HI, I’m Emily Agnew. I serve as a mentor, teacher, Focusing guide, Inner Bonding facilitator, and writer, working in close collaboration with clients who are trying to get past anxiety to reach their full creative potential, where “YES!” energy becomes a way of life. The programs I offer are my own creations, and if I meet a client who needs something I don’t offer yet, I create a new program for them.
I’m a lot like the people I love to work with: thoughtful, creative, sensitive, inclined to get anxious or low under stress, as unstoppable as the Energizer Bunny when I pay the right attention to my body and my inner world, but tending to crash into a useless heap when I don’t.
Fortunately I rarely crash like that any more, thanks to many years messing around learning ways of being calmer and sturdier in the face of the so-called Challenges of Every Day Life. The result is what I refer to as a Sturdy Personal Infrastructure. I didn’t have one of those when I was younger, and the result was significant career carnage. But more about that in a moment.
I love to collaborate with clients to find ever more creative and effective ways to connect to their Inner Source. I want them to have the electric energy, joy, and focus they need to live out their life vision. Working together this way is what I call “high play,” and there’s nothing I’d rather be doing.
A jolt of energy
I first felt the “YES!”of that inner connection when I was a kid of eight, learning to play the piano. I felt so perfectly happy and absorbed in the challenge of trying to make those beautiful sounds, I’d only stop when my back got too sore to go on.
I felt it again watching the 1968 Olympics. I can still picture the orange-shag-carpeted basement playroom where we kept our 12-inch black-and-white TV. As my dad played with the rabbit-ear antennae, trying to get the snow out of the picture, the announcers roared: the legendary downhill skier Jean-Claude Killy had won another of several gold medals. I was so excited, I felt as if I’d been been plugged into an electric socket.
I was no daredevil at age 8, and I certainly was no skier. I knew it couldn’t be what he was doing that was so exciting to me. It had to be the way he was doing it. I knew I wanted more of what he was having! In fact, finding more of that has turned out to be my driving goal in life.
The search for “YES!”
I became a professional oboist, because I got that thrill sometimes in concerts.
There was a small problem, however: to win an orchestra job, you have to take an audition. I’d get so nervous, I couldn’t breathe. My arms and legs would get rigid. I never actually fainted, but I felt like I was going to. As you can imagine,this put a serious damper on my musical expression. I’d sound so stiff, awkward, and uncomfortable, I rarely made it past the first round,
It was crushingly disappointing, because I really did (and do) know how to play. Here’s a little sample of me from a recent concert, playing the last movement of the Vivaldi Concerto in D Minor for Oboe and Strings:
Finally, I did get manage to get into the Honolulu Symphony and spent five wonderful years in paradise. During that time and after I moved back to “the mainland,” I spent nearly all my free time trying to fix my audition nerve problem.
I studied Alexander Technique and yoga. I became a serious student of Zen meditation. I read dozens of books on peak performance, self-hypnosis, the nature of consciousness and of the unconscious, relationships, self esteem, creative visualization, flow, mindset, breathing, and the effects of diet on mood. In one spectacularly misguided show of commitment to the cause, I actually quit reading altogether for two years. I thought it might help me experience Zen Mind. (It didn’t, thank God. I’m back to having twenty books stacked by my bed.)
But as I experimented with all these wonderful things, I noticed the relief I got was all too fleeting. I was gradually improving my personal infrastructure (remember that?) But even my daily practice of yoga and Zen meditation did not get to the root of the anxiety I felt.
A shift in perspective
In the meantime though, my dear parents visited Ireland and brought me back a framed, beautifully hand-illuminated print of this quotation:
We can make our minds so like still water that beings gather about us that they may see, it may be, their own images, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even a fiercer life because of our quiet.
In the spirit of Yeats, I gradually shifted to a more spiritual perspective. I let go of the focus on winning auditions. I began to ask, “How can I find peace in myself?” That’s when the answers started pouring in. I discovered—
• Nonviolent Communication, and the power of empathy: NVC clarifies the connection between our universal shared human needs, and our feelings. I completed over 500 hours of training and started to work with clients and to lead workshops and practice groups in 2001.
• Inner Bonding: this six-step process taught me about spiritual disconnection as the source of anxiety and depression. It gave me a clear conceptual framework and answered long-standing questions about the dynamics of relationships to self, to others, and to Spirit (read more in my article, About Inner Bonding.) I completed certification in 2009 after assisting Margaret Paul in several intensive workshops.
• Inner Relationship Focusing, and the power of radical acceptance. Inner Bonding gave me a clear conceptual framework for healing anxiety. Inner Relationship Focusing provided the “how to:” the practical skills to develop the inner relationship aspect of my personal infrastructure (read more in my article, About Focusing.) I completed certification as a Focusing facilitator in 2013, after over two years of in-depth training and supervision. I now teach several courses for Ann Weiser Cornell’s Focusing certification program.
A powerful synergy
Finally I had the whole enchilada. I had assembled a powerful combination of information and skills to maintain the Sturdy Personal Infrastructure I needed to do all I wanted to do. I finally had a reliable way of transforming my anxiety into positive, usable energy.
And along the way, this tireless search had blossomed into a new career for me. Not only could I transform my own anxiety, I now had a powerful, effective way of sharing all this with clients.
All this comes together in the unique offerings I’ve designed to give you the experience of compassionate inner dialogue, the conceptual framework to understand that experience, and the skills to re-create it for yourself….in short, to empower you to move from stress to the “YES!”
If you are anxious, ask yourself: “Am I hard on myself? Is my personal infrastructure shaky? Am I disconnected from myself, but don’t know what to do about it?” I’m here to help you reconnect that “YES!” energy you’ve experienced in your best moments. If your answer is yes to any of these questions, I invite you to read more about how I work.
You can also go to the services page to learn more about Luminos Listening programs and sessions. From each program page, you can click on a link to schedule a complimentary exploratory session in which we can get to know each other and see if it feels like a good fit.
I’d love to hear from you!
Emily is a stellar individual and a remarkably reliable comrade. I unequivocally can recommend her to anyone who is serious about growing and uncovering their own foibles. She goes the distance.
∼KC, Psychiatric RN, Vashon, Washington