“Watch The Birdie!”

Happy Friday, All!
And a wonderful uplifting T.G.I.F. to each and every one of you!   Take it to your Creator and give thanks!
Well, most of you “readers” know me from personal contacts along my journey while others have only met me through the internet and my blog and/or two books.  You probably know that I traveled Europe last year looking for an affordable place to retire and finish my third book.  I experienced some horrific times as well as more wonderful times.  I received and took advantage of an excellent education but also found that there is more to  life than that.  So, “Educational Excellence” became a spiritual organization with me as the sole proprietor to encourage people to embrace acquiring an excellent “spiritual education” as well.   The third book will focus on how I was able to “push through” some very challenging times in the USA and seek retirement abroad.  It is also about how I handled all the racism hurled at me as I tried to navigate my way through a system that once had my ancestors enslaved.
Yesterday, I had my second encounter with the “ignorance of racism” here in Puerto Viejo.  The first incident was one when a native “Tico” from Grecia, CR approached me with his hand extended and said, “Hey, my nigg-r!”  I asked him if he was talking to me and he said yes.  I asked him to NEVER talk to me again.  He didn’t and I haven’t seen him since he came back from an alcohol rehab with a cast on his right leg. He must have offended someone else who took it a lot more seriously than I did.  Some people don’t know about “karma” and it has nothing to do with “anyone getting back at you”.  The second one was yesterday when a person decided that they wanted to get involved in my business of ‘NOT SPEAKING’ nor socializing with someone who had questioned my integrity over $10.00, which I borrowed and paid back in a few days.  When I gave the person I had borrowed the $10.00 back, which I needed at the time, he was drunk and didn’t remember.  So, one of his “drinking buddies” who also was an associate of mine decided that he wanted to “take the side of the drunk” and questioned my integrity as well.  I thought that rare.  I just distanced myself from “the drunk” who is not a local and continued on my path.  This “former friend” continued to “give me updates” about this “drunk” and telling me that he “hopes I have a witness” that I paid him back!  I am like, “Wt@”!  I started distancing myself from him, too.
Unfortunately, he thought he was dealing with a fool.  How could that be?  He wrote me several messages telling me the “drunk” had fallen and has diabetes and needs to stop drinking.  I asked him why he kept telling me about this guy who I had no interest in speaking about or to.  This “friend” and his meddling self was seeking a way to “judge me” but I didn’t know why, though I had an idea.  This wasn’t MY first rodeo with a racist.  So, I told him in my street savvy manner, “I don’t give a fu-k about him!”  The former friend continued in another long message, “Oh from your vulgar words, you must be guilty!”  So, I wrote back, “Guilty of what?  Not giving a fu-k?!  Now that’s correct!”  I thought the conversation was over but I knew he wanted to “say” something else.  He did … “Your really giving the black culture the niger name.”  The fool can’t even spell the word and wants to use it!  This character wouldn’t stop writing me messages, as he had often done before well into the night and early in the morning.  I tried to be his “friend”.  But, he doesn’t know nor respect who or what I represent, which is peace and harmony amongst ALL people.  I told him that I would post his remarks on Facebook and he dared me to, citing that “everybody loves me (him), cept you (me)”!  I told him in some more vulgar terms what he could do and what I though he was …
He wrote some other ignorant crap to me telling me that if I “posted” what he said and we had discussed, I would make myself look bad!!  So, here it is!  How do I look?!?  Feel free to reply.  “Watch the birdie!”  “Gotcha!”
I continue to seek love and peace and work on my third manuscript.  I continue to heal amidst the challenges, minding my business and staying to myself!  My Creator knows who I am!
Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

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Amplify THIS!

Happy Friday, All!
Doing it every chance I get to say “Thank You!” and keep an attitude of gratitude for whatever goes down! So … T.G.I.F.!
I had a great week, especially Wednesday.  Yet, on Monday, I went to Limon to the “Migracion” office there and turned in some more of my paper work for residency here in Costa Rica.  It was fairly simple going to the office since I had been there before.  Even the bus ride there was fun, not to mention the hour I waited in a “musical chairs” set up in the bank to get to the window for “preferential treatment” ie. elderly, disabled, women with children or pregnant, etc.  Limon is an old port city and it shows on every window in every building near the Port of Limon, too.  Now, I didn’t visit the whole city but I did go in on the Mepe Public bus to the station there and chowed down on a “paty” and ginger ale so I would have something in my stomach while I trekked across Limon in the hot sun.  I also found a place inside a “nameless” mall which was inside a “nameless” storefront and got my ten year old “Fossil” watch band reconnected!
Wednesday morning at 3:00am, I woke up to meditate.  I was feeling all “stuffed and full” of something.  It was gas, so the first 20 minutes were spent energizing (blessing) my first 3 chakras and expelling the gas!  TMI?!?  Just sharing.  So around 3:30am, I went into the transcendental state and focused on my hip joints.  I go as far as to perceive energy in the form of information or “electricity”, since we are EACH surrounded by electromagnetic fields and some of us have stronger fields than others.  I often seek to enhance my own personal electromagnetic filed to keep out “dis-ease” in whatever form it may come in, be it germs or hostile comments or environments.  An hour went by and I was relaxed and had done a few closing mantras.  Later that morning at 9am, we had yoga class, which is just downstairs in Jacaranda Hotel and Jungle Garden where I am residing.  It was a fantastic class for me as I focused on extending the range of motion in my hips and working on my upper body form in planks and various “dogs” as well as the cobra.  I now understand, through the help of the instructor/massage therapist, “Molly”, that my back is also an integral part of this healing I am seeking, not to mention the sacrum!  A fine time was had by all that day.  After class, I went to the beach where there were many friends serving the free lunch provided for the town folks by “Casa Amma”. We all ended up at the swimming area in front of Puerta Pirata and I decided to go in after a “lay off” of nearly 3 months!  I had a fine time with my friends, Leo Bravo Flores and his grandson Jayckol, Barry and Nancy Stevens, David Knight, “Erik” and more.
So, what am I talking about?!?  Here it goes.  In our world today, so much negativity and competition is emphasized.  People seek “control” over one another, NOT harmony with each other.  There is always a constant battle of “bouncing egos” everywhere one goes, especially in the States.  Many “Americans” have never seen another country and don’t know any other languages while the rest of the world is seeking to learn English!!  Americans (USA) have become so egocentric to the point it is thought that the country is the model for all others ….  All we hear about is the glamour of Hollywood, the hustle and bustle of major cities, the crime and craziness and how much money is being generated for major corporations.  Well, I just want to AMPLIFY THIS – friendship and love, comradery and sharing, smiling and hugging each other.  In places like the USA, “family” seems important at times until one decides to betray the very same family that provided for their “survival” in this cruel world …  The media often “amplifies” negativity and hatred, separation and competition, non-stop work and consumerism.  These are amongst the main reasons for the multiple shootings and horrific acts of cowardice against innocent victims.  “They” amplify the destructive things.
In closing, please enjoy your day and seek harmony with each other … one person at a time!  Some of “us” will survive the “destruction” …
Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

HARMONY

Happy Friday, All!
You can join me if you like ’cause you already know how I roll … “T.G.I.F.”!
As I look around the landscape of my own mind from time to time, especially during a meditation or what we use to call “day dreaming”, I notice patterns … colors and shapes of different sizes.  Yes, they are kind of floating in the quantum field of darkness.  Some times that darkness is blue.  Other times it goes between black and blue.  On a few occasions when I think I had reached a certain level or frequency of “energy”, if you will, there appeared to be bright flashes of white lights with blue often in the midst of the flashes.  Yet, in the overall “picture”, I see harmony.  No crashes nor collisions, nothing stops but everything remains very fluid … moving incessantly.  I would dare to state that everything is moving in harmony; yet, all the things one envisions are NOT the same.  Perhaps, like the humans on the planet Earth!
I continue to look for ways to maintain a good quality of life.  It’s funny because many people dare to “diagnose” you as the woman did where I first lived in Puerto Viejo.  Others seek to make their own progress reports on YOUR healing … without being asked.  That’s okay.  It is in moments like this where I remember one of “Big Ike’s” favorite lessons:  “Don’t waste your precious time trying to tear other people down.  Use that time instead, son, to build YOURSELF up.  Decent people can see the difference!”  I have done this a lot since my first years at St. Paul’s when I had complained to my parents about a few apparently racist remarks from some of my fellow students there.  That lesson from my Dad, who was not even a high school graduate, helped propel me beyond some of the nonsense I encountered right through my years at Princeton and into my professional career as a teacher.  I am pretty much the same today, though I have also learned to give a tongue lashing, if necessary, to any foolish unsuspecting soul who tries to “put me down”.  I also learn, as a result, to behave the way I should!
While I don’t really celebrate Halloween, I did go out to a place here that relocated from just outside of town to directly in the middle of town called “The Point”.  I had a great time just sitting and listening to a new friend and his band playing some serious Caribbean style music.  The bass player had a one string bass on a wooden stick placed into a square shaped wooden box!  Hey, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen one of these, not to mention if you’ve ever seen one played!  It is a sight to see, as the bass player’s whole body is involved in making that ONE string sing!  While there, the wife of this new friend informed me of some “medical procedures” she had received recently to aid in reducing discomfort in her hips.  It is a type of treatment where one takes plasma from the patient’s body and injects it into the hips,  as in my case and in hers.  There is another treatment at this same “holistic” doctor’s office where they are actually perfecting “transplanting” stem cells to areas of a patient’s body where newly generated cells are needed.  I’ll simply say that “Pamela” danced ALL night … I sat and watched though I got up before I left to chat with a few friends and “saunter” around a bit, if you catch my drift!
Well, I am going to stay with a schedule where I do yoga one day a week and seek to get a massage once a month.  This past Tuesday after I saw one of the guys practicing his shots for “Wednesday Afternoon Basketball by the Beach”, I went out there with him.  I got a few rebounds for him and passed the ball out so he could take another shot.  I hadn’t been on a basketball court in over two years since at those in LA Fitness of Ft. Lauderdale.  One thing I am learning to do more and more in my self healing is seeking that “harmony” that I observe in my meditations.  I encourage my body to seek that same harmony with all of its parts.  Who knows, maybe us “humans” can learn to live in a “unified” field here in harmony in this dimension (and perhaps others) of space!
Enjoy your November, as Autumn sets in in many places on the Planet.  Treat each other well and notice the difference in YOUR own state of well being!
Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

“That’s For The Birds!”

Happy Friday, ALL!
It’s that time again … the weekend, “Baby”!  So here’s my T.G.I.F. to get it started for me.  Do your thing!
This message is one of those “swan song” type things … where somebody is “going somewhere” for a while or forever … like from a job or something.  It’s just that I am not “planning” on going anywhere … just seeking to modify the contact method for those interested in following Educational Excellence.  I am sure that you readers can tell that this “work” means a lot to me … hopefully … it means a little “something something” for “youse”!
From where I sit in my studio, I see the tops of the trees and watch the birds whirl in between each other and do some incredible stuff.  There are even a couple small yellow bellied birds that like to come and sit on my open windows while I am writing on the computer or listening to tunes on the bed!  They just sit there, chill … look around and even chirp occasionally.  There is a streetlight fixture just outside my window, maybe 20 meters sitting almost as high as the window.  These large vultures come on a regular basis, and three sometimes four of them perch there on the light fixture doing their things!  Just this morning, I saw what I thought was a tiny bird, not a humming bird type of tiny, but it was black with a fire engine red throat area all the way to the tail.  The rest of the bird was black!  It sat at the top of the reddish flowered tree just outside my window.  I admire their freedom … their agility and speed as well as precision.  After watching them a little bit, I say: “That’s for the birds … but I want to be like them!”
I have been doing some tests and research on myself … other folks should get involved in this type of thing, too!  As we say here at EE: “Know Thyself!”  Of course, I got that from the ancient Greek “philosoph” Socrates … and he got it from someone else … and now WE can use it, too.  I try to move away from the “separation” type of thinking … everything being an “either”/”or” choice … not united.  As I did in my meditation this morning, I perceive ALL Creation as ONE!  I joke a lot, but I am serious, too, sometimes … when someone asks me, “Which one do you want?”  I say, “I’d like a little of each, please!”  The meditation I have been practicing is coming around well.  On off days, like yesterday, since I did yoga only Wednesday this week, I felt like there was some progress in my walking.  I felt sturdier, taller and straighter as I reached my head towards the sky.  I try to meditate at least two to three times a week.  Early mornings, like today at 4am, I find it easier to locate that quiet place … and dwell there!  Today, at 4:15am, I had to use the restroom … in the middle of my meditation!  So, I took care of that task, came back and sat “L-shaped” on my bed … and entered the “quantum field” after a few deep breaths.  The goal of meditation is to slow down ones breathing so that one can “commune” with other “higher levels” of frequencies, if you will, where one may locate some “healing energies” … electricity … if you will!  I am feeling something in the improvement area.
I figured out, pretty much with the help of a few friends, what the issue is behind the “Big John” story.  It’s kind of simple … yet, funny to think that folks are worried about me attracting some of “their” women, if you know what I mean.  (If you don’t, send me a reply!)  You know, I’ve made some mistakes in my life … I try to learn from them.  I am hard on “myself” and am rather “overly” disciplined on myself sometimes …  I feel like me and my father all “rolled into one”!  It’s cool with me, though.  It’s like having that “built in” friend to nudge me a little when I stray from the “divine course(s) of action and energy”.  I’ve said this once about “Big Ike” and I’ll say it again:  “I know he loved me though with TOUGH LOVE”,  and … “He knows that I will always do my best … to make them proud!”  My grandson’s birthday party was a success last weekend in NYC, apparently from the photographs that Ayanna posted on social media.  I am so proud of her to have “pulled up her bootstraps” when a problem hit hard, moved on and took care of business … WITH her son Caleb Isaac!  I love you BOTH!
So, in closing, feel free to let me know if the option to sign up with “Word Press” to receive notifications when I post a blog works for you.  I am planning on posting every Friday until the manuscript, which I am on Chapter 4 of, is completed!  I am sitting here looking out my window at the treetops amidst the gently falling and cleansing rain … thinking how much love I have to give to “the world”.  Are you thinking: “Ha!  That’s for the birds!”?  And you may well be right …  But the natural freedom could serve YOU well, too!  Have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend.  Thanks for reading.
Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

Taking It ALL In … And Letting Go!

Happy Friday, y’all!  I want to do my “T.G.I.F.” dance first … not so pretty but I’m doing it!
Now, I want to wish my one and only grandson, Caleb Isaac Belton, a Happy 3rd Birthday!  Yaaay!  I don’t remember when I was a baby.  But I do remember holding his precious little body in my arms in Port St. Lucie, Fl just a few months after he was born when my daughter, Ayanna Lynne, graced us with a visit!  He looked up at my round bald head as it glistened in the sunlight in the backyard of my sister’s villa and tried to fathom what was going on as he was passed from one person to another … me and Ayanna!  Wishing him a great day with lots of love and light!
Life for me is a constant journey.  In other words, just when I think that “things are clear” and “people understand me”, here comes another little “life episode”!  Sometimes, especially when I am misunderstood to be someone of less intelligence, less character … and less love, I want to act immediately and “straighten that person/situation out”.  I am learning that that is not so wise, especially when you have the “universe” to help you clear things up.  Just a few weeks ago, I may have mentioned here, someone misunderstood a compliment that I gave her and sought to “use something I never said” against me!!  I mean, it’s okay for a person to “do their imaginary thing” … you dig … just try to leave ME out of it!!  We got past that, thanks to the “universe” and timing and patience … here I go again … and love, it all worked out.  Now lately, I have had a few “meetings” with a younger brother here who seems NOT to like the fact that some of my more supportive and perhaps “American friends” call me “Big John”!  So, yesterday I see him riding his bike on one side of the street and I am walking on the other side.  I wave and say “Hey Man!”.  He looked at me with kind of a smirk and says, “Big John … heh!”, as he continued riding by almost mocking me.  I like stuff like this because “mofo’s” don’t know that I don’t give a … (you guys finish it!) about what someone ELSE thinks about the name my father gave me or anything else that the “universe” provided me with along my journey!  No … I don’t fight anymore … it’s been a long time and I would probably lose!!  But I’ve been known to straighten out the “average egotistical character” with a few choice words, usually NOT profanity!  I don’t fear death because it’s part of the journey … That would be like fearing getting up in the morning … and I know some people do … peace be still!  I don’t … thanks to my Creator!
So, that situation kind of tells you where “I am at” on this lovely Friday with a weekend on our hands to spend as we can.  I enjoy continuing yoga because it provides me with a few minutes of “moving meditation”, so to speak, and the tranquility to move my body around on the open floor and seek healing positions while breathing deeply.  I admit, I need two days in between to take it easy, recover and lounge around before the next yoga class … or massage.  Yes, I still do my early morning meditations be it at 1am or 4am … or sitting at the beach after a nice cool adult refreshment … or even walking down one of Puerto Viejo’s familiar country-style streets.  I take as much time as I can looking up at the sky, breathing and filling my lungs with fairly fresh air … and let it all go!  Besides, my Creator’s got this!  Enjoy the journey!
Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

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

“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

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