Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive

There Is No Better Time To Step Fully Into Your Rainforest-Mindedness


Some of you may know I have been experimenting with video and going a little wild on Instagram. If you haven’t found me there yet, here is the link. I am learning all about memes and having a fine time extracting them from my blog posts. It seems contraindicated that a rainforest-y person would appreciate a good meme since you are all so lovey-dovey with complexity. But, so far, so good. I am a little impressed with my technological skills, if I do say so myself, seeing as I might be the oldest video-maker and meme queen that you will ever find on IG.

The video you see here, from IG, restates a theme I have written about before. (It is a really good post. And don’t miss the amazing comments!) It is never too late to be your gifted self, yes? There is still time to understand and clarify what you have misinterpreted about your giftedness all these years. There is still time to find yet another career path. There is still time to dive into the abyss of your past trauma and find the buried treasure that is you. There is still time to learn how to make Instagram videos! And yet. I have been told by clients that one of the reasons you are reluctant to embrace your rainforest-mindedness fully is because it feels like a daunting responsibility. To acknowledge your actual capacity for knowing, feeling, perceiving, analyzing, creating, observing, loving, and intuiting means you have to do something about it. Preferably something monumental. And that paralyzes you. I even say it in the video. “It’s not too late to do great things.”

You were fine until I said that. Right?

I am so sorry. I should know better.

One of you explained it this way:

“…And then as a gifted person the expectations are at least twice as high. When all throughout high school you are top of the class and at the end you receive an award for ‘most promising student’ and people keep telling you you must have a great calling to be blessed with so many talents, it creates this HUGE burden of responsibility. You are not allowed to ‘waste’ your amazing potential.

But what if I’m not that great in reality? Then I’ll spend my whole life disappointing myself and feeling like I’m not measuring up to what everyone expected.”

Sound familiar?

Maybe we need to define what is meant by “great things.” What, after all, constitutes a great thing?

Or perhaps that is the wrong question.

What if, instead, we asked, how do you step fully into your rainforest-mindedness?

What does your particular rainforest mind look like, feel like, taste like, smell like, sing like, dance like? What directions do you need to go to find meaning and purpose? What are you here on this planet to do? What pulls at your heart and opens your throat? What actions and relationships does your intuition say YES to and what actions and relationships does your intuition say NO to? How do you get greater access to your intuition? When will you set up a regular spiritual practice that will connect you to a Source of love and guidance? What does your flavor of spiritual practice look like? What does your future Self want to tell you? Is there a reality beyond what we see every day that is all about Love?

These are questions to ponder. If you have a journal, write/draw your thoughts. If you don’t have a journal, get one. (I am getting pushier in my old age.)


We are living in very challenging times. I don’t need to tell you that.

I was talking with a friend this morning about these challenges and she suggested it is not a mistake that you and I are here on the planet now. All of us with rainforest minds. We are here because of these times. We came here for this, she said.

Between you and me, I am not thrilled with that news. There have been many occasions when I have wanted to get outta here and head back to my home planet where there are no politicians, pandemics, prejudices, or polluters. So, I am trying to wrap my head around this notion. Then I remembered that Clarissa Pinkola Estes wrote about this in Do not lose heart, We were made for these times.

She said, “Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.” CPE

And: “Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it.” CPE

So, what do you say, my sweetest rainforesters? Time to step more fully into yourself?

I will show my light, if you will show yours.


To my bloggEEs: Let us know your thoughts, feelings, and questions. Your comments make such a difference. Sending you all much love, light, and a few clever IG memes.

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.

55 thoughts on “There Is No Better Time To Step Fully Into Your Rainforest-Mindedness

  1. I read your wonderful post this morning and followed it by listening to Train’s song, Calling All Angels. It was the perfect combo for this Monday morning!

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  2. Yes, let’s step into ourselves and fully show our light. Right now, I am reading The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr. Something to stop and consider as we more and more fully embrace the technological path – where exactly is it leading us? Perhaps not where we intended to go. And what if all the real answers and solutions lie outside that path? The one that’s so hard to leave? Forgive me, but I won’t follow you on IG or FB. My YT channel and an occasional WhatsApp is as far as I am willing to go on this path to a Brave New World.

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  3. Thank you, Paula! You keep setting my mind in another direction and have me thinking about different things, and even seeing different things in my mind as I read your blogs.
    You’ve got me smiling more than a few times!

    I’ll listen to the video tomorrow (eh.. later today 🤦‍♀️), as it is way past my bedtime.. unfortunately we (Indie and me) had a bit of a fright just moments ago. One of my carefully placed stacks fell over, making a racket.. it’s a sign that I need to unclutter, I’m sure!
    Is that a rainforestymindthingy as well, the “saving” of, well, anything really? 😳🤦‍♀️🤷‍♀️

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    • Saving things is not necessarily a rainforest-y thing but stacks of books is definitely a rainforestymindthingy. (I may have to use that new word elsewhere!) I’m happy to influence your thinking and your smiling! 🙂

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  4. Another great post, Paula. I feel pretty strongly that I want to do “great things.” However, *I* get to decide that they are great. This usually means they are great to me and one or two other people who matter to me. Who ever told you that great meant “famous” or “rich?”

    I have gotten a handful of grateful comments on my little niche webzine, Third Factor. It won’t change the world, but to those few people, I did a great thing. I am thrilled with that. 🙂 Even if most people think I’m nuts for quitting my prestigious job that paid a lot better!

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  5. Great post, Paula – I honestly thought you were in your mid to late fifties! And so glad that you started this blog, it’s been a real gem so far. Age is just a number and it should not impede our dreams and goals; it’s good to have aspirations in life. I recently turned thirty and I am finally going to start a literary/book podcast this coming year or next, it is never too late. I know people in their early/mid-thirties that finally decided to finish/start their Bachelor degree.

    “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” is a mantra that I keep in mind when I want to push myself to try a new cardio exercise or start a new project down the line. I am finally going to do a second internship interview next week, and I feel a bit old, but we have to start somewhere, so I am looking forward to challenging myself to do an interview, because they can be nerve-wracking, lol.

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  6. “I was talking with a friend this morning about these challenges and she suggested it is not a mistake that you and I are here on the planet now. All of us with rainforest minds. We are here because of these times. We came here for this, she said.Between you and me, I am not thrilled with that news. There have been many occasions when I have wanted to get outta here and head back to my home planet where there are no politicians, pandemics, prejudices, or polluters.”

    Ay and then some!

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  7. Sorry… fidgety fingers, that first comment went out before I was ready to send it… (is that a rainforest–y mind thing? Maybe it’s residual trauma still stored in the body, afraid it’s the latter). I meant to start out on a different note and first say: THANK YOU for starting this blog! GREAT having started your IG and YT channels! WONDERful to see you delve into new technologies and augment your way of reaching out to BlogEEs and interested parties the world over! And INSPIRING to see you share your path here and now on these other outlets, which I think you’re doing a great job of making them work for you and what you feel you need to share with the world!

    With this said and revisiting your writing as of today: I feel it vital for now to see and connect with other souls who are shining their light, maybe with some trepidation and the latter stopping by for semi-regular visits and sometimes stifling that powerful stride forward and onward and “upward”, whereever “up” may be. I take great SOLACE in seeing and meeting other tender souls like yours whose enormous POWER had to be hidden carefully under a equally carefully crotcheted veil of “streamline mindedness” and non-fire-hosey behaviors. (it seemed to serve and protect us that our natural giftedness provided resources even THERE and then, when we seemed to need them to protect the precious marvel inside, from which we may derive gradually increasing and growing confidence in striking sparks of FIRE – white light kind of flames of inspiration and enthusiasm, that is – that then help to shine that very light so it may illuminate some of the darkness in the world or around us and reach other souls who seem to have decided to be here in these times that are AWEfully richly filled with AWE and sometimes downright horror as well as OPPORTUNITIES and REWARDS for taking on head on that gargantuan task of simply BEING ourselves in this world that doesn’t seem to spare a (comfty) space or place for people of “our” ilk, no?

    Something like that. And being subscribed to your ever-inspiring blog certainly helps to get those sparks flying lest they be wasted on averse ruminations of the darker kind.

    So again: THANK YOU, Paula! It is a joy to see you do your thing and to be connected in this way!

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  8. Hi Paula, thanks for this new post. As always you give me wings and help me to rise a little higher. I was amazed with your video! I agree that you look about 55 years old, and you have a very sweet voice to comfort RFM :). I wanted to tell you that I was finally able to buy your book and although I will comment on it when I finish it and study it thoroughly … it is the book of my life, thank you very much! I have never felt so understood, reflected, identified, oriented … You don’t know how discovering your blog and your work has helped me, I’m glad you decided to start it a few years ago. PS: I would also be delighted to return to my planet;).

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    • I am so happy to hear that my book is making a difference for you, marymarymar8. And did you know you had wings all along?

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      • Oh, and Paula, about your book … you can’t imagine how useful it’s proving to me. I have it underlined, marked, folded … it is a study book, hehe. I find it incredible that other people have thoughts that are my own. I think a lot about how lucky your patients have been or how good it would be if all RFMs could count on help, not like in Spain, at least in my community, where I don’t think 10% of the gifted are identified because schools are not interested, with all the suffering that this entails for children and their families. So thank you very much, for me and for all my colleagues;). As soon as I finish squeezing this I will go for the other one.

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  9. The saddest thing is that I always had them, right? but until they identified me over 36 as gifted and even more, until I discovered your blog at 38 and the RFM I have lived despising them and despising myself, with a very low self-esteem for all the rejections and the times that I have not embedded. It is also true that our extreme sensitivity makes everything hurt more and in my case it has always seemed better for others, I imagine that because I did not see myself normal. I have lived as someone else and lost many years of my life. But … luckily this is not the case anymore, and if I keep working on myself it won’t be again :). One of my next goals is to try to spread the concept of giftedness and RFM so that there are no more people feeling inferior just because they are different. I have an idea that may work, but any suggestions are welcome :). I also keep going around the group that we discussed for RFM, but I need to have a little more time, in a few months maybe. I will also appreciate help, cooperation or cooperate with other people if someone else wants to take over.

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    • I very much hear and feel you on lost opportunities and quality of life at large due to not having identified as RFM and allowing others to cross those boundaries we weren’t even aware of needing to set and defend, marymarymar8 – I get that completely! Only now, as of very recent I realize that I’ve allowed people to define me whose mindset simply can’t accommodate mine or yours or Paula’s or any other RFM’s mind and passion and vibrant ABUNDANCE of ideas, dedication and commitment! On one hand, one must say it isn’t “their fault”, either, as they simply seem to lack the …. “infrastructure” that would enable them to “get us”. On the other hand their trespassing on our precious souls came at a price, right? And that price sometimes taking substantial portions of our being for granted or trying to steal it, manipulate it, distort it … just so we fit into their nutshell the size, texture and materials of which is sooooo different from how we’re wired… I’m trying to say this as respectfully as I can in light of the many times of pain inflicted on me or you and other RFMs for having treated us in these ways. The all life and lifeforms embracing part in me wants to extend my love for all living beings to them as well – if they let us. And the latter, sadly, isn’t always the case [in fact, it hardly ever is, in my experience and according to my spare 2 cents]).

      Paula? OK, to say this in response? And please DO chime in or reject or adjust and chisel away at my reply based on your substantial and long experience with humans of our “ilk”. Thank you!

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      • renovatio06, this is fine. You always refer to yourself in your comments and speak from your personal experience, which is what works here. I edit comments when the person gives advice to others or is making political statements or venting their beliefs or opinions willy nilly–which, by the way, rarely happens. Thanks.

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        • Thank you, Paula. I do remember you saying something along those lines at one point and I do my best to remind myself of that prior to posting and be generally mindful of my … shall we say ‘part’ as a visitor and guest. In other words: I try to remember manners. 😉 But thanks for clarifying again, yes.

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      • It’s true, I know it’s not “their fault”, they can’t connect with us. I’m sorry that you also suffered because of it, Renovatio06, if we could make it so that there are never again gifted people with low self-esteem for feeling that there is something wrong with them … Paula says that they do not see that we suffer or that we get depressed because our optimism is stronger and keeps us active, in such a way that they do not see in us the signs they expect to see, I think it is because of what we say, because they cannot understand us. Precisely these days I find myself in that situation in which a person sees me always happy and active and is not able to understand that I also suffer, thinks that I shine too much and tries to turn me off a little … this time I will try to use all my intelligence to redirect the situation and be able to shine together, to see how it comes out :).

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        • “I think it is because of what we say, because they cannot understand us.” I’m only now beginning to realize the full scope of ‘them’ – the non_RFMs/normally gifted ones – not understanding and how it sometimes really feels and looks as if I had to learn to speak a different language. As a matter of fact I do: I’ve started to make myself very, very mindful of the fact that whatever I say, I will have to make a very focused effort to stretch out the information, segment it into all the single parts all of which are very obvious to me and normally need not be mentioned at all. But ‘they’ are NOT obvious to ‘them’ and so I need to specifically address them and slow down by a perceived factor of 10 and also remind myself that where I take “leaps” internally and mentally, they have never learnt or understood how to “leap” and can’t follow.

          It can become very exhausting quickly to have to dilute the “information bits” we send out into such long chains of single “packets” almost like taking a ball of bubble gum and trying to stretch it out into as long as possible a “thread” of gum…

          And yeah, also about that “shining too much”: That’s another thing I have started to become very mindful of: Not be too exuberant, not too “much” or not too “fire–hosey” as Paula called it the other day etc. But again: Feels like I’m bending myself backwards and over and out of shape… :/ However, there is no other way if I intend to have a successful communication by which I can get the point across I’m trying to make. In fact, I had such one experience again today, where I made a post on Facebook alluding to the fact that I am considering switching (computer) platforms (away from Mac OS X and after 30 years of having been a professional user and maybe even a little bit of an expert in some areas, so it’s a big thing for me, which is nowhere near a “kneejerk” response, but the culmination of a process spanning those exact 30 years and after frustration with the way Apple go about products and user policies in the way they do and culminating to a climax with me, where the downsides now strongly outweigh the potential or proclaimed advantages in terms of productivity)

          NOONE GOT MY POINT! And that point being: It’s a HUGE migration and it doesn’t come easy, but marks the ensuing end of a personal “era” of sorts; it’s a process of saying “farewell” maybe, so it feels like a defeat, a personal loss almost; instead, those who commented all focused on a teeny–tiny example I was giving in order to get the idea across. Noone got the point I thought I had made which was: It’s been a long time coming and now I feel I need to pull the plug! Not even after I’ve tried to point out again and again what my point was)

          So… wow. Communication between RFMs and non–RFMs… I seriously think there could be entire university programs to deal with the challenges in even getting the most simple things across between ‘us’ and ‘them’… (I’m aware this sounds a little condescending and I feel bad for it… but it’s the brutal core of my experience so far in life and that life spanning half a century on the planet. So…)

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          • I agree! On the one hand, we have to explain things more slowly, interspersing steps that we are not even aware of having taken (I am already lost in this process and do not remember where I wanted to take them), many times I simply do not speak because I know that the conversation is it going to bore or I am going to end up looking silly … On the other hand, which for me is the worst, we have to turn off our fire hose (by the way, a great expression :)) so they don’t burn and drift away or we pour water on it, haha. It is true that it does not happen to all of us, right? there are non-gifted people capable of understanding us the first time, as they approach our area in the Gaussian Bell.
            For me the bad thing is that the happier I am or the more fulfilled I feel, the more sure I am of myself and the more fire is thrown through the hose, therefore the happier I am, the less bearable I am for others and the more I get frustrated because I cannot show me how I am … I understand what you mean by that they have not understood that you have been specializing in the same thing for 30 years and that the decision you have made regarding Mac is not a banal decision, it is the result of a deep study and it is offensive They don’t even bother to see all the reasoning behind it, but you know … maybe they can’t … I guess we sometimes seem like geeks in their eyes who only say the biggest nonsense they’ve ever heard in their life … I hope you have at least one colleague related to your work who understands what you mean and of value to your reasoning :).
            On the other hand, I do not see it condescending, we do not say that they are worse, in fact they are normal, we are the ones who are different, they are not the ones who do not understand us, we are the ones who speak like Martians, hehe.
            Ps: I hope to express myself acceptably in English, my English is not excellent so I copy it into the translator and correct it, but I still can’t get it to look right.

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            • Thank you, Marymarymar8! For getting me and being supportive. By posting this little episode here, I just meant to put the spotlight on experiences like this, which I have come to learn as being somewhat prototypical of how communication between the normally–gifted and us neurodiverse and differently gifted/RFM folks often pans out. Not only is it exhausting and frustrating to have to adjust to a mode that is so different from ours, it HURTS AS HELL to get the abject loneliness in day-to-day situations rubbed in like that all the time!

              I think, what I’m still having a hard time with – and time and time again – is being forced to realize that whatever we try to do the smooth the edges… it is barely ever noticed, let alone reciprocated. You said that it’s not always the case, Mary, and I reluctantly agree. Yes, sometimes we get to connect with someone right away, when it’s about finding out things we have in common and such. Yup. It’s rare, though, I find. (Or maybe I haven’t experienced any of it for such a long time that I’ve forgotten how the positive encounters feel. But… would you believe… as I’m typing this reply, I come back from grocery shopping and had one such encounter! You seem to have coerced the light in my direction, Marymarymar8 🙂 ). Thanks for understanding!

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              • Thank you very much Renovatio06, these days I have had a lot of fun sharing with you the experience of being misunderstood, at least we understand each other :). I recognize that it is not easy to have connection encounters, and they are usually only in one field, for example only in reading or only in astronomy … I am very glad to have sent you luck and a little light, it seems that you already needed . Take care of yourself.

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                • That’s right, at least here there are kindred spirits like yourself and others, which is maybe more important to know than I’d like to admit to myself – but it is! So thanks a lot, consider yourself hugged, if physical proximity is something you are good with and enjoy and thanks a million! Take good care of yourself and precious heart and soul as well!

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    • There are a couple of places you might contact and see what they are doing. Aurora Remember (USA) has a community for gifted women and podcast. Unleash Monday (Switzerland) is a podcast that is just starting a community for gifted women. They are both on Instagram. has a FB group and resources. (men and women) I am not specifically recommending these groups but they seem to serve different parts of our wide-ranging population. No one I know of has started something specifically called rainforest minds. Perhaps there is a collaboration for you with one of these, marymarymar8.

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      • On the note of “no one … specifically rainforest minds” – I had checked out at least intergifted some time prior to coming here or in between after I learned from an elaborate personality screening questionnaire that giftedness was a recurring topic with the options I had checked. There were some other communities by and large, some even based somewhere within reach from my home turf (the majority for parents with gifted children, though, rarely ever anything for gifted/RFMed adults) . But none really spoke to me the way your blog does, Paula. So I would like to take the liberty of letting you know that I do think your concept of the rainforest mind is something you might indeed be first with and which seems to be a unique approach of addressing the spectrum of giftedness which I didn’t find anywhere else, either. My point being: Since you said something along the lines of becoming pushier the more years pass us by, I’d like to take the liberty and encourage you to be your pushy, dedicated, passionate self all the way with regards to marketing the heck out of that very aspect and focus/coining of your work (unless someone proves me/us wrong). I am saying this specifically with those poor people in mind who had to listen to the everpresent ADHD ‘diagnosis’ and were put on medication just so their environments was better accommodated and felt better equipped to “handle” their vibrant and astute minds and energetic selves. It’s kind of heartbreaking for me, particularly when thinking of gifted children.

        I just wanted to reaffirm that I think your work and approach and you are indeed unique pertaining to levels and spectrum of giftedness and that for me, it resonates more strongly with than some of those other places I looked at. (But that’s again just me, others might have a different response to the sources and communities you mention above).

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      • Thank you very much Paula, I love that you always have resources for us 🙂

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  10. I agree with you Renovatio06 (again), for me the concept of RFM has really been a relief and an incentive. I have belonged to another group of the gifted and a group of parents of the gifted (this really is the worst, they fight a lot and get almost nothing, they continue to identify a very small part of the gifted, diagnose and medicate others … and I know that in Many countries are like this, that is what I would most like to fix) and I share interests with them, but what interests me the most right now and has made me feel better is knowing and feeling identified in the emotional aspect of the gifted RFM. I also think Paula that you could exploit and register the concept, also you would reach more people who you would help like us :). Either way I think this blog and your books are an excellent start.

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    • Interesting, Marymarymar8. I have seen some conflict on the parent sites. So disappointing. I thought about registering rainforest mind but I want it to become widely used so decided against it. I do have an account on Instagram that is getting a larger following. And people contact me to be on their podcasts, etc. I think I’m most comfortable with growing my work organically, although reaching more people would be great.

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  11. Paula, here is an idea per this thread and your blog post: I think, I have on more occasion than one hinted to the adversity that is latent in types of communication and language as a result of our being RFM/gifted/neurodiverse. Felt like addressing it in a separate blog? (unless I’m missing something and you already have.). I’m saying this coming back from this afternoon’s experience of needing to go about a bunch of recurring todo’s that involve your regular crowd of corporate agents, helpdesk agents etc. Since I had to experience and learn from said – and more often than not very hurtful – experience(s) that these “conversations” or encounters are associated to the brim with plenty of adversity because of dramatically differing ways of perceiving and processing the world and hence a very different type of communication – let’s call it multithreaded/parallel processing/acting vs. singlethreaded, monotasking acts of communication – , I since embarked on my personal exploration of smoothing over the edges that so often present themselves in this and similar scenarios (and not to forget: Add to this already half insane number of challenges the fact that with all these encounters there is no way for us on the other end of the line to know the protocol that these agents are expected to follow, let alone getting a chance of meeting them halfway). If you feel this was a looooongwinded sentence: When typed out it indeed is. But becoming aware of what I’m sharing here takes a fragment of a fragment of a split second – I’m sure, many of your visitors will be able to relate and resonate with this.

    My point being: I find it almost as challenging – and unfortunately much less gratifying – as learning a new language from scratch. On the brighter side: I think I did considerably better in today’s “phone-a-thon” than usual. But it comes at a price: It drains me to the point of needing to head straight for bed and take a nap! (if possible at all with all this hyperarousal that’s constantly present in my body).

    Language and use thereof as a result of an oftentimes so different “wiring” of our “cerebral infrastructure”: Do you think this could be worthy of a separate blog entry? (at the peril of prying open that proverbial can of worms…., I think I can see that, too).


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    • Agree! Would be a great blog topic. Being on the planet a while (chronologically 65 yrs), I’ve definitely found that analyzing and putting into practice the myriad ways of effectively dealing with other ‘humans’ is quite a science and has many rewards. It does allow (me, anyway) to find some camaraderie with other “simpler?” humans and feel less alone. e.g. My very talented (world class) dance instructor and I can discuss the nuances of anatomy and muscle use endlessly while others probably roll their eyes and say ‘who cares”. But it makes a huge difference to one’s full expression and skill in dancing.
      All the vast array of types of conversations with diverse human types all take their own effort and special art to have it feel successful — meaning I don’t end up feeling annoyed, frustrated, ignored, bored, misunderstood etc; and they don’t end up feeling uncomfortable for a long list of reasons we RFMs hear too much.

      And YES, Paula rainforest mind is YOURS and will always be yours, and I worry someone will hijack it some day. Being very fond of rainforests and their endless layers and complexities on multiple dimensions, it seems like the single most perfect and encompassing term for all of us.

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      • These are great examples, Sue. Glad you have your dance instructor for the depth you need, at least in that arena. And about the RFM being mine, It’s interesting. I would not be happy if someone starting using it professionally pretending it was their idea and not giving the original creator, me, the credit. But I do want the term to be used widely to help explain giftedness. At some point, people won’t know where it came from and that will be fine. Make sense?

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      • I’ve tried to be open minded and open hearted with everyone across the board for almost two decades, maybe even my whole life (my “chronometer” reads 56 at the time of my writing). Didn’t serve me well, very mildly put. So I’m returning to “compartmentalizing” my utterances again, i.e. become aware of exactly what it is intend to say and then first find out, whether the person I’m speaking or dealing with might be the right one to approach. (and even this initial “probing” with my utmost effort of not sounding or coming across as intrusive often goes south…). And then I need to assess as to how to best reduce complexity of my thought process and break it down into easier to digest bits and pieces of information.

        So, yes, I concur. It’s a kind of science or at the very least a mode of communicating that really must be learned, practiced hard and consistently and refined along the way to arrive at those rewards, Sue. I find…, no?

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        • I do think it is quite a balancing act to know where you can be fully open and where you might need to modify your responses or simplify your communication. At the same time, I believe being open-hearted is important in this world, and yet, there is likely also a need to protect your tender heart from assault. As usual, it’s complicated! Thank you renovatio06.

          Liked by 2 people

  12. “Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it.” What a beautiful quote. Thank you for sharing your light Paula!

    This post got me thinking about my own journey as a struggling soul trying to catch light. I’m in my mid-30s (early days, I know!), and have spent most of my life focused on doing “great things”. By some metrics, I’ve achieved them. But the more abyss-diving I do, the more I realize that in actual fact, all this “greatness” has been an unsuccessful attempt to deal with trauma, to win love and recognition and acceptance I didn’t get as a child. It doesn’t work! When there is a mismatch between effort and goal, when there is unclarity, the motion is wasted. So right now I’m staying still. In fact, I dreamt last night that a troupe of Buddhist monks came into my house and began cooking, cleaning, expanding my apartment to a mansion of many rooms, and when I asked one of them for career advice, he just said: do nothing.

    In the words of Rumi,

    Each [person] has been given
    a strong desire for certain work.
    A love for those motions,
    and all motion is love.
    The way sticks and pieces of dead grass and leaves
    shift about in the wind
    and with the directions of the rain and puddle-water
    on the ground, those motions
    are all a following
    of the love they’ve been given.

    One waits for an intuition or spontaneous inner arising of love. It’s like the distinction you draw between intrinsic and extrinsic perfectionism. If the desire for greatness is extrinsic, a secret need for recognition, say, or the performative burden of being labelled gifted, then the motion will be wasted. Again, Rumi puts it beautifully:

    When desire-weeds grow thick,
    the intelligence can’t flow,
    and soul-creatures stay hidden.

    If you can clear out those weeds, and let the soul-creatures of intelligence and creativity flow according to their own nature, out of a love for certain motions, then (Rumi again)

    The gates made of light
    swing open. You see in.

    More than anything, I want those gates of light to swing open, for myself and all the RFMs out there. Or to go back to Clarissa’s quote, I want to become myself luminous, to burn nakedly, to illuminate the world and ignite others with natural, spontaneous joy, and not because of labels or trauma or anything extrinsic. Maybe that will look like greatness, maybe not; it won’t matter. And though outwardly still, the inner work of therapy, journalling, and finding other fully lit souls to be with, is helping me clear my desire-weeds. As they disappear, I begin to hear the soul-creatures sing, and wander the broad fields of being, collecting love-kindling for what I hope will be a bright and merry fire.

    Liked by 5 people

  13. Apparently, we’re on a very similar journey, dw. I marvel at your courage to dive into the abyss and confront all that, which dampens or darkens your light and courageously remove all those layers obstructing it. I see your light, I admire the clarity you’ve already obtained following your beautiful and gracefully chosen, wise words above, which effortlessly blend with qoutes from Rumi. And I’m impressed with the extent of wisdom as well as empathy for yourself that you seem to have access to at a still young age.

    I see your light and having found and read your words warms my heart and helps to reinstill motivation and courage and heart to keep soujourning some more myself…

    Thank you. ❤

    Liked by 4 people

    • renovatio06, thank you. To know that what I write reaches someone, and even helps them, moves me deeply, fills me with gratitude and an “aw shucks” humility at the miracle of it all. It’s the best feeling! I also just read your earlier post — it’s beautiful! — and I’m struck by the parallels. I wish you all the best in your sojourning (difficult but so worthwhile) and hope that you continue to share your “flames of inspiration and enthusiasm”, and receive illumination from your fellow-travellers in return. Sharing light is a wonderful thing!

      Liked by 5 people

      • Beautifully said again, dw, and thank you kindly! So long as we can inspire and thus nurture each other, though the journey may be challenging at times, meeting people as yourself and “Paula’s tribe” here adds the flavor that makes it all a much more palatable, sometimes even ardent one at that 😉 Thanks!

        Liked by 4 people

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