Amplitude: the state, feeling, or attitude of ampleness often expressing itself through gratitude, joy and abundance.
In electrical terms, amplitude is the maximum deviation of an alternating current from its average value. In terms of the human experience, maybe my experiences in particular, it is this deviation from the everyday that gives me energy. So what I am I talking about?
I’m talking about the times when we deviate from our daily thoughts for the briefest of a moment and we embrace alternate thoughts.
Most of us are so wrapped up in repetitive thoughts to the point that our life experiences are contained in a very narrow bandwidth.
Narrow Bandwidth of Existence
For instance, if you have formed the opinion that people are difficult, it is not surprising that the universe will attract circumstances and experiences to firmly confirm your thoughts. Similarly, if you believe that life is hard, life will be hard for you.
Amp It Up
It is when we break away from those continual daily thoughts and prejudices and forge new thoughts, new neural pathways that we understand the energy contained in thoughts.
Thoughts are energy, and when we are able to forge alternative thoughts, those thoughts can energise us.
Low grade low energy thoughts of fear, jealousy, anger steal our energy. Thoughts of gratitude, love and abundance can amp up our energy incredibly.
The thing about thoughts is that what we focus our thoughts on expands. If we have negative thoughts we attract negative energy. We become more negative, fearful, angry, resentful. It is a downward spiral where one’s energy is sapped by such negativity. The same is true of the opposite. Focus on the good in your life and you feel good. In fact, you will feel great.
Fill yourself with good thoughts, with goodness, and that goodness naturally expands to fill you with greatness. It is the rippling effect of energy at play.
Think about all the good things in your life and that feeling of goodness expands. You can feel it in your heart. You can see it when you look in the mirror and your eyes well up and a smile erupts on your face.
Attitude Determines Amplitude
I have felt a lot to be grateful for over the past 6 months walking with an incredible bunch of people from London to Jerusalem. I also learned a lot about the human condition along the way.
In order to walk the 3300km took endurance. I am talking more about mental endurance than physical endurance.
Before starting the walk I had assumed that it was physically impossible for me to be able to walk on average 30km a day. Totally impossible! I soon found out that beyond the aches and pains it was a mental exercise. I realised that I would need to develop the mental endurance to make the distance.
Mental endurance meant having an ‘open mind’. Every day presented itself new challenges. I am quite a solitary independent person, so having to adjust to walking as a team, group accommodation, together with daily uncertainties meant that we all had to develop and grow to meet these mental challenges.
Thriving Through Striding
I also realised that I like to ‘push the envelope’, to test limits and to see if those perceived limits really exist. If the group had to be broken up so that one group had to walk further in a day than the other one, I would always put myself in the group that would walk a longer day.
Attitude Is Everything
What I learned through the pilgrimage is that I was solely responsible for my experience along the journey. That if I maintained the right attitude no matter what trying circumstances should arise, I would have a fuller more enjoyable experience.
Attitude determines amplitude. Just how joyous and abundant one felt was directly linked to attitude.
Cool Under The Collar
An example was that no matter how hot it got while we were walking I would never complain. Never! We walked through France, through 40 plus degree centigrade heat and to what was called in the media, the Lucifer Heatwave. I knew that if I was to walk the whole distance there was no benefits in negativity.
In fact, negativity would only negate from my experiences. Negativity, like the opposite, can easily ripple out and take over one’s experiences.
Instead of getting hot under the collar, I used the power of amplitude to change my thoughts and circumstances. So what is the opposite to hot and bothered? Well, cool and comfortable. That was what I determined as the alternative. So I decided to amp it up by seeking solutions to create the alternative.
Cooling and Comfortable
Rather than focusing on being hot and bothered I focused on thoughts of feeling cool. And so the solution soon presented itself. The solution was always there it just meant making a mental shift, flipping the switch to find the alternate condition.
Walking from village to village it soon occurred to me that most villages had a village fountain or a communal washing area known as a laverie. In days gone by, women would come together and wash their clothes and no doubt gossip. These laveries had clean, cool, flowing spring water feeding the basin or pool.
So it didn’ take me long to begin to soak myself from top to toe in cool refreshing spring water. I would fill my hat with water and empty it on my head and let it trickle down my body. The cool waters also providing a refreshing drink. I would empty my tepid water bottle and fill it with limpid liquid.
This became a ritual during those scorching months of walking, where at each village after having dried off from the previous village walking in the scorching heat, I would ceremonially wet myself! It took a few villages and quite a few kilometres before other walkers lost their composure and started to follow suit rather than melt in the heat!
What I quickly learned through the walk was that attitude determined amplitude or the depth of richness and abundance I could hope to experience. Let’s go back to the electrical definition of amplitude again for a moment:
Amplitude is the maximum deviation of an alternating current from its average value.
As previously mentioned, keeping a positive attitude was paramount to be able to last the journey. There was no benefits letting things get to me – the only loser would be me if I succumbed to negativity. This meant finding the ‘maximum deviation of an alternating current from its average value’, in other words finding what things along the walk one found challenging and ‘flipping it’, or finding an alternative way of thinking about these things.
Probably one of the biggest challenges for all the walkers was hills and mountains. Both the inclines and declines ensured that we expended both more physical and mental energy. It slowed down a day’s walking, and put added pressure on our sore knees, legs, feet and joints. It meant we had to walk carefully and be focused continually, especially when negotiating rocky areas with loose rubble. For those reasons all of us except Jack dreaded the challenge that lay ahead in climbing the Alps from Switzerland into Italy.
Jack & Hills
Jack was the youngest of our motley bunch of unlikely pilgrims. He was a long distance runner. His body was that of an endurance runner, tall and thin, and he had boundless energy. He would run up hills and mountains while we walked. He ‘lived’ for hills. He would talk about hills constantly and his love of running up hills. He would tell me how he couldn’t wait to get to the Alps and how we would all love walking up the Alps. Obviously, we all being older didn’t feel the same.
But as we walked over the weeks through northern France, I began to be swept up in the energy and excitement that Jack felt towards hills and mountains. ‘Attitude’ really did ‘determine altitude’ as Zig Zigglar once said. I began to see hills and mountains as welcomed challenges.
Before long, I was infected by Jack’s energy and love of mountains. I looked forward to the challenge and so when it came to climbing the Alps it was a gift not a burden to carry.
I was so enlivened and filled with energy that I look back at the Alps with great fondness. Even on our day off, four of us, which obviously included Jack, decided to climb up a mountain in the Alps! I mean, what else do you do on a day off after walking hundreds of kilometres, and having sore legs and feet, then climb the Alps!
Those are just two examples about how one can flip the switch on thoughts – how we can seek out alternative thoughts and how they can give us such bigger more enriching life affirming experiences.
‘Flipping it!’ is a term I came up with years ago after experiencing a particularly distressful relationship breakup. I felt so sad and sorry for myself and couldn’t quite get out of the funk. I was so miserable and distressed.
Then a thought occurred to me. The sadness and depression I was feeling was just energy. Yes, just energy! Emotions are energy in motion. It then occurred to me that I am the switch. If sadness and depression are energy, why can’t I just flip the switch?
That’s what I did. To this day I don’t understand how I was able to do it so easily. I began to cry. But this time they were tears of joy. Tears ran down my face. The heaviness in my heart evaporated and I felt lightness of being. I felt the energy in my heart show as a smile, then suddenly my mouth opened and I began to laugh like a mad man. For a moment I thought I had gone mad, and if I had, this was the most joyous crazy kind of madness I could have ever want to feel!
Think of the word depression for a moment. What does the feeling feel like? To me it is a feeling of ‘stuckness’, of holding down of energy, as if an invisible hand is stopping us from coming up to the surface to breathe. It is a suffocation, a drowning, a holding down of energy. Flipping it for me was about realising that I was the hand, that I could release myself, no one else.
At the time I hadn’t really analysed what had happened in that moment. But I dare say that focusing on the good in my life took away the negativity I was experiencing. Gratitude is a powerful mood changer if not a life changer.
I think life has taught me to find the good in everything. My wife would sometimes tell me, that it is often to my own detriment, as I would always find the good in everyone and everything. But in general, this has held me in good stead.
I think that the incredible pilgrimage from London to Jerusalem was that more ‘epic’ because of my attitude. I didn’t allow anything to become a ‘problem’. I focused on the incredible experiences I was having. When there were challenges I just saw them as part of the big picture and knew deep down inside they would pass. I would not allow my mind to stray to negativity, just deal with things as they arose, and find ‘alternatives’ in solutions or ways of ‘thinking’ about these challenges.
To my surprise, a number of walkers after the journey remarked that I was super calm and helped to keep the group together. This strangely came as a big surprise to me!
Attitude literally gets you places.
I believe in order to amp up your life you need to find the good in every day. There was a time before I was about to turn 39 when I looked back at my life and the past decade had seemed a blur. I realised I couldn’t even remember the days and details of the previous year. Had I really lived let alone existed? Because of a busy stressful work life for the life of me I couldn’t remember a thing!
That is when I decided to spend the next year taking a photo every day on my iPhone. I wanted to create a physical record to show that even for a minute second I had stopped, stepped out of my mind, became present enough to contemplate something in front of me right then and there and to take a picture of it.
Smell The Roses
It was a very simple yet incredibly powerful practice. Every day I would stop to enjoy the beauty that was around me.
I would stop to literally ‘smell the roses’. To seek out beauty in my daily workaday life. A rusty nail on a gate, dewdrops on a leaf, the blue blue eyes of my wife… It stopped me in my tracks and filled my heart with joy.
I experienced a deep sense of abundance by simply noticing the beauty that surrounded me when I lost my mind for a moment and became present to the beauty that the present moment had presented me.
Losing Oneself In The Present
I had gone from feeling lost and not knowing where the last decade had disappeared to, to finding myself through enjoying the ‘little things’ right in front of me in the present moment.
These little things defined my presence, my existence in this very moment. This powerful practice allowed me to lose my mind and become insanely happy through discovering the gift we call the present that Eleanor Roosevelt described in her oft quoted saying.
This powerful practice that I maintained for a year, I just realised I have since evolved further. After a year I had stopped the daily practice. So I thought. Happy snapping focused my attention on the visual, on seeing – on taking photos.
Yet, as humans we have other senses that help us experience the world. I have since taken many happy snaps in my mind through a holistic approach to how I engage with my world.
We experience things around us through seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching and feeling. I now take happy snaps daily automatically of little things, little moments. It is now as natural as breathing for me. Yet these snapshots engage all my senses and are stored in my heart.
After Israel and Palestine I spent close to three weeks in Malta. I visited relatives and walked around the island. It was an incredible experience. On my last day I decided to anchor the joy and gratitude I felt for everything I experienced by focusing on the little things.
In the morning I went with my uncle to a local bar. The bar had been operating for over a half century. It was a place where old men sat outside drinking coffee and watching the world go by. There were many memories as a child in that bar, yet to go there by myself didn’t feel right. I sat down with my uncle, chatting to the owner and customers, drinking my tea. Simple yet I felt a deep sense of gratitude as I reminisced. This was the first anchor.
Then later on that day I visited some relatives and just enjoyed their company before going for a short walk in a valley down the road. As I walked through this valley I felt a deep sense of gratitude. The carob trees were in bloom and their sweet distinctive smell infused in me and this was the lasting snapshot for me of Malta.
Back in Australia, I realised I haven’t stopped ‘happy snapping’. A ‘happy snap’ is much more than a holographic sensual picture we create in our heart, it also acts as an elastic band. It snaps us out of our narrow bandwidth thinking, it opens our mind, expands it so that our hearts are open to receive new experiences by recognising the beauty that is right in front of us right now.
On the aeroplane I felt a wave of excitement envelope me. I have felt this before when I had arrived back in Australia after a long journey. It happens when I am flying over Australian air space above the clouds. All I can see is clear blue sky and the exquisite bright light that feels distinctly ‘Australian’.
The plane lands. I go through customs. I declare my worn out muddy walking shoes that have taken me far on my pilgrimage. I have a chat with the customs officer. I feel joy hearing the Australian accent. We have a pleasant conversation and I tell him about the journey I have been on. He is very relaxed and he offers to clean my muddy shoes to give them back to me as he could understand that they would have sentimental value. I not wanting to put him out let him take them to dispose of them. He gestures that I should at least take a photo of them before he takes them away. I take a snapshot on my phone and I think how lucky I am to live in Australia.
I meet Heidi after being away for almost 6 months. I feel nervous excitement. When we see each other I feel my heart open as we embrace and kiss and hold hands for the hour long drive back home.
Arriving home it feels strange to be back. The house looks clean and immaculate and very familiar. The garden has grown after recent rains and the grevilleas are out in bloom. It is so nice to breathe in the fresh clean eucalypt scented air after rain. This fills my heart with joy as it reminds me of the Australian bush. The next day I buy some more plants and plant them into the soil, the fresh smell of soil filling my lungs. A few days later, a native hibiscus I had planted blooms. I am surrounded with beauty and abundance and my heart too unfurls.
Laying on our bed I felt grateful for being able to sleep in our own soft clean bed. I felt like I was sleeping on a cloud of cotton. As I lay there I listened out the window into the backyard and the sounds of birds twittering filled me with great joy knowing that I had truly arrived back in Australia. I had missed the sounds of the rich array of birds we are blessed to have here.
Beauty and the Beach
A couple of days later we meet some friends down at Casuarina. We sat for a coffee before going for a walk with their dog. I look around as we walk, beautiful banksias in bloom, the smell of salt in the air, the crash of waves along the shore, the crunch of sand between my toes and the cold sea on my feet. I was in heaven.
Amplitude is about maximising the joy in your life. It is focusing on the good in your life. Searching out the beauty that is around you in every day. Then like a magnifying glass allowing the sun to burn it into your heart. Creating happy snaps, allowing the light to flood into your heart can help amplify your life, your happiness, your sense of abundance. Focusing on the little things, finding gratitude can make you feel, well, great.
The Raspberry Ripple Effect
No doubt it is difficult to stay in this feeling of gratitude all day. Most of us operate on a lower level of energy. We have a narrow bandwidth, yet with practice we can extend that bandwidth to give our lives more profound experiences.
I like to think of the little moments of appreciating beauty as ‘raspberry ripple moments’. As a child I loved raspberry ripple ice cream. The moment of ultimate taste bud nirvana was when my taste buds had reached the narrow red vein of raspberry in the sea of vanilla. It was heavenly delecstasy! I think our days can be like this. They may seem quite vanilla, but it is this vein of sweet rich intense raspberry that brings them alive.
Some raspberry ripple moments in the last few days have been:
Koala Kodak Moments
Accompanying Heidi to release a koala who had been taken into care after a dog encounter a week earlier. It was touching to spend quality time with Heidi after being away for so long, doing something we are both passionate about. It wasn’t easy to find a place to release Isabel the koala that was suitable. As the sun was setting we found a suitable place. We knocked on the front door of the property we wanted to release her in and they were delighted to let us release her in their backyard. Much of koala habitat has been unfortunately lost to development. The family were so excited and couldn’t welcome us enough. By the time we had to leave it felt that we had been lifelong friends saying goodbye.
Just yesterday, a Saturday, Heidi and I spent the day together. It was her birthday and we decided to spend it indulging in our mutual passion for animals. We spent the day at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Heidi was in ecstasy cuddling koalas and petting kangaroos.
We finished the day of animals by picking up Kiwi the koala from the wildlife hospital to release back where he was found. When we arrived at the patch of bush land surrounded by suburbia it had started to rain. We found a suitable tree in this island of bushland that was his home and Heidi opened the cage. To me seeing Heidi so happy brought tears to my eyes, well, she wouldn’t have known as it was raining!
There was a special moment that I will long remember when Kiwi climbed a thin tree trunk, stopped for a moment, looked at Heidi as if posing for a photo, and what looked like an acknowledgement of thank you, sniffed her and then disappeared up the tree as the rain came down.
Other raspberry ripple moments were work-related.
A day after arriving back in Australia I was back into work. Travelling up to Toowoomba and then meeting up with another client on another day I felt grateful that I have a career that is creative and have some really nice clients.
Throughout my 6 month journey I had reflected on my future and came to the conclusion that it wasn’t important to have everything worked out – just enjoy the journey, maybe see things and work differently…
As I was walking I was looking for alternatives to making a living,yet changing my attitude to one of gratitude has made a big difference to my experiences.
I had a client a few days ago call me to really express his gratitude for the work I was doing. He had waited for me to return before taking on a lease and he said I had gone over and above with the work I had done for him. I felt great being acknowledged and I returned the acknowledgement by letting him know it was easy to go that extra mile when clients are so lovely. It was a love feast all the way round!
This raspberry ripple moment happened on Heidi’s birthday. I was waiting for some feedback with some work that I am doing so we had an easy Friday going out for breakfast. We went to our favourite vegetarian restaurant I had designed. It is a place we go often as we love the food and the atmosphere. We both felt grateful to be able to take time out on a weekday to slow down and simply be.
The Ripple Effect
The thoughts that we focus on expand to create the experiences that we have. This expanding of energy was illustrated perfectly yesterday evening.
Heidi and I had been out all day and decided to buy a pizza for dinner rather than cook. We drove into the car park of our local Dominos Pizza outlet to pick it up. Heidi popped out and picked up the pizza.
As she approached the car a man asked her for directions. He wanted to make his way to the train station. Heidi had a blonde moment and couldn’t quite remember how to get there and asked me.
I opened my side window and I realised that it seemed quite complicated to give directions to the train station. The man to me seemed like he was drunk. In a couple of seconds I said to the man, “I tell you what, by the time I explain to you where the train station is I might as well take you. Jump in and I’ll drive you there if you want?”
And so we drove him to the train station which was only a couple of kilometres away. On the way I realised that he wasn’t drunk, but in fact was physically disabled. He had had an accident that slurred his speech and left his body crippled. He had come down from Hervey Bay I learned, for a few days; that his son was in Bali because of the volcanic activity and smoke and ash cancelling flights; and he told me about a bush walk in the Blue Mountains.
As he alighted he said that he was feeling overwhelmed with gratitude. He expressed through teary eyes that he had began to lose faith in the goodness of people and that this little gesture had restored his faith.
His sense of joy and gratitude rippled through me. I was overwhelmed with joy that another human being was happier for such a simple gesture. My sense of gratitude in my day had set me up to be open to give back to others and create more joy. When we open our hearts to what is rather than what isn’t in front of us we can allow the energy of greatness to ripple out into our world.
That moment with this total stranger distilled in me the idea of amplitude. Amplitude is about seeking different pathways of thinking than what we are used to. It is about expanding or bandwidth of experiences. Opening ourselves up to new experiences by seeing alternatives to our thinking. It is about discovering that alternating current that is always there yet we don’t often utilise.
Two things in hindsight occurred to me as I was driving home with Heidi after dropping the stranger off (his name was Greg by the way).
For a split second when I first spoke to Greg and just before I decided to offer him a lift I saw my mind debate if I should do this. He looked drunk. Yet, I found out later he was disabled. I saw my mind in that split second judging him – I was being prejudiced. Then it occurred to me that if in fact he was drunk, was that enough of a good reason not to help someone.
I’m glad I didn’t allow my ‘narrow bandwidth’ of thought, my narrow mindedness get the better of me.’ By embracing that alternating current, by opening up our hearts we open up our closed minds.
Secondly, after dropping him off it occurred to me that this was a ‘test’. I had been offered so much kindness by others along the journey in the last 6 months, how could I be narrow minded enough not to want to give back?
What was even funnier was that about a couple of years ago, I had picked up a pizza from here and had also picked up another walker from the very same carpark who was asking for directiions too! It had been raining and I was concerned that he would get soaked.
I had dropped this stranger to were he needed to go which was about 4 kilometres away. My friend in the car at the time couldn’t believe that anyone would go out of their way to offer a stranger a ride going in the opposite direction. To me all I could think about was it was a long way to walk and that this stranger would be drenched!
Life becomes abundant when we see its ampleness. When we focus on the beauty in the world we experience great richness and deep joy. Thoughts are energy and when we allow energy to ripple out of our hearts and into the world those ripples like waves of energy affect our experiences of the world and the lives of others.
Questions and Amperes
To experience greater amplitude in your life ask yourself the following questions:
Q. What honey (or raspberry ripple) am I leaving on the table every day? In other words, what little things in each day that could give us greater joy are we failing to acknowledge? Are we grateful for that cup of coffee from our favourite cafe or possibly from our partner?
A. Maybe you may want to acknowledge them for that perfect pick me up that they give you daily.
Q. How can you stop for a moment each day and smell, taste, and feel the roses?
A. Why not create a new daily ritual where you focus on the little things. Maybe you may take a picture daily to stop your mind for a moment and focus on what is in front of you.
Q. How can you amp up your life?
A. Why not write a list of things you are passionate about, then see how you can set aside a few minutes a day or week to develop that passion. Stop waiting for happiness and abundance to some day arrive. It is here and now, we just need to increase our bandwidth to receive it.
Amplitude is simply your attitude to accept this abundance. It is about expanding your bandwidth of thoughts. To do this we may need to seek alternative thoughts that provide us with new experiences, new realisations, new energy.
We need to deviate from our every day thoughts and find beauty in what is right in front of us at any given moment. We need to open our hearts up to the present. To lose our minds for a moment, and experience the abundance that our senses provide.
We need to remember to be small minded – it is only when we focus on the little exquisite details of every day that we can open our hearts and then our minds to greater things.
Gratitude makes us a great. It is time to amplify the joy in your life. It is time to reach the heights of greatness that every day gifts you when we focus on its ample beauty that’s right in front of you right now.