Your Rainforest Mind

Support For The Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive


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The Gifted Adult’s Guide to Finding Friends

photo courtesy of Brooke Cagle, Unsplash, CC

photo courtesy of Brooke Cagle, Unsplash, CC

You’re sensitive. Empathetic. Funny. Generous. Smart. Adorable. And yet, you have trouble finding friends.

I’m here to help.

I’ve gathered my five favorite posts on relationships here so that you don’t need to go searching for them. I’d suggest that you read them all to get my comprehensive take on this topic. You’ll be able to pick and choose from the many suggestions and you’ll see that the reason you’re lonely is not because you’re a hopeless weirdo slacker ne’er-do-well. But because you’re gifted.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started:

If I’m So Smart, Why Am I So Lonely  (This one has a link at the end to more posts on relationships written by parents of gifted children.)

Gifted? Lonely? Learn The Argentine Tango  (You won’t want to miss the quote from Maria Popova.)

Lonely? Find Your Pips  (This one has a link at the end by a different group of parents of gifted kids, also on this topic.)

Lonely? Find Your Pips–Part Two  (This is where I get all spiritual on you.)

Single? Lonely? Gifted? Listen Up  (I’m not saying here that you shouldn’t be happy if you’re single!! Nooooo. I’m just saying that if you’re single and want a partner, here are some ideas. And this post also includes ideas for finding friends, too, so don’t skip over it.)

One more thing: When you’re clearer about who you are, you’ll be better able to spot other rainforest minds. If you’re doing something you love, at work or at play, and you spot one who has potential, be brave and initiate a conversation. Ask them questions about themselves. They will thank you! If they lead a busy life, don’t let that stop you. You may have to do the work to build the relationship at first. But if your intuition says they’re a good one, keep at it. Eventually the person will reciprocate and the relationship will be more balanced. I know that this works because it’s how I created my lovely circle of dear rainforest-y friends. But you have to be patient and persistent. OK?

One last thing: Don’t forget the online groups. Also, my book has a chapter on loneliness with even more suggestions. And, if you want to hang out with rainforest minds on a daily basis, well, become a counselor/consultant for the gifted. Start a blog. Write a book.

You’ll be so glad you did.

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To my bloggEEs: How have you found other rainforest minds? How do you deal with loneliness? Thank you for being here and for opening your hearts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Single? Lonely? Gifted? Listen Up.

photo courtesy of STSci NASA

photo courtesy of STSci NASA

If you’re single and feeling lonely, listen up.

Because I know what you’re thinking. You’ve tried. Tinder. Plenty of Fish. Match. E-Harmony. The Church Barbecue.

Nothing works. You must be too much. Too much for love.

After all, you overwhelm your friends with your intensity. You’re too sensitive to shoot-’em-up-movies, to screeching leaf blowers, to wafting perfumes and to commas in the wrong place. You’re too curious about dark matter and too obsessed with how Americans waste water on golf courses.

You must be too much. Too much for love.

But what if that’s not true?

I can hear you now. “Well, obviously, Paula, you’re dead wrong. I’m single. SINGLE. There’s your proof. Obvious. Geez, Paula, you aren’t as smart as I thought you were.”

Let me explain. Think about it. When it comes to too muchness, where real love is concerned: You can never be too much. If your capacity to love is as large as your capacity to worry about the time when you were in 6th grade and you were mean to Mary Sweeney, your future partner has won the jackpot. Seriously.

Now, I realize that it’s not that simple. I’m going to give you a few tips so that you can truly embrace what I’m saying and then find your significant other (or s/he can find you) without further ado. Well, with some ado. A little ado.

I know that it could take some work for you to believe in yourself. And maybe you’ve closed off your enormous capacity to love. It could take some time to open that back up again. And you may need some suggestions about where to look for that lucky person. So, here are the tips:

• You all know that I suggest therapy every chance I get. I recommend it if you feel despair, powerlessness or terrified of intimacy. There are also support groups, journaling and mindfulness practices that can strengthen your sense of self. Journaling, in particular, can be useful for getting in touch with your fears and befriending them.

• Practice expressing yourself in your friendships: Tell the truth. Ask for what you really need. Show your quirkiness and your vulnerability. Geek out.

• Find ways to get intellectual stimulation that involve other smart humans. Take classes at a university, join a Facebook group of like-minds, create or join a meetup group in your town (you might be surprised at what’s already out there), learn a new language and travel, follow bloggers you find intriguing (ahem) and write to them, attend conferences on topics of interest. (Then, when you spot another rainforest mind, be brave and ask him/her to coffee, literally or virtually.)

• Embody gratitude whenever you can. It will improve your health, your confidence and your sense of well-being. (I know you hear this everywhere, but it works!)

And finally, my favorite tip:

Use your creativity to tap the Magic that’s in you and around you. One way to do this: Write a letter to your future mate telling him or her about yourself. Show who you really are through your letter. Be funny or serious or tender or weird. (Poems, stories, drawings, or collages are also possible formats.) Perhaps, you’ll sense that you need to write a series of letters. Trust your intuition. Then, feel deeply into the experience of knowing this person. Use all of your senses to imagine his/her presence. Be patient. Tell the multiverse that you’re ready and that you mean it. Give the letter(s) to your person when s/he shows up.

Note: Thanks to Anne Allanketner and Anne Gordon for their help with this post.

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To my bloggEEs: If you’re single, are you seeking a partner? What do you think of these ideas? And for those of you already in intimate relationships, how did you find him/her? What do you suggest to someone looking for a partner?

 


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Loneliness — Guest Post — by Anne Allanketner

courtesy of Judith Manning, Eugene OR

courtesy of Judith Manning, Eugene OR

Because your rainforest mind is vast and deep and because it moves quickly through its awarenesses and insights, it can be hard to find humans who “get you.” My dear colleague, Anne Allanketner, describes that loneliness here, as only she can.

 

The Lost Circle

Loneliness, full of dry sticks and howling dogs
can be felt by anyone; the shrunken, the beautiful, the shamed.

Remember- our tribe is dispersed,
wandering, gathering pieces of faded silk
and unraveled thread and lost buttons
mending ourselves with music, with hidden pools of color
hoping, not yet believing, that the others
look for us, also, few as they are,
few as we are.

Each one full of cold lake water from the distant mountains
Each one distracted by the catcalls and accusations
of strangeness, each one alone, lost in the dry ache
of separation.

Only a wild trust can help us find ourselves now
from the burst star of our beginnings.
Make your odd sounds, your curative movements.
Call up the light into your eyes.

Sorting and sorting our bright collections and treasures will not help.
Go out into the foreign city, among the shuffling millions.

One precious stone awaits you, caught in the hands
of the Other who is brave enough to truly sing
her own name.

We are coming towards you
one by one, a tribe dispersed
like a seed pod, each of us carrying
a little flame, a little bell
and looking for the heart
of a shared music.

______________________________

To my bloggEEs: To read more poems by the wonderful Anne Allanketner,

Anne Allanketner

Anne Allanketner

go to her website. To buy her books of poetry, go here. Let us know if you’ve experienced this loneliness and what your “wild trust” might look like.

 


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If I’m So Smart, Why Am I So Dumb? Part Two

Photo by Cindi, Flickr, CC

Photo by Cindi, Flickr, CC

The following are my top ten reasons why you may feel “dumb,” not so smart and certainly not gifted :

#10. You’re highly sensitive, emotional, idealistic and lonely. Gifted people are cynical, logical and objective and prefer being alone to think.

#9. You have multiple interests and can’t decide on one career path. Gifted people pick one thing, stick with it and achieve greatness.

#8. You start many projects that you don’t finish. Gifted people finish things.

#7. You didn’t excel in school. Gifted people always get straight ‘As’ and never have learning disabilities.

#6. You grew up in a seriously dysfunctional family. Gifted people come from happy homes.

#5. You daydream a lot, can’t decide what color to paint your bedroom, and forget to tie your shoes. Gifted people make decisions easily, don’t daydream and never forget anything.

#4. You’re terrified of failure and have exceedingly high standards so you avoid taking risks and you procrastinate. Gifted people learn quickly with no effort and get things done on time.

#3. You’re afraid of success so you hide your abilities. Gifted people love to succeed and always do.

#2. You feel overwhelmed by the suffering in your community, your country and the world and you need to do something about it. Gifted people don’t get overwhelmed and they solve problems easily. They’re self-absorbed and only care about how smart they are.

51lwGdYA0tL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_#1. You aren’t Elon Musk. Gifted people send rockets into space, build fancy electric cars, and create thriving clean energy companies all at the same time. And they’re rich.

Here’s the thing, dear readers. What gifted people supposedly do or supposedly are, as listed above, may be true, for some. But from where I sit, in the world of the rainforest mind, it’s not so simple. All of these other things that you probably are– sensitive, emotional, idealistic, empathetic, perceptive, analytical, daydreamy, terrified of failure, curious, questioning, compassionate, creative, loving learning, perfectionistic, overwhelmed by suffering, needing to make a difference–all of these things, and more, are what make you smart, what make you gifted.

And I bet, if you asked Elon Musk, well, he’d agree.

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To my blogEEs: I’ve heard from several people how your comments are just as intriguing as my posts. (well, maybe my posts are a teensy bit more intriguing…) So, my dears, keep them coming. Your thoughts, feelings, reactions and questions add so much. Thank you.


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Gifted? Lonely? Learn the Argentine Tango

Pixabay CC

Pixabay CC

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.


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If I’m So Smart, Why Am I So Lonely?

photo from Dave Worley, flickr, CC

photo from Dave Worley, flickr, CC

It didn’t go well when you were a little tyke.

You assumed that the other 5 year olds loved reading the dictionary as much as you did.

You assumed that all 7 year olds preferred a vacation to NASA over a trip to Disneyworld.

You assumed that the other kids would want to play your intricate games and learn your secret codes rather than play yet another round of Candyland.

You didn’t know that you had a rainforest mind. Maybe you still don’t.

That’s why I’m here.

Relationships can be tricky when you have a rainforest mind.

Have you noticed?

You think you’re explaining your ideas quite thoroughly and clearly. But your listeners aren’t listening. They’re lost in your creative leaps and poetic language. Or they don’t really care about the future of the electric car. Or they think your enthusiasm for mycelium is weird.

That you are weird.

If you’re particularly sensitive, which I know you are, then, you’re feeling more emotion and more empathy than the people around you. They might start avoiding you because you seem to be less cool, less able to “go with the flow.”

You might find it hard to pretend to like them. Or to accommodate their need for chit chat. You might feel crazy because what’s obvious to you, might not be apparent to them.

But you want to belong. You want to fit in. Have friends for heaven’s sake. Maybe even find a partner. Right? Is that too much to ask?

Well.

I have good news and bad news.

Good news:

There are rainforest-minded people out there. Yes, there are. I meet them every day in my counseling office. (Aren’t I the lucky one?) And they are radiant beings. Shining lights of smartness, courage and sweetness. (Just like you.) Navigating their intricate and luminous existences on this planet. Seeking authenticity, purpose and love. Wanting to make a difference while they’re here.

Bad news:

You will have to look for them. Carefully. They’re probably hiding, like you are.

But I have some ideas.

Mostly, you have to know who you are. Figure out who you are. Use psychotherapy or yoga or meditation or painting or dancing or science or astrology or acupuncture or reading or hiking or music or spirituality or dark chocolate or some combination of these things. It’ll require time and effort. There may be crying.

And then you have to love that gorgeous rainforest-y mind (heart-body-soul-spirit) of yours.

You can do it.

photo from Julia Caesar, Unsplash, CC

photo from Julia Caesar, Unsplash, CC

Take a moment now and feel your glow. Maybe it’s in your heart. Maybe in your belly or your feet. I know it’s there. It’s always been there. It just may be crushed under the weight of a dysfunctional family or inadequate schooling or global suffering or some combination of these things.

As you feel your own radiance, you’ll be better able to spot your cohorts, your mates, your tribespeople– and you’ll have the courage to approach them and create your community.

They’ll find you, too.

You’ll be hard to miss.

They’ll see you sparkling.

_______________________________

To my blogEEs: I know that it’s not easy to find yourself and love yourself. For most of us, it’s a lifelong journey. Know that you don’t have to be perfect before you find other rainforest-y beings. Just get started. OK? And let us know how it’s going. We’re here for you.

For more posts on the topic of giftedness and relationships, click on the link below. 10430857_10205935258433150_7392407120722756515_n

 

 

 


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I Can’t Show How Smart I Am To Anyone, Not Even To Myself

photo by David Evers, Flickr, CC

photo by David Evers, Flickr, CC

You hide. You stay small. You “dumb down.”

Why?

Because– (Pick one or more.)

1. It’s not cool to be too smart.

2. Other people will feel bad about themselves.

3. I’ll be lonely.

4. I’ll be ridiculed.

5. I’ll take up too much space.

6. I’ll overshadow others.

7. I’ll become egocentric, arrogant and self-absorbed.

8. My mother was brilliant and she was also abusive. I can’t be like her.

9. It feels dangerous.

10. I’ll outshine my parents and my teachers and I can’t do that.

11. I don’t want to be like my father who used his intellect to be manipulative.

12. I don’t have the time. I have kids to raise.

13. I won’t be able to sustain it and then I’ll disappoint everyone.

14. It’s way too much pressure.

15. I’ll embarrass myself.

16. If I reveal myself and then I fail, it would be devastating.

17. I’m not the smart one.

18. Change is scary and I’m comfortable in my discomfort.

19. I’m used to my habits and routines. Why rock the boat?

20. Did I mention that I’m not really all that smart?

OK, then.

Here’s the thing.

The world needs you to stop hiding.

I mean it.

Now, I don’t want you to do anything that feels too unsafe. But I do want you to realize that all beings will benefit if you express yourself and show us what you’ve got; if you tap that wellspring of intellect, creativity and sensitivity. Your children and grandchildren (and your neighbors’ children and grandchildren) will reap the benefits.

Really.

I can help.

It’s my job.

I’ll help you with your fears around pressure and expectations and your anxiety around failure. (More in future posts.)

You can come here when you feel lonely.

Now that you know what a rainforest mind looks like, get serious about finding other inquisitive souls. They will support you when you feel misunderstood and hurt.

Psychotherapy provides guidance that can shift and heal patterns and beliefs so that you don’t turn into your mother or your father.

Reading about sensitivity and how to manage it, will give you tools that you’ll need so you aren’t as easily overwhelmed.

What else?

photo by Adam Knight, Flickr, cc

photo by Adam Knight, Flickr, cc

Get yourself out into Nature where you can connect with a spirituality that will support you and guide you. Find your own form of meditation, whether it’s sitting or yoga or writing or painting or poetry or gardening or dancing or running or whatever. Use it to plumb your depths and calm your nervous system.

Then show yourself. To yourself. And to the rest of us.

We’re ready for you.

___________________________

To my blogEEs: Many thanks to the commenter who inspired this post. And to all of you– for reading, for sharing, and for staying sensitive. Tell us your fears and share your plans for coming out of hiding.