The Dangers of Jealous, “Toxic” People

It’s Friday Again!
Yes, Sir!  I am feeling a grateful “T.G.I.F.” today, y’all!  Any takers on “feeling gratitude”?  You’ll worry less and care less about what jealous, toxic and potentially “harmful” people who want to negate “your” positive, caring and “classy” style of life think or say!  I always try to carry myself with “grace and style” no matter WHAT I am going through and experiencing.  “Toxic people” see that as a “fault” rather than a positive human characteristic.  “They” will try to make you “stumble” or even fall out of your positive approach to life.
For me, I try to first “educate” an individual(s) who clearly suffers from “my positiveness” and upbeat approach to life.  I mean, after all of the people who tried to help me and educate me, I feel that I “owe it to humanity” to share some kindness and positive energy with a person until I am “short circuited” by someone’s arrogant stupidity … much like the current president in “The States”!  I mean, I am NOT going to “suffer” and be denied my peace by anyone … ESPECIALLY if I have NOT provoked “you” or done anything to harm “you”.  This is where I “proudly” differ from the average person – I seek peace and will do what I can to spread it.  However, if I see that a person is “hell bent” on robbing me of MY JOY and freedom,  I simply IGNORE that person.  If “you” are that person and “you” are NOT seeking peace, “you” are NOT worth my efforts to maintain peace.  So, please, “just make like a ghost and disappear!”  A “person” like this, a racist, has no place in my life!  The current president is opening the doors for more racists to come out as he calls a woman running for office in New England “Pocahantas”!!!  “It” feels threatened and “it” does what every little “boy” having a temper tantrum does … start calling names … “racial slurs”, to be exact!  Dehumanizing activities have no place in my life today …  I seek to “educate”.  If you are toxic, please stay away while I do some positive things with my life!  Imagine … anyone can!!
The interesting thing about the “state of affairs” in the world today is that there are a lot of “shifts in power”, as we have been taught to call it.  Just last night as I watched a bit of the news, one participant mentioned that this is “how they play politics” … with OUR lives, pitting us against each other, making resources scarce and filling the cities in the States with firearms!  Yesterday was the first anniversary of the shooting and killing of 17 students at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School campus in Parkland, FL.  I had visited Ft. Lauderdale at that time to  secure some paperwork for my “residency” here and had the “privilege” of seeing the young people on the streets near the Social Security Office which was very near the High School.  They carried signs, they were of ALL races and sizes, they began a national movement to affect “gun control” in “the States”.  Now, “the suburbs” there are experiencing a similar fate as the “inner cities”.
In closing, don’t let the “toxic”, hate-filled people ruin your perspective on “life” … YOUR life.  Don’t let anybody “rob you of your joy and peace” … and humanity!  Distance yourself from them, surround yourself with “like-minded” people and continue to BE THE CHANGE!

John I. Cook, Director


“Still . . . I Rise!” Maya Angelou

Happy Friday, All!
So … uhhh … “Can I get a T.G.I.F.” out here today, y’all?!!
Yes, it’s still “Black History Month”, “Scrump” is still lying and the “racists” are still “falling out of the wood work” … like roaches!!  Shucks, even here in “Puerto”, as I enjoyed some banana bread French toast and bacon at a public restaurant, a familiar “stateside” racist came up, AFTER I ignored him and spoke to a lady he sat with, and said, “Hey boy!”  I turned slowly away from my French toast and said, “What did you call me?”  He attempted to rebound with an idiotic quasi-funny, mostly stupid “Okay … Man.”  I continued munching on my breakfast while this “roach” stood another moment until I pulled the extra chair out and said, “Sit down.”  He declined, claimed “he” was busy and scurried off … like a roach!
You see, it’s also not my first rodeo being “the new kid on the block”.  This also attracts “bullies”.  People think you don’t know “what you are doing” so they are full of suggestions, threats and warnings.  Well, I have visited places that the average person, not bragging – stating FACTS, will never see.  People always try to make  a town “their place” … that’s what they actually think, that the “place” is theirs … and I need their guidance to get me by.  Imagine, needing the guidance of a town liar or the town bully – NOT ME!  I pride myself on being a “people person”.  In other words, I am able to “get along” with all people.  I try not to waste my energy being friends with a “racist” or a person who says racist things or attempts to treat me as if I “am less than thou”!  Wtf!!!  “Who died and made “you” GOD!”, I often mutter to myself when I hear some of the “know it alls” talking.
Maya Angelou said it best in her poem expressing passionately how “African American” people … women included … shall I add ALL people … STILL RISE in the face of horrifying odds … like being a slave!  Since I have been living here, I have quietly made my way around to meet people.  I say hello to everyone who is interested in speaking.  In fact, on my way from my previous residence as I walked to the ocean each day, I would see these African American women talking together as they sat outside of a lovely one story home.  Soon after I realized that the previous land lord was “overcharging” me for the one room studio at the roof of one of her properties, I started to “ask around”.  That’s something that “we” learned to do in “The Projects” – “ask around”.  To do this, one has to be confident, polite, RESPECTFUL,  and as genuine as possible.  I now occupy a lovely well maintained, two-bedroom “casita” owned by one of the African American (Jamaican descent) women whom I unknowingly spoke to each time I passed by the group chatting.  In fact, last night, “Miss Ana” showed me how to use a one unit “washer/spin dryer” at the bottom of the steps leading up to the sprawling two level home I now occupy!  I thought I had it “made” at the “small studio”!!  Now, for a few hundred dollars more, I have a guest room, a storage space in the attic, as well as a FULL KITCHEN complete with a micro wave, full stove powered by a propane tank, and ALL the dishes a family could use!  You see, when we are genuinely a “good person”, other “good people” can see it.  Keep in mind, the “haters” – you ALL know who you are – will come out of the woodwork … like roaches.  I simply distance myself from “haters” and hope they learn to love themselves, perhaps even KNOW themselves, as much as I know and love myself!
As  we continue our celebration of “Black History Month” stateside, may we remember those little “boys and girls” innocently BLOWN UP in church by racist cowards who felt that “the children’s lives” were less important than theirs …  May those of us “spiritually intelligent” enough to “spread unity, love, respect and coexistence” continue our “work”, which is my passion, to live in harmony!

John I. Cook, Director

“Don’t Let The Bullies Win!”


Happy Friday, “Mi Gente”!
And a tremendous “T.G.I.F.” from the spiritual battle field, y’all …  “Just DO It”!
This week has been like a full “360 degrees” for me … AND some!  Can we really go more than 360 degrees though, or haven’t you heard?!?  Yo, y’all, you can go as many degrees as are required and that YOU are able to muster … you dig?!?
We all go through a lot in our “life times” as we know them.  It’s ALL part of the journey, so … as Woody Allen once said, I think it was him, “Ride loosely in the saddle of life!” … or something like that!  It’s a bumpy ride, and if one is not ready, one can get knocked off course or off the horse, speaking figuratively here.  I have been there, done that … even come out ALIVE!  Have you ever had one of those experiences when you KNOW something “greater than yourself” got you to breathe again?!?  THAT’S when you get to know “gratitude”.
Have any of you had experiences with a “bully” before?!?  Usually, they appear first in elementary school or around the playground.  My first experience that I recall was with a kid from the Projects … “The Winbrook Projects” … to be exact.  I use to always raise my hand in class to give the answer to a question that the teacher had asked.  Sometimes, I was first to get called upon.  Other times, I was second or third.  But one thing about my answers, they were usually RIGHT!  There was a reason.  “Big Ike” was a task master.  You had to do your homework before going outside to play with the other kids at The Projects.  Not only that, but he would MAKE my sister Edna help me!  Most of the time, she wanted to help me.  But I was like 8 years younger than her, which is a lot when you are a kid!  So, that’s why most of my answers were right.  Of course, there were kids in my class who didn’t like me getting the right answer so much, with my thick glasses and close hair cut that “Big Ike” had given me and my brother “Hank”.  I didn’t see the inside of a barber shop until I could afford to pay for it from the money I had earned from my paper route.  Do you get the picture yet?!?
I was in “my element” with those right answers.  It motivated me.  But … there were a few bullies … and one who was from the same building as me was in most of my classes, since we were the same age.  He lived with his family on the 4th floor and I lived on the 5th floor with my family so we saw each other often.  One day on the way home from school, he told me to throw my book bag in the bushes and stop giving so many answers in class.  He was handsome and had all the elementary school girls in love with him …  I had NONE.  At that time, I wasn’t so interested in “girls” though I knew what made them cute!!  But it was here when my love for “education” began to blossom.  It was also when I began to be able to identify and dislike “bullies”.  Some of the girls actually liked kids who could answer the  questions correctly in class.  But if they got to pay attention to me, they had to deal with my glasses next!!!  That was usually the “deal breaker” – the glasses!!!  So, Dad drove me to get my books from the bushes near the school and gave me a “talking to” that made me be ready to defend myself against any bully anywhere!
When I taught at White Plains High School, the teachers were often “prepped” to help those kids who were bullied, and particular guidance counselors were assigned to take those students to talk with them.  Many of the students that I had in my classes, on the court or on the stage with “The Performing Arts Club” which I advised for a few years, knew that they could talk to me about anything … especially those “bullies”.  We even had a “human relations specialist” come in from time to time to talk to the youth at the “High School”.  Yet, keep in mind, “bullies” come in all shapes, sizes, colors … and professions!  It is a technique – bullying – that kids with low self esteem use to try to build their own images as say … “a tough guy”.  I didn’t like that because there weren’t many jobs that I wanted to take where you had to be “a tough guy” like a body guard or linebacker for the Green Bay Packers American Football Team!!  Sometimes, people with more money try to “bully” those with less to cover up for the fact that without that “money”, they wouldn’t have much personality.  Their “bullying” often comes in the form of bribes or “pay offs”.  Always speak up or out to someone if you are getting “bullied” by anyone.  If you are a parent, talk to your child(ren) to make sure you are their number ONE “confidante”!
In closing, I want to thank each of you readers again for staying with me.  I am working on getting moved to a different, bigger place with a balcony and a guest room so I can stretch out and finish this third manuscript!  I am almost there … that “place” where I like to write incessantly.  I always have to remind folks that the third book is about how I was able to overcome some challenges and arrive at “early retirement age” to acquire residency in another country!  Right now, it’s Costa Rica … Puerto Viejo to be exact!
Have a great day and a wonderful weekend!  “Be you, because you are YOU!”  by John I. Cook circa 1972!

John I. Cook, Director

“We Are ONE!”

Happy Friday, All!
Yes, yes, y’all!  Time for a grateful T.G.I.F. even!  “Just Do It!” is still one of my favorite “slogans” in my lifetime!
This has been a pretty “power-filled” week for me.  I got a lot done in “my life” with things that are important to me.  My daughter reached out after I had contacted her a week or so ago and asked for my address . . .  I was flattered and honored!  It’s the “little” yet important things that make a person like me happy!  I am waiting for the “mail” to arrive and anticipate its contents.  Thanks, “Kid”!
This has also been a week when I learned the importance of “minding your own business”, as well as the power of my Creator and its many many resources, me included!  It’s a warm feeling when you know that you’ve done the best you can, all ones’ intentions are good … then the “universe” has got “your back”.  For me, all these “elements” are intertwined, kind of like us humans.  The Creator, “natural law”, divinity, “God” and the “universe” are all intertwined.  It would be a “fool-hardy” person who attempts to tamper with such “powers” … believe it or not!  I think of our connections as humans in the same way.  We are “weaker” when we separate “ourselves” … with some freaking policy of government or some housing zones or train tracks … or a color or religion.  As I sit here this morning composing this piece, I am looking at one of the most magnificent marvels of nature … the rain forest!  The peace and the power it commands is quite intriguing!  I wake up each morning, thank “Creation” for waking me, and then I immerse myself into the “universe” beyond the windows here.
I am a great music “aficionado”.  I enjoy classical, which I learned to play trombone with such tunes in 4th grade.  I marched in a band in “junior high” school toting my shiny trombone down the streets of White Plains for the Annual Memorial Day Parade with the “Highlands Jr. High School Marching Band”.  I played 2nd trombone in the orchestra, sitting next to Robert Boydstun who still plays his to this day.  We are still friends today though via Facebook.  The “silky soul” group called “MAZE” featuring Frankie Beverly has found its way back into my music playlist.  “We Are One!” has been stuck in my head for “dayssss” and the message has sunken in!  It was just before MLK, Jr. Day in the States and I encountered this tremendous music video by the group with footage of the struggles of “the people” in the States … the African American people in particular.  It is so well done, with footage of the “Civil Rights Movement”, Rosa Parks, Dr. King, Malcolm X, the March on Washington in which Dr. King delivered his “I Have A Dream!” speech, the “Black Panthers” and more!  I was born in 1954, so I witnessed the origins of the Civil Rights Movement and was able to take advantage of the opportunities that “opened up” for me, thanks to my mother’s intuition and guidance, and a lot of “lives lost” … men, women and children … of the Civil Rights Movement.
I am hoping that with the universal changes that some of the “gifted” humans can get on course to make some drastically needed changes.  I wonder if we had a “before” and “after” photograph of “The United States of America” … say in the early 1600’s … and lay it side by side to compare with one of say, yesterday 2019, to be exact!  Some of “us” would say, “Look at the progress!” while others might suggest that there is a lot of destruction that we “intelligent creatures” should have been able to avoid.  Perhaps, we as a species have been looking to develop “money” and “power” rather than seeking the enhancement and continuation of the human civilization.  Can you see that other things are important, like the planet on which we are doing all this stuff?!?  Or, are we too hungry for “material wealth, power and money”.  Those things alone will NOT continue “our” civilization.  In fact, many of us are becoming “savages” as we loose our way through the menageries of societies to build more “power and money” for the “political/economic elite”, which unfortunately, is an “illusion”.  It will be “gone” when “we” are “gone”, unless we decide to take some important steps to “save ourselves”.  “Let’s UNITE”!
In closing, y’all, “no matter what they do”, we are one!  “Our love will see us through, we are One!”  “Right from the very start, we are One!  Deep down in your heart, we are ONE!”
Have a wonder-filled weekend!
Peace and blessings,

What Is Karma?

Happy Friday, All!
Thanks for putting up with me!  I ain’t perfect but I know how to cheer “T.G.I.F.” every Friday!
Hopefully, there was no “huge” problem with getting last week’s e-mail yesterday, in particular those who didn’t sign up with Word Press yet to get the notifications.  Have you ever noticed that “you” were late realizing something?!  Like, that you had done something wrong, had even thought that “you” had gotten away with it until there was a “gentle reminder” from the “universe” that “it” knew that you had done something wrong?!?  Any of you readers believe in “karma”?  It takes some “maturity” and a lot of “spirituality” to realize that … “you ain’t foolin’ nobody but yo’self!”
Well, needless to say, I believe in “what goes around, comes around” … especially if “you” sent it!!  I don’t see how folks don’t understand that their behavior is being “observed” by “a power greater than ALL of us”!  I use to believe that there was like a “score card” on “good things done” in one column and “bad things done” in another column.  Once I realized that I liked doing “good things” more than “bad things”, I got rid of the “score card” concept, just to keep ME on the straight and narrow path.  I always feel better doing “good stuff”.  What about you?!?
Well, “life” here in Puerto Viejo is rather interesting from time to time, though my latest lesson has taught me to “stay to myself” unless genuinely invited otherwise!  “Coolness” for me.  Still, I have to remind myself “what I came here for” … to finish my third book!  I would also like to live in peace with the universe and have the best quality of life possible considering the challenges.  I am up for it, like I have always been for a “good time” or a “good game of anything”!  It’s so funny when I meet people here … who “think” they know me, but they don’t.  People still look at a “brother” like myself and imagine that I am “anything” other than what I really “am”.  Some people find it “hard” to believe because they are so “stuck” in the past and have never seen ‘the over-comers’ in person.  So, they go to what they have been taught either around the “dinner table” or hanging out with their favorite “chums”, probably also ignorant like them!  I love it when they finally realize that “they had me all … I said ALL … wrong!”  Either “they” smile and walk calmly away, probably angry because they were “wrong” about me … and they don’t like to be “wrong” about anything!  Or, they refuse to believe what they JUST learned … about me … from ME!  It was so funny, a guy who I thought “knew” me asked me in a rather “challenging tone”, “Why did you come here anyway?”  He already had some misinformation about me and some of the associates I have here so I knew he wasn’t ready for this!  I replied, “I came to finish my third book …”  You could hear crickets … and it was daytime.  I “dropped the mic” and walked away.  I am anxious to see his demeanor when we encounter each other again.
I have made a few mistakes in my life that I KNOW were “handled” by “karma” and my Creator, if you will.  One of the things that I always liked about the Bible was the many “scriptures” that still apply to our lives today … and always.  The “stories” are trying to teach us “humans” morality.  As you look around the world today, especially so called “leadership”, we can see that there is no longer any morality amongst THEM!  Now, I am NOT anti-atheist as long as “one” has morality.  Be what you want … just don’t pretend that you can “judge” me … ’cause we are pretty much the same.  I don’t need to do anything to you when you “offend” me (or anyone else) because the “universe” will GIVE YOU just what you need!  Of course, that might be a “swift kick in the a$$” from a mule, not the person you intended to offend! BOOM!
Let’s go forth with wisdom, kindness, pride for our existence, peace and love.  Challenge “evil” with “goodness”!

John I. Cook, Director

When You Try to Do Something(s) Good, Negativity Comes Around!

Happy Friday, All!
And if you haven’t already done so, let’s do a “T.G.I.F.”!
Yep, I am at it again!  Trying to identify “the enemy” aka “life’s challenges”, and move quietly, peacefully …. lovingly, if possible, past (or through) them … learning to enjoy the journey!  We all know about “good” vs. “evil” …. God vs. the devil, even “the yin/yang” concept.  I am not sure if those “opposites” have appeared in “your” journey, but they have been around my life forever … no pun intended!!  They often serve as road maps, this duality, though most successful endeavors require the tenacity to get going and often “pure grit” to get to a more placid plateau!  Quite often, I might add here, the challenges are within our “selves” … “we” created them, for one reason or another.
Health-wise, I am feeling some improvements!  Life is more enjoyable for me without screaming sirens every ten minutes and screaming people every other minute, not to mention “hostile” people seeking their goals in a world filled with others.  Like I mentioned earlier, I haven’t seen even a fist fight out here.  The energy of the people, somewhat fostered by the environment and the lifestyles in the Caribbean, is much more laid back.  While people still “play” their games, no one is visibly trying to hurt someone else in the street.  New Year’s Celebrations here in Puerto Viejo witnessed one death that I heard of … a deaf/mute woman of African/Jamaican descent was hit by a “hit and run” driver, left and … due to the challenging infrastructure of one road going in both directions and New Year’s Eve traffic, help didn’t arrive in time.  For me, the supplements of collagen and stinging nettle I take each day as well as the daily curcuma (tumeric) tea with ginger base and black pepper added with a splash of honey seem to be giving some long term relief.  The pain of the challenged hip area on both sides still comes and goes.  Yet, with a tablet of diclofenac (pain relief and anti-inflammatory) of 100 mg. in the morning, the pain is reduced so I can feel more comfortable.  As the day continues, I take doses of the “total extract” (CBD w/thc) as needed for pain relief.  I move slow, deliberately  (like a sloth!) … no running and jumping and trying to meet someone ELSE’S deadline(s).  I plan way ahead if I have to do something, including shaving and showering and/or going out to a restaurant or to enjoy “the Caribbean streets”!  At this stage of my life, retired and all, if I have to rush for it, it’s probably NOT meant for me … ’cause I am not rushing no where for no one.  The life-style and environment here are extremely therapeutic.  I am grateful to be here.
Like most of us “humans”, I have identified somethings that I want to accomplish as a goal “this year” … or whenever.  I have  noticed a pattern when heightening my “efforts” to achieve something … that demons come out of the “woodwork”.  That person who once seemed so calm and helpful is now seething with envy at “you” because you are actually “doing” something with your life!  Maybe “you” are doing it better than them or “you” are more successful or getting the “attention”  they so crave.  Has that ever happened to “you”?!?  Shucks, I have had people say, “I am trying to help you!” to which I reply, “No thanks, I don’t need that!”  The “universe” or our spiritual realm often challenges our intentions or goals, especially if they are too “self centered”.  It is almost like your positive energy and intentions “attract” negativity or the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish.  Sometimes, that negativity comes in the form of people who are envious of you and seeking to do you harm.  Other times, that negativity comes in the form of an unexpected “event” that gets “you” AWAY from intended harm or a hostile environment!  I have found that I MUST read the spiritual signs along the way because there are clearly “evil efforts” trying to get me off the course of my goals.  I have had so much “drama” in my past relationships that I am almost afraid to get involved and perhaps encounter “unnecessary drama”!
So, do your “spiritual” push ups (meditations) and keep your energy moving in a positive direction with something like yoga, swimming, walking or martial arts … or anything that brings you peace.  I promise you, if you are anything like me, the “journey” will continue to be filled with experiences, both yin and yang, good and evil, love and hate, peace versus violence.  I encourage “us” to choose wisely, for some things said and done cannot be reversed.  Pay attention to your inner workings, learn about your own strengths and areas needing improvement … and WORK on them … evolve them even!  Be patient with yourSELF with unconditional love!

John I. Cook, Director

Apologize, Be Humble . . . Stand Tall!

It’s Friday again, Folks!  I am feeling chipper and grateful … simultaneously!!  So … “T.G. to the I.F.”!!
It’s the first Friday and weekend of the New Year!  What are you going to do with it!!?  I hope something worth your time and experience along the journey.
Hey, tell me (you) something … Is it hard to say, “Look, I am sorry for that comment … ” or, am I the only person who has trouble with that one?!  I am “my Father’s son” and he didn’t like to say he was sorry, let alone that he ever did something wrong!  As a result, sometimes, I am overly grateful or thankful (I might say “thanks” a bunch of times!), but I don’t shift into the “I am sorry” mode too easily.  Yet, me, like my Dad, had to learn that “we” do stuff that is incorrect sometimes …  He for sure did NOT like to apologize as he felt, I think, that it would erode part of his authority base in the home.  My mother would occasionally apologize on behalf of “Dad”, especially when he “went out on a limb” looking for a culprit of stolen cookies or “chump change” left on the kitchen table.
As the New Year and Full Moon got closer, I felt a variety of sensations in my body, emotions ebbed and lulled.  I realized that I had to make a long overdue amend to a person who had helped me out a few times, in particular when I struggled with one of my demons and was “under the influence”.  I fought that demon and won, though I am ever so careful of what I put inside my body today!  I reached out and made my amend, I felt better … I felt like I had permission from the “universe” to move on and continue on my journey.  This, according to astrologers, was the time for “new beginnings”, not just New Year’s Celebrations.  Many of us “miss” that journey within which sometimes culminates in tears of joy as well as tears of a forgotten pain we once had.  I have learned to apologize for my “poor decisions” nowadays because I have come to understand that no matter what … “We are ONE” and all connected in one way or another.  Yes!  I wanted to “get my balance on” and move forward into a new year with renewed hopes and aspirations, continued goals and good behavior, and as much “peace and love” as I can conjure up along the way!!  What about YOU?!?
Our “egos” as humans are often way too big.  As I learned in one 12-step program, “ego” stands for “easing God out” and letting that ultimate selfish demon “in”!  Oh, hell no!  In my past experiences, and there have been many, I have found that when I let the “ego” take over, everything is “fake”!  I don’t feel too good, I am not proud of myself … and I don’t like feeling like that!  It feels contrary to who I really “AM”!  How many of you readers “know thyself”?!  You can lie for a minute to yourself, but you’ll come around, hopefully sooner than later!  We each have a gift … it is called “the present” … and if we tarry with it too long, it becomes “the past” – gone!  Can we ever get those opportunities back again!??  Will we be able to “recognize” the opportunity the next time the “universe” gives “us” a present moment to enjoy and evolve?!?  I hope so, folks!  It works for me.  I can apologize, being very humble, I can regroup … so far … and I can once again “stand tall”!
Make some changes, if necessary.  Be honest with YOURSELF with those changes …  In other words, “know thyself” a la Educational Excellence!  Enjoy your day and have a wonderful weekend!  Thanks so much for reading.

John I. Cook, Director

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