I originally wrote this homage in the spring of 2014. My dear friend Ricardo Accorsi had just been diagnosed with ALS, and he and his lovely lady Linda Parker had begun planning an extraordinary gathering and musical experience for July 2014.
Ricardo was a gifted architect. But he closed up shop in 2010 during the downturn and he and Linda had been sailing since. So it turns out that the fact that he lived his dream then, instead of waiting until “retirement age”, meant everything.
For You, For Always
for Ricardo Accorsi
My life changed last night,
altered for always
by what you’re sharing now, in these hours,
with so many like me
who want you laughing
and living your sailor’s dream, the one
we’ve all tasted,
What to think and feel
of the news you’re bringing,
and how you’re bringing it,
with such sleight of hand, focus,
as you proclaim a celebration
of family, friendship,
Yes. We’ll create a way through tonight
for you, for all of us,
I’m meditating on kindness after an immense experience I had with an extraordinary friend as he moved on from this life. Incredibly hard, and incredibly moving.
After being diagnosed with ALS, he had made the inspired decision to settle in Hawaii, ultimately on the beautiful island of Kauai. I’m an enthusiastic traveler with more and more experiences under my belt, but I hadn’t been there. I wanted to go, but not like this.
Today I’m reflecting on the wonderful people I met there: retreat center proprietor, rental car dealer, nurses, doctors, and volunteers who had heard through the small-town grapevine about my friend, his lovely fiance, and the hard-as-nails situation they were facing together, their way.
The word kindness doesn’t totally capture my sense of these people. The local folks I crossed paths with are wise. They have their priorities in order. Their hearts are open. They take care of each another.
And when a stranger comes into their midst, they make a new friend. I’d heard that my friend had been warmly received despite his increasingly extreme circumstances, that people had rallied around him and his lady with no other goal than to assist them in ways that were no walk in the park. When I got there, I experienced the same as a lone traveler on a heart mission.
Beautiful takeaways can come from heart-break
Your small kindnesses may in fact be huge. Free yourself up to be your best with everyone. You may never know the difference you’ve made by some gesture that was effortless for you.
Don’t wait until tomorrow. Go ahead and live passionately, lovingly, with gratitude for life’s journey, today.
Make time for nature, for delicious food and drink, for unhurried conversation. You deserve it, and the difference you make may be right there, in those relaxed moments.
Just be you. Share you with the world, by which I mean with all the fascinating, mysterious souls who cross your path on any given day. You’re an original. Let the world experience you. The real you.
And I’ll be tryin’ to live that way, too.
Meanwhile, dear Ricardo Accorsi will never cease to inspire me. I imagine him designing kickass creative spaces in non-ordinary reality. That thought—and my memories of the kind people of Kauai—makes me smile.