Make Some Changes, Please!

minor and major


Happy Friday, Y’ALL!

I know I need it … and … I wanna … “T.G.I.F.”!  It’s been one of those weeks … Yet, I am still standing!!  Isn’t it interesting that when you try to do the right thing, someone from somewhere tries to “knock you down”??  Why??  I don’t even ask anymore … I just keep movin’!  I notice how people like the Baltimore City’s newly elected State Attorney has been carrying herself as a small band of the devil’s cheerleaders try to minimize her impact and authority in the case with Freddie Gray.  Do you need a forensic’s degree to see that each and every one of those officers surrounding “unarmed” Mr. Gray are responsible for his death?!?  Unless … you are “the devil”?!?
Well, I am glad that the judge who oversaw the proceedings when the attorneys representing those officers tried to recuse Marilyn J. Mosby decided as he did.  Not only did he deny the “recuse” claim but also decided that EACH officer should be tried separately.  It is only fair.  Another human being lost his life in “your custody”, so, each person that was present, played a part and is liable.  Therefore, they EACH should be tried for his death … Whether Gray was a “good citizen” is not the question.  I am sure many of us … if we are honest … can say there were times that we weren’t “good citizens” … just not to the extremes that Gray has been alleged to have been involved in like misdemeanors and maybe possession charges.  And Mosby being requested to recuse is horrifying!  This woman worked hard for her career and deserves the same respect and opportunities to perform her job, which is an important one, the way she sees things should be happening there in Baltimore.  I admit, I don’t know the City and have never been there so I guess you could say I am relying on my “reading”.  I have a long time good friend who lived there during his youth … College Park … Larry T. Woody.  There there’s Lee Blair, a good friend from college, who has recently moved from the New Jersey area to Baltimore.  From what I understand, this is not “new” there (police misconduct) … but all the pieces pointing to misconduct are apparent … Gray was killed by a spinal injury, which I believed occurred BEFORE he was placed into the van.  No way to treat a human … no matter what he did.  Jury or judge decides life or death!!!  What  happened to the trial portion?!?  He wasn’t armed!!!  Some one should be charged with his death!!  Make some changes!!
Now, I am not preaching.  You might call it confessing!  Yet, what I’ve found is that if I keep a positive attitude … and “joy” … simple old “joy” in my heart … I’ll be alright!!  Good things happen to us all … Sometimes, we don’t appreciate them, or, don’t notice them.  I try to keep it simple!  Transparent even.  Where are you guys at on this subject?!?  It’s serious, too!  So … give it some thought!!  What can you change …. about YOURSELF?!

John I. Cook, Director

What Are You Putting In Your GUT?!?

imagesleaky gut


Happy Hump Day, Yeaaahhhh!

There’s nothing like the middle of the week …. except the weekend, Baby!  And we are halfway there!!  It’s gonna be “Labor Day Weekend”, too!  Lovin’ it!
Here of late, hopefully not too late, I have become more concerned with what I eat and what I do with my vessel … also known as “the body”!  Did you ever think about yourself like that?!  A vessel … carrying you along this journey … relying on what you put IN it?!  Most vehicles require fuel, as do our bodies!  Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that I have been perfect in caring for my body.  In fact, I am like most people … I have abused my body with some terrible things that I put inside of it!!  The body does require “good fuel” in order to run and function properly.  Are you a slave to your “taste buds”?  How about “over the top” commercials selling fast food and stuff?!
Last night, I attended an event sponsored by Filiz Bakar (from Turkey) at Thrive Wellness here in Ft. Lauderdale.  She has hosted many events, offering incredible insight as she seeks to combine “high level science” and Chinese medicine!  She talked about everything from “methylation” to the benefits of “manuka honey” and the listing of “good fats” (avocado, coconut and “ghee”).  Our bodies are much more than “containers to put stuff inside of” …. it contains our LIFE FORCE!!  Many folks who grew up in European countries where “GMO’s” are illegal and no preservatives are allowed in prepared foods know the benefits of a “healthy gut”.  Have you ever heard of a “leaky gut” and the causes of it?  It might be something that you want to look into … if interested.  I am a novice in this area of “healthy eating”, but I have always wanted to know how I can live better and challenge any discomforts that I experience.  I am not a big fan of “doctors” nor of “Big Pharma” nor these corporate monstrosities that control what is available for us to eat.  Yet, this is still another area where I refuse to allow external forces to control what I put in my gut!!
I do know that I owe my body many apologies for what I have done to it in the past.  Sometimes, I wonder how I didn’t experience more consequences from the things I have put in my body … or not …   So, consider your options, enjoy what you eat, but don’t ignore your body and your gut … which is everything in between the two “openings in our bodies”, to use one of Filiz’s expressions that she used in last night’s lecture!  Be well!

John I. Cook, Director

Stop Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse!

physicalsexual violence


It’s Monday ….

What a way to spend the weekend!  The squalls and outer bands of Hurricane Erica drenched SoFlo over the entire weekend!!  They say we can anticipate some downpours today, Monday …
Sunday, I hunkered down at home and watched a series of “Law & Order: SVU”.  As most of you know, one of Educational Excellence’s goals is to awaken a sense of responsibility in many of us to do whatever we can to “stop the violence”.  Most people don’t take a look at themselves to see how we can avoid “hurtful” thinking that, when it gets out of control, can lead to expressions of physical and sexual violence.  “Law & Order” had several shows on Sunday “back to back” exposing situations where this type of thinking prevailed and led to the need for the “Special Victims Unit” to get involved.  Some of the “fictitious” events brought tears to my eyes.
One episode showed a couple of teen-aged girls on a group trip with their school to what appeared to be a college campus.  One of the girls was bored and wanted to do something different from what the group’s leader had planned to do.  There were two sisters and one was approached by a young woman that seemed to be surveilling the group of teen girls and invited one of them to a party at a “frat house”.  The two decided to go, one got “drugged” by a “stalker” and led off into a short term of “live streaming teen pornography”.  The SVU got the missing persons report from the girl’s parents and closed in on a ring led by an extremely sick young man!  He was BUSTED using advanced technology and a professional “cyber space stalker” who had gotten locked up for some of his crimes!  This cyber stalker was able to help the “SVU” to break the codes and locate the address of the live streaming.
The most intriguing episode I saw even had the Miami HEAT’s center, Chris Bosh, supporting the professional sport’s community’s embracing of “stop domestic violence and sexual abuse”.  This time, there was a high school boy’s basketball coach who seemed to leave a “trail of tears”, so to speak, of young “black” men, if you will, who were from the inner city.  Several of the “boys” had risen to local fame as basketball players while one white kid in particular who couldn’t handle the abuse he experienced from this coach had gotten hooked on drugs and fell out of the local sports scene.  His untimely death brought on an interest from the Special Victim’s Unit, including former rapper “Iced T” who plays the part of an SVU detective on Law and Order!  So, a star player was contacted who had apparently experienced sexual abuse as a young boy when their “coach” accompanied the boys on a ‘travel team trip’ who had a habit of taking advantage of the boys during bed checks.  One of the biggest local stars decided to expose the sexual abuse he experienced as a young boy under this same coach.  Chris Bosh was there while this “fictitious” character finally took off his sunglasses and made a surprising announcement to the press that his coach had violated him, too, during those bed-checks on road trips.  It actually brought tears to my eyes considering how familiar I was from having coached boys’ basketball at White Plains High School for five years.  Yes, even young men …. better said … boys have been found to be victims of sexual abuse in the athletic arena.
In closing, keep your eyes open, folks.  Don’t allow your daughters and sons to suffer at the hands of a boyfriend or girlfriend, coach even, because we must speak out and stop domestic abuse and sexual violence.  Do your part, when presented with the opportunity, to “Stop the Violence”!

John I. Cook, Director

Another Beautiful Full Moon Weekend!

Think positive


Happy Friday, All!

I’ve been trying to tell you … T.G.I.F.!!  It’s Friday again … and a beautiful full moon weekend.  Yes, I  know there is a hurricane … Erica … out there beating the foliage off of the tiny islands of the Caribbean like Dominica!  Mother Nature comes in many different shapes and sizes!!  Hurricanes are certainly “Her” way of surprising us with Her power!!  Just yesterday, the POTUS was in New Orleans as they take a look back a few years … I lost count.  Since I’ve lived in South Florida, I’ve witnessed Katrina and Wilma … the latter created the backdrop for the passing of my mother … not Andrew … but I know how a hurricane can suddenly hit and flatten terrain.  I remember a few in White Plains growing up maybe in elementary school and junior high ….
Last night, I attended a talk by a woman who is the owner of Thrive Wellness in Ft. Lauderdale.  Filiz spoke about how our bodies turn the food we eat, even the air we breathe and absorb through our skin, into energy.  It is a process that goes on for our entire life times!!  The process she described is extremely complex and is transported through our bodies via a fine network of connections driven in essence by our individual “DNA”.  Sometimes, problems erupt in that process that causes us to suffer from a variety of diseases.  As I mature and the body ages, I look for ways to ease the discomfort, and, as one speaker last night mentioned, slow down – maybe even reverse, the aging process!  It was quite intriguing.  Filiz mentioned that she and members of her family, as she has become well versed in Chinese medicine, no longer take antibiotics!  While more serious diseases require some of the man-made antibiotics, Filiz stated that there are many many natural ones found in foods, fruits and vegetables.
Things are going as they should, I suppose, the “good” mixed with the “bad”, and it is imperative that I maintain a positive attitude.  Anxiety, according to Filiz, is what she treats most of her patients for!  No matter what people have, it often comes with a condition of anxiety . . . peace be still.  How do we ease that anxiety?  By being joyful, eating proper foods, exercises and a positive attitude.  I’ve mentioned this more than once in these writings, that while it may be difficult to keep such an attitude with an onslaught of negatives in our lives, it will add to our overall health, if we keep that positivity alive and well in our thought patterns!
While there may be some storms brewing off the coast, may we look forward to another beautiful full moon weekend.

John I. Cook, Director

There’re “Two” Sides to Every Story … Usually!


Hump Day, Yeaaaahhhhh!

What does it mean to “understand” someone?  Well, if you think that is hard, what does it mean to “understand” oneSELF?  Why do we do the things we do?  Why are we doing certain “things” with or to our lives??  Do you think other “people” can see what you are doing?  Are they “seeing clearly”?  How about YOU?
You got two people … you got two sides … interpretations …. perceptions … just because most people are different from each other.  Now, one thing I do, which makes me gravitate toward others “like” me in terms of their core values, is to be simplistic in my perceptions of things or situations … even people.  Why?  I don’t like to judge “others” as they usually have experienced something …. in their past, present or future … that I am not aware of.  I admire how “civilized” people are sometimes … and, I try to do my “part” to build on the momentum of “good deeds being done” in a day!  Try it sometimes … let your guard down if it feels safe, use your intuition … and either do something “good” for and/or receive something “good” from someone!  It feels absolutely wonderful to diffuse a situation and circumstances that could get ugly and negative and bring out the worst in the human spirit!
Just last week, there was a story in the news about a “man” who had been arrested for stabbing another “man” on the side of I-95 near Deerfield Beach, FL.  The man who did the stabbing, it turns out, was an African/Jamaican American (dred locks and all) man.  The man who was stabbed was a well built Caucasian man.  At first, the story favored the well built Caucasian man who seemed to have been attacked with his girlfriend standing by in dismay.  Then, after being arrested, the Jamaican guy hired an attorney and told the story … as HE experienced it!  He said that the Caucasian guy was driving all crazy and cutting him off on the Interstate and yelling racial slurs out of his window followed by, ” ….. learn how to drive!”  According to the Jamaican man, the Caucasian man continued cutting him off until he was forced off the road!  So, the Caucasian guy got out of his car, according to the Jamaican guy, started walking crazed toward him and upon reaching him began an assault that resembled “MMA” attack fighting style!  The Jamaican man said that he was kicked and punched, even had his head placed between the legs of the much stronger Caucasian man and put in a head-lock choke hold!!  Soon, according to the Jamaican man, the guy’s girlfriend got out of the car and the two of them kicked and punched him until he was out of breath.  He decided to take a screw driver out of his pocket where he had been apparently saving it for this moment!  He began to stab at the side of the stronger Caucasian who with his girlfriend had waged a verbal and hostile physical attack on him.  The bigger man finally let go and the Jamaican man ran away to his car, he said, since he was out numbered and out of breath, and drove to safety.  Interesting perception from the “other side”, isn’t it?!
I mean, I know everyone is out here to “make themselves look good”, oftentimes, try to make themselves feel better than someone else.  Then, there are still “others” with the “God-complex” … they are never wrong and “you” have to do exactly as they say!!!!!   Now, if you’ve “been around” a little, either through work or traveling, you know that many folks have “game” … something they want you to play with them!!  It might even make them feel better about … THEMSELVES!!  Imagine that as a motive for manipulating or deceiving, belittling or trying to “push other’s buttons”, so to speak?!?  And if and when “you” blow up, they say: “Look at her!” or “He’s crazy!”  I’ve been there many many times!  And when I watch people “spin their stories”, I am amazed at how corrupt someone will motivate themselves to behave and allow their spirit to behave!  I don’t enjoy that feeling of “false superiority”; so, I never play those kinds of “games”.  I enjoy just being real, remembering what I said (since it is always the same) and doing the best that I can do.
Remember, there are always two sides to ANY story … no matter who’s telling the story!  As I used to tell the students in my “Personal Development” classes I taught at City College, FTL: “It’s the way I see it; PLUS the way you see it … and then there is the way it really is!”
Be well … in peace,

John I. Cook, Director

Put It In Your Heart!!

work heart

It’s Monday, All!
I am at it again!  Well, how would you like to go “Back to School” … in St. Louis, Missouri where a teen boy … unarmed … was shot in the back by a police officer who claimed he was being advanced towards and HAD to shoot … forensic science overturned this unnecessary lie ….  The officer was said to be enforcing a warrant and the kid ran …  What was in the officer’s heart at this moment?!?
A formidable topic at the onset of a new school year is “Who Am I?”  Where and do I have to “fit in”?  Can I be “myself”?  What are my goals for this year?  What is my plan or blueprint to make this happen?!  Lots of questions … enter … “The Bully”!!!  NOW what do “I”/”we” do?  A bully is  no longer just a big kid in the school that makes everyone shudder.  A bully can be a teacher … it can be a school hall monitor or custodian … shucks … they come in ALL shapes and sizes!  BOLO … “Be on the look out” is all I can say.  You  many need to put on the “armour” of your Creator to keep the “attacks” at a distance and their impact at a minimum.  Put it in YOUR heart that YOU are worth it … you deserve to be happy and think well of yourself.  Your Creator would ONLY want you to enjoy the gift of YOUR life.  Don’t let anybody take it away … Put it in your heart!
Now, at this point in the article, perhaps, if I have your attention, keep in  mind that you can let me know if you want to be removed from this list of e-mail recipients.  Most folks write me back to say keep them on the list.  I thank you; yet want to be sensitive to those with “thin skin” that may find my comments in these writings offensive; or those who simply don’t want to receive them!  I am one who is well versed in “putting it in my heart”, which is where these writings come from.  It’s a place that I safe guard and nourish as best I can.  So, I say this to the students on the “Back to School” portion of their journeys.  I remember them well … both as a student … and a teacher.  Those were some seriously formative years.  I thank my Creator and my parents for putting that discipline, self-analysis “stuff” in my head … They provided the environment that made me aware of things that I was privileged to experience … like a boarding school and an Ivy League University.  So, now … I don’t think I am better than anyone … everyone has their place along this “journey” of my life.  But …. definitely don’t try that “I am better than you!” trip on me either!!  I say the same to the kids going back to school because it’s important for ones self-esteem development.  No hostile energies allowed!!
So, keep in mind, on this first day of school … Put it in your heart …. whoever you are … wherever you are in life … and nurture it!
John I. Cook, Director

What Rules “YOUR” World?!?



It’s Friday … What do you have to say for yourself!???  Try a simple: “T.G.I.F.!”

Yes, yes … I am asking a very serious question that most people don’t even want to hear … let alone answer honestly!!  We all have been socialized into the “Western culture”, if you will.  Our country is based on principals of “natural law”, democracy …. “liberty and justice for all!”  So … what happened?  I know, I know … I am about to open a can of worms.  But don’t worry, I’ve thought it through and am open for commentaries on what I think … Or, you could just state what YOU think!!  It is a pattern of behaviour that folks have to get one to “divert the eye” a bit so as NOT to see … the TRUTH!

I wanted to study psychology at Princeton … but ended up in social psychology courses and even more sociology courses.  I thought that psychology might answer why people “do what they do” …. like kill/assassinate the President of the United States … as “they” did John F. Kennedy.  I know he had affairs … and so did Thomas Jefferson.  Jefferson had children with his “slave” whom he treated very well as she was specifically relegated to serving guests in “The Big House”.  Yet, we have him on a $50 bill and he was indeed the POTUS during some very tough political times in America.  Hopefully, we can remember that this country was started as a “joint stock company” designed to maximize investments.  And we’ve been on the same course for almost 500 years!!!  Education WAS designed to make it possible for citizens to achieve the “American dream” … little house with a white picket fence … until that image got “old”.  Soon our values “warped” allowing for legal competition to maximize ones income … sometimes by twisting or manipulating the law.  Ask Donald Trump who brags how rich he is probably hourly.  He doesn’t even care that he talks about people who “served this country” defending those freedoms that we started out embracing.  Now, all of that has been replaced with a man who manipulated the system, bought and sold “friends” and is now running for president with no political experience!!!

Now, people want to get as much money, property and material possessions as they can during their lifetime … and, our society has convinced many of us that this is the goal of YOUR life … MY life, too!  Studying Sociology answered some of my questions like, “Why would someone kill the President?”  Politics and greed, control and egotistical desires … playing “God”, even!!  Have you ever noticed that people in nicer cars than yours normally do some treacherous driving … because they have a Benz or BMW?!?  We have lost our “balance of values” and things have moved to the extreme so that one could kill their parents, rob a neighbor or a bank …. kidnap someone for “money”.  People lie and cheat and sacrifice their very own families … for the love of money … and expect not to get punished for their deception of others for … money!!  Many of “us” think that is okay, too!!!  Until they get caught … it seems okay … they are heralded for their acquisition of money and property at the expense of “others”… and when they get caught, they are suddenly “sorry” ….  The analysis of inner cities where money is tight can find a variety of behaviours in the populations attempts to acquire “money” or realize some form of power … even if it means killing an innocent neighbor with a gun … a powerful act “like a God”!

For me, it seems that this pattern of behaviour has taken priority over ALL other social values … this man made thing that has come to rule our world!  What am I suggesting?  We may need to analyze the values of Western civilizations and  note where we can establish a balance, change the priorities, maybe even re-vamp ALL of our systems … from educational values to social values and interject some most important values that seem to be missing … like truth and honesty, community and cooperation.  Have a great weekend, folks!


John I. Cook, Director

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