I have noticed, when facing various situations that have multiple possible outcomes I tend to ruminate on the negative possibilities.

Take the other morning, for example. I am awakened at 4:30 a.m. by rain landing on the roof a few feet over my head. It’s a nice sound, soothing. Slowly my mind comes online. Booting up as it were. As it does so I ruminate about the coming day, the tasks at hand, as the rain continues.

Then, all of a sudden, it hits me, “Oh my God the roof!” Not the one I am listening to but the one I have been working on up the road. I get caught up in imagining all sorts of scenarios, frankly all sorts of leaks. I have no basis for assuming the worst, it just happens. So I lie in bed and worry for a while then I do what I have trained myself over a lifetime to do — forget about it.

If the homeowner calls, then I’ll have something to worry about. In the meantime I realize there is no use in immediately getting negative, in fact it’s a better option to be optimistic. So I rise up, make the bed and descend from my loft to start my day.

By 5:30 a.m., I have the coffee made and the radio is on. But as the rain continues I still can’t help but go over in my mind the possible weak spots in the roof up the road even though we went over and over it, tightening things up.

I watch as my mind tends to the negative again, and again I realize that I have a choice. I can ruminate on all the negative possibilities or I can think about the positive ones — such as the roof is fine and the owners are happy.

Then I go a step further and start to look at the positives in the possible negatives. If there is a leak I will learn something. I can learn how to do something better. I can hone my skills. When I get to thinking like this the stress dissolves some. There is still some minor anxiety but I have decided to take the bull by the horns and go to the job as soon as I can.

I head out at 6:30 a.m. It’s about a 20-minute drive on my bike to get to the job and I want to show up as early as I can. I have to solve the mystery that is churning around in my mind. I have done my chores, let the chickens out and fed them and the time has come to mount my steed (e-bike that is) and head off into battle, prepared for any outcome.

At 7 a.m., I approach the job site and the time of reckoning approaches. I arrive deep in prayer: “Please God, Please God. Please God, let there be no leaks.”

I enter the space below the roof we have been working on, look at the six skylights for any signs of drips, look to the tarp on the floor for puddles and to my great relief it’s bone dry.

“Gee whiz,” I think, “all that time spent on the negatives, and everything is fine.”

“Dummy,” I exclaim to myself. And then I start down the other common rabbit hole — myself starts talking to myself, and not in a nice way: “You are such a dummy. A total dummy. Dummy! Dummy! Dummy! I don’t know how you could be such a dummy!”

This goes on for a bit but finally I have to interject on the conversation I am having with myself and say: “Would you just shut up!”

Reluctantly, the other me quiets down and I’m at oneness again. It’s sort of a mindfulness technique I figure out later. I know I will spar with myself again and I will admonish myself again but for the moment, like the song says, “Que Sera, Sera.”

Works for me.

Joe Keenan lives in Chilmark.