Photo by Charlie Watts Photography. It is part of a photography project curated by Tricia Hersey, founder of The Nap Ministry and the photographer.
I have claimed the Year of 2020 as “The Year of Grief. The Year of Rest.” I took an impromptu 3 week Sabbath during the height of the uprisings for Black Lives that spilled millions onto American and international streets. I watched with pride as people reacted and protested in a way that shows they are still human. We are divine human beings. Our culture forgets and hides this truth. I was beaming with pride and joy to see. But, I am still processing. So, I signed off from work emails, social media, technology, and labor to grieve and process. I practice what I preach.
I am still processing a global pandemic. I am grieving all the lives lost and missed opportunities. I miss gathering for our Collective Napping Experiences. I am disgusted by our racist health system that has been this way forever. Black, Latino, and Indigenous People are dying at higher rates from COVID-19 due to this sick system. I am sitting in this grief and will not look away. I want to mourn and lament and realize this culture is not set up with systems of care to allow others to stop long enough to rest. This is why this Ministry exists.
I am sick of rushing and the obsession with opening back up and getting back to normal. I never want to see normal or the way it was again. It is time for a new way. Rest and slowing down will be the foundation for this liberated future that many are screaming about online via memes, in the streets during the uprisings for Black Lives and in our hearts. We are not well. We are exhausted and disgusted. I am still grieving from hearing in disturbing detail the lynching of George Floyd by police in Minnesota. I did not watch the video and will never watch the video. I protect my heart and eyes from what my bones already know – I am a target in America. This is not new information. It’s ancient.
So, I am now back from 3 weeks of rest and slowing down. I felt like an outlier the entire time as my inboxes filled up with requests for interviews to speak about the uprisings, to share the repetitive Good News of Rest that I have been preaching since 2016. People were hungry for a reply. Thirsty for me to calm the exhausted beast and soothe the hearts of those who finally decided to wake up to the racial terror that Black folks have been yelling about for decades and centuries. It has always been time for justice. It has always been time to rest. Rest is a form of resistance because it disrupts and pushes back against capitalism and white supremacy. This is our main tenet since we started researching our REST IS RESISTANCE framework back in 2013. We cling to this truth like a lifeboat in a raging sea. We cling to the power of collective care and collective rest opening the DREAMSPACE that will allow us to invent and imagine a New World rooted in rest.
I am back from Sabbath still processing. It was a beautiful resistance and I went in and out of a liminal space of sleep and meditation. I daydreamed. I stared at the sky. May a space to daydream and slow down open to you. May you realize the power of taking rest since no one will give it to you. This is why rest is a resistance and a slow meticulous love practice. We must continue deprogramming from grind culture. We must continue not turning away from our own terror. We must deconstruct around the ways we uphold grind culture, capitalism and white supremacy. We must wake up. We will rest.
In rest and power,
Your faithful Nap Bishop