Finding your place in a transition

Last August, I took a job as the adult program manager with our library. The library hired me to bring in innovative programming and to help build community. For the last 6 months, I’ve brought in a mix of presenters. From naturalists to authors. From scientists to songwriters. From tiny opossums to wise young owls. I’ve loved giving each speaker and critter a platform to help educate and enlighten our community.

I knew I’d love meeting speakers, and tailoring programs to meet the community’s needs and that’s been awesome.

What I didn’t know was how disruptive and out of place I’d feel. I come from a for-profit world where things happen in a fast and furious way. And from a theater world where folks are emotional and put everything out front. Now I work in a library where we move in a quiet way, and where my high energy is a bit obnoxious! You can only imagine the trouble I’ve stirred up cleaning out storage closets, clearing out boxes of withdrawn books, bringing in new volunteers, labeling supply shelves, and rearranging cubby holes at the front desk.

I’ve written a lot about the importance of finding your space and working with your tribe. Was my intuition to take a job at the library wrong? I’m not a librarian at heart. Is this the right place for me to do my best work?

I was worried enough a couple of months ago to pull a couple of cards from a Tarot deck to look for clues. Here’s what these mysterious cards told me:

  • The left card tells me that I’m creating nuggets of gold. I interpret this as gifts of time and attention to the presenters. And I see it as gifts of information and insight to the audience that I hope will last into the future. The gifts for me are connectivity to so many people in my town I’ve never met before. And the wonderful ideas I’m getting from so many interesting discussions.
  • The middle card tells me to hold my horses, to slow down a bit and enjoy a slower ride. Right! I can do that. 🙂
  • The card on the right is the most intriguing. It tells me that small fires of creativity are being lit and they need to be protected and nurtured. These might be lights of creativity I’m helping nurture with our presenters, ideas we’re sharing with our participants, and creative thoughts for me.

After my moment of doubt, I returned to the library with renewed energy and made a change. Instead of just bringing in all one-time presenters, I decided to jump in as facilitator on a couple of groups that meet monthly: a morning book group, a Democracy Cafe, Senior Tech Time, and a writer’s accountability group.

In each of these, I’m not only building community by providing a place that’s safe for honest discussions about heart-felt topics – I’m part of the group and the discussions, and that’s turned out to be really fun and much more engaging.

Last year I wrote a blog post about the importance of building a strong web of connectivity. At the time, my net of friends, family, and work was spread across the US. It felt strong but not particularly safe. The new net I’m building is more intimate, and the conversations less about work and more about life. This net feels stronger. It feels more connected. And it has high energy.

Life happens the way it’s supposed to happen. It’s just sometimes when you’re in the middle of a transition, it’s hard to see the higher purpose. Time and energy tell the bigger story – if you’re patient and hold onto those horses! 🙂

The photo below was incredibly fun to shoot. The creek that runs through Kettle Cove is thawing. Spring is in the air. It will be here right after our next snow storm 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Finding your place in a transition

  1. Oh Janie! Like is too weak a term for this one. Love love love it! And oh man, wish it wasn’t such a haul to CE for your groups which sound like SO much fun! And I know that little creek! Used to ford it often when Rob and I would run the salukis on the beach… but never got such an image as this which brings to mind moonlit skies over frozen trees. Thank you! And rock those squeaky shoes at the library; it’s all good.


  2. My friend and business partner Sarah added this bit of wisdom on additional “layers” on the Tarot cards:

    The 10 of Pentacles signifies prosperity at home and financial stability.
    The Chariot signifies creating a rewarding life direction even when the circumstances are not ideal.
    The Two of Wands signifies success through determination and hard work.


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