Rediscovering MY PURPOSE
Heartfulness eMagazine|November 2021
SHELLY BURGESS is a high school physics teacher and a meditation trainer. Here, she tells her story about losing sight of her purpose in the midst of the Covid pandemic, and how positive intention renewed her focus and allowed her to accept the last year through a lens of selfcompassion, grace, and optimism.
SHELLY BURGESS

We’ve all had challenges since the pandemic began. Some challenges have certainly been greater than others, but we’ve all had our share of struggles and pain. An effective meditation practice can help us immensely with such life stressors. I know this, of course. I’ve been practicing Heartfulness for thirty years, so of course I was primed to ride out pandemic turbulence with a good measure of serenity and grace … except that I did a terrible job of meditating for over a year.

It’s embarrassing, but I am admitting this for a reason. Let’s first rewind, so I can tell you why my terrible job of meditating led me to one of the most important revelations of my life.

Allow me to introduce myself. I am a mother of two active teens, a wife, and a daughter. Like many women, I work hard at home to make life nice for my loved ones. I also teach advanced high school physics to teens with serious college aspirations. In a normal school year, I run myself ragged trying to give my children their best start in life and care for my family, while also striving to provide a worldclass education to the hundred or so students who count on me at school. My responsibilities are pretty demanding, but my Heartfulness practice keeps me balanced, and I also enjoy sharing meditation with others as a trainer. I’m busy, but it works.

Enter 2020, which was a period of upheaval. I make no suggestion that my pain has been anywhere near what others have suffered, but as the pandemic began I struggled. My children switched to online learning while I switched to online teaching. In one room, I led my classes through Zoom, and during breaks I checked on my kids and tried to keep them as motivated and happy as possible. So began the daily cycle. In order to give my own kids my all, while providing a superior education to my students, I was working longer and longer hours. While transitioning a lab course to a digital format, encouraging my suffering students, and holding my family together, I had less and less steam to keep myself running. Slowly my meditation practice began to erode. When I sat in the evenings to meditate, it felt like I had nothing left to set my meditation in motion because I had let myself become so run down.

I raise my children and serve my family with love in line with my spiritual goal. I serve my students with care in line with my spiritual goal. I serve the hearts of those I encounter, and in doing so, my own heart grows in purity.

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