The Lessons of Master Blister Beetle

There’s something called a “Blister Beetle,” or “blister bug,” as we refer to them. Officially, Class: Insecta, Order: Coleoptera, Family: Moloidae.

Where we reside, near to open fields and orchards, they thrive. They come in cycles. Times when they swarm, en masse, and then periods when they’ll disappear for months.

They seem to like light sources. They cling to ceilings. And they’ve found some entrance to our abode, where they enjoy crawling on any surface, including the heads and necks of humans.

If you’re creeped out by bugs, then this scenario may already have your skin crawling. But the annoyance of being buzzed near the ear is minor compared to the repercussions, should one panic and swat/splat.

Apparently, the insect’s defense against foes is the secretion of a chemical, that when in contact with human flesh, creates a blister-like burn that can linger for as long as several weeks. I’ve seen a friend suffer from a run-in on her chin. Jeb has had red “burns” on his hand, after having brushed one aside in his sleep.

There’s not much to do about a wandering blister bug if you’re sleeping. None of us are very conscious in our REM state. But in waking reality, there are options in how to interface with this pest.

For those seeking the least amount of suffering, calm is crucial. Panic will equal pain.

In our family, the blister bug has become our Meditation Master. The lessons are simple.

  1. Remain calm
  2. Relax, rather than resist
  3. When confronted, redirect

True meditation masters may forego number three, opting to completely embody the art of non-resistance by simply allowing the blister bug to crawl upon them, uninhibited. Let’s just say, we’re not quite there yet. Rather, we employ number three through various non-violent techniques.

The Bohemian is rather fond of the blowing method, where his evening bedtime reading is often interspersed with swift and audible gusts from his mouth, aimed at lifting them from his skin through force of wind.

I find the “light touch” approach to be quite effective, especially when the bugs are tangling in my hair, or in other areas not accessible to blowing. This assertive, but gentle approach, can remove them without the aggression that would trigger emission of their self-defensive blister juice.

(In fact, I just employed the technique while finishing that last sentence, as one landed near my eye as I typed).

Truthfully, though, I’m not really writing about blister bugs.

What’s really on my mind is a pending journey to the Czech Republic. Jeb, the Bohemian, and I will lift off in a couple of weeks, leaving the shelter of our little abode and venturing into foreign territory.

We are all excited for the adventure. And we each have our quiet uncertainties about what awaits us in the Unknown.

The Bohemian has not been to his homeland in over seventeen years. He has not seen his twin brother, or his sister, in all of this time.

We will stay in a small village, on his family’s farm, where no one speaks English. Despite our studies, Jeb and I only know a smidgen of Czech- a beautiful, but complex, and very foriegn-to-my-ear, Slavic language.

I have been dreaming of a chance to go to Europe for over a decade. Being able to go with the Bohemian as he reunites with his family, is the best cause I can imagine. Having the opportunity to share the experience with my eleven-year old son is truly a gift. Getting to chronicle the journey is something that I hope will bring enjoyment to all.

Still, there will be challenges, and I realize that when traversing through the Unknown, and sifting through the fears that surface, it’s all about the lessons of Master Blister Beetle.

Calm is king.
Resistance is futile.
Go with the Flow.

(Have fun!)

So for the next two weeks it’s preparation mode, as I try to walk my talk.

In the process, I’ll attempt to chronicle my efforts. Avoid swatting. Accept the suchness of things, blister bugs and all.


2015-05-30_blister bug

Letting the Ink Seep

Sometimes the head gets too full.

Endless thoughts shaping words, ideas piling into heaping mounds of overflowing debris. It can be a never-ending ping pong game of lists and reminders, questions and answers, always doing…doing something.

The mind is important, powerful, necessary. But oh, the brilliance of pausing the constancy of my brain.

2014-02-27_ink leaf

Sometimes it just takes a pen. Slowing down to let ink seep into textured paper, not knowing where I’m going. On the blank sheet, it matters not. This is for no one but myself. There is no purpose whatsoever, except that it feels good to gaze upon colors, filling lines that lead me to an unknown place where there never is a wrong. No time.

The Sound of Sunday

Divan of Hafiz


Is a cruel ruler

Who is always imposing

Stillness and quiet
Break open the vintage

Awake the real

                                   ~ Hafiz (c. 1320-1389)

Tomb of Hafiz