I’ve had a tradition for several years now, of watching all the Harry Potter movies at the beginning of the year. This ritual started one year during a seminary winter break when I got snowed in at my parents’ house with my sisters.

The memory of watching the movies with oodles of blankets, a crackling fire, boiled custard in the fridge and hot tea for days is so vivid in my mind and cozy in my heart.

During this year’s Potterthon, which continues tonight with HP and the Order of the Phoenix, because I’ve been writing morning pages every day for a while, I’ve been extra reflective when watching movies, reading books, and listening to podcasts.

Something I was thinking about today while doing bereavement outreach and planning for the grief groups starting this month kind of took my breath away a little bit.

It’s not an exact analogy, but today as I was noticing myself getting tired and even dragged down a little bit, I thought ahead in the series to the quest to find all the horcruxes. When Ron, Harry and Hermione realize that the locket containing a piece of the soul of He Who Must Not Be Named, drags them down and makes them deeply cynical, setting them on the path to despair, they start taking turns wearing the locket.

Grief care without careful attention to balance can feel like carrying around a horcrux. Life, without careful attention to self-care and self-love, self-gentleness and self-grace can feel like carrying around a horcrux.

So tonight on my break, I’m eating pizza, watching HP 5, and knitting a scarf; my locket carefully stowed away for safe keeping.

I’ll put it back on tomorrow with compassion and care, ready to carry grief and gratitude for those whose hands and arms, and hearts and minds are a bit too full right now.

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