I first heard the term ‘Laptime’ coined in the 90’s by Dr. Frances Cress Welsing in, ‘The Cress Theory of Color- Confrontation and Racism,’ encapsulated in her ground breaking book ‘The ISIS Papers, The Keys To The Colors.’ Dr. Frances Welsing was an American Afrocentrist Psychiatrist and in her book drew upon the story of the well loved and revered Egyptian Goddess Isis.
FYI: the name Isis is a Greek corruption as the true Egyptian pronunciation is unknown because Egyptian hieroglyphics only recorded consonants and left out vowels .
Isis was one of the main characters of the OSIRIS myth, in which she resurrects her slain husband, the divine king, Osiris, and produces and protects his heir, Horus. She was believed to help the dead enter afterlife as she had helped Osiris, and she was considered the divine mother of the Pharaoh, who was likened to Horus. A truly restorative and healing story, especially for black folks in these times, with man’s continuing inhumanity to man- an inhumanity that very much includes himself seen as we are all members of the one human race, irrespective of our differences.
FYI: the Goddess Isis is also very similar to the Virgin Mary and the story of Christ, and his death and resurrection, and predates it…food for thought…go see…
Also, please see my blog/poem: Sweet but Street, which thinking about it now, is a tribute to this Goddess and her benevolent spirit in women.
Anyway, Dr. Frances Cress Welsing used the term ‘Laptime’ when she was talking about young people becoming sexually active before they are psychologically ready to, and emotionally grown enough to be parents. Many of these children came/comes from poverty- stricken inner cities. She argued that what these children/young people were/are seeking in such relationship was/is not sex per se, but comfort, security, protection and love. They were seeking that which they were not getting from home, which all children need for optimal human development; much like a plant will lend itself to being bent out of shape to find and receive the daylight it needs, which has been placed out of reach. Such is the Life-force within living things.
Laptime, regular quality time spent on (their) parents/caregivers’ laps, in their loved one’s presence, feeling in those moments body to body warmth; feeling in those moments safe and secure, a much needed buffer- as well as little piece of heaven- in a hostile world, is as important to humankind as is food to eat..
Houses have to have loving, caring, present and aware people living in them to make them mostly happy homes.
I was one of those emotionally (and otherwise) deprived inner city child, who constantly longed for the warmth provided by being in close proximity to another warm-bloodied soul. I too had been terribly starved in these quarters. That deprivation was the motivating force behind my decision to have a child at 17 years old. I desperately wanted to give, and have my love received, by another human being. I wanted and needed to know how that feels. I wanted and needed to know what difference that would make to human life, not having experienced much of it myself. This is also one of the reasons why I am a counsellor today. I remember clearly making that decision at the age of 21 years old when I put myself into therapy and experienced being given to in that special, gentle and attentive way. The experience made me so want to be in the position to give that gift of emotional Presence to persons in need.
Whilst reading Dr. Frances Cress Welsing’s book in the 90’s, the concept of Laptime helped me to see the unmet need behind young people engaging in grown up activities, not having been children for long. It helped, and still helps me, to take the judgement out of those kinds of psychosocial situations; it helps take the judgement out of ‘external appearances’ of what could be – and is oftentimes deemed- very poor choices.
At this present time, I’ve been needing me some Laptime, some ‘time out of mind’ where I come down, and ground, after being out in the rat race and engaging in adult things for too long. I need Laptime so I can spend good quality restorative time with myself, centred at home inside my body, close to an inner silent source and knowing, that sustains & comforts me..
This ‘coming down time’ does not come easy for me, what with this emotional/self-regulation, never having been passed down and learned from my caregivers/parents at the opportune childhood time. Laptime for me is Life’s work, a work very much in progress. But I will give myself props, because in this area I have come a very long way. I am much better at being with myself and feeling the sweet comfort in doing nothing – just simply being. Being in ‘the moment’ and smelling the rose of ‘In the greater scheme of things, all is well indeed,’ of which I am eternally grateful, given those meagre beginnings…
Learning to stop often for Laptimes such as these, where nothing is taken for granted, and the whole of me rejoices in ‘good-enough being,’ is a blessing; a blessing I make time to embrace whenever my mind is empty-enough of its contents, to fully receive the amazing grace of Presence: Presence of mind, Presence of heart, Presence in being.
This Laptime, like the Goddess Isis, brings mind body & soul back into a unified whole, restored and preciously held, in its One True Self, the One the Lord looked back on, and was Well Pleased with.
So, Be Still & Know…You are loved, as you are. No need to run away and deny yourself. Be The blessing you already are by simply being, Here.
Peace & Love,