All The Best

“Bon Anniversaire, Ma Mère”

An ability to see beyond the pale,
Recognizing hope in the shadows,
Trusting first and foremost in love;
Questioning allows for discovery –
An independent view of the world,
Finding wonder in unlikely nooks,
Taking refuge in discovered beauty;
Aesthetic purpose is proven worthy.

Not simply to be sought but created,
Via means personal and miraculous,
Through more than possible alone;
More than creation from only within –
Not just given but allowed in as well,
Born both of intention and request,
Granted as journey and destination;
Nothing but children can encompass.

The innate art in all that is organic,
Exists as fact as well as fulfillment,
Internal naïveté becomes a choice;
With childlike wonder thus achieved –
The need to be and have a child met,
So an inherent wisdom is imparted,
For beauty infuses all said and seen;
Thus self-doubt may stand idly by.

All hesitance is ever more in check,
Seeking truth rather than reasons,
Knowing order exists despite chaos;
Choosing inspiration over defeat –
All is perceived with a loving heart,
Becoming more complete every day,
Fostering creations formed and found;
Artistry that goes beyond the page.

© Dorian Dorey Rhodes 24 January 2008

an artist's birthday cake
All the best. by Ari Baker

She’s described me as her alter-ego and she’s my inner compass; we’ve never had it easy but we’ve always had each other. Her love is not only unconditional but unwavering, and her acceptance is as complete as it is encouraging. With bravery summoned in shared nooks, and hope conjured from their many books, it was the two of us “against the world” and we’re still at it – finding our truest selves together. Persistent artist; consistent friend; insistent creative; her inherent appreciation of artistry in all its forms keeps me inspired* and forever young:
“It takes time to grow young.”
— Pablo Picasso
She finds happiness in whatever happiness I meet, she understands what I understand and why I understand it, she prays for me even when I pray for no one but myself, she sees all the beauty I tell her I see and delights in it through my eyes. That is my mother. She would give me the whole world if she could gather it in her arms. That is why she will never have the whole world in her arms; that is why she will always have the whole of my love.”
— Philippos Aristotelous

*This poem even inspired its own offspring, giving birth to a Mother’s Day poem.

A Chance for Change

Building a life is a blend of hard work and varying luck; building a fulfilling life takes some imagination as well. We do what we can with the building blocks we have yet there are no guarantees. The principles, priorities, and projects we create a life from are seldom constant so it’s just as important to be ready to deal with loss as it is to be willing to let go. Sometimes, the only way to improve a situation is to change it entirely. A steady improvement of circumstances is certainly the goal though not always possible. It’s the choices we make in the face of loss or when facing a dead end that really matter. Whatever our situation, it’s up to us to make the most of it. If opportunity knocks, it’s up to us to answer. We must take a chance to make a change.
“There are two primary choices in life:
to accept conditions as they exist,
or accept the responsibility for changing them.”
— Denis Waitley
My Hunny and I have run the gamut of fair to middling circumstances, living paycheck to paycheck and making positive moves as opportunities arose. We went from apartment to townhouse to owning our own home only to end up selling it when the work dried up. We moved, started over, moved some more, and were rebuilding when the crashing economy led to Dave’s first layoff. Suddenly moving again, we chose to simplify – having always pared down to essentials with each move – and redefine “essential.” Having let go of the material, it was time to let go of a life filled with quantities rather than quality. Focused on survival but missing the mark, we nearly worked ourselves to death with ever increasing hours and continually decreasing health.

I’d dealt with chronic illness throughout my life and I could no longer pretend it shouldn’t affect my choices. If all change starts with the choice to take a chance, one choice I needed to quit making was the chance I kept taking with my health. Quitting my job meant starting over yet again but we had nothing left to lose. Perhaps we should’ve moved home to San Francisco then but a different opportunity knocked, we answered, and new experiences are never regrettable. Our circumstances had much improved by the time Dave was laid off once more, as I strove to reclaim what health I could in a studio we loved. We were, however, in a town we’d never be happy in with nothing to hold us there. It was finally time to go home, and thank God we did.
“The greatest accomplishment is not in never falling,
but in rising again after you fall.”
— Vince Lombardi
Always determined to bloom where we’re planted, we chose to take root where we’d flourish. The expense had kept us away long enough and aspects of living in San Francisco make up for any relative hardship, from its public transportation and healthcare to the diverse culture and moderate weather with so much in between. As a spoonie, such benefits are life-giving and allow me to have a more active life here than has been possible elsewhere. The debt-free healthcare proved life-saving within a year of making the City by the Bay our permanent home when three decades of Endometriosis nearly ended me and led to three surgeries in under three years. My Hunny and I have spent the past year recovering – financially for him and physically for me.
“Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be.”
— John Wooden
Now that this final geographical move to the one city we’ve both loved since childhood has improved our quality of life, we’re ready – and almost able – to improve our living situation. Repeatedly rebuilding has left me grateful to have a home at all but unwilling to settle for mere survival. We’re in a residential hotel and the conditions here exacerbate my own compromised condition. Moving to the city gave us a fighting chance, and moving within the city will allow me to keep fighting. Unless we’re making progress, we’re facing stagnation and the time has come for taking action. Faced with the need to move despite limited resources, I’ve taken a bold action and started a crowdfunding campaign. I’m determined to thrive, not just survive, and this is my chance.
“Don’t worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.”
— Jack Canfield