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.

November 26, 2010

Rowena Has Risen - Part III: Celebrating Another Year of My Extraordinary Life

Me with my beautiful daughters!

The soul's dark cottage, battered and decayed, lets in new light through chinks that time hath made.

~Edmund Waller

Today I celebrate another birthday.   I approached this birthday with both peace of mind and contentment.  It has been a difficult year in a number of ways, yet it has been one of the most extraordinary and fulfilling years of my life. I have done a lot of emotional as well as physical uncluttering - I think that no matter what age we attain, or how wise we believe ourselves to be, it  is important to practice humility  - not to be stuck in our ways - and to make our search for enlightenment an ongoing process.   I decided to memorialize this momentous occasion by making a list of areas in which I have grown, areas that I definitely need to work on, to extend a special thank you to some totally rockin' people, and to talk a little bit about my heart's desire for you - my friends, family and readers.

On uncluttering my heart and mind:

1.  Forgiveness.  I have forgiven everyone who ever hurt me.  Completely.  It feels good not to be burdened with anger and resentment.

2.  Compassion.  It is easy to be compassionate towards my loved ones, and towards people who are suffering due to natural disasters, war, illness and poverty.  I have learned to be more compassionate towards everyday people - to be patient and tolerant of them.

3.  Boundaries.   I have become better at setting boundaries with people, politely and respectfully, so as not to be overburdened, stressed out, and resentful.

4.  Listening.  I have learned to be a better listener, making it my practice not to interrupt to give advice or to empathize when someone is telling me about their troubles, when they are done speaking, then I ask if there is anything I can do to help. Sometimes people just need a soft shoulder to cry on and to know that someone really cares.

5.   Focus.  I used to think that I was particularly awesome due to my ability to multitask, but I lacked focus.  I was also stressed out, "testy" and exhausted much of the time.   Now I start each day by deciding what the most important tasks are, perform them mindfully, and if there is time, move on to other stuff.  I get just as much done, the results are simply better and at the end of the day I find it easier to relax.

6.  Creatively.  By uncluttering my mind as set forth above, I have managed to achieve more creative flow.   I continue to perform in various bands, to write and record my own songs as well as contribute to my husband's totally awesome music, to write short stories, and I even began this blog over the summer, something that has turned out to be extremely fulfilling.    

In the future I hope to:

1.   Develop the ability to maintain a state of gentleness and compassion in the face of conflict.

2.   Always feel as compassionate on the inside as I appear on the outside.

3.  Overcome some lingering anxiety in my personal relationships (fear of letting loved ones down).

4.   To continue to unclutter my mind so as to achieve even more creative flow.

Overall I strive to enlighten myself as much as possible. Total enlightenment is probably not something that I will achieve during my lifetime, that is a rarity for most people, but each little step towards same is an incredible experience.  I will continue to learn and to practice.  

On uncluttering my house (goodbye to more stuff):

1.  My wardrobe.  It was fairly minimalistic to begin with - basic black, but now it has been pared down even more so, keeping only two items that I do not wear on a regular basis - one dressy black dress (which I will actually be wearing at a gig in December) and one formal gown that I got married in.

2.  The Kitchen.  We cook a lot.  My daughter belongs to a club that bakes for charity.  My husband and I were given many useful things as wedding gifts four years ago - all of them get put to use.   I gave all of the other older stuff no longer in use to charity.

3.  The linen closet.  I donated everything that doesn't fit the two beds in this house.   As it turns out, the only linens that fit those two beds, are the linens that are now on them. I also pared down to one carton each, the Christmas and Halloween decorations that were cluttering the top shelf.

4.  The Empty Nest.  My son moved to Japan three years ago.  A year ago he told me I could donate all of his stuff.   I finally got around to going through all of his cartons of stuff, just to make sure that there was nothing in there that might subject him to identity theft, the useful stuff has been donated.

5. Videos and Books.  I donated six cartons of videotapes, 90% of them films for children.  Our VCR broke recently, and the kids are all grown now - no brainer.   There are certain books that I will keep forever, but most have been passed on to others to read or donated.

6.  Walls and Countertops.  Seriously whatever inspired me to festoon the walls of our house with so much stuff, or to feel that I needed knick knacks on every table, speaker and cabinet?    Donated. 

Areas I need to work on:

1.  Empty Nest Yet Again.  Another little chick has left the nest, leaving at least 7 cartons of stuff behind that she doesn't have room for, to be negotiated at a later date.  Here we go again, ha!

2.  Two Cartons.  I have one carton of sentimental stuff belonging to me, still to be dealt with, and one carton of stuff to sell - as well as some fitness equipment that never gets used.  If I don't get around to selling the sale-able stuff soon, I am going to donate it all. 

3.   More negotiations.  Fortunately my beloved husband is both neat as well as frugal, in spite of all of the stuff he insists on keeping.  His feelings are of utmost  importance to me, but  I will continue in my efforts to negotiate minimalism until we find that happy medium.

4.  My Music.  Purchasing scores and scores of music that I never get around to playing, is a weakness of mine.   Guilty as charged - I am a closet music buyer.   One of these days I am going to get one of those gizmos that you can scan and download all of your sheet music on . . . but right now they are cost prohibitive.

So enough about me and I hope you are still here, because the next part of this post is the most important part.

On the subject of thankfulness:

Contributors to this blog whom I would like to thank:

1.   Guest writers Regina Heller, Terry Christopher, and Achim Schreiner.   All of you are of tremendous inspiration to me, as contributors, fellow artists, human beings and friends.   I have learned so much from you - keep on rockin' in the free world and living your extraordinary lives.  If continents and oceans did not divide us, I would give each and everyone of you a big hug right now.

2.    Interviewees Babu Choudhary, Bucky (Little Buck) Harjo, Gerry McCulough, Annette Warner, Lorrie Sarafin, and  Donna Narvaez.  Each and everyone of you is living an extraordinary life in your own special way.  Thank you so very much for sharing your hopes, dreams, struggles, triumphs and overall extraordinary-ness with me and my readers.  Consider me a fan of your life, as well as your friend - well I guess that is what a friend really is when it comes down to it.

Some especially special people that I personally want to thank from the bottom of my heart:

Mom and Robert
1.  Mom, thank you for having me.   You are the most amazing woman that I have ever met, and I am extremely fortunate to have you for my mom.  I love you!    Thanks to Robert too, for taking such care of you and being so good to me, always - love you.

2.  Dad, I miss you, love you and think of you often.   Wish I could pick up the phone and call you right now.   Thanks for having loved me, and for always being so proud.

3.  Melissa, Joseph and Marleigh, you are the most incredibly loving and caring children that a mother ever had.   Each of you is so talented in your own special ways and you never fail to amaze and fascinate me with what you can do.  My greatest hope for you - my wish for you - is  that you will continue to pursue your passions to your hearts content, seek out and live your own extraordinary lives.  I taught you well obviously in that each of you in your own way is taking the necessary steps to do so, and I am delighted!   Love, Mom.

4.  My brothers.  All I can say is dudes!   Love you!

5.   Mona, best bud forever and ever.   Miles and years may separate, but you will always be my pal and I will always be the most dedicated member of the Mona crew.

6.  Above all, I wish to thank Timothy, my beloved husband - words cannot express the depth of my love for you, but I will try.   I love you with all of my heart, all of my soul, everything that I have inside of me, all of my being.  Thank you for sharing your extraordinary life with me.  Thanks for your giving, loving, caring, patience and tireless faith.   You are awesome.  You rock!   Everything about my life is better through sharing it with you.

Guest appearance on keyboards with Neverwonder

I would also like to thank all of the musicians and  bands that I worked with this year, particularly Neverwonder, with whom I appeared as a guest artist, on several memorable occasions, and  Hot Property of which I am honored to be an official member.  

Thank you to everyone else who has touched my life as well, at the risk of this blog post going on forever, let's just say that I am truly blessed, and I want you to know that I have not forgotten you and am grateful to you too - you know who you are!. 

What I want for you:

Rousing Rowena is a blog about living a meaningful and happy life.   The purpose of life is to be happy!   I hope in my own way to connect with you and inspire you to take the necessary steps for you to do so.  Take a page from the lives of the people that I interview, be they musicians, artists, writers, chefs, world travelers or chimney sweeps.   Consider what my guest writers and I have to say!   Check out the various blogs and books that I recommend to you at the bottom of my posts and in my sidebar.  Seek out and pursue your own passions, then go out and live your own  extraordinary lives.  You are helping me to live mine just by being here. Thanks!



Ro's recommendations:

You can learn more about forgiveness, compassion, gratitude, relationships, uncluttering, in Leo Babauta's amazing e-book Zen Habits for Life.

I also recently read and highly recommend Joshua Becker's new e-book Inside Out Simplicity as well as his other book Becoming Minimalist as well as other books listed in the right side bar of my blog - such as those by Catie Tallo, Nina Yau, Tammy Strobel, and the very awesome Everett Bogue.
I also recommend the following awesome minimalist blogs, especially when it comes to uncluttering:  

Far Beyond the Stars, by Everett Bogue

Zen Habits, by Leo Babauta

Rowdy Kittens, by Tammy Strobel

Becoming Minimalist, by Joshua Becker

 as well as these blogs by some up and coming totally rockin' bloggers


~ Lorrie Sarafin ~ said...

Thank-you so much for all your wonderful support - and congratulations on ALL of the changes you are manifesting - we all travel our own paths - and the journey IS the destination....

Ro said...

Thank you Lorrie, so beautifully said!


Mona L. Torres said...

HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Your so creative with your blog!!! I especially feel honored to be a part of it!!!!
The MONA CREW. Was never the same since you left!!!
I always thought it was funny how we became. THE MONA CREW.
I will always CHERISH our times together!!!
Also for the future to come for us!!!
You are my BEST FRIEND!!!
There was, and never be another!!!
I know with all the love you have in you. Your family & especially Hubby. Made it a beautiful day for you.
Also, miss you everyday!!!
BUDS to the end.

Ro said...

Thanks Mona! Thanks for your heartfelt comments on my blog. Love to you and your beautiful family as well. We are both truly blessed, and I miss you too and think of you all the time.