Taking Care of Things, Self-Care, and Care from Others

I’ve been writing a lot about the leadership position of Operations I have at the monastic academy.

For the most part, it’s been good. It’s a role I am good at and have done in my past jobs. But it has also started wearing me down as it has countless past residents before me.

Coming into Austin today for a circling intensive weekend, I was still carrying that bone tiring weariness in me. Dread and exhaustion around feeling like Atlas upholding everything.

Make sure the sits go well.
Make sure the buildings are good.
Make sure everyone is training.
Make sure chores are done well.
Make sure everyone has something to do.
Make sure to give feedback so people can learn and grow.

And, many, many more things.

The tasks themselves aren’t difficult. But, it’s when I get stuck on something and don’t take action. I procrastinate in uncertainty not wanting to hurt anyone or thinking I don’t want to do this. In reality a lot of times, it’s I know deep down exactly what the action I should take is but I don’t know what the result is so I spend more time thinking about it and it starts becoming a weight at that point.

Of course, I could just delegate more. If I was honest, a part of the reason why I like to be involved so much is because it makes me feel important. It makes me feel valuable. It boosts my ego to say I’m involved in marketing, sales, operations, recruitment, leading circling nights, leading the sits, and so on. And, also because I trust myself in these areas in ways that are harder for me to trust others to do well in them. There are definitely areas I know I’m weak. But, relatively speaking, I feel strong in those areas. And there’s some pride at being able to do all these things and do them well.

But, over time, it’s tiring.

Rather than just doing the action or taking care of myself, I can start rationalizing that surrender and letting go mean to stop complaining and just bear the burden. To throw myself into each task fully and thereby unleash great energy. These are the thoughts in my head.

But, the truth is that I’m just tired. Even on my day off I’m doing work.

Tonight, I spontaneously got birthday circled and once again sobbed again as I have every time I’m circled by several people.

I had a sense before even it started that might happen. I had underlying layers of frustration, anger, and grief that I wasn’t feeling. I didn’t want to feel.

But, what really connected it all together was the word “still”.

It feels like I often have to take care of everyone else to be valuable. To provide space and service to others to receive love and support back. But I don’t get to ever fully be taken care of. I never get to have a safety net. Or, more accurately, I don’t trust any if they are available.

And growing up, I had to become an adult real fast as a child. My parents were very busy just surviving and I had to take care of myself and others. And that pattern has continued. I still have to take care of them now and can’t or don’t ask/receive care from them.

It feels so burdensome and exhausting after a while.

I still know that if I throw myself in entirely into each moment, into each relationship without restraint then this isn’t a burden. But, my ego gets involved and carries it. Every second I’m not with my experience fully, the burden grows.

And, this frustration and exhaustion at others and myself that grew over the last few days based on distrust and doubt whether we and I can handle it. Whether we will reach our goals. Whether we can hold the problems we have and actually grow from them. I’ve been dreading really confronting that. But, I got my release tonight. Got a good cry. And it feels a lot lighter and possible to at least try now.

And I’m noticing I need more ways to ask for and receive care from others. It’s hard for me to trust care from others. Trust it won’t result in abandonment or damage. I’m pretty good at self-care. I’m great at recognizing and clearing away obstacles within me with meditation and inquiry. But it’s very hard to get it from others.


I’m in Austin, TX where it’s currently 11:30 PM so I’m going to count this as a valid post for the day. Been traveling most of the day and began circling training tonight so this was a close one.


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