Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive


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Letters to My Future Boyfriend – A Journaling Technique

(To my bloggEEs: I want to share another personal musing along with a journaling technique you can use. As you may know, I have been single for a while. I am living a beautifully full life in my childfree singlehood. That said, I believe it is time for me to explore deep, meaningful, loving partnership in this, my last act. So, I started a journal, writing letters to my future person. My future mate. My future sweetie.  In the letters, I sort out what I want, what I fear, what I don’t want, what inner work I still need to do, who I am, and who he is. On occasion, he writes back. If you are looking for partnership, you might want to write your own collection of letters!  *Let us know if you do.* And if, dear bloggEEs, my future boyfriend is cavorting in your neighborhood, please send him my way. You know where to find me.)

This is one of my first letters:

Dear Future Boyfriend,

You will need to know some things about me before you venture into my world, into the lush jungle that is my rainforest mind.

I’ll start with my head. I have a lot of hair. Massive amounts of exuberant, overexcitable, ridiculous hair. I try to control it. But I am unsuccessful. You might think that this is a wonderful thing. But I’m warning you. Wildly untamed aspects of my psyche live in my curls.

Next. I am sensitive. Very sensitive. This is good if you need me to be perceptive, insightful, generous, loving, and kind. This is not good if you want to avoid dealing with the effects of your dysfunctional family of origin. And if you like emotions, I’m your gal. Deep, intense, rich emotions. But you will be happy to know I have been in therapy for many years, so the rage is, well, negligible. It only surfaces in times of extreme stress or when I feel trapped. Or when I run out of estrogen. Or hair products.

Like many of the rainforest-minded, I am on a spiritual quest. I’m obsessed with living into a heart-centered, purposeful, magical life. (You, too?)  I want to contribute something meaningful to our troubled planet and connect to a spirituality that I suspect is both inside me and around me. Unlike those who find their spirituality in religion or nature, however, my quest takes me other places.

I find my connection to the Mystery in more unusual ways. Once, while dancing the Argentine tango, I felt a spiritual message coming from under the dance floor. Yes, under the dance floor. It was a message of support and sweetness from what I imagine as The Big Love or, since you are probably a Star Wars fan, as The Force.

And if that isn’t odd enough, I also sing. But it’s not what you think. Although I used to have a penchant for Broadway musicals, I now seem to be singing soothing, sometimes amusing, melodies channeled from distant galaxies. When we meet, I will demonstrate. Because you are my mate, it will all make sense. It will make sense, in a compelling, metaphysical, rainforest-y way.

Oh, did I mention I am a psychotherapist seeking to change the world one dysfunctional family at a time?

There are normal things about me I could share. And I will in future letters. I just thought I would get some of the weirder stuff my more unique traits out of the way. Just to be sure you know what you are getting into.

So that’s me, Future Boyfriend. I would like you to show up soon. I am not getting any younger. And we have things to do. Dances to dance. Songs to sing. Hair to control. Magic to make.

May The Big Love be with you,

Paula


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The Woman Who Did Not Know Herself – A Journaling Technique

(To my bloggEEs: The following is a recent journal entry of mine. It is a technique I use to figure something out that is bothering me. I always start with “Once upon a time there was a woman who…” and then I write about the thing that is upsetting me, or about the question I have. I let the story unfold and keep writing until an answer appears or I have a shift in my irritability. Here is my example. Give it a try and let us know how it went or what questions you have. I will be storing this post also on my Personal Musings page.)

_________________

Once upon a time there was a woman who was lost and confused. She had a good life. Fulfilling job. A sweet, safe home. Reliable, loving friends. A popular blog. Left-wing relatives. Healthy body. Stable income. Published books. Effervescent hair. Intelligence. Creativity. A good heart. 

But something was out of whack. 

She worried. Who the heck was she really?  In spite of her quite good life, it seemed she did not really know who she was. Just so you know she did realize this was a “first world” problem. And she was truly grateful for all she had. But, as part of her drive to grow and contribute, she knew addressing her out-of-whackitude was essential. 

So, one day, she made a list. 

Who was she?

  • Psychotherapist to smart people?
  • Tango dancing blogger?
  • Shy homebody?
  • Jewish girl from Delaware?
  • Belly dancer wannabe?
  • Former amateur actress-singer-dancer?
  • Oldest blogger ever?
  • Therapy junkie?
  • Spiritual seeker and highly sensitive person?
  • International consultant to gifted humans?
  • Kind, open-hearted soul?
  • Mediocre sister?
  • Quirky auntie?
  • Rainy day appreciator?
  • Dysfunctional family survivor?
  • Journal writer? Author?
  • Obsessed introspector?
  • Secret fangirl of Broadway musicals?
  • Reluctant cook?
  • Book and music lover?
  • Anxiety-prone, melancholic, emotional, post-menopausal witch?
  • Singer of songs from other dimensions?
  • Writer of self-help books for brainiacs?
  • Emerging Instagram video queen?
  • Overeater on lonely nights?
  • Undercover and driven change-the-world activist?
  • Introverted persnickety boundary setter?
  • Seeker of her soul’s mate?
  • Accidental human?
  • Impostor earthling?
  • Rainforest minder?
  • Deep, divergent overthinker?
  • Underachieving priestess?

The length of the list surprised her. It was encouraging. It turned out she was not at a loss for identity at all. She had many. Like Walt Whitman said. Multitudes. And, of course, she knew she did not have to pick just one. She could be all of those things. And more.

Well. 

This was a relief. This knowledge put her back in whack. It suddenly became clear that she did not know herself because she was trying to be, well, normal.

But trying to be normal, she realized, was just wacky. 

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To my bloggEEs: What do you think of the journaling technique? Did you try it? You might also make a list of your own multitudes. It could help on the days you feel out of whack. Or just plain wacky. Thank you, as always, for being here. Love to you all.


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The Woman Whose Hair Refused To Be Controlled — A Journaling Technique for Self-Discovery

Wearing a hat is a minimally effective tool for hair control

One of my favorite tools for self-acceptance and healing is my trusty journal.  I’ve used it for years. It’s how I figure out what’s going on when I’m depressed, anxious, lonely, or craving another hot fudge sundae. I gain insight, process emotion, and receive guidance. I’m going to share one technique with you here, including a sample entry from my journal from a few years ago. Thus the title of this post.

Here’s how it works: I write a story about me in the third person. I always title it The Woman Who…. based on what I’m grappling with at the time. I stay open to what might appear and I just start writing until I come to a conclusion that usually surprises me. I try to include humor and not take myself too seriously. Titles have included: The Woman Who Was a Mystery to Herself. The Woman Who Lived with a Bear. The Woman Who Couldn’t Stop Crying. The Woman Who was Afraid of a House.

You get the idea.

So, here’s an entry from around 2012. In the days before blogging, when my life was not as effervescent as it is now. (Please excuse the occasional expletive.)

The Woman Whose Hair Refused To Be Controlled

It was in her hair. The control. If she let her hair be free, all hell would break loose. If her hair was free, she couldn’t hide. She’d walk into a room and people would notice her. She’d walk into a room and people would see how unappealingly ethnic she looked. She’d walk into a room and people would be appalled at her bold, expressive, obnoxious, overexcitable hair. She’d walk into a room and people would ask her to be responsible for something.

And then what? Her safe, secure, smallish world might explode on her, shattering her melancholy somewhat uneventful life. And who knows what might emerge from there? Surely something large, loud, slimy and smelly. Which would be intolerable. At least her melancholy somewhat uneventful life was not large, loud, slimy and smelly. There was that.

And she liked control. She. Loved. It. Who doesn’t? Anyone who grows up in any sort of moderately to severely dysfunctional family craves the sweetness of control. Of being out from under the fuckedupedness. Into one’s own world. Creating one’s own path. Away from the neediness, the unspoken rage, the cold criticism. Even if one’s own path leads to fuckedupedness. It’s your very own fuckedupedness. And that was fine. She could live with that.

Almost. Except for the fact that her hair kept popping out of its containers. No matter the conditioners, the gels, the paraben-free shampoos. The clips. The braids. The hats. The avocado-banana-yogurt masks. Her hair could not be contained. It screeched LOOK AT ME at every turn. It cried I AM HERE. It yelped I’M A REBEL AND I’M PROUD.

Oh boy.

What to do? What to do?

Well, of course, there was the obvious. Cut it all off. I’m kidding. That was not an option. She could let it unravel and see what happened. It’s possible that she could still maintain a modicum of control even with her rude hair showing its true self. And, she had to admit that other people didn’t see it as obnoxious or overexcitable. They seemed to like it. They even wanted it for themselves.

Maybe it was time. She wasn’t getting any younger. What if she was seen? What if people noticed? What if she claimed that she was alive, rebellious and proud? What if her true self screeched, I AM HERE. Would that be so bad? What if she came to love her control AND her unruly hair. Maybe they could coexist.

Maybe she’d have MORE control if she let her hair go.  Would that be possible? Was she misguided all this time? Was there true control in no control? Was she getting a little too Buddhist here? Maybe saying YES to her hair, she was saying YES to life. Perhaps there was even room to expand, to grow, to evolve, from her melancholy somewhat uneventful life.

Perhaps her effervescent, expansive, evolving hair could lead the way.

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To my bloggEEs: What do you think? If you try this technique for yourself, let us know how it goes. Do you keep a journal? What works for you? And, by the way, if I were to design an online class for us, what might you want included? Thank you as always for being here. Sending you much unruly love.

(Note: If you’re reading my book, ahem, I’d so appreciate a review on Amazon. It doesn’t have to be long or perfect. Thank you!)