Who Do You Trust??

Trust

 

Happy Friday, All!

Here’s to hoping you all have had a good week.  You may remember my previous message on Wednesday in which I emphasized believing in yourself.  You know that we are all human … even cops and fireman and teachers … as well as politicians, lawyers and businesspersons … even those who work for the government, including administrators in “City Halls”  across the nation.  Oh, did I forget to mention “churches” and their officials, representatives … even pastors, ministers … who knows, maybe even bishops and nuns!!  It is just that “we” each bring ourselves to whatever position we occupy in “society”, and often abuse the power “we’ve” inherited … power and privilege that comes with the job … and we violate that and abuse that, too.  Some of us go as far as to say, “I’m sorry ….” while others try to deny that they have “done anything wrong”.  I remember … yes again … Pastor Bob Coy of Calvary Chapel.  There were times when I thought it was all too good to be true.  I don’t hold it against him … I hope he’s getting along alright.
Have you ever noticed how people scramble when they do something wrong?!?  You have noticed also I am sure that the more power that they had, the more people of power who were in their “networks” … the more “wiggle room” they had!!!  Look at George Zimmerman … he fooled a lot of people, maybe just those who had and have similar mindsets as he.  After the trial … and he was set free by a misled jury … after killing an unarmed person whom he stalked, picked a fight with and waited for the opportunity to surprise with his gun … he has been stopped and charged with and accused of doing similarly “dumb stuff” … against women especially.  He didn’t fool me … he didn’t fool a lot of people … He only fooled the “fools” … that’s what they were already.  Just saying …
We have already seen how in many cases with brutal and violent law enforcement techniques, the officers were not held accountable for their behavior … like in Ferguson and Brooklyn.  This particular tactic of getting a person on the ground, and placing ones’ knee on the person’s head … usually the side … is absolute brutality.  We watch it on television and videotapes and tell ourselves what the perpetrators want us to say, “He deserves this type of treatment … he’s a criminal!”  No, not true!  The persons engaging in these types of inhumane and barbaric tactics on the people they are supposed to “protect and serve” should allow them due process of a trial, if necessary, not kill them.  Now, this situation going down in Oklahoma with an “auxiliary police officer” or volunteer given permission to carry (and USE!) a firearm and taser has “pulled the covers off” of how things really go down in “City Halls”.  The officer, Mr. Bates, is a retired and wealthy businessman.  He had never trained to carry a gun, as it was discovered by two of the “Tulsa World” publication’s journalists,  nor had he had the proper training to get involved in “official police work”, as he was permitted when he shot and killed Mr. Harris.
The two journalists, Ziva Ranstetter and Dylan Goforth, uncovered the TRUTH!!  The handgun certifications for Mr. Bates DON’T EXIST!!!  He has never … NEVER been properly trained to use that Glock he carried when he shot and killed an unarmed man.  The “officers” tackled him “gang land style”, held him down … one put his knee on this man’s head to make him lose consciousness … while one of them … Mr. Bates … is permitted to shoot him.  Again, there was NO first aid given after the man tells them, “He shot me!  He shot me!”  Mr. Bates says, “I shot him.  I am sorry!”  and they all kept this man on the ground … until he died …  Ranstetter and Goforth also discovered that several employees in City Hall were asked to falsify documentation for Mr. Bates.  They refused … they were disciplined … and they were transferred …. because they would NOT falsify paperwork for Mr. Bates!!!!  Alright, how many times have you heard people lie to themselves and say, like the mayor of Fort Lauderdale, “This is isolated!  This is not typical behavior of most law enforcement officers!”  How many of  these instances does it take to convince folks that these officers are “regular” people like us that we’ve pumped up to “God status” and can’t find any fault in what they do because it was “us” er … uh …. “them” who pumped them up in the first place!!!  How can we possibly be wrong about the people we’ve given “near God status” to???  Now that’s a hard pill to swallow … that “wrong” thing … hard pill to swallow!!
Who do you trust?  Do you trust people and agencies that lie and cover things up???  Why do you trust those people without questioning their semi-barbaric behavior????  Check yourself.  Look at what’s really taking place … right before YOUR EYES!!!  Tell yourself the TRUTH.  Don’t bury your head in the sand!!!  Things need to change … NOW!!!  Wrong is wrong … don’t try to “right” it … Sorry doesn’t bring a life back … a mother’s son … a child’s father … is gone forever.  When you are faced with the opportunity, I know it might be hard for some of “us”, but take the right stand … Murder is murder!!!  Everybody’s life matters!!
Peace,
John I. Cook, Director

“You Gotta Believe!”

believe

Happy Hump Day, Folks!

“It’s that time again!”  This is one of my favorite calls to spiritual battle when things look like “they” are taking a turn for the worse.  We often hear “religious people” talk about faith in “their savior” … be it Allah, Jesus, Buddha … you all can name the rest.  I am not trying to bring negative attention here, I am actually suggesting that there must be some “connectivity” between them all because the cores of most “religions”, so to speak, are aimed at preserving humankind … not destroying it.  Perhaps, some of those awkward manuscripts attempt to touch on ways of improving human behavior and communication amongst us!  Am I being optimistic again?!!!
Yes, a truckload of challenges have come my way … and I am sure there are more to come!  So, what do I do?!  How do I handle it .. er .. uh … them!!???  With grace and respect as well as the anticipation that I will learn yet something more about this journey called “life” and how it changes and unfolds in a moments notice!!  Yes, I think it was this past Sunday when I heard one of the televangelist if not two of them “chime” in on the same message:  “Our Creator allows us to be in certain circumstances and allows us to have some challenging situations to help hone us in our inner strength … to believe in ourselves!”  These challenges are placed there so that we may learn something, even if it seems like “the valley of the shadows” ….  I can still hear Dr. King singing in the background!
Spiritual exercise and conditioning is a lot like discipline in say … the martial arts.  For me, it is learning to respect those things that we may NOT have invited into our lives and consider them opportunities for growth rather than foes that we need to destroy.  There is a fundamental difference in that mindset as the one often “required” to succeed in the social organization we have in place in the Western world today.  In the “spiritual” mindset, one takes every event, be it “good” or “bad”, as an opportunity for growth and deeper understanding.  One may even have to sit quiet a few hours … and meditate … really meditate with acceptance in ones heart.  One has to believe in the process … like we believe in all of the “human made” processes like … waiting on line at the DMV …. or the Dollar Tree on a holiday!!!  Look around, watch folks … we have no patience!!  I’ve caught myself multiple times, in particular when I am doing computer related stuff, becoming anxious that the “screen” didn’t change fast enough!!!  Those who have not developed any patience or self control … discipline even … are the ones who take guns or words and concepts and try to hurt, if not destroy, “others” whom they personally did NOT create.  These are the ones who “make the news” every day …
So, as you meander through this Wednesday, choose your battles wisely … some are NOT yours!  Yet, never forget that “You gotta believe!”

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

 

Speak For Yourself!!!

speak for yourself

It’s Monday again!  Try to look at it as “the beginning” of things, a new day, hopefully after a restful weekend.  Every weekend, I try to do something relaxing, if only for an hour or two.  I also try to do some form of exercise; by now you know my favorite is yoga.  I have always taken a liking to swimming but with all the shark attacks in the Atlantic Ocean here in SoFlo, I will keep my swimming in the pool at L A Fitness for now!!  Just sayin’!
Have you ever had that special someone … or just anyone … who wants to speak for you?!?  Now, these kind of people are hard to figure out sometimes because, while it seems that most of them are on a power trip, there are some folks who actually may have “your” best interest in mind.  You know the situation surrounding the schizophrenic young black man from Miami Gardens, FL whose mother called to ask the police to help her get her son back into the house … She tried telling them, and they have it on recording, “It’s cold out and he won’t come back inside the house!”  He had on boxer shorts, a t-shirt and was purportedly carrying a broom with a metal tip on it.  She asked them (police) repeatedly, almost as if she knew what was going to happen: “Don’t hurt my son.  Please don’t hurt him!”  They didn’t … a cop killed him instead …  There was no struggle.  In fact, you can hear the officer saying (clearly not trained in handling anyone with a mental challenge), “Get on the f-ing ground … or you’re DEAD!”  I don’t think that is part of anyone’s training.  But this is where I have identified the “over-desire” to have “power” and control over someone … or … “they” (police officer) feel they have the right to end another’s life because the other person didn’t “obey” them!!
As I watched one of the televangelist on television yesterday, there was a police woman who was a member of one of the churches.  She and her husband both were members and both are police officers.  She made a plea to the congregation to continue “respecting” and “honoring” police officers.  She said, “We don’t wake up in the morning wanting to take someone’s life.”  Then, why, praytell, does another officer tell a schizophrenic “citizen” that if he doesn’t get on the ground, he will kill him?!?!  Right at that moment, I muttered: “Speak for yourself!”  Now, I know that it is tough to make a “correct” decision in a split second.  However, each time I see one of these videos, it seems that the officer has turned the “gun” into an extension of his personality!!!  This is what he/she apparently feels.  I watch people often, I note their behavior and listen to the words that flow from their tongues.  Very seldom do we hear someone trying to encourage a person to “calm down” in REAL LIFE.  It is only on the cop shows!!!  So, if you are in law enforcement, as my own father was, try to stay calm FIRST; don’t make the gun or any rules you can make up on the spur of the moment cloud your understanding of “human beings”.  In other words, don’t lose sight of your humanity … just because you have a gun.  Those (guns) are to be used ONLY if your life is in danger … and all other options have been exhausted.
Yesterday was my only child’s birthday.  We had been on the “not speaking” terms for several months.  So, I decided to send her an e-mail wishing her a happy birthday anyway.  She wrote me back!!!  I was happily surprised.  It seems that she has some other “events” brewing in her life up North, as she has apparently met a nice man …  We’ll have to see!  I went to asana yoga in the morning, sat in the jacuzzi at the gym after class and even swam a few laps!  It is always refreshing, especially with this incredible climate, to flow through the water … for me!  I have always enjoyed swimming … ever since I almost drowned at the pool in the YMCA there on Mamaroneck Ave. in White Plains when I jumped in the deep end!!  I told them I could swim … so I jumped in!!!  It was a long way down in THAT pool.  That was the beginning of my love for water!!  Imagine . . .
 I was fortunate enough to attend the Brahma Kumaris World Peace Meditation in ArtsPark in Hollywood, FL … just a hop, skip and a jump from me.  We had a treat … there was a gent and his wife who presented a true “singing bowl” concert as we all sat, listening to “Kevin” guiding us in meditation!  The group was rather large and we sat in a semi-circle with Sisters Roz and Sheila seated with Kevin in the lotus position on the fresh Earth.  Halima had started our event, as always, with some guided “Qi gong” movements as we sought to cleanse our bodies in anticipation of Earth Day coming up this month.  I always enjoy her utilization of the concepts in Chinese medicine, the chakras and the colors associated with each.  I can truly say that it was an event to have attended … for me!
In the meantime, when it is your time to speak up … for yourself, don’t let anybody take your place.  For no one knows what’s really going on inside of each of us … perhaps our Creator!  If you have a challenge doing so, be sure that your wishes are well known and that the person you are “communicating” with is one who is humanly balanced and peaceful in their approach to life ….
Namaste,

John I. Cook, Director

Maybe . . . We Should Be Grateful … Not fearful

faith not fear

Happy Friday, Folks!

I’m gonna do it again, y’all . . . T.G.I.F.!!  This week seemed to have gone by rather quickly for me.  How about you?  So many events going on around us including the Tsarnaev kid being found guilty of like ALL thirty counts that he was charged with by the Federal Government in the Boston Marathon bombing.  Now, the question is … should he be executed or … spend life in prison?!?  Each one answer for ones self.  But the trial has entered the sentencing stage, so … we’ll see.
How about that father and his seven (7) kids who died from the carbon monoxide poisoning caused by the generator he had placed in his home in Maryland?!  The utility company had turned off the power so he and his children were getting cold during the long last few nights of winter in Maryland.  He decided to buy a generator … placed it inside the home, and they all died from carbon monoxide poisoning … Peace be still …  How sad …  The utility company could’ve responded differently, perhaps!  Even the father’s estranged wife, whom he divorced recently, was saddened … very much so … When her text wasn’t answered by her elementary aged daughter who went to spend the weekend with her dad …. wasn’t answered she knew something was wrong … indeed … something went very wrong.  These lives can’t be replaced.
Well, April is a pretty special month for me as it contains Peter Zachary’s birthday ( RIP ) and my daughter’s, too, which is this Sunday, April 12th.  She still isn’t speaking to me … and moved back up North …  Still, I am grateful for each day … for each of you … for each experience I encounter in life … and the peace I find within myself, though it is not always easy.  You know like I know … FOLKS love drama!!
So, be cool … don’t be no fool!  Have a great weekend … while we can!
Peace,
John I. Cook, Director

Is It All In How We “Choose” To Look At Things?!?

It's How You look at it

Yes, yes … it’s Hump Day again, and I’d like to thank you all for reading.

Of course, each of you has the option of letting me know if you want to continue receiving the correspondences as part of my efforts.  As I have mentioned before, feel free to let me know what you think.  I have a friend whom I met years ago in Miami.  Her name is “Rebecca” and she’s in England now.  She receives these e-mails and wrote to me, though she does write occasionally when inspired, to tell me to keep her on the e-mailings!  I met her through the Brahma Kumaris.
Another friend, former college “chum” though we haven’t stayed in touch over those “formative” years of marriage, childbirth, adolescence and our child(ren)’s young adulthood, Lloyd Lawrence, Esq. sent me some tips on computer security and anti-virus information!  That was very thoughtful as I experienced a crash a couple of weeks ago.  I am keeping his information for the next round … should there be one … when it comes.  One of my favorite “friends” whom I also met only once is in South Africa, an African American woman (Jamaican, I believe), teaching mathematics if I am not mistaken!  We met once when I worked as assistant manager at a service station in Pembroke Pines.  She has been a recipient of my e-mails since then … I hope you don’t mind, Desiree!
Of course, much like anything else that involves us humans, there are those who may look at things differently, which is also very normal.  I mean, when one takes a chance to “think outside the box”, one welcomes scrutiny and perhaps even some hostility … for what one believes.  Trust me, I think and attempt to act on what I believe as well as who I believe I am.  I hold myself accountable for what I think and write/say.  I remember there were times both playing and coaching basketball when some serious situations arose for me in which I had to “choose” how I looked at them.  Once while playing, I was a senior at prep school, I was on the foul line in an end of season/play off type of game.  We were down by two, little or no time on the clock and I got fouled … I believe.  It was a “one-in-one” – I made the first one . . . I missed the second one . . .  Coach Blake and my team mates were supportive and they knew I wanted to win the game, too!  I temporarily went into the locker room and let my emotions flow.   Life goes on.
Those of you who know a bit about me and my love of sports may recall how much I enjoy basketball … period!  Though it was a controversial call during the DUKE vs. Wisconsin NCAA Championship Final, it was nice to see “the kids playing hard basketball”!  I remember my coaching days at White Plains when one game, the varsity was expected to lose.  I was the head jv coach and assistant varsity coach.  I traveled with the “big boys” while the head coach scouted another team.  The team was Scarsdale who used a similar offense.  The boys on BOTH teams played hard … our kids played harder and we won the game!  It was unexpected … you win some … you lose some … It’s all how we choose to look at it!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

“Don’t Mind If I Do!”

don't mind if I do

It’s Monday, all!

The Monday after a long weekend in my case … probably a few other folks.  I left you all in “peace” on Friday … That was “Good Friday” … as I slept in and just enjoyed NOT having to get up and get ready to go out and drive to work.  Hopefully, you all didn’t mind too much!  I have been dealing with a virus again … this time … a computer virus … not my three to four week stomach virus that plagued me just a few weeks back.  This thing caused my computer not to open up and simply continued to spin the “Welcome” greeting once I logged on to the internet.  I even left the darn thing spinning on “Welcome” all night one evening until the next morning!!
Finally, I decided that I needed to get some closure … or price and costs and details on what was wrong.  You guys know how important it is for me to write these e-mails and blog posts.  So, I wanted to do everything that I could to get back up and running, for the blog’s sake.  I ran my laptop over to Office Depot last weekend where the tech told me that I had a virus that was attacking my operating system.  Either I could install an anti-virus/malware type program or simply operate in “Safe Mode”.  Operating in “Safe Mode” was what I had chosen for a while after meeting up with another computer savvy friend in Pembroke Pines last Sunday.  It was a journey!!  I mean,  no sound prompts nor music in safe mode.  The font and print size was humongous!!  I had to figure everything out posting onto the blog and uploading photographs as well as not being able to create documents in word format.  Finally, it dawned on me Thursday at work when one of the IT guys that maintains the software in the marketing office where I work wished me Happy Easter … to ask him what to do.  I did … He told me to uninstall AVG Security programs and install Avast.  I did it … and voila!!  We’re back in business!!  “Don’t mind if I do!”
It is often better for me to try … and try … and try again!  That … is the learning process!  That is “knowing thyself”, if you will.  Needless to say, the tech at Office Depot began stating prices for “replacing the operating system” starting at $125.00!!  I am not an “it” person, but I can navigate my way around a bit more than I imagined!!  When I was first introduced to using the computer while teaching at White Plains High School in 1979, I never thought that I would be able to do the things on the computer that I can do today!
Yesterday was a beautiful day for me … I didn’t plan it out.  I usually like to go to an Easter Service somewhere like Calvary Chapel or Christian Life Center nearby where I live.  Instead, I slept in … listened to the televangelists … got up to make breakfast of sausage and French toast with Chai tea and felt a strong tug from my mother.  I remembered the days that my parents used to take us to Bethel Baptist Church on Easter Sunday.  We were all dressed up there in the Winbrook Apartment Complex, streaming from “one” of the “Five Units” as the “Projects” had come to be called by “us”!  We had our own little Easter Parade there while families chose the church of their choice, be it Allen AME, Calvary Church (yep, there was one in White Plains, too!) or Bethel Baptist, where my family went.  I was at peace.  I sent messages to friends and received a few.  I ran out to Walmart as Publix was closed; picked up some snacks, got back home, washed and dried and folded my clothes while watching NBA basketball games.  It was a peaceful day … one of those days that … “I don’t mind if I do” … every now and then.
Have a great day, and, stay focused!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

Making the Most of Life!

inside

It certainly is Hump Day again, y’all!  Check it out … We got passed Monday … moved through Tuesday … and it’s already mid-week!  How’s it going so far?!  Well, I’m hoping … for each of you.

We have all probably heard the story that no one is “content” with what they “have” in life … and “we” are always seeking more!  More of what?!?  More of whatever money can buy, since we live in a capitalistic economy and that is the medium of exchange for major goods and services.  Now, I am not knocking it, just proposing that folks don’t loose sight of “themselves” in all of this, you dig?!?  We hear folks talking about the possibility of a “paradigm shift” and we hear others saying that those folks are crazy!!  Yet, those same folks don’t bother to question most things about and in our current social system.  There are so many different “realities” to deal with, so to speak.  We’ve got the political realm, the social realm, the religious/spiritual/atheist realm … all of which much of each are dictated by our individual economic realities.  The true art of living, perhaps, involves balancing all of these … and more!
As long as you are making the most of it, the journey will be worth while!  Many of us find opportunities to make professional career changes later on in life.  That is what I have been doing for the past ten years or so.  You know, I enjoy “working” … using my mind to make something work or function well.  So, thinking of retirement hasn’t crossed my mind yet.  I will probably work somewhere doing something … good … until I drop!!  A couple of college “chums” have changed up a bit, while still doing their “people service” oriented work, too.  Recently, Bruce Puckett, former room mate of mine from college, was assigned to an assistant/associate professorship at Rutgers.  Adonis Hoffman, Esq., now living in the DC area is resigning from his work at the FCC and several other posts he’s held there including his professorship at Georgetown.  He sent me a “brief” of his exit interview in which he explains his decision to move on as well as what he experienced, as well as to what he is looking forward in the near future!
A young boy, “Merv” they called him, who was 10 years old and living in the gun-riddled Miami area, was shot in the head … seemingly for sport … as he and his friends played in front of their homes with a basketball.  Last night, their team, part of the Miami Police Athletic League’s Youth Basketball, they lost their game … as they felt the loss of “Merv”.  Keep “Merv” alive with your good deeds and positive energy.  Together, we may be able to “Stop The Violence” in our city streets.
Happy First Day of April!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

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