Wil Wood, contributing writer

Liam Wood, the author’s son, finds natural frequency playing guitar.

A classic example of natural frequency is a plucked guitar string or a tuning fork. When tapped, a tuning fork continuously vibrates at the same frequency, its natural frequency, hitting the same pitch or note. Humans are more complex than tightened strings or tuning forks, making it harder to find our natural frequency.

By fifth-grade, I perceived plenty of evidence that I was the dregs of society and would never amount to much. With that mindset, I was surprised when I outran the schoolyard while playing “odd man out” one day. Here’s the twist: I was the only one who knew I had won. I had juked, dodged, and just plain outrun every feral kid on the pitch, and I was heading into the infinite green turf of the northeast corner of Hillcrest Elementary’s bounteous field. I realized that not only had I upended the hierarchy of the school grounds, but I had also scrambled my identity of where I fit in in the world.

In a way, I heard a far-off ring that was so sweet and felt like home, but I believed that sweetness was not for me. So I eased off the speed and let my friend catch and tackle me. Soon, Ralph, Piggy, Jack, and the rest of the schoolyard overtook me, but for that split second, I heard the soft, sweet ring of what could be my natural frequency. It frightened me because I couldn’t understand who I was if I didn’t fail at everything.

I wish I could tell that fifth-grader, “You’re really good and really bad at different things. That’s who you are, and that’s perfect.”

I cringed the first time I heard the quote from Marianne Williamson, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” I thought that was so stupid.

Why would we be afraid of infinite power within us? I’m not exactly sure, but I know that fifth-grade boy feared it. The quote continues “It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.”

So, how do we find our natural frequency? I don’t have a map or a tuning fork for you. In fact, I may only have a few things we should NOT do.

Don’t worry about being cringy

Let’s talk about Ed Sheeran; he’s a rockstar and super talented. He came out of the womb writing music and singing, right? Nope. There’s a clip of him, at age 14, listening to himself sing a song he wrote, “Addicted.” It’s cringe by anyone’s standards. I’d like to think that he could feel the music even then.

When we see others perform their craft, all we see is a person in flow. We don’t see the slow development that leads to the shiny performance.

Recognize your talents 

My friend Casey McFarland is a professional photographer. He has honed his craft and shares his goodness with the world through photography. However, there was a time when he stopped photography and went to sell insurance. Selling insurance lasted for a few years, and he hated it. During that time, he realized that not everyone could so easily make others feel comfortable from behind a camera’s lens, so he returned to photography. In retrospect, Casey recognized that his ease and effortlessness while doing photography was talent. Because something comes easy, we often don’t realize what a gift it is. We vibe closer to our natural frequency when we recognize and develop our talents.

Recognize eccentricities

Webster defines eccentric as “deviating from conventional or accepted usage or conduct especially in odd or whimsical ways.” If you have negative connotations with the word eccentric, I want you to put those out of your mind. My dad is eccentric, but only in the most charming of ways. What makes him eccentric? I may be too close to see the forest through the trees on this one, but I do see how he goes about things differently than other doctors.

People tell me about their experiences with him and say things like, “He just doesn’t seem like a doctor, but …” I’m proud to say that my dad vibes on his natural frequency. Logic would say “oddities” alienate, but that is not always true. Not only do our differences help define who we are, but they endear us to each other and give us all permission to be who we really are.

When I first read that “a glimmer is the opposite of a trigger,” it resonated. A glimmer is our natural frequency vibing within us. I felt a glimmer in fifth-grade when I outran the schoolyard. I think Ed Sheeran felt a glimmer when making music even though he couldn’t perform it yet. Casey feels them when he shoots photos, and my dad feels them when all his knowledge, practice, and experience come together so he can give good care as a doctor. Can it be scary to acknowledge a glimmer of greatness within ourselves? Yes. But lean into that fear. Lean into it so you can feel your natural frequency. It will grant you happiness and give others permission to find theirs.