Wednesday, 27 November 2013

An Introduction to Naturism

Family enjoying a open-air naturism in OLT's Apple Tree Pools Family enjoying a open-air naturism in OLT's Apple Tree Pools
According to the international definition adopted by the XIV Congress of the International Naturist Federation, naturism is "a lifestyle in harmony with nature, expressed through social nudity, and characterized by self-respect of people with different opinions and [respect for] the environment.'' From Wikipedia.org]

Valley View Hot Springs (VVHS) has a strong tradition of personal freedom and a sense of community that has created a very loyal following over the last 35 years. This tradition has always included a deep connection to the land and respect for the plants, animals and natural beauty present. There is a special feeling here that goes beyond basic naturist concepts and is based on the belief that when decent people are given trust and freedom, most will accept the responsibility to behave well, treat others with respect and help create a community where people look out for each other. This has proven to be spectacularly true over the years and created a precious and unique VVHS "family," which generations have come to treasure. You will find most people here friendly and generous.

If you are new to the naturism or clothing-optional concept, here are a few thoughts on this. First, there is a lot of freedom in this idea. Unlike at a nudist resort, there is no requirement for nudity at any time here. At the same time, it is perfectly acceptable to be nude anywhere around Valley View and the Orient Mine. It is always your option to wear clothes, or not, anywhere on the property, at anytime.

In practice, this leads to a very "homey" atmosphere and people extend the same acceptance and casualness with nudity that they might practice in their home, to the much larger Valley View family. Being nude in this setting is basically saying "I Trust". I trust the people, the place, and my own ability to handle this unique situation. This drops barriers between people that they didn't even know existed until they were gone. Naturism promotes an affinity and closeness between people, but it does not necessarily promote sexual intimacy. Instead, there is a distinct respect for family-type togetherness where children are a very welcome and necessary part of the setting. Not surprisingly, there are generations of people who have grown up visiting Valley View and now bring their children and grandchildren.

There are some additional benefits to this clothing-optional designation as well. These tend to be recognized more once you have gotten past the initial stage of awkwardness and have become a little more comfortable with being nude in a social setting. For some, this level of comfort takes several visits and your overall ease with naturism will continue to increase over time.

Many people begin their adventure in naturism by re-living the same freedom, power and sense of play that they felt as a child. Almost all little kids rebel against wearing clothes at some point in their childhood. Here, in a naturist setting, you can get some of that personal power back simply by taking off your clothes. The wind, sun and moon on your bare skin seem to take you back to a time when you had more sense of wonder and a closer, more immediate connection to nature. Even the stars seem closer and friendlier at Valley View!

In addition, the clothing-optional concept can be a strong antidote to the increasing emphasis on appearance in current American culture. People are encouraged to determine their self-worth, or societal status, by their appearance. This creates a disconnect between people as they are afraid to let others see past the "mask" of their outer appearance and clothes. When you wear no clothes, no make up, or any visible symbols of status and are still accepted and cherished as a human being, it is a revelation. Not only do you feel less judgmental of yourself, you also find that you become much less judgmental about others' appearance in general, and see them as valuable simply for who they are. Clothes "package" the body and marketing focuses the attention on what is underneath the wrapping- the body. Without clothes, your attention may be more drawn to what is underneath the skin - the person.

Many people find that the power of a clothing-optional environment lies in its deep, positive effect on them, as they begin to see others as truly beautiful, no matter their physical appearance. This, hopefully, leads to greater self-acceptance as an individual grows more comfortable in their own skin.

This freedom, this acceptance, this closeness, this generosity of spirit between people at Orient Land Trust / Valley View Hot Springs just feels sane. There's a realization while soaking here that this is the way the world is supposed to work; that this is the real "normal". With this realization comes a deep relaxation and a sense of refuge from the craziness of the outer world, and this feeling is difficult to find anywhere else.

Almost anyone who gives the clothing-optional environment at Orient Land Trust / Valley View Hot Springs a chance will become very attached to this place and its culture. Once discovered, the naturism here allows a freedom and a joy you'll surely want to experience again and again. We invite you to participate with us in keeping Orient Land Trust / Valley View Hot Springs a beautiful, magical and safe place for everyone.

- Daniel Flemming, Frequent OLT guest

Last modified on Wednesday, 27 November 2013 17:49

Orient Land Trust is a nonprofit land trust
dedicated to the preservation of Valley View Hot Springs (VVHS) and its viewshed—
including natural and biologic resources, agricultural lands, wildlife habitat,
open space, and historic and geologic features of the northern San Luis Valley—
for the education and enjoyment of current and future generations.