“I have to get used to not having to go anywhere. My mind is stuck in explorer-mode, I still feel the urge to swim around the corner and see what’s there.” I laugh because I recognize the feeling. Seeing as much as possible has been our mission the last few days. Now we’ve committed to doing nothing but relax for the rest of the day, I almost feel out of place. We’ve only been in the milky water of the Blue Lagoon for 10 minutes, and thoughts of work, responsibilities and forgotten to-do’s have already crossed my mind multiple times. I think the adventures have been a very welcome distraction to my mind that’s always racing.
As I put a mud mask on my face, I ponder this. There’s a voice in my head telling me it’s a bad sign I need activities and adventure to distract me from myself. But I don’t know if that’s true. In almost every religion, a place of rest is portrayed as serenity. Sitting with folded legs to meditate, or locking yourself up in a monastery to quiet out the world. I’d love to say that I’m so at peace that my mind is “a lake without ripples, reflecting the heavens”. However, my mind is currently more like a fast-flowing river that even the most experienced kayaker wouldn’t dare to conquer. Thoughts are always coming and going, I process my internal and external world so intensely I don’t even know what it’s like to be in the ‘nothing box’. But perhaps that’s not what rest is for me in this season. I get incredibly antsy when I’m doing nothing. I have too much energy, too many things I want to do, too many places I want to visit, too many people I want to meet and too many ideas I want to create. When I was in ministry school, one of the teacher said something that has stuck with me. “Rest doesn’t have to look like sitting down, it can look like plowing your own fields.” I love that. With your job, ministry and even community, you often work on someone else’s field. You serve their vision, you invest in their priorities. But in a time of rest, you use that same vigor and passion for your own dreams, priorities and creative ideas. It’s when you remember that your field is different than theirs. It’s when you realize your field is just as important as theirs.
We spend a couple of hours soaking in mineral waters, sitting in saunas and dozing off while cold rain drops fall on our warm faces. It actually did slow me down. Maybe the trick to not being bothered by my racing mind is stop trying to fight it. Maybe the unrest I feel sometimes is caused by my frantic peddling, slapping the streaming water to convince it should be a lake. Maybe rest comes when I decided to accept that my mind is a river, so I can lie on my back and float with its strong current.
Tomorrow I’ll fly back home, after almost three weeks of traveling in two nations. With my new insights about rest, I actually feel ready to dive in to my daily life again.
Work. Save. Travel. Repeat. Unto the next adventure.
If you’ve been inspired by the pictures and stories, I have some recommendations to share and an overview of our itinerary that you can read here. I don’t get anything for these recommendations, I’m only sharing it as a jumpstart for your own trip! Creating your own itinerary is a lot of work and can feel a bit overwhelming, so feel free to use ours as a reference. The alternative is you having to sit on one of those overpriced, packed tour buses… the thought of it alone makes me squirm inside.
The day after tomorrow, there’s an article coming about how to be a tourist in Iceland that the locals will love, and next week you can read about how you can get reimbursed for a delayed or canceled flight.