Yesterday I was working into the evening, and my daughter told me I was in the grind.
That is the opposite of what I want to be.
It is the opposite of what I want to model for my daughter.
And also, I don’t think resting and disrupting for good should be at odds. Which means that the way I am working—trying to cram in a too-long list of to-dos, picking up slack and being mad about it—isn’t aligning with my values and with who I want to be.
So today I’m thinking about rest as resistance. Disruptive rest. And our tour guide for this work is the leader of the Nap Ministry, Nap Bishop Tricia Hersey.
On the Nap Ministry blog, Hersey says this about her work:
“This is about more than naps. It is not about fluffy pillows, expensive sheets, silk sleep masks or any other external, frivolous, consumerist gimmick. … Rest pushes back and disrupts a system that views human bodies as a tool for production and labour. It is a counter-narrative. We know that we are not machines. We are divine.”
Hersey approaches this disruptive work through a lens of Black Liberation, but notes in a recent Vogue interview about her new book, that Rest is Resistance isn’t just for Black people. “Rest is important for everyone, not just marginalized groups; this is a global message for an entire culture that is brainwashed, abused, and exploited by nonstop labour.”
She says that "a go-go-go approach to working can easily veer into toxicity—opting instead to uphold rest as a vital, potentially freeing, and politically energizing activity for all. In a culture that often seems obsessed with output, Hersey is more focused on the inner calm and self-knowledge that can come with proper rest.”
If you are looking for a permission slip to opt out of a big final push across the imaginary finish line that is the end of the calendar year, this is it. What if, instead, we slowed down and spent this season differently?
I invite us all to explore rest as resistance and what that might mean for each of us individually and collectively. What does that look like in our community organizing, and where does it intersect with diversity, equity, justice, and inclusion efforts within our organizations and workplaces? What are some ways that we can disrupt the narrative of busy as the new good in our own conversations? How can we lead by example with this counter-narrative against hustling for our worth? Let me know what’s working for you.
I'm Jennifer. I am an advocacy and communications strategist working with multiple charities and nonprofits. And I want to disrupt our sector for good.