Monday, October 25, 2010


Napped half the day;
no one
punished me!

--Kobayashi Issa
Translated by Robert Hass


I don't know about you but I personally sometimes get tired in the middle of the day. This is where my New England Calvinism kicks in big-time. "Work is good for what ails you" and "The early bird catches the worm" and "You can sleep when you're dead" were thoughts heard often in my childhood home. My circadian rhythm is still set to the hours my father worked as a bricklayer which, for him, often involved driving an hour or more each way to a job that started before dawn. Left to my own devices, I still rise at 5 and retire at 9:30. I'm still in subconscious solidarity with the old man (who died 11 years ago), still on red alert, still feel faintly guilty if I think I'm getting more rest than he did as a father of 8.

There's help for people like me and, rest assured, I've availed myself of it. It's taken me years, but I've finally started to let go of my weird and ancient idea that my job is to fix, advise, oversee, heal, rescue, or suffer for. ("Compassion" means to suffer with, which is an entirely different concept). I find minding my own business frees up lots of energy to pursue the things that make me happy: things like reading, and burning down the house, and looking out the window, and lying down on the ground, and eating halo-halo.

Which is maybe why these days I often avail myself of a short afternoon nap!

EMPLOYEE AT GOOGLE HQ in the great non-
Calvinistic state of CALIFORNIA

1 comment:

  1. I like the white-haired guys face. Reminds me of that guy in the Folkers.

    Even though I suppose that work is prayer, remember that there is plenty of ways to pray. I believe sleep is a wonderful way to pray. ;) So much so, that after having a Cuban weightlifter stay at my parish, and him asking why my face was so sleepy. I made the excuse that I was in school. "Perfect!" he said, then you'll be able to follow the schedule even better than me.

    He explained that the Cuban weightlifters (the heavy guys anyway) would sleep for nine hours, usually 1-10 a.m. and 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon. Of course you can shift that to go to bed at 9:30 or whatever you wish, but Latin America in general stays up later because of all the social events happen in the evening.

    I've never felt better in my life. Plus schools much easier when I got the sleep.


I WELCOME your comments!!!