Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive


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If You Have a Rainforest Mind, You’ve Got Hopepunk

photo courtesy of Natalie Grainger, Unsplash

Have you heard of it? Hopepunk? If you haven’t, listen up.

It’s got your name written all over it. Seriously.

Hopepunk is about strength through kindness, optimism, and empathy. Power through gentleness and intelligent compassion. It’s about ethics, justice, and standing up. Speaking out for love.

If that doesn’t describe a rainforest mind, well, I don’t know what does.

Hopepunk.

It’s Harry Potter. It’s Frodo and Sam.

It’s Dear Evan Hansen. The musical. The song You Will Be Found.

The School of Life. “The School of Life is a global organisation dedicated to developing emotional intelligence.”

It’s Lin Manuel-Miranda.

On Being. “…an independent non-profit public life and media initiative. We pursue deep thinking and social courage, moral imagination and joy, to renew inner life, outer life, and life together.”

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and Earth Guardians. “We empower young people by providing them with leadership opportunities and tools to bring their innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing issues.”

It’s good psychotherapy.

March for Our Lives.

Rebecca Solnit.

Rebels At Work. “This is a place of ideas, stories, and resources for Rebels At Work, those of us trying to improve, change, and innovate at work…”

Brain Pickings.

It’s The Parents’ Guide to Climate Revolution by Mary DeMocker

Love Army“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Hopepunk.

It’s a new term that was coined on Tumblr by Alexandra Rowland in 2017 for the fantasy and sci-fi communities of readers and writers and shared by Rebecca Solnit on Facebook. It’s growing from there. To my blog. To you.

Carry on, hopepunkers. Carry on.

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To my bloggEEs: Share the books, songs, movies, and organizations that represent hopepunk in your life. This will be our gift to each other as we enter 2019. Much love and hopepunk to you all.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Taming the Procrastination Beast

Smart people procrastinate.

Really? What do smart people have to procrastinate about? Can’t they just get things done with ease and aplomb?

Oh, brother.

(Now I realize that you may not be a procrastinator. And if you aren’t, that doesn’t mean that you aren’t a smart person. I’m just making a sweeping generalization, as is my tendency, because so many of the rainforest-minded folks I know, are. Procrastinators. And, as I’ve told you before, I know a heck of a lot of smart people since I’ve been working with them in some form or another since the ’70s which I realize suggests that I must be close to geezerhood. Which I am. But, age aside, I still have a totally unscientific anecdotal experience of hordes of g-g-gifted people waiting until the very very last minute to complete whatever it was that needed completing.)

Really.

For those of you who are procrastinators, then, or for those of you who have one or more in your home, I’m here to help.

First, let’s get clear about the reasons why you procrastinate. In no particular order.

Do you ever think any of the following:

If I do it at the last minute, and it’s not great, it’s because I didn’t have the time.

I have to be brilliant all the time or people will see I’m not so smart. They’ll be disappointed in me and I can’t let that happen.

My identity depends on my achievements. If I fail at something, it means I’m worthless.

I believe that everything I do needs to be perfect.

I could do assignments for school at the last minute and still get an A. Now I don’t know how not to do things at the last minute.

I never learned how to take one step at a time or prioritize so I get overwhelmed by tasks.

What I’m doing is so mundane, I can at least add time pressure to make it more stimulating.

I can’t be mediocre, ordinary, work hard, ask for help or lose.

What do all of these thoughts have in common?

Pressure. Expectations. Perfectionism. Performance anxiety. Patterns formed in childhood. A shadow side of being g-g-gifted.

So, what do you do?

First, you don’t have to feel guilty if you haven’t tamed your procrastination. In the best book I’ve seen on the topic, titled creatively, Procrastination, by Jane Burka and Lenora Yuen, readers are told that the factors that contribute to procrastination are “not only individual psychological, behavioral, and emotional issues, but also social, cultural, and technological dynamics, biological and neurological predispositions and universal human tendencies.”books

Oh boy.

Now don’t get all overwhelmed on me.

They then provide several chapters of excellent suggestions. Steps you can take to begin to tame the beast.

And, what else?

What if you start to imagine that you do have a rainforest mind. You’re highly sensitive, empathetic, socially conscious, emotional, creative, and intense. You analyze deeply. You think nonstop.

It’s not good or bad. It just is. You just are.

And remember–

“Confronting and changing long-held assumptions about you and your family can be unnerving and disorienting. This is why procrastination is so hard to overcome. It’s not simply a matter of changing a habit; it requires changing your inner world. However, as you access capabilities and parts of yourself that have been held back by procrastination, you can derive great pleasure in claiming your whole self.”  Jane Burka & Lenora Yuen

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To my dearest blogEEs:

Let me/us know your experiences with procrastination and how you deal with it. Don’t put it off. Do it now!

This is very likely the last post before the SENG conference this coming week, July 18-20, in San Jose, CA. I mean, I really have to finish planning my presentation. Not that I’m a procrastinator, mind you. I’m not. I’m just saying…

 


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They Say You’re a Geek

P1050374They say, get realistic, your standards are excessive. You say, I need to raise the bar.

They say, slow down and calm down. You say, I pump my brakes but they still don’t keep up.

They say, you’re too sensitive. You say, doesn’t everyone cry at an orange-fuchsia-purple-mauve sunset?

They say, you’re obsessive-compulsive. You say, I need to do more research.

They say, you’re a know-it-all. You say I’m an impostor.

They say, you read too much. You say, so many books, so little time.

They say, you need to pick one career. You say, so many careers, so little time.

They say, they don’t follow your reasoning. You say, they just aren’t trying hard enough.

They say, you shouldn’t take things so seriously. You say, they need to get out of denial.

They say, you’re naive for being so optimistic and idealistic. You say, they need to dig more deeply.

They say you aren’t having any fun. You say, it’s complicated.

6150842447_b40355b4ddThey say you don’t finish anything. You say, I learned it. I don’t need to finish it.

They say you’re weird. You say, yes.

They say you’re a geek. You say, you betcha.

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To my favorite bloggEEs: I just want to mention that I’ll be presenting at the SENG conference in San Jose, CA the weekend of July 18-20. If you can attend, please come say ‘hello.’ I may be blogging less these next 2 weeks as I prepare my talk and attend the event. But don’t worry. I’ll be thinking about you.

And one more thing. It just occurred to me that you may not be commenting because if you did, you’d be openly admitting that you may, in fact, relate to what I’m saying which, might, in fact, imply that you actually might have a rainforest mind which would then have to mean that you would be g-g-gifted. Ahem. Write a comment anyway. OK? Let me know how I can help you.

Photo #2: CC  https://www.flickr.com/x/t/0097009/photos/hada_del_lago/6150842447/


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I’m Not Gifted, I’m Just Lucky–Part Two

I know. You’re not gifted.

Humor me.

If you were gifted, here are some things you would need to know.

1. Intelligence is not a fixed, hard, immutable thing.  Intelligence is not an either you-are or you’re-not situation. Sure, you have a rainforest mind. You’re smart, sensitimindsetve, empathetic, analytical, creative, intense, perfectionistic and complicated. But that doesn’t mean that your traits and abilities can’t shift, change and grow. That doesn’t mean that you can’t be confused, dumb, embarrassing and a complete failure some of the time. The key, according to Carol Dweck, author of Mindsetis that you’re open to growth. That you love learning. And, when you think about it, it’s all learning. One way or another. And, I know your mother told you this but maybe you’ll listen to me: You learn more from your mistakes and failures than from your successes. Think about it.

2. Your mistakes, failures, and embarrassments. Entertaining stories for holiday gatherings, memoirs, and TED talks.

3. Intelligence is not the same as achievement. Some people who are extremely bright, have not graduated from college, have not discovered relativity, have not won a Nobel prize and are not billionaires. I might also suggest that the reverse is true. High achievers and rich people are not necessarily extremely bright. I won’t mention any names.

4. Effort and sustained practice are required for outstanding achievement. You may have believed that if you were truly gifted, you shouldn’t have to exert effort to produce greatness. You’d be wrong.

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5.Remember that long odd conglomeration of things from my last post? The list of reasons you might feel like an impostor? Valerie Young makes sense of them in her book The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women. Check it out.

6. And, finally, here’s the thing. The Thing. As you struggle to understand and accept that you have a rainforest mind, that you may, in fact, be g-g-gifted, imagine that there’s something you’re here on the planet to do. No pressure. Don’t get all nervous on me. Well, maybe a little pressure. It doesn’t need to be something “insanely great.” It’s not about that.

You know what I’m talkin’ about. You’ve felt it. Begin to open to the possibility that now is the time to find it, feel it, do it and be it.

 

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To my darling bloggEEs:

I hope I didn’t just freak you out with that last part. I promise to help you figure it out. That’s why I’m here. That’s what I’m here on the planet to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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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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