NAKED BEFORE GOD
By Daniel D. Ziegler

"....I got down on my knees and, praying naked in the sand, I
surrendered to my Higher Power...."

Chapter 6 PRAY NAKED

I HAVE A FAVORITE SPOT on Lake Michigan that I go to whenever I can and
take off my clothes, surrendering completely to the elements. I discovered this
special place several years ago when I spent some time in West Michigan
living with and caring for an Alzheimer's patient. It was a very difficult time in
my life. I couldn't find a job, I was not meeting my bills. My patient, typically not
realizing that she needed help, resented my presence in her home and this
would show up in the form of quiet tension throughout the day. There was no
place to escape from it. I felt I had no other place to go. All in all, things
seemed pretty hopeless and I felt totally helpless.

I've always been drawn to the water, feel most alive when I'm near it and
unless it's frozen, I have to go in it. Perhaps I had been drawn to that particular
situation so I could discover the power of the lake and maybe, more
importantly, the power of surrendering. I had some years before discovered
the incredible feeling of surrendering my clothes and the feeling of freedom
that comes from being nude out of doors, particularly when sharing the
experience with other like minded people, such as at a nudist park. I had
introduced several close friends to this experience and they too felt the power,
this power of freedom, that results from surrendering our textile image.

Often, during that difficult time, I would drive to the North Muskegon Beach,
find a secluded place and splash naked in the crashing cold waves of the
afternoon or in the calm water at sunset. Then I would walk along the beach,
feeling the wind or rain or sand blowing on all parts of me. It felt good, real
good. It picked me up and I thanked God for the opportunity to be there at the
beach.

One evening, after a particularly difficult day, I drove to the beach, took off my
clothes and, to my surprise, suddenly began to cry. Just a little at first but then
harder, until it became almost uncontrollable. Finally, after awhile, I realized
that I was tired, angry, lonely and in a lot of emotional pain. "Why is my life so
difficult?" I began asking. "Why am I going through this? Am I doing something
wrong? What is it I have to learn from this? Why, God?" I asked. " What is this
all about?" I cried for a long time.

I have always had a strong feeling that someday my life would be on a
mission, an important mission, one that would change people's lives. I had the
feeling that everything in my life was leading up to this, that I was being trained
for it. I had a variety of jobs and many valuable life experiences that all
somehow seemed tied together by an unseen thread in an unfinished tapestry
that I was not yet privileged to see. "If only," I thought, " if I could only find out
what my mission is and get on with it. Is all of this leading me to it? Is this part
of it? Why, God?" I asked. "Why can't I find my mission and get on with it?
Why does this have to be so painful?" I cried, I prayed, I screamed at God.
And finally I got down on my knees and praying naked in the sand, I
surrendered to my Higher Power--again.

I say "again" because I had surrendered before. In fact, we had had talks in
which I would agree that certain changes would have to occur in my life, that
there were certain things that I would have to do to keep my life moving ahead
or on target. I had surrendered, at least surrendered little parts of me before,
but maybe not all.

The nudist experience has taught me that unless you take off all your clothes,
you will experience only a hint of freedom. Not until you shed the last piece,
can you really begin to experience the incredible feelings we nudists talk
about that are in store for you. Then, almost immediately, it begins to literally
change your life because it changes your perception of yourself. This evening,
on the beach, I was tired, felt hopeless and helpless and did not want to go
home. So there, on the beach, crying, I shed the rest - my pride, my ego. I
uncloaked my soul and, spiritually naked, prayed. Within minutes, I began to
feel better. Something had lifted. I felt lighter and I began to feel free.

The nudist experience has also taught me that "shedding all" has such
profound and far reaching effects that it often takes years for a person to
realize the full impact it has made on their lives. However, almost immediately,
I began feeling the freedom and I began to see things in my life a little
differently. But it is only now, years later, looking back, that I can see that
events began to take place that showed me that I already knew of my mission,
and that, in fact, I had already begun living it.

After that evening, I began taking small steps working at the things that make
me resonate. I began meeting people. I entered a relationship, which although
brought some pain, taught me to go with my intuitive feelings, and listening to
those feelings and I began writing. I did something else, something that I had
done before, that had always brought me a great sense of joy and that I
dreamed of doing again, whenever I could--I introduced a friend to social
nudism (Nancy from FROM SIN TO THERAPY TO NORMAL). As I knew from
the past, it was an experience that would change her life. It did. I saw a
self-pronounced atheist have, what I would describe as, a profound spiritual
experience. And I...I had a most incredible awakening--I realized that not only
was I living my dream, I was fulfilling my mission. Peoples lives were indeed
being changed.

That was several years ago. A lot of events have taken place in my life since
then. Events that eventually were to lead me here to what I'm doing now.
Some of the events that have taken place have been those incredible
'coincidences' that the Universe provides, that put us exactly in the right spot
at the right time. I can't begin to tell you how often this has happened to me in
the past several years and I am no longer surprised when it does, in fact, I
expect it to happen. What a good feeling that is. It still is difficult at times,
especially when, coming from a place of fear, I try to manipulate or control
events in my life against my intuitive feelings, or when I fail to surrender, when I
hesitate to "take it all off." Each day is a new challenge for me to "take it all
off." I never know what to expect but it always turns out just fine, and I am living
my dream and fulfilling my mission.

The mission or quest, for all of us, is to uncover or dis-cover who we are
spiritually, to dis-cover our Truth--theTruth that sets us free. That takes a
surrendering. To discover that we are God's perfect creations and to learn,
just as with the nudist experience, that there is nothing wrong with us just the
way we are or where we are . That is the mission for all of us--total,
unconditional surrender.

My personal mission of informing and educating people about social nudism
is really a metaphor, but a good one. It has changed my life and the lives of
many others and, it serves as a constant reminder to me that the rewards for
disregarding fear and discovering ourselves, by surrendering our fear based
egos, are awesome indeed.

I return to my spot on Lake Michigan, whenever I can, to frolic on the beach
and to celebrate my surrender. I also return to that inner place of surrender
where I uncloak my soul. I invite you to find that place and to join with me in
surrendering as we, together, PRAY NAKED.
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LESS-ONS FOR TRUTH
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