Your Rainforest Mind

Support For The Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive


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Time To Embrace Your Geekly Bookwormish Not-Normal Self

photo courtesy Gaelle Marcel, Unsplash

You just want to be normal.

But do you really?

Sure, you have trouble in relationships. Your intensity is misinterpreted as arrogance or criticism or drama. Your emotions overwhelm you and the people you love. Your only friend is really tired of hearing your perturbations about string theory. You’re frustrated by what you experience as mediocrity or superficiality. Your empathy gives you migraines.

Sure, you wonder why happiness, contentment and simplicity seem out of reach.  Your multidimensional worries keep you up nights. Your highest standards and speedy thought processes create anxiety at your job. Your fears that you’ll screw up your children forever turn you into a shrieking maniac, not unlike your mother. On your good days.

Sure, you feel like a failure because you haven’t achieved “greatness,” just like everyone expected since you were six, when your favorite book was the dictionary which you slept with every night without fail.

But what is normal and why is it so appealing?

Here’s what I tell my clients (with apologies to normal people):

You will never be normal. Let go of normal. Normal is watching The Bachelorette on TV. Normal is thinking one thought at a time. Normal is reading one book at a time. Normal is reading one book a month. Normal is asking one question a day. Normal is going along with the crowd. Normal is having one career your whole life. Normal is accepting the status quo. Normal is certainty that you know all of the answers. Normal is becoming prom king/queen.

See?

Time to rethink your desire for normal.

And, well, OK.

Maybe someday you can still be prom king/queen.

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To my dearest bloggEEs: Have you ever wished that you could be normal? Tell us about it.


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Still Sleepless, Cranky and Annoying After all These Years

Remember when I suggested that you might be sleepless, cranky and annoying because of your ample empathy and your serious sense of social responsibility?

Well, let’s face it. There’s so much to be sleepless, cranky and annoying about. Where do you start? What do you do? When the environmental, social and political issues are SO ENORMOUS.

I know. You’re actually way beyond sleepless, cranky and annoying. More like sleepless, enraged and despairing. I get it. But you were born with a capacity to respond to others’ pain with sensitivity and compassion. You were born with a need to make a positive difference. You can’t just eat your tofu and tune it all out.

And that’s a good thing.

So here’s what I’m thinking. You’ve got some skills. Some smarts. If I know you, you’re an idealist and an optimist. And you have the capacity for visionary and intuitive meanderings. Maybe even spiritual and mystical awakenings. That’s all you need. You have what you need. (Well, maybe you need a little therapy, too.)

But now you must believe in yourself and figure out where your path leads. (Or where your paths lead.)

I know. That’s not easy. You’d be doing it already if it were easy. But I’m just saying that a next step is trusting your rainforest mind in all of its depth, ruminations, passions, nerdiness and radiance.

Trust yourself.

5885747179_939f256af9And get some sleep.

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Photo from Creative Commons:
https://www.flickr.com/x/t/0094009/photos/timothykrause/5885747179/

To my bloggEEs:

Thank you for reading. I hope that you’re finding what you need and that you feel less alone. Now that you can see where I’m going with this blog, let me know if there are questions you have or topics you’d like to see addressed. And if you’re on the younger-ish side, you might want to check out nerdfighters.ning.com. They’re a community of “nerds” working to “increase awesome and decrease suck” in the world.


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Gifted Shmifted

Time to address the elephant. The one in the room. You know what I’m talkin’ about.

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I’m starting to hyperventilate. I really don’t want to do this.

But it was going to come up sooner or later.

OK. Sigh. Just do it.

You may identify with the label geek, nerd, bookworm, or brainiac.

If you’re following this blog, you probably know now that you’re a person with a rainforest mind. You’re excessively: sensitive, curious, creative, complex, emotional, smart and analytical.

Perhaps, you’ve noticed that I’ll occasionally use the word gifted in place of rainforest mind. This might be where you frown or pause or look at me quizzically.

You may not relate to being gifted. For many reasons:

1. You haven’t created the iPhone or sent your own private rocket ship to dock with the international space station. You haven’t played your violin at Carnegie Hall.

2. You know many people who are smarter than you.

3. You didn’t get straight A’s in school. In fact, you failed a few classes in high school because you didn’t do the homework or you couldn’t hand in work that wasn’t up to your standards.

4. You have ten books on your nightstand that you’ll never finish. In fact, there are a lot of things you’ll never finish.

5. You feel that it’s not fair to label someone gifted. No one really knows what it means. You’re offended by the label because it implies that some people are not gifted. You often fight for justice and equality for all. Calling anyone gifted feels unjust.

6. When schools identify children as gifted, you wonder if they’re just picking the high achievers or the children who fit the stereotype of the smart kid. It seems elitist to you. You believe that all children have gifts. How do the kids feel who aren’t selected?

Does any of the above ring true?

Is there an answer?

We’ll see.

You may have heard the argument that all people have gifts but not all are gifted if, by gifted, we mean advanced developmentally. We all can agree that Michael Jordan is a gifted athlete. He has abilities the rest of us don’t have. That doesn’t make us bad or inferior humans. It just makes us less competent at basketball. No big deal. We admire Michael for his giftedness.

But if we apply that argument to intelligence, we start to sweat. And we can’t measure intelligence by number of successful free throws. We get all mucked up in the details. What about talent? What about achievement? What about multiple intelligences? What about IQ tests? How do we make sure all kids get an appropriate education? What happens to gifted kids when they become adults?

Maybe there are more questions than answers.

But, perhaps, we can agree on one thing. What if humans are like ecosystems. What if some are like meadows, some deserts, some tundra, some rain forest. All are unique, beautiful and necessary. All contribute to the well-being of the planet. The rain forest just contains more species than any other. It’s more intense, sensitive and abundant. Not better. Just more.

And what are we doing to our rain forests? And our rainforest minds?

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We’re clear cutting them because we don’t recognize their value. We want to turn them into something that they aren’t and use them for our purposes.

What’s the alternative?

Let’s  appreciate  them and allow them to flourish. In all of their intensity, sensitivity and abundance.

Maybe even in all of their giftedness.

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photo of elephant from flickr.com: brittanyhock; creative commons https://www.flickr.com/photos/thelivelygirl/5261389796/; photo of rain forest from Gary Higbee, hubby.

This blog is part of the Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page inaugural Blog Hop on The “G” Word (“Gifted”). To read more blogs in this hop, visit this Blog Hop at http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/blog_hop_the_g_word.htm

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Muddled by Your Musings

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That would be me and the tango.

Do people have difficulty following you?

Are they muddled by your musings about the flaws in our current cultural mythologies? Do they retreat at your ruminations about the future of the planet? Do they get lost in your lectures about quadratic equations?

Well, my geekly one, I have the answer for you. If you want someone to follow you, learn to lead the Argentine tango.

You heard me.

This is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for. This dance is made for you. It will stretch your brain in many directions all at once. It will demand that you tap your creative exuberance. It will celebrate your sensitivity and your intuitive powers.

And you will be popular. Yes, indeed. If you learn how to lead the Argentine tango, women and men will wait eagerly to dance with you. You will no longer be the nerd, the outcast, the last-one-picked-for-the-team. No. They will adore you. And you will finally be with people who can follow you.

I’m not making this up.

By the way, I’m speaking to both men and women. Even though only men lead the tango in Argentina, women lead in the US, and in other countries as well. And, in my experience, gender is irrelevant. You become two souls gliding through space connected to music, floor, your hearts, and the Mystery.

But there is one glitch. Just one. You won’t learn it right away. It will take time. Persistence. Failure. You may not have much experience with that. If you’re used to being the fastest learner in the room, think again. But that’s OK. That’s good. Taking the risk to try something where you won’t excel at first will open new doors. And if you’re a parent, it’ll be good modeling for your kids.

And, once you learn it–nirvana.

Not only that. You’ll look around the room, and there will be other geeks there. You might even find one who loves your musings about the flaws in our current cultural mythologies.

And just so you know, at Fermilab, near Chicago, where they study high-energy physics, they hold Argentine tango classes. Pamela Noyes said, in their August 2008 newsletter Fermilab Today, “Physics and tango both require passion to become very good…Physicists follow motion with their equations. Tango dancers follow each others motion with their senses…. If done well, both are extremely gratifying, perhaps one more to the mind and the other to the senses.”

So learn to lead the Argentine tango. And get followed. 


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Welcome to Your Rainforest Mind

Like the rain forest, are you intense, multi-layered, colorful, creative, highly sensitive, overwhelming, complex, idealistic and influential? Like the rain forest, are you misunderstood, misdiagnosed and mysterious? Like the rain forest, have you met too many chain saws? If you answered ‘yes’ to these questions or to parts of these questions, read on, you may have a rainforest mind. Perhaps, you’re more familiar with these terms: nerd, geek, bookworm, dork, or brainiac. Some of you may have been called precocious or gifted. I use the metaphor of the rain forest because it cuts through the controversy. If people are like ecosystems, some are meadows, some are deserts, and some are rain forests. Each ecosystem is beautiful and valuable. The rain forest is just the most complex and maybe the most misunderstood. Kind of like you.

I’ve been working with children and adults with rainforest minds (RFM) since the 1970s when I was a teacher of gifted children in the public schools. Now I’m a counselor in private practice counseling rainforest-minded adults and consulting with parents of gifted children. In this blog, I’d like to share what I’ve learned over the years about the mental, academic, creative, emotional, social and spiritual needs of this population. I’ll share stories, resources and strategies. My plan is to help you live like the thriving rain forest itself: in balance, peace, grace and beauty, and in support of all beings on the planet.Image