Your Rainforest Mind

Support For The Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive


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Even Though You’ve Been Told You’re Too Bright, Now is the Time to Shine Your Light

photo courtesy of Joshua Hibbert, Unsplash

“When you dim your light, the whole world gets darker.” *

How do you shine your Light if you’ve been told repeatedly that you shine too bright. That your Light will blind others. That your Light isn’t really Light but is actually bipolar disorder and you are arrogant to think otherwise. That it’s only fair that you keep your Light dim because people will feel bad if you outshine them. That your Light will expose the truth in your family and that’s dangerous. That your Light threatens to shake up the world order. 

How do you shine your Light anyway?

How do you expand your Light even further than you ever thought possible?

What do you do if your Light scares the heck out of YOU?

Well, dearest friends. Here’s a theory:

What if there’s so much turmoil in the world right now because there’s so much Light shining? The Light is showing us where the darkness** still lurks. What if we’re more aware of the crazy because there’s more enLightenment, not less? What if our job is to create more Light because it will eventually shine so bright that Light/Love will win?

(** Just for the record, I’m not really fond of the light versus dark analogy. It can indirectly support the whole light is good and dark is bad paradigm, which can then be ignorantly applied to people. In my opinion, “dark” can symbolize beauty, fertility, lush, green, wet, incubation, rest, power, balance, healing, growth, death/rebirth, transformation…and so on. Where would the rainforest be without the dark? But I digress.)

Where was I?

Oh yeah. How can you shine your Light in spite of the bullies, the critics, the misdiagnoses, the chainsaw family members, and your own fears of failure, success, overwhelm, and, oh, annihilation?

It’s complicated.

First, you have to realize that you have Light to shine. It’s time to recognize your strengths. That you indeed do have a rainforest mind. That you’re resonating with this blog because you belong here. So. In your journal, make a list of your strengths and write an ode to your rainforestness. Or draw a huge mindmap of your strengths, interests, and accomplishments. Prepare to be impressed.

Then, accept that your fears make sense, considering your experiences. If you’ve been told to hide your Light multiple times, in various ways, it can be discouraging and demoralizing. It can convince you that you’re crazy, and certainly not gifted. Of course, you have doubts. Your rainforest mind can create millions of doubts.

So here’s another thing to do: Make a list of books, websites, and people who can provide support, insight, and guidance. Then, make time to read, research, and receive the understanding and love. Remind yourself that being in a healing and growth process is important for yourself, your family, your ancestors, and the planet.

Then find small ways and big ways to shine. And imagine that you can shine even brighter. That it’s safe now to get brighter. That you’ve only just begun to know the extent of your reach.

Together. Let’s shake up the world order.

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To my bloggEEs: Please share your resources for personal and planetary support, insight and guidance in the comments. (You can share your Odes, too!) For example, I’m reading two great books right now that are positive and powerful guides to action on climate change. The Parent’s Guide to Climate Revolution by Mary DeMocker and We Rise: The Earth Guardians Guide to Building a Movement that Restores the Planet by Xiuhtezcatl Martinez. What are you reading? And thank you, as always, for your wonderful beingness.

And, hey. I’m thinking about designing an online class for rainforest minds. What do you think? What would you like me to include in the class?

I’ll be at the SENG conference July 19-22, 2018. If you attend, please find me and introduce yourself!

*Christiane Northrup

 

 

 

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How Will You Know a Gifted Adult When You See One?

photo courtesy of Joanna Nix, Unsplash

How do you know that you’re with a gifted adult?

There are clues.

It probably won’t be obvious. And they certainly won’t tell you. In fact, they may not even know themselves. They may just think that they’re weird. Or a little crazy. Or a lot crazy.

There are certain questions that they will have trouble answering. Questions that most people think are simple. Questions like: What do you want to be when you grow up? What is your favorite book? What color do you want to paint your living room? How are you?

There are certain questions that they’ll want you to ask them. Questions that most people want to avoid. Questions like: What makes life worth living? What are you reading now and how are you influenced by this particular writer? How many languages would you like to learn and why? When are you going to change career paths next and what looks good to you these days? How does the octopus express consciousness?

If you ask them if they’re gifted, they’ll probably say no. They know how much they don’t know. They know people smarter than they are. They haven’t invented anything insanely great.

They may look ungifted because they haven’t become CEO of that corporation and they haven’t cured cancer. They may look ungifted because they cry easily and still believe that they can change the world. They may look ungifted because they can’t decide what to eat. They may look ungifted because they’re easily overwhelmed by certain sounds, smells, textures, colors, chemicals, and angry humans. They may look ungifted because they dropped out of school. They may look ungifted because they forget your birthday, can’t find their keys, and don’t finish their 13 on-going projects that are spread all over the house.

So, it’ll be hard to know if you’re with a gifted adult.

But, if all else fails. Look for the person with MORE.

Look for more depth.

Look for more sensitivity.

Look for more complexity.

More anxiety, more questioning, more researching, more existential depression, more ideas, more reading, more thinking, more compassion, more loneliness, more talking, more perfectionism, more idealism, more imagining, more laughing, more angst, more empathy, more creativity, more answers, more crying.

More more-ness.

And then you’ll know. You’re with a gifted adult.

Who just might be you.

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To my sweetest bloggEEs: Let us know how this fits for you. Do you still deny your giftedness? We’d love to hear from you. You know that your comments add so much! This post is part of a blog hop on gifted adults, so if you click on the image below, you’ll access more articles on the topic, written by some wonderful humans!

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I’m Not Gifted, I’m Just Weird

photo courtesy of Eugenio Mazzone, Unsplash

You’d think that gifted people would know how smart they are. You’d think that gifted individuals would find life to be smooth and easy. You’d think that gifted folks would feel superior and judgmental of all non-gifted humans everywhere.

Nope. No way. Not the ones I know. And I’ve known a lot of them. I’m that old. (My former middle school students are turning 50. Yeah. Old. OK. Old-ish.)

Granted, I work with a particular variety of gifted souls. The rainforest-minded (RFM). Not all gifted folks are the RFM type. Some can be cognitively advanced but not highly sensitive or empathetic. Some can be very academic and scholarly, but not have multipotentiality. So, yes. Maybe some of the non-RFM-gifted know how smart they are, find life to be easy, and are judgmental. Maybe.

But, they weren’t in my classroom when I was a teacher in the mid-’70s and ’80s. They haven’t been in my counseling office for the past 25+ years. The RFMs I’ve known will tell you: I’m not gifted. I’m just weird. And they will struggle. With: Sensitivities. Injustice. Decisions. Choices. Achievement. School. Relationships. Communication. Emotions. Careers. Belonging. Parenting. Anxiety. Depression. Perfectionism. Guilt. Politics. Climate change deniers. Conspicuous consumption. Not enough time to read all of the books ever written.

And that’s if they grew up in a healthy family.

If you throw dysfunctional family into the mix, it gets even more complicated. I’ve written about that here and here. With more to come.

So, if you have a rainforest mind or if you love someone who does or if you work with them or teach them, it’s time to get out of denial.

It matters.

Why?

It matters because everyone will benefit if our rainforest-minded humans understand why they struggle and what to do about it. It matters because RFMs are raising RFM kids. If the parents know who they are, they’ll be better able to support their children. It matters because educators, psychotherapists, doctors and other professionals will stop misdiagnosing their clients and will be more effective practitioners.

It matters because we all need the intelligence, compassion, creativity, and sensitivity that our rainforest-minded beings share with us. Like we all need our tropical rain forests.

We won’t survive without them.

We won’t survive without you.

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To my bloggEEs: Do you recognize your giftedness? How do you struggle? Have you just felt weird much of your life? What would it be like if you accepted yourself as a gifted soul? Thank you, as always, for being here.

 


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Most Popular Posts of 2016 — Plus A Special Podcast Interview

Thank you, dear bloggEEs, for another year of rainforest-minded escapades. Here are the two most popular posts of 2016. Plus a bonus! A 35 minute podcast interview that will give you some insight into my background, my neuroses, my control issues and my journey to blogworld and published authorville. Sending you all much love, appreciation, hope and strength for the coming year. 

You’re Not Crazy. You’re Gifted

photo courtesy of pixabay CC

photo courtesy of pixabay CC

Your Kids Are Gifted. Should You Tell Them?

photo courtesy of London Scout, Unsplash, CC

photo courtesy of London Scout, Unsplash, CC

Podcast Interview

Recent photo of yours truly

Recent photo of yours truly

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To my bloggEEs: Let me know what topics you’d like to see here in 2017. What are your questions? Worries? Hopes and dreams? And remember. It’s not too late to buy copies of my book for your favorite geeks, nerds, bookworms, and brainiacs and for the people who love and/or misunderstand them. (Face it, darlings, I’m gonna nag you until you do it!)


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If I Can Do It, So Can You — Finding Your Purpose(s)

photo courtesy of Chaz Harding, Flickr, CC

photo courtesy of Chaz Harding, Flickr, CC

I have the best job ever. I love deep meaningful conversations with one person at a time. The human psyche is fascinating to me. I’m an introvert. I believe that healing is possible when humans embark on the courageous journey of deep introspection. I want to make a difference in the world. I’m a psychotherapist. It’s the best job ever. For me.

Not only that. I specialize in working with highly sensitive, insightful,  empathetic, super-smart humans. I spend my days with them. It never gets dull.

I get paid to do this.

Today, was a typical day. For example: (Details changed to protect privacy.)

Jenny, in her 40s, is a musician/composer. She’s courageously grieving a history of abuse in childhood, the traumatic death of her mother and a divorce while raising a gifted teen. She’s sensitive, compassionate and determined. Today, she was sharing her experiences of fragility and vulnerability and wondering how to navigate through such unstable terrain. In a moment of insight, she realized that she was finding her voice through her art; that her pain was turning into beauty through the music. And this would empower her and touch everyone who experienced her sound.

Then, I met with the parents of a highly gifted twelve-year-old. These parents, Mary and Craig, are the parents you wish you had. They’re sweet, articulate, smart, devoted to their kids, and kind. Since their daughter entered school, they’ve had to stay involved in her education to be sure her academic needs were met. It hasn’t been easy. Their girl, Stacy, is extremely intense and emotional. A perfectionist. Highly creative. A voracious learner with extraordinary empathy. When I met her parents, they were frustrated and sad. Stacy is highly verbal, full of ideas and worries. She tends to feel overly responsible and has a highly developed social conscience. She’s way ahead of her peers in every subject area. Some teachers love her. Others don’t.

Mary and Craig sympathize with the challenges the educators face, and yet, all they want is for Stacy to be intellectually stimulated and to maintain her motivation to achieve. Arrangements were made to allow Stacy to read advanced material in an independent study program. Not ideal, but a beginning. Stacy was excited and enthusiastically began reading. Sadly, administrators changed their minds and put Stacy back in the torture chamber uninspiring class. Mary and Craig were struggling with what to do next. I was able to encourage them and to remind them that Stacy has a right to an education that meets her needs.

This is what I do all day. (Oh, yes, and I blog, too.) If I can find my purpose in life, so can you. And there’s no better time than the present. We can no longer wait for the perfect moment or for the kids to grow up or for the next iPhone. We can no longer wait for lightening to strike. The planet needs its rainforest minds. Now.

No pressure. Well, maybe a little pressure. OK. A lot of pressure.

If you’re wondering how to begin or how you’ll know you’ve found it, here are some ideas. Remember it’s a process. (In my case, there were years of psychotherapy and other types of inner work.) I write about accepting and showing your rainforestness here and here. I write about how psychotherapy works here and here.  Career paths here and here. Parenting, here. And I suggest some books here. Maybe you spend time in Nature or you read Pema Chodron or you start a mindfulness practice. Maybe you influence educators at your child’s school. Maybe you turn your pain into art.

Make the time to quiet yourself and listen to your heart.

When your heart sings.

You’ve found it.

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To my blogEEs: I mention “purpose(s)” because you might have more than one purpose over your lifetime. Share your thoughts, feelings and questions here. What makes your heart sing? Let me know how I can help. Thank you for reading and sharing.


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“…Complicated, Confounded, and Chaoticized…” — Living With Gifted Minds

photo from Tom Clynes, author

photo from Tom Clynes, author

“Since the first moment of his existence, Taylor has complicated, confounded, and chaoticized nearly every detail of his family’s lives.”

This is one of my favorite sentences from Tom Clynes’ book, The Boy Who Played with Fusion: Extreme Science, Extreme Parenting, and How to Make a Star.

My favorite paragraph from Clynes’ book is: “Waiting was the most common response when Tracy Cross of the College of William and Mary asked thirteen thousand kids in seven states to describe in one word their experience as gifted children. ‘ They said they were always waiting for teachers to move ahead, waiting for classmates to catch up, waiting to learn something new –always waiting.’ ”

The Boy Who Played With Fusion is not only a captivating true story about a profoundly gifted boy but also an important book if you’re an advocate for gifted children. You can find out more about Tom’s book in my review here. And, in case you haven’t seen it, my popular post about gifted kids and waiting, is here.

Whether you’re a parent of a gifted child or dealing with your own rainforest-minded soul, there are lots of complications, confoundations and chaotizations. Am I right?

And just in the nick of time, before you’re chaoticized beyond all hope, my book will be out at the end of this month, June 2016. And, if my delightful blogginess hasn’t convinced you to buy it, here is the assessment from the aforementioned Tom Clynes, who has seen a prepublication copy:

“The rainforest is Paula Prober’s fresh and apt metaphor for the abundant internal ecosystem of the gifted child or adult. Like tropical forests around the world, the gifted are both fragile and powerful, surrounded by threats but full of world-changing potential.

Prober does not settle for shallow or simplistic answers; she explores and finds inspiration in places that other researchers and practitioners haven’t considered. Drawing on examples from her clinical practice, she presents straightforward strategies for encouraging not just accomplishment, but also the capacity for happiness and fulfillment. The result is an intensely readable and useful book that will resonate with anyone concerned with understanding and nurturing the extraordinary abundance within ourselves and the gifted people in our lives.”

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To my patient bloggEEs: I hope you’re tolerating my book promotion enthusiasm. I promise to continue to provide important content here on my blog as we continue on this journey together. Thank you so much for your support and encouragement.

And speaking of promotion, the lovely Linda K. Silverman of the Gifted Development Center in Denver wrote this review.

And one more thing: I’m giving a talk through the Intergifted site on July 12 (2016). It’s free and you’ll be able to see what I look like and sound like after all of this time wondering how old I really am and if I’m as funny “in person.” The details are here.

 


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Intense Kids, Intense Parents — Tips for Managing the Mayhem

photo courtesy of London Scout, Unsplash, CC

photo courtesy of London Scout, Unsplash, CC

How do you manage your emotions and your sensitivities while raising your super intense super smart children? How do you raise your children without unconsciously repeating the patterns set down by your own parents?

I’m guessing that you think about this a lot. Especially at 3am when you’re desperately trying to sleep. Or when you hear your mother’s criticism spewing out of your own mouth directed at your 4-year-old. Or when you notice your father’s rage lurking behind your eyes.

Living with rainforest-minded kids when you yourself have those same traits can be overwhelming and even a tad frightening. All of that energy and sensitivity roiling around. All of your kids’ questions, curiosities and meltdowns flying hither and thither. Not to mention the less-than-ideal parenting you may have received. Or the judgment from other parents who think you have it easy. Or the judgment from yourself that you aren’t the perfect parent. That’s a lot to handle.

Let me give you a hug right now. For starters. You are not alone. This is not easy. Hug.

Here are some thoughts:

  1. There’s a lot of empathy for you online from parents who are right there with you. You can read their experiences, guidance and resources here and here. Read a sampling of their blogs and bookmark your favorites. There’s also a psychologist online who has raised gifted kids. Find her blog here.
  2. Make a list of ways to soothe yourself, to relax, and to find nourishment. Then DO THEM. Your kids will benefit. You know this but you still don’t do it. Am I right? Remind yourself that your self-care will be good modeling for your kids. When you feel guilty, tell yourself that you’re doing it for your them.
  3. When you lose your cool, which you will, apologize. Your children will not be damaged irrevocably when you blow it. The apology allows your children to see that they don’t have to be perfect and that they can apologize when they’re not perfect. Imagine how your life would be different if your parents had apologized to you for their mistakes.
  4. When it comes to not repeating the patterns of your parents, well, it’s complicated. And depending on how dysfunctional things were, it can feel overwhelming or impossible. As you can imagine, there’s no quick fix. But you can change the patterns. You probably already have to some extent. Of course, you know I’m going to recommend good therapy if you were raised with any kind of abuse. That said, there are many creative self-help tools for you to explore. Some are: Seena Frost’s Soul Collage, journaling, yoga and other body therapies, mindfulness techniques, making art/ playing music, spiritual practices, and treks into nature.
  5. To get coaching support for your giftedness and to find like-minded adults, join this growing international community.
  6. And, finally, read my bookYour Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth to be released mid-June 2016. Along with untangling the complexities of the rainforest mind, I describe client cases from my counseling practice and explain how we addressed both their childhood issues and their giftedness. There are many self-help strategies and resources included. Buy copies for your therapist, relatives, kids, teachers, neighbors, physician, ex-partner, mail carrier and anyone else who might need help understanding you.

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To my dear bloggEEs: Let us know about your parenting challenges and successes. What resources would you suggest to help with parenting and with breaking patterns from childhood trauma? And thank you, as always, for reading, commenting and sharing.