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”!
Peace,

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.
Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

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

maturity

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!
Peace,
John I. Cook, Director

What Rules “YOUR” World?!?

morals

 

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!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

Nurture Your Friendships

nurture friendships

 

Happy Hump Day, everyone!

My eyes opened, my brain started up on the things I have to do to get ready for my day.  All body parts still working fairly well … going to yoga class tonight to keep life’s “flow” going … that’s how I see it.  If it doesn’t work for you, please don’t do it.  But do … please do this … nurture your friendships.  Friendships .. true ones … are living entities like anything else on this planet … we just can’t “see” it as we have become accustomed to see things through our over developed sense of touch and smell, tasting and holding in our hands or arms …. One can not do that so easily with “friendship” because it is an intangible thing.  What am I  talking about?  Well, you asked … maybe you didn’t … but I’m going to tell you anyway!
Friendship is that thing you gravitate towards when “one” has bumped against a very hard, seemingly immovable situation … that person, that “group” or gathering of yogis or jazz aficionados … or “fisherman” or golfers, maybe lovers of ballet!!  Go be a part of it is the only logical answer I see.  You folks are like “that” for me, and it’s a thing I believe in … reaching out with whatever you got that’s “good”!  No, we won’t play with the definition of good for a “nano” second!  That’s just starts a “game” that one shouldn’t play with “ones” life … a gift from your “creator” ( and don’t tell me you did this sh@t yourself!) that is a miracle … and we each have got to understand ourselves and this journey … and not just bumble along!  Just sayin’ …
This writing is ultimately a tribute to “good friends” … The DeRousea Family.  Many of their friends and extended family share the loss … but as you can imagine if you understand humans …. real good ones … the core of their family feel the loss of Mrs. Dora the most … Yvonne, Paul, Jo Anne and Gordon and their mates or husbands or wives and their children and their children’s significant others.  Keep in mind that friendships are much like anything else you love … you have to nurture it.  Sometimes, humans value “things” like cars or houses more than they value friendships.  Others value their pets oftentimes more than other “humans”.  Of course, the choice is each of ours individually.
Peace be with you,

John I. Cook, Director

“Compassion Brings Inner Strength” – The Dalai Lama

dalai lama's compassion

 

Monday Monday …  Many “back to school” programs this past weekend for public school students in the Southern States, y’all!

How are you feeling about that?  I hope you’re okay … because it’s going to happen anyway!  Have you ever experienced that feeling of helplessness when you were “tagging along” and something really awful was about to happen but you had no input into deterring the situation?!?  Then, CRASH!!!  Perhaps it was a car accident … or the death of a loved one …
One of the most passionate crusaders for “civil rights” in this country passed away on Saturday – Mr. Julian Bond.  I always wanted to say this because over the years, I have noticed a trend amongst fairer skinned African Americans who could “pass” for white; Julian was one who fought harder for “other” African Americans in this country.  When I listen to some of these candidates running for the highest office in this country, I hear some heartbreaking comments … Jeb Bush talking about “building trust” and constantly criticizing the POTUS for withdrawing troops wherever he could … and in the next breath, he talks about how much Ronald Reagan fought for “world peace”.  Trump talked about how politicians are “selling this country down the tubes”; what do you think HE would do with this country if he were “the Commander in Chief”?!?  Maybe … sell the whole darn country for a personal profit!!  Julian Bond would be a far better candidate for POTUS than anyone currently running.
After the World Peace Meditation held by the Brahma Kumaris Hollywood, I got home in time to catch a segment on “60 Minutes” focusing on the construction of an African American  Museum originally signed into an Act of Congress in like the 1920’s … but was never funded.  Well, back in 2003, Bush signed another bill providing for a budget of $200 million dollars, which has been matched by the museum’s developer at the Smithsonian, Lonnie Bunch, who raised another $200 million dollars. It is scheduled to include artifacts like a violin played by a slave boy who entertained the plantation owner’s guest with it.  As well, the Bible of Nat Turner, which was taken from him before his execution, is one artifact tied to his “infamous” rebellion where he planned to murder slave owners, has been recovered and is to be placed in the Museum.  Even one of the airplanes from the Tuskegee Airman … the last one that escorted bombers over Germany to bring a victory for the USA and the Allied Forces during World War II … is scheduled to be placed in the  museum as well.
Do you have compassion?  Do you believe in it?  What is it worth to you?  One of the greatest spiritual thinkers of our time, the Dalai Lama, states that compassion brings inner strength … believe it … or not!  Most people believe that slick, deceptive and quick thinking and wise talking is more important than inner strength, if “they” value that at ALL in the first place!  I can hear some people saying that “compassion is for punks”, perhaps, rather than it brings inner strength.  This is something one may have to think about for a while to understand the true nature of the concept.
Peace … and compassion!
John I. Cook, Director

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