Hives are an odd thing—they appear out of nowhere, annoy you to no end, and disappear without warning. I get them periodically in small doses—sometimes one or two on my arm, or a patch on my calf, or a little hive on my pinky. I’m obviously allergic to something—8th grade Spanish, perhaps? 7:30 am meetings? Canned soup for lunch? I’ve been cataloguing the potential food causes—the most common of which are chocolate, nuts, and milk. When I decide daily I can’t possibly give those up, I ponder instead what my hives mean metaphorically. There’s that intriguing connection between mind and body, and energy flows in amazing ways—many people believe illness can sometimes teach us something about ourselves. Louise Hay calls these metaphysical causations. For example, I’ve had chronic issues on the right side of my body: problems with my right knee, tennis elbow in my right arm, pain in my right heel, and numbness on the right side of my face. Meanwhile, the left side of my body is in prime condition…that of a 30-year-old maybe! What’s all that about? I finally concluded that my body was trying to tell me something—perhaps that I’m thinking too hard and my left brain is overreacting and exhausting itself analytically. That could be it. Time for more creative, nonlinear, right-brain thinking! I once had chronic sore throats for an entire winter, including strep—and wisdom about the chakras in the body would say I wasn’t expressing myself enough. I needed to use my voice, to open that throat chakra. Once I stopped yelling, I was cured. Now that the hives have been coming and going for a while, I decided to pull out Hay’s Heal Your Body A-Z. There, on page 51, I found the probable cause: “Small, hidden fears” and “The tendency to become irritated over delays.” What? I am brave, and perfectly patient! I don’t ever interrupt anyone, I don’t rush things, and I never ever say to my son, “We don’t have enough time to play! We have only 6 ½ minutes, so go brush your teeth!” In Hay’s book, it also says “See: Rash.” The cause of Rash? A babyish way to get attention. Nice. I tell you, this baby is tired of not knowing what’s going on underneath my skin. Hay does optimistically suggest a new thought pattern for these particular symptoms: “I bring peace to every corner of my life.” Hmmm. I like that one. Whether or not all this metaphysical stuff is phooey, that’s not bad thing to be chanting daily.