Art, Burn, Evolution, Happenings, Sacred Space

Naked and Poly in the Santa Cruz Mountains

If you had told me a year ago I’d be living at a nudist community and dating multiple incredible humans, I would not have believed you. I mean it sounds PLAUSIBLE that I might wind up there someday, but I definitely didn’t think it would be…. easy.  You see, I finally gave in to loving myself, I succumbed to the flow of my life, and it quickly became more fruitful than I could have ever dreamed. Come on in, take off your shoes, and let me tell you about this sacred space before you think about paying me a visit.

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The Lupin Lodge has quickly become one of my favorite places on earth. There is a vibrancy here, a deep-seeded elemental nature of healing and nurturing, that I have been seeking for 15+ years! Tucked in the Santa Cruz mountains outside of Los Gatos (Translation: The Cats!) are a sea of redwoods and rivers and all kinds of landscapes filled with all sorts of creatures, in their natural habitat, humans and animals and plants that co-habitate in peace. It’s true, even conservatives and liberals alike can be found out here, and for the most part, the dialogue seems healthy.  Radical openness and acceptance is a lifestyle.

I first moved to the Lupin Lodge September of 2017 for a brief stint, when I was hired to produce an event called Earthdance. I was just coming off of the 2017 Burning Man event, and I felt relatively comfortable showing up at a nudist community and being naked, mostly because of my experiences at Burning Man (see Carcus wash and other stories here).  Lupin immediately felt like a home. I don’t know how or why, but I trusted it, and although I did not stay at Lupin right away, it has become a place of extreme comfort and joy in my life.

Finding comfort and joy starts with loving yourself ultimately and Lupin is an excellent place to work on loving yourself. When beginning to learn to love your own body and get comfortable in your own skin, the work starts to shift into how can you possibly AVOID loving yourself when there is nothing left to hide behind? If you’ve never been comfortable in your own skin, then you may not even know how good it can feel to stop giving any fucks about what people think. Getting over the hump of uncomfortability is kind of like jumping into cold water. You just gotta do it, get the shock over with, and then enjoy the swim! #whimhoff #worthit #workitout

Well I’ve been swimming all over, meeting all kinds of fish, and let me tell ya, the water is super fine in the Santa Cruz Redwood mountains. I do believe I have found my magic again, my edge, and once you fall in love with your own life, the real work can begin; because then can you begin to heal the world with love.  At least that’s always been the plan.

So almost three years later after my initial run in with Lupin, I found myself once again, at the Lupin Lodge this summer, this time for six weeks during a Pandemic.  I am living in a tent nonetheless, and I have been pleasantly surprised to say that it has gotten nothing but more interesting and comfortable as time goes by.   Every morning I wake up in the forrest feeling like a fairy.   I am SO blessed to be working from this property, on several projects, jobs and initiatives, all of which are near and dear to my heart.  I get to be creative and sing every day and play with some of the most talented people I’ve ever met. My worlds are all aligning in a divine fashion, and all I can think to say to anybody who is unhappy with their life is: “well, then you just need to move here”.

Seriously, right now.  Drop everything.  Sell your house.  Downsize your shit.  Pack your car, come to me and let’s get to work.  There is so much great work to do, and it’s ideal to not do it alone!  We can build from here. This place that I have come to call Lupin is special, sacred; it’s safe and prime for creativity, growth and community.  It’s near enough the ocean and nature and the most incredible city in the world to accomplish ANY of your wildest dreams. What are you waiting for?  Start calling it in.  I’m inviting you.  Consider this, your invocation.

Now, I know it’s not that easy to just pick up and move your life at first. But if you start to think about detachment, I mean what really is keeping you anywhere, anyway? The world could end tomorrow. All we have is today, this month, this season, and that is what we are learning, many of us, painfully in lesson. Covid has created a hole; what did you fill it with?

Our lives have been diminished to asking basic questions: where is our next meal and paycheck coming from and do we have resources secured for food and shelter beyond that? Once those basic needs are met, a place to lay where your head can rest, then what else do you need to be happy?  Honestly, I invite you to look at your life and consider, what WOULD make you ecstatic? And then, ask for it.  Don’t wait another second before you start calling that shit in. Say it out loud, to yourself, multiple times a day. Chant it like a mantra. Let your life become YOU.  Stagnation is not a part of this journey, but you must take action in order to move mountains.

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“If you aren’t happy in your own little bubble you have created for yourself, then change your bubble”.

So let me back-track and set the scene a bit for you: The Lupin Lodge is yes, a nudist community (!) that was established in 1935, off of Highway 17 near the Lexington reservoir in the South Bay.  This sloping property is now owned and run by artist and entrepreneur Lori Kay Stout, who has since the 80’s helped to shift and shape the course of this interesting microcosm we call Lupin.  Lori and her two daughters and team of staff and volunteers steward this sacred land that it is also open to the public for visiting and camping.  The landscape is delightful… if you can imagine, little pathways and rocks and statues and pinwheels,  waterfalls all adorning the property, with just the right amount of personality. The office is welcoming and the yurts and cabins on site are charming as can be.  There is an extensive network of platforms build into the side of the hill for tenting and residing adds a unique element, but the PEOPLE here are what truly make it special.

The lodge itself consists of a family room and restaurant lodge that isn’t open right now due to Covid, however food is still being served in one of several outdoor communal spaces. There are residents that live here, along with guests and campers that come for shorter stays. There is an incredible growing community here.  There are a plethora of regular activities that happen at Lupin, which make it a world of it’s own. We have yoga classes (yes you can be naked), a restaurant on site, a hot tub (closed for Covid), hiking, bonfire pit, tennis, bocce ball, movie showings, frisbee golf, and so much comedy, all of the time. One group of friends reads Shakespeare regularly under the main tree on the lawn. There is poetry and laughter and kindness and music. With a house band, musical jams and melodies fill the air on Saturdays.  Sometimes we do a Karaoke session or maybe a DJ dance party with lasers and costumes (yes, we wear clothes too… as well as masks)!  Sundays are more relaxing. There’s an on-site garden, multiple sculptures and artistic flare all around the grounds, while the fairy lights twinkle at night. And two baby peacocks just arrived on property.  Did I mention there is a family of dear that eat from the plum trees every morning? Even the skunks are cute as fuck. I’m sorry, I’m gushing, I know… If it wasn’t for getting groceries or seeing the ocean occasionally, one need not ever leave ever, especially during a pandemic.  All you need is good WiFI and company (which we have both) and you’re set.  (The pool doesn’t hurt either.)   Just last week we did a full moon water ceremony with a pool full of giggling naked humans laughing so hard we cried, I said ” for the first time in a long time, I feel fully alive.”

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For the record, never once as I go about my day do I think “man I sure wish I had to wear clothes right now.” or “wow, I sure miss my “old life” or whatever it is I used to be doing.  Three months ago I was more unhappy than I’d ever been, and it didn’t feel natural.  I desired to make a change.  I prayed for a change, then I took steps to actively alter my situation, and this is where it led me, even during some of the darkest ages known to mankind.  If I can do it, I believe that you can do it too.

Speaking of natural, it’s fairly common to bare it all here at Lupin on a regular basis. We bare our souls regularly, in ceremony around the fire and around the dinner table. We bare our chests and bottoms at the pool (and wherever else it makes sense according to the weather and given activity). And here, many of us wear our hearts on our sleeves, usually when it comes to expression. Bottom line when you live in a community of people You HAVE to keep it REAL. This means No lies. No bullshit. No drama. No deception. ETHICS are the forefront of our environment, and it is a communal, learned art.

Now since moving to California, I’ve been fortune enough to have the pleasure of being able to explore the benefits of living a polyamorous lifestyle, which means having multiple partners.   This is always something I desired, but it requires just the right ingredients to work in a healthy fashion.  Now I want to be clear, that while nudity and polyamory do not necessarily go hand in hand,  I do welcome them both in my life here in the South Bay, and I am finding much overlap in the intrinsic values of being comfortable naked and comfortable being honest and leading a polyamorous lifestyle.  At 34 years old, I am an open book, and I’d love to lay it all out for you a little more closely:

I want to start off by saying that I have so much love and respect for the people/partners that I choose to spend my time with, and I feel nothing but intense love and respect back from each of them. Having multiple partners isn’t about having sex all the time, but for me it’s about emotional intimacy and security. I get my cup filled up in a variety of ways, and without all of that pressure being put directly on one person. I recognize that I personally like a lot of attention, and spreading that out isn’t a bad thing it turns out. I also had to learn to fill up my cup MYSELF, without a partner present, in order to be able to share in such delights to begin with.

Currently I have a few partners who I see regularly and cherish intensely. Dating in the time of Covid, now, not only do you have to get an STD test, you have to get Covid test, too, coupled with a lot of conversations.  Having this kind of open dialogue has never been easier because now it’s NOT OPTIONAL … it’s almost as if everyone is “poly” now, because to even be in the same room with someone you have to know EVERYTHING. “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN WHO HAVE YOU BEEN WITH AND HOW LONG WERE YOU THERE?”. But this time, these questions are being asked for different reasons. Not because you should ask… but because you have to.

In my life, there are no ‘shoulds’ anymore. Nobody should get to tell me what to do or who to see.  Nobody should dominate my entire free time and attention, nor should I need anyone’s entire free time or attention either. In turn, I also allow my partners the same freedoms with a whole lot of trust and dialogue.  It feels safe and healthy, because of the emotional maturity of the partners I have chosen to send my time with. While I will admit, this is somewhat new territory for me, it feels as natural and comfortable as ever. I am fortunate to have had good teachers and examples over the years, of what healthy polyamorous relationships can (and shouldn’t) look like, which helps a lot. It is not always easy, but stepping into that uncomfortableness allows one to experience SO much more freedom in the long run.

When you learn to love yourself enough to let go of the absolute need to control anybody or anything else around you, you set yourself free. I no longer am afraid of being exposed; of anyone knowing my darkest secrets, or afraid of being alone.  So what, I am naked?  So what that I am open and a creature of sexuality and expression?  So what if I do not lead a traditional lifestyle of idleness; I am an artist, and my life is fantastic, and wild, and challenging and beautiful, and every day is a gift I cherish. My life IS art, and I am still learning to master this craft.

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“I am a God damn cheeta” – Glenon Doyle, Becoming Untamed 

I would never have felt this way if I had not stepped the unknown.  If I had not leapt from my comfort zone into a foreign safety net and prayed to Goddess that something caught me, I would never have stood a chance at being this ecstatic.  I caught myself in actually, in the act, and as I continue to move towards what looks like love, and step away from that which does not serve me, I only feel more powerful and confident that in all actuality there just might be some magic to this open lifestyleafter all.  Some sort of utopian society may or may not be possible, but I am sure going to give it my all to have a shot at my wildest dreams might actually coming true.  It’s all about the players and our mindsets, which we work on daily here at Lupin. “Love, like bread must be made everyday, made new”, and this includes self love, above all. (Eat your heart out)

Ultimately, letting go of the need to control everyone and everything around me has opened up so many avenues and opportunities. Going with the flow has major benefits, because sometimes, it allows you to actually find your own flow. When you can become comfortable being uncomfortable, you can master any situation.  I am learning how to balance navigate this foreign territory real time, by being authentic in what I say and how I treat people. Full disclosure (coupled with a lot of kindness and empathy) is key, which involves a healthy dose of tough love and an emphasis on self-love all at once.

Bottom line: If you’re going to be in ANY relationship, you have go to get yourself in such a good place, that even if that partner person walked away, you’d still be having the time of your life, because YOUR life is AWESOME.  My partners make my life more interesting and beautiful and pleasurable, and I would never want to demand anything of them that isn’t supporting their happiness and desires.  That doesn’t mean it isn’t challenging when I hear about another love interest, but I trust that they will make good decisions, and that even if they meet someone else who is attractive or interesting, that it will be OKAY. (“Please, introduce me to them” I say, “I bet they are awesome and I want to like who you like!”.)

Learning to love without attachment is the ultimate life challenge. Why not do it in good company? I learn so much from each of my partners (who are mostly just super close friends who sometimes have benefits. ; )  And I get to teach what I have learned at the same time; which is such a blessing.

And yes, I am still looking for my senario-typical twin-flame type soulmate partner in style, and I feel closer than ever to that energy. Maybe I will discover that partner, and maybe I will continue to walk this journey as a free agent?    Either way, I am having a blast, no regrets.

“We must be as in love with the divine yes, as the divine no”. 

I am amazed everyday at how much I continue to be able open up my heart (after being so hurt in the past) and to learn about communication, about myself, and about the human spirit. Unpacking trauma and facing your fears is some deep-seeded WORK, that nobody should have to do alone.  I am so grateful for this safety net of a community who has opened their arms to each other as a united front in the interest of sharing resources and helping unpack our wounds.  Every day that I step outside of myself, bare, naked and free, I feel more and more empowered. I am surrounded by people who love and accept me, no matter how ugly or uncomfortable things get, and that is the key to happiness.

I still sometimes catch the reflection of my body in the glass window and think wow, I really can be THAT damaged AND that beautiful in my total primal state. No make-up. No clothes. No walls.  Just love.

And plenty of love to go around.

Love,
MissConnection

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www.themissconception.com

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