The Way Things Look For Me . . .

It’s Friday again, and I am brimming over with gratitude these days. “T.G.I.F.!”  It’s more than half a year that I have been living here in Puerto Viejo and I am starting to settle in … in terms of how I feel.  I have had those moments when I ask myself … “Did you come here for that or this?”  It’s my reality check question so I don’t get off course with what I am “taking on”.  It’s an interesting place socially because the “Pura Vida” mantra or expression almost gives everyone the “right” to “be different” and have their own personality.  That I can embrace.  Yet, some folks take advantage of that “premise” and come up with some tall tales!!  One has to be discretionary in regards to what one “hears” and believes.
As you might suspect, there aren’t too many “brothers” out here from a project in a suburb of New York who graduated from an Ivy League University and has quite the diverse background as I have.  In fact, “there’s only one!”  It is not easy for some folks here to “wrap their head around” what I am doing here.  If “they” think about it long enough, they will realize that they do NOT have to be able to understand why I am here and who I am … just let me be!  The atmosphere socially here is interesting due to the blending of Jamaican descent culture, local “natives” from the tribes in the hills of Puerto Viejo … plus the “Ticos” who are blends or mestizos (mixtures) of Spanish “settlers” and the local tribes who are considered indigenous here in Central America.  You can hear Spanish spoken in the streets and stores, one can hear some heavy “patua” accented Jamaican English … as well as some English … not to mention the many European people from places like Italy who have settled here after the first Chinese settlement of families.  There are some indigenous who speak their “original” languages of the Bri Bri or Turuak.  I am finding it quite a “sociological laboratory”; yet I must remain as “aloof” as possible to maintain my own goals and my focus.
I am figuring out a balance of exercise activities from yoga to getting a massage at least once a month to continuing to meditate and apply the “teachings” of Dr. Joe Dispenza in his book “Becoming Supernatural”.  As I stated previously, it is a process … I can feel things happening inside and I have to determine if it is “healing” discomfort or “hurting” pain.  It’s a fine line.  I walk a lot, I meditate while I walk and sometimes I sit after a nice dose of CBD/thc and meditate at the side of the beach!  The sounds of the waves washing up on the shore is certainly therapeutic for me.  I am still waiting for the FBI Search to come from Clarksburg, VA but I am planning a trip to Migracion (Immigration Office) in Limon early next month to update them on a message on the FBI Identity Search website stating that the search can take anywhere from 15 to 16 weeks … aka 4 months … to be sent out.  I am not sure what deadline I have with the application but I want to go and present everything I have and inform them of my time frame for the FBI Search.
Costa Rica is on strike!  It has been on strike for about two months as workers in the private sector protest the “luxury” retirement packages and pay as well as other benefits for government workers!  A few weeks ago in Limon, the main port city of Talamanca, there were outrageous protests and clashes in the streets up until late into the night.  Fires were set, cars were vandalized as the police attempted to quiet the strikers who were intent upon upsetting the “flow” of necessary goods and services like gasoline so the government workers could feel some “economic pain”.  At one point, I heard … some folks broke a “gas line” in Limon that upset the supply of fuel to a stopping point.  Gas stations were closed and there was little traffic flowing between Puerto Viejo and San Jose, not to mention the other smaller coastal “towns”.  As of now, there is a tax reform in place to be voted upon though it seems fairly “corrupt” and still gives government employees waaaay more benefits than those in the “service/tourist” industries and private sector who, by the way, cannot afford to strike!  The corruption appears to be hard to stop here since it has been going on for such a long time … unchecked!  A special thanks to a new friend, Carmen Alfaro, an English and Spanish teacher, whose family is Costa Rican (Tico) and has had diplomatic status and influence in this area of Costa Rica for a few generations now, for her explanation of what is occurring here today.  As I have a little comfort regarding necessities, I am staying put!
I hope things are looking okay for you … things look okay for me … as I continue to do “the inside work” with meditation, yoga and living in harmony with nature and fellow human beings … in the present moment!  Have a great weekend … a special hug to the folks in Florida …
Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

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“Nobody Has To Do Anything For You . . .”

Happy Friday, All!
And a “T.G.I.F.” to your Creator, too!
For me, when I learn something, sometimes it takes a few lessons.  I need to learn it “all the way”.  I just got sight of a “lesson” that I needed to learn.  It’s called, “don’t overdo it when you get [rejected]!”  I have never done well with rejection of any type, be it a sales call for a marketing company or if someone I am interested in is NOT interested in me … perhaps, at the moment … or EVER!  Ha!  But I think I got it this time at the ripe old age of “sixty-something”!
So, what happened was … I mentioned to my daughter that I wanted to come for a quick visit to see she and my grandson (only ONE!), Caleb Isaac, for his third birthday …  I told her that I could fly into White Plains/Westchester/Armonk Airport in New York and asked her to meet me and she said it is too far away from her in Connecticut to drive …  So, me, I “over does it” a bit and I tell her that I will try to rent a car.  I was already looking in to lodging and found one maybe 10 miles away from White Plains in Nyack, NY right next to Westchester County that would run a bit over $250 for three days.  So, after checking everything out and trying to put together a budget that would allow me to take the trip … without running out of money in New York … I realize that it is “too tight”!  My stress level went up and I “danced with the drama” for a few days, perhaps a week.  I was checking prices on my cellphone and checking them on my laptop.  I was walking around thinking of how I could do this trip … so my daughter would know how much I care about she and Caleb!!  Is “care” always highlighted with “money”?  Is stress often affiliated with how much money one does NOT have?  So, Ayanna Lynne and Caleb, I love you guys!  But … I can’t afford the trip right now … without stressing!  I already know that stress is not good for my nervous system nor my health in general.  I also know that THIS is NOT a reason I came to live in Costa Rica … Puerto Viejo to be exact!  I came to relax and heal, “chill” and enjoy each day in a great climate with yoga and massages when possible.  I am just able to pay for everything (just paid my monthly rent) and a few bills, like the darn ticket I got in Ft. Lauderdale for “walking in the street on the 4th of July” and I had to pay $80.00 to the judge who allowed my attorneys to represent me in court, no points no fine no driving school!!!  [How brilliant of that judge!]
I sent my elementary school mate  a message asking if he could host me and he said “he’d get back to me”.  Clue:  Postpone the trip until you are more comfortable …  “Brilliant of me, too!”  I think back to my dad, “Big Ike”, and how he came to New York’s Harlem with my “momma” and once settled, went back to North Florida and picked up HIS mother and moved her to a room in a house just across the street from the Projects in White Plains!  Can you say:  “He loved his Momma, too!”?!?  That’s the man who taught me one of his hardest life lessons – “no one has to do anything for you, anyway!”  So, I don’t fault anyone, of course, I just wanted to see my family!  Yet, it is Caleb Isaac’s third birthday and I am sure he will have a few more!  I also can wait a few more months, maybe ’til Spring, and get up to the cemetery to visit the family burial plots and Mom, Dad and big sis Barbara’s graves.  I am planning to postpone the trip.  Lesson learned:  “Don’t stress”!  [’cause nobody has to do anything for you anyway!]  BAM!
Have a great weekend, please … and don’t stress!
Peace,
John I. Cook, Director

What’s In “A New York Minute”?

 

It’s Friday … and I am ready to enjoy still another day on this Earth!  T.G.I.F., even!
Well, as usual, something came up with the new “Outlook”.  Not only does it seem to take forever to upload stuff (probably due to my 10+ year old laptop, too!), I can not figure out how to copy and paste the names of the recipients of the EE Family e-mail from the old “sent” ones to a “new message”!  So, I am back to doing it “one person at a time”!  Can you say, “HELP ME!”  Still, one of the things I have learned to do as a “protean man” is adjust and adapt … shucks, blend in for a minute if it will save my hide!!
One of the benefits of meditation for me is it teaches me to slow down with myself … be more patient … breathe slowly.  This is what distinguishes a creature that is angry and loses control until something devastating happens from a more divine-like (God-like) creature able to slow down the instinctual actions like “fight or flight” and be  more balanced in their approach to a situation.  I always liked practising yoga because it forces me to look INSIDE of ME!  Not many people want to see that “mess” inside, all confused and caught up with past emotions and unable to see the “forest for the trees”!  When we react from our basic instinctual behaviors, we are more like an animal than we are like our Creator!  I know, I know … who do I think “I” am talking about “other people” … cool!  But I am not talking about anyone other than “yours truly” – ME!  Now if you happen to be anything like me, perhaps, “if the shoe fits, wear it!”  The main reason that we … er uh … I slow down more nowadays thanks to meditation, is it enhances my ability to think clearly!  When I rush, I usually make a mistake.  Yet, we all know that life in “our world” as we knew it requires one to move fast … or get run over!  Imagine blending those two skills – slowing down and moving out of the way of oncoming “traffic” so to speak!
Initially, the trip I was planning to take to New York next month was to see my grandson on his 3rd birthday, October 19th.  But after slowing down a bit, checking flights and “Booking.com” locations … even a rental car, I am planning to include a visit to the family’s burial plot at the Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, NY just outside of White Plains!  Both Mom and Dad are buried there as well as my oldest sister, Barbara Ann.  They purchased four plots “back in the day” when they first moved to White Plains and three of the four plots are occupied!  There is a fourth plot to which my sister Edna holds the “deed”.  I am thinking that I’d like to be cremated or … pushed on a row boat out to sea when I am too weak to care for myself …  Peace be still.  It seems like the appropriate thing to do, right?!?  Visit your (my) parents’ gravesite while I am there maybe?!  Absolutely!  So, “Howie” and “Wid” (code names for two of my classmates from elementary school in White Plains!), see how your schedules look.  I already identified a “Booking.com” location in Nyack, NY just 5 minutes from Tarrytown and Valhalla as well as checked on flights.  Next week, I hope to book them all, including a rental car.
Can you say, “In … and out … in a New York Minute!?”  Well, I am planning it to be a weekend.  In the meantime, enjoy your weekends and be sure to “slow down” and think calmly, then make a decent decision in YOUR LIFE!
Peace,
John I. Cook, Director

“RETURN TO SENDER”

Happy Friday, All!
You “guys” know my drill of gratitude with the T.G.I.F. – thing, right!!?!  So, join in if you like!
Just yesterday, I was looking at social media photos in my phone and came across a photograph of my old 1999 Jet Black Honda Night Hawk “Cruiser” … 750cc’s to be exact!  Hey … I haven’t had girlfriends … definitely not a wife for 7 years.  But the faithful Night Hawk motorcycle took me through some of my life’s most serious episodes, cruising up and down I-95 from Ft. Lauderdale to Daytona Beach or Orlando to work for ACORN …  Of course, “she” also introduced me to this phase of my life where I am seeking to heal and at least have a decent “quality of life” in my retirement.  The accident, methinks, caused by an over-inflated “ego” challenging asphalt, concrete, steel and metal has served to slow me down during this phase of my journey.  Maybe now … I can smell the flowers along the way!
I realized something yesterday as I am seeking to organize the next few months of my retirement including healthy activities, cooking and yoga, meditation and moderation in ALL things that I do.  I don’t have any interest in unnecessary drama.  I don’t want to be “type cast” in someone else’s “play” on life.  I have my own to deal with … my OWN goals and dreams and aspirations of spreading peace and humility around the planet in my own way … the main vehicle to do so being “unconditional love”.  I don’t know about you but I feel so much better about life and others when I just choose the softer, less conflicting manners of living in an extremely competitive and materialistic world!  I remember when I was younger … before I “bought in to” the “dream” … there were moments when I wanted to “stop the world and get off”!  One time was when I was in fourth grade and President John F. Kennedy was assassinated as the “world” watched . . .  Another time was when my brother “Hank” killed himself … SHIT!!  Yeah, I said it … er uh … wrote it!!  But, I am hanging tough right about now!!
Sometimes in my life, most recently … at least I am more aware of it now, when someone “misunderstood” me and tried to “weave me” into their “play” or “drama” as someone that THEY “thought” I was … I just wanted to hit a button or put a label on that activity saying, “RETURN TO SENDER”!  There are such moments when I don’t even want to dignify such behavior, comments or thoughts with a “response”!  That would be far too much for “me” …  Yet, as I see myself more and more as a motivator of “positivity” and love when I can … I embrace that challenge too and seek a softer way.  Sometimes, I feel better just being “energy” … not necessarily a “teacher” or a person named “John” … just loving positive energy …  Peace be still!  Now, I know I just “took some of y’all out there”, perhaps, into the quantum zone, but that’s because I woke up early this morning and did a 45 minute meditation.  Whatever I do nowadays, I try to make sure that it helps improve the quality of my life … and those around me.  Otherwise, I may be tempted to hit: “RETURN TO SENDER”!
Have a great weekend!
Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

We’re (It’s) ALL Connected!

Happy Friday, Y’all!

We made it through another week . . . TOGETHER!  So, T.G.I.F., then!

When was it, if it ever was, that “you” realized that “it’s” all connected … us included?  That’s right, from the gecko running on my wall to the spiders – young and old – lurking in the corners of my studio bathroom … to YOU and me!?  We’re ALL connected … yep!  Now, that thought might bother you a bit … that you are connected to someone like ME!  But get used to it …. just like “… ashes to ashes … dust to dust”  … we are all physically going to the same place at the end of this part of the “journey”.  The spiritual part is one we as a species often neglect.

It has taken some getting used to but I now know that there is a bird’s nest in the corner of the roof just across from my bed!  (Someone had told me it was probably bats, but after careful research, it’s just baby birds!)  I have gotten used to the baby bird chirps at like 3 or 4am when I first get up to use the restroom, then “segway” into meditating!  It takes me a few minutes to settle down … so … I convince myself that it is a good time to meditate.  No one is up … I am single … the silence is purrrfect …. so I do it.  It has become almost routine though I don’t force myself to meditate.  Yet, if I try a few times and my mind still wanders to some “issue”, I abandon the attempts to meditate until later in the day.

One new friend here with whom I shared my meditation exercises and author, Dr. Joe Dispenza and his book “Becoming Supernatural” asked me:  “Is it working?”  I am honest nowadays, brutally honest with myself and “professionally” honest with others.  So, the answer was, “It’s a process.” … which indeed it is! I still take one diclofenac 100 mgs. a day with pain reliever (sometimes vitamins B and D) and three or four doses of CBD/thc per day.  I also am still taking a tablet or two of tumeric a day as well as four tablets of “Devil’s Claw”, grown in parts of Africa to reduce inflammation and pain.  Coupled with yoga a few times a week, my daily routine of walking across town and my constant “squirming and worming” while relaxing to alleviate any discomfort in my hips that I can and assist in the healing, I feel some improvements!  The massage I had last Sunday was tremendous.  The masseuse is my yoga teacher, Molly.  I am able to stand a bit taller, walk a bit longer some days … and there are intervals when I feel little or NO pain in my hips!  I plan to have a massage once a month. Unfortunately, I stay away from swimming for now because it causes extreme irritation in my hips for no less than TWO WHOLE DAYS!  While I love the ocean and swimming, I must be disciplined for now.

I am learning that everything in our bodies is/are connected.  I am learning to embrace that we … geckos and mosquitoes, vultures and humming birds, women and men of all races ages and sizes … flowers even … are ALL connected.  How did we EACH get here?!?  Well, some two people “made love” and that’s how we reproduce.  Perhaps, that’s how we sustain ourselves here on Earth … by sharing love with each other!

Enjoy your weekends!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

Good Things Take Time . . .

Happy Friday, All!

And a super special T.G.I.F. for each and every one of US … near and far!!

I must say that staying away from major tv headlines and internet posts has been extremely therapeutic for me here in Costa Rica!  I still don’t have nor want a television set … I am cool!  Most of the readers of these messages and the EE Blog know that my stuff is fairly simple and usually spiritual.  I talk about me and things that happen … and how I was able to deal with “things” … any “thing” … though I prefer “Good Things”.  I don’t read news stories that I had already anticipated like “So and so Caught in a Bribe to a Prostitute” or “So and so Says He Believes A KGB Operative Over US Intelligence” … enough already.  And “it” called Hillary “crooked”?!?  It’s the first thing you learn in child psychology: “When a kid starts blaming and name calling, THAT kid is hiding something!”  Can you say: “The proof is in the “Putin””!?!

So, my stress levels are down … and no I didn’t measure them.  I just know that waking up to birds chirping in the morning and the lulling sounds of howling monkeys and the periodic sounds of the rush and flow of the ocean waves licking the shore just blocks from the beach make everything go away!!  I started yoga classes again this past Monday and took a second one on Wednesday.  The classes are held right here where I live in Jacaranda Hotel and Jungle Garden.  It’s a nice place with my studio up on the third floor.  Now, I must admit that all the waist and hip bending that we did in yoga Wednesday took a toll on me.  I will not go today and will try to get a massage in before returning to class next Monday.  You see, I paid for 5 classes and took two so far, so there is some built in motivation to return.

Once again I am re-structuring my days and weeks to facilitate getting my meditation on each day, continue work on the manuscript, continue in an exercise routine each week with two or three active days and patiently love myself (and others!) as much as I can!  I know, I know … it’s a TALL order … but someone has got to do it.  Thanks for joining me again, dear readers!  My personal life continues to unfold … I still don’t have a “girlfriend”, so to speak, but there are a lot of lovely women of all ages, sizes and races around here to keep my blood flowing!!  I have made quite a few friends and am not becoming impatient for a “significant other” in my life – I don’t want to ruin a good thing like the peace and loving attitude that I have been able to achieve living here in Puerto Viejo.  It is truly a Caribbean town that I call  “city-country-city”!!  There’s a bit of everything here … scaled waaaay down, though.

Right now, I am looking at a trip to New York in October … again … just me, myself and I!  We’ll see how it goes as I have tentative plans to see my grandson, Caleb Isaac, on his third birthday as well as his mother, my daughter, Ayanna Lynne.  Keep your fingers crossed for me, wish me well … and of course … “May the LOVE of the Universe be with EACH of you!”

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

Quantum Field … Meditation … Peace

Happy Friday, All!

This is one of those Fridays when I can scream at the top of  my “quiet spiritual lungs” T.G.I.F.!  I know, you’re probably thinking, “This John guy is a new kind of crazy!”  Yep, and you would be right!  I enjoy a new experience nowadays as long as it doesn’t hurt me or drive me crazy!  And I would REALLY enjoy it if I can grow, learn or heal from it!  Y’all knew that was coming, right?!  After all, I have been talking and writing about healing and doing the meditation thing … transcendental meditation, to be exact!  The funny thing is that I have seen and heard most of this stuff before … I just wasn’t ready to pay attention!  Right now, while composing this … I am listening to “Enya” … and I haven’t listened to her in YEARS.  Some things are changing in me … for the better, good stuff, positive stuff!  These are the reasons that I came to Costa Rica!  NOT to fit in, but to be ME!  Those who really know me know that I am not such a bad guy.

Lately, as I delve deeper into healing meditation and increasing my intake of healthier plant based foods, I remember my years at St. Paul’s and people who first mentioned “transcendental meditation” to me.  I think back to some of the popular music during my years at Princeton, during and after St. Paul’s and I find some awesome music as “Santana”, Earl Klugh, “Mandrill” … shucks, even George Clinton and “Parliament/Funkadelic” and one of them wearing a diaper and another coming down in the “Mother Ship” and preaching “universal love”!  They were ALL trying to raise our consciousnesses then.  So many of “us”, me included, have been trained to literally “live inside this box” and get dictated to what “success” is and how to attain “happiness” … and so many of us BELIEVE it … even though to do these things requires us to sacrifice to the point where we hurt, damage and injure OURSELVES and our LOVED ONES …  Something is wrong with that picture for sure!  We don’t learn that we have the freedom to decide soon enough … at least we are taught to “live inside the box” from day one!  You know, it’s okay, some of us would probably KILL ourselves if we didn’t have “society’s structure”, folkways and mores and a system of rewards and punishments built into our institutions.  Yet, some of us … me included … may be curious enough to seek options … and stick with them!  Enter transcendental meditation.  For me, it sounds better than an “over abundance of medication” … killing us softly.  But, I could’ve searched for options or even done “TM” with “JT” at SPS!  At that time, I had other interests that I don’t regret but I am welcoming any options to healing and living a more spiritual life aligned with who “WE” really are … “divine spirits”.

On this note, I shall end the Friday message.  Once, my good friend Coach Blake from my years at SPS who is also a recipient of these e-mails from EE mentioned that my last e-mail was indeed long!  Thanks for reading y’all … ALL y’all.  But let me know if you would like to be removed from receiving these and I will be much obliged to do so.

Enjoy your weekends!

Peace,

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