Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive


74 Comments

Overexcitabilities — Can’t Live With Them, Can’t Live Without Them

photo-1429080590828-d775fa4a893c

photo from Azrul Aziz, Unsplash

Overexcitabilities. Those pesky little traits that make your friends roll their eyes, relatives recommend medication and neighbors head home early. Maybe you talk fast and often about your passion for stackable brain specimen coasters. Maybe you cry over the Facebook video of the adorable four year old telling his mother why he must become a vegetarian. Maybe you can imagine 100s of ways your child could be abducted by aliens on a Sunday afternoon. Maybe you can’t sleep because the room is too hot, the sheets are too rough and the gentle breeze is too loud.

Life in the rainforest mind is intense. You may feel like too much on so many levels. Too emotional. Too sensitive. Too analytical. Too verbal. Too enthusiastic. Too idealistic. Too curious. Too smart.

And if you’re a male, well, this too muchness can be particularly humiliating if you’re trying to “man up” or “not be a sissy” or impress your former-high-school-football-star-race-car-driving-ex-Marine boss.

What, then, can you do? Are you supposed to shrink? Dumb down? Toughen up? Become a football-star-race-car-driving-Marine?

Hell, no.

Instead:

  • Understand that you aren’t too much. You’re gifted. Your emotions and sensitivities are as vast as your intellect. This can feel overwhelming to others and to yourself.
  • Learn the difference between repressing your emotions and containing them. Decide where it’s safe to be fully yourself and where it’s not. Then, practice ways to gently contain your intensity– through mindfulness meditation, deep breathing, exercise, visualizing an actual container, or writing– when needed.
  • Find people with whom you can geek out: book groups, meetup groups, university classes, conferences, mountain bikers, chess clubs, hikers, art-makers, etc.
  • Practice self-soothing techniques to calm your nervous system and your anxiety especially if some of your intensity comes from painful childhood experiences. You may also need these techniques if your empathy is running amok, which it probably is.
  • Use your sensitivities in your job or at home to understand your colleagues/children, create a more compassionate climate, gain insight, and solve problems more holistically.
  • Imagine how the world would be a better place if more people were deeply sensitive and empathetic. Be a role model for the children. Your too muchness is a strength, not a weakness.

And finally:

Instead of shrinking, get larger. You heard me. Go more deeply into your heart and feel yourself expand. Get as large as the universe. Feel your connection to all things. Let that connection hold you and love you. Become the Universe.

Then, go out and buy those stackable brain specimen coasters.

___________________________

To my dear bloggEEs: How do you cope with your intensity, your emotions, and your sensitivities? How might you see them as strengths? (If you’d like a more detailed post on this topic, click here. Caitlin F. Curley’s blog post includes great ideas plus ideas for helping your sensitive, excitable kids.)

 

 

 

 

 


35 Comments

Paralyzed by a Plethora of Possibilities

You would think that a smart person could make decisions easily, quickly, and definitively. 

But the people that I know?

Don’t.

How can that be?

Let me explain. Which of the following are true for you:

Your wild mind generates many ideas, options, possibilities and perspectives.

You can argue all sides of most issues.

When you took multiple choice tests in school, you could explain why all of the answers could be true.

There’s never an end to the “what ifs.”

You see beige, ecru, sand and eggshell when others see white.

Your decisions impact others, now and in the future. Choices need to be ethical.

All possibilities have their appeal so you can’t let any of them go.

You need to optimize every decision.

You feel pressure to look intelligent so you need to be right.

You want to keep all of your options open.

You have to make the best choice or you’re a complete failure.

You can generate an unending list of questions. You can’t decide until you answer them.

You care about justice, equality, sustainability and future generations.

Finding the right word matters.

If you make one choice, that means you experience a loss of what you didn’t choose. You want to avoid that loss.

You second guess yourself. Often.

It’s wrong to not take advantage of all of your opportunities.

Procrastination is your middle name.

You want to accommodate others and not hurt anyone’s feelings.

You’re highly sensitive so your choice of  restaurant, movie, soap, fabric, beverage and every other assorted thing, matters.

(And, if you’re a parent, making decisions about your kid, well, multiply all of the above by a gazillion.)

You wondered why you have difficulty making decisions?

Now you know.

One more thing.

Nothing is ever simple in the rainforest mind. Take it from Donald Antrim who wrote:

“The simple question “What color do you want to paint that upstairs room?” might, if we follow things to their logical conclusions, be stated, “How do I live, knowing that I will one day die and leave you?”

              (from The New Yorker, Dec. 27, 1999 & Jan. 3, 2000. The Pancake Breakfast)

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To my blogEEs: Does this describe you? Tell us more. What helps make decision-making easier?

Thanks to Pamela Price and her Crew for their ideas and thanks to my commenters for their topic requests. And thanks to you, dear blogEEs, for reading.

 

 

 

 


27 Comments

They Say You’re a Geek

P1050374They say, get realistic, your standards are excessive. You say, I need to raise the bar.

They say, slow down and calm down. You say, I pump my brakes but they still don’t keep up.

They say, you’re too sensitive. You say, doesn’t everyone cry at an orange-fuchsia-purple-mauve sunset?

They say, you’re obsessive-compulsive. You say, I need to do more research.

They say, you’re a know-it-all. You say I’m an impostor.

They say, you read too much. You say, so many books, so little time.

They say, you need to pick one career. You say, so many careers, so little time.

They say, they don’t follow your reasoning. You say, they just aren’t trying hard enough.

They say, you shouldn’t take things so seriously. You say, they need to get out of denial.

They say, you’re naive for being so optimistic and idealistic. You say, they need to dig more deeply.

They say you aren’t having any fun. You say, it’s complicated.

6150842447_b40355b4ddThey say you don’t finish anything. You say, I learned it. I don’t need to finish it.

They say you’re weird. You say, yes.

They say you’re a geek. You say, you betcha.

_______________________

To my favorite bloggEEs: I just want to mention that I’ll be presenting at the SENG conference in San Jose, CA the weekend of July 18-20. If you can attend, please come say ‘hello.’ I may be blogging less these next 2 weeks as I prepare my talk and attend the event. But don’t worry. I’ll be thinking about you.

And one more thing. It just occurred to me that you may not be commenting because if you did, you’d be openly admitting that you may, in fact, relate to what I’m saying which, might, in fact, imply that you actually might have a rainforest mind which would then have to mean that you would be g-g-gifted. Ahem. Write a comment anyway. OK? Let me know how I can help you.

Photo #2: CC  https://www.flickr.com/x/t/0097009/photos/hada_del_lago/6150842447/