About Rowena

Hello, my name is Ro, and I believe that it is possible for you to turn your ordinary life into an extraordinary life - to find true happiness, while remaining, selfless, mindful and compassionate towards other living beings. Here at my blog, I interview and post articles by musicians, writers, world travelers, humanitarians and other amazing individuals who are doing just that. I also share with you various anecdotes about my own totally awesome existence as a musician, composer, journalist, environmentalist, and compassionati. My hope is to connect with you, enlighten you, inspire you and lead you down the path to true happiness. Compassion is always in fashion and it starts with you loving that most important of people, yourself.

October 1, 2010

Rowena Has Risen - Part II: Learning to Breathe Again

"Life won’t wait for you my friend . . ."

“Do you realize that you hardly ever breathe?” One of my doctors told me not so long ago. Dutifully I breathed in and out. A few minutes later, she said “You’re doing it again!”

I admitted that recently, I have been living under water, holding my breath and rising to the surface to gasp for air, only when I desperately needed to. My blood pressure was dangerously high in spite of a healthy vegetarian diet and over one hour of cardiovascular exercise each day. Work was stressing me out. My attempts to maintain my usually positive attitude only seemed to encourage the critics to become more critical and the nay sayers to needle me more. I was exhausted, with no time or energy left to pursue my passions and I became depressed. Finally, a personal situation arose that devastated me. I ended up in the hospital.

As my brother so aptly put it “you have always been a soldier, but now you are a wounded soldier. You cannot fight everyone else’s battles for them . . .” My beloved husband had been telling me the same thing for a very long time. Now I had no choice but to lay down my sword and leave everyone else’s problems in the hands of a higher power as I was carried off the field to mend.

Still, the perpetrators screamed that things were expected of me and that I was a terrible, selfish person for thinking of myself. How dare you put your sword down? We can’t do this without you. Pick it up, pick it up at least until our needs are completely fulfilled - the battle has yet to be won,” they cried . . .

Which would be when? After I have drowned in all of your problems? When I have completely given up my life for you? When my chance to do all of the things that I have always wanted to do has passed? Life lessons that I had learned many years ago, when Rowena first arose, came crashing over me in waves as I stumbled to the shore, sputtering, and coughing up water. I took a deep breath, filling my lungs with air. “I don’t need your permission to take care of myself,” I declared. “I don’t need your permission to live an extraordinary life.” This was a scary step, but incredibly empowering.


"If you are discouraged and have forgotten your purpose in life, breathe. It will remind you about how precious life is, and that each breath in this life is a gift you need to appreciate. Make the most of this gift."

Leo Babauta - Zen Habits

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