E60: Lessons Learned From the (Not) Nudist Spa

There are all these messages in the world telling us that we’re not good enough or that we’re not okay the way that we are. We absolutely have every right to unsubscribe from those beliefs and from those programs.”

- Asha Wilkerson, Esq.

Episode Summary:

Have you ever had an experience that you were not ready for? 

In this episode, I open up about an experience I recently had when I found myself at a clothing-optional spa.

Tuning in, you’ll hear how I ended up at the spa with my friends, my expectations for the trip, and my views on finding yourself in the midst of a culture you’re not accustomed to. You’ll also hear what it felt like to be uncomfortable in my own skin, being the odd one out, and how my friends and I decided to get over ourselves and make the most of the situation.

Listen in today for some profound revelations about entrepreneurship, choosing to be comfortable, challenging your limiting beliefs, and removing the modifiers of good or bad to see events like this as experiences. Be sure to tune in and keep an open mind. 

What You’ll Learn On This Episode:

  • [01:12] How Asha and her friends decided to visit a clothing-optional spa
  • [02:23] Asha’s expectations for the trip
  • [03:20] Asha’s views on public nudity before this experience
  • [04:53] Asha’s first impressions of the spa
  • [06:08] Asha’s first experience of a naked man in public
  • [07:06] The group’s experience in the locker room
  • [08:24] The group’s first experience of the pool area
  • [09:43] What it felt like to be the odd one out for wearing clothes
  • [10:36] Their efforts to make the most of the situation
  • [11:52] What Asha learned from the experience
  • [12:41] How we all can decide to be comfortable and how this relates to entrepreneurship
  • [13:16] Asha’s second realization about the limiting beliefs
  • [15:18] How freeing the experience was for Asha
  • [16:17] How can we choose the outcome of any situation
  • [17:52] Asha’s challenge to listeners: where are you holding unchecked beliefs?

Resources Mentioned:

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[00:00:00] AW: You’re listening to the Transcend Podcast. I’m your host, Asha Wilkerson, an attorney by training and an educator at heart. This podcast is all about empowering you to build a business and leave a legacy. Here’s the thing. The wealth gap in America is consistently increasing, and while full-time entrepreneurship is not for everyone, even a side hustle can change your financial landscape if you’re intentional about using your business to build wealth. I run my own law firm for over ten years, and in that time I’ve helped countless California businesses go from idea to six figures. On this podcast, we talk about what it truly takes to build a sustainable business and find financial freedom. Let’s dive in.


[00:00:43] AW: Hey, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of Transcend the Podcast. This episode is going to be a little bit different because I’m going to be telling you about an experience that I had a couple of weekends ago at a not-nudist clothing-optional spa that I was 100% not ready for. Before you tuned right in, make sure you’ve got a minute to listen and just keep an open mind. 

Okay, so here’s how the story goes. A couple friends of mine and I, we decided that we were going to do a local staycation or a little getaway, but locally here in California, because for whatever reason we had kept trying to plan trips abroad and we couldn’t get ourselves together. So we decided to go on this local getaway. I told a relatively new friend about this getaway to an area. They said, “Oh, have you been to this hot springs before?” I said, “No, that sounds a really good idea.” She said, it’s super nice, really beautiful, the water it comes from a spring, they don’t regulate the temperature, it just comes out really, really hot or really cool. It’s just a beautiful experience. 

I was thinking, in my mind, I don’t know where I got this in my mind. I was thinking this was going to be like a hotel with a pool that you could just come and get access to for the day. I don’t even know if they really do that in the United States, but I know definitely when you travel abroad, you get access to the pool for the day and the hotel facilities just for the day. So that’s what I’m thinking or I’m thinking it’s going to be Francis Ford Coppola Winery up in Napa, where they have a pool and you can rent a cabana or rent a ticket for the pool and drink wine and things like that. 

In my mind, I’m going on vacation. I am not going to a health and wellness natural clothing-optional spa. It didn’t even cross my mind that I might be going to the second one. We get to our destination and I tell one of my friends, because it’s so hot. We’re like, okay, let’s look at where we can go get in the water. The lake that we went to, there was too much algae in the water. So we were not getting ourselves in the lake at all. So I said, “Oh, well, a friend of mine, recommended this spa. Let’s check it out.” So we get online. I do have to admit, I do see on the website that it says clothing optional, but I am not processing what clothing optional means, because I have not really been to a clothing optional place ever in my life. In my 38 years of living clothing has always been a requirement. It’s never been an option. Except for maybe getting a massage or taking a mud bath or something like that, right?

I see this, but ironically, my friends and I had just had a conversation the day before about how different countries and different societies view nudity. I remember the first time that I saw a woman breastfeeding and who didn’t cover up it was when I was studying abroad in the Netherlands and I thought, “Oh, my God. She doesn’t have a cover.” Then I looked around and I realized I was the only one who was tripping about it, because my American culture told us that it’s inappropriate for us to see women feeding their children from their own breasts and that should be done under the cover of a blanket or something like that, or in a private room, right? 

That was the first time that I had really – that’s not even nudity. That’s the first time that I had even thought about what my assumptions were about exposing the body other than what American culture tells us, which is cover up, right? Even though sex sells everything, but we’re not supposed to talk about it and we’re supposed to cover up. Then we had also talks about beaches in France or in Spain that might have a topless beach. So when I saw clothing optional, I’m really thinking maybe it’s a topless beach like in Spain. Okay.

Now my third friend is still asleep, as we’re discovering this and we’ve completely forget to tell her that it is clothing optional, because again, clothing optional did not stand out as a big thing for this spa or of this beach resort that I think I’m going through this hotel resort. So we get ready to go. It turns out my two friends don’t have swimsuits, so we head by Walmart to get some clothing and the Walmart doesn’t even have swimsuits. So my two friends buy some shorts and tank tops or T-shirts to get into the water with and I had my swimsuit.

We get to the place. It’s about 40 minutes away from where we’re staying. We pull up and we’re like, feel like we’re driving into the mountain forever and it becomes very clear that it’s not a resort. It becomes very clear that it is a health and wellness spa with natural hotspring, which is still okay, all right, that’s fine. Then we read or we get told that we can’t bring any alcohol. Okay. So it’s definitely not a resort. It’s definitely much more of a health and wellness experience. So we’re checking in, we’re paying the fees, and the lady says, “You know it’s clothing optional, right?” We’re like, “Yeah. I saw that.” She’s like, “Okay, good.” 

Meanwhile, everybody that we have seen so far checking in has on clothing, which is absolutely right, because they said in the common areas, and near the entrance, you have to have on clothing. So we said, “Okay.” At that point, we also informed our friend, our third friend, that it was clothing optional. Again, we still don’t really understand. We go put our beverages back in the car. We’re not allowed to have cell phones. We’re not allowed to even use my Amazon Kindle, I had to put away. I’m like, “Okay, I get cell phones, but my Kindle.” Because again, I’m not processing, that it’s clothing optional, and that there are going to be a number of people who are going to be exercising that option. 

We go to the little cafeteria and get some food and as we’re waiting for some food, out of the corner of my eye through the window, I see a grown adult man walking by just as naked as the day he was born, but in a sun hat. I was not ready. First of all, he wasn’t even supposed to be down there, because that’s where the food was. He was supposed to be down there with clothes on it. He chose not to put clothes on and my other friend who’s waiting for our food outside just text, “Oh, my God. I saw the first one.” We’re like, okay, okay, all right. We can figure this out. We’re going to be okay, but it’s only one person. 

Again, we’re realizing now how much of an option clothing is, but not how many people might exercise that option, as I said before. So we finish our food. We’re like, “All right, we’re here now, let’s go up to the pool and check it out.” I’m looking at the map as we’re walking up the hill. Keep in mind it’s like 95 degrees outside at this point. We’re burning up, can’t wait to get to the pool. We get to this structure. It’s clear that the pool is on the other side of the structure, but as I’m standing in the structure, and I’m looking at the map, and I’m saying it says that there’s supposed to be a locker room and I don’t see a locker room, where would the locker room be? It’s supposed to be right here and the space that I’m standing in. Then I look up and I realized that there are people just taking off their clothes. 

Then about five or 10 seconds later, it hits me that I am standing in the middle of the locker room, but the locker room doesn’t have any walls and it doesn’t have any doors, because how couldn’t you have any doors if you don’t have any walls and it doesn’t have any windows, because what do you need windows for, if you don’t have any walls to put him in. So we’re just standing there going, “Oh, my God. Okay, we are really here. What are we going to do?” Right now, it’s still not really processing that most of the people are going to be clothing optional or without the clothing option, but we’re like, “Okay, we’re here. We’re going to do this anyway.” 

I have a swimsuit. I remember my swimsuit, I had on the dress. I’m not comfortable enough to take off my clothes just in front of everybody and anybody who wants to walk by. So I changed my swimsuit under my dress, my friends do the old trick like when you’re a kid, where you put the new shorts on over and then pull the other shorts on that kind of thing. Okay, so we’re ready. We’re as ready as we’re going to be. Then we start to walk up the stairs and I kid you not, it felt like a scene from a movie where you’re walking up the hill and you’re just getting ready to cross the horizon, the sun’s out, it’s in your eyes, but you get over that hump and then all of a sudden, you can see. That’s exactly what happened to us. 

We get walk up the steps. We’re just about to cross the top rise of the step and I take that next step, because of course I’m leading the pack, and then all of a sudden, naked people everywhere, everywhere y’all, everywhere. I was not ready and my two friends were nowhere even close to being ready. We had not processed what clothing optional really meant. We had not processed how many people might choose to take that clothing option. We get up there we’re standing there we’re huddled together looking around my friends. I don’t even know where to look. Do I look up? I look down? Is it rude not to look people in the eye? What am I supposed to do? It’s hot so we’re trying to find some shade. 

Literally there’s people everywhere, the pool is packed, the outer areas pack. People have been here it seems for hours, people knew to bring blankets to lay on, chairs to sit in, sarongs to tie up and even though no one at the time had any of those on. 


So we finally find a semi shaded area on a bench that we go to sit down and all of a sudden I’m feeling so uncomfortable, because I have on too many clothes. It was an interesting feeling to feel like I was the odd one out even though I didn’t necessarily want to jump in and fit in by taking all of my clothes off. I knew, I was like, okay, clearly, if you look at play that game of which one doesn’t belong, it’s us, we don’t belong, because we are clearly not only wearing swimsuits for me, but wearing shorts and t-shirts where the majority of folks have on nope, not a stitch of clothing, just as naked as the day they were born, right?

We’re clearly uncomfortable. People are looking at us, because it’s obvious that we’re new here. We’re like looking at people and try not to look too hard at people, because we know that we’re the ones who are awkward and we’re trying not to be awkward, even though it’s obvious that we’re just awkward to wear awkwardly trying not to be awkward. It’s even more awkward, right, one of those situations. 


We sit down finally, I’m like, “You know what, whatever. We’re here. We might as well make the most of this experience. Let’s just go ahead and do it.” We dip our toes into the pool into the hot tub and things like that. We’re still really uncomfortable, still uncomfortable, but after a couple hours, all of a sudden, I wasn’t so uncomfortable. 


As soon as I really decided to let go, then it made the experience whatever it was going to be. I had said to my friends, I’m like, “Look, we’re here. Now it’s an experience, it doesn’t have to be a bad one. It might be a shocking one.” But there’s nothing that says that it has to be a bad one. We paid to get in the water. We might as well go ahead and get in the water. 

By the end of the day, y’all, I kid you not, by the end of the day, we had ended up having a good time, not party time, because it wasn’t that a place, but we were relaxed. We had cooled down from the sun. A friend of mine went up into the quiet meditation pools where it’s silence only, so you can’t talk, but you can just get in, and the water is cool. There’s a not a water fountain, there’s a spring that is poured into the pools, there’s little fountain where it comes down different levels and pours this fresh spring water into this meditation pool. It ends up being an amazing, amazing experience.

What I learned, so here’s the stuff that I learned from this experience where I was so uncomfortable, initially. I realized that I was making myself uncomfortable, because when I just decided to be comfortable in my own skin, in my own body, be comfortable with other people’s nudity, it was absolutely fine. It did not matter. What really helped me get comfortable was to see everybody else being comfortable. It was not sexual at all. Nobody got hit on. Nobody got leered at or talked about as they walked by, it was much more inclusive and loving, if you will, than it was going to a regular pool, going to the hotel pool for a party that I thought that I was going to go to. It was much more empowering than that. 

I, you, we, we all have the ability to decide to be comfortable. All you have to do is decide. Oftentimes, as entrepreneurs or as people in general, you will find yourself in a situation where it’s new for you, and it feels really awkward. Again, you are in control of making your own experience. You can decide that you’re going to keep being uncomfortable or you can just decide, you know what, I’m here and I’m going to make the most out of it, okay. That’s the first thing. 

The second thing I realized is that there are so many limiting beliefs that we subscribe to, and that are put on us by society. I did not have a worry about is my swimsuit too tight? Are my thighs rubbing together? Am I hanging out the back? I didn’t have any of those normal self-conscious thoughts that I was thinking about, or that I normally think about when I’m in a swimsuit in front of other people, right? I didn’t have any of that insecurity. 

Also, amazingly, which is hard for me to admit, but I know that we all judge people, we all judge the way people dress, the clothes that they wear, how they look in their clothes. That’s just the vanity of American society or maybe just society on a global level, as well. There was no judgment that crossed my mind about anybody’s body fitness level, whether they should have had clothes on or shouldn’t have had clothes on. It was the most non-judgmental experience that I feel like I’ve had in a long time. I think the reason why is because nobody had any clothes on and they were all everybody was comfortable. 

Again, it was my crew that was really uncomfortable being without clothes, but everybody else was really comfortable. It just made me think about how many self-limiting beliefs we choose to subscribe to and that are put on us by society. Why shouldn’t you be able to walk around naked if you want to? I mean, obviously there are laws in certain places that make that illegal to do, but why shouldn’t you be able to be comfortable in your body however your body looks? Why shouldn’t you be able to be comfortable showing up how you are, with the hair that you have, with the accent that you speak with, with the experience that you have, with the family that you come from, right? 

There are all these messages in the world that are telling us that we’re not good enough or that we’re not okay the way that we are. We absolutely have every right to unsubscribe from those beliefs and from those programs. 

I tell you, when I did it at the spa, in that moment, it was freeing. I felt more free and more comfortable than I really had and ever had probably, maybe ever and certainly in a long time. I didn’t care what other people thought. I wasn’t thinking about what other people thought, and I wasn’t thinking about other people either. The beautiful thing about it was is that there were people with all different body types. There were people who were, we would consider skinny. There were people who we would normally consider overweight. There were women who had C-section scars. I saw tummy tuck scar. I saw people with different abilities and disabilities. I saw folks who were transgender, right? Everybody was just comfortable. 

What happens if we start to take those self-limiting beliefs off of us and start to analyze, what programs are we subscribing to and which ones can we hit the unsubscribe button to, so we can find that freedom? 

The last thing is, I touched on it before. Again, we have the ability to choose the outcome of any situation. A few years ago, I decided that I wasn’t going to talk about good experiences and bad experience experiences, was that a good time or a bad time? No. I was just going to chalk it up to an experience, even if it was uncomfortable or unpleasant, hey, it was an experience. If I book a flight, and I don’t have a good time on the trip, it was an experience. If I go out on a date with somebody and I don’t like him at all, it was an experience. Or conversely, if I do go have a really good time, great. It was an experience also. 

I think taking off the modifiers of good or bad just allow us to be in the moment and to be present and accepting of whatever it is, instead of being so focused on, is it good or bad? What can I do to make it good or bad? Just let it be. 

When you think about situations that you jump into or relationships that you get into, or work with clients or trips that you take, if you can look at everything as an experience, one that you’re going to do your best to enjoy, but even if there’s something negative that happens along the way, it’s still just an experience. It doesn’t have to color the whole outcome of the situation, right? It doesn’t have to, just because I was unprepared to be at this clothing optional place, doesn’t mean I needed to let it ruin my entire day. It doesn’t mean that I needed to let it ruin my trip, right? We chose to jump in and make the best of a situation and it was 100% worth it. 

My question for you, as I get ready to close out, is where are you holding unchecked beliefs? We all do it. My friend was saying years ago she didn’t like grits, because her mom didn’t grits. When she was a kid, her mom would say, “Oh grits. No, I don’t like grits.” Right? So my friend just assumed that she didn’t like grits. She would say, “Oh, grits. No, those are terrible.” Then one point in college, I think she said she asked herself, “Well do I like grits?” Decided to try them, it turns out she loves grits, but she had taken on her mom’s belief and statements and had not checked them to see if they actually fit or were true for her. 

What are those beliefs that you’re subscribing to? Whether it should be you need to dress this way, you need to mark it in this particular format. You’re only successful if you do this thing, right, or if you have this amount of money, where are those beliefs? Where are you holding them? What do they say? Are they limiting you in some way? Do they still fit you? Not only do they still fit? Do they serve you? If they don’t serve you, unsubscribe and find your freedom. 

All right, that’s it for me today. Thank you for listening to my story about the not so nudist, Nudist Spa the clothing optional situation that I found myself in a couple weeks ago. I hope you enjoyed this story. Please hit like and subscribe to this podcast wherever you are listening. Please do not hesitate to share with your friends and your family and on social media. You can tag me at @ashawilkersonesq on Instagram. All right y’all, take care.


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