If you’re sick of hearing about COVID, we understand! This week’s Gathering Gold episode is about a few themes that are being highlighted for many highly sensitive people in their internal landscapes during the pandemic: anguish over an inflated sense of responsibility; health anxiety; and struggles in relationship.

For many HSPs, it can be difficult to walk the line between doing the necessary diligent work to protect our loved ones and the greater collective, and finding the limit of what we can actually control. Victoria and I unpack some of the layers underneath a sense of being overly-responsible (not just in relation to covid) from fear of loss, to family of origin patterns, to fear of taking responsibility for one’s own emotional experience.

I also share what helps me get through the toughest moments of health anxiety, including finding comfort from maternal figures in the imaginal realm. * see below for a short piece on a recent covid scare, which I also talk about in the podcast episode as well.

And, we discuss the struggles that are arising in relationships right now, especially between HSP and non-HSP partners who have different levels of risk comfort and tolerance, and between people who have been spending a lot of time at home alone together over the past two years.

Finally, I share some grounding techniques for HSPs to practice and hold onto during this time of continued challenge.

We look forward to hearing your comments and, if you feel inspired, we always appreciate a review on Apple or Spotify. Thank you for listening and we hope this episode in particular lands in a soft place inside of you as we’re all still trying to navigate through these difficult times. ❤️

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* A Covid Scare and the Goodness of the World

January 12, 2022

We had a covid scare on Sunday. We were driving home from Santa Fe and Asher said he had a sore throat. I didn’t think much of it, but as it persisted throughout the day I started to worry. By the time we got home, a slow panic had started to set in. We’ve been in this pandemic for almost two years and we’ve managed to avoid covid so far, but now Omricon is burning through the world like wildfire. I know it’s mild. Some part of me believed we’d be fine if we got it. But I really, really didn’t want us to get it. 

As we were getting ready for bed, it occurred to me that our neighbor Laura might have some of her magic bee throat spray, so I texted her and she said yes, I have four bottles, I’ll leave them on the wall. Come right over. 

When I got home and curled up in bed, I wrote these words:

I pulled out of the driveway to pick up the bee spray from Laura and had a God-and-Gratitude moment: our peaceful road; the snow on the trees; the bright stars and quarter moon. It felt like magic. And as I sit here before bed next to Asher and his sore throat I’m filled with so much love for this world: the miracle of being alive, the miracle of snow and trees and cats and the goodness of humans who help each other through difficult times. I know there’s so much pain and hardship in the world – and I think we’re aware of that now more than ever – but there’s far more goodness.

And sometimes it takes fear and, for me, this moment of a covid scare to illuminate the goodness – to get me outside at 9pm when it’s 14 degrees because our neighbor, who has been our guardian angel since we first moved in and I was pregnant with Asher, encouraged me to come by to pick up the four bottles. “Better to come tonight than wait until morning, and I can bring them over if that’s easier,” she said in her nurse-and-motherly way. There are mothers everywhere. 

There’s so much goodness in the world, and it’s braided into the hard stuff. When we let the hard stuff crack us open and lead us to reach out for help, the goodness rushes in, and it feels, to me, like God. 

I wrote this and then three hours later I woke from a half-sleep in pure terror, a chill that felt like had turned my blood to ice. I huddled in my bed shivering uncontrollably, hearing anxious brain send me worst-case scenarios about Asher’s sore throat. I couldn’t get underneath the terror. Minutes passed. Shivering. Every time I started to fall back to sleep the terror woke me up. 

And then I conjured my women anchors: Carrie looking into my eyes, smiling and saying, “You’re fine, honey. I know it.” Jessica standing guard at the foot of my bed, protecting and loving me like she’s done since we were eleven. And Lisa, my soul-sister since sixteen, now a rabbi, chanting Hebrew prayers and reminding me that God is only a breath away. 

And then I imagined my three imaginal women arriving, also holding vigil around my bed.

And then the two female therapists who have been the most influential in my life.

And Laura.

Nine women standing guard around my bed.

In this circle of protection I knew that the terror wasn’t present day. It was my infant self being whisked to the nursery, away from the warmth of my mother, just moments after being born. I needed her warm skin, not the cold of the starched white sheets that lined the bassinet. I was so cold. I was alone. I was in terror. It must have felt like I was going to die. Just like now. 

But the past is not the present, and as soon as I was able to name that the past had wept into the present, I took that young baby me out of the bassinet and brought her into my bed, just like I did with my sons in those early years. I held her close as the women held me, concentric circles of love and protection. A layer of trauma emerged. A layer of trauma healed. 

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