As I write I can hear the gentle snores of our Newfoundland. She is a genuine gentle giant and I am sure she thinks she is a good deal smaller than she actually is. However, her large size does mean that she snores more and more loudly than our smaller dogs. Somehow her snoring doesn’t annoy me, it’s a gentle background noise that I almost find comforting: rhythmic and low.
Transfer me to my bed and my husband making exactly the same noise at 3am and I don’t find it comforting at all. I’m not talking about the earth shattering snores that wake the neighbours (he can do those too) but those nights when he just breathes deeply and sounds just like our dog, a gentle rhythmic background. I can sleep through storms (I slept through the hurricane in 1987 and wondered when I woke up why we had no power and the cars were upended in the street) and despite living in the rural north of England with no neighbours for a mile or so, I can easily sleep in the middle of the city with trains, cars and people providing far more background noise than a gentle husbandly snore.
It isn’t the noise, it is the irritation. He is asleep and I am not. I blame him for my inability to go back to sleep and I blame him even more for reminding me that he is happy in the land of nod and I am working out if I submitted the correct figures for my tax return. I start with a gentle nudge, I might progress to a more forceful push, I may even try to turn him over. Eventually he will wake up, he will be cross I have woken him and we are two awake and angry people.
What do you let irritate you? The way somebody speaks? The way somebody minutes a meeting? The route somebody takes that is different from your preferred one? The way they cook bolognaise sauce? There are so many things that can irritate us, and like an itch if we scratch them they just get worse, they may even begin to bleed and finally leave a scar.
Let go of just one irritation today. It isn’t easy, we find it so much easier to scratch than let go, but once you are over the first hurdle the rest is easy. And do you really want to be covered with scars?