The first time I did it, I was ashamed of myself. The second time I did it, I realized how much I liked it. And after that, it just took a little bit of time before it became an almost regular part of my day. But let’s back up the truck, shall we?
It was a hot day, the air so thick with sea mist that the fan above my head seemed to cut it into juicy slices, each one falling, weighted, onto my shiny sun-kissed skin. I watched a gecko scramble up the side of the wall and behind a picture. A tiny spider hung from a bit of web in the corner. I’ll just lie down for a little bit. Not a second, really. More like a moment to just soak up this new world that is so different than what I am used to. After all, back home they are probably shivering beside a fire. The least I can do is enjoy this heat, right?
A half hour later, there was a knock at my door.
I blinked my eyes open in disbelief. What? Had I fallen asleep? How embarrassing to answer the door with sleepy eyes and a wrinkled face. What will my new friends think of me? I splashed some water on my face and dashed for the door. “Coming!”
“Did we wake you? Were you taking a nap?”
“What, me? (nervous laughter) No, no. A nap? Oh no, I have far too many things to do. I was just— Here, come in...“
In most parts of the modern industrialized world, naps are reserved for toddlers and grandparents. Maybe the rest of us might take a lone nap after Thanksgiving dinner when our stomachs demand it, or on Christmas Day after all the dishes are done and everyone is busy with their new toys, but not on any old normal day, unless we are sick. Naps are lazy, unmotivated, directionless—all the things that go against the very fiber of modernity, capitalism, good business, even the noble idea of a hard working individual. Right?!
Na, ah ah, she says with her finger shaking up high in the air. We got it all wrong. Speaking from experience (many years experience I might add), I can confidently say that what most of us think about naps is a bunch of hogwash. Naps are, in fact, a necessary nutrient for an imagination-rich life. They feed our brains, our spirits, our souls. They make us more effective, more aware, more alive. And not only that, naps are a luxury that all of us can afford, a simple magic that each and every human being of any age, deserves to enjoy. And often, too.
* * *
My Wednesday Wish for You?
To take a nap this week. At least one. And not for long. Maybe twenty to thirty minutes, time anyone can spare. I have a friend who used to bring a pillow to work and curl up whenever she needed it--in her case, under her desk. And she worked in a bank! So find your nap space anywhere you can, anywhere that feels right. Put your worries, your stresses, your deadlines and requirements on pause. Let go of what you think matters to escape for a minute into yourself and into your body, that vessel that houses your magnificent soul. Daydream if you must. But make an effort to rest that mind of yours. Soak up the air, feel your breath give life to your body, and enjoy your luxurious time out. For believe you me, when you find your right dose of nap, things seem to realign, to make better sense, and to somehow grow our days just a little bit more magic.