„I feel the happiest when I am consciously living my life in balance — in my body, heart, and mind.“

Rio Watanabe

This makes Rio happy on a given day:
My ideal day would be a day where I’ve spent my day in a flow state, being absorbed in creative, artistic projects, connecting with the people I love, and nourishing my body with care. This could be a day where I’ve spent creating beautiful music on the piano, and having had creative and productive meetings with my team (among lots of laughter). In the off-time, I would have had quality alone time journaling, praying and meditating, and doing yoga or going jogging with a friend.
I am also the happiest when my heart is filled with gratitude. I’ve learned that gratitude is a learned habit, like a muscle I can train. So I’ve made a commitment to myself to live every day with mindfulness and gratitude, instead of letting days pass by in work-mode. When I see my mind wandering and projecting into the future or the past, I consciously tell myself to come back to the present and to appreciate the now. When I do, I always come to the realization of how much beauty there is in the every day.

Why it’s important to Rio to prioritize her happiness:
In the past, I used to sacrifice my own happiness and well-being for the sake of „productivity“ and „success“. I would even come to the point where I would become physically ill, yet still strive to keep on working. Despite the outwardly „achievements“, I had stress and imbalance within, and did not have peace in my heart.
Now, I’ve made a commitment with myself to honor what my body and mind needs, and to be kind to myself. If my body needs rest, I honor that and allow myself to stop, and even pamper my body with a nice bubble bath. I’ve learned to say „no“ to work that I feel that I „should“ do out of obligation, but I know would not bring me joy. Instead of working myself to exhaustion, I allow myself to enjoy „me time“ by listening to my favorite music, enjoying the sun in the garden, journaling, or spending quality time with my husband.
In the past, I would have felt like „I am wasting my time“, or that I am not being „productive“. However, now I’ve learned that I have so much more peace within, and have so much more to give, when I am fully charged myself.

Rio’s happy tip for you:
The biggest tip I’ve had (and still is) for my life; to give myself the permission to be who I truly am, and to allow myself to do what brings me true joy. Instead of making decisions based on practicality, logic, and even fear, I’ve learned to better „tune in“ to what my gut feeling, or what my heart is telling me.
I used to engage myself in projects that I felt are practical, and ignored my heart’s true yearnings to live creatively and artistically. I would take the „safe“, practical path, which kept me from boldly stepping into my true calling. It was not until I surrendered to that whisper within and decided to follow my true desires, that I finally found peace within myself.
Even despite the fearful voices within, such as „What if it doesn’t work out?“ or „What if it succeeds, and I can’t handle it?“, I’m able to sort out the fearful voices, and focus on what is the truth, which is that I have all that it takes to live out my calling. I realized that I am the happiest and most fulfilled when I am following what I believe God calls me to do. I have now a deep knowing within, that I am doing what truly makes me happy- which is music. It takes boldness and faith to dare to do follow my true calling, but I would rather live taking risks than live with regrets!

Another goodie, Rio’s book tip for you:
My recent favorite book is „Your Inner Awakening“ by Byron Katie. This book has helped me to find peace within myself, no matter what stressful situations I encounter. I read this book while going through a challenging injury, and it has helped me to understand my own emotions, and to come to terms with them. I’ve learned that every emotion is born out of a thought in my mind. By being observant and mindful to that thought, I am able to find peace within myself and the situation. Highly recommended!

Rio Watanabe-van Dorth is a passionate keyboardist, working as part of the worship project, Not About Me. She is also serving in leadership for the worship team at Motion Church.
She is a Sara James Scholar graduate from Bowdoin College {USA}, and holds her Bachelor’s degree in the Biological Sciences (Pre-Med) with a focus on neuroscience and psychology. She holds a second Bachelor’s degree in classical piano performance from Prince Claus Conservatory {Netherlands}, and a Master’s degree in piano performance from Utrecht Conservatory {Netherlands}, where she studied under the renowned Dutch pianist, Martyn van den Hoek. She has been featured on TBS Japanese National Television, and has been a guest soloist at the Langham Place, London, and the Vredenburg Concert hall in Utrecht, the Netherlands. She is a finalist at the Crescendo Summer Festival gala concert in Hungary, as well as the first prize winner at the Dobrich-Albena Piano Competition in Bulgaria.
Her love extends beyond the keys, and her passion to empower and equip creative women find & flourish in their calling led her to pursue life coaching training. She graduated from the Beautiful You Coaching Academy in the spring of 2016, and is honored to be part of the inspiring collective of coaches as a Beautiful You Life Coach.
Rio is Japanese by origin, and immigrated to the USA at a young age. She is married to a wonderful Dutchman and currently resides in the beautiful city of Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Photo Credit: Thirza Stadman

Posted by:Nina Vossschulte