As I get older and more in touch with my sensual side, I love to indulge in a little afternoon hanky panky. I think it keeps me young and perky, and I feel so energized afterwards. Over the years I’ve found that it’s best between 3 and 4pm. Slow jams set the mood. Sometimes I take off all my clothes, but not always. Of course, it’s more titillating if I’m undressed. I love the sensuousness of lying down, completely engulfed by a warm ….
I think naps round out the rough edges of an abrasive world. The planet might be less hostile if more people took naps. In some cultures the siesta is part of the day, but in American society, those who nap are considered frivolous, nonproductive and just plain lazy. We are so focused on tasks and goals that when we do give a nod to the nap we call it a power nap. Just lean back in your ergonomic chair in a cubicle and treat yourself to 40 winks. In my opinion, napping while sitting is an oxymoron. Besides, I have never seen reference to a power nap in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, so it’s a total ruse.
There is an art to napping that involves more than merely reclining horizontally and falling asleep. It requires full attention and total immersion of the soul. Commitment is necessary, and it can’t be force-fit into the day. I have heard people say they are just going to take a catnap. That sounds like a waste of a perfectly good snooze. It’s like saying you intend to eat half an ice cream cone, or a quarter of a chocolate chip cookie. Why plan for less when you can have it all?
Some folks lament they can’t quiet their minds enough to sleep. Or they can’t justify spending the time napping when they should be “doing” something. I pity these people. They are depriving themselves of one of nature’s great pleasures. It’s free, you don’t have to travel anywhere and you don’t need special gear to participate. Get over your guilt, people. Succumb to the sublime. Your rough edges will thank you for it.
To be sure, I’ve had my share of bad naps. Before I learned the art, I would go to bed and get under the covers fully dressed. Naps of my youth left me wanting more. They weren’t really restful, and they were not satisfying. I never quite felt refreshed. Now that I look back at these pathetic attempts, I see that they were flights from life. Bad day at work? Naptime. Argument with a boyfriend? Seek solace in some shuteye. I hadn’t yet learned that a nap is special and unique. It should not be abused by using it as an escape and it should never be confused with the more life-supporting activity of sleep. I took it too seriously, like I did everything else back then. Napping was merely sleeping at a different time of day. I merely plunked down my head and fell out. There was no grace involved. It was simply the absence of wakefulness. Youth is wasted on the young, they say. So much REM, so little time.
Now that I’m older and wiser I realize that naps should never be confused with going to bed. Of course, one sleeps when one naps. But naps are more life-affirming, and delicious in their peak hours’ indulgence. Not just dozing or snoozing, they are luscious forays into the land of milk and honey.
After years of practice, I’ve discovered that my best naps are taken on the couch in the living room. Ideally, sunshine streams in through the window from the south. That way I absorb a bit of Vitamin D while I doze. That’s as much productivity and multi-tasking I pretend to muster. Of course, rainy and cloudy days are also perfect because the absence of sunshine is nature’s own eyeshade. Whatever the weather, I experience every layer of sleep as I cascade deeper into it.
My afternoon forays into slumber are enhanced by pre-nap ritual. My fuzzy white slippers line up with the base of the couch, sentinels on guard as I slowly sink into the warmth of repose. Casting cushions cast, I fetch my sleep-supreme floating-on-a-cloud down-filled memory-foam bed pillow with extra neck and spine support. The ritual is complete and I am nap-ready when I carry my Pepto Bismol pink velour robe, which doubles as my blanket, from the bedroom closet.
This ritual is so firmly planted in my napping behavior that when I bring out my robe, Apollo, my 14 year old Labrador retriever, jumps up from wherever he is to follow me into the living room and curl himself on my white slipper sentries. Since Apollo’s age and arthritis make it difficult for him to jump, his puppy-like agility is astonishing and reserved for afternoon kips. No catnap for us. Ready, aim, nap.
All this talk about sleep and slumber has me woozy and yawning. What time is it, anyway? Ah, 3PM.
Bring on the eyeshades and mood music. It’s time for true afternoon delight.