To my Daughters…


The Girls (small)Dearest Emily and Nina…

It’s 2 o’clock in the morning in Hong Kong and probably not the “normal” time to be writing you a letter but in-truth, I’ve been writing it in my mind and heart for a long time now so… it feels appropriate to do so whilst all is quiet; whilst the distance between us diminishes to only a memorial sliver without distractions.

The memory is sharp and clear still of that 2nd day of November in 1995 when my sight first kissed your perfect newly born tiny selves… Nina’s voice no more than a tentative “meow” (a brand-new kitten’s voice is what it reminded me of), whilst you Emily already carried a stronger timber as a prelude to the operatic and melodic quality it became shortly thereafter.

I held you both individually only for a little while before surrendering you to an incubator, but even then, I remained close and mesmerized by the perfection and the miracle of your lives. Supposedly all babies are beautiful each in his or her own way, but you two were beyond beautiful… you were perfectly formed; delicate, velvety, elegant; not just as far as I was concerned, but as an intricate part of my reality; in-truth, all that is sacred and matters to me.

From that point on and each year thereafter I saw you grow, form and evolve into the gorgeous, intelligent women you two are, in what feels now to have been, a lightning fast time warp continuum… a mere squiggle of life/light within God’s wondrous universe, which one can’t possibly grasp in the moment(s) until it’s past… until we are able to observe and digest those life moments backward. For each life leaves its unique imprint; a signature if you will, that is indelible… that never fades nor ever disappears.

I well remember and still marvel at the detail of your lives as seen from my soul… from the scissor haircut on the 2nd floor of Amy’s house, to you at the wheel of a white van rolling from one steep driveway through a street and into a house across that street with all of us adults chasing after you, to the braided corn-rows of your hair in Bali, to the feel and comfort of your arms as you hugged me, through the tears at several pet-funerals, to feeling your pain during all of your illnesses and hospital stays, to the pride of seeing you perform in plays and compete in track & field, to the softness of helping Emily arrange blue-blue and all of her sleep buddies whilst tucking her in at night, to the conversations with Nina in Chianti’s balcony in the middle of the quiet night, through the joy of finally seeing you ride a bike and jump into the South China Sea from the top of tall junks, to the pride of seeing your work on display at West Island and your graduation with honors from your Universities… and the “movie” goes on, frame by frame, detailed, crisp, compelling and clearly etched forever-more in my heart.

I have loved you steady… not always perfectly but always truly and, I love you still. Without doubts or reservations, perhaps now better than before if I were able to compare it.

I am grateful to God for you and your Mom that so ably raised you – nearly single-handed – to be all that is best in the world to be, all that you are. And, I am grateful to you and to God, that such received love bore fruit… that you picked-up the ball when it was passed to you, and you’re running with it boldly through the many scuffles and touch-downs already achieved and ahead of each of you.
Proving to yourselves and all that care to see, that Love is all that is needed and never wasted.

I sometimes sit in my little garden, think of you and feel sad that I’m still thousands of miles away from being able to look into your eyes and/or hold your hand on a walk and share these thoughts with each of you through touches, hugs, kisses and words. Although, as our hearts and spirits are linked – therefore – all between us is known deep within ourselves in real-time and always.
There is much comfort in that for me.

Now, at the end of another unexpected year; on this Holy Christmas time, I am at-peace with you and with all that is important for me to be at-peace with. I have tried to live my life without regrets, I have loved well; at-least as well as I have been able to, I have been loved back and granted more blessings than most people are able to experience in several life times and… I desire nothing, other than what God will have planned and in-store for me.

And so my dear daughters, my dearest and closest friends, I wish you both well on this Christmas of 2018.
I know that God is with you and will continue to guide you and protect you so much better than I was ever able to do.

I know that God loves you and knows every single hair on your beautiful bodies. I know that you will never ever be alone… that all you will need to do is think of Jesus for Him to manifest His Godself to you and let you feel his loving arms around you. This is the only true gift and the greatest gift of all; that you and Him know and love each other intimately.

For this and you, I am eternally grateful.

With much love always… your loving Father and Best Friend King Daddy-O.

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2018-2020

Tonight I Can Write


Pablo Picasso-1A (Small)Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Write, for example, “The night is starry
and the stars are blue and shiver in the distance.”

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

Through nights like this one I held her in my arms.
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.

To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is starry and she is not with me.

That is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

My sight tries to find her as though to bring her closer.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, that’s certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.

Another’s. She will be another’s. As she was before my kisses.
Her voice, her bright body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, that’s certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.

 

“Tonight I Can Write” – Pablo Neruda, 1924

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2018-2020

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

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.

Father’s Day – 2011


My Father and Me…

He was tall, strong, always kind and bigger than life to me – his son; someone he would break his bearing for, to lean over and welcome me into his “space”…

…Which of course I always looked forward to; from as young as I can remember to an early evening in my early 20’s when we unknowingly exchanged our last hug… he died a few hours later, for his fragrance and essence never changed nor waned from my memory over time.

Through all these years since his passing; as I’ve argued, rebelled, mourned, finally settled on the event and just plainly missed him, I find myself returning to those memories for comfort and reprieve, always reaching the same conclusion; that he is my champion and my “hero” still… to hell with the undeniable physics of matter, space and time…

… For that which is vibrant in one’s heart, mind and spirit truly is “real” in a most powerful way; so it is still between my father and me.

His presence remains through powerful memorable moments such as; tagging along for an evening gathering with his friends and invariably dozing-off on his lap – head leaning on his strong chest, small hands holding on to his large thumb – whilst they chatted away or listened to one of his friend’s piano rendition of a Chopin sonata… the safety of his arms combining with his fragrance and the languid melodic sound, told me all was well with our world… the memory does so still.

Whether holding me as a kid and much later, finally relenting and letting me go start my own adventures, my father exemplified rather than spoke the constancy and power of his love for me; the first son of the first son… an unbreakable link regardless of circumstances.

As far as I can tell, my father lived his life as a constant; with authenticity and balance between who he was as an individual; the elder sibling within a long-established clan, the steady head of our family, the creative professional, the wise leader and as my father. Growing-up, he embodied and demonstrated all I eventually determined to be wholesome, bold and desirable for myself… a personal ethos worthwhile striving to mimic and achieve.

This Father’s Day, several decades and much life later, I find that I’m still actively working on understanding and practicing his essence; to reach parity with his deeply rooted baseline – let alone surpass it – as I had aimed to achieve back when I ventured-out on my own.

So you see Dad, albeit everything is different from what you and I thought and knew back when we were together, nothing has changed between you and me. Your essence reaches and holds me still when there’s need for your inspiration, wisdom and love, and you are loved back unequivocally, with a quality and will that perhaps would not have been possible to feel or manifest had we remained within our physicality; the connection’s strength and trueness somewhat diluted by mundane events and circumstances.

I celebrate your name, your life and your memory father, may you rest in peace and know you are loved well.

* Published in the Good Men Project: “Between My Father and Me

And so it is Christmas…


I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year” – Charles Dickens

Nativity...

I always loved Christmas and looked forward to the time (about 2 weeks before the day) that my father would let me into his study to see his latest creation of the year… an elaborate and each year unique three-dimensional rendition of the nativity.

The scene would rise from a large base about 3 foot off the floor featuring valleys, lakes and mountains, the highest of which supporting a fragrant real Christmas tree decorated with tinsel, gold & red glass balls and clip-on white wax candles with beautiful red bows at their base,climbing up to the study’s tall ceiling leaving only enough space for the brilliant silver star to be placed on its top. Each year this massive setting would grow; as he would continually add new figurines and different landscapes, to take nearly one-quarter of his study at my last recollection. It was a thing of wonder…

From the day he would unveil it onward, I would spend my evenings before going to bed admiring the details of the scene, the colored sawdust paths lined by real and fragrant mosses, the skaters in the large frozen lake, the shaped and painted canvas he used to form the mountains with bits of evergreen and patches of snow here and there and the joy in the faces of each figurine placed just so throughout his amazing effort and always aimed at the lit manger where a beautifully sculpted baby Jesus lay flanked by his parents and various animals.

I remember staring at it for hours taking on the scent that forever shall remind me and “be” of Christmas, imagining stories for each of the characters… until my mother would bribe me with some milk and a warm cookie to go to bed. I truly learned to dream and fly as Peter Pan only could, by the power of the scene and the immense love that my father poured into it… and me.

One day in my very early twenties, with his work complete, my bigger-than-life father passed-on and – although I stopped celebrating it for many years afterwards until my beautiful daughters graced this world – that strong Christmas vision and light burnt deep within me, continued and remains a time to celebrate the everlasting gift that was this amazing man.

He did well by me and throughout the year I remember him often and try to live with the same richness and quality that he exemplified throughout his short life. I hope that one day, when my daughters experience their first Christmas without me, that they will be as touched and inspired by a love that has no limitations nor knows of seasons.

This is a time of year that more than any other speaks of rebirth; of letting go and imagining new possibilities. It is a time of softness, of peace, of intimacy and hope.

May you all and those dear to you have a warm and memorable Christmas. May your experiences lead you to feel touched by Joy and Wonder and compelled to share-it-forward every single day. For that is the essence of life… so aptly marked by the event.

With Love…

The Opposite of Fear…


“Delusion” is an appropriate opposite to “Fear”. This based on my belief that “fear” isn’t always bad… rather in its basic form; it is nothing more than the natural result of our own built-in self-preservation organism.

I like to sky-dive… have done it many times over the years; some may say that I’m even “good” at it, but I tell you truthfully that “fear” is a good steady companion every time I step to the airplane’s door and think about what I am about to do.

I also am known for speaking out and arguing what I believe in Board meetings and other events that could result in unexpected career consequences… again, “fear” is the right word to describe the butterflies in my stomach and rapid heartbeats just before my mouth opens.

To not experience such natural feelings in either case, could only mean that something is seriously amiss within my construct… that my sense of “reality” is flawed, or that I’m delusional.

To be “fearful” is an important and valuable experience; whether “fearful” of being killed if you’re a solider in the front lines, of going into surgery (having someone you don’t know cut us apart and put us back together again), or of having our heartbroken… a healthy dose of “fear” comes in handy to remind us to prepare, learn as much as we can, be honest with ourselves and then WILL beyond the discomfort; the natural warning, to do what we have been charged to do or believe should be done.

I do know a few people who have no apparent sense of “fear”… they are good folks to try to avoid like the plague in my view, for fear is healthy and requires no antidote beyond preparation and will. The later, what gives us mastery over lesser organisms.

One more thought… One of the most “fearful” moments in my life took place when a doctor placed my brand new 3.25 lbs twin baby daughters in my arms.

In that moment I realized my life had changed forever, and I had no idea what THAT meant… what was about to happen, would they “make it”, how would I take care of “all of this”… fifteen years later I still don’t know the answer to some of these questions.

Healthy “fear” came first…then, I willed past it and fell in-love.

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