Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

The song Changes by David Bowie has the lyrics “ch-ch-ch-ch changes (Turn and face the strange) ch-ch-ch-changes” and I’ve been thinking about those words a lot lately.

Life during a pandemic has been difficult and even scary. Many things have changed drastically: schools, businesses and parks are closed, work has been relegated to those who can work from home and some jobs have been flat out eliminated. People are having to stay at home, stay healthy and the changes are happening at a pace that makes my head spin.

Looking back, I regret that I wasn’t more prepared both physically and mentally for this change. When we were required to go home from our work positions at the library, I thought oh well. . . maybe we’ll be closed for a couple of weeks. Boy was I in La-La land. In a way, it was probably better that I didn’t know the extent of all that was going to happen or I wouldn’t have been able to serve the library in a professional manner.

The words I would use to describe this time in history include fear, loss, and grief but also resiliency and empathy. I made a search of the library catalog using the terms Change, Stress, Anger and Resilience to see what items would come up. Here are some of my great finds!

Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change and Thrive in Work and Life by Susan David.

From the catalog summary: Emotional agility is a revolutionary, science-based approach that allows us to navigate life’s twists and turns with self-acceptance, clear-sightedness, and an open mind. Renowned psychologist Susan David developed this concept after studying emotions, happiness, and achievement for more than twenty years. She found that no matter how intelligent or creative people are, or what type of personality they have, it is how they navigate their inner world—their thoughts, feelings, and self-talk—that ultimately determines how successful they will become.

Something I have personal experience with is the cognitive behavior and freedom technique called Tapping or psychological acupressure. This therapy utilizes meridian points to restore the balance of energy and help resolve physical and emotional issues. Similar to mindfulness, it draws your attention to your body and breathing and serves as a mental distraction from issues causing anxiety or stress. You might ask if it works? Well it didn’t hurt and it gave my something new to try.

If you want to learn more, the library has the ebook The Tapping Solution: a Revolutionary System for Stress-Free Living by Nick Ortner . 

From the catalog summary: In a friendly voice, he lays out easy-to-use practices, diagrams and worksheets that will teach readers, step-by-step, how to tap on a variety of issues. With chapters covering everything from the alleviation of pain to the encouragement of weight loss to fostering better relationships, Ortner opens readers’ eyes to just how powerful this practice can be. 

A memoir that came up in my search that looks really interesting is On Being Human: a Memoir of Waking up, Living Real and Listening Hard by Jennifer Pastiloff. 

From the catalog summary: An inspirational memoir about how Jennifer Pastiloff’s years of waitressing taught her to seek out unexpected beauty, how deafness taught her to listen fiercely, how being vulnerable allowed her to find love, and how imperfections can lead to a life full of wild happiness.

A fourth digital book that came up in my search and looks worthwhile is Change Friendly Leadership: How to Transform Good Intentions into Great Performance by Rodger Dean Duncan.

From the catalog summary: In this radical new book, practitioner Rodger Dean Duncan shows that humanness, approachability, and friendliness are necessary but often overlooked elements of making change successful. Change cannot be achieved by a press release, slogan, or announcement. Effective organizational change requires the active, mindful participation of the people affect.

Things are still changing and will likely never go back to ‘how it used to be’ but together we can strive to make it less painful and frightening by being there for each other and understanding ‘we are all in the same boat.’  

Puzzles, Puzzles, Puzzles!

I enjoy putting together jigsaw puzzles. I never had the time and or patience before a couple of years ago, but due to different health issues, a spinal fusion and then an ankle joint replacement, walking on my lunch breaks was no longer an option for me.In the Everett Public Library staff room, we usually have an ongoing jigsaw puzzle. I was never really interested until I had to sit still and do something different.

Since then, I’ve become one of the most adamant of the staff puzzle club. Anything from a 500 to 1000 piece puzzle is usually there waiting to be pieced together. And like Linda’s latest post pointed out, puzzles help with depression. When deciding to write a post, I thought I might as well write it on something I was personally interested in and so I ventured forth to see the digital offerings that Everett Public Library had about the subject of puzzles. 

Here are some puzzle related digital items that sounded interesting to me:

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – In this story a virtual reality world is a vast online utopia where people plug into an “oasis” instead of the grim , poverty stricken reality of the outside world. This story is full of action, puzzles, nerdy romance and the nostalgia of the 1980’s. In this high energy cyberquest, geeks everywhere will feel like they were separated at birth from the author. 

Young Adults who are fans of John Green (Fault in Our Stars) will enjoy the ebook by Arvin Ahmedi called Down and Across. In this  coming of age story a college bound senior, Scott Ferdowsi, sneaks off to D.C. and meets a college girl, Fiora Buchanan, whose ambition is to write crossword puzzles. The main character, Scott, gets himself into all sorts of mayhem like sneaking into bars and picking up girls at the national zoo all while trying to figure out who he is and what he wants to be.

A streaming video I found in the library collection on Kanopy is a 1992 Italian mystery/thriller called Body Puzzle. This film has been described as a fun 90’s giallo. The leading lady, Joanna Paula is a heroine in peril because some sick killer keeps breaking into the house and leaving severed body parts laying around. Needless to say, this title is Not Rated and definitely a slasher film. 

Something more science related is a streaming film called Mastering Rubik’s Cube, which is on Kanopy as well. Are you interested in an easy to learn eight step method for solving this mind bending puzzle? Follow along step by step and you will be solving a Rubik’s Cube in less than three minutes.

A third interesting streaming title on Kanopy is a documentary on artist Rene Magritte.  He makes witty and provoking images that merge his childhood, memories and everyday objects from his Brussel’s apartment into a fantastic, unique puzzle of art.

Some streaming music that came up in my puzzle search that is available from the library is Beggars Banquet by the famous English rock band the Rolling Stones. This streaming album on Hoopla has the song “Jigsaw Puzzle.”

Also the American rock band Saint Motel has a streaming album called Voyeur. I listened to their song “Puzzle Pieces” with its upbeat piano and happy tempo.

Since the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order I’ve completed a couple of jigsaw puzzles, but miss the team effort of my fellow staff members. Oh well, that will come back in time…but now I’m off to order a puzzle of Rene Magritte’s art!