My daughter is a Harry Potter fan, and thus I’ve been a bit educated about the many magical people, places, creatures, and spells in the iconic series. One of the most powerful spells in that series of magical books calls forth your Patronus. What is that, you say?
A Patronus is (from J.K. Rowling’s description) “a kind of positive force, a projection of hope, happiness, the desire to survive”. The Patronus can’t feel despair like humans can. Its function is to protect you from forces that want to suck all that positive energy out of you (called the Dementors in Harry Potter land).
Guess what – you have a Patronus, too! It’s that part inside of you that believes in you, that holds your memories of joy and happiness, that sees the magical possibilities of life. You can ward off negativity when you’re tuned into your Patronus.
That negativity often comes not from outside of ourselves, but from our own mind. We all have Dementors of self-criticism, shame, and despair that arise in our thoughts.
The essential practice – when you feel your own Dementors raising their terrifying heads – is to recognize they are thoughts, and don’t really have power over you unless you GIVE it to them.
The power of the Patronus acts as a shield, helping you to re-focus on what is positive in your life rather than allowing the negative thoughts to drag you down.
It can be helpful to visualize your Patronus. Choose an animal that speaks to your heart and soul. Is it a stag, like Harry Potter’s? How about a dolphin? Or like your beloved cat or dog? What about an eagle? Find a power animal that resonates for you to represent your Patronus.
When those negative thoughts arise, cast your spell – EXPECTO PATRONUM! Imagine your Patronus, glowing brightly and powerfully, making a stand between you and the illusory negative thoughts. And just like the Dementors, see those thoughts repelled away.
OK, I know it’s not always that easy to dissipate negative thoughts. But with this fun exercise, you’ll be less intimidated by them. It is one more tool to have in your pocket (along with your wand, of course) that will help you transform negative thinking into something more helpful and uplifting.
With the aid of your Patronus, you can gain some distance from your thoughts, utilize other tools to dismantle them, and find empowerment over them. Perhaps you can practice having compassion for all that fear, worry, and negativity. Imagining your Patronus gives you the perspective to examine those judgments or worries and do a reality check – are they true? Are they necessary? Do I really need to let them have power over me? No, you don’t.
EXPECTO PATRONUM! You’ve got this!