As the sun sets this evening, twilight’s honey-tones grow grey with a misty haze which falls slowly over the neighborhood. My mind is still wrapped in gauzy dream-scraps spun earlier, as I took day-long refuge under the covers. I hadn’t planned to nap, but morning’s to-do list seemed so much less important at the start of this day than it did at the end of yesterday. So I indulged.
I didn’t tell anyone I would be spending the day in bed. And I didn’t make any excused….fained illness or injury, tired or worn out. The truth is, I have been feeling energized and alive. But sometimes, I just want to be by myself, with my mind and spirit…quiet. And living in a house full of active adults can mean little time for that. So, the bed won out over the world today.
My dreams were vivid. Themes of water and adventure. Reflective, most likely, of the high emotional rush I am getting from living the life I have dreamed of living: the degree I worked for is now achieved, the job I wanted has been mine for a full year, the desire to do art is fulfilled nearly daily. I celebrate a happy home and a happy heart. What more could I ask for?
But I remember a time when napping didn’t come so easy to me. As a child, my mother was active and driven to accomplish her to-do list, so for her, adult naps seemed useless and a waste of time. She had a name for adults who napped during the day. “They are nappers”, she would say, helping me to categorize the personality type of friends and family. I never felt like she was judging them, only pointing out how they spent their time, in the same way she might say someone preferred cooking or gardening or golfing. They napped.
She learned not to nap from her mother and probably felt its pull for several generations back. The only time my mother was in bed during the day was if she was sick. And that was often. She suffered from weekly migranes that would crush her, wipe her out, and then leave her struggling to put herself together again.
Mom died in her mid 40’s. I was 21 then, and I wondered to myself if she might have been less sick if she had taken naps, thinking maybe the headaches where her body’s way of making her slow down. Maybe, the body gets its rest whether we approve or not.
After she died, I often wanted to curl up in the middle of the day with my feelings of loss. I was a new adult, and I had a decision to make. I was curious what life on the other side might be like. So I broke with the family tradition and took up napping.
In college, I discovered that napping helped me study. I could drift off to a realm of sleep where my mind and imagination would toy with ideas. Discoveries would emerge in that space of possiblity and return with me to my waking life.
I felt like being a napper gave me access to secret powers that others had not discovered. I liked to believe I was using that big portion of the brain that never gets used. I called it power napping. I know this isn’t a new term, but the way I meant it felt new to me. Before I knew what napping could do for me, I thought it was just something to give me a boost of energy, but the way I napped felt epic, transformational and even mystical.
I feel as though I have made a discovery that must have been lost to my people as my mother and her family worked so hard to get ahead. I felt as though some part of my heritage must have been found again, like a wise woman seed bloomed forth in me as my mother passed as a way of making up for this huge loss. I couldn’t go to her for my wisdom, but I could access the subconscious where I found so much inspiration and so many answers.
And so, today, I indulged in the self-loving and self-caring ritual of napping. In it, I have rediscovered a quite but resonating power that lives within. I reach back, past Momma’s practically with its motto to keep moving and keep doing, to the honorable, ancesteral sect of nappers who must have understood the creative realm available in the between-time when dreams and reality dance as one. Because, in that vast space, I am able to find myself and collect a treasure troth of possibility that I might never find unless I stop to look for it.