30/50: Maine

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I stayed in Maine for a few days and being along the ocean was lovely. Maine also afforded me the change  to continue my lobster eating fest and to soak in moments of being by the ocean. Since Portland, Maine is also a bit of a foodie town, I discovered potato donuts which were amazing with really tasty flavours. Different texture than regular donuts but a good experience and it felt healthier since somehow I was eating potatoes? Of course this isn’t true but I will let it stand that way in my memory.

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I love whale watching and figured it would be fun to see some different kind of whales (it was). We saw a basking shark, a minke whale that almost hit our boat and a black fin whale. And when I say we, I’m referring of course to myself. I suppose I could include all the other people on the boat who became my newfound friends and made the day even more enjoyable. My fun was not even deterred after a giant wave came over the side of the boat and soaked my camera and I.

There is a lot to do and see in Maine. Portland itself is full of fun places to explore and lots of lighthouses and beaches to check out, along with lots of places to eat lobster. There’s also a national park that was about three hours away that I had planned on driving to. However, at this point in my trip, I realized that although everything I have been doing has been great, it has also been exhausting. For over a month I had been driving, visiting people, exploring new places, writing, processing emotions and when I settled in for a few days in Portland, I realized how incredibly weary and exhausted I was.

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So, on my second day in Maine, I did not set foot out of the house where I was staying. I slept in (okay, I may have stayed up until 4am reading, trying to finish Harry Potter the night before), took naps throughout the day (because I had stayed up until 4am and because I was just tired), read, journalled, did some colouring, made up a couple makeshift meals from the items in my cooler and just took time to be still. I found a comfy spot on the couch and enjoyed looking out the window, watching the leaves blow in the trees, the people walking by, the clouds floating across the sky and enjoying a cooler breeze through the window. Once again I was faced with the fact that there was so much to do, see and experience and here I was doing none of that.

Rest is good and important. This day was a meaningful Sabbath in the middle of my journey where I could rest. It was a day where doing “nothing” was productive in ways I will never understand. I could just be me and it was enough. I didn’t need to do anything, produce something or go and have an amazing experience. Just “being” was good. Extending grace to myself amidst the desire to do more was important.

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My remaining two days in Portland after this were wonderful. My rest provided rejuvenation and restoration for my weary soul and body. It’s still funny to me how much I resist rest. I used to have the perspective that if there was an opportunity for me to experience something, I should always say yes. Now I’m realizing that just because I can do something doesn’t mean I should. There will always be more to see and do and if I cannot find a place of rest and setting healthy & realistic boundaries for myself to live in, I will be worn out and never satisfied. The things I have experienced are good and enough. Of course there is more to see and explore and it’s totally okay that I haven’t done it all. I can find this place of rest in God, being fully me, enjoying where I am.

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During the time when I was a caregiver for my mom, I didn’t always take the time to recognize my need for rest either. Sometimes it didn’t feel like I was doing much and yet my work was emotionally and physically exhausting in ways I didn’t realize at the time. I do not need to feel bad or guilty for needing rest. There have been times this past year where I created space for rest that was necessary in my healing journey and rather than looking back at it with guilt and thoughts of what I “should” have been doing, I can look at it with gratitude for the rest & space needed to come to a place of wholeness again. Our lives are full, whether we are working, travelling, parenting or being with others. Rest is important, good and life-giving. Rest is a gift that I am learning to receive.

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