How I Came to Love the Hammering Next Door

How I Came to Love the Hammering Next Door

One of our neighbors is having work done on their house.

It’s loudest in the mornings, often right around the time we start meditating.

If I try to ignore it, the construction noise drives me crazy because it’s all I hear. But if I actually make it the focus of my meditation, it doesn’t sound like noise at all. In fact, I find myself enjoying it. The electric saw is soothing, really. The drill has personality. The strike of the hammer comforting in its predictability.

That’s the kind of focus that got me past the anxiety that wouldn’t let me write this piece.

It’s turned into the only thing I can think about

It was on my mind for days, writing this, I mean, but with no foothold for getting started other than the theme and topic: trust and love.

What I find interesting about that is how fitting my struggle is relative to the subject.

The reason I haven’t been able to write is because I haven’t trusted myself to do it and, consequently, I’ve been hating myself for it.

It’s turned into the only thing I can think about – how I don’t have the focus, the energy, the creativity, the purpose, the passion, the right, the insight – to write something that’s worth my time and yours.

But with this line I’m typing now I’ve managed to write 200 words, all by focusing on what I’ve been trying to ignore.

They may not be the words I wish they were but at least they’re the right kind – true.

I wish I’d taken a similar approach to Smart Because You Say I Am? Not once in that piece about doubting my intelligence did I mention how much that very doubt was affecting my ability to write it. Granted, it’s not an effective admission for a writer in most formats, but within the context of what I’m doing here, it may be imperative.

Take a walk, take a nap, or get to the yoga mat

I don’t want to make this just about writing.

Hate and distrust go hand-in-hand in many aspects of my life.

Like all the times I hate the way I feel crumpled up at my computer. Why don’t I trust what my body is telling me? That I need to take a walk, take a nap, or get to the yoga mat.

Or all the times I hate the way I feel rushing through a shower because I’m having ideas in there I’m afraid I won’t remember by the time I get out. Why don’t I trust the creative process? What’s meant to be remembered will be remembered. A relaxing, restorative shower probably means more.

Or all the times I hate the way I feel going along with activities just because I know other people want to do them. Why don’t I trust the people who care about me to be interested in doing things I want to do? Or, maybe more to the point, why don’t I trust that these people will still love me – and I’ll still love them – if they don’t want to do what I want to do, or vice versa? We still have to at least put it out there, otherwise we’d never do anything.

Now if only I could embrace these types of conflicts the same way I do the hammering next door.

Trust those instincts above all else

If there’s something I don’t want to hear, how about I try giving it my full attention?

Granted, there’s a lot of crap I don’t want to hear for a very good reason. Negative self-talk, for example, which I know to acknowledge and let go. But when they’re positive things I’m trying to ignore – like taking a break or expressing myself – I’d like to trust those instincts above all else and follow them.

When are you conflicted about which part of yourself to listen to? How do you handle it, how does it feel, and what would you like to be different?

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I'm a writer living in Los Angeles with my fiance Andy, our cat Spanky, and our guinea pig Monty. I'm also the founder of Plenty Woman, an inspirational, informative website that helps women manage anxiety.

2 thoughts on “How I Came to Love the Hammering Next Door”

  • I tend to struggle before every post and page I write. But I struggle, really, before I start anything. But I don’t think I really struggle, if that makes sense. I think I just overthink that I MIGHT struggle. And then I never do. I am convinced overthinking is at the root of every problem known to man. 🙂

    • Yes, I totally do that, too — struggle with the anticipation of struggling. I can’t say my struggle always ends there, but at least once I jump in, I’m in it. The struggle may be very real, but at least the anxiety stemming from the anticipation is gone.

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