Going through a career or life transition, or making a health or career change requires inspiration, motivation, purpose and energy. One place you may wish to start is the public library - it's a space where you never know what you’ll discover, what will capture your curiousity or what hit of randomness will be thrown into your path. When you’re looking for a particular item that you’re researching or wanting to learn more about, you never know what you’ll else you may find, what your eyes will glimpse and find so tantalizing that you have to pick it up. Plus it’s all free and the library holds you accountable to return the items on time (can’t let that one go – I’m a coach after all!).
A visit to the library is like going to a much-anticipated party with incredibly fascinating guests who have exciting ideas, stories and information. Whatever your mind, body and spirit have been contemplating, considering and creating becomes possible when you walk into a library – there are all types of materials right there: magazines, films, books, newspapers, music, audiotapes and more that stimulate and heighten your awareness and sense of possibilities.
Its power lies in its silence – one of the golden library rules – where you can watch and hear your mind being creative and curious.
Each item has been shared by dozens, hundreds, maybe even thousands of souls, each of us connecting with it at a particular point in our lives. And it’s passed on from one pair of hands to the next. There is something intimate and profound about sharing a collective resource of materials.
In coaching lingo, some of the values that spending time at the library fulfills are: Growth, Learning, Abundance, Connection, Pleasure, Opportunity and Creativity.
Here’s a true tale about books, connections and randomness:
A friend mentioned he had read a book about 30 years ago called Sophie’s World: A novel about the history of philosophy (by Jostein Gaarder) that captured his attention with its enchanting literary style. I placed the book on hold at my local library and after getting the phone-call that it had arrived I walked over and signed it out. As I was leafing through Sophie’s World, out fell a postcard: it was black&white with a picture of a granny jigging up a dancing storm in front of 3 musicians. I turned it over and notice that it had been written, postmarked and delivered and here’s the wonderfully bizarre part of the story: I knew the person to whom it was addressed! I contacted her to relate our story of serendipity and to let her know I’d mail the card to her – Poor “Hootenanny Granny” trying to get back to her rightful owner!
Of course my friend was tickled by the coincidence.
The story doesn’t end there.
I emailed the public library to share this wonder-full story and a librarian emailed me back with one of hers:
“Thank you for taking the time to share your Sophie's World story with us. The world of books does make incredible connections. I went to a reading once by mystery author Peter Robinson and asked him to sign a book for my brother, who lives near Leeds in Yorkshire [England]. When I told him to make it out "To Dirck" he said. "There can't be too many Dirck's in Yorkshire. Is he a friend of X and Y's?" "Yes, he is", I said. Turns out Peter Robinson had had dinner with my brother at their house the last time he was in Leeds. It's a small world....”
So many incredible connections: to old friends, to new friends, to inspiring writers and ideas, and to oneself. Books, words and stories are a powerful way to connect with each and to discover something new in the world and in ourselves.
The library opens up a world of possibilities and that’s what is helpful when going through a transition or change in life.
By the way, I have since purchased Sophie’s World as a reminder of how serendipitous life can be.