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4 Questions with Tricia Hersey

"Naps provide a portal to imagine, invent, and heal. The time to rest is now." - Tricia Hersey, Rest is Resistance: A Manifesto

Photo by Charlie Watts

Our Editorial Director, Christine Buckley, got to talk to performance artist, writer, theater maker, ​activist, theologian, Nap Bishop, and daydreamer Tricia Hersey about her new book Rest is Resistance: A Manifesto.

Tricia Hersey’s commitment to rest as a strategy to resist and dismantle white supremacy and capitalism is an inviting and inspiring movement. To make a commitment to this strategy is to prioritize and protect the time and energy of Black people in particular. Black liberation is of benefit to us all.

In Rest is Resistance: A Manifesto Hersey encourages us to connect to the liberating power of rest, daydreaming, and naps as a foundation for healing and justice. In her responses below are helpful real-world applications for prioritizing and maintaining a commitment to rest. It can and should be a strategy in our personal, political, and work lives to resist the oppressive systems that keep us disconnected from ourselves, each other, and the natural world.

ChristineAs an artist, theater maker, workshop leader, curriculum writer, educator, public speaker, and preacher - who has worked with groups for over two decades - what is your advice for building connections within smaller communities?

Tricia: All of my experience in building community for over 20 years has been offline.  Online community building is new to me and in many ways I am uncomfortable with it and the ways in which our culture has actually become lonelier and more disconnected  by the obsession with social media. I would offer that people begin to see community as the people who live around them, live on their block, go to school with their children, go to same faith-based gatherings with, etc. We should not forget about the power of in-person connection and community. It must stay in the forefront of our minds and hearts as technology continues taking over our lives. 

Christine: Plants feature prominently in your art practice and community care work. Which plants are supporting, nourishing, and pleasuring you these days?

Tricia: I am really into aloe vera plants right now. I have them in my living room and kitchen. I feel such a deep connection to them because they remind me of my grandmother and mother. Both always had aloe vera plants in the home and were able to grow them so large.  I was always so drawn to them once I saw my grandmother Ora cutting the leaves open and squeezing the gel onto burns and other skin irritations. I would go over and lightly squeeze the plant and be in awe of how the cuts in the leaves simply would heal over and keep growing. I find great pleasure in having the magic of them in my home. 

Christine: We love your portrait on your website, can you tell us more about the flowers you're holding and why? 

Tricia: My friend Charlie Watts is an amazing fine art photographer and the portrait and most of the photography of The Nap Ministry was created by her. We share a love of outdoors and nature and all of our photography together involves me resting outdoors in nature or holding flowers. During this portrait session, Charlie had an area full of props including a basket of flowers. I was drawn to the color of these and picked them up immediately and intuitively. I like how they felt in my hands. I am not sure of its name. I love how they made me feel. 

ChristineHow can each of us respect and advocate for rest in the workplace?

Tricia: This is a tough question, because I feel like it can seem very impossible for employers to advocate for any type of rest, pause or slow down until they begin the personal journey of decolonizing and unraveling from grind culture. There isn't a quick, cookie cutter way to this and it will have to be a deep and intentional commitment to seeing themselves and each other as more important than profit. A good start is to begin to honor boundaries, to respect the needs of the body and to not trust profit exclusively.

Thank you, Tricia!  Rest is Resistance: A Manifesto is a gift.  

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