Yesterday you took a nap. In the afternoon. You lay down for just a moment and lost a lovely hour to lavender-scented pillows. When you woke up the light had changed and your body was weighted with sleep. Limbs aching for a bath there wasn’t time for, but a mind as light as a feather.
You felt good. Drowsy and inspired. But you also felt ashamed. As if the sleeping police prowl the length of this lane in search of housewives napping their afternoons away, ready to bash down the doors and ring ugly alarms at their bedside. You felt ashamed of doing something your body so clearly needs
Ashamed and vulnerable. For it was only a week ago that burglars had rampaged one or two of the beautiful houses in your lane in daylight, and stole away with jewellery and other women’s security. And there you were, asleep, not knowing whether the back door was locked or indeed whether there was a cat burglar or two prowling around ready to ease your ring off sleepy fingers and disappear into the afternoon with your kitten tucked under his grasping arm.
Ashamed, vulnerable and guilty. Is there no end to the litany of futile emotions you are willing to inflict upon yourself? Heavens what would life be like if you let yourself be? If naps were common occurrences when your body is crying out for them? If you set an alarm, closed the curtains and gave yourself permission to nap instead of having one forced upon you, because your body tells you there is no other choice. What then?
But no. Instead you jump up from your cosy bed in horror. Permission had NOT been granted. Here yet again is an example of your body asserting herself. Letting you know who is in charge. Saying come now, if you will not respond to my needs I will simply do what I have to do regardless and you (silly you) will thunder down the stairs, heart banging in horror at letting me win.
For the body always wins doesn’t it? When we over-stretch ourselves, it pulls in the reigns and blesses us with a sniffly nose that says slow down. We decide to read late into the night and our eyes close before we make it through the first paragraph. The body knows best. It is the mind that stuffs us with donuts, the body that quietly makes its disappointment heard with a bloated tummy and a spoonful of regret sent coursing through our veins. It is the body that says no. The mind that says more, now, again.
Once upon a time your body and mind were more closely aligned than they are today. Once upon a time you were willing to listen to the beat of your heart and respond as necessary. Once upon a time you did not pit irrational emotion against natural order, nor live, merely to endure what is turning into an almost constant battle within.
Today, after a decent nights sleep in a bedroom that is now almost monastic, you are ready to fight another day. To eat food that nourishes you and sleep when you need to. Today you might cry your heart out, come to terms with yourself, this body, pick your way slowly through the seeds of a pomegranate and know what it is to be right here and right now without guilty penance paid for just being.
Today might be that day. Permission granted Sweetheart.