On my recent sojourn to the island of Maui, my partner and I found a quiet spot near a small nude beach. We had the nook entirely to ourselves, though in clear sight could make out the silhouettes of other nude beach goers.
We looked at each other, smiled, and shed our clothing. There were a few gasps and giggles of, "Oh my gosh - we're actually doing this!" But that quickly gave way to deep breaths and silence.
As I took in the world around me, I felt the cool ocean breeze caress my body and smooth my muscular tension. The warm sun hugged my body so perfectly and nourishingly; more than clothing ever has. Each breath, like each wave before me, gave way to the sweetest release of my inhibitions.
In this moment I finally felt what it means to be completely, wholeheartedly, authentically ME. In concept, I understand what it means to 'be me,' but this was the first time my cells were vibrating with me-ness. God, I felt alive.
Naked, standing on black lava rocks that stunningly contrast the turquoise water, there was literally nowhere to hide. As I carefully took each step with my bare feet, I felt a grand patience wash over me, asking me to move more slowly so that time can drift away with any doubts or fears that still cloud my heart.
The closer I got to the water, I felt the dance of tiny water droplets splash against my bare skin. I could see the smallest fish scurrying beneath the rocks and felt so connected to them as my skin breathed in the water as theirs does.
The whole experience was a silent spiritual encounter with oneness as my primal body fused into the outer landscape of Mother Earth.
This is how we are born into the world. Our skin makes contact with the air outside of the womb and immediately begins to breathe in stimulation (literally and figuratively). As we grow into children, we clothe ourselves. As we evolve into adults, we clothe ourselves with stories, emotions, successes, failures, habits, thoughts. Year after year, more layers that cover up our innate nature to be free.
In essence, stripping down bare naked was a calling to come home! It had very little to do with checking off a to-do on my bucket list or haphazardly prancing around the nude beach. Instead, I went far beyond my body and encountered a complete un-doing of knots that made me feel small. I wondrously entered a sweet state of non-doing, enriched by the feeling of vibrancy in every nook and cranny of my being.
I realize that standing completely nude in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is not everyone's calling, nor is it necessary to feel the sort of liberation I experienced. I believe mindful moments in nature can help. I believe a well focused meditation or yoga session can awaken small moments of this.
Whatever your choice of spiritual sojourn toward liberation, may you encounter something along the way that makes your heart leap out of your chest to collect the sheer magnitude of coming home to yourself.