Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive


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Being Gifted May Not Be Such A Gift

I have been working with gifted kids and adults since the late 1970’s (were any of you even alive then?), and I am STILL stunned by your beauty. By your big-hearted compassion. By your vast, deep, bold intelligence. By your unparalleled curiosity. By your striving, your questing, your seeking. By your passionate drive to know. By your peculiar sensitivities and your unruly anxieties. By your youness.

I really want you to believe me when I say you have a rainforest mind. I know some of you do believe me. But many of you still question it. You say, you were not good at math. You did not get high grades or high test scores. You do not write for the New Yorker. Me, neither.

(Note: You may have been good at math, gotten high grades and test scores. You may write for the New Yorker. And still question your giftedness.)

Some of you might also have been raised in families where you were neglected or abused. Or where you were ignored because you were so smart so you must be just fine. These conditions would not provide the nourishment you would need to recognize your strengths. Your authentic self would be hidden, possibly crushed, under the rubble of your family’s dysfunctional legacy.

I suspect some of you are resisting your giftedness because you believe it means you have to do something “insanely great with your life. (words attributed to Steve Jobs) But I would counter that you do not want to do *anything* insanely. Great? OK. Insanely? Not so much.

You may have been told how smart you were over and over but with no understanding of what that really meant or with no support for your sensitivities or emotional needs. Just enormous pressure to win, to achieve, to be the best. You may have had to wait for your fellow students or your coworkers to catch up to you or to understand you. You may still be waiting.

It could be you think you are just a terrible communicator with inadequate social skills when you find relationships difficult and human beings kind of boring. Your frustrations with small talk and simplistic answers to complex problems can leave you lonely and discouraged.

Being gifted might not feel like such a gift.

But there is good news.

Trust me. I know this. I have known you since the late 1970’s.

You are beautiful. You have big-hearted compassion. Vast, deep, bold intelligence. Unparalleled curiosity. You are a striver, a quester, a seeker. You have peculiar sensitivities and unruly anxieties.

You have a rainforest mind.

I recommend you keep the gift.

_____________________________


To my bloggEEs: What makes being gifted difficult for you? What are the benefits? Let us know in the comments, please! They add so much. And here are a couple of items you might want to know about:

“A conference for gifted & 2e adults is back – and deeply discounted! You can get on-demand access to 16 experts worth of strategies on dating, friendships, professional fulfillment, psychological assessments and everything in between. (Organized by Julie Skolnick of With Understanding Comes Calm.)

This re-release also features a brand new piece of content: an interview with therapist and author of Your Rainforest Mind Paula Prober on August 9th at 5 pm ET! (that would be me) Learn more and sign up today using this affiliate link.

And, for those of you looking for many specific ideas on how to rehabilitate muggles create a better world, I wrote this post last week for Highly Sensitive Refuge.


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What to Do When You Are Overwhelmed By Your Own Intense Drive to Create, Question, and Know

When you have a rainforest mind, you have an extraordinarily active thinking, feeling, imagining, designing, questioning, intuiting, seeking, wondering, worrying personhood. This rainforest (gifted!) phenomenon is not only a mind-thinking thing. It includes all of who you are.

(If it had not been too cumbersome, I would have called it rainforest mind-heart-body-spirit-soul.)

(photo by engin akyurt, Unspash)

Many of my clients tell me they feel overwhelmed by the constant bombardment of thoughts and feelings. The constant intense drive to create, to question, to understand. The constant highest standards and raising of the bar. For many, it can feel like mania or obsession with no end in sight.

This can be disconcerting, disheartening, and discombobulating. Right? (Not to mention exhausting…but I could not think of a ‘dis’ word for exhausting…)

If you are a parent of one of these children, well, you know what I am talking about. But this does not end when you turn 21. You are rainforest-minded for life.

That is the good news although on some days it may feel like the bad news.

How, then, do you cope? How do you manage such intensity, especially during such tumultuous times? How do you explain to friends and family that you are not able to simmer down, or relax, or slow down, or chill in the typical ways that muggles most people do.

Well. Here are some ideas.

First of all, understand that this level of intense personhood is normal for you. Self-understanding and self-acceptance form the foundation of managing your multitudes.

Then, you will need to find your unique techniques for soothing yourself, for calming your mind-body when it goes into a worry-overdrive or when you step over a line into a self-critical having-to-prove-your-worth zone. Or even just when you need some down time because your body can not handle what your mind wants to produce.

Make a list. It might include: Being aware of what foods rev you up or calm you down. Cuddling with your pup or kitty. Deep breathing. Time in nature. Herbal remedies. Essential oils. Talking to a friend who gets you. Dancing/Exercising. Therapy. Accupuncture. Naturopathy. Baking bread. Playing music. Listening to music. Draw/paint. Journal. Warm baths. Tea. An emotional support sweater. Reiki or other energy work. Singing. Spiritual practices, rituals, and ceremonies. Meditation. Tapping. Reading. Healing touch. Screaming expletives in your car.

What else might you add to the list? Your list may need to be very long. You may need to work with several practitioners for different needs.

How do you explain this to friends and family? Other than explaining the rainforest mind concept (show them the quiz?), you can reflect their concerns back to them in your typically empathetic way and then let them know you have a particularly active and complex brain-body and a uniquely wired nervous system. You tell them you know it can be overwhelming for them, as it can be for you. But, you are gaining greater self-understanding so that you might know your most effective paths to inner peace and well-being while also giving yourself permission to be as creative, curious, and expressive as you need to be.

If this does not work, find them a good therapist. Seriously, in some cases, they may not get it or get you. It may mean you have to decide how much time and energy to put into the relationship. (This is a complicated topic and requires its own post.)

And, yes, there are people who are twice-exceptional and who do have ADHD, OCD, bipolar disorder, and other learning differences, plus giftedness. So, you may need to explore what 2e is if you are worried that your overwhelm is even beyond the normal gifted range and if the tools on your list never seem to be enough.

In my experience, though, your disconcerting, disheartening, exhausted discombobulation is more likely to come from the misunderstanding of your true nature and from not having the tools to manage and navigate in your extraordinary rainforest body-mind-heart-spirit-soul.

Know that you can find your way to less overwhelm and more combobulation. You can gain a more grounded inner peace while still passionately following your dreams. And, on those more difficult days, I will be right there with you, screaming expletives in my car.

______________________________

To my bloggEEs: Tell us about your experiences of overwhelm and how you handle them. Sending you so much love and appreciation.


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How Do I Know You Are Gifted?

How do I convince you that you are, in fact, gifted? (Yes, today we are using the G word.)

Well. I hear giftedness in your voice, as you talk quickly, intensely, and passionately. I see it in your drive for understanding and creativity and in your explorations of the intricacies of, oh, everything. I feel it in your aching for depth and connection in all of your relationships, in your extreme empathy, and in your unyielding desire to create a better world. I know it because, well, after 35+ years hanging out with gifted types, I just know it.

(photo by Thought Catalog, Unsplash)

But you may not see it in yourself. And you wonder why. I mean, if you were so smart wouldn’t you recognize it in yourself? Wouldn’t you know who you are and where you are going? Surely, gifted folks are not full of self-doubt and swimming in self-criticism. Surely, the smartest people are all arrogant know-it-alls who graduated from Stanford with a PhD and are now doing their post-docs at MIT in artificial intelligence, astrophysics, and nanotechnologies. On full scholarship. And they don’t have to study. At all.

And you? You were the kid who purposely got lower grades on tests so the others would not bully you. You were the kid who could not show your work because your answers were intuitive. You were the kid who was kind to the children who were left out. You were the kid who was stumped by multiple choice questions because you over-analyzed them. You were the kid who lost track of what the teacher was saying because your imagination was more fascinating. You were the kid who was anxious in school when the tests were timed so you never finished them. You were the kid who took time to answer a question so the teacher thought you did not know the answer or you blurted out the answers so often you were told to wait and wait and wait. You were the kid who protected your siblings from your alcoholic parent. You were the kid who read the dictionary for fun. You were the kid who was curious and enthusiastic about life, the universe, and everything. You were the kid who did the homework and then lost it. You were the kid who ruminated about infinity, fractals, and why humans are cruel to each other. You were the kid who created unusual inventions, wrote long convoluted stories and poetry, and rescued neighborhood animals.

You were the kid who was gifted.

You still are.

I just know it.

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To my bloggEEs: Tell us why you still do not believe you are gifted or why you are uncomfortable with the ‘g’ word. Have you come to understand that it may be true? What are the benefits of knowing? What are your challenges? Do you know there is a film being made with that title? The G Word? Check it out and contribute if you can.


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What Do Rainforest-Minded (Gifted) Humans Want?

Here it is. In a nutshell.

(photo by Ed Robertson, Unsplash)

“I’m drowning in a sea of well meaning phrases like ‘I’m in awe of the scope of your thinking’ … oh do fuck off with your awe, I don’t want it or need it. I’m bored, and sick to death of making myself accessible to other people. I want someone to see me, to understand me, and to leap with me through a wonderland of ideas. You know the conversations where we talk about everything, leaping effortlessly from poetry to feminism, through politics, fact and fiction, and the evolution of language and anthropology, ecology and neuropsychology and aliens. You know those late night conversations when it’s moonlight and crickets and magic and the guards are down and things just flow and words feel electric and it seems inconceivable that 26 letters can catapult you from ecstasy to despair but the combinations seem infinite and that in and of itself is a glorious magic.” (a blog/book reader)

What else is there to say?

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To my bloggEEs: This may be the shortest blog post that ever lived. But it is so well said, don’t you think? Of course, I have written about how to find other humans who leap effortlessly and who catapult you. This post. And this one. On friendships. And this one about your/my quest for partnership. I know there is more that you want. World peace, the end of the climate crisis, no more hate, for example. But some glorious magic would be a good start. (Thank you to the reader quoted above.) In the comments, tell us what you want. And thank you, as always.


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Gifted In Serbia

“I can hear and feel with such an intensity. I can understand what people are feeling just by their look or presence. I can very often predict what they are going to say. Bad styling and bad architecture are literally killing me. I am looking for details in stuff that are meaningless for others. I am passionate about learning and thinking. And yes, my worth definitely depends on my achievements and I do feel like a failure…I would looove to find someone with who I could really talk about depth of everything and be able to say what I really mean knowing that the person is going to understand it without calling me crazy…”

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know I am writing about some of the beautiful rainforest-minded souls (RFMs) who contact me from around the world. I have wondered what giftedness looks like in various cultures. What are the similarities? What are the differences? Some of the profiles have been from RFMs in Finland, Spain, Brazil, Malaysia, Belgium, Chile, Lebanon, Netherlands, Canada (via Cameroon), Portugal, Germany, Austria, and India. I would love to hear from those of you in countries not yet on this list, although, of course, anyone is welcome to contact me for a consultation!

(photo by Christopher Campbell, Unsplash)

Today, meet Sara, a 30 year old female, born during the tumultuous years of the break up of Yugoslavia. She contacted me for a consultation after reading my books so she might find her “true voice” and live her “real life.” Like so many of the RFMs I meet, she is struggling to manage her extraordinarily active mind and her many varied interests and abilities. She grapples with the conflict between being practical and realistic, everyday choices of career paths, lifestyles, relationships, and laundry, versus expanding into her “higher vibration” of intuition and spirituality.

Like every multipotentialite I know, Sara’s interests and abilities are vast and varied. When she was in high school, she was skilled in math, physics, chemistry, writing, languages, orchestra, choir, history, poetry, theatre, and volleyball. Because she did not know this was normal for an RFM, she doubted herself and said, “I did everything but I wasn’t great in anything.” And this: “…if they only knew how manipulative, lucky, and unknowing I am. I just calculate what is important, memorize it quickly, and somehow get through…I never went deep enough.” In fact, Sara can not help but dive deep into whatever she does. Her capacity is both wide and deep. Rainforest-y for sure.

There is more. Sara is driven to learn and experience life to the fullest and then some. Presently, she is trying to sort out how to choose among all of her interests and insights. How does she deal with her job at the pharmacy when she has visions of dramatically changing the health care system? When does she find time to learn ten languages, create a clothing line, build sustainable affordable homes, enter a song contest, publish her poems, make movies, and become a mother? How does she explain to others the powerful loneliness and grief she feels trying to shrink herself into a more typical way of being and living?

Sara has a strong spirituality that sustains her. She said, “I do believe we are all one and connected to the source energy. I believe in energy and vibration, parallel realities and that we are all creating our own personal world. Everything out there–it’s me. The term starseed also resonated with me. It helped me understand myself better. I see it as a spiritual equivalent to your term rainforest mind. My soul has probably a lot of different experiences all across the universe right now because there is only this moment in time…

As you can imagine, it has been difficult for Sara to find others who can keep up with her, who love her depth and sensitivity, her intellect and spirituality. Like many RFMs, she wondered, if she was so smart, why was she not “successful.” She was not sure how to organize her day to accomplish basic tasks. She expressed fears of stepping into her true self and leaving everyone she loves behind.

I reassured her that these are indeed the struggles of the rainforest-minded. We agreed, it was time to grasp a more accurate view of herself.

Then we spoke about how she might find a regular time to tune into her spirituality and intuition. She knew her answers were all within if she could just trust herself.

Sara shared another of her spiritual insights, “I believe we are living in a beautiful time of a great awakening and the collapse that we are seeing is just the step before creating a new, wonderful world.”

So, Sara, you are not crazy. You very clearly have a magnificent rainforest mind. And, as you step into your vision of a new, wonderful world, we will be right with you, traveling the vast starry universe. Together.

_______________________________

To my bloggEEs: Do you have similar experiences? Please let us know about them. Your comments make such a difference. And thank you, Sara, for sharing your story and your heart with us.


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What Is Obvious To You Is A Mystery To Them And What Is Obvious To Them Is A Mystery To You

No wonder you have trouble finding friends and partners. This explains so much, does it not? With your rainforest mind, you are always reading, researching, pondering, diving deep into the mental, emotional, educational, imaginative, intuitive, and spiritual caldron. With glee, I might add, when no one is getting in your way. You are enjoying yourself. It comes easily. So, when you share your thrilling findings, your musings, your perplexifications, they can be, well, dense, thick, multi-syllabic, abstruse, unfathomable, and, thus, impossible for the average muggle human to grok. But, you think to yourself, Why don’t they get it when it’s so obvious?

(photo by Afif Kusuma, Unsplash)

But what about the reverse? How is the obvious to them a mystery to you? Have you heard the expression that the simple is complex and the complex is simple when you are gifted? Well, that’s how. Your talent for deep thinking may lead you to make something more complicated than it actually is. Take multiple choice tests. Unless you figure out what the test designer had in mind, you might score poorly because you can explain how all of the choices could be correct, depending on the circumstances. A simple test stumps you because you naturally create connections or layers or intricacies where there are none. Right? This can also happen in conversations where you are flummoxed at the mundanities you hear being bandied about with such sincerity. You think: Surely, this must be code and these people are secret agents inventing a way to rid the world of single-use plastics. They can not actually care about these things. Can they?

Yes. Then can.

Please do not misunderstand me. (How often do you say that?) I am not wanting to create an us versus them situation here. It is just that you need to grow in your self-understanding and self-acceptance for the welfare of yourself, your family, your community, and the whole darned planet, so I am risking using what might be misconstrued as ridiculification. Apologies. (Oh, I love making up words!)

By the way, I was inspired to write about this from an email I received from a 55 year old female who also wrote a few other things you might relate to. So here are her words:

“… I am faced time and time again with the fact that I am fundamentally different from the people that I find myself surrounded by. I can pretend to be “normal” but it’s grueling and SOOO boring. If I am loved, it feels to me like it’s in spite of who I am, and not because of who I am. In recent days, this has really hit me like a brick over the head. Sometimes, I wish I weren’t so aware. Like REALLY aware. And when I find the places within me that I’m NOT aware of — that I hadn’t seen or understood — I tunnel through those as well. I never stop learning and searching. I can identify discrepancy, tension, and misalignment. I began to hunt for truth when things didn’t make sense as a child in a dysfunctional home with an alcoholic (but sensitive) father and an emotionally absent (but very present) mother. It felt impossible to unfurl. It was a debilitating mission for a sensitive kid like me. I’ve had to fight all my life to feel like I exist…”

And this:

“…But in my defense, I’ve spent most of my life trying to bend into the shape of the person that other people need. Because I care so deeply about other people’s feelings and can easily see their talents and strengths, I’ve advocated for and supported them without asking for anything in return. But part of that “brick over the head” I mentioned referred to the sudden realization that no one has ever treated me in kind. In fact, they’ve treated me quite poorly & I’ve let that be ok. But why? Don’t I deserve to be heard? I think I do.

You do, indeed, dear rainforestista. You do, indeed.

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To my bloggEEs: We would love to hear your thoughts. You, too, deserve to be heard. And there is a lot here to respond to, right? Please do. Your comments add so much! Sending all of you much love as we struggle to find our way through these frightening times.

(Note: I was interviewed by Marije Hofland of the Netherlands for her podcast just out today. Here is the link. Thank you, Marije. After the Dutch introduction, the rest is in English!)


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What Does Exceptional Giftedness Look Like In A Teen?

If you or your people are still wondering if giftedness exists or if identifying gifted children is only a way to create division and increase inequality, let me introduce you to Judith.

She was a 16-year-old high school senior attending honors classes at a local university. Dark-haired, brown-eyed, fast talking, and extremely intense, she came to see me after her mother, Priya, had called to say she was worried Judith was socially isolated, depressed, and not academically challenged.

(photo by agung pratamah, Unsplash)

At our first meeting, Judith said she felt like a freak. She was driven to learn about, oh, everything and extremely lonely. Her peers did not share her passions. Even while attending college classes, she was disappointed to find much of the coursework unchallenging although there were a few professors who pushed her beyond where she thought she could go and who were deeply enthusiastic about their area of study. She loved those teachers.

Judith told me she was bullied in elementary school. Her enthusiasm for learning was misinterpreted as bossiness or condescension by educators and the other children. She would turn in book reports that were much longer than required and wrote 50 page prologues to highly imaginative novels she wrote in her spare time. She designed complex games at recess that confused the other kids.

Like many gifted humans I have known, Judith needed intellectual stimulation as much as she needed air. Even though she was clear about that need, she resisted the gifted label. She would explain that she was intensely aware of her shortcomings. She was also offended by what she called the “elitism” of the word.

At one session, in her fast-paced, animated style, Judith explained her love of philosophy, sciences, and mathematics. I did the best I could to comprehend the theories and examples and wished I could have provided more feedback on the substance of what she was saying, but her grasp of these topics was beyond me. It was easy to see how lonely her world might be. Many adults, including me, had little or no exposure to this level of intellectual content and complexity. I wondered if I really was capable of helping this young woman, whose Corvette mind could leave my VW bus brain in the dust.

And with whom could she share her excitement about the prospect of taking free MIT classes online? Where could she talk about her intuitive insights and her deep spiritual connection with nature? Where could she disclose her extraordinary fear of failure or her avoidance of activities she could not master quickly? Probably not with the other kids spending hours on TikTok.

Like other gifted kids I have known, Judith’s emotions were explosive at times and she struggled with perfectionism and procrastination. She said, “I don’t want to turn in crappy work that isn’t up to my one hundred percent.” She would also run out of time on assignments when she would get caught up in exploring something intellectually fascinating. Educators and parents often misinterpret these high standards and curiosity as laziness or obstinance. The powerful emotions can be misjudged as immaturity.

In our sessions, we talked about the beauty of and value in exquisite quality and yet we also looked for ways to determine what assignments and projects needed the highest standards, and which ones could just get completed adequately and efficiently. We made lists of ways to self-soothe and manage frustration and anger, including looking at triggers, emotional needs, sensitivities, and hormones. We used her own creativity and intuitive depth to concoct visual and auditory experiences that were both comforting and empowering.

Judith needed self-acceptance and a sense of her own worth and agency to navigate a world that often misunderstood and even rejected her. She was slowly building more resilience. Her love and knowledge of astronomy, physics, language, and philosophy, along with her intuition and spirituality, began to strengthen her sense of self and her place in the world. After meeting with me over a few months, Judith was also able to understand the importance, even necessity, of acknowledging her identity as a gifted human.

In fact, it made all the difference.

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To my bloggEEs: How has knowing you are gifted (have a rainforest mind) helped you navigate the challenges in your life? What was it like before you knew? Thank you so much for being here, for finding me, and for your commitment to self-understanding and creating a more compassionate world. Much love to you.


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I’m Writing A Book On Love — For Sensitive, Deep Thinking, Creative, Curious, Smart, Persnickety Humans

A big thank you to all of you who have written to me so far with your thoughts, experiences, and questions. This is exciting! I want to encourage more of you to write and I am going to provide a few more guidelines for those of you who need some prompts. (If you have already written but have more to say, please do.) That said, if you do not need guidelines, please write what you need to say, want to say, must say, don’t want to say, or are afraid to say. And do not worry about length. (Email is preferred. paula at rainforestmind dot com) A few of you have told me it has been therapeutic to write about your present partnerships, your past relationships, your search for love, your single life, what love looks like in your life, how you define love, how love in the rainforest is different, and more.

(photo by brigitte tohm, Unsplash)

A couples counselor friend of mine has shared some of her questions for you. (Sorry. She is not taking new clients.) She has identified certain issues that come up when giftedness is part of the equation in a coupled relationship. So here are some questions to contemplate. Looking at the questions, you will get a feel for some of the issues couples bring to her. Pick the ones that fit for you or skip them all and just pour out your heart. I’m listening. (And let me know where you are from. I am hoping for wide multicultural representation.)

  • How do you handle your sensitivities when you are in relationships? Do you have trouble setting boundaries? What types of boundaries do you set? What happens with self-care once you are in a couple? Do you notice any concerns around control or rigidity? What are some strategies you have tried?
  • If you are both in high powered careers, how do you negotiate personal time, free time, job opportunities, and child care? Are there compromises or career choices that have been missed or lost? Is there resentment or frustration? Competition? How do you deal with the stress levels?
  • With your advanced levels of empathy, do you watch each other too closely? Is it hard to know what is intuition and what is a reaction based in anxiety, overwhelm, or past trauma? Are there ways you have learned to talk about it? What about introversion or extraversion?
  • If someone is a perfectionist, is that pressure placed on the relationship? In what ways? How do you talk about it?
  • How do you deal with the frustrations that come with coping in a world that often feels slow, insensitive, underwhelming, overwhelming, frightening, unaware, and selfish? Are you able to provide a safe haven for each other? Does the disappointment and despair create tension between you? What are some ways you cope?
  • What are the advantages when one person is gifted and the other is not? Disadvantages? What if one of you is RFM while the other is gifted but in a more linear-sequential form? What about being twice-exceptional?
  • How have you used your sense of humor to manage your challenges? What other rainforest traits have been helpful?
  • If there is trauma, abuse, neglect, bullying, racism, or anti-Semitism in your past, have you noticed the impact on the relationship? The patterns that are being repeated? Have you been to therapy? What has that been like?
  • What are your experiences of love outside of the traditional model of partnership? With animals? friends? children? Spirit? God? nature? self? passions? your life’s work? emojis from your readers? fan mail?
  • Are there resources you would recommend that have helped you? Books, podcasts, websites, films, music, hobbies?
  • What question did I forget to ask? Answer that one!

What do you want the book to include? I envision a kind of handbook, guide, or journal that has a sense of humor and includes some of my own personal relationship escapades, catastrophes, and searches. I also want to write about the many places love exists outside of partnership so please tell me about the creative, nontraditional ways you give and receive love.

And, for starters, I am sending you love. Right here. Right now. You have my big blog-love comin’ atcha.

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To my bloggEEs: Of course, you can answer some of these questions in the comments. But if you have quite a lot say (you know who you are), best to put it in an email. So many of you are so eloquent, I hope to quote you in the book, not identifying you, of course. But, you do not need to be eloquent. I repeat. No eloquence required. And, don’t procrastinate! I’d love to hear from you SOON. Let me know if you do not wish to be quoted. Thank you, my sweet rainforesters! And more love coming as we navigate the appalling developments in Ukraine. (Here is an excellent article on this by Rebecca Solnit.) Finding your authentic voice and your purpose(s) is one way to send love and healing to the planet and to all of us.


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Just Because You Can Do The Task Better, Does Not Mean You Have To Do The Task — And Other Important Reminders For Your Gifted Soul

Just because you can do the task faster, better, and more completely, does not mean you have to agree to do that task.

Just because you were told you must live up to your great potential, does not mean you have to be the best whatever who ever lived, win all the awards before you are 30, and never ever let all of those well-meaning but misguided, unimaginative people be disappointed that you chose yourself over your potential.

Just because all of your relatives and friends have chosen one long career path, does not mean you cannot change jobs, career paths, hobbies, and maybe even relationships over your richly varied lifetime.

(photo by jeffery erhunse, unsplash)

Just because your parents want you to join the family business and continue their legacy of alcoholism and denial because, they say, you owe it to them, does not mean you have to follow in their footsteps. What they do not know is that your choice to step out of alcoholism and denial will change the trajectory of their lives even though they may never actually know it, feel it, or acknowledge it. And it will surely change yours. For the better.

Just because you are the best acupuncturist in town and sick people are clamoring for your attention, does not mean you have to exhaust yourself to accommodate them.

Just because you are great with children, does not mean you have to create any of your own.

Just because you are highly sensitive to visual stimuli, sounds, tastes, textures, emotions, smells, chemicals, and obnoxious neighbors, does not mean you have a diagnosis or a disability. And it does not mean you have to let yourself be bombarded by said sensitivities when there are ways to avoid, reduce, and manage them even if other humans will judge you and say how diva-like you are.

Just because you can always make your projects better, does not mean you have to raise the bar after you finish said projects so that you never really celebrate the finishing.

Just because you can intuit what people, animals, and plants are thinking and feeling and sense when they are unhappy even when they say they are happy, does not mean you are delusional or psychotic or a witch. (Although you may be a witch, and that would be a good thing, we need more witches.)

Just because you have 13 thrilling unread books by your bed, 8 podcasts you long to download, 4 new apps you want to design, plus numerous poems to write, songs to compose, and trees to plant, does not mean you are having an unusually difficult day. In fact, the difficult days are when you do not have ten items on your plate while juggling six more and looking forward to the items on those other plates you have yet to meet.

Just because you color code your sweaters, organize your books by author, and are repainting your bedroom for the fourteenth time, does not mean you are obsessive compulsive.

Just because you are extremely articulate and can describe your deep existential depression and anxiety in great detail to your therapist while being successful at your job, does not mean you must be fine and not actually need therapy.

Just because you think about the climate crisis, racism, and poverty most every day does not mean you can not also find joy when you are hiking the trail on a sunny afternoon.

Just because you think deeply and often about the meaning, purpose, and quality of life on earth does not mean you are a neurotic, self-absorbed, overthinking mess. And, even if you are, on occasion, a neurotic, self-absorbed, overthinking mess, it is much better than being a neurotic, self-absorbed, underthinking mess.

Just because even simple decisions are almost impossible because you wonder about the implications, the variables, and the impact of said decisions, and you put pressure on yourself to always be right, does not mean you are not as smart as everyone says you are. In fact, you may not score well on multiple choice tests because you see all of the reasons each answer might be correct, as only a smart person can.

Just because you have been single most of your adult life, does not mean you have missed the Love Boat and will be bereft and alone forever and ever. In fact, it may mean you have been on the Love Boat all along, it just doesn’t look like two and half kids, a partner, and a picket fence.

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To my bloggEEs: Can you add a “just because” to this list? Which ones fit for you? Tell us why. And much love and gratitude to you all, as always.

Speaking of your gifted soul, if you have not yet heard about The G Word Film, check it out. It is in post-production and needs funding to get to completion. If you want to donate any amount, the film makers would greatly appreciate it. This full length feature film will be a game changer.


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Are You Crazy or Are You Just Gifted?

I was talking with a client the other day about her pain and frustration with her colleagues and friends who do not see the nuance, the complexities, the layers, the connections, the subtleties, the intricacies– that she experiences all the time. All the time. And in today’s divisive, angry, not-nuanced environment, she is not sure when to speak up or how to explain her perspective for fear of being misunderstood, ridiculed, or even cancelled.

When you have a rainforest mind, this is your life.

(photo courtesy Bud Helisson, Unsplash)

How do you explain to someone who does not have the capacity to see what you see that there is something else going on, something more, something that matters. Maybe even something beautiful. Or touching. Or astonishing. Or terrifying.

Take the color white, for example. It is obvious to you that the plain old white wall in the cafe is actually sand-beige with a touch of off-white-ecru-yellow-ivory and green undertones. And that is just under artificial light. On sunny days, it all changes. Right? Certainly, it is not just white. And what is white anyway? And what about moonlight? You think, how can they NOT see it. They must be lazy or too distracted or pretending for some reason that perplexes you. But, in fact, it is quite likely that they do not see it.

This is what you need to understand. They just see white. Mind you, there is nothing wrong with seeing white. It is what is actually there in their world. But in your world, there is so much more.

This might be a reason you feel crazy. You think, Of course they see it. They must see it. It is so obvious.

They don’t.

You probably hear more, too. Those buzzing lights. The clunking ice maker in the refrigerator. The expletive leaf blower. The upstairs apartment neighbors who walk with shoes on their wood floors. Your partner chewing.

Not to mention the smells. The perfumes. Air fresheners. Detergents. The oil refinery thirty miles away. Your office colleague’s lunch. Garlic breath. The person who needs the root canal.

Shall I go on?

No? You get the idea? I thought so. You catch on quickly.

Yeah.

What I am here to tell you is that you are not crazy. It is just that your world is larger. Deeper. Wider. Nuanced. Intricate. Complex. Intense. Tangled. Lush. Fertile. Rich.

Kinda like a rainforest.

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To my bloggEEs: What are the ways you notice you are different in your capacity to feel, see, smell, taste, touch, intuit, know, experience, and more? Have you felt crazy? Thank you, as always, for being here and for your love, depth, complexity, and sweetness.