A Grain of Sand…


I adore you my God in ways
that are incomplete for the
distance between us.

This should not be so, for you my God
love me perfectly and presently.

I shall not stop trying to reduce
this distance; although you
are God and I am just a grain of sand…

But I pray that this insignificant
grain of sand will find its way
to cling to you… to be a bother
under your mighty foot.

Constantly rubbing against you
gnawing at your Holy body
that you may not forget
that I am here… cozy
under your foot; bearing your
weight, waiting for your loving touch.

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2006-2016

No Point To It…


Droplets rolling down the span of glass between me and Namsan
race each other to the bottom edge
only to drop again onto the next span below.

Compelled by gravity…
No other cause nor point to it.
Sort of like this day…

on auto-pilot.
Passing because time does
with no cause nor point to it.

I had imagined something
quite different from this but
that’s just what minds do…

They are fluid and virtually give form
to impossible things from bits
of meaningless present conditions.

But hearts beat with fulfillment and ache
because they have been touched and…
that is how hearts react to touch.

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2006-2016

You are all you need…


At SMU Jul12Just had a delightful lunch with a good friend… unhurried quality time to let the mind meander and share what is individually important, what inspires and move us.

I am grateful for this and thought of you… my daughters; now wrestling with decisions that perhaps, you may not feel prepared to tackle.
Yet, you are so much better than the sum of such pointless fears and; when in-doubt, I know you to be Bold and rise above it all.

I am in a peaceful place for I know that YOU are all you need, all that is required.

May the short video below inspire you. You are much loved and never alone.

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2000-2013

A Brand New Day…


A Brand New DayOne of the many things my Father shared that made a lasting impression, was his views on the importance of beginnings and endings, these he felt to be key components for one to live gracefully… to accept “gracefulness” in one’s life.

Specifically, that being “graceful” was determined by how one chose to “start” and “end” everything one engaged with and did. Of the two, that the style and quality of how one chose to “end” something far outweighed all other circumstances. Becoming the very essence of what remained deep within us – and much less importantly – what others saw and remembered.

I have had many opportunities to observe and confirm the trueness and power of my Father’s wisdom, but also, to admire the difficulty of living such seemingly simple concept. This because we humans don’t exist in a vacuum… our conscious thinking, reasoning and resulting actions this moment, are very much influenced; not only by all that surrounds us in the present, but also by what we remember… all that we often subconsciously, have accepted and let “sink in”.

Thus, it stands to reason that it is our subconscious we need to be mindful of and keep in-check, otherwise, it (we) could naturally and “ungracefully”, short-circuit our own best present intentions, our very ability to believe in and/or accept ourselves and dare to dream beyond.

So, as we “archive” 2012 and start this brand new year, both my Father’s words and a collection of 10 simple statements from the works of Dr. Joseph Murphy, remind me and inform this note… my sincere and best wishes to you all:

  1. We have the ability and power to attract and choose everything in our lives.
  2. If we think “good”, “good” will follow… we are what we think all day.
  3. Our subconscious mind will not argue with us, rather, it will accept what our conscious mind establishes and directs.
  4. Our conscious mind is the “watchman at the gate”. Its chief function is to protect our subconscious from registering false impressions. Thus, and as our greatest power is our capacity to choose, why not strive to do it positively and well for ourselves?
  5. All suggestions and statements of others have no power to hurt us unless we allow this to occur. As we have the ability to choose what we think and do, the only power we must be mindful of and grapple with, is the movement of our own thoughts.
  6. We must watch what we say and strive to account for every idle thought or word. It is counterproductive to think or say; “I will fail” or “I will lose my job” or “I can’t pass the exam”… our subconscious mind does not know we may be kidding… and it will subconsciously; lead us to actions that may drive such things to happen.
  7. Yet, our minds are not naturally evil. No force of nature is naturally evil. But, the quality of what we think and do will depend on how we choose to use the power of our natural selves. What if we chose to use our minds and actions to bless, to heal, and to inspire ourselves and all people we come in contact with everyday?
  8. What if we were to eliminate “I can’t” from our vocabulary?
  9. We can choose… we are the captains of our souls (subconscious mind) and thus, the masters of our fate. What if we chose Life? Chose Love? Chose Health? Chose Prosperity and to be Happy?
  10. Whatever our conscious minds assume and believe to be true, our subconscious mind will accept and bring to life.

This I believe…

May you all live this New Year presently and one moment at-a-time. May you all not judge what comes into your thoughts and life as either “good” or “bad”, for you are bigger and better than a momentary experience.

May you all boldly craft and live your own versions of success, health, wealth, love… and let such, brilliantly shine as a beacon of light from the amazing human individuals you all are.

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2000-2013

An open letter to my twin daughters…


Babes, this letter celebrates your life and specifically, the win and loss you two have experienced today.

I am extremely happy for you Nina, for having been elected to a leadership position in your dynasty and, my heart aches deeply and in-sync with yours Emily, for not having received enough votes in your own dynasty.

Oddly, the two extremes; happiness and heartache, empower and do not conflict with the immense overall pride and belief I have in you two; the real joy and quality your distinct and unique selves have always brought into all that you two have done and touched. This event today was no different.

Clearly, I would have loved if you both had been elected but, it did not happen that way and thus… I do not wish to diminish neither the sweetness of the victory nor the heartbreak and pain we ALL are experiencing side-by-side as a result of these events.

It is a significant honor to have been selected to represent your peers in the coming senior year, a fact which carries a good deal of responsibility… so Nina, I am proud and ecstatic in-sync with you. At the same time, it is painful to realize that all of one’s great efforts and the real creativity poured into campaigning and everything you touched did not produce the desired and hoped for results… so Emily, I am saddened in-sync with you.

That is the way things work-out sometimes; neither all good nor all bad… winning or losing by itself does not define the truly amazing women you two are, only your individual minds, hearts and actions can do so. We all are what we manifest; what we believe, accept and action for ourselves.

Only what each of you thinks and does matters…. no one else’s opinion or event makes any difference.

Your grandfather once told me that gracefulness – the key to being graceful – is determined by how we choose the “start” and “end” everything we engage with and do. Of the two, that the style and quality of how we choose to “end” something far outweighs all other conditions or circumstances. Becoming the very essence of what others – and more importantly – ourselves takeaway and remember deep within.

How you both transition and move forward from the positive and painful events you’ve experienced on this day, is what will become etched in your minds as noteworthy and memorable… so, it is my hope that you will choose what is true and right; by continuing to be that which “speaks” of the beautiful, intelligent and loving people you two truly are.

I am proud of and blessed by you both equally. I celebrate your victory and cry in your pain with equal passion.

More than anything else, I am thankful and overjoyed by your example and smile because no matter what, I have seen and know that you two are amazing limitless people who – enriched by this experienced – will continue to always do your very best.
That is what you both are and what you both know and do… all that is required. Everything else pales by the beauty and power of this.

I love you both immensely.

Much ado about balance…


People often refer to “balance” in life or in work as if it was something pre-determined and concrete; a line-in-the-sand or a clearly defined goal that once reached, would produce such imagined “balanced” state of well-being.

The problem I have with this is that to me, the concept of “balance” isn’t fixed; rather, it is an ever changing “living” component of our individual lives whose definition is as diverse as we humans are and thus, any discourse about this “balance” – like with art –really is a highly subjective matter.

Who is to say that someone’s hectic and seemingly exhausting life isn’t really perfectly balanced… for them? Or that someone else’s highly organized seemingly moderated and diverse lifestyle isn’t really a nightmare of control and blandness to be avoided at all cost… for others?

In the past few years as “work-life balance” vision, objectives and words found their way into corporate statements and our own wistful vernacular, I have come to consider such as “unbalanced”; superficial “flannel”, which does little more than add noise and possible dissent into our corporate and private lives.

It is a relatively modern trend to view “work” as something singular and different from an individual’s “life”, but I’m reminded and offer that there should not be such a clear distinction between the two; that they are in-fact interdependent, each an integral part of the other and each – at times – requiring that more focus be given to one over the other.

For I can’t imagine living possible; in balanced ways or otherwise, without actually working at producing something in real-time; be it the pollen a flower produces for dissemination by bees and wind, to everyday necessities we acquire by the application and exchange of our life skills, to the contribution we make as we guide our babies to hopefully grow into the “next generation” of productive people.

All subject to daily external influences which impact and alter our lives and how we may have to modify our reactions to engage and deal with such influences moment by moment.

The idea that these and all other evergreen “productive life” components which together contribute to an overall life-on-the-planet balance of sorts, should each have and follow some form of prescribed self-balance – even if we could actually come to agree on what that “balance” should be for us as a species – is flawed and unreachable me thinks.

Have we – in our relative affluence – grown softer and more demanding of what is “due to us”?

Do airline pilots, typically regulated to fly about 40 hours per month, have more “balance” in their lives than the average Western individual working 60 hours per week… or a person working 18+ hours per day in an Asian factory? Which amount of work vs. “work-free” time, and/or “level” of balance within ourselves should we be striving for?

What about our poorer and distant neighbors… the folk elsewhere in Africa and India for example, scouring nearly around the clock for the means of basic survival such as finding relative safety, drinkable water and food of any kind that we, with our self-induced complicated lives, take for granted as a basic given? Do they need or even think about “work-life balance”… or is having the gift of actually waking-up breathing yet another day, hopeful of being able to make it all the way through to the evening with – perchance – some improvement, balance enough?

Perhaps our search for “balance” is a distracting cause; the wrong value to use when assessing ways to enhance our human existence holistically and in a sustainable productive manner. For all of us still breathing – in all of our wondrous diversity – manages to achieve our own reality based version of a “balanced life” if not on a daily basis, certainly over a period of time.

Remarkably, I believe our existential needs remain largely unchanged over the thousands of years our animal species has been around… regardless of gender and varying levels of modern day complexity, we are basically a “caves & commons” species; requiring security and solitude for self-reflection, healing and survival, as well as, communal engagement and interaction to give & take, lead & support, fight & love, reproduce & evolve to live another day.

The fact we may believe this ought to happen more gracefully or in a more even manner, albeit interesting, does not determine the overall worthiness; the blended achievement occurring in our current everyday lives… as “imperfect” as we may think such to be.

* Published in the Good Men Project: “Much Ado About Balance

Ingenuity and our wondrous Planet Earth…


A pictorial essay...

Someone in Melbourne (I think) compiled an interesting collection of photographs into a pictorial 2011 Christmas card, which went “viral”.

I came across the image collection through an email from my good friend Frank Cheff.

The images so aptly illustrated both; human creativity and the many natural wonders of our amazing little planet, that I felt compelled to learn more about them and share the result with you all…

May you enjoy it as much as I have.


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You may see and/or download this pictorial essay by clicking on this link;

Ingenuity and our wondrous Planet Earth…

The Green Thing…


Tom Lund, a very special and dear friend, forwarded an interesting chain-email titled the “Green Thing”, that I found to be noteworthy of the need for us all to have “perspective”, whilst considering how to simplify our lives. So, without further ado, here it is (source unknown) with some minor editing for this blog.

Checking out at a store, a young cashier suggested to an older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this ‘green thing’ back in my earlier days.”

The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

Grocery Store #1

A Grocery Store - THEN...

She was right; older generations didn’t have “the green thing” back in their day.

Back then, they returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store which sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so they could use the same bottles over and over in a more genuine recycling manner.

Then, people walked up stairs, because they didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. They walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go two blocks.

Back then, they washed the baby’s diapers because they didn’t have the throw-away kind, dried clothes on a line by wind and solar power, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts, and kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

Then, there was only one TV, or radio in a house not a device in every room…. and such TV had a small screen perhaps the size of a handkerchief, not a screen the size of the state of Rhode Island. In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn’t have electric machines to do everything for them. They packaged a fragile item to send in the mail by using wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, they didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn… instead, they used a push mower that ran on human power. They exercised by working so they didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills operated by electricity.

Example of an American grocery store aisle.
…and NOW.

Then, they drank from fountains when they were thirsty instead of using cups or plastic bottles, they refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying new ones, and replaced the blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because it got dull.

Back then, people took the streetcar or the bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. They had a couple electrical outlets in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power dozens of appliances and they didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

Still, the current generation laments how wasteful old folks were just because they didn’t have the “green thing” back then…

Whilst it is true that many a selfish old person could use a lesson in conservation from a “smart” young one, it would be wise to have some perspective and keep in-mind that old folk – whom typically don’t like being “old” in the first place – may get pissed-off easily.

Well done Tom… thank you for sharing.

In the desert…


There’s a crescent moon rising now halfway up the prayer tower. There’s a cooler quality to the dry desert air and all of the “sand” colors have been muted into invisibility by the dark velvet of night… the twinkling of lights here and there bringing the firmament up close and personal to the senses and everywhere, the din of Farsi mixed with Russian, French, Spanish and other versions of chattering, all blend into a white-noise language unique to the Middle-East.

Surrounded by every size and shape of slick European cars, the sight of a Volkswagen becomes an incomprehensible absurdity as seen through the exquisite dark eyes of imagined beautiful Arab women bent on impacting this world so different and juxtaposed to all else known.

Another long day comes to a close… and with it, the realization that I left shoes at a stall elsewhere in the city. The shoeshine man is from Cameron and over the course of these past few days we’ve disagreed on football superstars, agreed on the fine qualities of Portuguese creole cuisine and his shoeshine skills, solved a fair bit of a number of Middle-East crisis and have become friends.

No doubt my shoes are safe and having their own adventure with other Arab footwear on this magical night. Looking forward to learning all about such adventures in the morning when I’ll make may way back to retrieve them.

One of the doormen to this grand paradise hotel I’m in is named Birry… he is from Kenya. He opened the foreign car door and eased me into the fine scented leather interior for my ride to the office this morning and he opened the door and eased me out when I returned tonight; Birry ‘s pulling over a 12 hour shift so far, spanning temps from 30 to 45 degree C. whilst wearing a long formal coat over a crisp white shirt and black trousers. Birry is slowly cooking day after day with the most amazing bright smile that some of us would pay thousands to get our own choppers to resemble.

Over the past few days, we’ve discussed and came to an agreement on what the ideal uniform for his function ought to be… we’ve had a few laughs over this.

Bisel greets everyone by our correct last name at the Italian restaurant I seem to gravitate to now and then… she is from the Philippines and smiles a lot when she talks about “home” yet, she quickly reminds me about how fortunate she is to be able to stand and greet people 12+ hours day-in and day-out six days per week, in this very large and pleasantly cool marble carved lobby. She taught me a trick she does with her feet and legs to fool them into not cramping.

Her amazing mind shames me for not remembering to pick up my shoes, her smile and attitude teaches me to be thankful… She too is etched into this experience.

Then there is “L”, she is tall and slim, a uniquely pretty Eastern European woman who followed her Eastern European lover from London to here hoping to have a life with him… alas, it didn’t work out as he left and never came back on the second day of arriving; which she claims these things happen for the best; as she wraps the Juicy Couture hoodies I bought as a gift for the girls. She too touched me and, as we wished each other well before leaving the store, I think we both knew we would remember the connection.

Outside, tall and proud Arab men in their long white thobe’s are everywhere, walking in pairs whilst fingering prayer beads or the silk ropes draped over their chests, they generally keep to themselves… but invariably they look at me; dressed in my Ermenegildo Zegna dark suit, crisp white shirt and gold tie, often say; ” As-Salāmu `Alaykum “… this is a thrill and I dare not say anything choosing instead to smile and sometimes offer a polite semi-bow; for fear of shattering their illusion that I belong… my innocent play reinforcing how remarkably alike we all are in spite of our externally perceived differences.

Easy for me to imagine this place with no buildings; nothing but sand and sky void of all further choreography, to “see” those that walk erect on two legs within it take on a different scale; becoming giants – anomalies – the focal point for all action and life itself. Perceived in this manner, it is easier to grasp the natural Arab ethos that to the outside world may seem like pride and aloofness.

Therein lies the fundamental misunderstanding – the rat hole – most Westerners get lost in me thinks… because we simply have never been part of the great womblike void this mother-desert is, we’ve never been that prominent nor the focus of our own selves… we’ve always had background choreography to replace the need for that stark self-awareness.

It is so spirit expanding and good to be an accidental stand-in on such a complex play.

In the Land of the Blind


.
In the presence of so many blessings
there is deep regret
for blinding foolishness…
erroneous beliefs of permanence;

that all will remain as so manifested…

A continuum; definitions
of cause and effect
luring unsuspecting spirits
into ease.

But all is fluid, one discovers
upon awakening.
Such blessings are jewels to be
admired and treasured…

on the moment, forevermore

Gifts; precious and
of immense importance.
Presents,
in spite of our slumbering state.

For blessings
shower upon us all, within
every unquestioned breath
a gift.    Yet…

these things filter through; distorted
as happy coincidences, or
part of a natural order… or
the result of self-efforts

and thus, beyond our ability
to truly grasp their worth…
yet so full of ourselves
we are.

Regrets yes; over such
missed opportunities
to appreciate and fully see,
these remain…

now vivid, clear and stark
all the more…
the wistful regret of slumber
within a awakened state of awareness.

What shall I say…?

Child do not your heart
shield, from the wonders
you’ll find as your eyes open
and your body moves

in such wondrous first light…

Feel them…
as loving kisses; powerful,
sustainable well beyond
the day’s adventures.

Loose not yourself;
too valuable and
brilliant you are… mistrust
and question the blind’s directions.

Be the Cyclops…!

The End of Architecture…


I came across an article about design and the practice of architecture which noted that; with unemployment rates in the profession at greater than 45%, serious global strife and the decline of real estate development activities plus a rising general view of architecture as a commodity, there would likely be a reduction of graduates in this field over time and the few would be generally educated and ill-prepared to face increased professional complexities. Thus, the article asked; “Have we come to the end of architecture as we know it?

Whilst I believe these to be genuine observations and concerns, Architecture and Design cannot end. They will remain robust, strong and vibrant in direct proportion to the robustness, strength and vibrancy of our God inspired imaginations and hearts.

Economies do not “drive” Architecture and Design. The respective professional practices are impacted by these realities yes, but they are not ruled nor drowned by them. Instead, like a surfer, they ride the circumstantial waves – albeit not always gracefully – brought on by the social-economic fluidity of the times.

What moves one’s heart and imagination to subject themselves to 5+ grueling years of study and the untold hours invested over drawing boards and computers, the transference of “fun” into endless discussions, arguments and meanderings, the dark circles under all-nighter eyes, the abuse taken and given from/to those of lesser heart… the angst from musing over conceptual problems, the all-or-nothing preoccupation over some aesthetic characteristic that only a “creator” would appreciate and truly understand… is a love that is lasting, not a condition that is nearing its end.

Even if the established social-commercial world as we know it were to end tomorrow and we would have nothing but dirt and a couple of half-dead twigs, Architecture and Design would spring forth and persist because it LIVES in us. It is imbedded in our DNA by a creator that may have screwed-up on some things but made-up for it multi-fold in others like our unending capacity to generate and appreciate Beauty and Love; our Imagination and Free-Will. How awesome and truly impactful are these?

The danger that does exist and always has is not in the process or the result of bringing Architecture and Design to life, the danger is in one’s interpretation of what these ought to be like…the judgments (societal and otherwise) over what is good or right and bad or wrong. These are all subjective, flawed and must only be considered with a great deal of caution.

NYC - MOMA - Le Corbusier's Urban Planning for...
Image by wallyg via Flickr

Architecture and Design is not ending or dying. The institutions charged with teaching it’s foundations may make mistakes and be misguided at times but, they are not THAT flawed… they are not meant to assure that students that come out degree in-hand from its halls will be successful (it’s illogical to believe this), these institutions are just responsible to light little flames of knowledge and basic understanding on these immense matters, that each individual will carry and some; over an experiential lifetime, will transform into bonfires of sheer wonder for many to admire, use, hate, and enjoy.

Architecture and Design will not die because they are not the by-products of a “production process”. Architecture and Design springs from the human spirit and its imagination in a manner foundational for beauty wonder and hope to rise from a future of our own making.

This I believe.

Is the workplace the culmination of our attitudes and behaviors?


Can the workplace foster one’s courageous spirit…? Is this a “Design” question…? (1)

courtesy of OverTheMoon Productions

Yes, I believe this is a Design question and a “special” one at that… as Design, foundationally permeates all we are; all we think, do and recognize plus all else we may be too preoccupied or blind to consider.

Thus and within this context, the workplace – like a passive mirror – will only ‘reflect’ our attitudes and behaviors but… it could ‘become the culmination’ of such if/when ‘by Design’, it intentionally seeks to influence the quality of such attitudes and behaviors and thus, no longer is a “passive” element but rather becomes an interactive contributor to the very human engagement that generates them.

Not unlike the ‘uplifting’ one experiences when attending a well conceived play where; the script, the actors and the stage-set, all combine to produce an intended reaction impactful to both; the audience (aka company or organization) and the play itself (aka desired results).

This is a small but important distinction which I think begins to address main query… Although important, the ‘workplace’ is but one of the key elements essential to foster the unfolding of a courageous spirit.

It takes ‘us’ (aka the actors), the truth & comfort with our selves; recognizing that which is deeply imbedded within our spirits… our foundational ‘North’, to enable us to interact with others and explore new directions and roles without fear of getting self ‘lost’. It takes a well thought-through and collectively endorsed ‘script’ (aka vision & objectives), to be a directional ‘map’ enabling us to understand, coalesce and improvise our actions and thus, to ultimately give such ‘script’ form.

Finally, it takes a powerful and well conceived ‘stage-set’ (aka workplace), a necessarily fluid and emotive environment that responds to our needs enhancing our performance and is designed to evolve on-the-fly in-sync with the nuances of the play.

When these three key elements are present and in-sync, the play will be memorable and successful; it becomes natural and ‘easy’ to deliver its objectives whilst being our-selves… speaking and acting transparently from within and without fears. When they are not; when one or more components are inappropriate or missing, the results will not be stellar and both the audience and the play will be left wanting.

This I believe.

(1) Questions posed on a B.B.S. discussion by Alan Colley

Thinking and acting creatively…


courtesy of Monsanto

I would have a hard time imagining how a company or an individual would go about achieving anything without implementing something aimed at producing or delivering the desired outcome… whether this would be a tangible thing like bringing a new idea/product to market, or intangible like fostering a company’s culture to be innovation driven.

Some organizations will be more comfortable and effective at idea generation, others at implementing them… few will do well integrating both into a creative/productive loop.

The later is where I think the ‘new focus’ for organizational opportunity lives especially in organizations that want to innovate… by establishing and fostering loops of continual learning and improvement like; generating ideas, implementing them, observing, enhancing or generating newer ideas.

An integrated approach will make the ‘what comes first’ question irrelevant… it is much more powerful because; by its corkscrew-like cycle, it allows the introduction of bits of learning (new ideas) and implementation improvements at any point in the loop thus, short-cutting the cycle and speeding improvement and hopefully innovation.

This is much easier to ‘conceive’ than to effectively ‘do’ or ‘instill’ in most complex organizations as it does require all stakeholder’s to have a healthy comfort with a “change management” mentally as a way of organizational life… How many companies talk about supporting an environment where experimentation is encouraged and failure is permitted… but how many boards will support this ‘stress’ to the bottom-line beyond giving it lip service?

This is what must be considered and ultimately changed if a company is truly committed to innovate me thinks.

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