Join Sheryl Paul, a counselor informed by the Jungian depth psychological tradition, and her co-host Victoria Russell, as they dive into the realms of our inner worlds and explore actions we can take to grow more self-trust and self-love. These bi-weekly podcast episodes will provide guidance for diminishing fear and shame, embracing sensitivity and creativity, and approaching life with curiosity and compassion.
What does it mean to live up to our potential, to fully experience life and to feel our lives are enough? Are we stuck choosing between constant striving for bigger and better or settling for boredom and apathy? In today’s episode, Sheryl shares memories of her grandparents that continue to inspire and inform her view of what it means to live a beautiful, simple, good life. Victoria unpacks some of her fear and shame around what it means to do and be “enough,” and asks Sheryl what has helped her to let go of the restlessness and fantasy that often color our younger years. Ultimately, we explore how approaching our daily lives with reverence and presence can lead us to find the extraordinary in the ordinary, and help us to experience greater contentment, connection and aliveness right here, right now.
In Part 2 of our episode about school anxiety, we dive more deeply into how school can impact our identity and sense of self, for better and for worse. Sheryl shares some perspective on different types of schooling, having homeschooled her children in the past and now sending them into their second year of school outside the home. We discuss the parts of our school years that we are most grateful for, and how school can help us build resilience. Sheryl shares rituals that parents and kids can do together to greet the new school year and move through any feelings, including grief, that may be present.
- Sir Kenneth Robinson’s talk “Changing Education Paradigms”
In today’s episode, we’re talking about school anxiety, and how feelings of dread or grief may arise as summer ends and the beginning of the school year lies right around the corner. We discuss why many highly sensitive people don’t like change, and the trick that Victoria used to get through the first few uncomfortable weeks of adjusting to a new school year. We also talk about some of the painful and even traumatic experiences that can color our school years or linger long after they’ve ended, from tragic world events to bullying and loneliness. And, Victoria shares a story about an amazing teacher who helped her feel safer in school again after a difficult year.
In Episode 8, we’re talking about travel anxiety. Sheryl breaks down some of the reasons that travel can be so activating for highly sensitive people and reminds us of the importance of naming and honoring our temperament and needs, even when they don’t conform with the “extrovert ideal.” We discuss discerning how much we want to push ourselves out of our comfort zone without getting too overwhelmed, and share some of the spiritual practices that help us stay grounded as we stretch ourselves. And, we explore how travel, when met with consciousness and kindness, can offer opportunities for healing, growth and connection with ourselves, with people we love, and with the wider world.
The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
- “Fear is excitement without the breath.” – Fritz Perls
- Tallit (prayer shawl)
In today’s episode, we’re talking about the green-eyed monster: jealousy. Where does this monster come from, and what does it feed on? What do we do when we feel it’s taken over us?
Sheryl and Victoria pull this emotion out of the shadows and talk about their own jealous streaks. Sheryl shares experiences with jealousy in friendship, and painful betrayals in her earliest romantic relationships. Victoria shares a poem about her own imagined “monsters” under the bed, and the ways that jealousy feeds on comparison and our imaginations.
We discuss letting ourselves feel the feeling, pulling our pre-frontal cortex back online when we’re activated, aligning our actions with our values, and surrendering into trust.
And, Sheryl shares alternative ways of looking at and working with that most dreaded dream that sometimes sneaks up on us in the night: the dream about our partner cheating.
- “Jealous Guy” by John Lennon
In today’s episode, we’re talking about birthdays and all that comes along with them: fear of loss and aging, questions about purpose and timelines, and recognition of gold gathered and wisdom gained through another year of living. We talk about our bodies changing, and what it means to age in a culture that worships youth. And we discuss taking time to reflect and ritualize, to make space for whatever we are feeling so we can welcome in joy as we mark time, grieve, celebrate, and set intentions. Sheryl shares a letter to Victoria to mark her 30th birthday this week, and we talk about giving and receiving gifts that speak to our love language.
- Grace and Frankie TV series
In today’s episode, we’re talking about summer, the season of “nothing lasts forever.” Sheryl and Victoria talk about the gifts and opportunities that lie waiting in this season, which is both teeming with abundance and hinting at the colder, darker months to come. We discuss nostalgia and grief around childhood summers (longing for what was and what wasn’t), the adolescent nature of summer in all its blooming, creative and wild glory, and how to attend to expectations and overwhelm that often accompany this season for highly sensitive people.
In Episode 4, we’re talking about another liminal time that serves as a potent opportunity for meeting our inner worlds: morning. We discuss feelings that can arise when we first open our eyes, from dread to joy, and Sheryl shares ways to turn inward without getting stuck or engulfed by big feelings at the start of the day. We talk about “co-sleeping” with our phones and share gentle strategies for working with the habit of checking them first thing in the morning. We also discuss morning rituals and routines, and why throwing out judgment and labels of “good” and “bad” can make all the difference in helping us welcome the day with more gratitude and connection. Sheryl closes with a suggested practice for the first five minutes of our morning.
In Episode 3, we shine some light on what’s happening in the highly sensitive heart during the dark, quiet (and sometimes scary) hours of the night. Beginning with the sense of emptiness, dread or loneliness that may arise when the light starts to shift and we dip into sunset, then twilight, Sheryl and Victoria describe feelings that have accompanied them in these liminal times, particularly during childhood. Then, we talk about fear of the dark, Victoria’s first panic attack that occurred in the middle of the night, and Sheryl’s first experience with insomnia during her transition into junior high school. Sheryl describes her practice of taking time at night to reflect on the day, with compassion and curiosity, and the importance of finding bedtime rituals that feel nourishing, comforting and enjoyable to you. We close with a guided nighttime practice from Sheryl and a bit of poetry that reflects the gold we can uncover when we turn and face the night.
- “La La Lu” lullaby from Lady and the Tramp
- The opening scene and music from Pride and Prejudice (2005) that helped Victoria fall asleep
- The Examen
- Sheryl’s Nighttime Practice
In Episode 2, we’ve got news: we changed the podcast name! In the spirit of this shift, we’re talking about course-correcting, finding opportunity within challenge, and the Jungian approach of turning lead into gold. We talk about uncovering buried treasure in our gardens–learning to see our own inherent gifts and goodness rather than projecting it externally. And, we discuss gathering gold from all seasons of life, finding compassion in our struggles, and bringing that compassion to others.
Mindset by Carol Dweck
Mindsight by Daniel Siegel
“Marjorie” by Taylor Swift
Falling Upward by Richard Rohr
Everything Happens For a Reason: And Other Lives I’ve Loved by Kate Bowler
Everything Happens podcast episode: Mari Andrew: Beautiful, Terrible, and Eveything In-Between
Robert Johnson’s autobiography Balancing Heaven and Earth
**EDIT: Since this episode aired, we changed the name of the podcast to Gathering Gold! Find out about the new name (and the concept of course-correcting) in Episode 2.
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