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In Ireland, when you get a head full of worry about something that is not happening in this moment and may not even be on the horizon, they say don’t borrow trouble from the future.

The future is full of many things, and I’ve learned over the years that my mind is willing to make horror stories about all of it.

My day was crazy: my clients and my dogs all needed extra attention while I was also prepping to teach a weekend class and trying to write a blog post for all of you. In the midst of all this, my husband Andrew left to go to a trade show in Maryland.

As I hugged him goodbye, tears started welling up and I began to feel a bit shaky. In the midst of all the overwhelm of the day, his leaving felt like one thing too many.

Overwhelmed and over-stimulated by the cacophony of my unpredictably barking dogs, I began to tell myself the story of tragedy that awaited Andrew on the road (that would leave me forever overwhelmed and alone with two barking dogs!): somewhere between here and Maryland, or somewhere between Maryland and here, he was going to die.

Yes, I admit it, I occasionally indulge in catastrophic thinking.

And it is an indulgence. It’s borrowing trouble from a future that does not exist and using that trouble to disengage from the present moment.

My present moment, in which I was not fully present, was speaking on the phone with a potential client. Instead of the warm connection that I usually feel, I felt distracted and disjointed. People are sensitive, so I’m pretty sure she could feel it too.

How do you bring your mind back to the here and now? How do you dismiss the stories you’ve begun to spin? How do you give back the trouble you’ve borrowed from a future that doesn’t exist?

We all have different reset buttons. For me, scent works well. As soon as I lit a white sage smudge stick, I felt myself settling and my irrational foreboding passing. It took a few minutes to let go of my thoughts and simply be in my body.

I do believe that our thoughts begin to shape our reality. So what’s the difference between borrowing trouble and creating trouble?

It’s not actually something I want to find out, so I’ll continue to smell the sage and to let go of catastrophic futures.

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