Your Rainforest Mind

Support For The Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive


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Book Lovers? Your Time Has Arrived.

photo courtesy All Bong, Unsplash

“The child I once was read constantly and hardly spoke, because she was ambivalent about the merits of communication, about the risks of being mocked or punished or exposed. The idea of being understood and encouraged, of recognizing herself in another, of affirmation, had hardly occurred to her and neither had the idea that she had something to give others. So she read, taking in words in huge quantities, a children’s and then an adult’s novel a day for many years, seven books a week or so, gorging on books, fasting on speech, carrying piles of books home from the library.”  Rebecca Solnit

Sound familiar? Was this you? “…gorging on books…” Endlessly curious about, oh, everything? Needing intellectual stimulation more than breakfast?

I’m guessing that you’re still madly in love with your favorite authors. Piling up more and more books by your bed. Frustrated by how much you don’t know and how little time you have left to learn it. Obsessed with “interestingness hunter-gatherer” Maria Popova‘s musings in her Brain Pickings and wishing that you, too, could spend your days reading and synthesizing knowledge across countless disciplines. Wanting Emily Graslie‘s job of Chief Curiosity Correspondent at the Chicago Field Museum. Feeding your endless appetite for Jane Austen and Toni Morrison.

Well, my fellow book nerds, I have good news. It appears that reading is no longer just for geeks. Book clubs are becoming hip. They’re popping up everywhere. And there are so many websites with book recommendations that a bookworm could get overwhelmed by so much goodness. I’m only going to mention a few here and you can tell us about your favorites in the comments. These are not endorsements, just places to start exploring.

Yesterday I heard about a new club started by the New York Times and PBS Newshour.

There’s the silent book club that I wrote about here, particularly fun for the introverts among you.

Ariana Huffington’s ThriveGlobal is starting a book group in collaboration with Book of the Month club. (I know you read more than one book a month. But hey.)

The SENG organization that supports the emotional needs of the gifted just started a book club that will focus on books about gifted issues.

There’s Book Riot. A site for book gorgers. I don’t know if it’s reputable but I love the name.

And because I live in Oregon, I must mention Powell’s City of Books. An actual bookstore. You can get lost in there for days. Bring a tent.

Then, there’s this:

A post on why you should join an online book club from the Huffington Post.

An article by reader extraordinaire, Maria Popova, on why it’s beneficial to have more books in your home that you have not read. Called an antilibrary.

And a list of online book clubs you might try.

Oh, and, for fun, you’ll really want to check out Book Nerd Problems on Facebook from Epic Reads.

So, there you go.

You no longer need to hide your Tolstoy behind a Sports Illustrated. And if you need proof, here’s a recent piece about the reading-isn’t-just-for-geeks movement from the New York Times. Still not convinced? Here’s another.

Granted, if you try a book group, you will still need to select carefully so that at least some of your co-readers are as curious, deep thinking, and as obsessed as you are. Some of them may care more about the great wine than the great read. So, as always, be on the lookout for the rainforest-minded souls. But because you’re revealing your true book-devouring nature, you just might attract another voracious reader or two.

And together you can eat intellectual stimulation for breakfast.

Yum.

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To my bloggEEs: Have you found good resources for book recommendations? Are you in a book group that is rewarding? Have you had to hide your appetite for learning? Thank you for sharing your insight and experiences and for being part of Team Rainforest Mind!

 

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Time To Embrace Your Geekly Bookwormish Not-Normal Self

photo courtesy Gaelle Marcel, Unsplash

You just want to be normal.

But do you really?

Sure, you have trouble in relationships. Your intensity is misinterpreted as arrogance or criticism or drama. Your emotions overwhelm you and the people you love. Your only friend is really tired of hearing your perturbations about string theory. You’re frustrated by what you experience as mediocrity or superficiality. Your empathy gives you migraines.

Sure, you wonder why happiness, contentment and simplicity seem out of reach.  Your multidimensional worries keep you up nights. Your highest standards and speedy thought processes create anxiety at your job. Your fears that you’ll screw up your children forever turn you into a shrieking maniac, not unlike your mother. On your good days.

Sure, you feel like a failure because you haven’t achieved “greatness,” just like everyone expected since you were six, when your favorite book was the dictionary which you slept with every night without fail.

But what is normal and why is it so appealing?

Here’s what I tell my clients (with apologies to normal people):

You will never be normal. Let go of normal. Normal is watching The Bachelorette on TV. Normal is thinking one thought at a time. Normal is reading one book at a time. Normal is reading one book a month. Normal is asking one question a day. Normal is going along with the crowd. Normal is having one career your whole life. Normal is accepting the status quo. Normal is certainty that you know all of the answers. Normal is becoming prom king/queen.

See?

Time to rethink your desire for normal.

And, well, OK.

Maybe someday you can still be prom king/queen.

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To my dearest bloggEEs: Have you ever wished that you could be normal? Tell us about it.


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Gifted Shmifted

Time to address the elephant. The one in the room. You know what I’m talkin’ about.

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I’m starting to hyperventilate. I really don’t want to do this.

But it was going to come up sooner or later.

OK. Sigh. Just do it.

You may identify with the label geek, nerd, bookworm, or brainiac.

If you’re following this blog, you probably know now that you’re a person with a rainforest mind. You’re excessively: sensitive, curious, creative, complex, emotional, smart and analytical.

Perhaps, you’ve noticed that I’ll occasionally use the word gifted in place of rainforest mind. This might be where you frown or pause or look at me quizzically.

You may not relate to being gifted. For many reasons:

1. You haven’t created the iPhone or sent your own private rocket ship to dock with the international space station. You haven’t played your violin at Carnegie Hall.

2. You know many people who are smarter than you.

3. You didn’t get straight A’s in school. In fact, you failed a few classes in high school because you didn’t do the homework or you couldn’t hand in work that wasn’t up to your standards.

4. You have ten books on your nightstand that you’ll never finish. In fact, there are a lot of things you’ll never finish.

5. You feel that it’s not fair to label someone gifted. No one really knows what it means. You’re offended by the label because it implies that some people are not gifted. You often fight for justice and equality for all. Calling anyone gifted feels unjust.

6. When schools identify children as gifted, you wonder if they’re just picking the high achievers or the children who fit the stereotype of the smart kid. It seems elitist to you. You believe that all children have gifts. How do the kids feel who aren’t selected?

Does any of the above ring true?

Is there an answer?

We’ll see.

You may have heard the argument that all people have gifts but not all are gifted if, by gifted, we mean advanced developmentally. We all can agree that Michael Jordan is a gifted athlete. He has abilities the rest of us don’t have. That doesn’t make us bad or inferior humans. It just makes us less competent at basketball. No big deal. We admire Michael for his giftedness.

But if we apply that argument to intelligence, we start to sweat. And we can’t measure intelligence by number of successful free throws. We get all mucked up in the details. What about talent? What about achievement? What about multiple intelligences? What about IQ tests? How do we make sure all kids get an appropriate education? What happens to gifted kids when they become adults?

Maybe there are more questions than answers.

But, perhaps, we can agree on one thing. What if humans are like ecosystems. What if some are like meadows, some deserts, some tundra, some rain forest. All are unique, beautiful and necessary. All contribute to the well-being of the planet. The rain forest just contains more species than any other. It’s more intense, sensitive and abundant. Not better. Just more.

And what are we doing to our rain forests? And our rainforest minds?

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We’re clear cutting them because we don’t recognize their value. We want to turn them into something that they aren’t and use them for our purposes.

What’s the alternative?

Let’s  appreciate  them and allow them to flourish. In all of their intensity, sensitivity and abundance.

Maybe even in all of their giftedness.

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photo of elephant from flickr.com: brittanyhock; creative commons https://www.flickr.com/photos/thelivelygirl/5261389796/; photo of rain forest from Gary Higbee, hubby.

This blog is part of the Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page inaugural Blog Hop on The “G” Word (“Gifted”). To read more blogs in this hop, visit this Blog Hop at http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/blog_hop_the_g_word.htm

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Brainiacs, Bookworms and Geeks

Are you passionate about learning, reading and research and perplexed, perturbed and perspiring about schooling?

School can be challenging for someone with a rainforest mind. Maybe this describes you:

• In second grade, you completed the entire workbook in one night and your teacher got mad at you for working ahead.

• In fourth grade, you were dying to learn about fractals but couldn’t for the life of you remember your multiplication facts.

• You asked LOTS of questions.

• You never finished the multiple choice tests because you could explain how all of the answers could be correct.

• You were diagnosed ADHD because your daydreams about  the solar system were more fascinating than life in Room 10.

• You stopped doing homework because you didn’t see the point.

• You corrected the teacher’s spelling errors.

• You cried when another child was hurt on the playground.

• You worried about pesticides when the other kids worried about soccer.

• You didn’t turn in your assignments because they didn’t measure up to your standards.

If this describes you, take heart. You’re not a slacker or a freak. You have a rainforest mind.