Prior to diving into a relationship with the world of Harry Potter, horcruxes and dementors were never part of my vocabulary. The creative juices of JK Rowling changed that and so much more. She added terms like hippogryphs and alohamora, wands and wizardy, put a face and voice to those things that go bump in the night, lent a figure to those things that suck out our happiness and always showed that although there might be great struggle, somehow good will triumph. Her boggarts and dementors were fairly shapeless yet the idea of their makeup held steadfast – their design is to suck the happy – somehow we’ve all encountered one or two in our lives.
Sure, at times, there’s just pure suck. Disasters rock communities, fires sweep through homes and people die – there are times when we’re all sad, distressed and need time. Yet what about the everyday before and after that suck? Not the everyday that comes immediately after the difficulty, not the everyday that is the immediate ‘new normal’, but those everydays before and later after whatever has transpired. How do we get the strength to fight those dementors, how do we face those fear shaped boggarts and know that we can push through? JK Rowling told us that too…..think happy. Somehow as those scary nameless, faceless thoughts are stealing the joy – think happy. Engage those thoughts that bring to light friendship, love, laughter, and joy (if you’re my friend Lauren you’d add unicorn farts and sparkly rainbows) and the dementors won’t know how to fight back.
Years ago, my friend Farrah told me never to make any decisions in the height of winter or in summer. A few years later, my friend Jackie told me to go and find ‘summer Stacey’ all year ’round. For the past twenty years, none of us have shared the same geographic space, yet they’ve always seemed to find a way to listen, see me, force me to listen to all sides (many that are hard), empower me to choose my authentic self and have my best interests at heart. These ladies tell it like it is, never sugar coat anything and aren’t afraid to tell you something you might not like to hear. I am so very grateful they’re part of my chosen family. Although it wasn’t the easiest thing to do – I listened, we left and found a new way of ease on the west coast.
We know that these last few months have been filled with real ick and big life stuff. We count ourselves super lucky and incredibly grateful to have a tribe of humans (some in that chosen family and others in the blood kind) who have offered an ear, a shoulder, a hug, a meal, a beer, a bed and even the clothes off their backs. We’ve realized more than ever how much we’ve changed and grown on the west coast and how proud we are of those developments. We never want to do anything that would intentionally hurt anyone, but we know that our best selves develop in the rays of sunshine, within the constant breeze of palm trees and with accessibility to both sets of our families.
Coming to New York at this particular time and phase in life has taught us more than we thought it would. It put into perspective that ‘everyday’s a bonus day’ theory. It plopped us into all sorts of discomfort and said ‘quick, learn to live with this discomfort, work on yourselves and calmly find a way to consider the options, consider the people and make some choices that are best for your health, your wellness and your present and future selves’.
Actually, I’m pretty proud of us. We’ve donned those base layers, socks, warm shoes and jackets and headed out into nature. We’ve walked the boardwalk in temperatures more than 20 degrees below what we used to and we trucked through snow and ice to gain access to some of Dad’s trails. We spent evenings and weekends wandering the streets of Manhattan (and the surrounding boroughs) in far more layers than either of us would ever like in order to take in the benefits of life in this metropolis. We did what we would have NEVER done in years past. In the life we had here previously, we would have locked ourselves up in full hibernation mode awaiting the arrival of temperatures well over 65; this time was different. This time, we tried hard to embrace the way of life we love regardless of the weather outside – but it taught us again, what we already knew…..we’re warm weather people, our spirits get a constant positive infusion from vitamin D, we love that west coast vibe of ease and we are truly, solar powered.
“It is our choices that show us what we truly are, far more than our abilities” voiced Rowling’s Dumbledore. We’ve spent the last three years living that choice and we don’t want to stop now. We know not everyone feels the same, and we hope that those in our lives will be able to be happy for our choice of where we choose to land. No matter where that is – all are always welcome. Thanks to family and friends for listening, reminding us to be who we are, that self-care and healing matter and that to choose happiness, wherever it is – is always the right choice. Here’s to deflecting those dementors, giggling at those boggarts, hunting horcruxes and having the confidence to know the difference. Here’s to happiness ruling the day, courage to go after the things that make your spirit soar and the mindfulness to manifest the life you want.