EWS on Ice

Art on Ice from the Snow Collection

I guess you knew that this moment would come. I am finally done with my lab work and have begun writing up my thesis. The deadlines for the submission of the chapters are tight. Therefore, I won’t be able to post regularly. The posting is quick but the writing and revision take up a lot time, as you know my fellow bloggers.

I have a lot to tell you since my last Winds of Change post which was roughly six weeks ago. Such a lot of stuff happened during this time. I have grown in so many ways.

But because time is my most precious commodity now, the Winds of Change update will have to wait until January next year. I also won’t have time to keep Music Monday, Reviews, Rambles and the other content categories of Eleazar’s Writing Space going regularly. So, until January 2015 Eleazar’s Writing Space will be on ice.

On a side note, I was pretty disappointed in my last post. The poem is quite putrid by my standards. And I want to provide good quality content. So, instead of producing mediocre posts while I spend all my creative energy in writing my thesis, I decided put this blog on ice.

 

Until next year, may all go well with you and God bless you in every way He can!

E

 

Winds of Change: 295-272 days to go

It’s been quite some time since I last posted, eh? Well, I’ve been working on my thesis and finishing up the last couple of experiments in the lab. Quite a lot of stuff happened since my last post but for the sake of time and brevity I won’t get into those things now. You should know by now that I will get back to the events and the self-discoveries in the near future. I’m a rehasher, a cud chewer. 🙂

Where do I stand with my thesis? I’m still writing and reading up for the literature review. At the same time I am processing my data, fitting equations and thinking about what to say. The latter I find difficult to do since I like seeing the big picture before diving into the details. I have seen the big picture but am struggling to hash out the details, i.e. making the equations fit the data. (My project has a computation component.) Next Friday will be my last day in the lab so that I can focus on writing up my work.

On the porn front I don’t know what to say really. A couple of weeks ago I was in a let’s-just-get-it-over-and-done-with mindset. I just wanted to be done with stuff. So, I dived in and looked for the skimpy underwear that I subconsciously looked for. Suffice it say, I started wading through sewage. My reflexes were active so as soon as I saw some junk I averted my eyes and exited the page. All the bullets I was dodging got too much for so I decided to call of the search. I chose not search through the sewers of the Internet for a strapless leather penis pouch. Although not extreme, it could only be found on the extreme side of the underwear world. And I was not going to jeopardise my porn abstenance any longer. I have not been back since.

I did, however, purchase a c-string and a pouch thong to see how comfortable they really were. The c-string I bought because it can be used while sunbathing (to protect my goods). The pouch thong I bought to see whether it hampers erections and how painful having an erection in one really is. I can satisfactorally say that the pouch thong impedes erections and isn’t painful to wear at all. I was worried about developing Peyronie’s Disease though but did not. Using the bathroom with it was also fine. It was the first thong I ever wore. I purchased three skimpy underwear so far. When I work again I will order two more.

With the let’s-just-get-it-over-and-done-with mindset I also expanded my Flickr favourites album to include photos of non-sexual activities I’d like to do naked one day. To achieve this I had to go back on my resolution to not search for stuff with the words naked and nude in the search string. I saw some unwanted pics which either I literally closed my eyes to and scrolled on or exited the search completely. To be honest, I found the fact that I was search for “nude hiking”, “nude kayaking”, “bare boating”, etc. a little disturbing but I knew that if I didn’t get it over and done that I would want to search for those images again. Why? Because those are my dreams. I kept thinking about doing those activities naked so that I don’t forget that I’d like to do them. So by adding them to my Flickr Favourites album I wouldn’t have to remember that I’d like to do those activities anymore.

I hadn’t been on Flickr for three full weeks until last Friday (277 days to go (DTG)) out of stress and the impractically of going on a short hike while it rained outside. I needed to clear my head while contemplating a data processing problem. It felt good to back on Flickr but I felt so bad because I broke a promise to myself, a resolution. I also returned to Flickr because despite the glimpses of frontal nudity I got during my non-nude searches, the landscapes and activities I search for relax me. I didn’t stop looking for photos though. The same searches I had done on Flickr—that is, “hot tub”, “hot spring”, etc.—I searched for on Twitter. And there I saw some dirt. Twitter is not a good source for water-related images. They Twitter searches shocked my sensibilities so I’ve classed photo searches on Twitter with Google Image Search, Tumblr and Experience Project: a “No Go” zone. So, I’m back on Flickr.

The two questions I noticed myself asking are (1) “What images will Twitter produce for these search terms?” and (2) “Does this [Flickr] user have more photos like these?” Question 1 I don’t have to worry about anymore because I’m avoiding Twitter searches. Question 2 I am training myself to not explore. I take it one day at a time.

Art-wise, I finished Witness: a new perspective on the New Testament church and will post the book review on Friday, 11 July. I also finished Bloody Valentine by James Patterson and K. A. John. The review of that book will be published next week Friday, 18 July.

One last word: I can’t wait for the summer! It’s extremely cold! I don’t mind the rain. In fact, I love rain. It’s the cold, I mind. But what would winter be without the cold, eh?

Ciao!

Winds of Change: 327-324 days to go

Following is the entry for 327-324 days to go (DTG). (Today I have 321 DTG.) I dwell a lot on the question of nudism and why some people are drawn to it. In this post I also share some of my more mundane experiences.

A year in review

To think that just a couple of days ago I would have celebrated one year of abstinence from pornography! But it would not have been a kosher victory though since I struggled with many definitions and conceptualisations finding myself in compromising situations now and again. I guess that’s why I was so keen on starting over.

Drive of the nude dude

Anyway, for the past few days the question of why I am drawn to naturism like a moth to a flame plagued me. I don’t mean naturism in the true sense of the word. I mean the love and desire to engage in activities in nature or the countryside without a stitch of clothing and the fear of breaking public indecency, moral and modesty laws.

Then, I began to wonder what drives true naturists and sympathisers (which I see myself as being) to do the same. The desire to know the answer to this question drove me to read a couple of nudist and naturist websites and blogs while making sure that I don’t see any photos. I even contacted two leading authors in the field who have not replied yet. I spent a lot of time in prayer as I asked God to reveal the reason to me. My past I did not leave alone either. I wanted an answer that went beyond the normal responses of freedom, comfort, and the negligible quality of clothing.

I remembered how I used to strip as soon as my parents left me alone at home. Their absence bestowed on me the freedom to run around naked at home and masturbate to my hearts content. After masturbating the endorphins that flooded my nervous system would be drained out. Feelings of loneliness, regret, disgust and frustration would then fill the void the endorphins left. So, the link between nudity and sex was quite solid in my mind. The link was strengthened by the naked women in Playboy magazines I used to masturbate to and fantasised about.

But, that all changed when I learned that nudity does not equal sex. That was a life changing truth because it allowed me to seperate nudity from sex. This happened about two years ago. And that’s when I wanted to practice good nudity. My disgust for the bad kind grew steadily over time. The psychological and spiritual nature of the porn addiction kept sabotaging my recovery. But I praise God for the help He has given me and for my accountability partner.

From the start being naked was a kind of freedom for me. It wasn’t the absolute kind that we find in Christ Jesus, but it was some kind. What I don’t understand is why I am drawn to seeking this kind of freedom. Being naked was a form of self-expression. With the discarding of my clothes, I discarded my stress, society’s expectations, anxiety, means of sexual stimulation as I used my clothes to masturbate, etc. I was free to be myself. I grew confident in and with my body. I acted on my health conscious thoughts. I appreciated Creation more. I felt free. And the bonus was that my nakedness didn’t have to end in sexual gratification!

My natural love for nature and my new found freedom from bad nudity merged soon after. For a long time I had exhibitionistic thoughts and fantasies. And my accountability partner can attest to how much I struggled to make sense of them throughout this past year. An exhibitionist who doesn’t want to expose himself to people out of fear of arrest or shocking them; yet drawn to be naked in the company of others in a same gender setting because mixed gender nudity goes against his beliefs, was what I was. In the end, after a huge struggle, a whole lot of prayer and discussions, I decided to dispense with dubious activities which might be misconstrued. I was not an exhibitionist.

With the dispensement of those dubious activities my desire to be free in nature increased. I saw those dubious activities as a kind of present manifestation of a promise that could only be fulfilled in the future. (I hope that makes sense.) So that’s the reason why in moments of great stress I think about the next time I will “get away from it all” to spend time with God in nature and also be naked there. (The places I choose are private with very little possibility of discovery.)

So, I guess I answered my question. For me it’s about freedom to dispense with my clothes and move around in my birthday suit. However, this freedom is kept in check by my inability to be naked just for the sake of being naked. There must be a definite purpose for my state of undress. I get uncomfortable very quickly. And that is most probably why I could never be a naturist or a nudist. I’m not comfortable being nude for no reason at all. It’s not a matter of comfort for me but a celebration of the freedom of solitude.

That said, the longing for company still exists which is why I often wish that my society and culture had bath house culture like the Koreans and Japanese have. Their bath houses are gender segregated and functional, i.e. they have a definite purpose that goes beyond relaxation and socialising.

I still want to know what fundamental motive drives nudists, naturists and their sympathisers to frollick around in the buff. So, if you are a naturist, nudist, or one who indulges ocassionally will you please answer in the comments below?

Three books

On Thursday, I bought three new books: Think Big by Ben Carson, Approval Addiction by Joyce Meyer and Prophet: A novel by Frank E. Peretti. I’m looking forward to reading these.

Spinning heads

My friends who were at the Bible study last Monday said that their heads spun the whole week as a result of our discussion. The pastor who sat in and guided the study told us about his experiences with and warned us about demon possession. That formed part of the subject of being saved to serve. Every Christian is born into the Kingdom of God as a missionary. The two demoniacs of Gergesa (or Gadarenes) illustrate this perfectly as do the Samaritan woman, Levi Matthew, Paul, and many others. I was glad that I was not the only one who was unsettled by our discussion.

Impact of the naturist question

I worked on my thesis a little bit today (324 DTG) after spending the whole morning looking for answers to my question on what drives people to engage in naturist activities, let alone adopt the lifestyle. I just decided to call it quits. The only way I will get an answer is to talk to nudists and naturists. They won’t reveal the or their fundamental motive when asked directly. It will, however, be revealed during the conversation. It might occur as a theme or an omission or both. And that is a work of a lifetime! To speak to nudists in person I would have to cross boundaries I cannot in good conscience cross. I’m not willing to compromise the Truth for a less important truth.

Requests

But, if you are a nudist, naturist or a sympathiser will you please tell us what you think the fundamental motivator is in your life for your participation in the lifestyle?

Also, in the panel on the right there is a poll. Will you please choose one of the options? I am curious to see how many of my readers and followers like reading paperbacks, hardbacks, and e-books.

Winds of Change: 329-328 days to go

Today (328 DTG) I am at the end of the journey with The Middle of the Journey by Lionel Trilling. The book was very insightful. Apart from the slow moving, confusing first chapter where the author dumps you right in the middle of the story, the rest of the book was delightful. It was a good sample of literary fiction. I was so confused after reading the first chapter that I wondered whether I should read chapter two, but I’m glad I did. I not only learned about life in the 1930s but also about thought life and the aspirations of intellectuals from that period.

It is in the light of that book that I’ve come to see my blog as a piece of literary fiction. (Whether it’s good or bad, you be the judge.)

The Middle of the Journey is about John Laskell, the Crooms, and their friends Maxim and Keith Simpson and how they come to terms with Maxim’s break with the Communist Party in 1930’s America. The author focuses heavily on the thought life of John Laskell and his perception and reading of his friends’ reactions to situations and exchanges of ideas. Towards the end of the book, the characters become the personification of the political, ideological and religious ideas they hold dear. The internal struggle that these characters endured and his description of it was enlightening. I liked how he described the histories and the internal struggles of the characters. He described their body language well as they responded to statements, reactions and perceptions.

The plot was simple. In addition to the confusion that grips Maxim’s friends after his break with the Party, Laskell involves himself in something that society, especially a rural society like the one they stayed in during that fateful summer, severely frowns upon. He placed a lot of emphasis on characterisation though. Every action that the characters took revealed their character.

I did not like how the characters came to embody their ideologies but the device served the purposes of the author well. His intention was to comment on the political state of the U.S.A. at time of the book’s publication.

On a personal note, I would have liked to have heard the discussions in English Literature classrooms and lecture halls that followed the publication of The Middle of the Journey. One thing I still don’t understand is where the title fits in. (If anyone can explain it, please feel free to leave a comment below.)

I started on a new book today Witness by Joe Blanco. It’s a paraphrase of the New Testament set in chronological order. It’s actually a blend between history and the New Testament as it deals with the establishment of the 1st century Christian church.

I felt like a failure today after a short meeting with my professor and two students doing higher degrees. We were going over what experiments were to be done so that our research paper could be published. He asked them to redo some experiments I did just to make sure that we could not detect some enzymes. I gave them a very detailed protocol although it didn’t contain all the experiments I did.
I felt like running away to the mountains but that’s not going to happen any time soon.

My co-supervisor and I will meet tomorrow. I didn’t make an appointment with her. I’ll just drop by. I haven’t spoken to her since I came back. The conversation is not something I’m looking forward to, but I have to face the music if there’s any music to face. I might even dance to the music. 😉

My dad asked to resign from the youth leadership position again tonight. He said that I needed to put all of my energy into finishing my thesis. This is the reason why I’ve been posting so irregularly recently. I don’t know why I am hesitating. But, I will. For good or for ill, I will suffer the consequences of my choice.

Yesterday (329 DTG) I didn’t do much except read, analyse data, search for answers to my questions and pray.

Winds of Change: 338-332 days to go

It was with great trepidation that I went to campus on Monday ( DTG). I was afraid of the reception I would get. I was not looking forward to experiencing my professors’ displeasure. For this reason I have not spoken to my co-supervisor yet.

There isn’t much to say about my lab work really. My professor sat me down and explained to me how I should go about analysing my data. I sent him a copy of the data file. I’ve been analysing the data ever since. The data analysis process involves some programing. I’m not good at programing but I have some proficiency in reading and manipulating (existing) code.

The data analysis and the mini-campaign occupied me a great deal.

On the porn front

I’ve been longing for the mountains, pools of water and sunlight bathing my entire, uncovered body in warmth. I have already decided where my next solo retreat would be. I would like to socialise with people there but am afraid that something bad might happen. But, I know that God won’t let bad stuff happen to me unless He sanctions it and even then it will work out for my good as He promised.

Throughout the week I had some difficulty with impure thoughts especially on the days following a positive response to the preacher’s appeals.

Winds of Change: Days 206-207

March Music came to an end yesterday. It was a lot of fun going down memory lane like that. March Music didn’t cover all the genres of music that existed during the 1980s and 1990s; how could it? But I hope that you enjoyed the music never the less.

Tonight I will do something I don’t believe one should do especially on a public platform as WordPress and that is complain…

I’m really feeling the pressure. It’s a lot of pressure. My literature review is overdue. And I can’t take off from work to finish it because I have 5 audio recordings to edit and 3 articles to write, one of which is an interview. To the lab I must go to finish analysing some data which will take me a long time to do. The elders at my church didn’t communicate with each other timeously and now it looks like I didn’t inform them timeously about changes the youth would like make to the preaching roster. The one in charge of the preaching roster was upset because he heard about the proposed changes for the first time tonight. He wanted to know why I didn’t inform him. So I told him that I only followed the chain command–asking the youth elder and the head elder whether the changes could be made. They were then supposed to discuss the matter with all the local elders in our congregation.

I’m ready to type the next section of the literature review but I am at a loss for words. I’ve hit a blank. I’m so aware of the fact that my thesis is overdue, that I might losing marks, that I disappointed my professors again, that I can’t take off from work to devote time to finishing the literature review, and that I’m trying to do a semester’s work in 1 week! Today I realised that I cannot work on my thesis at work because of the pressure at work.

I wish I could just run away and finish my thesis. The knowledge that it was not a priority for me is mortifying. If it was high on my priority list, I would have pulled out all the stops to finish it on time. But I allowed myself to be distracted and to think that if I could just solve this problem or that problem then I’d have more time to devote to my thesis. But I was deluded. The more personal problems I solved, the more problems I ended up having like the hydra Hercules fought and slew.

I also sabotaged my studies by paying attention to the sense I had that I don’t belong in the lab. Whenever I entered the “zone” I would read a Marcus Buckingham book or one by John Maxwell and say to myself that I don’t really belong there. So, I’m filled with a lot of regret tonight.

One highlight for is that I finally bought George Orwell’s book 1984. I’ve been eyeing it for almost 10 years but refrained from buying it because I was under the impression that all fiction books are bad. But then I realised that my church’s colleges and universities all have English literature programmes. This made me search for the truth. Not all fiction books are bad, I saw. I now know about how one can identify bad fiction. As a result I resolved to read through the Classics: the works of Jane Austen, George Orwell, Victor Hugo, Danté, Cervantes, Edgar Allan Poe, TS Elliott, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson and others. I wanted to read 1984 ever since I heard of Big Brother.

Over the last few days the constant writing and the freedom I now have to read fiction brought the fictional work that I’ve been contemplating for 12 years to life. Yesterday and the day before my mind was filled with scenes from the story which had started out as a short story. I now have a long list of questions I need to find answers to for the story to proceed. But that I’ll attend to once the first draft of my thesis is done or maybe during the course of time.

So, maybe I sabotaged myself by giving “free rein” to my creativity? Maybe I used it up or divered it so much that my literature review has to be completed on husks? Maybe I’m just overwhelmed by everything?

What do you think?

Winds of Change: Day 197

A rondevouz with fate

This afternoon we had a mini family gathering at my aunt’s place. Some of my cousins were there. Now, I always had trouble with them accepting me which I spoke about before [will add link later]. But what happened this afternoon truly revealed their feelings towards me.

We sat in our aunt’s lounge while the aunts and uncles sat in the dining room. There were five or six of us, including my aunt’s husband. They spoke about restaurants they had visited while I literally sat in my corner looking at pictures of Christian sculptures and reading sculptors’ biographies. I did participate in the conversation, often cracking jokes with them. In the course of the conversation they mentioned a restaurant they would like to visit. Now I had gone to the restaurant with my parents last year and shared that information with them–twice. They, however, didn’t pay me any attention. They just continued their conversation as if I hadn’t said anything. My uncle heard though and inquired about the place.

I felt bad as anyone in my position would. As I analysed the situation I realised that it’s not that my cousins didn’t accept me; they were just not interested in me. Period. I would never be good enough for them because they didn’t care whether I was good enough or not.

As I said, I felt bad, but I am also free. I have since cut them out of my life. They don’t add value to me in anyway and they clearly don’t want me to add value to them. So, I won’t care about being in their company anymore. Of course, I will still care about them, we’re family. But more than that I refuse to give because they are simply not interested. Simply not interested. (I sense a poem there.)

As I observed them, I saw that they won’t understand my desire to sculpt or make a living from writing. Those aren’t things they are interested in doing so they can’t conceive of others doing it.

About lying low

I also feel bad about lying low with the youth leadership. It feels as if I’m hardening my heart and reject Christ. But I have to step back for the next four months to finish my thesis so that I can graduate at the end of this year. Maybe I should resign as youth leader? If I do, no one else will want to be because that’s exactly the reason I am the youth leader this year.

Stupid crazy dream

I didn’t have a wet dream this morning–a hatrick is more than good enough for me! Thank God! But I did have one crazy weird dream.

I dreamt that my sister and I were driving our car: she was driving, I wasn’t. It was one of those cars driving schools use that have two sets of pedals: one on the driving instructor’s side and one on the learner driver’s side.

It was a busy day in town. The roads were narrow due to the road works, trucks delivering their cargo, garbage trucks loading their cargo, milk trucks and a hot blistering wind. Traffic flowed well even though pedestrians were everywhere.

All of a sudden I took the wheel out of my sister’s hands, who had been speaking on her phone when the light turned green. I can’t remember our destination. But that’s when the trouble started. The more I tried to steer the car, the less control over it I had.

My sister grabbed the wheel and righted the car just as we headed for a milk truck. This happened quite a number of times. But I just took it from her again and tried to steer the car while sitting in the passenger (or in this instance the driving instructor’s seat). How I managed to change gears God alone knows because it was a manual car.

We were heading uphill by then and the danger of rolling back and colliding with another car was very real. The road painters had to vacate their posts while the on-coming cars veered out. All this happened while the truck in front of us tried to parallel parked. We weren’t responsible for it, but it sure felt like it.

When we reached the robot midway up the hill, I decided to give up and let my sister take the wheel.

Waking up from my dream, I had a strong impression that it applied to my life. The more I tried to manage my life, the more out of control it became. I also saw that my sister actually represented my mom who told me that I shouldn’t be the youth leader this year because my studies would suffer. And she was right. In fact, I now that that had I not been as actively involved in church leadership, I would have been done with my master’s degree a long time ago.

That said, the dream still left me confused. What was I supposed to do now? How do I handle my situation? What course of action should I take? Confused I went on my knees, apologised and asked the Lord to direct my steps. The sermon I listened to today was a reminder that we are God’s witnesses, chosen by Him to proclaim and live the Gospel. So, my prayer is that He will guide me. Yet I have to finish my degree this year.

Winds of Change: Days 185-187

This entry was written last night (day 187).

I know I’ve been saying this a lot lately but this period in my life has been pretty stressful. (I risk sounding like a broken record.)

(Pre)Occupations

I write tonight because I found resolution. The mini-campaign my team and I are coordinating has been postponed and will now take place in May. All the speakers for the week were set until one withdrew last night and a second one this morning. We did not have a pianist and the guest artists did not confirm. So, the “faithful” team mates held a short teleconference where we decided to postpone it. The matter will go to the church board on Sunday.

I have a good feeling about the experiment I did on Monday (day 185) even though I had trouble adding the right amount of cells to the mixture. (The procedure is too technical so I won’t bore you with the details.) Today (day 187) I analysed the samples I took on Monday.

Yesterday I went to work where I struggled to focus because of the mini-campaign. But I did get some work done.

On the porn front

The wish to be naked in nature, to escape from my circumstances grew during this period, as has my awareness of the existence of sexual images. I came pretty close today to look at porn but by God’s grace I did not. Over the past couple of days there were many times when I told myself, No, I won’t look at that. No, I won’t search for that because my AB (short for abstinence) is important to me. I don’t want to fill my mind with that filth.

Let me honest here and say that I did search for tips on how and where to do the following activities nude: kayaking, canoeing, hiking and skydiving. And I performed group searches on Flickr to see what group names would appear in the results. I did glimpse some frontal nudity pics next to the group names but, while expressing dismay, I closed them with my hand, or fingers depending on the size, because I did not want to see such photos. With kayaking my question was, and still is, how do they get it right to disrobe on top of or inside a kayak without falling into the water? (If anyone knows the answer to this question please inform me.)

I performed Flickr photo searches looking for more pics in the line of those featured in the 10 Flickr Favourites post especially the skinny dipping types. I would really love to skinny dip, hike and kayak nude–alone or with friends (because the gender barrier). But I have resigned myself to the fact that such communal activities won’t happen. I also grew tired of the Flickr searches because it was a fantasy that I was creating and that never solves problems.

Therefore, to prevent myself from jeopardising my AB, I decided to respect Google’s SafeSearch by not searching for anything it won’t allow.

I don’t know whether I broke my porn abstinence during this period. The desire to look at sexually stimulating images (porn) was there but I never acted on that desire. Yet I question my interest in unobtrusive nudity. I understand that non-sexual nudity and the kind of images I collect (landscapes with the following elements: mountains, bodies of water, reflections, and colours of sunsets and sunrises) symbolise freedom, peace, nature, quietness, relaxation, escape, serenity, communion with God, and that they are an expression of my creativity since I strive to photograph such moments. Yet it feels like I’m placing a lot of emphasis on expanding my collection.

Did I pray at all during this whole “ordeal”? Yes, I did. I prayed a lot. I claimed Christ’s promises especially the promise St. Paul records in Romans 10:13. I asked the Lord to help me figure out what’s going with these Flickr searches.

Maybe I should just close that account since it’s causing me such a lot of grief and distress? I don’t need that in my life. So that instead of using my creativity to find beautiful pictures, I will use it to make my own and see in what novel ways it will “manifest” itself. (Some heavy personification there!) I think I will do that.

. . . or maybe not. But what I will do is stop searching for stuff with the words “naked” or “nude” attached to them even though I have questions and they are stuff I would like to do. The practice adds ambiguity and complications to my life which I definitely don’t need. It is now a principle of mine.