Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Nudoo Gurus

I grew up in a naked family. One where people would regularly walk around the house with no clothes on. Dad would sit in his favourite chair wearing only his short orange bath robe that usually failed to hide his so called private parts. On hot nights, Mum would sit around naked to cool down. While watching Mum and Dad parade nude around the house may not have been the most engaging of sites, especially for me or sister Nat as young children, it certainly created an atmosphere of total acceptance of the human body and that there was nothing to be ashamed of in being naked. Mum and Dad seemed fine with it all, so it must be fine. Most babies seem to get paraded around naked at the start of their lives. So when is it that people decide that the baby is now too old to be naked and should only be seen wearing clothes? What is there to be ashamed of that we feel the need to cover up? Despite growing up in a naked family, somewhere around my teen years I became shy of my body, like I guess many people seem to. Kids with bigger muscles. Bigger dicks. Hair under their arms. Or on their balls. Whatever. It made me want to cover up and not reveal my naked self to the outside world. And then, in my early twenties, I travelled with Dave and Brian up to the Confest. This is an alternative lifestyle (aka hippy) festival that occurs on the border between Victoria and New South Wales each year over the New Year’s period. We’d all heard about the good time to be had at this festival so off we went. There’s a lot that goes on there. Workshops in chanting, harmonic singing, massage, chakras, tantra, crystal healing, past life regression and breath meditation (or as Brian put it, a whole lot of hippies sitting round in a circle hyperventilating and calling it spiritual). A tribal atmosphere comprised of distinct villages for different groups of people – pagans, anarchists, spirituals, children, healers. An overall atmosphere of inclusiveness and acceptance of the individual. And then of course there is the clothing optional aspect to the festival. On arriving down at the river for a swim on the first day, we were confronted by a load of naked people frolicking in the water. Despite my upbringing I did find it confronting, for some reason shy of shedding all and just jumping in. I took in the sight of naked bodies of all shapes and sizes. Old. Young. Large. Small. Thin. Plump. Firm. Saggy. Nubile. Wrinkly. Long. Short. Beautiful naked hippy girls. Muscular dreadlocked young guys. Chubby grey haired old men and plump middle aged women. But all with smiles on their faces and an appearance of freedom in their dispositions. To my amazement, Brian had his clothes off in a flash and leapt into the middle of a riverside poetry reading to put in his naked two cents worth. Slowly I disrobed and made my way sheepishly to the river. As my clothes fell away, I discovered that my inhibitions also fell away. It was one of the most liberating experiences of my life. Running around nude with a whole lot of other people around, some clothed, some not, was exhilarating. Thanks to the Confest I rediscovered the carefree naked abandon that I’d had as a little kid. We rolled naked in the mud and then when it dried into a crusty shell, ran around confest as mudmen. I went to the Confest a number of times over the years. Also with Tori and more recently a couple of times with Jazzy and Finn in tow. The kids loved running around in the nude there, just because kids do. So on finding the clothing optional Mauritius Beach just up the road from where we are now camped on the edge of Cape Range National Park, it seemed too compelling to ignore. Jaz, Finn and I headed up there just before sunset looking forward to being, as Finn put it, in the Nudoo Gurus. We arrived on an empty beach to find only sand and seaweed. Within seconds Finn had his gear off, clearly wanting to play lead. Jaz and I followed suit and a game of nude soccer began. There’s something unique about the feeling of being naked in the great outdoors. A definite physical sensation of the sun and the breeze caressing your whole body. Moving in the elements unconstricted by clothing. Perhaps also a liberation of the mind in that you have overcome one of society’s great taboos. We laughed and played as a couple of clothed people appeared around the point and came walking along the beach towards us. We waved as a microlight flew above us checking out the bird’s eye view. The clothed people looked slightly freaked out, hesitating in their walk when they saw us and slowly turning around back down the beach. Our exuberant soccer game continued. The couple took a place a hundred metres or so down the beach from us and the elderly guy disrobed while his wife or companion sat clothed and read her book. She didn’t look up at us once. We realised that where he was swimming was much less seaweedy than where we were, so we made our way down the beach towards him. We past the woman, who managed to still avoid any eye contact with the Nudoo Gurus, and made our way into the water. After a brief conversation with our naked companion, we swam together naked until sunset. The excitement on the faces of Jaz and Finn showed that they felt just as exhilarated as I. We’ll head back down to Mauritius Beach for another naked frolic before leaving here, I have no doubt. Hopefully along with a heavily pregnant woman who may just make a fine nude goalkeeper.

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