I finally found an apartment. I’ll be moving on Sunday. Living alone for the first time since I moved to the Bay Area. Wow. Talk about being smack dab in the midst of a rite of passage!

Each night for the past week, I’ve collapsed on my couch exhausted. Change is hard! What a better way to numb out than …

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Last week a 17-year-old client introduced me to A Very Potter Musical on YouTube. Talk about fun!! I’ve been watching a few scenes each night, and it’s a blast.  Even though part of me cringes when Dumbledore gets sarcastic or Harry acts clueless (SO out of character), I appreciate the way the performers balance the parody with clear affection for the characters.

wandI’ve also managed to get out hiking — twice!! On last Sunday’s walk through Redwood Regional Park, I found an amazing twisted tree branch on the path. “A wand!” my friend Amy exclaimed. In that instant, with those two auspicious words, I had a flash of Joy Diet insight.

The Joy Diet is a book I’m reading with about 100 other women bloggers, led by the luscious Jamie Ridler. Each Friday we’re posting our thoughts about the latest chapter. I missed last week, and so luckily my “it’s a wand!” insight collapsed a few weeks’ worth of reflections into one convenient metaphor.

Here’s a summary of the last few week’s of the Joy Diet process:

  1. Desire: Name what you most want.
  2. Creativity: Brainstorm actions that bring you closer to what you desire.
  3. Risk: Take practical action that gets you closer to your goal.

And here’s an outline for a Five Paragraph Essay about My Fabulous Insight:

Main Idea: The wand is a perfect metaphor for the Desire-Creativity-Risk process.

Supporting Idea #1 — Before I use my wand, I have to know what I most want in this moment. It’s not about what I want some day in the future. It’s about what I want right now. (That’s been the toughest part of the Joy Diet process for me. I’m great at knowing my future goals; less fluent with identifying my desires as they ebb and flow through the day).

Supporting Idea #2 — If I’m going to use a wand successfully, I also need to know which spells are likely to get me what I want. Will a simple Accio spell suffice by summoning the object of my desire to me? Or will I need to go hard core with Crucio, and torture he-who-stands-in-my-way? (See a complete list of Harry Potter spells here.)

Supporting Idea #3 — No spell is going to work, though, unless I actually use it. Unless I stand my ground in the face of my fear, point my wand courageously, and utter those magic, irreversible words. That’s what risk is all about. Just doing it. Acknowledging that the action I take is scary but necessary. It might even fail.  But it’s a step. In the direction of what I most deeply desire.

OK. So in theory this is a cool idea. But what does it look like in practical action?

Well, this week I didn’t take any big risks. But I did take some small ones. Here’s my favorite story du jour:

As I was packing all my books for the move, I realized that it is time. Time to get rid of two sets of books that I haven’t looked at in years:  the Indian theatre play collection left over from my Fulbright days, and curriculum from my 2-year stint as a world history teacher.

A rush of nausea accompanied the decision (OMG!!!  I’m lopping off my limbs!!!  Losing a crucial part of my identity as scholar, teacher, and theatre buff!!!). But then I realized that those limbs have been hanging limp for a long time. I have a new set  that suits me much better: improv artist, entrepreneur, academic coach.

As I started packing the books, another desire bubbled to the surface: to send the books to people who will use and appreciate them. A few minutes later, I’d found an Indian theatre company in the Bay Area who said they’d happily take the play collection off my hands. And then I remembered that I could donate the curriculum to WCCHS, the charter school I helped found.

Yay! I’d named my desire to have space for new interests & passions and also give my old books to folks who will appreciate them. I got creative about researching a local Indian theatre company. And then I took a risk by packing up the books and offering them to the recipients before I could back out.

I love my new wand because its a tangible reminder of the desire-creativity-risk triad. Although I’m a pretty quirky gal, I’m not quirky enough to carry the wand with me wherever I go. But I’ll sure keep it on the altar in my new house.

And in the mean time, I’m figuring out cool spells (or are they charms?!) to help me through the next couple months:

  • Sonorus! (To make my voice loud & compelling enough that lots of people know about MuseCubes as a unique & inexpensive holiday gift option).
  • Wingardium Leviosa! (To create an easy, efficient process to make the MuseCubes and fly them out to customers).
  • Orchideus! (To inspire a constant flow of fresh flowers in my new apartment so that I’m surrounded by beauty during this challenging time of transition.)