My time with the amazing Lindsay Abromatis-Smith has always left me somewhat altered. She is someone who exists primarily in the magical world. Just being around her, or in her home in the Bronx is a bit like falling down the rabbit hole. I walk into her home and things are … different. There is a a palpable shift of energy. I speak slower, I feel more. Puppets, sculptures of found objects and theatrical masks line the walls. There is a coffee table made solely of toothpicks suspending from the ceiling.
My first meeting with Lindsay was when she came to sing for a candlelit naked yoga class I was teaching in 2008. Her presence was magnetic. She is someone eyes are naturally drawn towards who holds a certain element of other-worldly mystery and magic. Over the last few years, I have come to know Lindsay as one of the most in touch physical body artists I have ever witnessed. Her body and spirit are palpably plugged into other dimensions from which she sources and creates her art. In her presence, I come to know my own body and spirit more intimately.
This is the first in a series of interviews with individuals who have embraced the practice of naked yoga and have a transformative story to tell about their relationship to their body and conscious nudity. Thank you for taking the time to read them.
Celebrating Our Holy Bodies,
When I’m naked, I don’t have anything holding me back from being in myself. I love the sensory organ of skin. I like my skin touching things.
I’m a puppeteer. One of the biggest loves of my life is puppetry.
I grew up in a physical theatre family. The body was always seen as the vessel for story telling. There’s a surrender that I have to undergo, in order to make the puppet be alive. I have to step away from my ego and surrender to the will of the thing I am holding. It can be a very spiritual experience witnessing my body and how it works this other body.
Right now my body temple is having some upheavals. I was recently diagnosed with ALS – Lou Gehrig’s Disease. My head and my hips are not talking to each other. My body’s impulse for movement is disappearing. My wiring is all messed up. Muscles seem to be totally disappearing in different places.
I’m learning how to slow down and refocus on my body. I’m re-learning how to take care of her. I don’t know if I’m redefining what I consider my body temple or going to a different level with it right now.
I no longer hold so true to the idea that the only way to tell a story is through movement. I’m falling in love with words again and relying on my thoughts and my words to articulate stories so they’re equal with what my body can say. Perhaps I was relaying to heavy on the physical body rather than the mental body. I’ve been doing a lot of work inside of myself and I’m coming to terms with physically manifesting in a different way.
On days when movement is available, I get down on the ground and roll and undulate and do movements in my spine and lots of spirals. My body is drawn towards moving in spirals. I try to put my head on the ground as much as possible, sometimes it feels like I have a magnet in my head, it wants to be near the Earth. Sometimes I need to absorb the Earth energy into my skull and brain and that will help calm my nerves down. My body sometimes forces me to be in the state of bowing down to a higher power. I’m slowing down to my truer nature to hear what’s underneath stuff that I wasn’t able to hear before. I walk with a cane my dad made me that has arrowheads and fairy hair in it. I have a pink wheel chair now that I lovingly call ‘the pink stallion.’ It is my unicorn chariot, designed by two puppet maker friends so that I may sit inside of the unicorn in its heart center. It is a surrendering of self locomotion and a transition into articulating to someone else how I want to be moved through space. It also makes me feel like a magic fairy queen!
Even in this time of very powerful body transformation, I want to say to my body ‘Thank you. I love you. Let’s keep going. Let’s keep going.’
I am always touched when a prospective naked church go-er chooses to write in and ask more questions and share their story of healing…
Here’s one that truly moved me.
My name is Ted and I’m a member of the YNA group. I just saw your recent posting about the worship service your church offers, and I would very much like to attend the services. I was raised into the Eastern Orthodox Church, but the church’s conservative stance on issues such as homosexuality just completely turned me off. It has been many years since I went to my church. When I saw your post and began reading about your church on The Sensual Shaman, I felt like I found the truth that I was searching for all these years. I 100% agree with everything that you wrote and I feel that God revealed His divine truth to you. I’ve been a nudist for many years now – and I agree that nudism is something to be celebrated. God created everyone nude – it is not something to be ashamed of. I love how your church is accepting of all people.
I’ve noticed from the post that the next worship service is June 26. What time does it begin? Where in Manhattan is it located?
During service, is there any liturgy that is followed or particular way of worship that your church practices (ex. Standing or kneeling or bowing down?) What is the proper way to greet you and Goddess Charmaine in church?
I apologize for so many questions – but I’m eager to learn more about your church and to be prepared to attend worship. Thank you very much in advance.
Thanks so much for your email and for your wonderful feedback. These are all really great questions that I think everyone could benefit from.
First of all we meet in midtown Manhattan between 5th Ave and 6th Ave (exact address given when you RSVP – next service is Wednesday June 26th @ 7pm-9pm)
Please bring a towel like you would to any naturist gathering.
Consider our church to be informal and celebratory and in support of group wisdom with first acknowledging that the divine lives in each of us and that we need no interpreter between us and the Source we call God or Goddess or The Divine other than our body and our own sense of deep listening and self-inquiry.
To greet Rev Goddess and I, just simply introduce yourself with a hug or a handshake. While we may identify as a shaman or a Reverend, we are not gurus, we are ordinary people just like you who have stories and life experiences similar to yours. We are moved to offer this work because it is an organic extension of who we are and the healing and ministry we embrace.
We’ll sit together in a circle on the floor for most of service, although we might dance, sing and speak in community to share collective wisdom.
Looking forward to sharing service with you soon!
Holy Body Worship, lovingly called “Naked Church” is a clothing optional worship service led by Rev. Goddess Charmaine and Isis Phoenix each month. Having recently abbreviated our name to ‘Naked Church’ we are taking this time to redefine that this continues to be a ‘clothing optional’ event.
Holy Body Worship is an Interfaith spiritual service that celebrates the intimacy and uniqueness of the body and soul relationship through honoring and acknowledging the body as a temple and recognizing it as the vessel our soul chose for incarnation. The option of being naked or skyclad during Service is used to further the expression of reverence and celebration of our body soul relationship to Source. Our bodies are miracles, beauty, complex ecosystems, walking art – each unique, holy and a piece of God/Goddess/Source. The ‘clothing optional’ is simply that – optional. You are never required to be nude during service. It is a matter of choice and truth in the present moment based on how your body feels and wishes to express itself. In service, we view nudity as a form of transparency and intimacy. We bare our soul’s and the places that have been hiding or living inauthentically and bring ourselves back to authenticity, transparency and one-ness. If we feel guarded when we remove our clothes it’s not a form of celebration and we’ve actually moved our relationship to body/soul/source out of union or one-ness and into fragmentation and inauthenticity. However, if you have felt guarded your entire life, perhaps this is the moment to experience your union and one-ness through exploring nudity, through moving through fear and embracing yourself ‘holy’ and completely in this moment.
In Holy Body Worship, we choose to be nude or to celebrate with others who are nude in order to explore a deeper level of intimacy with our bodies, our souls, each other, the divine. To remove that which keeps us separate – and to bring us back into right relationship with body, soul, Source. Whole-y Body Worship celebrates and takes a stand for the right to choose to worship your body naked or clothed or in any state of disrobe that feels appropriate to you in the present moment and also acknowledges that that decision may change from moment to moment. We invite you to ask yourself what makes you feel powerful, holy, wild, sensual, free, and totally you and to celebrate your body soul union from that place?
We look forward to sharing service with you soon!