One Size Does Not Fit All When You Are Sensitive, Smart, Persnickety, Discerning, Intricate, Perplexing, Astute, Penetrating, Prolific, Visionary, Wizard-y, and Resourceful

I get so annoyed when I hear people say their way is the ONLY WAY to happiness or healing or inner peace or fame and fortune! If you just do THIS all your problems will be solved in an instant. If you follow this diet, or this spiritual practice, or this guru, you will become enlightened in ten easy steps.

(photo by Erol Ahmed, Unsplash)

This makes me surly, taciturn, and curmudgeonly. (The thesaurus is my friend today. Can you tell?)

Maybe the methods they are promoting work for the less persnickety among us, the less wizard-y. But, if you have a rainforest mind, it is quite likely you will need to explore, experiment, and engage with multiple ideas, tools, techniques, and practitioners (not to mention career paths). Maybe even over many years. It could turn into your life’s work to dive into your inner worlds and swim around in the muck, occasionally finding spectacular diamonds, or your lost keys, or the legacy of fear in your ancestors, and ultimately your connection to “life, the universe, and everything.”*

Am I making a case for my own life path? Am I a little defensive of the fact that I am STILL not finished with my inner world escapades?


I have only recently realized that my human body might have some guidance that could be useful. Let me explain. I appreciate my physical self for sure. I am grateful for its high functioning after so many years. I just think I did not realize there might be more insight or intuition or spirituality or joy that I might receive from it if I knew how to dial in to its reservoir. I mean, it is not like I am totally out of touch. I danced Argentine tango for years, after all. I had to be embodied to do that. And there were certainly thrilling tango moments when I was tuned in to my body, the music, my partner’s body, the floor, the room, and oh, the All! So, there’s that. And, yes, I know all about how “the body keeps the score” and I use somatic experiencing with my clients. And with myself.

But, I am wondering what I might do on a daily basis or how I might benefit from a more body-inclusive life. For example, I am trying to get myself back to a daily meditation practice. That would be a start. But, what else?

Well. I think I need to create my own custom ritual that would open up new parts of me that are waiting to be tapped. I know I have always had a singer/dancer in me who has found her expression off and on, here and there. But maybe she wants more.

Oh dear. As I write that I can feel some anxiety burbling. That is a sign I am on to something. Not only that I FEEL my body burbling, which is progress, but that I am getting an answer FROM my body. And she is rolling her eyes because I have ignored her for a long time.

Now I am going to get something to eat. Classic stalling tactic.

OK. So, a ritual. Perhaps, I need to find a new song that will be my theme song. Nothing in my playlist is quite right. I need something inspiring. If you have any suggestions, please share. Once I find the song(s), it could be as easy as playing it every day and dancing to it– Imagining a part of me who has been desperate to express herself, now has the floor. I think my reluctance is because this part is powerful. Perhaps, when I let her out, there will be an explosion that will make me even more visible to you and the All. And there will be no going back. Whoa. I think I just had a hot flash.

But, really, what am I waiting for? As they say, I am not getting any younger.

So, my friends, my sweet, intricate, smart, visionary, discerning peeps, what if you, too, create your own ritual– A ritual to address whatever issue you are working on at the moment. Something to honor your own deep, dark, complex, rich inner worlds. Something to open up to more of who you are. Because you, my darlings, are not one-size-fits-all. Not even close.

And I will be singing, dancing, and finding the diamonds, with you, as we continue to embark on our particularly perplexing, delightfully discerning, weirdly wizard-y, inner world escapades.

(Note: In case you are wondering, I am not suggesting we ignore the outer world. Nooooo. When we access more and more of our authentic selves, we are better able to contribute, to find our influential voice, and to walk our particular compassionate paths to “life, the universe, and everything.”*)


To my bloggEEs: Do you engage with multiple ideas, tools, techniques, and practitioners? What rituals are you designing? Let us know! And much love to you all, as always. Oh, and after I wrote this I went searching for the song. I may have found one. A Beautiful Noise. Alicia Keys, Brandi Carlile.

(*Thank you Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.)

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Author: Paula Prober

I’m a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice based in Eugene, Oregon. I specialize in international consulting with gifted adults and parents of gifted children. I’ve been a teacher and an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a frequent guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University. I’ve written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, Advanced Development Journal and online for psychotherapy dot net, Rebelle Society, Thrive, Introvert Dear, and Highly Sensitive Refuge. My first book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, is a collection of case studies of gifted clients along with many strategies and resources for gifted adults and teens. 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 is a collection of my most popular blog posts along with writing exercises for self-exploration and insight.

24 responses to “One Size Does Not Fit All When You Are Sensitive, Smart, Persnickety, Discerning, Intricate, Perplexing, Astute, Penetrating, Prolific, Visionary, Wizard-y, and Resourceful”

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  1. D. K Avatar
    D. K

    Perhaps an unrelated question, but does anybody know anything about how frequent having imaginary friends is in RFMs? And perhaps how deep those relationships run? Because I have had quite a few myself, and would like to know whether there are other people who have befriended the pollinators, the apex predators, and the rest of the ecological community inside their rainforest minds. Meeting them has led me to deep, sometimes terrifying, insights into why I am the way I am and how the world has changed me. In other times, they kept me intellectual company when I was wandering alone for years searching but never finding any outer-world friendships.

    1. pprober Avatar

      I am guessing many people here would be responding with a YES! It can be a combination of intuitive-spiritual capacity and creativity.I don’t know of any research on the topic! But anecdotally, it makes total sense.

  2. Guillaume Lajeunesse Avatar
    Guillaume Lajeunesse

    I love your blog! Very encouraging for rainforest minds, as you call them.

    When you embody even a few of the adjectives in this title, you can be hated, or misunderstood, but it’s true that you can be all of these things, in whole or in part — it’s surprising at first, but then you realize that it’s really you. And the main thing I will remember is that one size does not fit all : it’s good to read.

    1. pprober Avatar

      Oh! Glad to have you here, Guillaume.

  3. Neeraj Avatar

    the subject of ONE effective path…: my views on this subject are a bit nuanced. I like to be eclectic/ choosy…..and critically think about various sources, and compare contrast between them, and learn from multiple sources/ multiple perspectives.
    At the same time I also know that too much spiritual shopping or psychological shopping is very counterproductive…because there are many ways which can lead to the same RESULTS…it is a matter of choosing amongst those and then sticking to one of them earnestly enough. You can do complimentary work around it, or after completion of one path start gaining a totally different perspective…but sticking to one path too has its own merit.
    Thus there is this Dichotomy: one, thinking about multiple perspectives and second, sticking to one path. …Thus my nuanced view is about combining and having balance between these two opposing views.

    1. pprober Avatar

      Yes, multiple perspectives, focus on one path for a time, balance, and nuance, all important. Thank you, Neeraj.

  4. Ariana Avatar

    Hi Paula,

    I’m fairly new to your blog, but have “known about you” for a few years from a colleague of yours based in KY. Pleasure to “meet” you finally.

    Thank you for this post…many bits of it resonate with me! I’ve been working on daily rituals for several years now. They’ve evolved in my journey of finding my authentic self and committing to cultivate a life that embodies that self. The rituals keep me anchored throughout my day. I can “feel” it when it’s time for one (or I’ve “missed” one) in my day. I go outside to “Greet the Day” upon waking…just a few brief breaths to ground myself and engage physically with the air, sky, birds, etc. Later in the morning I eat a meal alone in a haven-space of my mood’s choosing…a big deal for me as a homeschool mom of two gifted, HSP kids. Even later in the day, I listen to instrumental music of choice — sometimes classical, chillhop/lofi, latin, jazz. In the evening, I breath and stretch before my bedtime routine. I’ve also increasingly infused my physical environment with beauty, nature, art, music, streamlined systems, and good smells — and culled the clutter and “extras” that don’t serve me.

    It’s all still a process. A practice. But isn’t it always?

    We are so uniquely wired, I find it incredibly small-minded to assume one size could possibly fit all. I appreciate you going further to press readers to engage intuitively. I find THAT unnerving process to be the most rewarding, arduous, effective path. There are no “ten steps”, and certainly not easy ones… There are only steps. Shaky, hard-won, and deeply personal on a journey leading each of us to our authentic self. And you topped it all off with the cherry: “we are better able to contribute, to find our influential voice, and to walk our particular compassionate paths to “life, the universe, and everything.” I’ll dance, cry, sing to that!

    1. pprober Avatar

      Oh, thank you for this, Ariana. Good to hear from you.

  5. annette Avatar

    Interestingly a few years back I just couldn’t do the daily routine I’d done consistently for years- I just kept forgetting. It took almost a year, but my choices in routine (exercise & meditation) really changed over to different directions all together. Try walking the exercise/self help videos in your library. Something may call to you & it may be just the right fit. If it isn’t, hey there’s a lot more on the shelf!

    I’m coming up on 19 yrs of sugar free diet (natural sugars yes, refined are long gone). Listening to the body isn’t easy, but well worth it!
    Thanks as always.

    1. pprober Avatar

      Yes, allowing your self-help and healing tools to change is important, annette. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Neeraj Avatar

    Rituals are like practice…the sheer repetition has this power to provide psychic structure and energy…. Rituals are important in transformation as well, especially if centered around transformative symbol or images or around symbols of wholeness…. ( based on what Murray Stein thinks and what I too have partial experience of.)

    About music/ songs …I want to talk about simple instrumental music..that too pure / simple melodic music focussed on one dominant instrument……..someone suggested to me that different musical instruments would resonate in different chakras of body…I thought this is interesting…and
    I got first hand experience of that and my observations match what the suggester said…starting from root chakra upwards….1. root chakra : heavy metal , big drums , 2. sex chakra : bass guitar, harp 3. solar plexus: violin 4. heart: flute 5. throat: chanting 6. third eye : bells, piano 7. sahasrara : tibetan bowl…especially chanting om with it…

    now anyone interested in somatics, energy somatics, embodiment….chakras, kundalini…can tell me if they did this experiment they too got similar experience…they can add additional points if they felt something more revelatory….

    1. pprober Avatar

      Fascinating about chakras and instruments, Neeraj. I have explored the field of sound healing a little. And the power of rituals. Thank you.

    2. Clignett Avatar

      Hi Neeraj,
      This is interesting! I’m particularly sensitive to the 3rd eye (bells) and sahasrara (Tibetian bowl) it seems. My body instantly shuts down, feeling nauseous and blood actually draining from my face (with all consequences that comes from this). I really have no clue where it comes from.
      A way back boyfriend was a DJ, and he liked to try his new stuff for me. Needed to walk out of the room in a hurry!
      Some sounds (or music) make you happy, some have a power that resonates deep within you, for better or worse. The one thing that freaks me out are windchimes, another mystery for me..

      1. Neeraj Avatar

        Thus sounds/ music/ noise have this deep connection to the body ( soma) different parts of our body resonates with different sounds…thus this is very relevant to somatic practices…I have this personal experience of this..and you too agree on it in a certain sense.

        1. Clignett Avatar

          Yes, I agree, or better said: my body agrees. I can’t pretend that I understand what happens when I hear a sound that makes me feel physically nauseous, but there it is.. I do feel that.
          High pitched screaming does the same as well as the earlier mentioned windchimes and clocks ticking. No idea where that comes from, but I need to remove either the sound or myself from this situation.

          The chakras that you mentioned are equally spot on. I can feel various sounds in different parts (organs) of my body very clearly. Wondrous it is!

  7. Qasim Noor Avatar
    Qasim Noor

    Hi Paula,
    Just wanted to say thank you for what your doing. You have helped me understand myself in ways that I didn’t deem possible. It’s been a long journey and I’ve got a long way to go to truly find my unique purpose on this Earth. I send peace upon you flagrantly from the depths of my soul and may God guide us rainforest minded people on Earth. I believe we are spirits from God and we manifest his qualities and work on Earth. Greetings from the UK!

    1. pprober Avatar

      And peace back to you, Qasim. Thank you.

  8. Sharon Avatar

    When I read your posts I wonder why you sometimes say you don’t have a rainforest mind yourself. You seem pretty rainforest-y… in the best possible ways, of course!

    1. pprober Avatar

      I know I do have a rainforest mind, Sharon. What I do say, though, is there is a spectrum when it comes to giftedness, and so I know so many folks who are more advanced in the cognitive/intellectual aspects of the rainforest mind. I joke that some people are exceptionally gifted or profoundly gifted and I am barely gifted. But I know I am on the spectrum.I have the sensitivities, multipotentiality, sense of humor, intuition, creativity… Make sense?

      1. Sharon Avatar

        Yes, makes sense, but I don’t think you should sell yourself short. You have so many wonderful and complex thoughts you share from your mind to ours, so thank you!

  9. Clignett Avatar

    Oh, wow, Paula, this is a powerful one! I love it! From laughing at “finding my lost keys” to indulge in the various links and swimming in their information and music (and going in from there to next ones, of course 🙈).

    For me what helps to (eventually) get out of my “freeze” moment (apparently I don’t have “fight nor flight”), is tapping (on whatever is available at that time), breathing exercises, and talking and cuddling with Indie (or more dogs when they are close). If all of the above doesn’t work, go home as soon as possible (nearly in a panic attack) and rest. I have medication for that, but I try to stay off it. Only one of them will help usually, only at night after the last round, and that is a heart medicine to keep my heart from “flurrying”. Needless to say that I prefer to avoid those situations, but sometimes you just can’t.
    The only time I can get in a “fight” mode is when Indie is being harassed or attacked. Or just wrongfully encountered. Or with fireworks from which he is terrified. Luckily that doesn’t happen often (he just ignores, which I taught him, except the lights and the smell of fireworks, unfortunately). And he hates negative or too enthusiastic sounds coming from another dog/animal, so he usually just walks away with his nose in sniffing mode.

    Beautiful song you chose! Love it!

    My own “go to” songs are various, depending on the mood and need. First is always “Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve, which is also my ringtone 😃. I hear it as the bittersweet way of life especially a rainforest mind has, with many ups and downs, equally good for the soul. With the sarcasm that I so fully understand (“try to make ends meet, you’re a slave to the money, then you die” and “I’m a million different people from one day to the next”.)

    Second, weirdly enough, is “Sound of Silence” by Disturbed. The power in that man’s voice (and facial expressions!) is heartening, the hope and determination he sings of to open people up and let them speak their truths (although it doesn’t seem to work) is inspirational.
    Third: “Just Be” by Tiësto ft Kirsty Hawkshaw.
    Fourth, since this year when I heard this version for the first time: “Wait for it” from the theater “Hamilton” featuring Leslie Odom.
    Then, in random order: “This is Me” from the Greatest Showman, “Dancing in the Bordeaux Moonlight” by Jeanavion (you have to just smile with this one!), “In the End” by Eminem, “This is love” by Will.I.Am ft Eva Simons, “Don’t you worry child” by The Swedish House Maffia ft John Martin, “Hall of fame” by The Script, “Silence” by Delerium, “The Worn Down Piano” by The Mark and Clark band (tears running down my cheeks!), “November Rain” by Guns and Roses, “Your Song” by Billy Paul, “Send me an Angel” by The Scorpions, “Don’t give up” by Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush, and so many many more!
    And of course “Follow the Sun” and “Stoney Creek” by Xavier Rudd! Always!!

    These songs just pop into my head daily in random order. One song a day, sometimes one song for a week. It’s my inner world that trying to tell me something with a particular song, and I’m left to try and figure out what it means and what my body is trying to tell me.

    There’s another song, but it’s in Dutch. Gets to me every time. “Ik zie jou” by Claudia de Breij. Beautiful! Translation: “I see you”. All the different pronounciations of the sentence, which says a lot: I (capital letter) see you. I SEE you. I see YOU. And I SEE YOU. Every facet of you, every mood, every smile, every tear or nearly tear, everything.. beautiful!
    Hope it’s not too much music references! 🤦‍♀️🙄🤣

    1. pprober Avatar

      Not too many songs, Clignett. Thank you.

  10. Hayduke Avatar

    I’ve really been enjoying that your posts have become more personal. Charles Eisenstein subtitled an essay “every act a ceremony, every word a prayer, every walk a pigrimage, every place a shrine”. I love the idea of living daily life as a sacred ritual (and I suspect it really is). Goner by Twentyone Pilots has been a totem song for me recently. Very powerful.

    1. pprober Avatar

      Oh, thank you, Hayduke. I love that idea, too. And have read some of Eisenstein. Appreciate that reminder. Will look for the song. It has been a bit of a shift for me to be more personal so thanks for the feedback on that!