Magic of Ridiculous to Banish Boggarts of Insomnia

January 7

All my life I have had trouble falling asleep. When I was a child, I was usually kept awake by happy thoughts: dreaming or planning for the future, excitement. I just couldn’t shut off my mind.

As an adult I can still have difficulty falling asleep when my brain is too busy. It can be too busy with happy excitement or with anxiety. What makes it exponentially worse is to begin to berate myself for being unable to just relax, and to worry that my anxiety and sleeplessness indicate that I am on a downward slide of a mental health pit.

The habit of being anxious and fearful builds into a vague ominous feeling that something bad is going to happen. It creates more anxiety and fear. In the Harry Potter series, a boggart is a shape-shifter that can take the shape of whatever it thinks will most frighten us. Our minds are like those dark, enclosed spaces where boggarts like to hide. The “magical” process of banishing them is to bring them out into the light, name them, and make them look ridiculous.

Somehow, trying to articulate aloud the fears and anxieties that grow in my mind, makes them seem ridiculous or at least reduces them to a more realistic size.

Most of my anxieties are boggarts. Maybe anxieties by definition are boggarts. Anxiety can do nothing to help whatever is my present or anticipated situation. Each night as I prepare for falling asleep, I try to let go of whatever is holding onto me.  I pray: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Some nights I still have trouble falling asleep but I know that “serenity” can be learned through the practice of “letting go”.

Gratitude Prompt: Give thanks for the good friend who can help me see the ridiculous in my anxieties. And thanks for the many nights when I have good sleeps.