Mindfully artistic

Profile: Eberechi Okwuwolu by Julie Bull

Eberechi Okwuwolu has lived in PEI since 2014 and he has been on an incredible journey in the nine years since. A self-proclaimed soccer bro turned life bro, Eberechi is a mindfulness and wellness coach, an entrepreneur, an artist, a poet, and a podcaster, among other things. If you were to ask him where he’d be in 10 years back in 2014, he would have said he’d be a professional soccer player. “I was heading in the direction of professional sports in my younger days.”

After the breakup of a long-term relationship and a soccer injury within 10 days of each other, Eberechi found himself with a new opportunity for growth. “I thought that relationship was it. I thought soccer was it. But it was through losing ‘it’ over and over that I finally started to find myself.” While it can be discouraging and difficult to have such abrupt changes and shifts in our trajectories, Eberechi recalls a feeling of acceptance and peace during those 10 days where everything changed for him. “I was ready to allow myself the growth that the universe was giving to me.”

He embraced the growing pains that come with sudden changes and has found himself in spaces of co-creation with other people. “As a soccer bro, I was focused heavily on myself. As a life bro, I am de-centring myself through building community.” Learning from and contributing to community has been an integral part of Eberechi’s life and art: “without my community, there is no me.”

Though he isn’t a professional soccer player, Eberechi does still enjoy playing the sport and he still integrates sports metaphors in his vernacular: “I have learned not to sit in the sidelines of my own life because I want to live, not just exist.”

Part of living for Eberechi is to examine and explore various worlds and universes, within himself and with others. He recalls a love of amusement parks from his childhood where he could see multiple universes play out simultaneously. Though the playfulness and vibrancy were part of the appeal, he recalls more profound meaning in his memory: “Amusement parks were the greatest place on earth for me because there were so many universes and they all could be the way they were, different from each other, without limits, restrictions, or comparisons. There was room for them all to just be.”

The way he saw amusement parks translated to how he sees people and how he encourages others to be fully and wholly themselves. This is especially evident in his art process and practice. “Art also teaches me that there are multiple perspectives, none of which are better or worse than the others.” Importantly, Eberechi notes that art is both a means of connection to others and to oneself. “My art shows me that I can still learn something new.”

Eberechi creates solo and group works in both visual art and poetry. He also brings his mindfulness and meditation practices into his art and shares these integrations with others. In July, he curated a two-day immersive sensory art gathering called Revivify. It was a festival that celebrated the human experience by providing a space to unplug, recharge, and be mindful. 

“Meditation is not just about sitting in silence and in stillness. It’s about being patient, observant, feeling all the feels. It’s about the willingness to take action on what we know.”

Having recently read bell hooks, Eberechi is leveling up his mindful practice by embodying a love ethic and sharing its power with others. “Love is for everyone and everything, not just for romantic relationships. 

“Intimacy comes in many forms and I’m so grateful to listen to and learn from others who so freely share themselves with the world. Intimacy is when we see and are seen by another, and that is one of the most beautiful gifts we can give and receive.” 

Anyone who has heard Eberechi share his wisdom and insights, whether in a podcast, a poem, or in-conversation, knows that he embodies the gentle kindness he speaks about. “I choose to be intentional and have my actions match my words. I choose to live by my values, each and every day.”

In a world that gives us all the reasons to be hard, Eberechi’s presence is a reminder to be soft. “I remind myself and others to be gentle and kind, and to live with love and compassion.”

Julie Bull, an Inuk (NunatuKavut) researcher and educator, has extensive experience in community-based participatory action research, emphasizing Indigenous perspectives. A champion of social justice, Julie envisions collaborative efforts between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities worldwide. With a focus on research governance and ethics, her work with NunatuKavut has yielded notable publications and presentations.