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I’m exhausted. Physically, emotionally, spiritually. I’ve been sick on and off for more than 3 weeks now and I’m just not used to it. Everything feels like too much and all I want to do is hide from everything. I get resentful if anyone asks me for anything. I feel like I have to do tons of stuff yet I don’t have the energy nor the will to do any of them. Sounds like burn out, doesn’t it?

I am still not quite sure how I manage to get into this kind of situation. I mean, there is a lot on my plate right now - work is busy, school is demanding more and more and of course there is also my local Shambhala group. Not to mention the mess that is my personal relationships.

And I’m doing individual therapy and group therapy which is bringing out quite some painful things. So, there is a basis for feeling exhausted, but still, there seems to be something I do to make it much worse. My group therapist asked me yesterday - “How are you with yourself?” and I found I couldn’t really answer.

In any case, I feel like I’ve hit a wall and I just can’t continue in this way. My cup is empty and there is nothing left to give to anyone, so time to recharge. I’ve been giving and giving and forgot to take care of myself. If I could, I’d go into a solitary retreat and just focus on practicing for at least 14 days. I feel this is one thing that nourishes me tremendously, yet I’ve neglected it quite a lot lately. Alas, work and school do not allow me to do that, so I’m trying to do a sort of semi retreat - cutting down on all unnecessary activities and focus instead on things that nourish me - practice, going for walks, baths, massages.

I’ve stopped seeing meditation students, stepped out of any organizational things to do with Shambhala, turned off my IM programs and declared to my friends that I’m in retreat and won’t be responding to emails unless they’re urgent until mid-January. It was also very nice to receive a lot of kind words and support when I announced this, felt very nourishing. I couldn’t help but notice though that people that responded first and were most supporting were people I don’t actually know so well, new friendships that arose only about a month ago, whereas from people I feel I’ve given the most too I almost didn’t hear anything at all. Hmm, perhaps time to reevalute where to put more of my energy in the future?

And I’ve started reading things that nourish me, like Ani Pema’s book When Things Fall Apart. This is a book that helped me the most during one of the most difficult times in my life and rereading it again now feels really like a blessing. So much warmth and wisdom comes through, so many things I badly need to hear. Don’t struggle, don’t push away the pain, just relax with it and embrace it. Be curious, be kind. Life will always be a mess, it’ll always change, stop struggling to control it.

So, today was a first day of this new regime and so far so good. I’ve managed to stay away from the computer for most of the day, managed to rest quite a lot and also practice a bit more than usual - 2 hrs in the morning and about 1.5 hrs in the evening and it was quite a pleasure. Sometimes it feels so nice just to be able to feel my breath and my body, just to let my awareness flow over it and stay with it no matter what the feelings are. It felt truly healing. And a looooong bath that I took was also quite nice.  :) I’ll keep you posted how things continue…