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Don't Scratch

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

Hello and welcome to this glorious Friday, June 12, 2020! Today is a rare and precious day that will never come again.

Not that I didn’t experience allergies when I lived in Colorado, I did, but I didn’t have them to the sniffling and sneezing extent that I do living here in the Willamette Valley - the grass-seed capital. Although this year’s symptoms were somewhat milder, for approximately two months each spring, I find myself with ample opportunities to practice Mindfulness!

I vaguely remember having the Chicken Pox and my mom lathering me in Calamine lotion saying, “Don’t Scratch, Danny, you’ll make it worse.” Caked in a pink coat of something that felt like dried mud I would think to myself, “Whatever, just make it stop!” Gritting my baby teeth, writhing, clenching myself into a shivering mess, I couldn’t take it any longer and with a Charlie Brown like, “ARRRRGGGG” I’d scratch and scratch and scratch. I’d soon stop and be instantly reminded as to why I shouldn’t have started scratching in the first place. I made it worse! I have a very similar story with mosquito bites.

So, when the pollen is visibly wafting off the hectares of grass fields and my eyes are puffy and red; when I feel like there’s a yard of sand in each eye, I do my best to heed my mom’s warning, “Don’t Scratch, Danny, you’ll make it worse.” I’m so much better off in the long run when I’m able to avoid the convincing urge to scratch my eyes from their sockets!

I’m learning that I don’t have to scratch every itch.

Since starting my mindfulness practice, I’ve heard over and over that one of the greatest sources of suffering is desire. In the cases of chicken pox and seasonal allergies, there was a strong desire to eliminate the unpleasant sensations. Of course, there is nothing wrong with desiring to eliminate the difficult symptoms associated with dis-ease. Problems arise, however, when we become accustomed to trying to soothe, reduce or to eliminate all uncomfortable feelings. In