today I got it!  I laid for four hours on a beach doing "nothing."  Then I soaked and meditated in a hot mineral bath for an hour.  Even if I were never to do this again, it was an incredibly relaxing and cleansing and as you can see, thought provoking day.  And that makes it totally worth it, one time or many!

You see, you can teach an old dog new tricks!   :o)



Sunday, January 9, 2011

Thoughts on our Country

There is in this country a tumultuous struggle taking place.  In many other countries it is visible in much more raw and visible ways, strikes, riots, mayors of Mexican towns being killed in broad daylight, armed conflict in the streets.  In this country it is usually visible in much more "sophisticated," subtle, and political ways, but the struggle is no less tumultuous.  The future of this country is at stake.  In what direction will we prevail, the direction of fear and hatred and bigotry, moving the agenda backwards to satisfy the powerful, the rich, and the entrenched, or forward with the kind of change that empowers all beings with education, equality, housing, and health care.  We have spent unspeakable amounts of money on war and the war machine, we continue to give tax breaks to those who haven't even begun to pay their fair share, and yet when we even try to begin changing our priorities to those very inhabitants of our own country, we incur the wrath and venom of fear-mongers.  The Sarah Palins and Glenn Becks and John Boehners of this world will see no connection between this senseless act and their own gun toting, bullseye, militaristic language.  Shame on them, and shame on us if we do not repudiate their leadership and vote them out of office and boycott their networks and their advertisers.  America, we are at a crossroads.  What are we made of?  What direction shall we walk?