Well, my body is erupting in throbbing, itching, oozing sores in and under my nose.
My first reaction is surprise (why? it’s happened so many times before), followed by anger and disgust. What have I done or not done to bring this on? I ask myself and the sky.
I say to my body, “I shouldn’t be mad at you. I know you’re doing your best.”
But I’m pissed off.

I drink enough water. I get my exercise. I take vitamins. I drink a small glass of orange juice daily, and a small amount of buttermilk as suggested for a preventative. I live a low-stress life. I get enough rest.

I’ve tried taking lecithin, licorice root, and Bell’s homeopathic remedy. I’ve tried licking my finger, rubbing it behind my ear, then rubbing it again on the area that is tingling with an impending cold sore. I’ve tried applying wax from my own ear. I’ve tried daubing the area with hydrogen peroxide; also, brushing my teeth with it from time to time. I’ve applied ice cubes to drive the virus back into dormancy. I’ve tried every preventive I’ve ever heard of, that others have sworn by.

Have I eaten anything unusual lately? Yes, we’ve opened the first two boxes of Christmas chocolates this season so I’ve eaten a few of those.

I rack my brain trying to figure it out.

The common wisdom is that once you’ve got the herpes simplex virus in your system, it will pop up in a cold sore from time to time, eradicable, particularly when you are stressed.

Am I stressed? I didn’t think so. But then, stress doesn’t always show. You can be stressed without realizing it. So what if I can sleep in as late as I want, sit down to work when and for as long or short as I want, leave the dishes and housework till I get around to it, and so on. Things aren’t right with Fella and me and maybe I’m deeply anxious about that.

What to do, what to do? My moustache area is hot and sore and heavy. I don’t want to go anywhere. I don’t want to be seen, even though people are very kind and pretend not to notice or, if they do, that it’s no big deal. But I know it looks like I have snot under my nose right now, and tomorrow it will look like dried snot. It’s laughable, really, but still … my best forward foot is a puss-y scab that I can’t forget about because it constantly, painfully, reminds me it’s there.

I feel like retiring from the world for the next two weeks. I need to pick my kid up in town late this afternoon, and get groceries, and I don’t want to go.

I’ve done everything I know how to do for my body. What else is there?

Last night I ran myself a warm lavender-scented bath, lit five candles around the tub, climbed into the water and sang my old chant, om namaha shiva ya. I will do that every evening from now on, to encourage deep relaxation.

I began to repeat the affirmations Louise Hay in You Can Heal Your Life suggests for changing the thought patterns she believes may cause cold sores.

“I only create peaceful experiences because I love myself. All is well. I think and speak only words of love. I am at peace with life.”

Can’t hurt. I will be living with those words for the next few weeks at least, till they’re well entrenched in my conscious and unconscious minds.

And I intend to incorporate daily meditation into my unshakeable routine, as reliably as drinking coffee in the morning. And to start doing yoga again. These are the things I believe make a palpable difference when it comes to unseen stress.

I guess the body is going to do what it does, regardless of how much effort I make to keep it healthy. That is life. There is no such thing as perfect physical safety, is there? There is no magic knowledge or practice that keeps us above and beyond suffering. I think a lot of my spiritual searching has been in the hope that if I only knew what to do and how to do it, I’d somehow be protected from the worst life might deliver. We like to believe that it’s Christians who fear life so much that they cling desperately to an unseen Almighty God in hopes of salvation, but it’s not just Christians. Those of us who follow New Age and other spiritual pursuits are every bit as escapist.