Once there was a woman who had a clock on the wall of her bedroom.
It was so loud, “Tick! Tick! Tick!” that it was like a buzz saw through her head.
She hated that clock, but it had been passed down from her family. She couldn’t remember exactly where it came from, but it just wasn’t right to get rid of it.
But the woman couldn’t sleep with the clock’s piercing tick. She yanked it off the wall and put it in another room, but this was no ordinary clock.
No matter where she moved it, as soon as she went to bed, it would reappear on the wall.
The woman tried sleeping in another room, but no sooner did she fall asleep than did the clock appear on the wall, with that tick penetrating her skull.
It was maddening.
The clock was so aggravating that it was all she could think about. She decided that it must be destroyed.
The woman did everything she could think of to destroy it. An ax. Fire. Smashing it with a hammer.
Each time she destroyed the clock, it would reappear.
So the woman resigned herself to living with the clock, and she built her life around it.
She bought earplugs, wrapped the clock in insulated foam and slept under a pile of blankets to muffle the sound.
It worked for a while, but her ears strained to hear the tick, tick, tick that was always there.
She tried not to think of the clock, which made it sound even louder.
She tried to think of something else, and focused all her energy thinking of the beach on a warm day, which worked for a little while, but as soon as she relaxed the sound was back.
The woman steeled herself each night for her battle with the clock, and every night she would lose.
One day, the woman gave up.
“Clock,” she said. “It looks like you’re not going anywhere, and neither am I. So I guess we just have to accept each other.”
The woman stopped trying not to hear the clock.
Something happened in that moment.
The ticking didn’t go away. It was still maddeningly loud.
But the woman noticed all the other things she could hear, feel and see. The wind sighed through the trees outside, her mattress was soft, the sky was a gorgeous blue.
For the first time in years, she fell asleep without curling into a ball of frustration.
Then the woman stopped hearing the clock because she stopped thinking about it.
Every once in a while, she’d think about it again, and the ticking was still there. It was annoying, but it didn’t make her want to go crazy anymore.
When she let it go and became present with the other things in her world, it would disappear into the background once again.
It wasn’t only the clock that stopped bothering the woman. All the things that annoyed her got less maddening, too.
It was easier to ignore them because she knew when she didn’t mess with her thinking about them, they went away on their own.
The woman was finally able to sleep in peace.