Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Spiritual Meaning of Hay Fever, Novel-based Emotional Turmoil, and the Joy of No-Leave Sundays

The Spiritual Meaning of Hay Fever, Novel-based Emotional Turmoil, and the  Joy of No-Leave Sundays

An article on Squidoo states that the spiritual meaning of my hay fever is, “You are allergic to someone, or yourself, who denies your power." Apparently, the cure for this is to tell myself repeatedly,“The world is safe and friendly. I am safe. I am at peace with life.”  

Me and my power-denying self have been struggling mightily with seasonal allergies, to the point that I had to actually come home from work one day this week and take to my bed after an ill-conceived double dose of Zyrtec. I’ve been miserable and congested, red-eyed, fatigued, and zonked out on medication for the last two weeks, hence not much activity on this here blog of mine. But today all of the pollen is drowning in the heavy rains, and I feel better. I don't know about being in denial of my power, but I have considered the possibility that perhaps what I am actually allergic to is the chaos of growth; all of the wild, unformed life flying around uncontained and unsettled. 

In the meantime, I have been pecking away at the novel, thinking obsessively about the novel, turning ideas over in my head for the novel, and having strange welling-ups of old, deep, and apparently still-present grief that are seemingly being stirred up by the novel. I find this surprising—and a more than a little annoying. Writing the novel wasn’t supposed to be an emotional process for me. It was supposed to be a way to meet a new writing challenge, to stretch my skills, and to get this story out of my head that’s been stuck in there for years. It’s supposed to be fairly shallow, lightweight, chick-littish sort of book, simply plotted and straightforwardly told. 

And yet this is becoming not just a writing exercise, but something that feels suspiciously like a spiritual growth process. It seems to have grabbed onto me, gotten me by the heart, and taken on a whole new life and dimension of its own, tugging me around on its own momentum and demanding that I work through old pain and heal old wounds. I didn’t ask for that! I don’t know why it’s happening. I have no control over it. And I cannot deny it its power, it's unsettled, chaotic and wild growth.

However, I am writing, happily and copiously, and there is no block and very little confusion. In fact, the actual writing process itself seems uneasily, well, easy. I feel like I should be struggling more with that part of it, but at the moment, I’m not. It’s all just flowing, and instead of enjoying it and accepting it as a gift, I am looking around jumpily, constantly thinking that’s too easy; that it’s a trick, that I must not be doing it right. 

But’s that’s okay, because right now, I am going to forget about all of this and distract myself with errands so that tomorrow, I can indulge in No-Leave Sunday, which is exactly what it sounds like—a day that I do not leave the house. Other things that I don’t do on No-Leave Sunday include putting on makeup, cooking or getting take-out (Mr. Typist handles dinner), checking work e-mail, or doing coffee runs. It’s a lovely thing, knowing that I have ahead of me a whole day completely free of external stimuli, to assuage my inner recluse. I am working eventually towards a No-Leave Month--perhaps a February, as nothing good ever comes of a February—and then, an entire No-Leave Year. Come to think if it, I should probably start planning that one now, as shall have to have staff.

--Kristen McHenry


Anonymous said...

Oh Thank you , your post helped me lighten up amidst this strange allergic reaction I'm suffering from now, I actually feel better, and I too am writing a novel that seems to have similar effects, maybe even this hay fever is part of it, Good luck with your book! I too may add a no leave curfew on myself...

Luna Bianca said...

Bravo to you for No-Leave Sunday! Even this extrovert needs a day like that sometimes. Until five years ago, and for five years, I had four jobs. So, I worked six days a week - sometimes three of the jobs in a day. So, once once a month, I had a PAJAMA DAY in which I stayed in my pjs all day -- even if I was doing home chores. Even now, I take a pajama day every month or two. (I also have a non-driving day every week -- which is saying something in a city with lousy public transit. Sometimes, I don't even answer the phone if it rings. And, that's right, you guessed it -- sometimes I combine all three of those things into one day -- woo!

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I have suffered hayfever since my 30's and always said 'I am allergic to...' and named a particular person. Your description fitted perfectly. Today (in New Zealand) is a windy, pollen-filled day and I am working at these thoughts and, so far, finding success :)
Thank you so much.

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