Naked in the Now: Juicy Practices for Getting Present


Naked in the Now: Juicy Practices for Getting Present

By Marijke McCandless (

Do you long for more intimacy, playfulness, and vitality? Are you tired of living in a world saturated with distractions and demands? Imagine if being present were as freeing and fun as being seduced by a lover – this is the promise of Naked in the Now: Juicy Practices for Getting Present.

Naked in the Now is a unique and playful guide that takes the reader to the heart of their being—a space of pure potential. I’m Marijke McCandless, a mindfulness coach, playfulness instigator, and award-winning writer who helps people shed their inhibitions and skinny dip in the present moment.

Over the last twenty-nine years, I’ve grappled with these questions of presence and connection. They fueled my journey as a seeker and awareness practitioner, leading me to daily meditation, rediscovering the magic of playfulness, and savoring the tiny moments of delight that abound.

The path hasn’t always been easy. I’ve listened to the voices of PTSD stemming from childhood sexual trauma and infidelity, which demanded I stay on high alert. I’ve wrestled with voices advocating for righteous anger as the only means of getting things done, and I’ve battled against self-hate, echoing the belief that “I am inadequate, not enough.” I know well the longing for sweet intimacy with life and a partner.

Pursuing perfection and outward success, I climbed the corporate ladder as a straight-A student. Yet, I discovered the downside of perpetual striving – I judged myself and others for failing to meet unattainable standards. It wasn’t until I learned to relax and accept myself exactly as I am that I found true liberation. I had to befriend my crying-every-day-for-seven-years self and embrace the juicy okayness of the present moment. And by that, I don’t mean uttering platitudes to myself; I mean owning that I am inherently imperfect yet wholly lovable. 

Today, I practice delighting in life as it is, adopting a playful attitude that diminishes suffering. I’ve learned to observe my thoughts during meditation without allowing them to consume me. These practices have allowed me to befriend myself and approach life with curiosity rather than judgment.

I wrote Naked in the Now to share these insights and practices with you.

At its core, Naked in the Now asserts that our deepest desire is to be fully present in life. We often seek this in careers or hobbies that ignite our passion, yet traditional approaches like meditation can feel like work. Naked in the Now teaches us a fresh approach that isn’t about mindfulness and meditation so much as a playful exploration of presence. The practices are less like things to add to our “to-do” list and more like friendly invitations to experience ourselves anew.

This light-heartedness opens us to an intimate, embodied connection with the moment rather than a detached, intellectual understanding. Instead of being at war with our monkey mind, we meet it halfway, intrigued. We learn to stop striving to be different and rest in what is. With each turn of the page, we shed layers of distraction and self-doubt, rediscovering the joy of being fully present.

Naked in the Now is for anyone seeking a deeper connection with their true essence and a more intimate relationship with themselves, others, and the unseen world. Through the metaphor of an “inner striptease,” it guides us to uncover what lies beneath the surface, inviting us into the art of self-inquiry—a tried-and-true approach of many traditions.

Often, what we want is better answers. Asking better questions is much more critical than finding better answers. The right questions help us direct our attention and strip away what no longer serves. For instance, simply asking, “What else is here?” (meaning other than my thoughts) can help us direct attention away from the monkey mind and back into our sensual embodied experience. “Is that so?” and the follow-up “Who would I be without this thought?” invites us to challenge entrenched beliefs and assumptions. Finally, asking, “Who or what am I?” helps us investigate the nature of our being.

Short, engaging, and fun practices throughout the book introduce these questions and others by arousing our curiosity, inviting us to engage in self-inquiry, and exploring our beliefs and assumptions to unveil our true essence. And don’t worry—the book is peppered with juicy personal stories!

Our journey to self-discovery is our own, but we live in a world with others. Naked in the Now also offers tips and healing meditations for restoring and rejuvenating our relationships. The quality of our relationships can profoundly affect our lives, either alleviating or increasing our suffering. As Kirkus Reviews puts it, Naked in the Now offers “Refreshingly uncomplicated ways to improve relationships with a partner or with oneself.”

Through my own journey, I’ve come to cherish the practices I share in this book. These practices have become my guiding light.

Two years ago, my daughter was giving birth to my granddaughter. Things went wrong, and we got a call saying the baby might not live through the night. In those moments of desperation, my practice – this practice – came forth as a shining beacon of light. The moment felt still and thick. In the heart of my being, I met the moment as it was. I realized there was nowhere else I wanted to be but right here, tuning deeply into the love that was present. 

I felt the inevitable helplessness, sitting in the great unknowing. I didn’t beg for any outcome or entertain “what ifs,” and “if only” but instead filled myself up with not missing any of it. The full moon illuminated the desert landscape outside as I felt overwhelming love for my daughter, her husband, and the newborn I had yet to meet. On one of my darkest nights, being naked in the now comforted me the way nothing else could.

Please pick up this book and dive into a journey of self-discovery. I hope the short, fresh practices that abound within will arouse your curiosity, help you change your mindset, teach you about the power of vulnerability and authenticity, and allow you to experience moments of delight – available right now. It is never too late to start this fulfilling journey to the heart of the naked being. The practices shared in this book can sustain you through life’s mundanities and calamities, offering a beacon of light in even your darkest moments. As you embark on this journey, prepare to be awakened to the juicy aliveness that is your birthright.


Naked in the Now: Juicy Practices for Getting Present by Marijke McCandless is available from or from wherever books are sold.


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