"What is my purpose now?" Use this question as a weathervane. Ask it often, especially as you are anxious or unsure of what to do next. When you have the answer, act upon it (Madson)."
This question is found in Patricia Ryan Madson's book Improv Wisdom under the chapter title "Stay on Course". I don't know what my purpose is today. (Truth be told, this isn't a new question for me as I'm an eternal what-is-my-purpose type.) However, as a result of COVID-19, I feel even more in the dark. I do know, that whatever it is, it is different than what I thought it was yesterday and definitely different than what I thought it was one week ago. Last week I was busy creating a schedule so I could "fit it all in" - all the different tasks that both feed and detract me from what I am called to do, what I am responsible to do, and what needs to be done for daily living (not always in that order). At this juncture in my life, I feel my overarching purpose is to create and share in the conversation that comes from creation, be of service, support my students along their journeys toward personal fulfillment, and go forth in the light and love. While this may still be my purpose today, the Coronavirus pandemic is causing me to question that which I do on a daily basis to fulfill this purpose.
Today, I received an email from the superintendent of The Springfield School District addressed to the school staff. "Everything in each educator’s training and character focuses on getting students to school and supporting them so they can stay there." As an educator for over 14 years, I have been trained to do everything I can to keep kids in school. However, now, today, I am called to keep them out of school for that of the good of the whole. The way I go about my purpose of serving my students, family, and community is now different than it was last week.
Madson's question: "What is my purpose NOW?", made me begin to wonder if this question is one way to provide guidance during the Coronavirus upheaval. In order for us to move forward today, we must let go of our yesterday's goals, tasks, and potential purpose to figure out what needs to be done today. We are each being called to do something new, now.
It is important for each of us to pause and ask, "What is my purpose today?" If I can't meet my students in the classroom, where can I meet them? What do they need now? Now, I know that the bigger answers to these questions will take time and much statewide power-thinking, but for now, what can I do? What I did was to send an email to say hello and update families with the information that I had up until that point, as well as send a few instructional activities that could easily be done for "fun" learning. It wasn't much, but it was a connection. It was me, reaching out. Which is what I felt my purpose was at that moment.
All of us have been affected by the Coronavirus. Many of us have begun to work from home, lost our jobs, or in the case of medical personnel, grocery store employees, and organizational leaders, have taken on the extra burden of carrying a greater load to help others.
In this midst of all these changes and the uncertainty of how long all of this will go on, if you are like me, you may wonder, "What is my role?" How am I supposed to do today? What am I going to do for the next 4 weeks or more of social distancing? What if this goes on longer than 4 weeks? What will I do then?" If I stare at these questions for too long, overwhelm and despair are sure to set in - which may be why Madson's question "What is my purpose, now?" was so profound for me. Today, I can handle. This moment, I can handle. However, in order to have a clear picture of what needs to be done today, I will need to let go of yesterday and what my primary objectives were then. (I don't know why age-old wisdom takes so long to set in for me.)