Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive

The Ramifications Of Any Single Thought Are Endless — The Intensity Of Giftedness


One of the painful struggles I see in gifted adults is that in many, perhaps most, situations, they are not free to be fully themselves. For lots of reasons. It is the nature of giftedness, really, because being fully oneself, if you are truly gifted, is kind of fire-hosey. It is tricky, though. Not being free to be fire-hosey, is really no one’s fault. But it is still distressing. And that is an understatement.

You see, when you have a rainforest mind, you have MORE going on in your thoughts, emotions, and sensations. You are more aware, perceptive, observant, and intuitive on multiple levels, including energetically and spiritually. This is your personhood. You were born this way. (Note: This is not the same as saying you are academically high achieving or accomplished at everything you try except maybe bungie jumping. Although you might be high achieving and accomplished at quite a lot of things in many different categories, maybe even bungie jumping, although really, do you think bungie jumping is such a good idea?)

(photo by Omid Armin, Unsplash)

So, you are probably pretty intense. In a particular rainforest-ish way.

For example, here is a comment from a post on this blog:

“…I seem to digress, but in my mind everything is connected to everything, and the ramifications of any single thought are endless. It’s like following links on Wikipedia. You start researching King Amenhotep and you don’t know why suddenly you are reading about chemical reactions in a spider’s body… I need to cut out the time I spend on Google and Wikipedia searches. All the info seems so fascinating. And the thoughts in my mind that are aroused when I watch a butterfly in my garden… An endless source of intellectual and spiritual pleasure. It’s almost addictive to explore so many things. The world is so full of wow stuff….”

The world is so full of wow stuff. Who says that?

You do.

And, of course, you are also quite aware of what else the world is full of. And it can be hard to know what to do with all that awareness and sensitivity because, odds are, you feel it, it keeps you up nights, and you feel somewhat responsible to have a positive, impressive, colossal impact.

You are told to slow down, quiet down, and dumb down because, they say, you are way too much and kind of arrogant and know-it-allish but, oh, in your spare time can you fix the world’s problems because, after all, you are so darned smart.


People can be so annoying.

They say you make them feel stupid. I say, they are feeling that way all on their own. You are just being you. And, actually, you are only being a smallish part of you. And they are still feeling stupid.


It is a conundrum.

I wish I could give you an easy solution. But in the world of rainforests, nothing is simple. But maybe you will at least stop blaming yourself for the miscommunications and criticism you hear from others who are overwhelmed by the hyperlinks in your brain and your enthusiastic approach to the wow stuff. Maybe you will be more comfortable slowing down a bit in situations where communication matters. And, of course, keep looking for other RFMs because, yes, they are out there.

Perhaps you can find an outlet where your intensity is welcome. Music? Theatre? Art? Writing? Tango dancing? Running marathons? Running a restaurant? Running rivers? Open heart surgery?

Bungie jumping?


To my bloggEEs: Have you experienced judgment and misunderstanding from others because of your intellectual, emotional, intuitive, physical, and spiritual intensities? Tell us about it. How do you find places where you can be your fully intense self? And thank you, as always, for being here. Sending you fire-hosey love. (And thank you to the bloggEE who I quote above and to the client who inspired this post.)

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.

43 thoughts on “The Ramifications Of Any Single Thought Are Endless — The Intensity Of Giftedness

  1. I feel sooooooo seen in this post. ❤️

    Liked by 6 people

  2. I find fragments of myself in the people I meet. It leaves me feeling shattered, as if I’ll never be whole again. As if I’ll never find anyone who can see me as more than a fragment of myself.

    Fragments are sharp. They carve themselves into skin just to demonstrate their pain. Of course, the audience will never see the whole story. Just a fragment, but for them it’s enough. For me, it’s the faintest sliver of myself reminding me of what it is to be alive.

    To see myself as whole is an impossibility of being. At least, it is here; in this tiny broken world. My wholeness would blind you, the heat of my need would burn the flesh from your bones. To find the facets of myself would bring you pain. Yet to live this tiny, shattered life hurts me. Why is your pain worth more? Is it because there are more of you? More people who see the tiniest sliver of my soul and are awed by its depth. I weep for you all.

    I am called across lands and oceans to find fragments of my soul scattered by the four winds. I rebuild myself in caves and deserts and droplets of ocean mist. The search goes on and I become a mosaic of myself. I watch it build and my rebellious heart demands I break it. I am not here to be a trinket archetype of what you think makes me up. I am healing the broken parts of me with beauty that has been left to rot, rust and decay. In time, you will find things to say about that that sounds more legitimate and less raw, that sounds eccentric rather than the rasping grief of the eternal outcast. I don’t really care what you say. Your words bear little reference to my golden scars and my journey has been clearly mapped.

    You may look at my work and think I’ve seen the depths of yourself that you are too scared to look at. But I know the truth; I’ve seen in you a tiny fragment of my soul and reflected it back at you … and I know that a fragment of me is all you can take.

    Liked by 7 people

    • So very beautiful. So moving. Thank you, Archivists Lament. ❤ ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, goodness! This is resounding in my mind, my skin, my arteries even! Thank you for writing this, and making me aware that I’m not the only one that finds it an impossibility to see myself whole. And to know that in my entirety I’m indeed burning flesh and blinding. I know it in my heart, and I see it reflected in people I meet/know. A sliver of me, a tiny sharp edge of it. 🙏🧡

      Liked by 4 people

    • wow… you have said the same essence in an entirely different way and I still feel it.. even harder, ‘fragments are sharp’.. Agreed. I’ve called it being burned because I’ve been taught to keep the furnace door shut. I can be iron or glass with this fire inside me. I choose to be iron most of the time, with the blast furnace door cracked open for the light because I cannot bear to be with out it.. but if I am glass and let the light out of me the way I am intended to, it frightens and blinds too many.. so I light candles from the crack in my door, and stay up all night reading by them, and burn my fingers one by one, every time, because candles are not enough.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for writing Your Rainforest Mind and the workbook. It seems like years that I’ve wondered, exactly how does one identify another RFM person? Then, is that person interested in having a conversation to find out what RFM is? If we go most of our life not knowing but figuring out a way to deal with the firehose complaints, is there anyone else experiencing this?

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think the more you understand the traits of your rainforest mind, the better you will be able to find others. Trust your intuition when you think you’ve found one. You may need to risk rejection if you initiate conversation but it will be worth it if you are met with a positive response. Thanks, Georgia.


  4. What a beautiful post! Thank you Paula 🙂 Right now, and this is new!!! – I am deeply enjoying to work on a project which thoroughly meets my giftedness! Jihaaa! It is a book project (with visual elements). This is so gorgeous and the first time that I am feeling “okay, THIS is what I am made for”. And I am also deeply longing to be much more with gifted people, so this is the next number 1 on my “how to live a gorgeous life as a rainforest mind”-list 🙂 I was also soooo inspired by a book from a German author about “extraordinary gifted people” like Einstein, Frida Kahlo and a lot of others which she examined to show how this folks lived and worked. For the German speaking ones among you, it is called: Extrem begabt from Andrea Brackmann.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My experience: normal brain wiring has great difficulty comprehending unique brain wiring. What I’ve experienced is they lack imagination for the potential different kinds of wiring. Because what I’ve heard, by implication or direct quote from family, friends, or acquaintances saying to me, “no one can possibly think that way.”

    If I mimic normal brain wiring everything goes smoothly. Unfortunately, very little of my true self exists there.

    My analogy: if I want to have a play date with someone, It works perfectly fine if we go to their house and do the sorts of things they like to do. On the other hand, if we go to my house and do the sorts of things I like to do they never come to visit again.

    I do wish there were a solution. If I could find one I’d be using it.

    Liked by 7 people

    • I think you have said before that you are in the 2e category, right? That makes it all even more complicated, M.J. Thank you for being here!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Correct on both accounts. I’m 2E and that adds additional complexity.

        One more complexity is that for 13 years I had the someone who learned how to understand me. Prior to that I had a feeling that no one understood me, but I believed it was only a feeling. Now I know the difference between being understood and not understood.

        Unfortunately, eight years ago my beloved Jacqueline died. Before she left, she recognized I likely had learning disabilities. That was the final clue I used a few years later to discover I am 2E. And she left me knowing exactly how it feels when someone understands me, compared to how it feels when they only say they understand me, but are clueless.

        I remain uncertain if knowing that is better. It’s been kind of mixed.

        Liked by 4 people

  6. Yes. I’m thrice-exceptional, having three SPMIs. It’s very intense, but there are silver linings and rewards.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Rainforest minds and exploring information.. it’s a prayer without end, like an ocean that forever brings a different wave to the shore. The wonders of nature are amazing, they leave me in awe. On the other hand, they leave me with a melancholic feeling as well: my younger self would indeed do all the research on various topics, forgetting that I just started with the one question. Takes me forever to find that train of thought again, also because when I get in that frame of mind, everything falls to the background. I’m safely tucked away n my bubble., when I come out of it, it’s desoriënting. What made me go in my bubble and why. How long have I been there? And most importantly: where the beep am I?
    What usually gets me out is y beagle Indie. In his own funny ways. Thanks to the little clown 🤣🙈
    Beautiful post again, Paula, so true and unbearable at times unfortunately. ❤️En

    Liked by 5 people

  8. Yes, so true. I can never be myself. Probably because there are too many of me’s(?) Maybe I don’t even have a self. Maybe I just exist to assimilate all the selves of others. And by sheer chance of numbers, the self I expose is most probably not the one I would choose to show, had I better control of the discongruency of my inner and outer selves. Oh well. Sucks being me’s.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Ha! Yes. all of those selves, lackosleep! What is that Whitman quote? I contain multitudes?

      Liked by 2 people

    • After reading your comment, I find myself thinking of Joni Mitchell’s song “Ladies of the Canyon” about three women who each have a different role/personality: the homey baker, the artist, the circus girl/singer. I’m pasting in the final stanza here. This song used to frustrate me because I wanted to be ALL of them.

      Trina takes her paints and her threads
      And she weaves a pattern all her own
      Annie bakes her cakes and her breads
      And she gathers flowers for her home
      For her home she gathers flowers
      And Estrella dear companion
      Colors up the sunshine hours
      Pouring music down the canyon
      Coloring the sunshine hours
      They are the ladies of the canyon

      © July 31, 1968; Siquomb Publishing Corp

      Liked by 3 people

  9. This resonated SO much. The thoughts on watching the butterfly, the fact that everything is connected, the needing (or feeling of needing) to dumb myself down. Just completed my 2nd graduate degree to become a nurse practitioner (was a Master’s prepared teacher) and I know I annoy people because it was not hard to me and because I already am looking at how to harness my brain and energy for what comes next—–so many possibilities!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I laughed several times while reading this post, it is magnificent! I feel connected to your words, I feel understood when reading this. I feel (once again) as if you had been in my head. Your words are so close to my never-ever-disclosed thoughts, it is amazing! 🙂 Thank you for being there.

    I have not had time to come here and write a line or two in the latest posts, as I have been particularly busy lately, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t read you and I still think you’re great Paula.

    Sending fire-hosey love back too! (I loved that!)

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Outstanding post and I hope I am not the only one who wondered what color the butterfly was in the garden. Was it a local butterfly or just passing through? Also, I am going to dig in to Amenhotep too. Which dynasty was it and what was it REALLY like in Egypt at that time? They were people too with all the attendant needs, wants, desires and possibly “Nile River Minds” to contend with!
    I find that I consistently create in my mind scenes for a play or movie when I am out and about in the world. Reflecting on your wonderful insights here, I think it must be from all of the connections (real and imagined) that my mind automatically makes in a given situation. That said, I do know that my own love of being on stage or on the air is the lens through which I see things so it makes sense for me to frame the world thusly.
    I spoke with my teenage son regarding my own struggles to fit in and “just be normal” as it is hard for me to make friends, perhaps some of you understand. He said that I am tough to deal with as I am all of a sudden an ‘expert’ in a conversation on a random topic as I had happened to read about it at some point in the past. Most people just talk at a surface level and I bring data and a considered opinion to this hypothetical conversation when almost no one else had even heard of the thing. People do not know how to handle that as I am out of place in a light, topical chat but I cannot do any different.

    Thank you for the insight. Thank you for this community too. You Rainforest Mind folks are alright and I hope I am a qualified member of this cohort.

    Liked by 4 people

    • It sure does sound like you qualify, monstero2006, just from reading this comment… 🙂


    • I feel very identified in what you have commented of being an expert in topics that others are only commenting in a banal way Monstero2006. Many times I see the opportunity to explain some information or some knowledge to others in a conversation and I realize that they remain silent because they do not know very well how to interpret me. Lately I have met a new group of people and I have decided not to be myself, to soften myself a little so as not to be disappointed again when they do not accept me. Although this does not make me happy either, I would like to find a group to be myself with, but at least I am not alone.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Softening a little can be a way that can be helpful in relationships and not necessarily be compromising yourself or your values. Perhaps there can be some connections that will happen that will be nourishing. Thank you marymarymar8.

        Liked by 2 people

  12. Before I immerse myself in the comments – and if I did right away, I’d get lost in those before getting to say my bit 😉 – : You really _do get_ “us”, Paula! There is no doubt, your observations and intuitions and blog entries and everything else truly proves and documents it! (next to being a RFM yourself).

    In order to “get around” a minuscule bit easier in the world, particularly when it comes to communicating, I’ve been practicing the – very demanding! – “art” of slowing down for quite some time now. It seems to help, at least when it comes to everyday interactions and communication with cash register staff, helpline personnel, the mail wo:man etc. Before learning of my being an RFM/gifted individual, I really had zero idea that conventionally gifted people’s minds operate so dramatically different from mine – and vice versa. Only after understanding that what I see as my normal mode of operation already _overwhelms_ most other folks and brings about responses that range from hurtful to plain old (physically) dangerous was I able to implement and apply the slowing down or even “dumbing down” exercise. While I can’t say I “enjoy” having to do that – as I find it to be draining to no end! –, I find the outcomes from doing so are (slightly?) better than when being “fire hosey”. (and I’m afraid I’d have to realize at this point that I drove a number of people away by virtue of behaving in my natural, non–constrained, “fire–hosey” way…)

    In that vein and on a similar note as well as along the lines of your bloggee’s citation/quote, I’ve also started to sort of “monitor” myself in terms of (not) getting carried away with the “wow stuff” (nice wording, I like it! ). In other words, at least when it comes to inevitable daily chores like monitoring finances, sending payments for due bills and organizing my day in general, I am now trying to get a little bit better organized again or else hours will have flown by absorbing all the wonders the world has to offer – or the horrors in equal parts, depending on the given mood of the day and prior events leading to it – without me having done anything productive at all. (and when saying productive, I refer to those activities that I find enjoyable and that leave me with a result I can either share in some way or that simply gives me joy and makes me feel good).

    I’m aware that even by saying this and sharing a piece of my thought process, normally gifted folks will likely go “self–absorbed”, “you’re only thinking about yourself, how about caring more about other people?” a.s.o., a.s.f. (oh gee, haven’t we all heard some of those lines a gazillion–and-one times, right…? *eye_roll*).

    Yikes. Being an RFM/gifted one… is not for the faint of heart, I’d say that. 😉

    Thanks as always for nailing it! It helps to know that I’m not alone with this, it really does. And I appreciate you and others sharing and participating and commenting here.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Puedo ser intensa porque he encontrado seres afines. Antes me sentía “infiel” o “rara”, porque veía que la gente mantiene vínculos en el tiempo y me pasa muy rara vez, con muy pocas personas. Cuesta “conectar”, profundizar sin aburrirse o decepcionarse… Ahora entiendo por qué era y que, cuando sucede, es para toda la vida.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Wow Ana! That’s so deep!
      Mi consejo: quiérete, conócete y permítete el lujo de sentir la belleza y maravilla de todo a tu alrededor. [I’m feeling positive today haha 🙂 ]

      For those who do not speak Spanish, let me translate what Ana just wrote above (I love the way she wrote it, so sorry if I am not also translating every subtlety):

      _”I may be intense because I have found like-minded beings. I have previously felt “unfaithful” or “strange” because I saw that people keep ties over time and I happen to very rarely experience that, just with very few people. It’s hard to “connect”, deepen without getting bored or disappointed… Now I understand why is it the case and that, when it happens, it is for life.”_

      Liked by 4 people

  14. All.The.Time. the older I get, the more silence, non-understanding. It’s no longer uphill but slippery downfall. People, work, especially work, everything. It’s just not working. I can feel the heat of hate, pity, dumb arrogance towards me burning in my air.
    Without your wordy words magic, I never would have been holding on so long.
    Forever grateful I found your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.