What is a rainforest mind? Do you have one? Do you want one? Might it be better to have a meadow mind or a corn field mind? Simpler. Quieter. Predictable. Organized. Productive, but not overwhelmingly so. Beautiful, but not a sensory overload extravaganza.
Think about it. The rainforest. Your jungle mind. Overflowing with intense, lush, teeming life. Noisy.
Dense. Diverse. Vibrant. Abundant. Sensitive. Resource-full. Majestic. Flamboyant. Rotting. Always in flux. Providing support for all beings on the planet.
I know that you might not feel majestic. Maybe you’re not obviously flamboyant. Perhaps you have days when dense and rotting are the best descriptors. Maybe you’re not supporting all beings on the planet. Yet.
But the way your mind-heart-body-spirit works, you must admit, feels eerily similar to intense, lush, teeming life. And chances are, your questioning, curious, thinking, imagining mind is flamboyant. Or it was. When you were little. Effervescent and noisy.
Now, maybe you’ve learned to tamp it down.
Maybe people told you that they wished that you had a cornfield mind. And perhaps that sounded good to you, too. You weren’t sure there were many benefits to your constant questing. To your deep analysis of, oh, everything. To the howler monkeys who kept swinging from your branches fomenting havoc.
It’s tricky. To manage so much intensity, creativity, thinking, intuition, empathy, and sensitivity in your mind-heart-body-spirit. To not misdiagnose yourself with ADHD or OCD or bipolar disorder. To not get tangled in your own vines.
But it gets trickier. You also need to figure out how to live in a world that finds you overwhelming. Too curious. Too creative. Too smart. That can want to take your valuable resources from you. That can decide to cut you down.
And yet. That world is in desperate need of its rainforests.
So what do you do? What the heck do you do?
Tamp it back up.
You heard me.
What do I mean?
Well. I don’t mean that you should let the monkeys of your psyche loose on innocent bystanders. Or that you ought to make your sensitive soul vulnerable to the judgment and bizarre-ity of humankind. Or that you need to fix everything that’s wrong with the world.
What I mean is: Rediscover who you were before you tamped yourself down. Before you had to hide your light. Before you learned that you were too much.
Find ways to be that person again. You don’t have to do it all at once or to radically redesign your life. And you certainly shouldn’t let go of your healthy boundaries or your needs for quiet spaces. But decide to take back your voice, your body, your power, and your flamboyant majestic-ness. Either in your parenting, or teaching, or writing, or art forms, or speaking, or thinking, or activism, or spirituality, or loving. Or all of the above.
Find your particular rainforest-y way to support all beings on the planet.
Now more than ever.
To my dearest bloggEEs: This post is part of a collection of writings on underachieving. Underachieving is a term usually applied to gifted kids who aren’t doing well in school or living up to what is perceived as their potential. I include this post in the collection because I’m writing about you hiding or tamping down your authentic self. This can be a type of underachieving, just not in the traditional sense. (Click here or see the link below for access to the other posts.)
What are some ways that you’ve rediscovered your authentic self? What holds you back? What are your fears around finding your true self? What gives you the courage to examine yourself and to heal your broken heart? What types of actions are you taking to create a better world?
Two resources that I’ve found helpful for supporting all beings on the planet are Clarissa Pinkola Estes and Van Jones. What resources have you discovered?
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