Three Essential Books For Empathetic Introspective Activists

Just when I thought the situation in N. America, could not get worse, the situation got worse. All over the planet, we are seeing disturbing developments. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you probably know what I am about to say. So, I will let Van Jones say it:

(from my Instagram account)

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

I can help.

First off, I have been harping on you for a long time to accept you have a rainforest mind, to heal any family legacy burdens you might still be carrying, and to find how best to use your particular creative, smart, sensitive voice to create a better world.

It is as simple and as complicated as that.

For your family legacy burdens, I recommend No Bad Parts by Richard Schwartz. You may have heard about Internal Family Systems therapy. It is a powerful structure for healing from childhood trauma. Ideally, you work with a therapist. But a good therapist can be hard to find, or afford. This book gives you a creative structure for examining your inner world and healing and accepting all of who you are. There is a particular emphasis on connecting with your higher Self. I have used this with clients and myself. It works!

Another book I recommend is Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in with Unexpected Resilience & Creative Power by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone. You may know Joanna Macy has been working on climate issues for many years. She says, “…each of us needs to find our place of greatest fit…where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Not only does Macy provide guidance for how to grapple with the climate crisis but she also suggests, as I do, that an action plan would include the combination of your favorite talents dancing with what the planet needs.

In other words, you do not need to be the next Greta Thunberg. (although you could be) You do not need to single-handedly get all banks to stop financing fossil fuels. (although you could switch to green banking or join The Dream Corps ) You do not need to run for office. (although you should definitely vote)

Your job is to figure out who you are and what makes your heart sing. And yes, I know, many things sing because you have a rainforest mind. That is good. You have choices. Using your creativity and intuition, then, tune into the deep knowing inside that tells you what particular contributions YOU might make to improve life on planet earth.

Start with these two books. Oh, ok, one more. Bittersweet by Susan Cain. There is a lot to love in this book. So much heart. Plus the question: “What are you longing for?…Have you asked what is the thing you long for most, your unique imprint, singular mission, wordless calling?…”

Use your fabulous book-nerdiness, then, to help you find your way and support you on your journey.

And hey. You now have an excuse to be your biggest self. You are being called to stop hiding, stop shrinking, stop pretending to fit in. You no longer have to worry the other kids will feel bad if you are as smart as you are! “Your permission to remain small has been permanently revoked.”

_______________________________

To my bloggEEs: Are there books you have loved that you recommend? Podcasts? Websites? How does it feel to imagine not having to shrink or hide? It might be a bit challenging at first if you are not used to it. Sending you love!!

And here is the latest interview of me from the Netherlands. If you stick around until the end, you will hear things getting up close and personal!


Author: Paula Prober

I’m a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice in Eugene, Oregon. I specialize in counseling gifted adults and consulting with parents of gifted children. The label “gifted” is often controversial and confusing. I use the metaphor of the rainforest to describe this population. Like the rainforest, these individuals are quite complex, highly sensitive, intense, multi-layered, and misunderstood. They’re also curious, idealistic, highly intelligent, creative, perfectionistic, and they love learning. I’ve been an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University. I’ve written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, and Advanced Development Journal. My first book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, was released in June 2016 by GHF Press and is available on Amazon or at your independent bookstore. My second book, Journey Into Your Rainforest Mind: A Field Guide for Gifted Adults and Teens, Book Lovers, Overthinkers, Geeks, Sensitives, Brainiacs, Intuitives, Procrastinators, and Perfectionists, was released in June 2019.

34 responses to “Three Essential Books For Empathetic Introspective Activists”

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  1. Mark S. Meritt Avatar
    Mark S. Meritt

    I really appreciate you bringing up Internal Family Systems here. I see possible connections between IFS’ parts perspective and the multipotentiality that is talked about by you, Emilie Wapnick and others. I talked about some of that in an essay I once wrote in response to a prompt Emilie had given: https://potluck.com/2020/09/how-embracing-my-mulitpotentiality-makes-me-a-better-human/


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks for the link, Mark. I enjoyed reading it and also looked at your About page. You surely have a rainforest mind!! Glad to have you here.


      1. Mark S. Meritt Avatar
        Mark S. Meritt

        Thanks so much, Paula. (I’m tickled that you got to see me say that rainforest mind is the closest term I’ve found to identify with!)


    2. Maureen Helen Avatar
      Maureen Helen

      I also enjoyed your article Mark, and left a comment there.


      1. Mark S. Meritt Avatar
        Mark S. Meritt

        Thanks!


  2. lodestarwytch Avatar
    lodestarwytch

    Honestly I am finding this hard. I’m used to being overlooked or underestimated if that makes sense! I have a lot of healing that I am doing right now including inner child healing & I always get stuck in a viscous loop of thinking that me working on me is selfish (which I realise it isn’t!) & then I end up trying to do everything at once & I burn out or get so overwhelmed. I will have a look at the books you have recommended. Thank you!


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      As you said, doing your deep healing work is not selfish. Imagine how the world would change if more people stopped the cycles of abuse in their families! Yes, check out the books! Thank you for sharing, lodestarwytch.


  3. Randye Spina Avatar
    Randye Spina

    Thank you for sharing the green banking information. I’m going to add it to the list of resourcing my website.

    And, of course, for your amazing insight.

    Randye


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks, Randye!


  4. itssue42 Avatar
    itssue42

    “Your permission to remain small has been permanently revoked.”

    I just love that! 🙂 😀


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Me, too. 🙂


  5. Maureen Helen Avatar
    Maureen Helen

    Thank you for this post, Paula. It made my heart sing with the hope of a better world and the idea that in spite of everything I can make a difference, however small. I had almost forgotten.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      There are many ways to help. Good to have you here, Maureen.


  6. clignett Avatar
    clignett

    Thank you! I will add these books to my wishlist (I still have too many books to read, but these just might get bumped up to first priority 😁).

    I’ve just read the introductions of the books, and my eye got the earlier book from Susan Cain, “Qiuet”. I think i will start with that one, go on to “Bittersweet”, then go on to “No bad parts”, and then give myself a little break before I go on to the book by Joanna Macy. Might be a good order to get back in “the program”..

    It will take a long time, though, my current house is almost completely filled with moving boxes and bags (the bags I will take them to my new house myself). I’ve tried to let Indie’s stuff as is, but still he has nightmares every night now.. almost ended up sleeping half in his bed last night 🙈🐶🙄..

    I love the quote!!

    “Humanity’s most consequential decade is now upon us. Your permission to play small has been permanently revoked.” It’s exactly my thought this evening, with the Supermoon in Capricorn now! What a beauty!!

    Let’s shine our lights to the fullest and help where we can, no matter how small or inconsequential it seems. Every little thing matters (thinking of the Butterfly Effect)!
    ❤️❤️


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I know. I love hearing about new books and I don’t love it!! 🙂 Oh, yes, ‘Quiet’ is a great look at introversion. Good luck with the move! Hugs to you and Indie.


    2. itssue42 Avatar
      itssue42

      Indie will be relieved and happy when you are both resettled. He knows it’s a big thing that’s happening, but if he’s got Mom, all will be well. And such a great excuse for extra love and snacks. The universe is on a mission to continuously present our beagles with yet one more interesting smell or treat, which they then insist must become a new part of their routine….
      But Mommmmm, you gave me one of those yesterday at 2:30 pm! And they all have accurate wristwatches that never falter 😀


      1. clignett Avatar
        clignett

        So true, Sue! Inner clocks for food, for routine, for days even.. 🙈🐶

        He will be “pissy faced” tomorrow, though: he needs to wake up early (for him), go out early, and then… oh my god.. washing and trimming and being pampered! As long I’m there, it’s a complete drama, when I’m gone, he’s all sweet and cuddly to the people there. And then when I pick him up again, the world is collapsing.. big comedian he is!
        And then go back to a house filled with móre boxes! Hm.. no, not cool! 🤣🙄


  7. Paula Prober Avatar
    Paula Prober

    Hey everyone. Just a heads up. I am going to give my website/blog a makeover! It really needs an upgrade after all these years. I’ll be working with a WordPress team over the next several weeks. They promise me, none of the posts or comments will be lost. I’m hoping it will have a more organized, clean, appealing aesthetic.


    1. renovatio06 Avatar
      renovatio06

      WordPress has become really very flexible and powerful for solopreneurs/bloggers and businesses (I’m using it to for my moderate blogging/journalling needs). I’m sure the team you’ve recruited will know what they’re doing. (it will be mainly about the used “template” for the immediate visual representation and there are tons around and can be modified and adjusted to your specific input and needs accordingly). Looking forward to the new fresh look! 🙂 (just don’t do anything to your hair, if possible 🙂 )


      1. renovatio06 Avatar
        renovatio06

        Just for the web nerds among us: The theme being used on your site now is called “Yoko” (info is in the markup, the part that remains hidden to regular users) and there’s already a fair amount of variety with the existing theme, see here: https://www.elmastudio.de/wordpress-themes/

        But… they might be choosing for a different “theme”/template for the GUI, the user interface. Should be exciting!


      2. Paula Prober Avatar
        Paula Prober

        Oh! I did a big LOL at that one, renovaio06. The hair will definitely continue to be free range and overexcitable, possibly to your delight and my dismay. 🙂 Yes, I trust WordPress to create the new look, hair excluded.


  8. Lucy Swann Avatar
    Lucy Swann

    Hi Paula. Thanks for another inner work prompt! I agree with you that it’s the surest way to effective outer work and I felt like sharing this quote from Peter Levine.

    “I have come to the conclusion that human beings are born with an innate capacity to triumph over trauma. I believe not only that trauma is curable, but that the healing process can be a catalyst for profound awakening—a portal opening to emotional and genuine spiritual transformation. I have little doubt that as individuals, families, communities, and even nations, we have the capacity to learn how to heal and prevent much of the damage done by trauma. In so doing, we will significantly increase our ability to achieve both our individual and collective dreams.”

    I loooove that!


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Oh, yes, that is beautiful. And true! Thanks, Lucy.


  9. Kristen K Avatar
    Kristen K

    Thanks Paula! I feel like I need regular reminders of all of this. I’ve been savoring “Bittersweet”…I really love reading it.

    Sort of related to this, I recently stumbled upon the German word ‘weltschmerz’–which means ‘world pain’/’pain for the world’ or ‘world weariness’. It somehow makes me feel better that there is a word for ‘all the stuff’. Remembering it creates a little more space internally somehow…or at least, I no longer am on the verge of exploding when someone asks “how are you?” I can simply say that I’m feeling a lot of pain for the world and also okay and finding joy here and there at the same time.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Oh, of course, “Bittersweet” would be written for you! 🙂 Me, too! Thank you for sharing, Kristen.


  10. renovatio06 Avatar
    renovatio06

    Thank you, Paula! Much needed and welcomed support and affirmation at exactly the right time and when needed! (Hearing someone say “You’re o.k. for who you are” doesn’t really get old 🙂 ) . Thanks for the book recommendations, both sound most inspiring and interesting and I’ve been looking for and craving a good read in a while now. Also: Great timing on your part! Thanks, an ever growing one!


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      You will probably also relate to Bittersweet, renovatio06. Check it out, too!


  11. GABRIELA Avatar
    GABRIELA

    Thanks for the recommendations! I loved Susan Cain’s Quiet and am sure I will enjoy her next book. The others also look good, especially the family one..


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I think this one by Susan Cain is even better than Quiet, Gabriela. Thank you for sharing.


  12. elinevanantwerpen Avatar
    elinevanantwerpen

    Thank you again, Paula. I’m planning on doing a little “Active hope” workshop instead of reading the book. Last time they organised it in Belgium, they didn’t have enough subscriptions so I know what to do… enthiouse people about it to join me!

    Yes, healing from destructive family patterns is possible. This is year 7 since my burnout and all I’ve got left of tons of bad (inherited) behaviour is a little drink sometimes, a little bit of overweight and a little bit of disrupted hormones. Getting there. Finally.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      So glad you are on your healing path, eline!


      1. elinevanantwerpen Avatar
        elinevanantwerpen

        Me too. It could be year 8, I have dyscalculia so I still count that on my fingers haha (boohoo, I’m 37).

        Question for you: recently I heard about “Human design”. It’s a very hot topic in the therapeutic landscape over here. Have you heard about it, or maybe wrote about it? Its origin is a bit (too) spiritual but what I already know about my chart makes lots of sense and explains a whole lot of how my “system” works… I’ve got 3 life paths apparently, for example, which could be the best explanation why I keep procrastinating the choice 1 ‘calling’ and go for that… 😀 So now I’m wondering: would RFMs share specific traits?


        1. Paula Prober Avatar
          Paula Prober

          I have heard of human design but do not know anything about it. Now I am curious. Will check it out!


          1. elinevanantwerpen Avatar
            elinevanantwerpen

            Be careful, it is a tornado of exciting info to get sucked into! My “summer school teacher” gave it to us in tiny portions, she knows we are like her… 😉

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