A few days ago, we rotated our formal roles at the monastery so that I am now taking on the role of Operations.

Operations has the most power in the monastery and community side. The only area it doesn’t have oversight over is the business work.

Operations includes many tasks. Let’s see, there’s being in charge of discipline and integrity of the training, being the sit leader, upkeep of the buildings, grounds, and vehicles, checking residents taking time off, verifying changes to the schedule, and any guest visits. On top of that, I will continue to do several projects including training others in their roles, working on our marketing, developing partnerships for our mindfulness in schools program, resident recruitment, and more.

Historically, Ops has been a very had role. It causes the most friction with other residents. It requires a great deal of clarity, compassion, and discipline. I was initially not too worried about taking on the role. I was far more worried back in February when I took over the Business role.

But, I quickly started to feel the weight of the role. I’m seeing everyone trying to get the maximum benefit they can get without breaking any rules. Residents trying to get exceptions and not being clear with their intentions or needs. Always a question or request that only Ops can answer.

It’s a challenge how to hold this much responsibility without tightening up and just being cold to everyone. The opposite side is also true of not just folding into people’s demands and allowing everyone to do whatever they want. When is it right to bend the rules? When is it not?

I can feel the weariness in my body. It’s going to take a while to let myself stay in complete surrender while still upholding the structure, logistics, and rules. The discipline, the accountability, the responsibility. In a circle recently online, one person said he wishes he could value connection over structure/control, but it’s hard because it feels like if you surrender completely then the structure will fall down and connection won’t be possible then. Same here. I need to learn how to do both well and not see them as opposites. The purpose of the structure is to allow the training in the first place. But when you start valuing structure more than the training, the connection then you have prioritized means over ends. But you still need structure, still need means.

Sometimes, people come to me asking for things that from my perspective seem self-motivated and not in the best interest of the organization. But, I have to pause. Is that true? Do I actually know or am I also just jumping to conclusions? Am I only half-engaging this issue with resistance and impatience? Isn’t this what I’m training for? How to meet the world fully with love? How to be assertive and clear without being violent? I have to clarify and ask. I have to show the larger perspective. And, yeah, sometimes I just have to lay down the decision without any further discussion or explanation.

It will be good training to see how I unfold in the operations role. After this is done, I will have essentially done all of the resident roles.


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