Love…


flower-2Love is patient, love is kind.

It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2011-2020

Scotch, Arguments & Birthday Candles…


Minion-Friends-1(G)Today was my birthday… no big deal as by now, I don’t pay much attention to it; except perhaps to note that it has been occurring for far too long… so faithfully my curmudgeon sliver of self-doubt observes, as it comes-up for air once every year around this time.

Still, no matter how much it moans and whinges about the uselessness of taking space and other esoteric meanderings, it manages to keep a mildly curious eye out for any acknowledgement that this day actually matters to someone beyond the expected (less than a handful) it deems to “have no choice” due to genetic and social responsibilities.

It follows that as evening descends, we settle to review the day we say… but, reality is that we know we’ll continue arguing about meaning, purpose and the very eminence of oneself over its sliver of doubt… all civilly accompanied by several double espressos with their scotch and cigar sidekicks.

We acknowledge and review the phone calls and private texts received from family and close friends; oneself smiles and deems each one of them memorable and wonderful, whilst the sliver grunts and views them as “default obligations” fulfilled and made irrelevant to any discussion due to their biases… so the argument generally begins…

Intensifying as we acknowledge the dozens of good wishes received through social media… what a fortunate man I am I say… Irrelevant, the sliver shouts as it dives into its monologue negating “remembrance”, on how algorithms actually instigate people to write something on these occasions so they don’t stand out as an “exception”.

It’s contrived and meaningless due to its selfish origin, it has nothing to do with you… it blasts pointing at me to emphasize its argument.

That may be so in a few instances I counter, but can’t be true of all of the good wishes uniquely worded to connect with me and share that I am on the writer’s mind; I said whilst quickly pointing to several texts, as significant evidence for my case.

Are you so naïve to not “see” the formula behind these snippets? It retorts with some disdain… when was the last time any of this folk actually picked-up the phone to call you? truly engaged with you? forgave, praised or shared something of themselves with you?

…why would they care now on this one day, if not for their own needs and devices?

I thought about this a bit whilst noticing the smugness that the sliver of doubt was beginning to manifest…
“if” there is some truth in your “exception” argument I start, why would that take away from the fact that; even if for only one minute or three, they thought of me… and such compelled each of them to express they wished me well?

How can such not be a meaningful example that at some point; perhaps even today, I touched and mattered to them enough, regardless of whatever means got them to express anything at all?
Well, not everyone you know sent you a message grumped the sliver…

As for those who didn’t express anything, if they arrived at it through their intentional decision to either hurt me or ignore me, even such would mean that I came to their mind however fleetingly… reflecting that I mattered enough for them to arrive at a conclusion regardless of whatever that was.

Is that enough for you? is that all there is? the sliver of doubt sneered looking askew…Minion-Friends-2(G)

Does it matter? I ask back… why is it so important to you to observe relevance in anyone else’s views? Is it not up to us how we choose to accept and deal with the joys and griefs that cross our paths each day?

Were each of us not designed for the greatness of being useful and whole and joyful and unoffendable? And as such is the case, doesn’t it follow that such greatness can only really be achieved through each of our individual relationships starting with our creator?

Are we not extremely grateful to be alive and lovingly thought of by ONE on such special day? …I shouted as the sliver of doubt was worming back into its tiny little box…

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2011-2020

© Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2011-2020

I see you…


ND-Grass (Blog-7)Spanning continents and hearts with thought…
and a light touch of balanced fingers that know artistry;
flitting about… as comfortable composing equations
as bringing forth an emotion or as reviving
a dying flower back into life, hope and beauty.

But that isn’t the best of you.

You’re a foundation for life of all kinds…
air, water and earth beings all thrive by this;
some envying your strength, many taking from it…
whilst others, have overcome fears and choosing trust instead
would opt to shed their blood for you.

Even this isn’t truly awesome.

For you’re a dream; inspiring to those that hold you close,
a longing within the hearts that can only imagine
the true color of such spirit; reflected in eyes
as ever-changing as the rich light of day…

An enigma; carefully woven into the tapestry of time,
space and God itself… such is your essence.

No… to get to the best of you one would have
to remove all of the lenses that render you true.

And go to the place before the warmth of your mother’s
embrace ever graced your velvetic physicality…
before the miraculous “x” and “y” mix burst forth
a universe of micro-matter that established life and form
so creatively. To where truth and light and love springs;
a heaven so expansive yet intimately inconceivable.

There… one will find the best of you.

Eternal and brilliant; a joyful being transcending
the concept of any one known bit… there,
in the intimate boundlessness of all nascent energy
the concept of this one YOU came to be.

Exquisitely singular, unique in all ways.

I see you…

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2011-2020

© Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2011-2020

My Little Garden…


irina's letter (sml)My dear José,

From my first step on Portuguese land I felt so excited… me, in your homeland, walking same streets and smelling the same air.

I know that without you it won’t be the same.

But I am an explorer. Just like you. And I feel so peaceful here.

No excitement of Paris or Rome, no crazy crowds of Hong Kong.

Just peacefully at home…

It was about nine months ago; during the terrible experience of giving away and discarding the bulk of the contents of a home Irina and I so lovingly created and nurtured into the wonderful stage-set of our lives, that I came across this note… written with her usual flair and careless cursive style seven months earlier, during her short visit to the city of Porto ias portoon the way back to Hong Kong from her Camino de Santiago pilgrimage and, roughly two weeks before her untimely passing to God’s side.

Irina often wrote her thoughts on little notes she would mail or place in books or travel bags for me to discover but this one “felt” different; it read as an expressed wish and I have no idea why she did not give it to me when she came home… maybe because she too felt equally drawn to our warm and comfortable place at the foot of the mountains edging the South China Sea in the wonderful Three Fathoms Cove Bay.

Finding and holding this note; as people walked through our home looking at all of our things that I could not take to the little “cave” that was to become my next place, broke my heart all over again…

I felt the crush of her thoughts and very presence as I stood in the middle of the living room barely aware of all the strangers peeking and poking everywhere within our 3-storey Cantonese village house which had become a shrine to her memory; a place where neither our dog Max or me could make a turn without tripping on the fingerprints of her bigger than life self… her scent still prevailing and actively holding all of our spirits together… painfully, dreamily, peacefully.

I have treasured this one note closer than all of the others not only because it was her last, but perhaps because I sense it wasn’t finished… that there was more to her thought-flow which was left open; maybe as a sixth-sense over our unthinkable journey ahead, or maybe for me to influence its completion.

And so, when all the people, moving trucks and trash collectors left and all was done, when Max and I were finally alone; he in the very large backyard and me; as his “tenant”, in the sliver of a flat that sat within the walled-in compound, we sat together looking at the mountains and our new surroundings with a mix of hope and not small trepidation over the task ahead to heal our souls and rebuild our lives as I knew she would want us to do.

To that point, I had seven long months of getting intimate with pain and a terrible first Christmas/New Year season behind me but… I also knew we were being showered with prayer constantly as I felt a remarkable peace and clarity of purpose even with the absence of a considered script to follow.

That is when; as I placed the remaining “stuff” in its new places within the flat, that I felt Jesus’ presence guiding my thoughts, inciting me to transform Max’s yard into a garden where all of God’s life sustaining elements would be represented and celebrated, as a means of acknowledgment and gratitude for His loving gifts of pairing Irina’s short life with mine and of remaining side-by-side with me through the ensuing redemptive fire of her departure.

It begun with building a fountain with all of the elements that were so dear to Irina; the coolness and sound of crystal-clear waters cascading down rocks, the presence of plants and flowers and, the ethereal night reflection of living waters… strangely (for me who had never built a fountain before), I begun without drawing any plans beyond the image Jesus had placed and kept in my heart, as well as; for the next two plus months of long days, His constant “whispering” informing every decision on quantities, materials, plumbing, under-water electrics, and every cut and action as together, we slowly brought it to life without mistakes, electrocutions, material excess or shortages of any kind… He provided the know-how, I provided the labour.

It is perfect beyond my expectations and remains, as living proof of one of the many miracles I have had the good fortune to witness throughout my life… a healing thing of beauty filled with meaning, reflective of His Grace and Love.

Thus we; our Triune God, Max and I, officially completed and dedicated the works on the first anniversary of Irina’s passing… in the midst of a beautiful sun-filled day and clear evening with heartfelt scripture readings and the appropriate amount of Vodka toasting Irina’s bright spirit, my new lighter heart and my closer personal relationship with our Triune God… the renaissance of our “Great Dance” together as C. Baxter Kruger would refer to it.

Since then, Jesus and I have continued to evolve the garden to what it is today; all elements now present… water, fire, earth and air which, albeit still a work in-progress, has become a peaceful place filled with natural beauty, where we read, talk, laugh and cry with joy together… with Max always nearby, following with his beautiful brown eyes every reverend moment.

By our Triune God’s Holy Grace, this little complex Max and I know as “home” was transformed to become a place of peace and deep healing, a sanctuary where our hearts meet and where both her and I found ourselves “Just peacefully at home…” as our beloved Irina desired; Max and I here, and she on the other side of the stars.

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2017-2020

© Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2011-2020

Remembering…


remembering

When you remember me, it means you have carried something of who I am with you, that I have left some mark of who I am on who you are.

It means that if we meet again, you will know me.

It means that even after I die, you can still see my face and hear my voice and speak to me in your heart.

Your remembering is my consolation and helps remind me that I actually exist.

Frederick Buechner

My Father (upper left), My Grandmother (below my father), My Beloved Irisha (center), My Mother (lower right), Two of my Aunts (next to mother and father)

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2018-2020

The Twelfth Month…


0-1st AnniversaryIrina transitioned to God’s side on the 15th of September, 2017.
Regardless of her short journey on Earth, she had a purpose, she made a positive impact on all that she touched and her Life mattered.
So, to mark the 1st Anniversary of Irina’s transition and as a last Goodbye from me and all of you that knew and cared about her, here is a short collage of images in her memory to a soundtrack written by Sarah McLachlan and rendered by Westlife.
Her Spirit is at God’s side shining brightly and all that needed to be done on Earth has been completed so, I moved-on with my life with Love in my heart and Peace in my mind that all was done well.
Thank you all for walking and sharing the weight of this cross with me. It is finished.
May God continue to Bless you all. ❤️

 

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2018-2020

Merry Christmas


JP-Max-1BThe holiday season is here bringing to us all renewed hopes and desires to feel, receive and offer Love. But what is this Love we continually crave yet find so hard to hold on to?

Makes one wonder if it is actually Love we seek or if we are content settling for quick pain-relief from our fears and emotional baggage.

Love isn’t an object we can acquire, it is both; always here and born continually. It comes in moments when we are open to receive it… when we’ve placed the obsession with ourselves aside. Then, Love may suddenly flash on our awareness and remind us that it has been within us all along…

That it wasn’t Love that vanished, but rather our old habits and polluted ways of thinking and feeling that returned.

Unwittingly, many of us end up choosing suffering and pain over the joy of Love, mostly because pain and suffering have become familiar and thus, comfortable to handle… They ask nothing of us. Whilst LOVE asks for everything, it insists we remove our masks, so that it can shine through.

This holiday celebrates a birth; a transformation into human form of the greatest Love of all. A Love that came only to serve truth and be available to all, unconditionally.

It gave all that it had and took whatever it was given.

This Love… a priceless Comfort and Joy that is within us all and will never disappear.

Adapted from “THE BIRTH OF LOVE” by Brenda Shoshanna
Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2006-2016

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

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

Easter and me…


This important celebration usually brings me to a funk… a mix of sadness, embarrassment and shame for what we humans did some time ago to another human… someone who was of us albeit, different and timeless – transcending our limitations – on whom; in-spite of all myopia, we trust and rely on with all of our deepest hopes.

But this year it was different for me… I did not dwell on His pain & suffering, I did not dwell on the past event. I know I am of Him and with Him and perhaps this year’s “disengagement”, marks a time of self-forgiveness and moving on and up with our relationship from the quagmire of guilt over the imbalance of an all-Knowing, Forgiving and Love-steady God… and us; as significant in the big-scheme of things as grains of sand… cozy under His mighty feet, bearing His weight, blessed by the loving touch.  JP

Inspiration & concept notes on transcendence… © JP, 1990-2011

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