Fidelia Hall, Libraries, Life, Music

Four Things That We Can Do To Change The World Together

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My brain has been humming quite a bit these days. As a result you will most likely get a lot of posts in the upcoming weeks based around what I’ve been thinking about. The overall theme is one of energy, positivity, creativity, and love/kindness. My head and my heart know that these four things connect in some way, and this is my attempt to figure them out and present some kind of cohesive statement.

I have been searching for something all of my life, and I believe that you are most likely searching for something too. We all want to understand the world that we live in. We all want to know if there’s a bigger picture out there. We all want to be part of something. In the past two years, I have struggled with this idea in my journey. When I boiled it all down, I came to the conclusion that I was, like Carl Sagan said many years, a bunch of starstuff that was assembled and now wander around the Earth. It felt right to believe this and while it still feels right to believe this I still had a curiosity inside of me. I am matter, one that was created and one that will eventually deteriorate and be absorbed back into the cosmos, but was that all that I could be? I don’t think so. I knew that I could be more if I wanted to be. With that, I thought about what changes the world. I tried to narrow in on the real forces that change thing. I looked at the people who have come before us that have had that kind of real and positive change. I tried to connect the thread between them all. I think I’ve got it. Everything starts with energy. Let’s jump in…

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.”   -Carl Sagan 

ENERGY

We are beings who emit energy. There is a life force around each and every one of us who inhabit this Earth. I personally cannot see any manifestations of that life force, but I know it is there. I look up at this moment and see people all around me. I know some of these people, but there are others that I do not know. But each and every one of them gives off an energy. Some are positive and kind, others are off-putting and not something I want around in my life. That’s not the focus here. The focus for us is to understand that we are all beings who create an energy, and each of us have the ability to use that energy to change the world. All that it takes is a simple choice and then a declaration of intent: I am a being who creates energy, and I chose to use that energy in a positive, creative, and loving way.

If you feel this way, read that sentence and then say it out loud to yourself and the universe. Once you do so, you create a pact that allows you to move ahead in your journey. You are a being who will use that energy in a positive, creative, and loving way.

POSITIVITY

The energy that you as a human being have chosen to put out into the world is one that oozes with positivity. From your heart, your head, and your lips comes a message that is positive. Think about something you’ve said in the past that is negative, harmful, or that just does not sit well with you. Think about how you felt as you put that idea out into the world. Did you feel how it was just a bit off in your head, your heart, and in your gut? Chances are that you felt it but that you may not have been able to recognize it. The key to moving ahead is to recognize this and to change it.

One of the ways to move ahead is to craft a positive message and continually put that out into the world. When you craft this message and put it out, you will notice the change it has on the world. Positive messages are addictive. Negative messages are addictive too. But when you get on the positive message train, your addiction will be fed by the goodness you are putting out into the world. You will see that this positive message is having an impact, and in turn you will want to repeat your actions. Do that time and time again and what you’ve now done is contributed a great deal of positivity to the world. You have become a being who uses their energy to change the world.

CREATIVITY

I believe that one of the greatest things that a positive energy emitting human being can do while they are here in the world is to create something. The act of creativity means looking inside of yourself, capturing the energy that is unique to you, and then shaping that into something positive and unique and putting it out into the world. It can be anything: you can write a poem, create an album of songs, or make your own clothes. You can create anything because you have this amazing ability inside of you. We all have the ability to be creativity. All that it takes is for you to recognize that you have this ability inside of you and to say this to yourself and the world:  I am a being who creates a positive energy and I am full of creativity. I will put that creativity out into the world and use it towards positive change.

We should all search our heads and hearts to find what creativity we want to bring to the world. I myself love to write, both here on this website and also as a songwriter here. This is my creative act. I first do it for myself because I need to put this positive energy into the world, and then I hope that by doing so it creates a positive ripple that may somehow change the world. I may see this change in action or I may never see this change, but that’s not what matters. What matters is the act of creativity and the fact that all of us have the ability to create something positive for the world. Embrace this gift and use it so that together we can make the world a better place.

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I highly recommend Ellen J. Langer’s book On Becoming An Artist if you would like to explore creativity more.

LOVE/KINDNESS

We all want to live in a world that is positive and full of love. No one here on this Earth, not even the people who use their power and abilities for selfish and manipulative reasons, will say that they want negativity and hate in the world. Why is this? It is because at the core of every one of us is the need for a positive world. A positive world allows us to live, and every human being that has ever existed shares the desire to live. When we are alive, we are the living, breathing, and functioning embodiment of the starstuff that Sagan talked about. When our life ceases, we are still that starstuff but we are no longer living, breathing, and functioning. All of our stuff will eventually be recycled, but we do not know how long that will take. So we cling to the life we have at the moment, and a positive world full of love and kindness allows us to cling to that current life for as long as possible. We want to be alive and the best way to remain so is through love and kindness. Say this to yourself and to the world: I am a being who creates energy, and I chose to use that energy in a positive and creative way with love and kindness at the front and center of everything that I do. 

The first step we all need to take in order to change the world is simple: Read this, and say these things outloud to yourself and to the world. For love, kindness, creativity, and positivity to reign supreme over everything, we must first allow ourselves to be the energy creating beings that we want to be. You are everything and inside of you is the love that the world needs. Understand that love and then put it out into the world. Positive change will occur on a mass level when we understand the love inside ourselves.

This is a great moment in time where we can all make the decision to make a better world. I believe that with these four things in our heads and our hearts we can start to make a positive difference.

-Justin Hoenke, April 22, 2018.

 

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Libraries, Management

Three Things You May Not Know About Your Manager/Library Director

It is so bizarre for me to vocalize this, but coming up in June I will have been a library director for 3 years. When I accepted this job, I knew that I was up for challenge and I was pretty sure I could do it. Three years into it I can say that I’ve enjoyed parts of it, loathed some of it, and have realized that I’m still not 100% sure that I can do it. One of the other things that I’ve learned along the way is what it feels like to be a manger/library director. I’ve worked for two really great directors in the past and one not so great and for each of them I always wondered what was going on in their head. Their ideas and decisions always made me so curious. Why did this make this decision? Why did they side with this person and not that person? Where do they think the library is headed? I always tried to understand things but in the moments I didn’t have a full picture so there’s no way I could understand it at all.

But now that I’ve been a director myself I can understand the fuller picture of being a manager/library director. I know that there’s a lot going on and that there are many complex thoughts, ideas, and emotions behind everything. While these three things I’ve learned may not apply to every manager/library director in the world, I’d like to think that they do apply to most of them out there.

No Matter What You Think, I Can Confirm That Your Library Director/Manager Has A Soul

Your manager/library director told you “no” or didn’t side with your input in a situation. This has all happened to us. In my opinion, the best directors always say yes or let you run with your wildest idea, but in some cases they say no. Hearing no or not having your input considered is tough. I’ve been through it many times and each time afterwards I have always had a day or two where I was down in the dumps, thinking that my manager/library director would always be against me or was simply out to destroy everything that I came up with. Boy was I wrong.

From my experience, I believe that no matter what the situation is that every library director out there is trying to think of the best possible solution for every issue that arises. While you may not agree with the end result, I can tell you that your preferred outcome was at least considered. A good manager and library director considers all sides of the story. For the things I’ve done and changed around at the Benson Memorial Library it has always been me pondering every possible side of the story for a few weeks and then once I’ve done that coming to a conclusion that best fits the needs of the library (we’ll get to the library and its needs soon enough). I’m not out to get anyone, I’m not out to give anyone a bad day, and you should know that I’m always thinking of the best possible way forward for everyone.

Your Library Director/Manager Is Thinking Of You

The best library directors and managers are always thinking of their employees. Y’all may not agree on every step of the way, but through the ups and downs I can confirm that they are thinking of you. They’re thinking about where you’re at and where you’re going. You may feel like you and your manager/library director don’t have a connection, but you do. A good library director has a connection with every single one of their employees. It may be small, sometimes almost non-existent, or it may be a bigger connection, but in all cases there should be some kind of connection. No library director or manager wants to make an individuals life miserable or tough. I believe that at our core all of us human beings are looking out for each other, and managers and library directors are the same.

Your Library Director Has To Look Out For The Library First

This is the one big one that I have learned. I believe it was Corinne Hill who told me that her first responsibility as a Director was that she had to look out for the present and future of the library as a whole at all times. Up until that point, I didn’t realize that “the library” was another employee that the library director/manager had to look out for. The library wasn’t just a ethereal thing to the library director…it was a living breathing organism who needed the utmost care and attention. Its existence was greatly depended upon not only by the people it employed, but the entire community.

With that in mind, I’ve come to understand that my first big job as a library director is to look out for the library as a whole. I need to maintain that heating system. I need to update our windows. I need to make sure we have a well rounded collection covers all of the different kind of information that our community needs. I need to make sure that the staff are trained and are doing their work. I need to make sure I lead in a positive and community first way. All of these things, when lumped and smooshed together, are best summed up in the phrase the library director needs to look out for the library as a whole first and foremost. When the manager/library director looks out for the whole of the library, everything that I mentioned above and much, much more can hum along nicely.

Family, Libraries, Life

The Goal

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Statues inspire me. I want as many of them around my property as I can get my hands on. This guy is a weird one but I love it. He sits in our strawberry patch and just looks on at whoever comes to our backdoor. He’s magical.

Life in our modern society is a pretty freaking weird thing. We have an overall system in place that works actively to help promote individual growth and also to thwart that same growth. We are creatures that strive for change through accomplishments and advances, but that change comes so slowly that in the day to day it feels like nothing ever changes. What we hear from each other, those in power and those with fame are usually positive and sugar coated in nature, but underneath those whispers of “oh yeah everything is alright” is a much larger story with complex moves like a chess game, ups and downs, and things flying all over the place.

The minute after I think I have my “aha! So that’s the answer!” moment is the minute that I’m back to the drawing board. You can go through this entire blog and see that evolving and growing day by day, year by year. The best thing to realize at this point, for me at least, was that the answer will never be there and then someday I’ll die without the answer and melt back into the nutrient ecosystem and be born again as a tree. That happened a few years ago and, boy oh boy, did things feel a lot better for me once I realized that. Cue Elton John and that Lion King song. It makes sense.

A nice holiday break to end 2017 helped end a year that was a bit confusing on a clearer note. I woke up when my body and mind were ready to wake up. I engaged in the pursuits which felt natural to me (music, video games, reading). I stayed in pretty much the same location for quite a number of days, surrounded by people that I wanted to be surrounded with. I went outside and used the snowblower to make nice little paths for people to walk along the sidewalk. There are great joys in the simple, mundane things. The seismic shifts which once fueled my days are no longer necessary. I am getting a lot better at understanding and enjoying the little stuff.

Claude Debussy’s piano music is a good musical representation of what I feel in my head and heart these days. When I listen to the piece above (a collection of six solo piano pieces composed between 1901-1907 titled Images) I feel a sense of ease, wonder, excitement, and content wash over me. It feels right to listen to this music. There is so much wonder and beauty in these compositions. My mind wanders and I think about Debussy and what he may have been thinking and feeling when he wrote these pieces. What is it that compelled him to create such a beautiful thing?

What I want is a life full of creativity. Creating something is the best things humans can do in this world. Make some art, make some music, plant some flowers, have some children. The end result does not matter; the act is what matters. It is the act of creation that is really the only thing that makes sense to me these days. In a world of falsities and sugar coating, the act of creation feels more real than ever. When I write words in a document, record some music, or capture some sounds I feel free and I feel happy. There’s really nothing better than that experience. It fills up my soul.

THE GOAL is to live a life of happiness, to spread positivity and kindness, to create beautiful things, and to do work that gives back to people. I want to find the truth and honesty in all things. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I want this whole thing to be one huge adventure. I am happy where I’m at right now and I will be happy with where I go.