7: The Sacred and Liberatory Power of Rest with Tricia Hersey of The Nap Ministry

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Tune in to hear Tricia, the Nap Bishop herself, share with Andréa about the Nap Ministry and the journey that brought her to it. If you've never come across this work, prepare yourself for some blessings.

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Transcript:

Andréa:

You're listening to A Call to Serve. This is a podcast calling entrepreneurs, coaches, healers, creatives, and transformative leaders who want to make a difference in their communities to show up with integrity, use their power and practice radical service. I'm Andréa Ranae. I am a facilitator and coach and I focus my work on holding space for leadership and liberation. Now I am so excited to share this interview with you. I initially had this conversation with Tricia in April of 2019 so I've been sitting on it for a couple of months and I listened back over to it. And during the interview I cried multiple times. I got chills. Even just listening back to it just now, I teared up a little bit and I was and am just so inspired and so struck by how powerful and simple and humanizing the work that Tricia is stewarding into the world – how powerful it is.

And I think I was just so touched by our conversation and everything that Tricia was sharing. Because while I love the work and because I love the work that I do so much, my relationship with work itself has not always been the healthiest or the best for my body because I can just, I can just go and go and go. I can easily work 12, 14 hours a day and it takes a toll on me. But I'm just so in it, I can just keep going and going. And every time I see one of Tricia's posts on The Nap Ministry, Instagram especially, every time I see one of those posts, it's a reminder that I can chill out and I can slow down and I can take a deep breath and take some space. And doing that is a liberatory act. Taking a nap is liberatory act. Resting is an act of resistance and protest against capitalism and white supremacy.

And that's what we talk about in this interview. We talk about that. We talk about Tricia's personal rest practice and how she integrates, what she preaches into her everyday life and her relationship with her work. We talk about how her work has been informed by her background as a scholar and activist and organizer and artist and teacher and poet and theologian. (She's done a lot y'all). And how she brings it all into what she's doing today with The Nap Ministry. And we talk about staying connected to who you're doing your work for and what you're really doing your work for. Then we also talk about the magic that, that she creates in the spaces that The Nap Ministry holds both in person and online – the magic that can happen when people rest collectively.

So it was a really beautiful conversation and experience and I just really hope that you take a second to dig into it. And then also to heed Tricia's advice that is pretty consistent. Take a damn nap. So I'm gonna go ahead and let you all get into the episode.

Andréa:

All right, Hi Tricia. Thank you for coming onto this show.

Tricia:

Thank you for having me. I'm excited to chat with you and be here.

Andréa:

Yeah! So the first question that we always start off with is what are you cultivating and that can pertain to The Nap Ministry, that can pertain just like to your own life, your family. But what are you thinking about with that question?

Tricia:

I'm cultivating, I think slowing down, I'm cultivating kind of resisting and disrupting the notion that we can control everything, we have to do everything. Everything is fast paced. Technology is the only way to do things. I'm really trying to cultivate, you know, the concept of a radical community, a community that's brought together by their shared interconnectedness and a community that isn't, um, in any way supported by outside forces that are putting their own particular needs and wants on them. Really a community that's radical in the way that it shapes itself for itself. And I think The Nap Ministry is one of the ways I'm doing it. It's a new project that I've been doing for two years. But before I developed The Nap Ministry, I have been a community activist, organizer, a teacher, poet, you know, performance artist, and a community worker for 20 years. So I've been doing this work for a long time before Internet, before you know, social media. Before all of the cool IG pages, I've been working with young people and communities.

I'm from Chicago. And so I've always been really connected to the concept that the community can do it ourselves, like this DIY notion of care for each other and for building something that can really hold and sustain us. And so I really think, right now, as The Nap Ministry is getting more press and more people are being exposed to it, that I've been having to push deeper against this concept of go, go, go fast, fast, fast, fast pace of life that's kind of been pushed on us. And that we believe has to be the pace that we have to go on this machine level pace. I'm really trying to cultivate a sabbath, a radical process of a ritual of slowing down this ancient stopping. So you can really listen and hear what's for you and you can kind of heal yourself through that. And so resisting and pushing back against grind culture, quick paced culture, a culture that's supported only through technology. I'm really looking for like in real life, hands on, on the ground, real community that's connected, you know, really close to each other.

Andréa:

Mhm, I love that. And it reminds me that I was just thinking this morning before we hopped on this call about like how you are navigating, this growing platform, especially on Instagram, and a lot more visibility of The Nap Ministry. And the very essence of The Nap Ministry being rest and slowing down and how are you being with that?

Tricia:

It's been, it's been a challenge but what it's really shown me is that people, even people who are, you know, in this same kind of mode organizers and healers and doing work to help community are still caught up by the system. And so it really, like, shines a light on these theories that I was always told – it's kind of put things in real time. Like we really are in this capitalist system of machine level work, nine to five go, go, go grind, grind, grind. Even the people who say that they are pushing back against it are caught up in it. So it's been really a labor of love for me to be very consistent and true about my capacity, how I keep my schedule. To me self care is really important when it comes to literally keeping a schedule and not booking appointments back to back, not booking meetings back to back.

Being able to say no to things. I say no, probably so 85 to 90% of things that are asking me when it comes to my business and my work with The Nap Ministry and only say yes to things that are really passionate about. So that can be a struggle because when you're trying to run a business and trying to push something forward, you can get caught up in the, I got to do this, I have to do that. I have to always be going in. And I can't say no to this because opportunity won't come if I say no. It really is coming from a trusting your intuition and really trusting the work. Like if IG wasn't around, if you know, articles won't publish about me, I will still be doing this work. I will still just be doing the work because I feel a call towards it.

And so I really just try to stay true to the work that I'm doing as far as being in community, setting up sacred nap spaces, like going and being with people and setting up rooms and watching people rest and being able to like be the one who's there to guide them and talking with them about what their rest practice is like. I want to stay true to those and so to do that I have to say no to a lot of other things. But that's really the heart of the work is that, so I don't ever want to not do it. So it really is a point of you have to be kind of, you've got to go into your schedule, you're kind of with a knife, you just have to cut, say no and just kind of trust that things will come in the pace they're supposed to come and you don't have to rush it.

Like there's an intuitive instinctual, I think spiritual thing that we don't believe that work is really being done unless we are doing it. We don't believe that there is something always happening with something behind the scenes for us. And I truly do believe that there is a power happening behind the scenes for me and for, the people who are, following The Nap ministry that work is still going to happen. There's some demeanors because I can't see it or I can't touch it or make it known that I trust that it's being moved on this own spiritual level. And so because of that, I'm able to just say, no, I can't do that. No, that doesn't fit my schedule. I won't book this appointment back to back and stay in shooting my own rest, practice, rest and nap and have the practice that I do daily.

Andréa:

Oh, I want to know more about that, but wait, let me pick, there are so many things. I want to talk about. But what I heard was like, it's tending to your schedule, like with a lot of like love and ferocity about , here's what I am willing to do and not willing to do and not willing to put myself in this kind of position where I'm like in back to back appointments and whatnot. Saying no, trusting your intuition and then also like trusting on a spiritual level of trusting, like whatever's at work, that we can't necessarily like touch or or see. But um, is there like also supporting us.

Tricia:

Yes, definitely. You're giving up control in a lot of ways. Like we really, part of the system of capitalism has these control, like these robotic control freaks. I'm thinking that we can control everything. Like actually, no, it doesn't work that way. We really, you put the energy out there and you follow your passion, follow your call,we believe things will work for your benefit in that way. You can't, oh, went something like this, thinking that she can control every single thing about it. You know, that's not how life I think works, you know? I really am curious about what life has to offer me, knowing what I can plan out, you know? So I like to just be open to the curiosity of what is the next thing for me.

Andréa:

Yeah. That's beautiful. I'm so glad that you're out here doing this work. Literally it supports me all the time. Like I love seeing your posts on Instagram that are like, you need to rest. And I'm like, but I have all this to do. And you're like, but no, you need to rest.

Tricia:

Right. That's part of the work, too. Right.

Andréa:

Yeah. Yeah. So tell me more about your rest practice.

Tricia:

Yeah, I've been, hm, I take a nap every day. Like, my goal is to do that between two to three. Even if it isn't the full hour that I'm actually napping, it's just that quiet time. I really have been speaking a lot with people who sometimes people just can't nap because of whatever. They have insomnia at night or it throws off their schedule. So for me, I really enjoy quiet time daydreaming, staring out a window, silence. I think all those things need to be uplifted as things that are important, just a slowing down pace of life. And those are the moments where I get the most creativity. I get the most inspiration. But I do make it a point to have a time between two to three. I can be flexible depending on appointments and things I have to do. I can share it with my family, but I'll try to have a quiet moment every day.

So between two to three, an hour. I may sleep for only 30 minutes and other 30 minutes I may just be in silence. Or, you know, my grandmother, when she was, while I was little, always sit on the couch with her eyes closed and we always thought she was sleeping. She was like, I'm not sleep. You know, every shut eye is not sleep. I'm resting my eyes. And so I remember her doing that when I was a little girl and how she just really slowed down with life. And I really do that because I can't be preaching about people resting if I'm out here and not taking care of myself. So resting, as a spiritual practice now is a spiritual practice has gotten me through so many things. Like I started The Nap Ministry, and kind of started playing around with the idea when I was in a traumatic situation in graduate school, I was in seminary for three and a half years and it was the pace of it was killing me.

It was so quick, so fast and a lot of things were happening in my life that were traumatic. So I just started, I'm into campus and, and sleeping. Like I will go to class, but I really wasn't doing much in class. I just started napping all over the campus. And from that I started to get better grades. Like even though I wasn't doing much in class, like the brain needed to download that information. So I'm really interested in the science of sleep. And I think, um, that's part of what The Nap Ministry wants to do is like uplift the science asleep. Like this is a scientific biological thing. When your brain, it's resting, there are things happening. And so I'm always letting people know, like, I feel so unproductive when I'm nap. I feel lazy. But it's so much production.

It's so many things that are happening on a cellular level, on a biological level, when you're napping. But it's been framed by the capitalist White Supremacists, you know, saying that you're doing nothing but you're actually, if you knew what your body was actually doing, what your brain was doing, what your organs were doing, you would never, not rest because you want, you know, it's really like helping to really heal your body. And so because of that, I think resting and slowing down, it's been such a blessing to me and I always want to stay true. So it's all I have to like book that into my day in my life.

Andréa:

Yeah. Oh yes. I just pulled up, because of what you were saying reminded me, on one of the posts that you put up on The Nap Ministry Instagram about all the things that you're doing when you're resting. And like what you said, like your brain is downloading new information and integrating and your body is integrating and you're healing from trauma and disrupting capitalism and honoring you. It's a spiritual practice and there's so much more. Like there's so much that happens when we like, not even when we sleep, but yes, when we sleep, but even just when we like are still. Yes.

Tricia:

Yeah.

Andréa:

I love that. And it sounds like your experience in seminary like really like brought, brought you to this place of like having a spiritual practice for yourself of resting. And it also, I was gonna ask about like what else has informed what you're bringing to The Nap Ministry?

Tricia:

Definitely. I think when I think about The Nap Ministry and how it came to me, I really think that it's the collaboration of everything I've ever done as an artist. So for 20 years I've been teaching poetry in prisons and to teenage mothers in Chicago and working with gun violence victims in Chicago and teaching with the Chicago public schools and I'm a performance artist. I taught poetry and theater to young people all over the city and I've been a community activist and organizer around a lot of different issues, mostly violence in Chicago and also, food justice and a really big interest in creative empowerment and or organization where the community's actually organizing themselves to be able to take care of themselves and not waiting on some outside force to come in. So I've been doing that hardcore for 20 plus years and then I decided to go to seminary and I went to seminary not knowing what it would give me.

I really just went because I felt like a real longing and a call to go. I really didn't even know what seminary was and just kind of saw it online and just kept feeling, it was like a pull towards me going. And so I applied, accepted and I said, if creative you want me to go, you'll make away from you to go as far as money and you'll also help this ground my artworks. I went to seminary saying, I don't know if I'll ever want to be in working with the church being a pastor or any type of congregational study, but I knew that I wanted in some way to grandma artwork and my work as an activist. And that's what I said when I went and I had no idea. And then once I finished The Nap Ministry came to be. So in a lot of ways it's like an answered call, an answered prayer that answered requests that I was able to synthesize all of my different, my community activist work, organizing people.

I work as a performance artist because the concept of The Nap Ministry really came from me doing the art project of creating a persona, a theory persona called The Nap Bishop. And so I'm The Nap Bishop, they're The Nap Ministers, people who sleep are, you know, in the congregation and there's a nap temple in that ministry. So it all really was created from a performance art as I was just going to do this piece, one woman solo multimedia show based on like the commodification of black bodies, all the archival research I had done around plantation life. And so I was in school and I was working in the archives at Emory university and I was really able to get in tune with what was happening in the south because I'm not from the south I'm from Chicago. And so I just became obsessed with what was happening to our ancestors while they were working on plantations.

I started reading, tons of slave narratives, touching documents in the archives and begin to feel that as through ancestor communication, I could rest for them. I just really got obsessed with their day to day lives. Like how much they didn't sleep, how much they work, how many pounds of cotton they picked today, like what they're really, the micro histories of their lives were. And I started to use this framework because I was studying black liberation, theology, womanism and I just started to use this framework around rescue reparations and me being able to gain those reparations by sleeping for my ancestors who couldn't sleep. And so it really started off a real performative artistic lens. I was to perform at one time at this stage here in Atlanta. And then I just saw the power of it and I just, it began to grow and grow and become really an organization where the community was involved.

And so I think all of my work from being an artist and community activist kind of blended together. My work being a scholar and an archivists kind of came together and I really created The Nap Bishop and The Nap Minister underneath the framework of an artistic lens. And then I was learning public worship. I was basically being trained to be a pastor even though I didn't want to be a pastor in a traditional setting. So I use all of those things that I was learning some of your interests, deconstructed it and put it into a framework around rest

Andréa:

I'm sitting here like listening to you and I'm wondering like what is happening in my..? Cause I feel so emotional listening to you.

Tricia:

People always do that. When I tell them all about The Nap, like someone's like, what are you doing? I'm like, I have this thing called The Nap Ministry, you know, tell them about [inaudible] a lot of people have started crying. Like literally.

I'm like, wow, what is this? I'll just give them like the elevator pitch. And they're like, whoa.

They'll just, they just get really emotional. I think it's because we're so spiritually exhausted. We're so physically exhausted. Of course we are, we know sleep deprivation is real, but the spiritual exhaustion, that has happened to us. By living under these systems, it really has done a number on us and we're not even aware of how deep it is.

Andréa:

Yeah. I think especially the piece about, so I visited a plantation, I think it was a sugar plantation, for the first time last year. And it was an intense experience. And something in me clicked in the sense of feeling, feeling my ancestors, like feeling, and seeing their living conditions or not even living, but their work and survival conditions. And, and thinking about rest in that context and thinking about how, how could you rest when you're going through trauma every single moment of every single day. And then just seeing like the remnants, and remnants doesn't even give it it's due, of what we see today. And, it's just so, it's so powerful and I feel that every single time I read those memes like "rest is resistance, rest is a liberatory practice". And it, it truly is.

Tricia:

It really is. Especially when you plug in that framework really is. Because I really believe that rest is all these things that we talked about. But it also, I believe naps can provide a portal, I really do feel like it's a healing portal. So I'm also influenced a lot by Afrofuturism. And so because of that, I really feel like this is a space, a third space that we can go into and work things out. Things can be healed there that can't be worked out in the awake world. You can communicate with an ancestor that you may not be able to communicate with in the awake world. It really is a portal to another space that can allow us some real deep healing. And so because of that, I thought to myself, what could have happened to my ancestors if they were allowed space to rest, what could they have worked out? Could they have, you know, escaped quicker? Could they have escaped sooner? Could they have planned and plotted more? Could they have been able to really gain some healing on their bodies on a physical level from the pain they were suffering from physically. And so I really thought, you know, we have to reclaim it. You know, this dream space that we have when we nap it's really a powerful place for us that we can go to when we're dealing with this world. You know, this world here, you're dealing with the microaggressions and seeing lynchings on TV constantly and killings.

But to go into a healing portal, there's a dream space that can allow things to happen for you. And so I feel like our dream space has been stolen. You know, their dream space was stolen. We want it back, you know? And so that's the reclaiming the reparations or resistance part of it. We've been told that our sleeping and resting is lazy, but it's not, it's really another dimension, you know, it's really a portal for our healing. Of course they don't want us to go there. Of course they're good if we don't sleep because they know the power that lies there can change the world, really.

Andréa:

Yeah. Ah, yes. And I, and I love, um, so in, in the way that you're holding The Nap Ministry, is your primary focus on like black folks in America or is it, something different?

Tricia:

Yeah, this is the thing. Like I really, when I started, I started off under these reparations model, womanism black liberation model, but I also was studying the science of sleep. And as a researcher, I have my undergrad in public health, and so I really knew that sleep deprivation was something that was just hitting the entire Western world, like in United States alone, the Centers for disease control said that sleep deprivation, we're at like a crisis level, so no one is sleeping. And so because I've started it just thinking, I'm a black woman, I'm a black woman artist. This is the framework I'm coming from.

I'm doing research around ancestors and plantations in the south. So of course it has the lens of black people. But as I got deeper and deeper into it, I started to see that this is affecting everyone. And I, because I'm a womanist I really believe that until black women are free, no one's really free. And so in that way, I see the intersectionality of white supremacy and capitalism has eating us all alive. And so I have so many people who aren't black who are like following this movement who are coming into my inbox like in tears. Like I just took a nap for an hour and I feel guilt all day. Like I wanna like cry, like I really always wanted to lift up the concept that white people in America believe that white supremacy hasn't affected them. They believe that's that thing the poor people of color, they're getting affected.

They're getting affected by this. I have all this privilege. Yes, and you do have all this privilege, but you also have been affected in a deep way from white supremacy. White supremacy has told you that you can treat another human being like an animal, less than an animal. On a spiritual level, you're very dysfunctional, you're very hurt by this. Like the fact that you're like, your human-ness has been taken from you, your humanity has been stolen from you under the guise of white, the whiteness of your life and under the guise of white supremacy. So you're hurting sue. You're traumatized too by having to live on a, on this, I'm better, I have more, those people aren't on my level as a human being, so from a spiritual level, absolutely. Um, I think that this is for everyone. That's why so many people are from all different races following The Nap Ministry.

That really did surprise me when I first launched about two years ago. It really surprised me. But then the more I speak about and talk to people, the more I'm like, Oh yes, of course I'm a womanist, I'm a black theologianist and I'm a human rights activist. I get that this has, this system is eating us all alive. It does not care. You know, that's the myth of white supremacy. That's kind of the gag of it. It makes people believe that, oh, I'm not affected by it. Oh yes you are. You are very affected by your ancestor lineage is affected. It's also affected. I like the fact that your ancestors or participating basically terrorism and if we believe that our DNA, you know, passes on trauma, it's a traumatic thing for a person to lynch another person. The person who was lynched of course.

But if you were to be a person who could go lynch and other human beings and think it's okay, that's affected you on a very spiritual and somatic level. And so that's here as well. And so I always like to lift that up because a lot of white people will say, come onto my page and say, I know this isn't for me because it's for black...No, no, it's for you too. Why do you think white supremacy and capitalism isn't eating you alive? Why are you working 12, 14 hours a day? You know, killing yourself at the job. And so it really came into clarity when I did a talk at a Google Conference in Chicago, it's called Ignite talk. And I talked about rest as resistance, and it was 300 people and I would say 280 of them were white tech men.

After I did my talk, people were coming up to me in tears when I was talking about reparations, I was talking about white supremacy. I was talking about and they were like, I never rest. I'm in this office all day, I've been here for 20 hours, like I need to sleep. I'm so exhausted. And so when you look at the function of white supremacy it pushes all the other things. It pushes capitalism, it pushes sexism, pushes patriarchy. So we're all being touched by it. And so the beauty of it is that is coming from the lens of black liberation. I think, people who aren't black need to get on board with this. If you're an American, you need to get on board with the concept of healing this nation around racism. It's everyone's job. And so in that way, I have noticed that it is, everyone is jumping on board with, and it really did surprised me when I started, I'm not surprised at all by right now. But when I first started I was like, okay,

Andréa:

Yeah, yeah. Well, and it reminds me of one of the things I talk a lot about in my work is for folks that are wanting to do transformative work, especially if it's like an a one on one capacity or on like a group/community capacity to get really focused in on who the work is for. And that doesn't mean that it's only for this people and nobody else can touch it, but get really honed in on it because that's where you can get the most specific and, and conserve the most deeply when you're really clear on like, who is, but of course it's going to attract other people like other people are gonna resonate and then dive in. And so, yeah, I love that.

Tricia:

Yeah but I am definitely am very clear. Like I won't ever stop talking about reparations. I never stopped talking about white supremacy. My lens, I'm a black liberation theologian. I'm a womanist, give thanks for that. You know, when people know that's the lens I'm always going to come from. And it hasn't stopped any one from not jumping on the bandwagon because the truth is the truth.

Andréa:

Mhm, the truth is the truth.

Tricia:

The truth is the truth, right? You live here, you're, you're suffering from capitalism just as much like you're suffering from white supremacy, your spiritual, your spiritual peace, all of that spiritual practice has been hurt. And that can really lift up things for people who aren't black, people who aren't black can, it lifts up at the trauma that they gotta deal with it because part of us really healing as a nation from racism is why people got to do their work too. That's the thing, like getting to the heart of, you have to do the real hard work of trying to be transformative and looking at, you know, the history of this country and healing from that, you know, so that in a lot of ways I'm really grateful for that because I really believe that it can't just be black people carrying this load. It won't ever be a complete full healing. You keep talking about you want it to be healed. They have to be involved too.

Andréa:

Yes, absolutely. Well tell me more about the in-person spaces that you hold, the nap spaces.

Tricia:

Yeah, I'm very, those are like my favorite thing to do. The signature program, we call it the collective napping experience and that's where we curate and install, sacred spaces for rest. We've done them in all over: yoga studios, church basements, outdoors, art galleries, basements, wherever we can go in there and transform the space we do until we get our own Nap Temple, that's like the goal is to get my own building, Nap Temple. But now it's been nice kind of doing these like site specific installations as what we call those. And so we go in and put out rugs and yoga mats and pillows and blankets. We would create a huge sleep altar that has archival photos of black people resting and a banner about our mission. And we have a sound healing is really important. So we have curated playlists and sound that is healing.

You use it to get people in that space. Um, there's always healing teas there. I'm there as a Nap Bishiop, a kind of guide people into the space or it's always kind of like going back to the black church worship, you know, um, liturgy. We kind of have an opening invocation and the people rest and they're woken up. And so it opens with poetic meditations, speaking poetry and meditation's over people as they rest. And then there's a sleeping portion where they actually sleep for like close to 40 minutes. And then they're woken up, you know, with music or with sound bells. And then after we wake up, we have a Nap Testimony so we will kind of talk about their experiences, discoveries they had, insights and that's really powerful. People are actually like waking up in tears. Like I haven't slept that well in years and had a dream about this and it's been a long, beautiful afro futuristic things happening.

I had one in Chicago where it was like 50 people rest in one space in the basement of an art gallery. And when we woke up, we did the Nap testimony and people who were on different sides of the room were like, I was dreaming about water. Anybody else? Like I was dreaming about water. They're like, tell me more. I was dreaming. I was in a boat. I was like, it was like people were having the same dreams. And so there's something really powerful somatically, when people rest together. Um, the breathing is synced. People can kind of collectively come together and resist. And so for me, I, those are just as important as marches I've been a part of as a community organizer. We got together on the corner, got our signs together, organized. We're going to do this.

That's how I see these nap spaces. I see it as a form of resistance where people come and intentionally take off their shoes, silence their phones, put them in a basket away from the sleep space, lay down have tea and sleep with people that they've never know. Since people don't know each other and they're like resisting together, they're resisting the [inaudible] just to hear them breathing and snoring and sleeping right. It's amazing. It's like gives me chills and I'll think about it. So then people are waking up and just can't even speak because they were so exhausted like I don't even know. So It's really powerful to see people come together in that way. We have them every month. We just started a community residency, that we are going to be doing them every month. We just had one last Wednesday and it was beautiful.

A woman came and said that she really thought she wasn't going to be able to sleep because she has issues around people, public spaces. She slept one whole 40 minutes. I had to wake her up. She was like ever had, she was like so much. And so it's like really bringing people together. That's like community organizing. I don't think it would be the same if we didn't do it in a collective way. And so The Collective Nap Experiences are the real heart of the movement. And the other piece is the workshops, you know, the education around it and then alsp me, always continuing to stay true to my art practice. And so as a performance artist, I do the one woman solo shows. These multimedia pieces. I'm going to be doing one in, the fall here is going to be, you know, all I'm in a full bishop, pastoral vest it's like a four performance art piece around these notions and so continue to stay true to the art as well. But the collective napping experiences that we do monthly, we hope to do them twice a month soon as well.

Andréa:

Yeah. Wow. And it's like it is church is church.

Tricia:

It's true. It is resistance as Paul says, it's community organized coming together. People meeting people they will never meet before. Being able to speak to like, I think it's important after people, they feel like they have a time to process. So what were some of the discoveries that's kind of like this little testimony service, which is very black church and I grew up in the black church. It's a time to kind of talk about you know, spread the good news and you tell me what happened. And like what did you discover while you were resting. People have been so generous with their time and with their emotions and with sharing their experiences that we kind of come together.. Yeah, sometimes we write. You know, there's like a writing prompts that we sometimes do. So being a poet is also important, that there's poetry there that people can write, you know, the text is important. So we do do have space where people actually write as well journal and, most people want to talk about what happened and kind of share like how their rest was and that's been connecting people as well.

Andréa:

Yeah. Well it's really, I'm like in awe of the, like it's a collective answer to a collective problem. And really it sounds like accessible to folks who are either wanting to just do better and like wanting to just have a place for themselves and feel better in their body and everything. But also for people that want to contribute to something different in the world and are trying to figure out a way to do that and maybe organizing isn't their way. Um, but like having that space ,one to rest, is already like a step into that, well, like many steps into that. And then also like having that space to rest will open more up more creativity and more like possibilities for what's possible as well.. I love that. Um, I am so jealous. I need to catch you next time you're in Chicago.

Tricia:

Yeah. I come to Chicago all the time. I'm born and raised here. Like that's my home. I've been in Atlanta for eight years, but I was in Chicago last year for the whole month of July, doing a lot of outdoor. We did, we did a whole outdoor rest event that was, went to all these different Chicago Park districts. All of us. Yeah. It was called Rest and it was like a rest revival. We put up tents and ir mattresses and beds and hundreds of people came out and slept at those. It was like four different events.

Andréa:

Yeah.

Tricia:

It's so powerful. I'll be back in July, so I'll definitely get in touch with you.

Andréa:

Yes, please. I want that experience. That's amazing. Okay so we're getting down to the end. I have a couple more questions for. So we've talked a little bit about this already, but what are some of the challenges that are coming up for you right now? In the cultivation of the Nap Ministry and your life and family and everything? You know,

Tricia:

I think, I think what's been coming up is that this is such a new project. Like it's, it won't be two years until May. So May 21st will be our two year anniversary, but from our first event we ever did, and so to think about the fact that in December of last year, I had 3000 followers and now I have over 20,000 and literally happening for months. And so trying to really just stay true to the work. I think the more exposure you get the more it can be hard to not stay true to why you even started it and just remember why did you start this? Like what was cool about it when you literally had two people that had been in your life so happy, you know like you had like one person following your page and you'd be like Oh my goodness thank you.

And it was like 11 people. I was like thank you. Like just want to stay true to the work. A lot of people ask me so what's next from that but what are you doing? Like as if I have these huge major plans. Like I always tell them what's next is what I've always been doing. Reading black liberation texts, reading womanist texts, reading books on the science of sleep. I'm really a researcher and scholar and nerd at hear.t like I love to read and so really staying true to the programming and development and so researching and reading and experimenting with different theories around it. It, refining the work is really where I'm at. I'm happy with just, I'm reading this new book right now.

It's not a new book. When I read I re-read, it's a book on women is ethics. A woman has all these articles about womanist ethics from a theological perspective, this is beautiful book about liberation and freedom and just stay true to like how I started reading, writing, writing poetry, performing and laying down yoga mats for people to sleep. Like that's all I want to do. I just want to like lay down a yoga mat and a pillow and put blanket on myself and read about black liberation and highlight it, you know, like make notes on it. Like that's it. So I really think that if I continue to do that. That will be key. But you know, people are calling you in different directions.

So I try to say no to most things, really be intentional and really on point about what I say yes to and not getting off the piece of traveling and doing so much and I just can't actually continue to do the work. This is still a new project, I think a startup. And it also all kind of make it a framework for it as a business, because it is a business, you know, created it, launched it as a business state of Georgia. And so it is a business. I intend to make money and wealth from this, you know, that's part of the reparations model as well is that my work my energy, the time I've spent in seminary in a years I've done to develop this. So yeah, just trying to stay true to the business piece of it. Then getting the brand and trying to learn all of that on the fly and I'm getting with people, mentors who can help me with that, I've, and able to do that. And so that's been the biggest thing. That's how I create that balance between being just the artist nerd who wants to just read all day and lay out on mats and also trying to like keep it together on a business level.

Andréa:

Yeah. Awesome. And it sounds like the grounding yourself in your work, in the books, in the resources in the experiences that you're creating and everything is proud of what supports you. Is there anything else?

Tricia:

Let's see my community, like my actual people, it's just me running this, but there's like a whole crew of volunteers and I don't know where I would be without the people who are just like in my inbox. Like, oh my goodness, keep going sis, here's $10 and what can I do to help? Like, so everybody has volunteered their time on the tees to the art direction, to helping me create all of the different, I mean we do our art direction to transform the spaces it is a laborious process. I mean, you can go into a basement and it doesn't look ready to sleep. We lay out mats, it's a full site installation. It's a lot of work and I've just had friends who just like, I'll do it. What time need to be there, coming at five in the morning with trucks full of stuff and really showing up for me.

And so I think the community, my community has shown up for me in ways that make me wanna [inaudible] all day. I'm just so grateful. I'm in such deep gratitude. So whenever I want to do something like, Yup, like you know, I don't have much money to pay you. It doesn't matter. Don't pay me, let's just go. And so I'm really blessed to have this, you know, group of people around me who are like, we love this. We support you as an artist. What do you need me to be. From the photographers who've taken all the photos, to people who donated so much money, they had not asked me for any money. They won't, they won't take my money. And so I want, I always want to lift up the friends and the people in my community who have supported me and have been there just because they see it as a movement that can help people and can help them. And so I would not be able to do this work without my family and without friends who've been like, I'll pick you up at five in the morning. I got a truck I can put all the yoga mats on it like they' have done it. I wouldn't do it without them.

Andréa:

Yeah. Community is is crucial.

Tricia:

SO crucial.

Andréa:

Yeah, awesome. Okay. So how can folks connect with you and connect with The Nap Ministry?

Tricia:

Yeah, I think the best way is that IG page they can follow there and also they can go to my website. I have a website, it's just for my work as a activist and community worker. And so it's triciahersey.com. It's my first and last name.com. I'll talk about The Nap Ministry on there and other projects that I have done in the past and just my work as a person who's just a servant for, you know, the community there. And so they can reach out there. And then IG page is really where I spend a lot of the time. Um, so those are the two places I think hear about all of the events on the IG page in the um, website. trishahersey.com is more where they can contact me. There is a contact link that they can press on it, email me if they have like deeper questions.

Andréa:

Great. So the, the IG page is @thenapministry?

Tricia:

Yup, @thenapministry. Yes.

Andréa:

Fantastic. Is there anything else you want to share with the folks that might be listening?

Tricia:

Take a nap. Lay down. Slow it down some, you know. I really want to say that to people because I see people really suffering and not beginning, the deprograming process. I want to just say that the IG page is really a tool for deprogramming and that's really what I see it as. I see it as just a place to repeat all of these messages that'll eventually could get into our psyche and can make us remember that it's okay to nap. So if one person can, you know, reread the page. Like "you know what today I have extra time in my day. You know what, instead of me get on my laptop and opening up 3000 tabs, I think I want to lay on the couch", you know, like that uplift that. It's like if you find a moment in your day where you can like not do, even just sit, even if it's for 20 minutes, 10 minutes in the morning, that all of that will add up to start changing your mindset around napping, being lazy, having any guilt or shame around it. It is not, it is one of the most healing and beautiful things you can do. So just embrace it more.

Andréa:

I love it. Well thank you so much Tricia for sharing your good work with us today. It's, for me, just by myself, it's been really nourishing and I hope for the folks that are listening as well.

Tricia:

Thank you so much. I've had a great time.

Andréa:

Okay. So I don't know about you but that was a spiritual experience for me. And my prompt, my question for you and also for myself is how can you integrate a practice of rest and more naps, more space, more spaciousness into your everyday life and also, and especially the work that you're showing up for in the world. I think that for the many reasons that Tricia laid out for us in this conversation and so much more you doing that and getting clear or just experimentation with answers to that question is essential. So think about that. Also, make sure to check out and follow The Nap Ministry on Instagram and all of the links that she laid out are in the description and also in the show notes. So check that out and make sure to subscribe to this podcast if you haven't, and give us a rating and a review. That helps out a lot in terms of just getting the show out to more people. So I'd be very grateful for that. Thank you in advance. All right, I'm going to go to sleep, so I'll talk to y'all later.


Andréa Ranae