Friday, January 08, 2010

Happiness Day 7: Napping: A Spiritual Practice?

I've been laughing ever since last night as I've thought about this blog post. Today's Mini-Happiness Project is officially called "Contemplate the Heavens." Gretchen did this in inspiring ways: she read memoirs of catastrophe, kept a gratitude notebook, and imitated a spiritual master. It was this last one that caught my attention. When I thought of who I'd like to imitate, the main person who came to mind is my mother. She'd never consider herself a spiritual master, but she's genius about one area of life management in a way no one else I've ever met or heard of is: She naps.

Ever since she was in her mid-30s, my mom has taken a mid-day siesta. It's not optional for her--it's as regular a part of her every single day as eating dinner or brushing her teeth. People who know her well schedule around it: we don't call during those hours, or expect the UPS man to be able to deliver a package. And as a result, she is one of the few human beings I know who gets enough sleep.

So as I think about imitating a spiritual master, this is what comes to mind for me. Sleep is this key thing we all need, and yet I regularly structure my life in a way that prevents me from getting it. And I LOVE sleep--it's not like it's this onerous chore. It's FUN to crawl into a warm soft bed at the end of a long day. This afternoon I'll experiment, and see if a few moments of forbidden sleep, captured in the middle of the day, might be even better.

I kind of dig the idea of napping as a spiritual practice :)

Could you do this? Would you? What would it look like to nap for an hour after work, and then get on with the rest of your evening?

8 comments:

LizB said...

I consider napping one of my hobbies. :)

Trish Ryan said...

Liz: That's perfect! I haven't had a good answer for when people ask what I do in my free time...

Now I know just way to say :)

Stacy said...

I live for naps. My college roommates used to ask me if I was okay since I napped so much.

I would nap after work, except I get out at six. A bit too late for a siesta.

kim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beck said...

Napping is a lovely thing, but it makes me stumble around for the rest of the day half-comatose. I need my sleep in 9-10 hour spans, sadly.

kim said...

I'm a full blown napper!

MaNiC MoMMy™ said...

I am a QUEEN NAPPER/SLEEPER! I can fall asleep in as short as 3 minutes and will be starting an awesome dream in as little as 5 minutes. Seriously, i will be half-awake still and the dreams will start. I wake up and will be like, SHIT! I should write that down cuz that would be great for a book. Sadly, I don't write them all down. I can sleep for 13 hours and then take a two-hour nap and be fine! I love sleeping. And with the new bed we got for Christmas. Oh man, it's a wonder I ever leave my bedroom! What a pleasure naps are! Your mom has got it RIGHT!

maryw said...

Elizabeth Gilbert last week, in response to question about meditating, said instead she turns everything off, takes her cat into her bedroom, lies down, and enjoys "a bath of silence."
"Some might call it a nap," she said.