Your Rainforest Mind

Support For The Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive


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Your Precocious Kid Was So Adorable. Now, At 15? Not So Adorable.

photo courtesy of Annie Spratt, Unsplash, CC

Your daughter, Jenny, is editor of the school newspaper. She’s a math whiz, a voracious reader, and a star athlete. At 15, she looks destined for a great life.

Why, then, is she freaking out over what looks like nothing? Why is she still having meltdowns? Why is she screeching at you about your fundamentally inadequate parenting?

She was so darned cute when she was three.

But now, school is a struggle. She questions her teachers’ authority and refuses to turn in assignments that aren’t up to her standards. She criticizes the values of her so-called friends. Even though she has great empathy for the suffering multitudes, there’s no empathy for you. None. Nada. Zilch.

Welcome to adolescence. Welcome to GiftedKid 2.0.

I’m exaggerating. A little. In fact, she really does have empathy for you. Believe it or not, she feels guilty for her outbursts and hides a pressing need to please you. She worries that she’s a disappointment and that she’ll never live up to your expectations. (or her own) Her burning need for intellectual stimulation and her loneliness at not being deeply seen, also trigger her emotional reactivity.

Not to mention, um, hormones.

And, of course, your teen may not be like this at all. Gifted kids come in all shapes, sizes and varieties. But if you relate to the above, you’re not alone.

What can you do? Besides escape to a deserted island until she’s 21?

• Remind yourself that overexcitabilities (OEs) are part of the rainforest-minded  package. Gifted kids are naturally more intense emotionally as well as intellectually.

• Notice if you have your own set of OEs and learn how to nourish yourself, soothe your soul and get your own intellectual needs met.

• Try your best not to take the criticism personally. This is not easy. Breathe. Learn to meditate. Get exercise. Try therapy if your childhood pain is being triggered.

• Listen and reflect her feelings during the emotional turmoil. Problem solve later. No advice. No criticism. Listening is key. It’s a simple idea but not easy to do.

• Read Eileen Kennedy-Moore’s book Smart Parenting for Smart Kids and, ahem, my book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth. 

And, when all else fails, take comfort in the words of Andrew Solomon:

“Like parents of children who are severely challenged, parents of exceptionally talented children are custodians of children beyond their comprehension.”

_____________________________

To my bloggEEs: For those of you who are parents, let us know how you experience your precocious adolescents. If you’re a gifted teen, does this sound like you? Or if you were a gifted teen, does this sound familiar? In a future post, I’ll focus on teen boys. But the suggestions apply if you have boys, as well. Thank you all, as always, for being here. Note: Just to clarify. I’m not saying that it’s not OK to question authority, to have high standards or to examine your friends’ values. Heavens, no. OK? Just clarifying.

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How Can Sensitive Souls Change the World?

photo courtesy of Teddy Kelley, Unsplash, CC

photo courtesy of Teddy Kelley, Unsplash, CC

“We stand on the threshold of a great unknown. Individually and collectively, we launch into an uncertain future—at once, both perilous and saturated with possibility. Our accustomed, culturally-determined roles and identities are inadequate to navigate the sea change of our time. Our collective journey requires a radical shift in the human relationship with the community of all life—a cultural transformation so profound that future humans might regard it as an evolution of consciousness. Safe passage requires each of us to offer our full magnificence to the world.” ~Animas Valley Institute

How do you offer your “full magnificence” to the world?

Because now would be a great time to do such a thing. Don’t you agree?

I have a few ideas:

You have to believe that you have magnificence.

Yes, I know. That won’t be easy. Maybe it feels impossible. But I know that you’ve got it. I’m sure of it. And somewhere, buried deep inside, you know it, too. You’ll need to find a way to dive into your heart or into your soul or into wherever your magnificence lives, and touch it. Gently. Tenderly.

All you need is to get a glimpse of it. For starters. A teensy weensy glimpse.

Perhaps you can find it through yoga or mindfulness practices or painting or dancing or music or acupuncture or martial arts or excursions in nature or prayer or shamanic journeying or poetry or journaling or reading or gazing at the night sky, or Reiki, or running, or watching your child sleep, or psychotherapy or bungee jumping. Or some combination of these or other things.

It could take a while. But it’ll be worth it. Trust me on this.

Once you get a teensy weensy glimpse, you’ll want to expand your connection. To do this, you’ll need to understand that: Your magnificence is something you are, not something you do. And: recognizing your magnificence is not the same as conceit or arrogance or self-centeredness or grandiosity. It’s actually the opposite. It’s finding that place within you that’s all about love. Love and compassion. Love for yourself: your mistakes, your failures, your successes,  your disabilities, your persnicketiness, your idealism, your sensitivities, your intuitions, your overexcitabilities, your obsessions, your perfectionism, your loneliness, and your bad hair days.

And love for your family, your community, your world, and your planet.

I know. I’m asking a lot.

If you’ve grown up in a dysfunctional family with chainsaw relatives, for example, you might feel less than magnificent.

If you were bullied in school or teased for being too sensitive or too curious or too everything, you might feel less than magnificent.

If you don’t fit into the “acceptable” ethnic group or race or sexual orientation or body size or religion or personality or age, you might feel less than magnificent.

So, here’s another idea. This comes from an exercise shared by Jean Houston in a workshop I attended many years ago: Take a quiet moment and create an image of your Wise Self (some people call it your future self). Write and/or draw and describe him/her. In detail. Then feel into him/her deeply with all of your senses.  Picture him/her standing in front of you. What does s/he have to tell you? Then step into him/her and feel that Wise Self in your body. Breathe slowly and deepen your connection. Use all of your senses. Stay with the feeling and notice if s/he has any more messages for you. Know that you can reconnect with your Wise Self at any time. It will get easier with practice.

Once you’ve met and believe in your magnificence (remember this is a process!), I’m betting that it will tell you how to share it with the world. But we can talk about that in a future post!

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To my bloggEEs: Let us know your thoughts. Your comments make this blog so much richer. We all appreciate hearing about your feelings and experiences so please share! What did your Wise Self tell you? And for those of you who’ve met your magnificence and are offering it to the world, please share your strategies and guidance with us! And thanks to Animas Institute for the beautiful quote.

Oh, and, if you’re reading my book, let us know how it’s going.

 

 

 

 


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Most Popular Posts of 2015

Here are the top six posts of 2015. Thank you so much for reading, commenting, sharing and living your sensitive, intelligent, emotional, curious, compassionate rainforest-y life! Join me, dear bloggEEs, for more treks into the depths in 2016. Let us know, in the comments, how you’re doing and what you’d like to see next year.

Imagine A World Where Gifted Kids Don’t Have To Wait

Photography by Servando from Flickr cc

Photography by Servando from Flickr cc

My Smart Kid Is So Emotional, Am I A Parenting Failure?

photo by Diego Diaz, Flickr, CC

photo by Diego Diaz, Flickr, CC

Still Gifted After All These Years

photo courtesy of Jordan McQueen and Unsplash

photo courtesy of Jordan McQueen and Unsplash

If I’m So Smart, Why Was School Such A Drag?

photo from Flickr, Creative Commons, Phil Roeder

photo from Flickr, CC, Phil Roeder

What Psychotherapists Need To Know About Gifted Clients

photo courtesy of Anne Allanketner

photo courtesy of Anne Allanketner

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

Photo by Cindi, Flickr, CC

Photo by Cindi, Flickr, CC


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My Overexcitable Hair

Photo on 12-9-14 at 12.37 PM

My hair

Admit it. You exude effervescence, exuberance and ebullience. Maybe it’s in the way you talk. Or the way you write. Maybe it’s in how you gush over photos from the Mars Rover. Or how you swoon over Sherlock.

In my last post, I briefly explained “overexcitabilities.”  (OEs) The expression comes from psychologist K. Dabrowski‘s research on giftedness. He says that gifted folks have lots of them. Like when your imagination takes you into mysterious universes where you create new worlds with complex languages. Or when you must obsessively research NASA’s potential study of manned blimps in the upper atmosphere of Venus. Or when your sensitivity to the sound of people chewing makes you want to cry.

If you don’t feel so effervescent, exuberant and ebullient right now it may be because you were raised by chainsaw parents or had painful schooling experiences. Or perhaps it’s because you read the newspaper. I understand. But I’ll bet you anything that before you were slowed down, quieted down and dumbed down, overexcitable was your middle name.

Now, I know I’ve told you in another post that I’m BG. (barely gifted) Even so, I do have some overexcitability.

See what I mean?

See what I mean?

It’s in my hair.

My hair is effervescent, exuberant and ebullient. Overexcitable. And let me tell you, I’ve tried to control it, contain it and dumb it down. To no avail.

But I’m done with that.

No more hiding.  No more shrinking. No more hair-obliteration.

Let my curls be seen. Let them express themselves. In all of their giftedness.

Are you with me?

__________________________

To my bloggEEs: How are you hiding and self-obliterating? How can you allow more of your rainforest hair mind to shine? This may seem to be in contradiction to my last post when I talked about a type of loving containment. It’s not. What I’m writing here is about finding your true Self and living your authentic hair life. What are your thoughts, feelings and questions?

 


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Raising A Kid Who’s Just Like You

Flickr, Creative Commons, Mikey-A-Tucker

Flickr, Creative Commons, Mikey-A-Tucker

What do you do when you’re excruciatingly sensitive, severely intense, outrageously curious, and wildly imaginative and you’re raising a kid who is JUST LIKE YOU?

Do you– run away from home? Move to a state where marijuana is legal? Outsource your child to India? Create a reality TV show?

Maybe.

Are there other options?

Yep.

First, understand that you and your child are like this because you have rainforest minds. In the research on giftedness, you’ll find these characteristics described. They’re called overexcitabilities (OE). Named by the Polish psychiatrist K. Dabrowski.

Then, learn how your overexcitabilities can be understood, celebrated, managed and lovingly contained when necessary. (like when you’re in the supermarket and you’d rather not start sobbing over the asparagus or when your child is at school and s/he would rather not start sobbing in front of the school bully)

Share what you learn with your child.

Understand– The rainforest mind is about more-ness. More questions. More insight. More sounds. More colors. More meltdowns. Not only is your cognitive ability generally running faster, wider and deeper but many of your other traits are supersized as well.

Celebrate– Wouldn’t it be a different world if all humans cried when their classmates were hurt on the playground? Wouldn’t it be a different world if all humans cared deeply about justice and fairness? Wouldn’t it be a different world if all humans preferred Jane Austen to Justin Bieber?

Manage and lovingly contain– I’m not talking about dumbing down here. Or stifling. Or shrinking. What I mean is that there are times when you’ll want to adjust your speed so that your communication is understood. You’ll want to wait until you’re in a safe place before unleashing your frustrations. You’ll want to learn how to keep your anxiety from overwhelming your body. You’ll want to sleep. So when you want to do these things, it’ll be useful to have developed some strategies.

Flickr Creative Commons United Way of Massachusetts

Flickr Creative Commons United Way of Massachusetts

And finally, raising a child like you may be both wonderful and terrible. Your child’s sweet vulnerability will scare you with the weight of extraordinary responsibility. The unexamined baggage from your own childhood will reappear and grab you by the throat. And your child’s overexcitabilities will dance with your own, to create an excruciatingly outrageously wild LOVE that will change you. Completely.

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To my blogEEs: Tell us in the comments about your experiences as a parent of a gifted child. How do you manage your child’s OEs and yours?

This post is part of a blog hop from Gifted Homeschoolers Forum. Click on the image below to see more posts on parenting OEs and twice-exceptional gifted kids.

Click on this image.

Click on this image.