Thank G-D I Trusted My Gut
Allow me to take you back in time, to a time and place before the pandemonium of COVID-19 hit U.S. soil. Travel with me to a month where no one wore a mask in public, to an hour when going to the grocery store did not kick-start an adrenaline rush. Times were different, people were not prepared for what was about to come. Try as you must, to remember a time when there were only a few cases of COVID-19 in America. That my friends, is where my story begins.
Looking back, I cannot believe that it took a stomach-ache and a few sleepless nights for me to pay attention to my body and heed my stomach’s warning. On the outside, everything seemed great. I was looking forward to making a 10-day trip to Israel, in March, while chaperoning a self-sufficient teenage girl to and from Israel. My responsibilities were to include sitting near her on the airplane, ensuring we made our connecting flight in Switzerland, escorting her to her place of residence upon our arrival, and then complete the process in reverse on the day of our return trip. In addition, half of my ticket would be covered by the father of the teenager I was chaperoning, as compensation for my time. The timing and price were perfect for me. A part of me was elated to enjoy a paid week off from work to tour the land as I wished, as well as pray at the holy sites of my choice and meet up with some dearly missed friends. It was a wonderful opportunity and I felt like the lucky recipient of an unexpected partially paid for trip to Israel. However, my body was reacting in the form of stomach aches in my anticipation of the upcoming trip. The week that my plans were about to be finalized, my stomach started hurting and I began losing sleep. I knew that my body was trying to send me a message, but I could not figure out what my body was trying to convey.
Therefore, on February 23rd, I went to my Journal to find out what was going on inside of me. I used the exercise Body Talks in Lucia’s book The Power of Your Other Hand (p. 103-104) to dialogue with my body. The drawing of my body included my upset stomach and the conversation was between my Vulnerable Child and my Protective Parent. To my surprise this is what my dialogue revealed to me before the American and Israeli pandemonium of COVID-19.
Journal Entry on February 23, 2020
Protective Parent: . . . I hear you; you are safe now so try to relax through this conversation, please tell me more.
Vulnerable Child: I am scared of the Coronavirus that is rampant all over the world and also in Israel. I fear my upset stomach. I do not know what to do, should I take the trip to Israel or not?
Protective Parent: What would put you at ease the most?
Vulnerable Child: Not to go to Israel and stay in Chicago. But I am scared to say no to this trip. Protective Parent, can I ask you a question?
Protective Parent: Sure, what is it?
Vulnerable Child: Are you strong enough to take me to Israel?
Protective Parent: I am not 100 percent sure, that worries me, I wish I could say yes my child.
Vulnerable Childe: K, well thanks for being honest.
Protective Parent: No problem, so what should we do?
Vulnerable Child: Probably not go to Israel alone until you are ready to take care of me and the other “kids” (my internal children).
After this dialogue, it was clear to me that I should not take the trip to Israel. However, on February 23, 2020, America and Israel were not speaking of shutting down cities, so I was still wondering why Coronavirus was the cause of my fear. My denial went so far as to think that people would laugh at me if I claimed that I was fearful of the virus, because most people did not yet realize how dangerous it was. Additionally, I was insulted by my Protective Parent for saying that it was not strong enough to take me to Israel. Five years prior, I had spent nine months in Israel on my own. As far as I was concerned, 10 days in Israel would be a breeze.
Nonetheless, I chose to tell the father of the teenager that I would not be able to make the trip with his daughter. I offered the father my sincerest apologies because I knew that he was about to book the tickets. Surprisingly, the father took my answer well and calmly said “do not worry, it is all meant to be.” To my surprise, the same day that I told the father that I cannot chaperone his daughter, Israel came out with a Statement from the Government claiming that they strongly discourage any non- essential travel to Israel. Yet, I was still not convinced that Coronavirus was a worthwhile fear.
It was not until March 15th that I began to understand the truth and insight that my vulnerable child and protective parent held. March 15th was not only the day that my state of residence, Illinois, was on a strict shelter in place order. It was also the day that I would have been scheduled to leave Chicago and travel to Israel had I decided to make the trip. It was then that I began to digest what my journaling revealed, but even then, I was not prepared for the rapid worldwide changes due to COVID-19. As each day brought new restrictions, and uncertainties I began to understand what would have happened if I had ignored my inner wisdom. If I had taken the trip to Israel, the Israeli government would have put me on a voluntary 14-day quarantine (as was protocol at that time) because I was going to have a stopover in Switzerland, thereby eliminating every reason for which I was taking this trip in the first place. Additionally, after the government put out the travel advisory statement it was getting harder by the day to leave Israel as they were trying to ground all flights. Eventually, all flights to and from Israel were completely grounded. I would have been stuck in Israel for months because all flights were then grounded until July 2020. Had I taken the trip, it is likely that my ability to work my two teaching jobs in America would have been twice as difficult due to the time differences. In addition, I would have been without all of my national counseling examination study materials, and most of my CJEA trainee work. To top it all off, I would have possibly had to celebrate the eight-day holiday of Passover on my own in quarantine, instead of with my family in Chicago.
To my amazement, my body was the voice of my intuition which was uncovered through the non-dominant hand journaling exercise. Throughout the planning of my upcoming trip, a little voice coming from my stomach kept whispering, “It is not the time to make this trip.” However, I kept telling myself that the little voice did not know what it was talking about. I was so convinced that the internal voice was wrong, because intellectually it had no counter argument to the rational part of me. It took each part of the Pandemic’s evolution to convince me that the little voice of intuition was correct. Although I was still skeptical of what my Journal revealed to me at the onset of the pandemic, I am so grateful that I listened to my intuition and did not travel to Israel. This journal entry saved me from unnecessary fear and challenges. Through the journaling process I understood the importance of listening to my intuition, even if it does not make logical sense in the moment, because ultimately it will never lead me astray.
Chaya Sarah Kost
Candidate for CJEA Certification
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