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For those about to nap . . .
I salute you.
There’s a special awareness that comes over you when one becomes a parent. It’s a superpower of sorts - a sixth sense- where you know the *exact* moment your child needs a nap. Are they crying more than usual? Did they do or say something out of character? Giving creepy blank-eyed stares to the ceiling fan? Naptime!
I don’t think the movie Gremlins was meant to be a metaphor for parenting, but I also …don’t think it isn’t? We learn in the beginning some strict rules that must be adhered to when caring for little mogwai creatures. Our cuddly hero Gizmo must: avoid bright light, never get wet, and not eat after midnight. Seems easy enough. But, it’s not!
The rules are broken and disaster ensues. Cuteness disappears! Cue screaming! One little move from routine and *boom* tiny monsters are now swinging from the ceiling fan.
My wife and I learned quickly the healing power of naps for our little people. They never quite turned into gremlins per se, but they could sometimes become so tired they were nearly unrecognizable from the child we knew. Tiny naps have fixed some very big problems. We’ve witnessed rest return our children to their humanity. I’m only recently realizing, though, just how much the same is true for me.
I don’t take naps.
I am not proud of this. In fact, I’m beginning to rethink my stance. This conclusion was not arrived at through my own personal brilliance. It’s my body. For a very long time it has been trying to tell me to slow down and I have refused to listen.
I’ve been crying more than usual. I haven’t been myself. I’ve been giving creepy blank-eyed stares at ceiling fans. Yep, it’s naptime.
Did you know there are some pretty famous takers of naps throughout history?
Aristotle used naps to unlock his mind when working through particular problems. “For often, when one is asleep, there is something in consciousness which declares that what then presents itself is but a dream.”
Margaret Thatcher took naps nearly every afternoon in the back of her official car. They even placed a special headrest in the back for this very purpose.
JFK took a post-lunch nap daily. No one was to bother him.
Winston Churchill took at least one hour nap each afternoon. He even wrote in his war journal: “Nature had not intended mankind to work from eight in the morning until midnight without the refreshment of blessed oblivion which, even if it only lasts 20 minutes, is sufficient to renew all the vital forces.”
There are stories of Thomas Edison sleeping with a ball in each hand. ( Einstein, daVinci, and Alexander the Great are said to haveused similar techniques.) Apparently he did so with the hopes that one of the balls would fall and wake him. When this happened, he would then rush to write what was one his mind as he woke. Check out this incredible photo of Edison napping next to the President. Nap goals.
Tricia Hersey is founder of The Nap Ministry. In her book, REST IS RESISTANCE (which -I mean, come on, that’s a perfect title) she writes so beautifully: “Treating each other and ourselves with care isn’t a luxury, but an absolute necessity if we’re going to thrive. Resting isn’t an afterthought, but a basic part of being human.”
Today, I am sharing this in case it’s a reminder that you, like me, also need: rest.
Yes, there is much good that needs to be done in the world. Yes, we have many problems to solve and challenges to overcome. Maybe, though, many of our world’s problems would be solved if we could all took more naps. If we could pause the urgency, slip into quiet, and return to our better more-rested selves. Rest and help each other rest. That’s our work.
I have a business to build. I have people I want to help. I have a world I want to change. It’s scary for me to admit this, but here goes: I’m toast.
Right now, I need rest.
May we all find the courage to pause. May we have faith to slow down and help others slow down. May we bravely sleep, dream, and wake as our best selves.
Dare to nap.
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