And When I Listened
By Luciano Onichino, BA, RMT,
Emotional Fitness® Coach, Ambassador
While away for Labor Day weekend, Angie and I had the luxury and privilege to steal away around Cape Breton, choosing accommodations which provided solace and disconnect from all the trappings of my busy modern life. It was on one such escape, while seated around the campfire as the Sun set, noticing how the darkening sky blanketed our place and how the extent of our perceived world was limited to only as far as the glow of the fire could reach. Subtly, our immediate world became very small. With vision limited, our auditory sense began to fill the void: the distinctive light clapping of leaves only Poplars can make with the slightest of breezes, whirring wind through the forest canopy, snapping and cracking of twigs underfoot made by the weight of any possible creature our imaginations would conjure, the lonely somber call of an owl growing increasingly distant while searching for feathery companionship, and the constant blabbering of the nearby brook festooned with its chuckles and giggles that could only be rivaled by a gaggle of teenagers at a local Ceilidh. Suddenly, I realized that a whole new world became available to me, If I was able and willing to listen.
It’s no surprise that the first and most pervasive Tool learned on my journey to becoming an Emotional Fitness Coach was Listening Power. When executed well, I quiet all my personal ‘noise’ allowing for undistracted, unbiased listening to my Presenter so that I can capture the essence of what was shared and then carefully reflect it back solely for the Presenter’s benefit by gaining clarity and hopefully a deeper self-awareness. As I continue to practice listening, I’ve come to realize that the more I learn about others, the more I learn about myself. This is truly a selfless act of generosity for which I am endlessly grateful.
Full disclosure, my personal healing journey became consciously activated about 30 years ago. Off and on getting help, trying different approaches, hanging onto what helped, discarding what didn’t, all too often lacking focus and consistency. Despite this, I can confidently say that a variety of tools and sensibilities have been honed along the way. It wasn’t until recently (admittedly with the help of the experience gained through becoming a Coach), I became aware of the missing integral piece in my personal wellness puzzle – LEARNING HOW TO LISTEN TO MYSELF.
With ease and simplicity, accessibility is ensured. I’ve personally acknowledged that I am wholly human with a body, a mind (consciousness), an intricate psychology with inherent emotions and a spirit. There was no intention behind the order I listed these because I am convinced that neither manifest in isolation of the others, all intertwined informing the other. The only clear intentionality in that statement was italicizing “wholly” in bold script. What has become increasingly clear is the interconnectedness of these Pillars, that as I endeavor to practice activating them, the more I experience their inherent place in my Being. These insights become increasingly available to me as I continue to practice listening to myself, there is no end. I am in perpetual evolution, welcoming growth through struggle, forever grateful, patient and kind with myself along the way. I am not ‘perfect’ nor will I ever be in that self-deprecating mindset kind of way. But what I truly am in this very moment is enough.
Resigned to the belief that I am a perpetual student; a keen observer imbued with child-like curiosity; my personal limitations are here to be explored. I do so with practices which allow for listening/connecting to myself within three realms of my existence: Movement, Breathwork and Silence. I specifically set time aside to actively engage in these practices on a consistent basis. Through them, I endeavor to deepen my self-awareness during all practices, experiencing the connection between my body and mind by connecting to my breath, focusing my attention on sensations, emotions and whatever else comes up with no judgement, only simple curiosity. The depth of the richness of these practices becomes clear by the degree to which I yearn for them when the consistency is interrupted.
As I was able to sit and experience the vastness of my nighttime world by the fire only made available to me through stillness and intentional listening, so does the eternal innate vastness of my existence become increasingly available by practicing mindful movement, breathing and silence.