If you listen to your body when it whispers, you won’t have to hear it scream

Written by Lyssa Menard

January 20, 2022

In mid-January 2020, swirling with misinformation regarding a strange new bug called COVID-19, I journeyed to Thailand to teach meditation.

Students ranging from newbie Europeans to wizened local Buddhists dove into my secular-American take on mindfulness. Two months later, as the world imploded, we peeled ourselves away. I struck out for New Zealand. I was a nomad, after all. Why not journey to the edge of the world to wait out the crisis?

Not long after arriving, I felt it in my bones – something was amiss.

A war raged within: My gut screamed, “Escape” while logic lauded this protected wilderness island.

I’d been lured there by PM Jacinda Arden’s discounted offerings – the salve for a panicked country whose primary industry was tourism. Thousands of others had been drawn to the flame. No masks. No hand sanitizer. No social distancing. No rules. And sooooo many tourists. 

Within days it was clear that nothing there was safe.

Seven days in, I drove 6 hours, directly to Auckland airport. A sardine in a terrifyingly overflowing can, masquerading as an airport lobby, I gave up on the service desk. I purchased an outrageously expensive ticket home by phone.

Hours later, Arden announced that all flights out of NZ were canceled indefinitely. Tens of thousands of tourists were trapped there for months. I was one of the last escapees.

Trust the body’s wisdom

If you’re going to be trapped somewhere, NZ’s the place to be. But in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, feeling safe in familiar surroundings was all my fight-or-flight viscera registered. All those years teaching myself and others to listen to the body finally roared and spared me months of isolation at the end of the earth.

I’ve been listening to my body ever since. Will you honor yours when it whispers?

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