When happiness is gone.
She is gone.
My project failed.
He didn’t even look at me.
She doesn’t laugh at my jokes anymore.
My friend is now more friendly with someone else.
She looked at me with that ‘seeing through’ expression.
I worked on something tirelessly, and someone else got the credit.
In the story of Harry Potter, there are these dark creatures called ‘dementors'. They feed on other people’s happiness. They suck away at human happiness like a thirsty child on a hot summer day would suck away on a glass of juice with a straw. Once all your happiness is gone, you are left only with the horrors of your past.
Thats exactly what it feels like when some of the above incidents happen in my life. My happiness is all but gone. Sometimes if it goes on for days or weeks, I feel like a walking zombie. I can’t focus on anything, and nothing seems meaningful anymore. It’s a downward spiral.
A few things give me temporary relief - a bout of exercise, my favourite song, my favourite music, yummy food, a night of good sleep, getting some long pending tasks completed. But like I said, the relief is temporary.
In JK Rowling’s story, the most powerful way to ward of the dementors is the ‘Patronus charm’. It is a supremely complicated and high advanced spell. They only way to conjure this charm is when you are concentrating with ALL your might, on a single, very happy memory! One must muster the happiest memory one can think of, draw circles with the wand, and pronounce the incantation, Expecto Patronum!
The other day I met someone who seemed affected by the dementors. The smile was gone from her face. I made an effort to connect. I listened. I felt her sadness. Later I just reached out and held her hand. She seemed to feel a little better. And amazingly, that night as I lay down to sleep, I realised I am feeling better. Making a difference in someone else’s life, had made the greatest difference in mine. My happiness was back. This has now become a happy memory for me. Such memories power my ability to cast the Patronus charm at will whenever I see the dementors approaching.