Generosity Report: January 2016

February 3, 2016

Generosity

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As I announced earlier this year, I am carrying out my #52weeksofgenerosity project throughout all of 2016.  I have the month of January all wrapped up.

Here is a quick recap of what I did for these first four weeks:

Week #1: Nashville Rescue Mission

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I donated a box of canned goods to the Nashville Rescue Mission.  This is a long-standing non-profit organization that provides shelter, clothing, and food for Nashville’s homeless population as well as recovery/rehabilitation programs for individuals facing degrading challenges.  They help many men, women, and children who are often destitute and homeless.

You can check out their website by going here:  http://www.nashvillerescuemission.org

Week #2: Water Bottle Distribution

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I spent a Saturday afternoon driving all over downtown Nashville giving bottled water to the folks who were selling our local homeless-run newspaper “The Contributor” as well as to anyone who was asking for food or money on street corners.

Week #3:  Goodwill Donation

I donated a box of household items to the Goodwill store in my neighborhood.  There were several kitchen items, clothing, and books in that box.  Goodwill employs thousands of people who have disabilities as well as individuals who have trouble keeping jobs.  I believe everyone deserves a chance at making a good living, and I am so impressed that Goodwill provides this for many people who would have less of a chance at being employed by other companies.

I also really love the business model of Goodwill and any other thrift store for that matter.  Reusing household goods and clothing is the essence of sustainability.  We reduce the waste we all create by letting others use what we do not need or want.  This is better for us and for our planet.

Week #4:  Nashville Rescue Mission

I enjoyed donating  to them so much at the beginning of the month that I decided to do it again.  Seriously, they provide a wealth of much needed services to people in need.  Their emergency housing and recovery programs are particularly impressive.  I hope to give more to them down the road.

So there you have it!!!!  Four weeks are good to go.  Only 48 weeks left?  Bring it on!!

For February, I am embracing the idea of being in service to others as an act of generosity.

Thank you all for following along.

I have much more to give.

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What I Learned From My Year of Thankfulness

January 20, 2016

Inspiration / Simple Living

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For those of you who are connected to me on social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) for at least the past year, you know that I published thankfulness posts for every day of 2015.  This idea was inspired by my friend Leigh in Seattle who does the same thing annually for every day in November.  I remember reading her posts and thinking about how wonderful an idea it was.  Not only do you get to honor aspects of your life that you truly value, you also get to share those things with all your friends and loved ones.   This makes them more aware of what they might be thankful for and creates a  broader cycle of thankfulness out in the world.

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I wanted to try this out for myself and decided to do it for an entire year.  On December 31, 2015, I published my final thankfulness post for this project.

Here’s what I learned from it all .  .  .

Honestly, I learned just one thing.  It’s an incredibly important thing, and it took me a year to figure it out.  I’m so thankful that I learned it well.  So, what the heck is it?

For me, what I learned is that thankfulness makes you feel happier.

Yes, it does.  This is a realization to which I can fully attest.  It was a funny “AHA!” moment to gradually experience.  As the year progressed, I noticed that I felt more joyful and positive about everything.

Seriously, EVERYTHING.

I still had my down days and frustrations like anyone else, but they effected me less severely than in previous times.

If I was to try to deeply analyze this, I might say that being outwardly and inwardly thankful reduces stress by helping you be more comfortable with how things turn out and by being more positive.  It helps you be resilient by allowing you to cherish what you have instead of drowning in a stew of negativity that makes you miserable.

So, anyone out there want to feel happier?  Here’s how I did it and continue to do so:

  1.  Be consistent in your thankfulness.  You can do as I did and make it an every day habit or you can do it every other day or every week.  The goal is to do it consistently.  The unfailing and continual barrage of thankfulness eventually chips away at your dark side.
  2. Write down what you are thankful for.  It’s not enough to acknowledge it in your mind.  Some sort of outward and external expression of it makes it far more potent.  You can do as I did and post on social media or even just maintain a Thankfulness Journal.
  3. Ultimately, make it a habit.  There are many activities we do every day that are part of the fabric of our lives.  Brushing our teeth, eating lunch, putting socks on our feet before wearing shoes, and any number of things happen while we are on autopilot.  Make thankfulness part of your life’s fabric.  Build it into the essential ways that you go about your day.  At some point, you won’t even have to remember to do it.  Hopefully, it will connect each thing you do in your life to everything else.  It will embody you.  This is a good thing.

I offer no guarantees that being thankful will actually make you feel happier every day.  I can only say that I feel happier now than I have ever been.

There will always be room in life for sadness, anger, confusion, guilt, and all other emotions we feel as human beings.  It’s just that maybe the biggest room, the one we inhabit most, can be sunnier, brighter, smile-inducing, and much more carefree.

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The Gordon Roqué 2016 Challenge: 52 Weeks of Generosity

January 4, 2016

Generosity / Inspiration

For 2015, I pledged to post on facebook and all other social media every day about experiences and possessions in my life for which I was thankful.  I called the project #365daysofthankfulness, and I completed my final thankfulness post last Thursday on New Year’s Eve.

So, that was last year.  This year, I’m doing something  even better.

Ladies and Gentlemen, for 2016, I pledge to carry out an act of generosity at least once during every week of this year.  This new project will be called #52weeksofgenerosity.

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Here are the details:

  1.  In this instance, I define generosity as giving of my own resources, time, or abilities completely free of charge,  just for the sake of giving, and with the intention of helping others.
  2. I will carry out at least one act of generosity every week.  This means I can be as generous as I can as long as I do it at least once.
  3. At the end of every month, I will give a full report of the acts of generosity I did every week.
  4. Mainly on facebook, I will post about my generous acts on a weekly basis.

So there it is.  To me, this is a commitment towards effecting a positive change in the lives of others.

Lastly, this is also a big experiment.  I understand that my actions will benefit others, but I am not entirely sure how they will affect me, if at all.

I guess we’ll find out.  Won’t we?

Please stay tuned for more.

Be kind and be generous.

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Gordon Roque’s 2015 Year in Review

December 31, 2015

Creativity / Inspiration / Simple Living

 

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Oh my, what a year it’s been!!  I wanted to do a quick recap of some of the main events that transpired in my life.  If I was to pick a word to describe what happened to me in 2015, it would be the word “transitions”.    I found myself changing my life in very organic and thoughtful ways.

Before I carry on, how about the legalization of Gay Marriage all across the USA in 2015?  This was AMAZING!!!  It was one of the most powerful moments of the year overall!!!  Congratulations to all of the newlyweds of the world.  Anyway, I digress.

Without further ado, here we go .  .  .

  1. Shows

 

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As far as performances go, 2015 was a relatively light year for me.  I opted for quality over quantity and had some fun shows at Cafe Coco, BB King’s Blues Club, the Inaugural Art Pod Event, the Larry Keeton Theatre, Nashville’s Centennial Park, the Outcentral LGBT Community Center, and two very memorable house shows.  Three of these shows were with fellow pianists Christopher Hopkins, Avi Wisnia, and Aeryk Thomas, and guitarist extraordinaire Andrew Weitze added his magic to my songs at three of these shows as well.  I met a lot of warm and kind people along the way, and I can’t wait to do it all again in 2016!!

2.  A New Home and a New Beginning

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I spent pretty much all of Summer 2015 planning and carrying out a big move to a new home.  First there was the hunt to find an apartment that was in a desirable location, came at a reasonable price, and had the amenities I wanted.  I visited and researched over 20 different properties and was lucky to move to the one that I liked the most.  Quite anxiously, I needed a new beginning, and it came with a warm and cozy new abode.

It’s worth noting that ever since moving to this new place, it has been robbed once.  The perpetrators messed up my house and stole my brand new laptop.  So things haven’t been all good, but I have worked with the property manager to remedy the situation as best as possible.  Other than this, I love mi casa!!

3.  Oreo and Buttercup of Where Pianos Roam (WPR)

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For several years now, I’ve had an ongoing photography/writing project.  I had to put the brakes on it for a couple of years due to other commitments, but I finally started it up again this past year.  Equipped with lots of new imagery and stories, I pressed the reset button and launched Where Pianos Roam on Instagram.  You can now follow the adventures of a miniature travelling grand piano and her rowdy bench.  This little side project has been dear to my heart, and there will be more photos and shenanigans to share in 2016.

4.  My Sister Lette and her Fight Against Breast Cancer

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My sister Lette found out she had breast cancer in early 2015.  Since then, it’s been a year of debilitating chemotherapy, countless doctor visits, lots of medication, a full series of radiation treatments, a double mastectomy, and the emotional roller coaster ride that came with all of this.  At this point, she is still in the thick of things with a five-year regimen of hormone pills, surgeries to reconstruct both breasts, and taking steps to fend off lymphedema.  Thankfully, much of my immediate family lives in Nashville, and we’ve stuck with her 100%.  This has been one of the scariest experiences my family and I have faced, and it has certainly made 2015 much more meaningful to us.  My sister continues to be in good spirits and is looking forward to being a breast cancer survivor.

4.  Riding my bike on the Nashville Greenway

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What started out as an occasional joyride through the park has morphed into a life-affirming and invigorating pursuit.  I’ve actually owned my bike for years now, but 2015 is the first year that I’ve used it to its fullest extent.  I’ve been on numerous greenway rides over the past year.  Just last weekend, I road through 28 miles of the Nashville Greenway, and I LOVED IT.  This is the farthest distance I’ve ridden by bicycle so far, and I hope to at least double that amount in 2016.

I love my bicycle!!!!!!  Sigh.

5.  365 Days of Thankfulness

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I wanted to try an experiment having to do with one’s sense of abundance.  I decided to spend every day of 2015 posting about all the experiences and gifts for which I am grateful.  If you follow me on social media, you will have no doubt seen my thankfulness posts with the hashtag #365daysofthankfulness.  As I write this year-in-review, I have one day of thankfulness left.   In an upcoming post, I’ll share what I have learned through this exercise and how it has changed my life.  In ways both subtle and transformative, my life has changed for the better.  I will continue to always be thankful.  It is a truly worthwhile way to be.

6.  Caturdays with Steinway

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As sidekicks go, I couldn’t have asked for a better one.  Living with a cat, with cat cuddles and purring galore, has been the best thing EVER!!  I’ve posted so many “Caturday” photos all year and all over social media that most of you probably think I’m certifiable by now.  That’s ok.  I probably am.  At this moment, he’s almost 3 years old now, and he’s as sweet as ever.

It’s clear that I don’t “own” anything in this situation, but Steinway certainly owns me.
I am perfectly fine with that.


Outside of what I have mentioned above, I’ve had numerous moments in 2015 with family and friends that have been tender and oh-so-wonderful.  I will not share them here (nor will I share them in social media, for that matter).  Some things are better left with the hearts that keep them.  We are all entitled to sustain our own privacy.  With that said, just know that I have lots of love in my life right now, and I am most thankful for this.

So, Year 2016, I’d like to introduce you to my loved ones, my cat, my music, a miniature piano and her rowdy bench, my bike, and my Asian Power.  Come on in!!  Make yourself at home and stay a while.  We have a lot to do .  .  .

 

Gordon Roque’s Youtube Cover Song Series Postponed

October 28, 2015

Videos

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Last week, I announced that I was releasing a small series of cover song videos on youtube.  There would have been a release of one song every week starting in November and leading into 2016.

Yesterday, my home was broken into and robbed.  The one significant thing the robbers took was my laptop.  This was the very same device that would have been used to properly edit, upload, and promote this cover series.

It is with great disappointment that I must postpone this cover series until a later time that will be determined.  Once I get all of these technical issues in order, all will be fully operational again.

Thanks for understanding.

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