When you experience something that resonates, a part of you sits up and takes notice. You feel interested and engaged. You’ve connected with someone or something. We can’t always predict what will resonate- a particular line in a book, a new idea, a walk in the woods with a friend- but you know it when you feel it. Things that resonate give a sense of “all is right” with the world.
- Produce or be filled with a deep, full, reverberating sound
- Evoke a feeling of shared emotion or belief
- To correspond closely or harmoniously
Just like we have a “barometer in our belly” that tells us when we are uncomfortable, we also have a tuning fork in our soul that resonates when we are in harmony or alignment with our purpose in life. But each of us is tuned differently and what resonates for one individual may not resonate for another.
After watching my TEDxAnchorage talk, people often mentioned different parts of the talk that resonated with them. There was a huge range. Some mentioned the top 5 regrets of the dying, some the personal story I shared about my Dad, while others mentioned their love of flying.
When something resonates, it replenishes your energy.
When something resonates, it gives us energy. We feel enlivened and connected. Being outside in the natural world always provides me with a sense of joy and satisfaction. So too does a meaningful conversation with a friend. Or thinking about an intriguing idea.
Things that resonate bring joy. You feel lighter and more alive. I often let my joy and happiness burble up into singing a silly song, dancing in the kitchen or hula-hooping. If you saw me, you’d probably laugh. But joy is contagious. So is inspiration. Infect yourself.
What replenishes your energy? What resonates for you?
When something is out of alignment, it causes dissonance and depletes your energy.
Imagine going through life like an out of balance washing machine. It wouldn’t be very much fun. You’d feel exhausted. What if our over-fed, over-medicated, too-busy lives were a symptom of trying to smooth out the dissonance in our lives?
- lack of agreement; especially : inconsistency between the beliefs one holds or between one’s actions and one’s beliefs
- a mingling of discordant sounds; especially : a clashing or unresolved musical interval or chord
Since I’m an introvert, I can often feel depleted when I’ve been overstimulated by noise or activity. I feel particularly worn out when I feel like I’ve had to fake my way through an event I didn’t want to attend. Posturing and inauthenticity make me want to withdraw.
You will experience periods of dissonance. Sometimes dissonance can be a time of personal growth. Imagine a caterpillar metamorphosing to a butterfly. But often dissonance is symptom of stagnation and is your soul begging you to make a change. Listen to yourself, your gut knows whether to take action or ride it out.
What causes dissonance for you?
How to Tune in to What Resonates
1. Notice when something resonates.
What is it about the experience that caused you to feel resonance? Was it feeling connected and understood in conversation? Was it the sense that you are contributing and making a difference to others? Was it that you felt grateful? By investigating your triggers for things that resonate, you are more able to recreate and seek out more of these experiences. This will allow you to tune in and align your life more and more closely with your purpose.
We don’t always have a choice in life about everything we do- but we can choose to foster and enhance that which enlivens us.
2. Notice when things don’t resonate.
Why wasn’t there resonance? Were people being inauthentic? Was there a lot of complaining? Were you preoccupied with your “to-do” list and not enjoying the moment? Were you completing a “have-to” task rather than a “get to” task? What exactly triggered the dissonance? Do less of this.
Things that resonate don’t feel like work- but it doesn’t mean it isn’t work.
Recently I was helping friends clear some trees. It wasn’t easy. It took two of us to lift the bigger lengths of trees into the ever-growing stack. We took the tops and tossed them onto the taller-than-us brush pile. But it didn’t really feel like work as we laughed and pretended we were training for the caber toss.
By paying attention to what causes resonance (and what causes dissonance) we are able to move closer to alignment with our life’s purpose. Tune into what resonates. Do more of that. It is that simple.
What resonates for you? What causes dissonance? Share in the comments.