Your Rainforest Mind

Support For The Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive


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If You Have a Rainforest Mind, You’ve Got Hopepunk

photo courtesy of Natalie Grainger, Unsplash

Have you heard of it? Hopepunk? If you haven’t, listen up.

It’s got your name written all over it. Seriously.

Hopepunk is about strength through kindness, optimism, and empathy. Power through gentleness and intelligent compassion. It’s about ethics, justice, and standing up. Speaking out for love.

If that doesn’t describe a rainforest mind, well, I don’t know what does.

Hopepunk.

It’s Harry Potter. It’s Frodo and Sam.

It’s Dear Evan Hansen. The musical. The song You Will Be Found.

The School of Life. “The School of Life is a global organisation dedicated to developing emotional intelligence.”

It’s Lin Manuel-Miranda.

On Being. “…an independent non-profit public life and media initiative. We pursue deep thinking and social courage, moral imagination and joy, to renew inner life, outer life, and life together.”

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and Earth Guardians. “We empower young people by providing them with leadership opportunities and tools to bring their innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing issues.”

It’s good psychotherapy.

March for Our Lives.

Rebecca Solnit.

Rebels At Work. “This is a place of ideas, stories, and resources for Rebels At Work, those of us trying to improve, change, and innovate at work…”

Brain Pickings.

It’s The Parents’ Guide to Climate Revolution by Mary DeMocker

Love Army“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Hopepunk.

It’s a new term that was coined on Tumblr by Alexandra Rowland in 2017 for the fantasy and sci-fi communities of readers and writers and shared by Rebecca Solnit on Facebook. It’s growing from there. To my blog. To you.

Carry on, hopepunkers. Carry on.

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To my bloggEEs: Share the books, songs, movies, and organizations that represent hopepunk in your life. This will be our gift to each other as we enter 2019. Much love and hopepunk to you all.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Super Sensitive? Super Smart? Super Lonely.

photo courtesy of Julian Howard, Unsplash

Here’s what’s confusing: Learning is easy. Solving a complex problem is fun. Researching and reading into the wee hours of the night is one of your favorite things. Compassion for others comes naturally. Perceiving the suffering of all beings everywhere is what you do after coffee. And before coffee. Seeing subtleties, complexities, layers, connections, meanings, energies, vibrations, and visions are your everyday realities.

Isn’t that just normal? you ask.

Um. No.

You’re still a bit rare among humans.

Which is why you feel lonely.

Not to mention the holiday season. Where everyone looks so frantic happy. So stressed out generous. Terrified excited to be with their dysfunctional extended families.

It’s hard to find other beings with rainforest minds. Maybe you get frustrated by your relatives who dismiss your insights and take your kindness for granted. Perhaps you long for deep conversation and exuberant debate but end up with small talk and platitudes. Maybe you think it’s your job to save everyone so you befriend all comers, willy nilly. Maybe you meet someone who looks like a prospect but when they find out that you speak 4 languages, write music, paint, read books obsessively, and adore quantum physics, they remember that they have a dying uncle in Idaho who needs them. Right away. Maybe you’ve never found a soul who has the same capacity for sorrow and joy.

Don’t stop believing.

There are perhaps 3484+ rainforest minds around the world reading this post today. There are about 500 who will read it tomorrow. And the next day. And the next. See? You can find one. Or two. Maybe more.

For some great suggestions, if I do say so myself, read these posts. Start your own Meetup group or find one. They’re all over the world. Attend or start your own Silent Book Club. They’re also all over the world. Do what you love to do and look for other RFMs. Be brave and approach them. Ask them for coffee/tea. If you don’t know what to say, ask questions about their interests and about sports teams books that they love. Build a network of friends over time who will be grateful for your courage and who will bring you soup when you’re sick. Join the #booklovers and #booknerds on social media. (I’m not going to tell you to learn the Argentine tango. Because I’ve told you that multiple times. You already know that.)

Until you find humans (and after you find them), spend time in nature with the spirits of the trees, rivers, and mountains. They will talk to you, if you let them. They’re good company. Deepen your spiritual connection to your inner guidance. Continue to work on yourself: If you need greater understanding of your sensitivities, read Imi Lo’s book. If you’re looking for a great book on trauma and the body, read Judith Blackstone’s latest book. If you want to understand relationships, read Alain de Botton. For inspiration, read Maria Popova’s gorgeous new book A Velocity of Being. (available 12-31-18) It will nourish your soul and sustain you through the lonely nights. (Popova has 883K followers on Twitter. That’s a lot of rainforest minds!)

You are not alone. You are loved. Already. More than you know. But I get it. You want a human or two who truly sees you. Who can match your complexity and intensity. Who is also exhausted by platitudes.

During the holiday season, it can be particularly hard to feel alone. So here’s one last idea: Use that imagination of yours. That colorful and powerful imagination. Play your favorite songs. And on your own. With your own sweet self. Start dancing.

And then, as the saying goes: If you dance it, they will come.

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To my bloggEEs:  How do you find friends? Partners? Intellectual stimulation? What are the holidays like for you? What are the songs that you dance to? Remember that when you’re here, you are among friends. And at times, there might be 3484 of you here on the same day. Thank you, as always. I deeply appreciate your friendship. And your love.

Here’s the latest update on my book: For now, it’s still with GHF Press and available on Amazon and from booksellers. It will probably stay there for now. I’ll announce it on Facebook (and here) if/when that changes.

 


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“…Your Fierce and Unbreakable Light…”

If you’ve been raised in a seriously dysfunctional family or your compassionate, smart, sensitive, rainforest mind has experienced other chainsaws over the years, or both, it’ll be important for you to mend your broken heart.

The mending takes time, patience, and care.

You will likely need help on the journey. Let yourself get help. Granted, because you have a rainforest mind, you’ll have to select your helpers carefully. If you try psychotherapy, (which would be a great idea, by the way), you’ll want to find someone who is sensitive and smart, and who is on their own healing path. There will be things your therapist will need to know. Such as:

The rainforest mind is complicated. Like the jungle, it’s breathtaking in its capacity to create: Thoughts, emotions, questions, dreams, equations, mosquitoes,  theories, visions, stories, inventions, worries, beauty, more worries, and poetry. It’s intense, lush, and vast.

The rainforest mind, in counseling, needs deep, empathetic, authentic understanding of its fascinating and convoluted intricacies.

You will be learning to grieve your losses, build self-confidence, appreciate your courage and resilience, set better boundaries, choose appropriate friends and partners, raise healthy kids, take back your power, speak your truth, stop the legacy of abuse in your family line. Trust your intuition. Discover your creativity. Love yourself. Find your path(s) to creating a better world.

There are more ways to mend: Build a spiritual/meditation practice. Design a multi-dimensional approach that could include: coaching, bodywork, acupuncture, energy work, martial arts, functional medicine, binge reading, and support groups. Give yourself permission to try things and leave if they’re not right for you. (except we all know that binge reading is always right…)

There are books that will help with your healing process: Soul Collage by Seena Frost for a creative, visual, and intuitive approach. Self Therapy by Jay Earley for an Internal Family Systems approach. My book for guidance in understanding and appreciating your rainforest mind.

And, there is poetry~ this one by Anne Allanketner, poet and therapist in Portland, Oregon, USA.

The No-Fault Insurance of Love 

photo courtesy of Dawid Soboleski, Unsplash

I am writing you a policy
which covers everything,
no matter what happened to you.
You have all rights and privileges:
to receive help, to rest, to correct damage
to heal loss.

In time, you must re-member yourself
to be One with The Holy

I have experienced
your fierce and unbreakable light
which never leaves you,
even on the worst day

You are not at fault.
That old idea is a red herring
swimming towards you
to distract you
from the cluster of pearls
hidden under and behind
this recent fiasco.

Feeling completely innocent
as you dive towards beauty and truth,
piercing confusion’s thick waters and
calling loudly for help-
That is your sacred work.

In clever self-examination you may find
clues that cannot be seen
without the eyes of kindness and thus
you cannot afford to swim around
in the cloudy murk of shame.

If you did make mistakes, that too
is covered by the policy
for your heart was always true to love
and being loved.
Honor that and know
that you will be protected
from the world’s
dissonant judgments, that have rattled and echoed,
too near your exquisite, tender soul.

This journey is harrowing,
which is always the case in matters of arising
and sacred repair.
Somehow amidst the smoke and brokenness
your soul has hidden pieces of Herself
which she is even now
(and despite all seductive illusions)
retrieving from crevasses and underground caves.

You, beloved, are the sparkling gem
pressed between the rocks
your story began before, Before.
Now, we can begin to see
that what is courageous in you, and what is ever pure,
is only becoming more beautiful, more condensed and potent
under this terrible pressure
where diamonds are made.

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To my bloggEEs: Does this poem speak to you? Can you recognize your “fierce and unbreakable light?” What have you done to heal from your chainsaw experiences? Are there any resources that you recommend? And, dears, if you’re feeling despair about events here on earth, here’s a gathering of poets that will inspire and uplift you, from Maria Popova.

This month marks four years since the birth of my blog. Thank you for sharing the journey with me. I’m sending you all hugs, kisses, and much gratitude! And thank you to Anne Allanketner for her beautiful poetry and radiant soul. If you want to hear the poet read this poem along with original music from musician Ron Gordon, click here.


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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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Gifted? Lonely? Learn the Argentine Tango

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That would be me and the tango.

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.