It was a normal dash down to my basement to retrieve something I had stored there.  But my eye was caught by a crack in the foundation wall that had clearly widened since the last time I saw it.  What happened next in my brain is comical – looking back on it.  It went something like this:

  • “Oh, no!  That crack is getting bigger.
  • When we bought this house there was some concern that the foundation was curving in a little too much, but it still passed inspection.
  • It’s probably moved so much now that it can’t be repaired.
  • This house won’t be of any value any more.
  • This is our largest investment and asset.
  • If it’s worth nothing at all, we’ll be destitute.”

And my brain further offered the image of myself as a bag lady.

What had been a normal day suddenly became a worrisome day.  Fortunately, my mindfulness training kicked in, and I stepped back to “watch” the story I was telling myself.  I was able to realize it was a STORY my brain was telling, based on its tendency to try to protect me by warning me about the worst that I should prepare to handle.

As I recognized it was a story, and perhaps not the truth, I was able to “check” some of the story lines:  Perhaps the crack hadn’t widened that much; perhaps it could be easily repaired, George and I always find ways to handle whatever comes up, etc.  I noticed that these less reactive ideas didn’t lessen my resolve to see if repairs needed to be done, but they did allow me to smile at my brain’s reactivity.  I could then remind myself that regardless of what happened, as the Christian mystic Julian of Norwich realized while in prayer, “All shall be well.”

I am grateful that mindfulness has saved me from many days and hours of wasted worry.

Now – about what happened with that basement wall crack – stay tuned for another story another time . . .

© Copyright 2013 Marlene Wine-Chase


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