A Yogi’s Reflections on Change, and Charles

Charles Library

For a couple of years now I have been practicing yoga. I live near the studio and my routine is to have an early coffee then head over to the 6:30 session. It’s a good way to start the day and puts me in a positive frame of mind.

But this month two instructors have left the studio and we students now practice with “Jane”, who is just out of teacher training. It was awful. Nothing she did was right, from confusing left and right to selecting unpleasant music.  I would emerge from practice annoyed, and at times bitter and more stressed than when I arrived.

I was frustrated with my own impatience. I told myself to respect the process, to allow Jane the space to learn. That’s a value I tout all the time. But I was having some trouble practicing what I preach.

Yesterday’s class was quite different. It was still Jane. We chatted before class and got to know each other better. In practice, the shapes seemed not so strange and the music not so grating. I came away from practice refreshed and energized for the day ahead. Something had changed, but it wasn’t just Jane.

Change is annoying, and stressful, and makes us uncomfortable. Here at Temple University Libraries/Press, we are going through a lot of it.  The Envisioning our Future interview project was designed to explore with staff aspects of that change as we transition to Charles.

We are now wrapping up its first phase, providing for some self-reflection on our organization and our individual work. How do we anticipate our work with colleagues and with users will be impacted? What opportunities and challenges will we face? We hope to identify best practices when supporting this kind of dramatic change. The many participant voices have also brought to light the anxieties we are facing now, including my own.

But like a yogi  trying always to improve my practice, I feel I can adapt to that change. And will be both stronger and more flexible because of it. Next post, from Charles Library!

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