Tuesday, December 14, 2010

rest for the weary

i never liked taking naps.

in kindergarten, we had a designated nap time. each of us had our padded mats. mine was cherry red on one side and royal blue on the other. like the underside of a pillow on a balmy summer night, one side of the mat was always cooler, pressing softly against the concrete floor.

but while all the other kids were slumbering for that blissful hour or so, i was wide awake. i tell you, i could not have been more alert if my life had depended on it. as soon as the lights dimmed and the shuffling of little feet began, my mind would start to race. not in the frantic, worried way it does now, late at night when i'm the only one awake, but just race with excitement. with the idea that i was the only one in the room who wasn't asleep. i felt responsible. i felt like i should be doing something. i felt too keenly aware of my surroundings.  i think it has a large part to do with my stutter. even back then, i was a bundle of nervous energy.

and this pattern of not napping continued. my friends would go home and take naps after school. occupied with cheerleading and homework, that thought never entered my mind. but it wasn't because i didn't want to, didn't long to. i watched in envy as my father napped on lazy sunday afternoons. he'd lay across the living room floor, a sunbeam tickling his forehead. i would be on the computer, typing away at microsoft encarta.

then i met robert, and everything changed.

in our seven years together, he has taught me much. how to change a tire. how to appreciate the dave matthews band, pearl jam and ben folds. how to love unconditionally and honestly keep no record of wrongs. and, most importantly, how to relax, and, specifically, how to nap.

robert takes the most excellent naps. it takes him all of .5 seconds to fall asleep, and once he does, he immediately enters this deep, delicious rest, no matter how long the respite. it's a work of art, really, how his arms slide over his head, his chin tilts to the left and his lips part just slightly, letting out a slow, controlled collection of sighs.
through him, i have learned to appreciate the indulgence of rest. we are humans, not machines. i think it is such a lovely fact that our bodies aren't designed to go nonstop. we absolutely have to sleep. so why not make the most of it? our bedroom is tiny, with white walls and two doors that make way too much noise. there's a shed light right outside our window that flickers on at the slightest breeze. pablo is routinely at my feet, spinning around and pawing the covers. but we make it a point to rest in that space. we have a king bed, soft sheets and heavy blankets. i have a heating pad, velvety socks and a well-loved pillowcase. and it's home.

so i urge you, indulge in what makes you feel rested. you'll be infinitely more prepared to take on the day. everything will get done in due time-rushing typically only slows the process. it might mean leaving those last few dishes in the sink. that extra pile of laundry in the hamper. that glow of the laptop at midnight, beckoning you to check your e-mail. because rest--good, solid, sweet sleep, is the backbone of living, playing and working. you can't have one without the other. i've learned this. it seems robert's teachings have also affected another member of the family:


you don't have to take a nap every day, but letting go is such a freeing, beautiful feeling. when i realized i simply can't do it all, it all became more manageable. so try it. linger a bit longer in the bathtub than usual. heck, just take.a.bath. with the days getting shorter and darkness creeping in earlier, relish in these days, and enjoy earlier bedtimes. because you need it. your body craves it. and chances are, you deserve it.

32 comments:

Peaches said...

"but letting go is such a freeing, beautiful feeling." hello wonderful advice. It's SO hard for me to let go. I try and be superwoman all the time and it is just not possible.

Relaxing doesn't always come easily (believe me I know). Especially with our to-do lists that are miles long. But I'm glad your Robert helps you slow down and relax. It is a needed and wonderful thing.

Laura said...

Your writing is just amazing...I steal away into the kitchen (away from the kids), turn off the radio and enjoy your words... You have a talent... a gift and I hope one day it reaches a much wider audience... Meanwhile, we, your 126 followers are very lucky to share your words! Take care. Lx

Signe said...

Your writing is great as always and I just love that picture! Too bad I can't go home and have a nap today since I must attend to the Christmas party at work!

Have a wonderful day :)

Christi said...

We have much in common. I have never been much of a napper either, but, like you, my husband has taught me much in this area. I still have difficulty making myself wind down and actually DO it, but when I do, the rest does so good.

Once again, your writing makes my day. I agree with a commenter on a previous post -- when are you going to write a book?

Elise said...

I haven't ever been much of a napper either. Luckily you have been taught of the ways, I still haven't. I don't know what it is. I love your blog! Thanks for the kind words on mine :) i'm definitely a happy new follower of yours as well.

Ren- Lady Of The Arts said...

This is so funny as just last night I was looking up the source of 'no rest for the wicked' as it applies to my monkeys!!

jeanette from everton terrace said...

My husband is the same, can fall into a deep sleep just as his head hits the pillow, it's crazy to me. I get insomnia all the time so naps are one of my most treasured treats.

Shalyn said...

What a happy post. Sad, though, that I am at school for 12 hours today with no hope of these sweet things you call naps! ha. Beautiful post, once again!

Ana* said...

I have the hardest time taking naps. I try my best but my mind just doesn't turn off. I will work on this because I want it, I need it, my body needs it too.

Xoxo

bethani said...

i love naps - but i'm always more tired when i wake up. why is that??

cheers to naps!

Jeska said...

I'm not much of a napper. I have to be really really tired. And then I'm out for a long time! But yes, sometimes we do need to remind ourselves to take it easy, relax, and enjoy quiet time..without the computer or tv!

the friendliest flower said...

i love taking naps, so much so that my friends and family make fun of me for taking them. you are an amazing writer, seriously i never read anything so beautifully written about a nap! and i love your blog thanks for stopping by mine :)

Sara Bentley @ Purses Pastries Etc... said...

Cute! Sometimes there's nothing like a good nap :)
Thanks so much for your visit and follow -- I'm happily following you too now! Such a sweet blog :)

lindsay said...

your post is so accurate. our bodies definitely need sleep and rest and we shouldn't overlook this detail. unfortunately i need to get better at letting my body rest. my mind is constantly going and sometimes i just need a break!

thank you for shedding some light on this. i'm happy you found your restful place. i hope to find mine soon as well. thanks love!

Thisisme said...

Wise words indeed, and a gorgeous photo!! You are so right though, in that we need to rest our bodies. I think a lot of us feel guilty about this, which is so wrong. I am pleased that you have learnt how to rest, and I love that Robert taught you to keep no record of wrongs. If only we could all do that, the world would be a better place.

e.day said...

is it bad that i try to take a nap everyday? even when i don't really have time? haha.

i used to think i was an awesome napper (4 hours at a time, sometimes!) and then i met JJ. JJ can fall asleep in 2 seconds flat and stay perfectly asleep even when i move around. i'm jealous. and Ah! you like dave matthews band? fave.

Amber Blue Bird said...

oh i wish i could take naps. its weird even if i am really tired i cant take a nap.

oh i finally completed that list 4 tag today :)

Cara-Mia said...

Your writing makes everything seem pleasing, even taking naps. I have never ever been able to nap... but after reading this, it seems appealing. :)

Claire Kiefer said...

Beautifully written post, and glad you found my blog so that I could in turn find yours! Napping is one of life's greatest blessings. I totally take the opportunity whenever it presents itself, though with as many jobs as I have, it's a sad rarity.

Mo Pie, Please said...

Such a cute picture! I'm not one for naps, I hate that groggy feeling when you wake up because for me, it doesn't go away until I go to sleep again. But I understand the importance of naps!

Thank you so much for the sweet words you left on my blog yesterday, it made my day that much better!

{av} said...

My father is the best napper I know--he takes what he calls "seven minute power naps." I envy him! Thank you for reminding me to take the time...we all need it, don't we? I've been reminding myself to savor the peace and quiet these days because one day (in a few years!) life won't be so quiet once kids enter the picture! As always, thank you for the blog love! xoxo {av}

Jessica said...

There is nothing better than a fantastic nap!

The Bella Life said...

Beautifully written!

Do you sleep with a heating pad too? My sisters and I thought we were the only ones.

-Camberley

Daydream Living said...

Hi Courtney!
I think I had some sort of blogocoma going on, I was absent in blogland for a while, but I'm back and now I have to make a new cup of tea and read a lot of your posts! How can I've missed them? So, will be back soon, take care sweetie!
Maureen x

Daydream Living said...

Ok, I've read 3 posts, and I had to comment; Your nr.2 on your list this year (less worries) is a very good eye opener for me, I'm the same, so thank you for this (will have to copy this in my notebook). Also the Maya Angelou quote, priceless! (will copy that one too). Ok, I will continue now, Oh, and I saw that you tagged me, so sweet of you, I promise to sit down and make my 4 things post.
Maureen x

vintch said...

thank you, sweet friends, for your uplifting, kind comments! @the bella life: YES! is there another way to sleep BESIDES with a sleeping pad? My mama and sister do too. There's nothing quite like it. Do you get crazy dreams when you use yours? I used to never be able to remember my dreams, but since I started sleeping with a heating pad, they've been so dramatic!

@daydream living: hi maureen! so glad you're back, and thank you for your sweet comments! can't wait to read your "list of 4"-you are such a beautiful spirit, I'm sure your post will be fabulous! p.s. I LOVE how you called it a blogocoma:) so cute!

Daydream Living said...

Well Courtney, you sure have a way with words, wow, I read, drink tea, smile, sigh, nod my head, drink more tea, and think, More people should read what you write! I love these last posts! Still, two more to read, I also started a bit in the wallflower book, so lovely written, perhaps I can ask my sweetheart (who is now in NC) to get me a copy, so thanks for the link!
And the listening part in your other post, it's so true, that was a nodding my head moment.
Sorry for these long comments, but I was so behind and I want you to know that your words are stuck in my head, so spreading the love, girl, you are doing it by writing this blog! xx

vintch said...

maureen, you are such an angel:) your sweet words make me smile. thank you, thank you, thank you! and you would love that book! it's a really quick read, and pretty short, so not too much of an investment:) have a lovely evening!

Daydream Living said...

So, now I'm done reading, with a smile! Thanks for your lovely replies.
My sweetheart also can take powernaps, I can't, I need more time to unwind (my mind is always jumping up and down).
Have a good night, for me it's already in the middle of the night so see you soon sweetie!
Maureen x
(oh, and the movie Where the heart is, one of my favourites!)

Emily said...

I totally took a nap today and it would have been even more amazing had my housemate not been banging around in her room but nonetheless it was so great after a long day. I feel like time kinda freezes when you nap and when I wake up I feel like I still have so many hours in a day, kinda strange but I feel like I gain time. I kid you not I even napped at 10 pm one night just to wake up at 11 and keep going haha

Kristen said...

love this, and your blog. i think i'm a professional napper. i work night shift and sleep when it's light out, so falling asleep in the middle of the day is no big deal for me anymore :)

Sarah Elizabeth said...

You have a really lovely way with words.

I think I'm pretty good at relaxing most of the time, especially in the winter. After I've cleared up after dinner I change into my cosy pyjamas, cashmere bed socks and with a woolen shawl wrapped round my shoulders I climb into bed with a book, a movie or my knitting. I have trained my husband well to bring me a mug of steaming tea and sometimes a wee piece of chocolate just at the right moment. After a hard day of work I believe I deserve these few hours to myself.

x x

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