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

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

Manhood…


I clearly recall how throughout my childhood, my father would introduce me to his friends as his son… the experiences and how he did this always making me feel I belonged with them; in my mind as tall and every bit the man he and his friends were. Thus, I weighted and agonized over Father Antonio’s vivid lectures on eternal damnation, just before deciding to risk it all in a darkened church abbey, to share my first kiss and experience what a female breast actually felt like. We were 15, had been practicing all afternoon for a play our church was producing and after such mutual exploration; as I walked my friend home that early evening, there was adventure and joy in my spirit, as well as a lingering erection, all reinforcing the dizzying weight of such early manhood event.

Roughly one year later, below that same abbey, I stood an all-night-vigil over the body of another friend who drowned whilst we were all body-surfing on the beach a few days earlier. My friend with the nice boobs sat with the women and mourned on one side of the open coffin whilst silently, I had my rightful place with the men on the opposite side; where every now and then, one would come by to pat me on the shoulder, reminding me to “be strong” and I – a 16 year old “man” – forced myself to say nothing, to not cry as a hurting little boy would.

Soon after everything in my life begun to reinforce such presumed manhood; hunting with my father and his man-friends, working in a gas-station after school to save for my first car, informing my sexuality as I continued discovering the diversity and intricacies of women’s bodies, getting high and having wild sex under black-lights to Jimmy Hendrix’ licks, saying hell-yeah; when my country told me I was going to be a fighting man… my voice deepened with purpose as did my mind and bravado.

In my 20’s, I was the first man on the line carrying my father’s casket into another church’s nave and stood erect by its side with my left hand on the lid, listening to our favorite Schubert’s “Ave Maria”; for the first time in a long while feeling very alone and unprepared; a child’s soul in a man’s body, carrying the responsibility this first son of the first son now had as the head of our family. Something within me wanting to get the heck out of there and shout – this isn’t right… I’m just a big kid… I’m not ready to bury my father! Yet I stood frozen, said nothing and kept placing one foot in-front of the other, to get through that immensely hurtful day and most of my 30’s.

I continued to do the best I could and grew professionally, learning to fly with and without an airplane. Everything around me relentlessly reinforcing such growing manhood status; better cars, bigger risks, adventures in new exotic places, different women always exciting and quirky, social status and finally; just before crossing into my 40’s, standing once again in another church’s altar and saying “I do”… feeling sure enough about the “sense” of it all to wonder; “why not?”.

Why not? Again I thought as I held my tiny 3.25 pound twin daughters in my arms… why not girls as the first son of the first son; up to now unprecedented in our family? With expanding professional and personal responsibilities I learned to love, care for and watch them grow from far-away places; swooping-in to hug, enjoy and introduce them to my friends as “my daughters”… the thought of succession or manhood never once crossing my mind then or as they grew into the amazing beautiful women they are becoming.

Through my 50’s, I wrestled for the first time with the concept of my own mortality; internal conflicts over being older than my father ever lived to be… and also for the first time, found myself exploring and contemplating what THIS man truly is and how he fits within MY greater concept of manhood. The 60’s loomed on as my daughters reached 16; the circular aspects of my evolving manhood as related by this piece evident, crystal clear and in its rightful place as I realize and embrace all that I and my daughters are today without reservation or regret… sure enough to share with you all here the crux of my self-discoveries thus far as a man…

That manhood isn’t time, age, society or gender defined. That beyond real biological, chemical and cultural differences, manhood simply is another word for what we believe, choose for ourselves and take the responsibility to action… by this, what we attract and choose to accept as who we are. I am now – as a man – every bit the relatively happy little boy I was when my father “showed me off” to his friends. Every bit as sexually curious as when I first groped my friend’s memorable breasts… I still move forward one step in front of the other, not always comfortable but filled with expectation and hope nonetheless.

None of us know how long we will be around or what will happen when it is time to move-on. But I am at-peace and immensely hopeful as I imagine a future impacted by my daughter’s lives… I for one will not tire learning from them and encouraging these amazing girls into experimenting and being all that they were created to be; not as societally directed “women” or “men” but as limitless human beings – the true essence of what I believe Manhood or Womanhood is about. I’ve no doubts I will not be disappointed and, when the time comes, will die with a smile on my face knowing that; because they “are”, all will be well with the world.

* Published in the Good Men Project: “Limitless People

The role of business…


courtesy of Herman Miller

Businesses are not responsible to make the world a better place for everyone. The role of businesses is to stay true and deliver to their purpose… their “raison-d’être”; the vision, the planning, the investment that gave them form, and the staff that makes it all work by creating, managing and delivering its goods and services profitably… without which businesses would not prevail.

However, few things in life and these fluid times are strictly black or white… businesses and individuals are not islands; they do not operate in a vacuum under the rules of a once-upon-a-time private and “sanctioned” plan. Businesses are members and play a key role within a larger society, as such, they have responsibilities and options they legally subscribed to and must choose to take respectively, whilst going about achieving their promised commitments and intended purposes.

Society Sketch

Image via Wikipedia

Long gone (thank God) are the days when businesses and the individuals that work in them, could exist and act independent of all other factors…that the condition still exists in pockets of “darkness” throughout the world, is an aberration hopeless in its persistence, rather than any sort of validation for its myopic and outdated practice.

It is unavoidable and in everyone’s best interests for governments, businesses and individuals to govern manage and act responsibly, taking into account and benefitting from their roles, influence and wise interactions with all other factors crucial to make society within our inter-connected global economies work effectively and sustainably.

This responsible and cooperative approach does not contradict in-the-least the “grow and prosper” purpose of a business as expressed here… the approach will prevail in spite of all examples one may point to; of excesses, apathy and greed still all-too-real nowadays. Yet, these negative examples are waning… as the demarcation lines between business, environmental, societal and individual interests continue to blur by their obvious and increasing inter-dependency. In its place, we are witnesses to a gradual global rise of ethical practices and social consciousness at all levels and in many cases, being led by the very businesses one could argue have “no business” in doing so.

All of us can fill several pages with corporate examples of responsible stewardship AND business growth; whether the practices are still in their infancy or already imbedded as “mature” corporate governance… perhaps we all should if for nothing else to remind ourselves that all is not doom & gloom.

Collective responsible and ethical actions are what will make this world a better place AND… they are good for ALL including businesses… their prosperity and our collective survival is absolutely dependant on it.

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