In praise of nap time

The news is really out now. Though I’ve been doing my best for years — decades — really, a lifetime — to spread the word about the super goodness of naps, it took Oprah to make it official.

Straight from the August 2011 issue of O (The Oprah Mag), Dr. Mehmet Oz has this to say:

A 2007 study of more than 23,000 Greek adults may have revealed a surprising key to their legendary vigor — the siesta. Compared with those who power through the day, adults who nap for a minimum of 30 minutes at least three times a week have a 37 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease.

When it comes to this kind of healthy effect I’m all over it. I’m all about excess when it comes to nappage. By my wildly unscientific calculations I figure that if I take three times the number of naps suggested above then I’ll receive three times the benefit. Sure this will require double napping on some days of the week, but for a 111% lower risk factor I’m willing to engage in that extreme discipline.

Some years ago I bought Take a Nap! Change Your Life by sleep researcher Dr. Sara Mednick. I was already convinced about the utility of napping, as is most of my family. My bro — a dynamo from dawn to dark and beyond — is a great example of someone who powers down and then powers right back up upon emerging from a nap. No one would ever accuse him of being a slacker (nor would you for Edison, Einstein, JFK, and Churchill either, among other famous nappers).

I bought it not for me, though it was enlightening, I bought it as evidence for others who poo poo the idea of a nap as they slog on through their afternoons too drowsed out to be effective.

Evolved people know that downtime is one of the most valuable gifts they can give themselves.

— Michael Bernard Beckwith, Spiritual Liberation 

So now you have one more reason — scientific and all — to do what your body is telling you to do.

PS: An effective nap is rarely over 30 minutes long, and can sometimes be as short as the time it takes for a spoon to drop out of your relaxed hand and hit a plate (Edison’s favorite method for the ultra-short nap).

 

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Interviewing your heroes: Holly Briscoe edition

My God you’ve got to try this! Try interviewing your heroes. I just did that today for the first time. Bypass the people you don’t know who you think are your heroes and go straight to people you’ve met who are heroes to you.

My brother has long had the practice of calling up inspirational people in his area and taking them to lunch. It’s a means of getting to know a bit about them in a relaxed setting. I’ve adopted this practice for The World Is Freaky Beautiful blogsite (that link links back to this very webpage — is that a call for help, or just geeky fun?). In my case I’ve been interviewing individuals who seem like they might have special personal-spiritual exploration stories to share. 

As a quick aside, I’m convinced everyone has more than one story to tell. I’ve mentioned this to Ann (my lover woman wife), if you sat me down with ten people I’d come away with a hundred stories. We’re filled with them, even if we don’t acknowledge it ourselves.

Recently I decided to also interview my heroes — the ones I’ve met along the way who’ve inspired me. Today was the first outing for that series. I had a chance to sit down and chat with Holly Briscoe, the woman — woman? Nay, the immortal! — who inspired me to a life passion for yoga.

You know you’ve got it bad when . . . 

You know yoga’s got you by the toe hairs when you’re doing your practice in a $25-a-night room in a Santa Rosa, New Mexico motel . . . in below-freezing temperatures, the heater only performing intermittently, on a rug so barren and nasty each accidental move off the mat sends you into squeamish contortions . . . ah, yes, yoga for life, anywhere, everywhere, wherever you’re at. Holly inspired that kind of craziness.

Nothing in that interview with Holly will be shared today, that will come in future posts. This is the important part — it was a thrill chill to do it. You too have heroes who’ve been a part of your life. You too can inspire yourself by interviewing someone inspirational to you. You too can float on a cirrus cloud of a mental high for the day.

As with everything, that contagion of glee will spread to others. That joy will squirt out like air from an untethered happy balloon.


A final note, more of a request than a plea:
See Holly, train with Holly

If you’re in Palm Beach County, you’ve got to get yourself to one of Holly’s classes. If you’re elsewhere, you’re gonna have to get yourself on a plane and book a session with her. She’s that goood. She’s so good she gets three ooos. That’s the top good rating you can get for goodness, just so you know.

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Whenever you catch yourself _______, don’t stop

Whenever you catch yourself in the middle of your day . . .

daydreaming
(about how good things could be)

fantasizing
(about date night with your spouse)

in a reverie
(thinking about your kid’s easy laughter)

. . . don’t stop!

You are opening the flow gates to more——————

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They went looking for it

Recently Ann and I were talking with Dave and Cathy Beck about their time together in California. As we spoke they related stories about how much they enjoyed the days when they would set out on a search for some item, generally for a project Dave was working on.

The object of the search would be different each time . . . in their telling of these search days there was palpable relish for the process — for the ways they would wind around town, the off-beat paths they would take, and for how often they located exactly what they were looking for.

The ultimate find involved a most unusual item a client of Dave’s sought: the back portion of a sailboat. To be mounted on a wall and finished off for display.

OK, imagine this, your client has requested a very specific, unusual thing that doesn’t exist naturally in the world, and you set out on a mission to locate it. And then you do, lah di dah, there it is.

Finding it

Dave came across exactly that! In the midst of a bunch of trash and debris, there it was — not a full sailboat that would need to be sawn off/sheared off/dismantled — no, it was what he was looking for, and only what he was looking for, the back portion of the sailboat.

What are the odds?! I’ve never seen the back half of a sailboat in my life and I grew up on and around the water in Florida — not without being attached to the front half — and probably neither have you, and certainly not Dave and Cathy. But they went looking.

This of course brings to mind David Langley’s search for a specific tome of erotica in Paris (not as easy as you’d think, if you haven’t read the post).

It also brings to mind anything you’ve sought that has come to you as much as you’ve come to it . . . .

Desire in motion

The commonality is simple: They went searching for it! You went searching for it!

I’ve gone searching for it and have found it too. I’m not referring to those dubious adventures in youthful love-lust where alcohol may have been the more magical factor — though those times count too. It all counts.

Every time we go looking for something unique — and find it — it confirms this proposition: That if you want it, you must seek it. You must set out for it. You must act as if it is possible to find it. You’ve heard of chance encounters on airplanes, elevators, in unexpected locations, where someone encounters exactly the person needed for the next decisive leap on their dream journey.

Setting yourself in motion sets the object/desired result in motion too. Before Meetup.com there was Meetup.Universe, and it was just as elegant a way to make it happen . . . . Luckily for us Meetup.Universe never, ever stops working on our behalf, as long as we’re working on our behalf.

 

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The mind, the body, freaky results

I was at a meeting last year when a woman described her mother-in-law, long afflicted with severe arthritis, aging backward as she slipped further and further into senility.

As her mother-in-law lost years and then decades of memory, something unexpected happened. Her arthritis vanished. When she had regressed to her thirties — she was living mentally as if from that period in her life, unable to recall anything from after that time — the arthritis left along with her memories of her later years. The knobs on her finger joints went away! She could grip items with ease. She’d lost the latter part of her life yet had regained dexterity.

What is that all about? And can we tap into it in a healthy way?

We don’t know the mechanics in a scientifically meaningful way yet — or else we’d all be running off to the hypno-belief-o-therapist and changing our lives this instant! — but this woman’s experience reminds us of our mental-physical powers.

It is one more indicator that the mind wields a far more certain influence than we even credit today.

Dr. Candace Pert calls it the body-mind, since mind and body are so inextricable as to seem one. Use yours wisely!

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Finding an erotic book in Paris

It doesn’t sound so difficult, does it? It’s Paris, home of the erotique, and if you have a French-speaking girflfriend, who has Parisian acquaintances, how hard can it be? In theory it should be more difficult to find monogamy there than an erotic book . . . .

This is a tale of desire, a little desperation, and ultimately surrender.

Years ago David Langley headed to Paris with his then girlfriend. David is famous for his erotic book collection, among other things. In it he had a book, on the back of which featured another book he wished to acquire. It had all the info he needed — an image of the book and title, the retail outlet, and the address in Paris. So how hard could it be?

He was there for a month, yet quickly the trail to his cherished new book disappeared. The store was no longer at the address. They couldn’t find the business through standard information sources. When his girlfriend asked around to acquaintances, nothing turned up. Each day as they tootled around Paris, they asked and searched, to no avail.

On his last night in Paris, his girlfriend tired out, David wandered the streets of Paris alone, despairing of finding his book! He went down alleyways, into unknown neighborhoods . . . . finally, exhausted, he abandoned the search. He literally gave up, figuring there was no way to find the book, and sat down on a ledge. He wasn’t even sure of where he was.

After some moments of sitting there accepting the course of events, he rose to leave. As he turned, he saw that the ledge he’d been sitting upon supported a window, and behind that window were many books, and among those books were piles of his book.

The original location had closed down, and David had unconsciously wound his way to where the books were warehoused . . . . 

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Why here is beautiful

First, here is the only place you can be

Second, there is choice in every moment

Third, it is what it is — but not what it will be

Fourth, here is your power

Fifth, you can feel your way from this here (which will be called there in the future) to the next here (called there now)

Sixth, here is in flux, here is as temporary as it is eternal — your influence always is from here

Seventh, every here touches the Infinite Yes no matter the circumstance

Other suggested posts from the poster

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Little bits of awesomeness

When you throw a wad of extra cash down on the table for your favorite server — because you know it will add zip to her day.

When someone calls you up to tell you how much they appreciate something about you, something you did.

When you call someone up to toss an appreciation salad all over them.

When a challenge issue you’ve been working on with all your might and all your spirit force resolves itself in the most enchanting way — to the highest best super-est for all.

When you cast your glance around your home after a hard day and think to yourself, I am so freaking fortunate . . . and audibly whisper thank you.

When one of your top 100 favorite people in the world pops in unexpectedly with sudden great news about something in their life.

When you make new friends . . . as Ann and I have recently with another couple in our new neighborhood.

When your wife is about to throw your son in the pool and you add that little extra push so they both go in!

Some other enjoyable stuff, not so much related to this post except that they came from the same brain, and they deserve to get some links too

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Vibration me up, baby

Everyday greatness is breaking out. I see it all around me, people extending themselves just a wee bit beyond where they are, leaning in the direction of where they’re going. That’s how the giants you admire did it. They moved in the direction of their vision.

So vibration me up, baby! It’s time to break into higher ground. It’s time to attempt the new, plunge further into the cherished dream.

What brings me up? You, you thrivers out there, you awesomely charming ones who make us feel we are charmed, you flirty ones who make the world come alive, you daring ones who blaze the way. You, you and you!

I’ve noticed you lifter-uppers have a few things in common:

  • You’re jazzed in general, about life, about possibilities, about ideas.
  • You make me feel good in your presence. By extension, you make everyone in your presence feel good. 
  • You (almost) never bitch about others. You are so not the one to come to for gossip.
  • You take delight in the process. You are the ones who will find a way to enjoy your work even if it’s not your chosen work. You are the ones who refuse to be bored. 
  • You do what you need to do and let others join you for the ride if they desire. If not, taint no big deal. In other words, you somehow are insanely selfish  you only do the things that interest you  and are overwhelmingly generous in spirit simultaneously.
  • You carve a way to the happiness zone as quickly as you can whenever your zippy boat runs aground. 

You know what I do if I need to bring myself up  get into the slipstream of someone already there. Someone like you thrivers noted above. All it takes is a phone call, a get together, a drive by if you know where they work! (Which is why Kelly Luchini got so many visitors when she worked at the gallery  she’s an upper that’s not bad for you.)

The other way is to do it my own dang self  by emulating these high-vibration souls. This is the best way, of course, but I’m all for a bit of cheating by drafting someone else if I can’t get there on my own.

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Yoohoo, thrivers — thank you

Let’s thank the thrivers for showing us the way. You know them, the annoying health nuts who can’t wait for you to toss your sodas into the trash bin of history and join them on the vitality trail. The financially sound who patiently explain the basics over and over and over till we get it. 

You cannot get sick enough to help sick people get better. You cannot get poor enough to help poor people thrive. It is only in your thriving that you have anything to offer anyone. If you’re wanting to be of an advantage to others, be as tapped in, tuned in, turned on as you can possibly be.

Abraham-Hicks 

Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, eminent movers in Positive Psychology, sought to “build thriving in individuals, families, and communities.”

What was their favorite method? Studying those who lived optimally. Abraham Maslow was the first to point out — to my knowledge — that psychology had focused for more than 50 years on mental illness. Positive psychologists felt there was a better way, by researching how the best among us bloom. 

We can do that too. By looking to those around us who are flourishing. They leave clues. In fact, they are living clues. What do the vibrant do? Ask. Observe. Emulate.

So today is a big sloppy wet kiss to the thrivers, in whatever capacity you find them. 

I’d like to note a few thrivers I know here.

My eight-year-old son stands out. That boy can find joy the way birds find themselves aloft — often, and as a way of life.

I also know a colleague who’s been going through bouts of cancer for years now — and this man is a testament to humming along no matter what you face. His cheerfulness makes those of us who know him realize what whiners we can be in the face of lesser issues.

And finally, Paul Kraemer, who is one happy beast when he’s at work — or play — or in conversation. Paul believes in you like your parents did when you were two. It’s infectious. You walk away muttering, damn, I am just the coolest cat, aren’t I?! . . . . That’s a gift, Paul, to all of us you splash your enthusiasm upon.

Thrive on, all you soaring souls. Thrive on you, who are reading this now, as you often do. Thrive it up, you wild ones, you full-hearted ones, you amp-up-the-goodness godlings out there — you make our world zing.

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