I felt a sinking in my gut as I watched the white puff balls float past my window.
Ahh, late spring and the pollen count is insane. I am a nature lover and enjoy my feet in the dirt, walking in the woods, and have had a bit more trouble this year than previous years with said pollen.
No judgment on the pollen! It’s just doing what it does. Floating through the air looking for a place to save itself and its future self! It’s doing what it knows instinctively to do to create itself.
But, it’s so irritating!
My eyes are dry, my throat is itchy, I feel like I taste dust in my mouth constantly even when I’m indoors with the windows closed.
I notice my irritation, with irritation. Hmmmmmm. This is noteworthy.
Notice how when we’re irritated by something how all of our defenses rise; our thoughts focus on it almost obsessively, our inner voice rants about it constantly, our body puts up resistance in the form of tightening and contracting as if we can slam all the doors to it. And yet, the irritation persists, and so does our irritation with it.
Now, practice softening.
Stop and look around you, shift your focus, breathe. Find five things in the space around you which you appreciate. Soften your body.
Irritation creates a stress based response. It contracts our muscles, restricts our blood flow, makes us hyper focused which takes us out of calm, cool and collected. Irritation is sneaky. It’s not as powerful as other stresses, but is just as destructive long term. It’s there and constant, but so subtly that we often don’t notice it.
Notice it. Notice how you give yourself and your joy over to it. The person in the traffic lane in front of you going slower than you want to go, the person in line at the grocery store with 100 things to purchase when you have two and are late getting somewhere. The post you just saw on social media. Folks, we’re in it constantly! Let’s wake up and recognize what it’s doing to us, individually and collectively.
You can change your focus. You can look away, take a breath, walk away, keep scrolling or better yet, put your phone down. You don’t have the power to change the circumstances. I can’t make the pollen go away. I’m also not willing to hold up inside my house for a month or two. You do have the power to look at how you are reacting and do something about it.
I take my over the counter, I eat more apples and take extra vitamin C. I walk deeper in the woods where actually there is less pollen floating. It doesn’t have to work for everyone, it just has to work for me. In the midst of all that I can’t change, I can change me.
There is my power, and this is how I choose to use it.
You can make a choice, too.