I read non-stop for the past few days of my fall break to finish The Book of Two Ways – Jodi Picoult’s latest gift. Inspired by her son’s account of The Book of Two Ways in Egyptology, Picoult wrote a textbook about archaeology set amidst a brutally honest account of the choices we make, or don’t make, that change the course of our lives. In the novel, Dawn’s two possible futures unravel and collide. Her journey is familiar to us – who would you be, if you weren’t who you are now?
When you get to be a certain age, old memories and questions are always in the back of our minds. What might have been? What if you went to the college where you were waitlisted, chose the job in another city, did not get on that train, you get the picture. It is also really heartwarming when you can look back with no regret and know that the choices you made were meant to be, even if you did not know it at the time. And, yes, even winding paths can lead you to where you belong.
Dawn also describes her work as a death doula, supporting people in their end of life process, as heart-centered work. This is the phrase that has played in my head all weekend. Why would you want anything less? All of our work should be heart-centered. We should be passionate about our career and love what we do. Or, why do it?
COVID-19 has made me see my role as the Head of Kent School in a slightly different way. It is now, more than ever, a heart-centered position. We opened for in-person instruction on September 8. Planning and decision making has been mentally exhausting. But, it is the heartfelt caring for humans – faculty, those who support teaching and learning, students, and their families, that must be the highest priority in this time of great anxiety and added responsibility for everyone.
And, while, all of the experts say you must also take time for yourself, the reality is that this is almost impossible right now. If my work were not heart centered, I would not be able to keep the pace with which I have allowed myself to work. My school community means so much to me. I am doing it for love.
Fall break this past weekend was a chance to reset, relax, and breathe. So glad I had The Book of Two Ways to guide me.