It was a normal dash down to my basement to retrieve something I had stored there.Â But my eye was caught by a crack in the foundation wall that had clearly widened since the last time I saw it.Â What happened next in my brain is comical â€“ looking back on it.Â It went something like this:
- â€œOh, no!Â 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.
- Itâ€™s probably moved so much now that it canâ€™t be repaired.
- This house wonâ€™t be of any value any more.
- This is our largest investment and asset.
- If itâ€™s worth nothing at all, weâ€™ll be destitute.â€
And my brain further offered the image of myself as a bag lady.
What had been a normal day suddenly became a worrisome day.Â Fortunately, my mindfulness training kicked in, and I stepped back to â€œwatchâ€ the story I was telling myself.Â 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 â€œcheckâ€ some of the story lines:Â Perhaps the crack hadnâ€™t widened that much; perhaps it could be easily repaired, George and I always find ways to handle whatever comes up, etc.Â I noticed that these less reactive ideas didnâ€™t lessen my resolve to see if repairs needed to be done, but they did allow me to smile at my brainâ€™s reactivity.Â I could then remind myself that regardless of what happened, as the Christian mystic Julian of Norwich realized while in prayer, â€œAll shall be well.â€
I am grateful that mindfulness has saved me from many days and hours of wasted worry.
Now â€“ about what happened with that basement wall crack â€“ stay tuned for another story another time . . .
Â© Copyright 2013 Marlene Wine-Chase