One of my friends is leading a Teleclass called “Getting Naked.” When she told me about it, I decided right there that she’s one of the bravest people I’ve ever met. Once I let go of the images of stripping in front of a webcam for all the world to see (which, to be clear, was NOT a part of this class), I was flooded with snapshot images from my past: undressing in locker rooms in gym class, being nude in front of a lover for the first time. Shame and self-doubt and general paralysis.
Then it occurred to me that I have no stress around taking my clothes off when I’m alone. I get naked with myself all the time, and it actually feels pretty good. As long as I’m not looking in a mirror and studying myself, I’m innocent. Like a baby, loving the free feeling of air on skin.
Getting naked began to sound better and better. As long as nobody’s around.
Then there’s the “getting naked” of vulnerability, which was the real subject of the Teleclass. Now that’s sometimes terrifying.
What would it mean to get naked, right here and now? Taking off my clothes would be the easiest path. What other layers am I wedded to with the illusion that they keep me safe, I wondered.
Then last week it happened. I gathered with 13 others to gently and kindly move into the soft underbelly below the images and identities that we adopt without thinking. The ones that get us around on the planet but also begin to feel tight after a time.
We gradually dropped the images of the Perfect Me, the lie of an identity that used to feel like it held each of us together. The beliefs that we had to be good, to look good, be … well, different than who we are without the protective armor we wear into the world.
We questioned the belief that what’s below that sheep’s clothing is a wolf that is ugly, ravenous, with sharp fangs.
What each of us discovered, in our own way, was the sweet, soft center of being that we all shared. Without the stories, the identities, the tight beliefs.
Kind. Simple. Open to all that arises. Our own sweet Self.
Home now, I’m aware of such deep gratitude for being able to immerse myself in this process within the safe container of the retreat setting. Year after year, the opportunity to share this unclothing brings me such learning. Such joy.
Just that. Who I am without my story. Peace.