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 2018-2020

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

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

%d bloggers like this: