Every two weeks I meet with my Butoh teacher, Maureen “Momo” Freehill via Skype. Momo challenges me. She teases my curiosity with bits of learning. She invites me to collaborate with other exploerers. She helps me to expose new things about myself to myself and to others. You can get a taste of what we do from looking at her blog, and her post about one of our lessons.
Through Momo’s teachings and bold examples I’ve been inspired to document my dancing journey and to share these images with you at my dance blog. The raw immediacy of the experience captured in these images are all part of the wisdom of the process. The exposure leaves me feeling quite naked sometimes. It feels like no mistake, that this week Momo and I talked about nakedness, about exposure, about revealing layers and layers of learning. We also talked about naked feet in particular, and the baring of souls (and soles).
All this talk about nakedness reminds me of a little handwritten gift book I once made (about ten years ago) called Naked People. Here’s the web version I had posted on my first website, now defunct, playthink.com
Naked people are born naked. Naked to the world, even on the coldest of winter evenings, naked people are meant to be naked always. Destined to remain naked, naked people love their nakedness and they honor nakedness as sacred and holy.
Nakedness should be honored, even by the naked people themselves. Though most naked people, truly naked people, are so shy about their clothes that one might assume they were shy about their nakedness, too.
But they’re not.
Naked people like to share their nakedness.
“Who me? Work? I’m too busy being naked.”
But even when a naked person’s bare naked breasts aren’t all perfect and perky like those you see here, a truly naked person doesn’t mind. And a truly naked person doesn’t mind if your naked breasts aren’t perky either.
A truly naked person would never measure her nakedness against yours. A naked person is simply naked. No reason. No motives. No judgement. Naked people don’t critique your nakedness, or your spelling.
Naked people are fun to be with.
One moment a naked person can be talking to you all shy and self-conscious about work and dead authors, politics and religion.
Then, the very next moment, one of you takes a big risk, opens up, and exposes a naked truth once hidden inside. Suddenly, you’re both naked and you’re not talking about work any more. Nakedness makes all the details of work and buying stuff and accomplishment irrelevant. All that matters when you’re naked is the pure pleasure of your shared nakedness.
Finding Naked People
Naked people are not always easy to find. This is especially true since naked people are usually wearing clothes. They have to in order to survive.
In public, anyway.
Naked people have a beauty and purity rare and raw that shines through the drabbest and dreariest of clothing.
And you might meet a person with no clothes on at all and he still might not be naked.
People like that are hiding behind their nakedness. They’re not naked at all.
It can be terribly confusing with so any unclothed people parading around as if they were naked when they are not, and so many naked people walking around with clothes on.
Just remember this. Everyone has the potential for nakedness. In fact, everyone, no matter what they’re wearing or not wearing, has a nakedness as unstoppable as babies, once revealed.
Often, people are just waiting for you to get naked first.
The best way, the only way, to nurture nakedness in others is to be naked yourself.
In a world of nakedness, this can be hard to do. Especially if you’re used to wearing clothes all the time.
If you’re always comparing your own nakedness to other people’s nakedness, then you’ll never really be naked no matter how many layers you take off.
You’ll never be able to enjoy the nakedness of others because you’ll be too busy thinking un-naked thoughts like, “ I look better than they do.” Or, “I wish I could look as good naked as he does.” Or, “If I looked like that I could be naked.” Or, “That person has no business being naked.” Or “That’s not the way naked people are supposed to look, they’re supposed to look like the ones in my bookmarks or in magazines and maybe someday when I get skinny enough or work out enough or go to the surgeon enough or when someone invents a time machine that will take me far back enough in my youth, then I can be good enough to be naked around all these other naked people.”
No, you’ll never be naked if you measure your nakedness against the nakedness of other people.
To become naked, you simply have to be naked. And you can’t wait for other people to take your clothes off for you.
Even if you could piece together a perfect body, you could still find fault. There would always be lots of other bodies out there that are smoother, stronger, bendier, leaner, lovelier than your own. But you’ll never find a nakedness more worthy of love than your own.
If you’re always busy finding fault with other people’s nakedness just so that you can feel better about your own, then you’ll never feel the joy of sharing in other people’s nakedness.
Just think. We are surrounded by beautiful nakedness all the time. It’s up to us to enjoy it.
Ever meet a baby?
Babies are naked no matter how many clothes they’re wearning. Naked and open, babies are ready for anything.
Babies have been naked all along, naked in the womb, surrounded by their mother’s naked insides, they are born with no regard for hiding behind clothes, not their own or anybody else’s.
Babies love being naked and they love it when everybody else is naked too.
Babies could care less what their own nakedness looks like. We call them beautiful even when they are bald and cone headed, even though they have rolls of fat and cellulite, even when they have little penises and dimpled butts and double chins and are loud and stinky and selfish, even when they do nothing but make work for everybody else, demand attention, drain bank accounts, and leak foul substances. We say they are precious little miracles even when they have no degrees, can’t do laundry, and haven’t been published. Still, we say they are beautiful and lovable.
How can this be?
Maybe it is their nakedness that makes it so.
Babies, in their nakedness, could care less what you look like naked. They enjoy your nakedness no matter what. Even if you don’t appreciate your own nakedness, they do.
They love the touch of your naked hands and will cling to your naked belly and crave the warmth of naked skin surrounding naked skin.
When babies suck on your breasts, they don’t care what your breasts look like or if they’re big enough or firm enough or symmetrical enough or match up to some picture they saw nor do they fantasize about some other baby’s mother’s breasts. All they care about is if those breasts are present here and now, naked, exposed, and accessible.
And the pleasure a baby gives in return is exquisite.
But babies don’t care about giving you pleasure. They don’t touch you to make you feel good. They don’t offer their hungry little naked sucking lips to you to bring you ecstasy. They just do.
And when a baby first recognizes his own naked body in front of a mirror, he doesn’t judge or compare or wish for a different body or seek self improvement or make promises to go to the gym or wishes he looked more like the baby on the diaper commercial or decide he should concentrate on achievement or long for the body he had when he was younger of if other people would love him if they saw his nakedness or worry if when he grows up if he’ll have acne or lose his hair or grow any in the first place.
No, when a baby first recognizes his naked body in the mirror as his own,