Rest is Embodied Liberation
Around the breakfast table, a few days before the winter holiday break, my family members look at me and ask: Are we going to REST?
I can be a slow learner. I don't think I'm alone.
In our society, we are enculturated into the capitalist machine that unendingly communicates:
We are convinced it’s the only way. How would we learn to be different?
I didn’t think I deserved rest, especially in the face of horrific inequity and injustice.
I’m taking steps toward learning that horrific inequity and injustice is exactly why we need rest.
Dear friends, it’s changing my life.
The Nap Bishop, Tricia Hersey, is my teacher. She says rest is for all of us, while centering the most marginalized. Wise guides gently reminded me recently to listen to Rest is Resistance via audio, so I could hear The Nap Bishop's voice directly.
It's soaking over me, deep into my bones, heart, and mind. I feel the breath in my lungs. I expand. I deepen. I began to glimpse rest as a daily part of life, not something we kill ourselves to grasp in the future.
Rest is liberation.
"Tricia Hersey whispers 'rest is a form of resistance' to me, to you, to those who think resistance is always movement. Her message is essential: Sit. Lay down. Slow down. Rest is a necessary step in reclaiming our power to resist systemic oppression."
- Ibram X. Kendi
Author of How to Be an Antiracist and Stamped from the Beginning
I notice and let go of my desire to urgently list all tasks, remember everything, work unendingly, and attempt perfection. I notice my desire for certainty and let it go...over and over again.
I expand to grasp tentatively at rest, little by little.
If you follow the Nap Ministry on IG or have read Rest is Resistance, how have you interacted with it? What have you practiced? What resonated?
"This book will save lives and transform the world. Tricia Hersey speaks the truth about rest, a truth that begins our unraveling from the lies of white supremacy and capitalism. Gradually we refuse to live at a machine pace. We surrender to the beautiful experiment of being human. We return to our truest selves. This is a book to read again and again, slowly, savoring it sentence by sentence. I'll be giving copies to everyone I work with and everyone I love."
- Emily Nagoski, Ph.D.
Bestselling author of Come as You Are and Burnout
In this short audio, How to think about rest as a form of resistance from All Things Considered (NPR), Shereen Marisol Meraji interviews Tricia Hersey. She unpacks four tenets of Rest is Resistance:
- Rest is a form of resistance because it pushes back and disrupts white supremacy and capitalism.
- Our bodies are a site of liberation. And that brings into the somatics the idea that wherever our bodies are, we can find rest.
- Naps provide a portal to imagine, invent, and heal.
- Our dream space has been stolen, and we want it back. We will reclaim it via rest.
“Liberation is a process. It is dynamic. It never ends.”
- Emily Towns
As I grow my practice of rest, I am curious about The Nap Ministry's Rest Deck: 50 Practices to Resist Grind Culture while laughing at my penchant to race, hurry, rush, and do it all perfectly all of the time.
I breathe. I let that go over and over again. I think about the glimpse of expansiveness and joy when I practice rest in liberated community.
With joy, I stumble. I breathe.
Envision a liberated future in which we rest. What if that was now?
Consider hope’s flame.
Take a walk. Gaze at the sky.
Listen. Look. Notice.
Sit for ten minutes on the couch. What do you notice?
Listen to your body. What does it know, and what do you want to know?
Reclaim the body's knowing as liberation.
This holiday, I’m going to listen over and over. Pull myself back from distraction and numbing. Imperfectly embrace my family’s plea:
Are we going to REST?
It’s radical love. Are you going to rest?
Fellow leaders and learners, I wish you courage, rest, and beloved community along the journey.
What I’m Reading/Watching/Listening to:
- Rest is Resistance: a Manifesto by Tricia Hersey
- The Nap Ministry
- Ep010: Rest is Resistance with Tricia Hersey by Layla Saad
- The Nap Ministry on Instagram
Questions for Consideration from Tricia Hersey’s Rest is Resistance Discussion Guide:
- Tricia talks about the legacy of her family's exhaustion and their rest practices. What have you learned about rest from your family?
- In the book, there are flexible guidelines to help you begin to craft a rest practice. Can you imagine what a rest practice would look like for you?
- The book is filled with direct questions and inquiries to ponder. They may take a lifetime to answer. Is there a question that stood out to you? Share it with others.
- Tricia uplifts the importance of deepening into this work not just from the surface level of napping alone. She says numerous times, “This is about more than naps.” In what ways is this work about social justice and a politics of refusal?
- Write a list of wishes you'd like to see for a rested world. Begin each with, “I wish you…”
- Who taught you how to rest? How can you make space for others to rest?
December 27, 2023