Have you read the ‘Harry Potter’ books or seen the movies? Do you recall the ‘Boggart’ scene in Professor Lupin’s class?
For those who may not be familiar with the books or movies, or who simply may have forgotten, please allow me to recap.
The scene takes place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In the class, Professor Lupin is instructing the witch and wizard students on the subject of Boggarts.
Traditionally, boggarts appear in English folklore as either household spirits who have been wronged and then turn to mischief, causing such things as milk to sour, things to disappear, dishes to break, the family dog or horse to go lame, and so forth. Or, they could be malevolent spirits inhabiting marshes or holes in the ground and responsible for much more evil doings, like missing children, misguided and lost travelers, etc.
In the Harry Potter stories, the boggarts are shapeshifters who hide in wardrobes, closets, and other places, and who feed on negative human emotions, then emerge to take the shape and form to become whatever it is that someone fears most, which is why they are so terrifying – your greatest fear realized and standing right in front of you! Think spiders, snakes, your fifth-grade math teacher, and your crazy Aunt Martha. Boggarts would know and feed on someone’s negativity and deepest fears.
But, as it turns out, boggarts are rather easy to get rid of. At Hogwarts, the magic spell to make a boggart go away was to loudly and in a bold voice direct the magical charm word “Ridiculous!” at the boggart, combined with a proper flip of the wand while at the same time imagining the boggart in some way one found amusing. Then burst into unrestrained laughter. Imagine crazy Aunt Martha in a bright purple, polka-dot clown costume with a pink cotton candy hairdo, and then burst into side-splitting laughter!
Laughing at the imagined image was most important, leaving no negative or fearful emotions in your mind for the boggart to feed upon. Stripped of all power then, the harmless boggart would simply disappear, embarrassed and humiliated in retreat.
Even with non-magical folk like us (i.e. ‘Muggles’ in the stories), it can seem as though we are bothered by Boggarts from time to time in our lives, as well.
Negative feelings and fears come into our minds, increasingly occupying our daily thoughts and nightmares until they become living obsessions; for all intents and purposes our own personal boggart feeding on our greatest negative emotions, anxieties, and fears, making our lives miserable as they grow ever more powerful and in control.
Please don’t let the Coronavirus and news transform into your personal boggart. The Daily News, Sheltering-In-Place, and Social-Distancing can be stressful, but do not let it all generate negative emotions and fears to feed a boggart, enabling it to put dark clouds over your days or cause anxiety and sleepless nights. Don’t feed the boggarts with negative thoughts.
Follow the example of the Hogwarts students and send your fears and boggarts packing. Recognize negative emotions and fears as the ridiculously agonizing tormentors they are, and banish them with positive thoughts and laughter.
We all need to stay informed with the news but do we need to hear the same thing repeated six, twelve, or more times a day, the same dire reports and doomsday predictions over and over and over again drummed into our minds? No, we don’t.
Because that is when it becomes a negative obsession driving our thoughts and emotions, pulling us down, and transforming into a boggart before our very eyes and stripping us of all our happiness.
We may not have a magic wand, but we do each have a remote control with a quite magical “OFF” button. Please, don’t be afraid to use it to preserve your peace of mind and happiness. Twenty-four-hour news access is not necessarily a good thing. Certainly not for happiness and peace of mind. So, switch off. We are much better served enjoying Mickey Mouse and Road Runner cartoons!
The times are trying and challenging enough on their own, without dwelling on negativity and imagined fears every moment of the day, adding bothersome boggarts to the mix, pulling us into an ever-darkening misty fog while also diminishing our resistance, hopes, well-being, and immunities. Our thoughts can indeed make us sick.
Whenever uncomfortable thoughts enter your mind, bust out with a resounding – “Ridiculous!” Then laugh out loud at it all. Laugh at yourself and at the pure silliness of you blurting out “Ridiculous!” for all to hear. Laugh about the thought of others hearing you. Then laugh about them laughing. And then laugh some more. Laugh, smile, enjoy it, and feel better.
Laughter, together with a positive attitude, truly is the best medicine!
Happiness is always only ever one thought away.
Laugh, Smile, Laugh Again – and you will feel instantly better – 99¾% guaranteed!
For information on How to Protect Yourself & Others from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), simply tap the link.
Our very best wishes and health to you and yours!
Take Care, Stay Well, Laugh, and by all means — Live In The Moment and Be Happy! –- Jim (and Red!)
Stay Positive and Be Happy! Banish the Boggarts!
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