Your Rainforest Mind

Support For The Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive


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What Your Ruminating, Analyzing, Synthesizing Mind-Body Needs

photo courtesy of Ron Sartini, Unsplash, CC

When you have a rainforest mind, you’re a deep, fast thinker. Your mental capacity is vast. You think, worry, question, ruminate, reckon, critique, imagine, analyze, synthesize, emote, and evaluate. Most of the time. OK. All of the time. 

So, I’m wondering. What about your body? Do you give your body the attention that it deserves? Do you notice your mind-body connection? Are you tuned in to what your body is telling you? Because, if you’re a highly driven creative ruminator-imaginer-analyzer, which, face it, you are, then, your body is not a passive participant. Your whole body is also ruminating, imagining and analyzing.

This may be obvious to some of you. If so, you can go back to training for that marathon. I’ll see you next time.

If it’s not obvious, listen up.

I’m very aware of my own on-again-off-again relationship with my physical self. It’s been a long-standing conundrum. For most of my life, I’ve been able to ruminate quite well without regard for what my body might be experiencing. But, over the years, I’ve learned that these bones might have something to say. This body might be a source of intuition or wisdom or, dare I say, pleasure. There might be some old trauma that has made its home in my heart that is ready to leave. Or relaxing my neck muscles after a long day of thinking, worrying and questioning could be beneficial.

Who knew?

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I awakened my mind-body through the Argentine tango. The tango has been my entry into body-ness.

And there are many other embodying methods that I’ve experienced as well: Massage. Rolfing. Breathwork. Somatic psychotherapy. Gardening. Hiking. Walking. Reiki. Energy work. Tree hugging. Meditation. Yoga. Singing. Acting. Hot showers. Salsa dancing. Other possibilities I haven’t tried: Running. Body building. Skate boarding. Bungee jumping. Hang gliding. Mountain climbing. Wingsuit flying. Volcano surfing.

You get the idea.

The more driven and mentally speedy that you are, the more you’re going to need to attend to your mind-body. Pay attention to its needs. Teach it to relax. Appreciate its wisdom. Listen to its messages.

And if you go volcano surfing, well, I don’t think I want to know about it.

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To my bloggEEs: Tell us what you do to care for your mind-body. Do you feel deeply embodied? Disconnected? How do you relax your mind-body? What are your bones telling you? (If you’ve experienced trauma in childhood, you might have a very complex mind-body experience. Here’s an introduction to that information from Maria Popova in Brain Pickings shared by Jen at Rediscovering Yourself.)

It’ll be three years this month since I started this blog! I so appreciate all of you for continuing to read, share and comment. I hope to build a page at some point so that it’ll be easier to find posts on topics of interest. For now, though, remember that you can use the search engine or the tags to find what you’re looking for.

And, I just received notice that I’ll be presenting at the SENG conference in August 2017 in Chicago, USA. I’d love to meet many of you there!


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Tango With Your Despair

photo courtesy of Konstantin, Flickr, CC

photo courtesy of Konstantin, Flickr, CC

Despair.

Not your favorite emotion. Not how you want to spend your day. Not helpful when your cranky teenager wants the car keys. Not the most uplifting part of your memoir.

But here it is. Dancing the tango. Dragging you around the dance floor. It’s got you in its arms; holding you close. Singing its mournful melodies. You’re vulnerable, barely breathing. Dressed in black. Mesmerized by despair’s mystique. You want to escape the embrace. But there’s something about this tango. This dance partner. Impossible to resist.

Like every good tango dancer knows, the connection is everything. You must tune into your partner’s beating heart. Become one body with four legs. Unity is the goal. Reaching it is just a little joyful. Maybe a lot joyful.

Joy? Despair? What?

Stay with me on this.

Imagine that you can tango with your despair. Rather than push it away or pretend that it doesn’t exist, dance it. Embrace it. Listen to its song. Cry. Rant. Write. Make art. Feel its power in your body as you stride around the dance floor. As your feet connect with the earth beneath the floor. Tango with your despair.

Imagine that in the heart of despair, you’ll find your Self. As you become One with despair, you expand, you deepen, you open to possibilities. If you soften into it, rather than resist it, your dance will improve. You’ll find a way through. Perhaps a creative direction will appear. Maybe your intuition will speak. You might notice a burden lift.

Maybe you’ll even feel a little joyful.

“ Joy doesn’t betray but sustains activism. And when you face a politics that aspires to make you fearful, alienated and isolated, joy is a fine act of insurrection. ” ~ Rebecca Solnit

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To my bloggEEs: Sensitive rainforest-minded humans need a little joy right about now. (By the way, this process can work with other painful emotions. Here’s a resource for more ideas.) Thank you for being here and for your compassionate sharing.

Oh, and I’m working on some restructuring of this blog/website. So don’t be surprised if you see some changes soon-ish. It’ll still be me, sending you my love notes.


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The Gifted Adult’s Guide to Finding Friends

photo courtesy of Brooke Cagle, Unsplash, CC

photo courtesy of Brooke Cagle, Unsplash, CC

You’re sensitive. Empathetic. Funny. Generous. Smart. Adorable. And yet, you have trouble finding friends.

I’m here to help.

I’ve gathered my five favorite posts on relationships here so that you don’t need to go searching for them. I’d suggest that you read them all to get my comprehensive take on this topic. You’ll be able to pick and choose from the many suggestions and you’ll see that the reason you’re lonely is not because you’re a hopeless weirdo slacker ne’er-do-well. But because you’re gifted.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started:

If I’m So Smart, Why Am I So Lonely  (This one has a link at the end to more posts on relationships written by parents of gifted children.)

Gifted? Lonely? Learn The Argentine Tango  (You won’t want to miss the quote from Maria Popova.)

Lonely? Find Your Pips  (This one has a link at the end by a different group of parents of gifted kids, also on this topic.)

Lonely? Find Your Pips–Part Two  (This is where I get all spiritual on you.)

Single? Lonely? Gifted? Listen Up  (I’m not saying here that you shouldn’t be happy if you’re single!! Nooooo. I’m just saying that if you’re single and want a partner, here are some ideas. And this post also includes ideas for finding friends, too, so don’t skip over it.)

One more thing: When you’re clearer about who you are, you’ll be better able to spot other rainforest minds. If you’re doing something you love, at work or at play, and you spot one who has potential, be brave and initiate a conversation. Ask them questions about themselves. They will thank you! If they lead a busy life, don’t let that stop you. You may have to do the work to build the relationship at first. But if your intuition says they’re a good one, keep at it. Eventually the person will reciprocate and the relationship will be more balanced. I know that this works because it’s how I created my lovely circle of dear rainforest-y friends. But you have to be patient and persistent. OK?

One last thing: Don’t forget the online groups. Also, my book has a chapter on loneliness with even more suggestions. And, if you want to hang out with rainforest minds on a daily basis, well, become a counselor/consultant for the gifted. Start a blog. Write a book.

You’ll be so glad you did.

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To my bloggEEs: How have you found other rainforest minds? How do you deal with loneliness? Thank you for being here and for opening your hearts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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It’s Never Too Late To Be Your Gifted Self

I turn 65 this year. I started blogging at 62. My first book on giftedness in adults and youth will be released next month (June 2016). You see? It’s never too late.

Granted, I’m not as cute as I used to be. This is particularly noticeable if you look closely at my skin. Who knew skin could sag like that? And I never thought I’d be dependent upon the pharmaceutical industry for the maintenance and functioning of certain body parts. Luckily, I still have excessive amounts of hair. Even though it’s no longer happily auburn in the sun. It’s still there. Curly as ever. Which, in my older years, I’m finally able to appreciate.

It’s never too late to appreciate your gifted self.

I started dancing the Argentine tango when I turned 49. I’m still at it. Not only is dancing good for coordination, balance and neuroplasticity, it’s also a way to be seen, held and admired — at any age.

Me at a tango lesson when my hair was still auburn. Age 49.

Me at a tango lesson in 2002.

It’s never too late to dance your gifted self.

My friend and colleague just got her MA in clinical psychology at age 71. She already had a PhD in educational psychology but she wanted to start a counseling practice. And she just joined the blogosphere.

It’s never too late to deepen your gifted self.

An innovative after-school enrichment program opened recently in Eugene and Portland (Oregon). It was started by two creative, insightful women in their 50’s.

It’s never too late to expand your gifted self.

Two girlfriends of mine who’ve raised kids are grieving. Their children are grown and out in the world. Not necessarily remembering to call. Or to mention that they happened to get married on that trip to Mexico. These fabulous moms are no longer the center of their children’s universe. They’re anxiously wondering, what’s next.

Quite a lot is next.

Quite. A. Lot.

This world needs you to be your gifted self. More than ever. So, write your blog. Publish your book. Start your nonprofit. Get your PhD. Start your practice. Open your micro-school. Get therapy. Start your business. Dance your tango. Bring more creativity, sensitivity, empathy, humor, intelligence, intuition, joy and love to the planet.

It’s never too late.

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To my bloggEEs: Did you notice the part about my book being released in June? Next month? So exciting! I will let you know when it’s available for purchase. (Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and YouthGHF Press.) And please, let us know how you feel about being your gifted self. Do you worry that it’s too late?


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Gifted? Lonely? Learn the Argentine Tango

Pixabay CC

Pixabay CC

Are you looking for a way to meet people who are smart, sensitive, creative and curious? Are you wondering where computer geeks, philosophers, physicists, musicians, artists, avid readers and psychotherapists gather? Would you like to engage in an activity that will improve your balance, flexibility and your brain? Are you needing a way to get embraced by friendly strangers whose sole purpose in that moment is to tune into your beating heart?

Yes?

Then you need the Argentine tango.

When I started dancing the tango at age 47, I quickly became enthralled by the beauty, the music, and the sensual-osity of it all. And because I’m always on the lookout for rainforest minds, I was pleasantly surprised to find so many in one place. I think that’s because the Argentine tango is both intellectually and creatively challenging to learn and so very satisfying once you reach a certain level of competence.

Tango requires all of those things that you already have: intelligence, sensitivity, curiosity, intuition, and empathy. And it gives you something that you may not have — safe, sweet moments of intimacy with other humans.

I am not making this up.

You may have trouble finding people who want to travel into the depths with you. You may have trouble finding people who can keep up with your rapid thoughts and complicated emotions. And if you’re an avid reader, researcher and writer like Maria Popova, the creator of the fabulous weekly online digest Brain Pickings, most of your friends may be “dead people.”

Let me explain. Maria Popova describes herself as “…an interestingness hunter-gatherer and curious mind at large.” Her website is, as she says, “a subjective lens on what matters in the world and why.” She synthesizes the work of all sorts of great thinkers, authors and artists (many of them dead) and draws her own brilliant conclusions. I’m guessing that she’s got a rainforest mind. She was interviewed by Krista Tippett for her program On Being and asked to speak for her generation. (She was 30 at the time of the interview.) She said that she couldn’t do that because, “…most of my friends are dead people.” She’s not spending much time with her generation.

Perhaps you aren’t either.

So, if you’re looking for some humans who are smart, sensitive, creative, and curious and if, most of your friends are dead people and you want to find some living ones, well, now you know what to do.

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To my blogEEs: If you want to find an Argentine tango community near you, Google is your friend. It seems that there are Argentine tango communities all over the world. Let us know how it goes. And let us know what other activities you do to find rainforest-minded souls. Oh, and be sure to check out Brain Pickings and On Being. And thanks, as always, for reading and sharing.


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If I’m So Smart, Why Aren’t I Successful?

photo by Kevin T. Houle, creative commons, Flickr

photo by Kevin T. Houle, creative commons, Flickr

Smart people are rich and famous. They win Nobel Prizes and Genius Grants. They’re high achievers and arrogant. They don’t waste time on the little people. Right?

Wrong.

Well, OK. I guess that some smart people are all of the above. Or parts of the above. Maybe your Uncle Charlie. But how many are, say, none of the above? And if you are one of the none of the above, do you believe that you just aren’t all that smart? Do you think that you’ve fooled everyone only because you happen to be witty every once in a while, and people are so darned gullible? Do you believe that you’re really an impostor? In fact, most days you’re a total failure for now and all eternity?

But: What is success, anyway? What makes a successful life? Is it some grand achievement? What is achievement? Some people refer to “greatness.” What exactly is that anyway?

Oh boy. I think I’m getting in way over my head with all of these questions. This is a blog. A little itty bitty blog. Not a dissertation.

Speaking of dissertation, I never did get that PhD. Did I mention that I took Argentine tango lessons instead? Does that mean that I’m a total failure for now and all eternity?

(Note: Now, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I’m not really using myself as an example. After all, I’m barely g-g-gifted. But it’s just so convenient. So hang in there with me.)

(Another note: Yes, I do realize the irony in the fact that I’m writing about giftedness and impostor issues and I’m telling you that I’m not really really gifted when it comes right down to it. My qualifications come from years of teaching gifted kids in schools and now counseling gifted adults. I’m really good at it. But I can’t explain why. And stop looking at me like that.)

Back to the tango.

photo by Elvin, creative commons, Flickr

photo by Elvin, creative commons, Flickr

What if success and achievement have to do with something other than college degrees and how many rockets you’ve fired into space? I mean those things are nice but what if your compassion is an achievement? What if finding your authentic voice or stopping the cycle of abuse in your family qualifies as success? What if parenting sweet, loving, empathetic humans counts as greatness?

Now, this doesn’t mean that you can’t win a Nobel Prize or shoot rockets into space. That’s OK, too. What I’m saying is that I want you to use that rainforest mind of yours in a way that has meaning for you and for others, maybe even for the planet.

And I want you to rethink what success really is. Maybe you already have it. And consider that if you feel like an impostor it’s not because you are one. It’s because you aren’t one.

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To my blogEEs: How do you define success? What are your experiences with impostor syndrome? Share your thoughts, feelings, questions and insights. Please. Your comments are meaningful to everyone who reads this blog.


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Lonely? Find Your Pips–Part Two

It’s hard to find other rainforest minds.

They’re not usually hanging out at the mall. (Well, OK, maybe you hang out at the mall.)

They don’t wear identifying clothing. They don’t carry slide rules. (Well, OK, maybe you wear your Star Trek tee shirt.)

5134034851_aa66cc9e60And people will get suspicious if you spend all day every day at your local library trying to spot one.

How do you find them, then?

In my last post, I gave you a few ideas.

But I’m thinking that I may need to say more about your Pips. (not to be confused with ‘peeps’) It’s kind of a big idea that I threw out there willy nilly. I know you’re smart and everything but you may need more clarification on this one.

OK?

Let’s say that you’ve taken my advice and found a friend at the Sierra Club meeting or at your art class or at the community garden. Let’s say that you’re now taking Argentine tango lessons and have danced with a few rainforest souls who have friend-potential written all over them.

Congratulations!

But what about those inevitable times when sensitive humans are nowhere to be found? What then?

That’s when you call on your Pips. (as in Gladys Knight and the Pips)

Your Pips aren’t actually living people, though.

They’re your spiritual back-up singers. They support you when you need it. They remind you that you’re loved no matter what.

You find them in your imagination. Or in your heart. Or in Nature. Or in your religion.

Maybe you call them guardian angels. Or spiritual guides. Or trees.IMG_20931

Maybe they’re the feeling you get when you’re hiking in the redwoods. Maybe your Pips are in the night sky.

But if you haven’t found your Pips yet. Here’s what you can do:

* Get out into nature. Feel the energies of the Spirits of the earth. Build a relationship with them. If you need help with this, look into participating in a quest like the ones at Animas Institute.

* Write in your journal and begin a dialogue with your Pips. You can find ideas in Christina Baldwin’s book Life’s Companion–Journal Writing as Spiritual Quest.

* Take a class on developing your intuition.

* Start a meditation practice. Over time, your Pips may show up spontaneously.

* Read about guided imagery and use CDs and books by healthjourneys.com that teach you how to use visualization for healing and for finding an inner advisor–your very own spiritual wisdom.

* Get good psychotherapy so you can work through any psychological obstacles to your self-confidence and to your connection with your innate goodness.

And remember, finding other rainforest-minded souls isn’t easy. Be patient. They’re out there.

Listen carefully.

They’re singing your song.

Shoo bop shoo bop, my baby, oooooooh.

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To my blogEEs: I hope this helps explain what I was trying to say in my last post. Let me know if you have questions or if you need more clarification. And keep listening.

photo 1: CC  www.flickr.com/x/t/0093009/photos/popculturegeek/5134034851/

This post is part of hoagiesgifted.org blog hop. See link below–