Managing The Mosquitoes Buzzing Around Your Rainforest Mind

From Philippe in Paris: “I remember one of your quotes where you said something like ‘I’m here to remind you that your rainforest mind is a thing of beauty. Even with all those mosquitoes.’ I believe I finally reached a point where I’m fine with my brain and all the fractals inside but for god’s sake how do we manage the mosquitoes!?”

Thank you for the question, Philippe.

(photo by Unsplash)

First, let’s identify what/who the mosquitoes are. They are likely different for everyone, and yet, similar in many ways, too. After all, you folks are both very different from each other but also experience similar strengths and challenges. Well, then. Typically, you have both inner and outer “mosquitoes.”–those annoying, uncomfortable, distracting, itchy, blood-sucking pests! (And, yes, I do understand the actual insects serve a purpose. Humor me please!) Some of the inners could be: self-doubt, pressure/expectations, fear of failure, sensitivities, traumatic memories and experiences, anxieties, decision-making, existential depression, inaccurate beliefs about who you really are, and more.

In Philippe’s case, the mosquitoes are humans. He has spent a lot of time sorting through, understanding, appreciating, and even loving his inner world “fractals.” And, yet, there are still humans who can be annoying, uncomfortable, distracting, itchy, and blood-sucking! So, the human mosquitoes will be the focus of this post.

What are some of the difficulties? Here are a few: Their expectations, assumptions, pressures, miscommunications, judgments, biases, insecurities, misdiagnoses, slower/shallower/under thinking, egocentricricity, limited beliefs, fears, and insensitivity. You might have trouble understanding how they work or who they are. It could be frustrating to explain your rainforest mind to them even for something that seems so simple, for example, in Philippe’s case, why you want to learn Norwegian for no reason. Of course, you want to learn Norwegian! Do you have to have a reason?? How could they question that??


So, my darlings, How do you live as your full-on vibrant, effervescent rainforest-y selves when other humans do not understand you and you might not understand them?

I wish there was a simple, obvious answer. The more I know all of you, the more I see how different you are from the majority of humans here on Earth at this time. But I don’t want to recommend insect repellent or hazmat suits. Although, you know, the ones who are blood-sucking or carrying malaria, those would be ones to avoid as much as possible or eliminate from your forest.

I think the answer goes something like this: Continue to deepen your understanding and love for who you truly are. This is likely a life-long adventure. There is more and more for you to unfold and embrace about yourself and why you are here. Do not underestimate your own worth, your capacities, and your reasons for being.

You are truly multi-dimensional so uni-dimensional folks may not get you. And you might not get them. Use your strong emotional intelligence and intuitive abilities to relate to them with compassion, possibly slowing your communication so they can follow. But also give yourself permission to be choosy about who you bring close. Let yourself set boundaries around time spent and vulnerability with the uni-dimensional. Find the sensitive, more highly developed souls, for deeper relationships and intimacy. Do not give up on finding them. They exist. They are buying my books! Nourish the relationships you already have that are feeding you. Go where the smart people hang out, like the silent book clubs, the Argentine tango, the Audubon Society, Instagram. Become a climate activist. Start a blog or a podcast. Dive into your intellectual, creative, and spiritual pursuits with abandon. Be the weirdo.

Yes. You heard me. Be the weirdo.

The blood sucking mosquitoes are more likely to leave you alone. Your rainforest mind will flourish. You will flourish.

But, as Philippe said: “I’m pretty sure I am not alone in that struggle. I feel like we all have this frustrating step when we feel ready for the world but.. But.. The world doesn’t look ready for us…”

Actually, Philippe, the world is ready for you. The world needs you. It needs all of us. I’ll bring the mosquito netting.


To my bloggEEs: How do you manage the human mosquitoes in your life? How/Where have you found people who get you? What about the inner mosquitoes? Do you wonder if the world is ready for you?

Thank you all for your wonderful book title suggestions. I think I have settled on one! I will keep you in suspense for now. But I appreciate your ideas for what you want to see in the book and your enthusiasm. Will keep you posted on the progress of the book’s creation. I have most of it written and am now in the tweaking, revising, ruminating stage.

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.

19 responses to “Managing The Mosquitoes Buzzing Around Your Rainforest Mind”

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  1. John Sprole Avatar
    John Sprole

    In a Buddhist sense, remain above the mosquitoes while observing and learning from them.

    1. pprober Avatar


  2. Ascanius Avatar

    The outer mosquitoes are as Nietzsche wrote in Thus spoke Zarathustra:

    The Flies in the Market-Place

    Flee, my friend, into thy solitude! I see thee deafened with the noise of the great men, and stung all over with the stings of the little ones.

    Admirably do forest and rock know how to be silent with thee. Resemble again the tree which thou lovest, the broad-branched one- silently and attentively it o’erhangeth the sea.

    Where solitude ends, there begins the market place; and where the market-place begins, there also begins the noise of the great actors, and the buzzing of the poison-flies…

    1. pprober Avatar

      Thank you, Ascanius. <3

  3. David Avatar

    Dang, timely for me also. I have a lot of mosquitoes to swat! But your answer is compassionate, beautiful and clear. And Philippe, I love the fractal analogy!

    I’ll start with outer mosquitoes. Being the weirdo is a great way to feed yourself and starve the bloodsuckers; the self-similar mesh of your fractals can act as a mosquito net. But it can also pay to slow down, uni-dimensionalize yourself a little, and meet the other in empathy. Sometimes, what looks like a mosquito can be an admirer or friend in disguise, waiting for you — splendid and confusing creature that you are — to stop for a moment and say hi. Other times, of course, a mosquito is just a mosquito, and you return to plan A. Find other weirdos, do your thang, and let the fractals spill out of your head and into a protective layer of citronella-like RFM goo.

    Inner mosquitos are trickier. I spent 30 years letting them buzz around and stop me from loving, exploring and even seeing my fractals; swatting them is ongoing (therapeutic) work. Perhaps the hardiest and most stubborn bloodsucker is the fear that the world isn’t ready for me. It wasn’t ready when I was little and so — the mosquito sensibly drones — what could possibly have changed now? (The outer mosquitoes don’t help.) The upshot is a whole mind palace filled with gorgeous fractals — an alternative to bitcoin, two pop science books, a way to make balls roll uphill, a quantum programming language, new results in complexity theory, a poetry chapbook, Latin philosophical translations, completions of De Quincey’s lost Suspiria, a method of artificially dreaming, and so on — which I cannot bring myself to unleash, not only on the world but on myself. They sit there, gathering dust on easels and drafting tables, in long corridors lined with the mahogany cabinets of imagination, abandoned for fear that they are too much. That I am too much. That if the world saw inside, it would rightly conclude I was an alien and fire me into space.

    At least, so sayeth the mosquito.

    1. pprober Avatar

      Oh my, David. I think I need you to co-write this blog with me. I write the initial post and then you make it sing. You provide the gorgeous language and the confirmation of the story from your profoundly gifted world. With your permission, you might see parts of this comment and the last one in a future post. I don’t know how many bloggEEs follow the comments so your insights ought to be more widely read. The part about the world not being ready. I guess I understand how, in a way, that is true, just because most people would not grok these creations of yours. But, the world needs you to open your cabinets to share your big-hearted goodness and your insights, and yet, how does that work when your creations might not be received or understood. Hm… (perhaps that’s what Philippe was referring to, also) And then you interpret that to mean you are too much, when, actually, it is just that you are so darned brilliant. Let yourself know that, at least. Let us love your awesome rainforest “mind palace filled with gorgeous fractals.” OK? So, sayeth, the blogger.

      1. David Avatar

        Thank you Paula, that’s such a generous response!!! It’s a pleasure to contribute a harmony here and there. And you certainly have my permission 🙂

        I think that’s the crux of it — things can be unreceivable, not out of malice, but simply because they are too big to be grokked. It’s hard not to refer those instances back to the original instances of rejection, and start “receivability engineering” as a result. But, unsurprisingly, slouching a little and playing dumb doesn’t make me small enough to fit into most people’s frame of reference. In fact, it makes people uncomfortable because it’s fake (and usually angry).

        I suspect I need to do less receivability engineering, and more to understand these original instances. And, of course, to venture back into that mind palace and, wing by wing, begin restoring its treasures 🙂

        1. pprober Avatar

          It is important to realize that, David. Your “receivability engineering” (love that phrase) won’t get you small enough to be understood by the masses. And, I know you are working hard to understand the original rejections/losses so you can deeply appreciate and honor that magnificent mind palace of yours.

  4. annette Avatar

    I love the hazmat suit…why can’t I?
    Boy, this was nicely timed & I could use some suggestions for the game-playing-mosquito. I’m usually good at knowing when they’re on the move, but this one has me flummoxed. Space seems to be the only option at the moment.

    1. pprober Avatar

      Hm…game playing…hard to say. Trust yourself, annette.

      1. annette Avatar

        Thank you.

  5. Philippe Avatar

    Thank you so much Paula for this blog post and the chat we had about it 🙂
    I feel I have a few skills to be the weirdo 😛

    I agree, it’s a good practice to focus our energy to find the one we can connect to and maybe just accept that the others
    won’t get who we are and it’s okay. (well anyway if needed a pinch of repellent spray might just fix it ahah!)

    There’s another quote I read in front of the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo (it was in English so still no reason why I would learn Norwegian ;):
    “Nobody plans to give up.” – yep!

    1. pprober Avatar

      Thanks for asking, Philippe, and for the inspiration! 🙂

  6. Nimue Avatar

    Thank you. I really needed to hear this today.

    1. pprober Avatar

      You are welcome. <3

  7. Clignett Avatar

    Oh, thát is another way of defining the Muggles! Mosquitoes! I love it! Thank you, Philippe!

    I try to be understanding, but sometimes I just can’t manage to be friendly anymore. Not that I’m impolite, the opposite! Over polite is what I am then. Meanwhile thinking “don’t assume!! You’re making an ass out of you and me!”.
    It’s something the man I worked for said, a Director of Communication at the firm I worked at. Never, ever “assume”! It stayed with me, and now I think it constantly when I talk to mosquitoes. Mosquitoes, with a capital M..

    I’ve recently discovered that people can pretend to be RFM’s. They try. But after spending some time (and energy, sigh!) with them, their true colors come out, and they are no Rainforest colors! Shame! So unfortunately no new people in my tribe yet..

    The inner mosquitoes, how to handle them? I think I’m on the same page with Philippe now, they are fine with me and I with them, as long as I speak to them. Give them the attention and love they need, I guess. Progress, I hope!
    (But then again, I’m down with the flu, so my brain is a bit mushy 😵‍💫🤣)

    Looking forward to your new book! What a good thing to read that you’re already in the “last stages”! Can’t wait (will have to, of course, but you know what I mean, right?)

    1. pprober Avatar

      Oh, yes, Clignett. I appreciate your enthusiasm about my next book! Hope you feel better soon.

  8. Cecile Avatar

    autre francaise qui suit ce blog. Il y en a d’autres. Feel free to connect:

    1. pprober Avatar

      Oui! Merci, Cecile!