Sympathetic Resonance

"I'm still buzzing from the weekend."


"I'm still riding high from our last get together."


"I was feeling so inspired from our last conversation that I went and..."

Can you identify this feeling?

What is the "buzzing"? The "riding high"? The "inspiration"?

I've thought a lot about it recently.

This feeling that you're left with, well after a thing has happened.

Usually a very positive thing, because it's a very positive feeling.

It often happens after a really powerful interaction that you've had with someone, or even something.

It might even occur with a group of people, or with nobody at all. You may just be somewhere wonderful and experience a profound moment, while completely alone.

I realize this is all a bit abstract at the moment, but sometimes the things I write about aren't always clear in my own head, and I hope that the act of writing will change that. So you're experiencing clarity along with me.

Let me try to be clear about the feeling that I'm thinking of.

An example will help, I'm sure.

A few weeks ago, I went on a wonderful dinner date with my friend Will. Will and I could talk for days, and I assure you I would never get bored.

This particular night, after dinner, we sat at my dining table and proceeded to have about a two (maybe three?) hour long conversation about a variety of things.

The specifics of the conversation aren't really the point, the point is how the conversation made me feel.

I've written before about being in your element and experiencing moments of energy giving (vs. energy taking).

This conversation was highly energy giving, and I certainly felt in my element during it.

The feeling I want to explore in this post is not what I felt during that conversation, but rather, what I felt after the conversation.

The next day.

And the several days and even weeks that have followed.

As per usual, I have been searching for a way to label this feeling.

My research led me to this two-minute video (turn your volume up very high, or listen with headphones):

How good was that page flip transition by the way? I mean, you just don't see that kind of magic anymore.

Sympathetic resonance.

What a thing!

I'll admit, the first word that came to mind when I was searching for a label was the word resonance.

So I started going down the rabbit hole of seeking the definition of resonance.

It's a very deep rabbit hole.

Beyond its sheer simplicity, what I absolutely love about the video above, is that it captures so much of what I've been thinking about.

There are two key reflections I have from it:


  1. In order for this effect to even occur, two objects have to have the same "resonant frequency." Going back to my example with Will, when you spend time with someone, especially someone who you might have a great relationship with, after a while you sort of "get on the same wavelength," don't you? In fact, the longer or perhaps deeper you go in a conversation, the chances of that wavelength (or resonant frequency) being the same, are much higher. More than anything, this is the set up that allows for reflection two below.

  2. In the video, after the page flip transition, you'll notice that the gentleman hits the first tuning fork with a mallet once, then dampens it, and the second tuning fork keeps going ... until he dampens it. I wonder, how long would it have kept going if he hadn't dampened it? Isn't this idea akin to "still buzzing from the weekend," or "still riding high from our last get together,"? Back to my own example, it's as if when Will and I were together, someone was hitting him several times in a row with a very large mallet, because the sympathetic resonance lasted several weeks for me.

As I said before, I don't think this feeling necessarily needs to come from a person-to-person or person-to-people interaction. If you're a believer (like me) in the idea of right book right time, then it can come from reading a single sentence in a book.

I will likely return to this idea again sometime, because there is a lot more to understand.

For instance, with the idea of resonant frequency (the first reflection above), how do you find it with whatever it is that you're doing, so that you can be set up for those moments when the mallet hits?

For now, let's leave it here.

Keep buzzing.

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