Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive


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You Are Not Broken — A Strategy for Navigating Life With Humans Who Think You Are

“…Spend a life time being called weirdo, freak or crazy for being smarter, more creative and more perceptive…eventually you figure out that it’s not you that’s broken and you can not make your light dimmer to make others more comfortable and be your true self. I got past the anger years ago. I don’t need strategies to cope with accepting what I am or even that I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. I think, possibly, that I need strategies navigating a world that doesn’t want smart, perceptive and creative me…”

(photo by Patricia Palma, Unsplash)

Like the blog reader above, you may have been called weirdo, freak, and crazy because you were and are smarter, more creative, and highly perceptive.

But here’s the deal.

These days, they can no longer afford to reject you. They need you, whether they know it or not. It is no longer a question. It is no longer debatable. The planet needs its smart, creative, perceptive, sensitive people. You know this. I know this. It is obvious.

I realize there are still many humans all over the globe who are afraid of the creativity, insight, and innovation you bring. Who may even be afraid of the empathy and intuition you embody. But that is just too bad for them. It must no longer stop you.

YOU can no longer be afraid of yourself. YOU can no longer reject who you are. YOU need to recognize you are a perfect cup of tea, even if some refuse to drink. (If that sounds impossible, read my posts on therapy!)

And then. And then, it will be much easier to find the humans who appreciate and love you and to step away from those who don’t. I understand that stepping away is not easy. These may be family members, coworkers, neighbors, politicians; people you have to interact with. But there are ways to set and maintain boundaries. Ways to limit your exposure to difficult people. Ways to communicate effectively. Ways to vote them out.

And finding the people who get you? I am not saying you will find dozens of adoring fans. Although, even that is possible. I am just saying that there are a lot of shining lights out there. Right? They are reading this blog and buying my books! They are part of the Puttyverse. Members of silent book clubs. Dancing the Argentine tango. Fighting climate change. Running for office. Building a business. Writing books and music. Running nonprofits. Healing the wounded. Demanding justice.

They are scrolling through Instagram looking for you.

So, a strategy for navigating life in a world that may still think you are a weirdo, freak, and crazy? Well. They need you more than you need them. Right? So, find your other weirdos. Join your fellow freaks. Find your purpose(s). And, if all else fails: Break open. Break through. Break dance.

And to quote Pink in her song Just Give Me A Reason, “…we’re not broken, we’re just bent…” and “we can learn to love…”

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To my bloggEEs: So, my little chickadees, how are you learning to love yourself? How are you setting boundaries with the people who do not realize just how amazing you are? What are some strategies you are using to navigate in this world? How are you letting your light shine?


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A Short Guide to Love and Relationships When You Are Sensitive And Smart — Part One

(photo by Kelly Sikkema)

“…I see patterns everywhere, in everything. I can’t help making connections. It’s like the world speaks to me. Things happen to me that don’t happen to normal people…”

“…To me, love can be felt and lived and seen everywhere, even in darker times and places…”

“…People don’t often understand my sense of humor, because they can’t see the movie playing out in my head (trust me, it’s hilarious). Others have told me they are ‘intimidated’ by my book collection…”

“…I cannot imagine how hard it is to love me as a partner…”

“…Why can’t I just start with the most important information? It seems I cannot, because it is a web of interconnected aspects that spans across space and time. Words tumble in my mind, but as soon as I try to condense them into a concrete sentence to speak or write down, I get blocked and fall silent because I can never do justice to the web and all its nuances. This makes me feel sad and desperate to connect…”  (Comments sent to me by blog readers)

Where do I begin, then, to talk about love? How in the world do I approach this topic when it is so darned complex, you are so darned complicated, and, well, I am intimidated by your book collection?

I will let the psychotherapist in me take the reins. She knows what to say. She has opinions, biases, and years of experience with you people.

This is what she told me to write:

Probably the most important message I can send you today is this: Make time to do the deep inner work that allows you to love yourself. An obvious message. But often misunderstood or dismissed or ridiculed. (This is not about selfishness or self-centeredness or new age mumbo jumbo. Keep reading.) Mind you, you do not have to love yourself perfectly and utterly. You can still have self-doubt and anxieties. But, the thing is, if you have grown up with neglect, abuse, or other types of trauma, or even if you haven’t and are *just* grappling with giftedness, it is very possible, you will have some difficulty with self-love. And, it is even possible you will misinterpret what love is. You might base your understanding of love on what you experienced in your family of origin and then find relationships (friends, partners) that provide that kind of familiar non-love. So, you may even have to figure out what love actually is. And, then, learn the self-love tango.

Sounds kinda daunting, I know. But if I can do it, so can you.

Inner work helps you untangle these intricate sticky vines and gain clarity about what real love might look like, feel like, and be. It allows you to break old family cycles and legacies and find new more nurturing, nourishing pathways. Pathways to love. Pathways to higher love, generous love, divine love.

Here is what one bloggEE wrote about this:

“… a non-understanding parent (mother in my case), as well as a non-understanding and jealous sibling, multiple trauma in my teens and after, as well as a history in the family from the war in Indonesia, second generation trauma. I write this first to explain the background, which became clear to me in my late 40’s. I’m 52 now, and looking back I can understand why some relationships couldn’t make it. Some were ‘doomed’ from the start because I didn’t know who I was, what I was carrying inside me. With the wisdom now of who I am, what I’m capable of… with my realization that I am in fact a RFM, an HSP, gifted (2 or 3E), and what not, I ‘know’ now that I did the right thing to stay single until I had sorted myself out. Came to accept and learned to live with my past experiences…”

I am not saying you need to stay single until you are sorted out. After all, sorting out may take a while. (And, then, in typical rainforest-minded form, you will not stop there. You may go from there to a tiny transformation so that your self-love spills out to family, friends, neighbors, adversaries, people you haven’t met, animals, and plants. You are rainforest-minded after all. And this is the deeper purpose of self-love, in case you wondered.) The more you understand and grieve for the lost, wounded child within, the more love (in various and sundry forms) will find you.

I speak from experience. Not just with clients but with myself. I started as a client in therapy in my 30’s, coming from a cold, avoidant, emotionally and sexually abusive, dysfunctional middle class white Jewish family immersed in lots of barely under the surface fear, rage, shame, and generational trauma. It has been a long journey of therapy, journaling, breath work, guided imagery, energy work, internal family systems, somatic experiencing, soul collage, acupuncture, reading, workshops, and more. I have been in two partnerships that re-enacted my early experiences of so-called love. Over the years, in safe relationships with therapists and other practitioners and in my trusty journal, I began to explore and heal the abandonment, loneliness, invasion, shame, fear, rage, and loss. And I tenderly reparented the lonely little ones inside me. I began to soften, to defrost, to unburden, to release, to grieve, to put the pieces of my broken heart back together.

And authentic love (in various and sundry forms) found me. And is still finding me. Deeply nurturing, intimate friendships. New connections with family. Spiritual community. Argentine tango. Work that feeds my creativity and passions. Meaningful, sweet, close connections with soulful clients and sensitive readers around the world who send me fan mail. Writing. Spiritual guides. A sense of humor. Music. Books. And a powerful, fierce, glowing, pure Light within that appears to be my new identity. Or my original identity, released. And now I freely spread the love around. Hither and yon. With abandon. And even a little glee.

So. The psychotherapist in me recommends it: The self-love tango. Rediscovering your own powerful, fierce, glowing pure Light. And, even in these hard times, especially in these hard times, spreading it around. Hither and yon. With abandon. And even a little glee.

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To my bloggEEs: I have good news and bad news. The bad news is, I have decided not to write the book on rainforest mind love and relationships because, the good news, it can actually be covered in a few blog posts. (Did you see that coming?) I know you were quite enthusiastic about the project and many of you wrote to me. I am sorry to disappoint you but there are some excellent resources that may not be RFM specific but still provide the important information you need. (I will tell you where to find them.)

And, for even more good news, I am working instead on a book that will become a guided journal for rainforest minds. It will guide you in deepening your understanding of yourself through writing and drawing prompts and inspirational quotes/memes that will be fun, deep-diving, and healing. I will include some of my own personal journal entries as examples. This new book will be the third in a trilogy where you acquire self-understanding, self-acceptance, and then discover your path(s) to the future and to finding your particular rainforest-y way to create a better world.

So, my sweetest, dearest rainforesters, this is part one of the Love Posts. There will at least be one more where I write more specifically about relationships and partnerships. (And share more of your quotes.) Let us know what you think so far. I didn’t actually plan to share so much about me! Eek! But I suspect it might be helpful. Yes? Thank you, as always, for commenting. We are doing the love tango here for sure.


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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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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.


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“The Problem, Officer, Is That My Sister Is An Intellectual…”* –A Quick Guide To Your Rainforest Mind

(*quote adapted from the inspiring talk Surviving as an Organizational Heretic ; by Carmen Medina TEDx talk)

(photo courtesy of Fabio Fistarol, Unsplash)

Have you been identified as the problem in your family? Is your finely tuned sensitivity, unending research, probing curiosity, exquisite empathy, passionate creativity, accurate intuition, in-depth analysis, sweet optimism, and driven social conscience, misunderstood, misdiagnosed, and mystifying?

Do your parents, siblings, teachers, therapists, friends, neighbors, and pets, look at you with wonder, or confusion, or anger, or fear, or jealousy, or awe? (OK. Maybe your pets look at you with, well, unconditional love. Unless they are cats. Cats may look at you with disdain. Not because you are gifted, though. But just because.) Do you reject the notion you are gifted because you know how much you don’t know or because you were not a straight-A student or because it feels arrogant, elitist, and unfair?

I thought so.

Then, of course, there is the pressure. Oh, the pressure. If you are so smart, then, well, you better reach your potential. Wasted potential is not an option. You ought to be great at everything you try at all times. Maybe even “insanely great.” Mistakes, then, become failures and failures are unbearable.  

No wonder you would like to hide out rather than shine too brightly. No wonder. But honestly? You can not really hide. Not really. You can try. But at some point, your rainforest mind will sneak out from under your cloak. The truth of who you are will be revealed. How? Well, for starters, it could be that any one or more of the following occur:

The foundation of your house finally cracks under the weight of all of those darn books. You can’t stop crying over nature’s fecundity.  It takes you 11 years to get through college because you keep changing your major, start two businesses, learn the Argentine tango, join the board of an arts organzation, travel to Nepal to lead treks, teach yourself watercolor painting, and write a screenplay. You still reread Jane Austen, Ursula LeGuin, and Toni Morrison, again and again. You raise a gifted child. You start a nonprofit, or three. You become an overworked, underpaid, and adored-by-your-students middle school teacher. You swoon over your fascination with fungi. You dive deeply into psychotherapy to heal from your traumatic childhood. (Yeah, I know. You thought I’d say, you win a Nobel prize. And, perhaps, you do that, too. But prizes are not required for rainforest mind membership.)

In other words, because you have a rainforest mind, you have an extra large, perhaps enormous, capacity to think, feel, know, perceive, analyze, evaluate, discern, observe, empathize, intuit, create, imagine, and love. All humans have these abilities to greater and lesser degrees, of course. Your capacities are just much deeper, wider, and multi-faceted. You experience layers and levels and complexities and controversies and visions and worries and energies and influences that others may not. 

This is not arrogant, elitist, or unfair.

It is just you.

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To my bloggEEs: Do you need to find more self-acceptance and understanding? If you experience conflict in your family or in other relationships, it could be, at least in part, because of these differences. Let us hear from you. Thank you for sharing your comments, feelings, thoughts, and questions. They add so much. Love to you! (Note: If you get a chance, watch Carmen Medina‘s TED talk. She explains how to create change in an organization and you can hear the whole story from her about what her brother said!)


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Why Do You Need To Know You Have A Rainforest Mind?

You are a big thinker. A deep thinker. A constant thinker. An analytical and creative thinker. Some might call you an overthinker.

photo courtesy of Kazi Mizan, Unsplash

You are a big feeler. A deep feeler. A constant feeler. (Unless you have learned your emotions are a sign of weakness. Or you have learned to repress them because of disturbing childhood events) An analytical and creative feeler. Some might call you an overfeeler.

You are a big perceiver/intuiter. A deep perceiver/intuiter. A constant perceiver/intuiter. An analytical and creative perceiver/intuiter. Some might call you an overperceiver/intuiter.

You have probably tried to be less of an *over* person. You may have seen it as a flaw or something you had to control or hide. Certainly not a strength or a sign of giftedness. You may have been bullied in school because of all of your questions and all of your answers. You may have lost friends because they thought you were bossy when you told them the correct way to play chess or conceited when you won the spelling bee for the third year in a row or weird when you swooned over The Lord of the Rings trilogy. As an adult, you may have been seen as irresponsible when you changed careers five times before you were 35 or too picky because you painted your living room twelve times in four years. Or judgmental when you grew impatient waiting for your coworkers to catch up.

But the truth is, your rainforest mind is enormous in its capacity to think, feel, perceive, and intuit. It is not a better mind than a meadow mind or a desert mind. It is just more vast or more complex or more hooked up or more connected. Or all of those things. It means you are managing a personhood that has a heck of a lot going on in its brain-mind-heart-body-spirit. A heck of a lot. That is why it is called a rainforest, doncha know.

And this enormous capacity is tricky. Not only does it mean you have difficulty finding others who understand you and want to geek out with you about the spiritual meaning of fractals and Foucault, it puts pressure on you to be a super high achiever in, oh, all areas, oh, all of the time. Not to mention, save the world.

That is a lot of pressure.

But rainforest-mindedness is not about achievement. At least not in the traditional sense. It is not about a 4.0 GPA or a six-figure salary at a Fortune 500 company. It is not about an Olympic gold medal or a viral video. It is not about being capable in all areas all of the time. Face it. Your garage is a disaster and you still can not find your keys. You are a wreck when your child scrapes their knee and you never can remember your sister-in-law’s third husband’s name. You read romance novels and binge watch The Bachelor. You have not solved the climate crisis.

You are not perfect.

But you need to acknowledge you have a rainforest mind. You might even use the word gifted, if you can manage it. Because that is who you are. You are the rainforest-minded variety of gifted. This is because you not only have advanced intelligence, but you also have a great deal of empathy, intuition, creativity, and multipotentiality. And you need to contribute in some way to create a better world.

By the way, not all who are gifted, have these other traits. In my experience, many do. But not all.

And if you accept your place in the rainforest mind clan, then, you can rethink your critical assessment of your thinking, feeling, perceiving, and intuiting. You will stop trying to be less of an *over* person.

When you accept that your *over* is your normal and it is quite fine just as it is, then who knows what might happen. Imagine thinking, feeling, perceiving, and intuiting to your heart’s content. Letting your creativity run amok. Analyzing. Inventing. Geeking out over fractals and Foucault. Creating a better world.

You are not *over.* You are not *under.* You are just right.

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To my bloggEEs: So, my darlings, I hope you are staying safe and healthy. Do you deal with the conundrum that if you acknowledge you are gifted, then you have to do something phenomenal? Do you see all of your faults and so that means you are not so smart? Are you struggling to find someone who can keep up with you? Do you have painful memories of being misunderstood and bullied? Let us know your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Thank you so much for being here.


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It Is Time To Stop Denying You Are Gifted — Part Two

photo courtesy of Hannah Grace, Unsplash

I have written about the reasons you may be denying you are gifted. But I missed one.

What if you are denying you are gifted because, if you admit you actually are gifted, then, you have to let the not-gifted humans off the hook. You have to not expect so much of them. You can’t be irritated or angry at their slow pace or their lack of capacity to grasp what you have to offer. You have to be responsible for all of the not-gifted humans forever and ever. And you will be alone for the rest of your days.

I love how dramatic you are.

I get why you think this. And there is a teensy weensy bit of truth in it. But here is what is really going on.

Because you have a rainforest mind, your capacity to learn, see, know, feel, smell, hear, taste, and intuit is larger than average. Maybe a lot larger. You were born that way. It is not your fault. Of course, this does not mean you must be capable in all areas all of the time, or even some areas all of the time, or all areas some of the time. Or that everything should be easy. You have your strengths and weaknesses. Your misinterpretations. Your confusions. Your particular interests and disinterests. Your self-doubt. Your failures. This does not even guarantee you are a high achiever, although you could be. And if you grew up with abuse/trauma or bullying, you have developed coping strategies and/or you may have acquired post-traumatic stress symptoms, like anxiety and depression, that distort your ability to see who you really are and live your fully rainforested life.

But, what about those not-gifted humans in your family. Your community. Your workplace. Your world. What about them?

(This is so tricky. It is hard not to sound arrogant with this one. But this is not arrogance and we need to talk about it.)

Do you have to lower your expectations? Probably. But do you even know what reasonable expectations are for most people? After all, your own super high standards may feel normal to you.

So, here is an idea. What if, on a case by case basis, you experiment with your expectations. How? Get to know the person. Do they have a rainforest mind? If yes, then relating might be easier. If no, what are their strengths and weaknesses? What can they handle? Where are their limits? What type of relationship and communication makes the most sense? If you do create different expectations, how do you still hold them accountable? You may need to be flexible, strategic, and creative in your approach. You may need to practice setting boundaries. You may need to limit contact.

Give yourself permission to feel irritated and angry. It can be extremely frustrating and lonely to always be the one with the solutions or the supportive response. You do not have to be the compassionate and understanding one every time, even if you are naturally inclined that way. Find healthy ways to release your frustrations and anger. You only have so much energy. Be aware of how much you give and how much you receive so that there is more balance in your life. Deepen your spiritual practice.

Then, make sure you look everywhere for other RFMs. I am living proof that they exist because I talk to them every day. My practice is thriving. They read my blog and books! You can find them, too. You do not have to be alone for the rest of your days.

And, just in case you were worried: You are not responsible for saving, healing, rescuing, and transforming all of the not-gifted humans out there. They are on their own paths, making the right choices for them. Or the wrong choices for them. It is your job to save, heal, rescue, and transform yourself. 

So, stop denying you are gifted.

Do you hear me?

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To my bloggEEs: I understand you may feel a need to contribute to creating a better world. Of course you do. I do, too. I am just saying that you do not need to save everyone. You do not need to sacrifice yourself for others, especially those who will not benefit from your generosity. It is OK to choose carefully how you make a difference here on planet earth. So, what do you think? Are you gifted? How does this post resonate with you? As always, your comments add so much. Thank you!

And here is an upcoming event that you might enjoy. I am participating in a free online conference via The Shift Network called Evolved Empath 2020. Check it out!


50 Comments

It Is Time To Stop Denying You Are Gifted

Photo courtesy of Miguel Bruna, Unsplash

“Humanity’s most consequential decade is now upon us. Your permission to play small has been permanently revoked.”   Van Jones

I know you may not think you are gifted. Perhaps, if you have been following my blog for a while, I have convinced you that you have a rainforest mind. But you may still question yourself because you did not do well in math or you dropped out of college or you are a stay-at-home mom or learning 5 languages was easy. Anyone can learn 5 languages easily, right? The Katakana/Hiragana alphabets? Can’t everyone teach themselves software engineering? Isn’t everyone a ravenous researcher-reader?

Um, no.

I understand. You do not want to be a narcissist. To be accused of arrogance. You want to recognize everyone’s talents. You still do not know what you want to do when you grow up and you are 50. You are not famous. You have met people smarter than you. You do not finish one project before you start another. You change jobs every few years. You can not decide what color to paint your bedroom. You feel distress when asked the question: How are you?

Distress? How are you?

Heck, yeah.

Then again, you may be denying your giftedness because it feels safer to “play small.” Being the smart kid was not so great. You may have been bullied for your intellectual enthusiasm. Parents may have assumed you would be fine, so you were the neglected child. The pressure to be a high achiever may be the reason for your endless anxiety. No one understood why you cried so much. You heard “who do you think you are” too many times. You may have been burned at the stake in a former life.

And, who can you tell you are gifted if you finally decide you are???

Honestly?

No one.

Well, you can tell me. Your partner should know. It will explain a lot. Your close friends. Who may also be gifted. Your acupuncturist, if she is also gifted. Your psychotherapist. Your gifted kids.

What’s most important is that YOU know. It will explain a lot.

And then. And then, you need to stop playing small.

Because, as you are aware, this is the decade where we all need to step up. Hiding is no longer an option. You have to risk the bullying and the neglect. You have to learn how to soothe your anxiety and appreciate your intuition. You have to reignite your intellectual enthusiasm.

And then?

From the wise words of Clarissa Pinkola Estes:

“…One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these — to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do…”

You need to be “…fully lit.” “…to stand up and show your soul.”

In other words, just be you.

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To my bloggEEs: I know it is not necessarily so easy to “just be you.” You may need some guidance. Maybe some self-compassion work. Encouragement about the future. Activism. Esoteric philosophy. Rebecca Solnit. Climate crisis action.  Soul Collage.  Psychotherapy. Relationship articlesMy books!

I have been reading some old posts and find your comments so deeply sensitive and enlightening. Please continue to share your experiences here. We all benefit so much. Tell us how you feel about accepting your giftedness. Share what you are doing in these challenging times to know your soul and show your soul. And thank you so much for your courage and vulnerability. Sending big love.

 

 

 


60 Comments

“My Brain Is Bursting At The Seams” — The World Of The Gifted Adult

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photo courtesy of Erwan Hesry, Unsplash

“I want to do everything at once and no one wants me to. They think I can’t focus. They want me to do one thing and do it for them the way they want it done..and it is so hard to climb the ladder unless you ‘participate properly’… just keep getting knocked down again and again.

When I do ‘focus’ my brain is bursting at the seams. It is ‘loud’ and repetitive and always running in the background. I don’t feel ‘smart’. I feel mentally ‘harnessed’ all day and then after work I feel too tired to soar like I want. The anxiety builds up, and then I just feel alone in an ocean of humans, doubting that I’m even one of them. It’s been like this since I was very young, but now I can’t just run away and hide – I have to be an adult, a mom, an employee and hardly ever myself.” (from our blog comments)

Do you feel “mentally harnessed?” Too tired at the end of the day to “soar?” Are you “alone in an ocean of humans?” Do you have a bursting brain?

Welcome to the world of the rainforest-minded.

You are not alone. I get you. And there are many others out there just like you, although they may be hard to find. You are not crazy. You are not a complainer or ungrateful. There is nothing wrong with you. If you are a gifted human, which you are, you are bursting– with thoughts, emotions, questions, ideas, curiosities, hopes, dreams, fears, analyses, creations, and more. There is a huge range of activity in your rainforest mind.

“They think I can’t focus.” What does “focus” even mean if you are gifted? If your brain is running on several tracks at once, maybe you are not meant to think of or do one thing at a time. If you are not a linear sequential thinker, you may have to have multiple projects and activities going at once. You may need to be thinking in more than one language at a time. And it is quite possible that the “proper” way from their perspective is limited by their smaller capacity to imagine possibilities. How do we redefine proper for the gifted mind?

I understand how you might not feel smart. You may not fit the traditional definition of what smart is supposed to be. If you don’t have a long list of achievements that society deems worthy, you may feel quite ungifted. If you are sensitive, idealistic, and optimistic, you may feel less bright because the cynics and the critics have been labeled the intelligent ones. If you have trouble explaining your viewpoint to others because they want quick fixes and easy answers or if you have difficulty making decisions because you are so aware of the multitudes, layers, and implications, you might begin to imagine that your way of thinking is lacking. That you are lacking.

That is why I am here.

To help you see the truth. Because when you realize you are smart, that you are gifted, you can begin to find the energy to soar. You won’t be fighting yourself as much. You will be less anxious. You will find a sturdier ladder to climb. (Or you will climb a mountain, instead.) You will discover the nourishment you need because you will know that you are capable and that you have a right to your expansion, to self-compassion, and to your youness.

And, heaven knows, my darlings, the planet desperately needs more and more soaring rainforest-minded humans.

Come. Fly with me.

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To my bloggEEs: Tell us if your brain is bursting. If you have felt harnessed and unable to soar. What has helped you manage when you have many obligations? If you were to let yourself soar, what would that look like? Thank you so much for being here. Let us know of any resources you have found that are helping you understand your giftedness and that are supporting you through these difficult times. (And, if you are reading my books, please write a review on Amazon. Reviews will draw more attention so that more RFMs will find us! Thank you.)

 

 

 


17 Comments

Let Bossy Girls and Sensitive Boys Change The World

photo courtesy of Joseph Gonzalez, Unsplash

Admit it. You were either a bossy girl or a sensitive boy.* And, of course, you were more than that. Much more.

But, girls. You had opinions. You knew how the games were played and expected everyone to follow your lead. To do it right. You read all the books voraciously. The library was your happy place. You knew what you knew. Didn’t everyone want to learn the correct way to play hopscotch? And chess? Didn’t your teachers need you to correct their spelling errors? You couldn’t help but express your intellectual enthusiasm.

They said you were bossy. And you were. But this was not a bad thing.

We need more bossy girls.

And boys. You had big emotions. Tears. Meltdowns. Your empathy was deep. You had trouble adhering to the boy code. The pressure to be tough, cool. To squelch your enthusiasm for learning. Your parents were confused because you were multiplying numbers in your head and were so darned articulate. How could you be so smart yet so immature? But you weren’t immature. Your sensitivities were as vast as your intellect. You felt great sadness for hurt children and for endangered animals. You were soft-hearted.

They said you were immature. Not manly enough. They were wrong.

We need more sensitive boys.

Now, I know, my darlings. You are not so bossy anymore. Not so emotional or empathetic. There has been so much pressure to not be you.

But that’s why I’m here.

And it is time.

Time to get your bossy on. Time to express your emotions and empathy again.

Because with your bossy, with your sensitivities, with your trust in your true self, you can change the world.

Let’s change the world.

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To my bloggEEs: Were you a bossy girl or a sensitive boy? Tell us stories about your early days and how you have been able to trust yourself again or how you are struggling. And, by the way, I know it is the holiday season. So I’m sending you this post to help you make it through, if it is a difficult or lonely time. Much love to you all.

(*maybe you were/are nonbinary, but that’s a topic for a future post…)

(Note: Of course, you all know that our gifted girls are also highly sensitive and empathetic. But this was not the focus of this post. Just in case any of you were wondering.)