As someone who genuinely derives pleasure from building a life filled with meaning and joy–I actively seek out activities or interests that I love engaging in. Do you do this too? This process of discovery–of noticing what I genuinely connect to can act as a map of sorts. I find that over time I have accrued the resources and data needed to create a life that reflects me, from the inside out.
Now, we tend to believe in grand gestures as parents. And they do have their place. But what if part of life really is about allowing for opportunities for moments of resonance for our children? And ourselves? Our lives can feel harried. Planned out. We work. We run our children to soccer or dance practice. We are conscious of this idea of “teaching” good morals. Laundry must be done. Oh–and is there food to eat for dinner tonight?
But what if part of the key to our fulfillment is slowing down just enough to notice or ask what resonates with us? What do we actually enjoy doing? What if our children were able to witness us enjoying something for ourselves? What if we genuinely asked if our children connect to the sport they are in or the instrument they are playing? What if it became important that love and joy were part of the mix?
Moments of resonance can be powerful. They can literally change one’s life.
One of my moments of resonance came early for me at an annual family vacation at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. I was eight years old. My dad was heading out for a bike ride. I followed him out the back door, to ask if I could go with him. Problem was…there was only one bike. My dad asked if I thought I could run while he biked. Well, sure! We went four miles that day. All my dad did was notice things and communicate with me. “You don’t seem out of breath at all. Are you tired?” or “You have such an easy running form. How are you feeling right now?” or “You really do run like a natural.” I walked away from that run feeling elated. As my dad was present and curious, he allowed me to notice that I did not feel tired as I ran and that I actually felt at ease and inspired by the motion and feeling of running. That was all. Except it wasn’t.
Four years later.
I was just entering middle school. A new student at school. Awkward as ever. I went to cheer on my older brother at a local cross country meet. I remember it so vividly. The park was lush and green. It was a warm day. The sun was lowering in the sky as one might expect in the late afternoon. Large trees with billowing foliage stood out like inhabitants of a magical land I half remembered. I glanced up– toward the direction of cheering– and there, my eyes met a long string of girls running along the crest of a hill. Their every movement embraced by the light of the sun. Were they fueled by the light? One girl in particular ran with such ease that I made an effort to confirm that her feet were indeed touching the ground at the end of each stride. Her legs moved smoothly, barely skimming the earth’s surface. Time stood still for me in that moment. I knew that I was joining that team. I was going to run. To train.
Have you ever felt that way? For all of the choices I have made through the cognitive efforts of planning or carefully weighing the benefits and the costs, a significant number of my most paramount decisions have come through a simple moment of resonance. An echo of something familiar or an invitation I can’t refuse. It beckons that I stop and pay attention. Pause and consider. And then, act. Have you had this experience with something you love to do?
It had been nearly four years since I had taken that run with my father at Rehoboth Beach. The seed that had been planted through the tender, observing eyes of my father was awakened by the resonance of a moment at a cross county meet. Resonance absolutely changed my life. I began to run that year on the local middle school’s cross country team. I learned all I could about running. I read books. Studied nutrition. Made elaborate training plans. I ran and ran and ran. A lot. By the time I had reached high school as a freshman, I was competing year round, racing with the best girls in the state of Florida. As a runner for BYU, I was able to see more of the country than I could have ever dreamed.
That was years ago now. My competitive days are long over. But do you know what? Running still gives to me. I am not highly trained anymore. But the moment I lace up my shoes and head out to be among the trees and sky things, I connect with that piece of me that loves the feeling of my body running. Pure and simple. I connect with all the living things around me and celebrate the unfathomable gift of being alive each day. I actually cry when I run! How corny is that?
I don’t think it matters so much what we resonate with, as long as we recognize it for what it is and find the courage to honor it. Whether it is photography, knitting, algebra, playing the violin, or drawing—I think that resonance can work much like an airline ticket. It offers us a trip into ourselves, into the unchartered territory of what makes us feel alive and joyful.
It is a journey worth taking.
My life is full of interests I resonate with these days. It makes life worth living. Truly. I actually find I experience a state of flow or engagement with many of these pursuits. Hiking. Yoga. Meditation. Reading. Writing. Cross country skiing. Cooking a fresh meal.
What interests do you resonate with? How were you first introduced? How do you feel when you engage with them? I would love to hear!