I’ve napped every day this week! Okay, it’s only Day Four but I’m going to hoot and hollar a bit anyway, especially as I was convinced that on Mothers Day I’d completely space out and forget to nap. I had already composed the “Loser Napper” blog entry in my mind. But, miracle of miracles, I remembered.
My lack of normal brain fog might have been because Saturday night I returned with my hubby from two nights of hiking bits of the Appalachian Trail in West Virginia and Maryland and getting – please be seated – a total of twenty-one hours of sleep! I think the last time I slept that much and that soundly was before I got pregnant with my first son twelve years ago.
Sitting in bed the first morning of our sleep-fest, twenty minutes late to the 8.30am breakfast that Al and Allison (the B & B owners) laid out, we calculated that the last time we went away for two nights of R and R without the kids was eight years ago in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Al and Allison’s breakfast would have to wait; which was no sweat-off-my back because a month ago I learned I’m sensitive to gluten so the likelihood that I’d be able to eat anything they put on the table other than the fresh fruit was close to if not zero.
Did I mention I read 32 pages of a novel? I even brought it hiking with us and read on a rock overlooking Harpers Ferry.
The last time I read for pleasure was a year after “Eat, Pray ,Love” came out when a friend told me I would love it, that it was the most popular book out there, the author had been on Oprah and she was just up my alley of spiritual seeker. So I bought the book during our one week beach holiday, opened it with yummy anticipation, and twenty pages in my heart began to beat the “ho-hum” drum and I should have known to put it down, this isn’t my kind of book, but bouyed by the craze about this book I had to keep reading, and reading and by the end of our beach vacation I found myself supremely pissed off at the author and the general premise of the book. I felt like someone should have told me it was a “How to Get Your Groove Back” for single women book because as a mother it felt like a farce. When was I going to travel to Italy, India and Bali for months on end to find spiritual enlightenment with two elementary school-aged boys? Come on. “Eat, Pray, Laundry” was more like my life.
I gave up pleasure-reading after that, satisfied with reading “The Lightning Thief” to the boys and the occassional “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” sleeper- novels . Until this weekend when I started Ann Lamott’s new book which, while at page 32 everyone seems like a whack job, at least the book has a mother and child relationship, something I can relate to.
Okay, back to napping! After our boys served me and my mother breakfast (I ate two huge plate-size pancakes; one gluten-free, which had the consistency of a rock, and the other wheat because I just could not resist!) I took a walk with my mom and then went to see Jacob play in the final rounds of his squash tournament (the squash community seems to have no regard for “love” holidays as the last tournament was on Valentine’s Day). Jacob lost, which was hard enough for him but in the final game he really disintegrated into hysterics and by the end kicked the squash ball and came running over to me, face red, digging his head and body behind me in hiding as he sobbed, his squash racquet smashing me in the forehead.
What’s a Mothers Day without at least one injury to mom?
After squash my brother and family met us out to eat and then we returned home where the kids played soccer, which also led to hysterics from my younger son, Aden, who was accidentally kicked in the thigh by his sixteen-year old six foot cousin. Again, mom to the rescue with an ice pack.
By the time everyone left I was ready for a nap. It was 3.30pm – perfect time. I told the boys I was going for a 22-minute nap so don’t disturb me. It seemed clear. Jacob even said “Okay, mom” but then a second later asked:
“Mom can you take me to the park and play with me?”
“But, Jacob, did you hear what I just said? That I’m taking a nap now? I need 22-minutes for me.”
Sometimes, mothers, we must wrestle for our naps and that’s just what I did.
Laying down at 3.30pm was the most delicious feeling, my body felt like I’d just ate an ice cream sundae and retired to a hammock on a beach. I think I let out seven sighs in the first minute. Robin’s voice on the CD encourages sighing and I love that, it feels like I’m releasing black smoke from my mouth and nostrils.
Oh, and the eye bag, I must mention that, was divine. The slight pressure of the bag, combined with complete darkness felt like it was giving my eyes permission to rest.
The wonderful thing about yoga nidra is that there is nothing to do – just listen and remain restful yet awake enough to hear Robin’s guided meditation. And this is what I did, but first I recited a poem, one of my favorites by Maya Angelou:
A Woman in harmony with her spirit
is like a river flowing.
She goes where she will without pretense and
arrives at her destination
prepared to be herself
and only herself.
Aaah, breathing into this off I went into my first yoga nidra nap.
I want to say a few things about creating a Sankulpa because, especially as you begin, it’s a super-important concept in yoga nidra. It’s basically setting your intention for the practice. It’s like a resolution with a yogic twist. Your sankulpa can be a general goal like to be more loving to yourself and others or it can be more specific, for example, to be more loving to a person in your life.
Whatever you chose, it’s important to create a sankulpa to define your intention for your practice. I may call doing yoga nidra a nap, but it’s much more. Anyone can take a nap and, sure, sleep alone has benefits. But yoga nidra is a nap laced with powerful roads to self-discovery. I’ve done it before, I teach it, but I’ve never committed to doing it consistently every day for a year. I want to see where a nap a day takes me because I’ve had hints of my True Nature from practicing yoga nidra before and whenever I’ve connected to my True Nature life just feels right.
For me, my sankulpa for this year is to feel more over-all well-being. Just looking at last month’s family calendar made it clear my well-being must be a priority. What person with an Olympic schedule doesn’t take care of themselves?
Also, I’ve moved seven times in the past five years. And move number eight is about to happen this summer. (although this move will be local, still just the thought of packing up boxes and transporting my son’s Lego library to another home triggers truck-driver exhaustion).
And if all this isn’t enough to drive any mother to more well-being, I’d like to throw in my physical self: nutty periods, fibroids, skin mayhem, and a lack of bounce to my step. I’ve been taking the attitude perhaps not unfamiliar to most moms and other busy women that my well-being will come later: when the kids get older, when I have more time.
Well, later is now.
That first nap was delicious and pretty easy to orchestrate but I’m not a fool. Day Two finding time for a nap was much more of a juggle. After being out all day I rushed back to pick up Aden and his friend from school, was 14 minutes late to get Jacob (does he carry a stop-watch?), drove Aden and three other boys to soccer practice, checked my work mail box, and got home at 5pm, dinner calling my name.
The good news is I decided dinner could wait. I needed my 22-minute nap. I told Jacob the news.
“Great!” he responded, which was a good answer because I was not only exhausted I had just started my period so “no” was a potentially dangerous answer.
Nap number two was delicious and rejuvenated my body big time. And the best news? When I was napping my hubby came home and started dinner which without a doubt gives him the “You Rock!” award of the week.
Okay, he forgot I was gluten free and made pasta, but we had leftover rice in the fridge so I ate that.
And here’s another bit of “good napping news.” Yesterday, Day Three, I went to my acupuncturist and after months of her saying she could barely get a pulse anywhere in my body – the blood just wasn’t flowing – she said my river has begun to flow! Pulses are still like hard spaghetti when they should feel fully cooked, but at least they’re not like angel hair pasta!
And on that gluten-rich analogy, I’ll close.