Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive

“Beam Me Up, Scotty.” Social Responsibility and Your Super Smart, Sensitive Soul


photo courtesy of Dino Reichmuth, Unsplash

Remember this from Star Trek? “Beam me up, Scotty.” Sometimes don’t you just want to be beamed up?

Me, too.


Super Sensitivity. Extreme Empathy. Pressure. Expectations. Overthinking. Perfectionism. Intuition. Loneliness. Social responsibility. Bad Hair Days.

Not to mention childhood trauma. Anxiety. Depression. Despair. Climate change. Ignorance. Racism. anti-Semitism. Sexism. Poverty. Narcissistic politicians. And more.

It can be overwhelming. You can feel powerless.

What can one person do? Even one super smart, sensitive, empathetic person?

Here’s an idea. Something you can do.

Get in touch with the activities and skills that bring you joy, meaning, and fulfillment. Then, use your creativity to turn one or more of them into a community building or global-oriented service project that will change minds and hearts. Design a project that will spread more love. That will soften the divide and reduce the fear. It doesn’t have to grow into a global phenomenon. But it can. You may hesitate because you feel that whatever you do won’t be grand enough. Won’t be perfect enough. Don’t let that stop you. 

Here are some examples. Places to start:

~ Have you heard of the Craftivist Collective? They describe themselves this way: “Our gentle protest approach to craftivism aims to change the world with deliberate, thoughtful actions that provoke reflection and respectful conversation instead of aggression and division.” A similar group is called Badass Herstory. Check them out. I had no idea that craftivism was a thing until a client told me about it. Join them or start a different collective. Maybe a Solar Power Collective or a Gleaners Group. (You just might meet other RFMs there!)

~ I’m guessing that you know about Maria Popova and Brain Pickings. Imagine making a living researching and writing about everything you are curious about with no limits on depth and complexity. She has almost 5 million followers on Facebook. Who says there aren’t any super smart people out there?? Is she influential? You betcha.

~ Start a Silent Book Club in your town. Here’s their description. “We started Silent Book Club because reading with friends is awesome. We love hearing about what people are reading (often in their other book clubs) and we think it’s important to put down our phones and be social. Real, live, breathing-the-same-air social, not hearting-you-on-Instagram social.” Maybe this doesn’t sound like a service project but you never know who you might be saving from despair or desperation. Spreading the love of reading has got to be a good thing.

~ Start a mentorship program in your local middle school. Then let it spread throughout your school district.

~ Get involved with an organization helping refugees around the world.

~ Use art as a way to influence others. Explore organizations that promote the power of art such as this one: … persuade by creating moving experiences that prompt people to question the world as it is, imagine a world as it could be, and join together to make that new world real…”

~ Join with climate activists in your state to find out how to take action that will influence policy and promote real change. Read DeMocker’s book for many suggestions on how to begin.

~ Choose to do some deep psychotherapy around family of origin behaviors, patterns, and beliefs. Stop the cycle of abuse in your family line. Find your strength and your voice so that you can relate to others from your own self-compassionate place.

~ Start a blog and write a book. Become a psychotherapist and work with rainforest-minded souls.

And, remember.

You’ll need nourishment and nurturing so that you can build your social responsibility plan. Here is some good advice from Maria Popova.

Seek out what magnifies your spirit. Patti Smith, in discussing William Blake and her creative influences, talks about writers and artists who magnified her spirit — it’s a beautiful phrase and a beautiful notion. Who are the people, ideas, and books that magnify your spirit? Find them, hold on to them, and visit them often. Use them not only as a remedy once spiritual malaise has already infected your vitality but as a vaccine administered while you are healthy to protect your radiance.”   Maria Popova


To my dearest bloggEEs: What people, ideas, and books “magnify your spirit?” Let us know your feelings around social responsibility and if you have project ideas that you want to explore. (Note: I will be deleting any comments that are rants, even though there is a lot to rant about, or that call out specific individuals or political parties. Thank you for understanding.) Sending you all much love and spirit magnification.


Author: Paula Prober

I'm a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice in Eugene, Oregon. I specialize in counseling gifted adults and consulting with parents of gifted children. The label "gifted" is often controversial and confusing. I use the metaphor of the rainforest to describe this population. Like the rainforest, these individuals are quite complex, highly sensitive, intense, multi-layered, and misunderstood. They're also curious, idealistic, highly intelligent, creative, perfectionistic, and they love learning. I've been an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University. I've written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, and Advanced Development Journal. My first book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, was released in June 2016 by GHF Press and is available on Amazon or at your independent bookstore. My second book, Journey Into Your Rainforest Mind: A Field Guide for Gifted Adults and Teens, Book Lovers, Overthinkers, Geeks, Sensitives, Brainiacs, Intuitives, Procrastinators, and Perfectionists, was released in June 2019.

14 thoughts on ““Beam Me Up, Scotty.” Social Responsibility and Your Super Smart, Sensitive Soul

  1. Ok. You got me. Helping other rainforest people.
    What are the steps to becoming someone who can help? Given that I’m closer to my expiry date than I used to be….and already have plenty of life experience! It would truly be something to explore. A combo tea shop / refuge for rainforest minds. I’d call it The Soulful Squirrel.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Speaking of wishing to be beamed back up to the spaceship I came from, I’m currently trying to finish an ambitious multi-media project that contains quite a few different arts disciplines. It includes a collection of letters, anecdotes and essays that are part memoir, part sci-fi allegory and part satire, and it attempts to show what happens when society becomes too intolerant of “different minds”(*), and the price it might be paying if it does not utilize or even actively suppresses those minds.

    *Article: “Ancient cave art paints a picture of human empathy.”
    “Dr Spikins thinks there were clear benefits for early humans to nurture and respect people with ‘different minds’ in their communities.”
    “Archaeological evidence suggests that altruism and tolerance bring long-term evolutionary benefits. And that has resonance today. If we don’t include people who have different ways of thinking then we don’t benefit from what they can bring.”

    One of the things I have long struggled to cope with is the intense anger I feel at the world for not being fair. By “fair”, I don’t mean simply in terms of egalitarianism, I also mean in terms of the contrast between what we SAY we believe in and value as a society, and how little we actually value those principles in practice.

    We say we value honesty, integrity, empathy, compassion, individuality, creativity, and an unwavering commitment to principles such as these, even if it causes us suffering. And yet for some of us it is obvious to see how much lip service is paid to those principles, flagrant bulls**t uttered for self-promotion at the expense of others and the rest of the planet.

    I ask myself all the time: “What kind of society says one thing about itself but seems to do the opposite, even when it is self-harm? A sick one? If so, where did the sickness come from, and how do we heal it?”

    Will I ever have a satisfactory answer or solution for those questions? Will my art be part of it? If so will it happen in my own lifetime or simply exist as a signpost or warning sign for people in the future (should there be one).

    I wish I knew.
    I wish I was OK with not knowing.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Great questions, Mark V. Exciting to hear about your multi-media project!


      • I’ve been working on it for a long time. It was a fairly simple project when I began, but over time as my life changed and my skills improved, the scope of it grew.

        My wordiness, perfectionism and poor organization skills always get in the way so I realized the only way I am going to finish it is to try to relax and incorporate my scattered-ness as a stylistic choice. If it doesn’t make sense at times, at least that will be a fairly accurate representation of who I am and how I think. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow is this ever timely. I was feeling pretty swamped with despair recently about the magnitude of the troubles and awfulness out there. This post is a good reminder that there ARE things I/we can do. And that healing myself is more important than maybe I think it is.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes. Deep psychotherapeutic work is an important contribution. Imagine if everyone examined the trauma in their families and stopped repeating the abuse patterns. If people were able to heal themselves so they stopped acting out in fear and rage but instead came from compassion and love? Pretty important, methinks.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I’m no expert….but I do believe healing yourself in whatever ways you can is an important beginning. I know what you mean about the magnitude of the awfulness….but remember, those things are not in your control. But taking care of yourself and gaining peace and strength IS something you can do! Be Amazing!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. My social good “project” is to share my experience as a distance mentor and surrogate dad to a teen (now young man!) in a South African shack settlement. My 10+ years with Mtuseni has been mutually life-changing and enriching beyond words. The two of us are as different as can be, but we’ve formed a deep, loving bond; we’re a global family for the 21st century. I’m pitching a book to literary agents about our story to inspire others to reach across differences and make meaningful connections, especially with young people in need. At a time when everyone in the world seems to be in conflict, our story is necessary.

    And to expand the potential audience for the book – and to have extended time with my son and further expand his opportunities – we’re planning a trip across America this fall. We’ll share our experiences and impressions of the country and again inspire people to mentor and make connections. Travel changes people, and we both are in need of some personal transformation to relight our sparks.

    Eventually, I’d like to make a career of finding other people who are making positive impacts in the world, at any scale, and share their stories to inspire others. My new life mantra is Explore, Discover, Share, Enlighten, Empower, Inspire.

    Feel free to check out these projects (labors of love)!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Oh, I love this idea, Michael. Thank you for sharing the links and your project. All the best with it!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: A Short Guide to the Complicated Life of Gifted Adolescents or Young Adults | Your Rainforest Mind

  7. Pingback: What Are The Challenges Gifted Adults Have In Common? — A Therapist’s Perspective | Your Rainforest Mind

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