“We’ve Got To Be REAL!”

Happy Friday, All!

I’m hoping that you are up for a “TGIF” today … so … Let’s Do It!!  TGIF!!!

Things get so muddled when one tries to determine the TRUTH.  Now, we’ve got Tucker Carlson’s interview with Kyle to spread MORE hatred, division, racism, and disrespect for the current president!!  I had roasted Kyle for trying to shift the blame of his murders onto the murdered!  Tucker wanted to help spread this mental illness by getting a mere child to comment on the President’s dislike of vigilantes!  Now, this kid doesn’t know what he’s talking about when he tells the President to watch the trial!!  (Kyle has never been president and doesn’t know that white supremacy groups are at the top of the terrorist groups …) Then, after this kid killed 2 people, he has the NERVE to pretend to know what he had just done!  WE saw it … he left his original assignment to get into “the streets” with his cool AR-15 slung over his shoulder!!  WHY????  Admit it … he was bored and wanted “real action”!!  He even said it before when he saw “looters” and replied, “I wish I had an AR-15 to shoot them!”  His victims weren’t looters but … were damn surprised to see a kid on “their streets” with a military-style rifle!  HE frightened them!! Remember, uncle judge forbade the use of that statement by prosecutors during the trial and clearly demonstrated his appreciation for what Kyle had done!!  I’m glad he didn’t get incarcerated … he’d never make it there …

Now, Kyle realizes that those “streets” ain’t no joke and that one can get mixed up in a mess in a New York second!!!  NOW he says, if he had to do it all over again, he wouldn’t do it!!  At least, he knows that!  Now, he will have to avoid being used by the gun advocates and racists who seek to use him as a pawn in their game of hatred.  As the mother of one of his victims said, “He’s going to have to man up real quick!”  Even the former president invited him and his mother to the resort in Florida to set him up to be used in his campaigns against democracy and his fundraising. (Have you become aware of the fact that the Republican Party is now paying #45’s legal fees?!?)  Did you know that a “private group” paid Rittenhouse’s legal fees? (The kind of thing that makes one go “Hmmmm …”)

Well, at least the jurors in the Ahmaud Arbery lynching got it right!  Despite the defense attorney asking to bar more “black pastors” from the courtroom, and the manner in which the disrespectful “hussy” racist defense attorney described Mr. Arbery’s toes which she has NEVER seen, the jurors got it right!  The proceedings in Charlottesville were also able to find the white nationalists culpable for millions of dollars in damages and the death of one and injuries of multiple others who had peacefully protested the white supremacy rally in their city.  Many people in the States are able to see these attempts for what they are … hateful rallies against democracy and against equality under the law.  Be a part of the solution or … become a part of the problem  Be REAL, y’all!  We’ve got to be real.

Happy Holy Days!

John I. Cook, Director

ps. Thank you for reading!

America: On Trial

Happy Friday, All …

I say that loosely because for the families that lost loved ones in the Charlottesville white nationalist rally, or a son/father like Ahmaud … or the two young white men killed by Kyle … it might not be such a nice day …  So, let’s give a super “TGIF” to reach those hurting from losses …  Thank you!

Over the past few days, I have been pondering something that my Father had banged into my head on a few occasions, but with words: “Don’t lie, boy!  The only thing people have to go on are the words that come out of your mouth!”    Now, he had just asked me if I had “borrowed” his Volkswagen station wagon-styled vehicle.  He had rebuilt it for my Mom’s use with her domestic engineering work, volunteer activities, and shopping.  And yes … I had borrowed it without asking permission to drive my friends to Playland one Sunday afternoon while my Dad napped.  I had a learner’s permit (not a license) … and my Dad was extremely calm about this and I was extremely surprised, yet very grateful.  I had driven the German-made vehicle with a few friends in it … with the hand brake on … Big Ike knew his cars and he knew someone ELSE had driven Mom’s car!  He gave me a huge break … for telling the truth!

Now, in this little town in Georgia, there was a father-son team who went out hunting … Mr. Arbery.  Why were they hunting a fellow human being?!  The answer is clear!  You may remember a hypothesis I have proposed about racism being a mental illness … self-induced and maybe even taught by someone’s “dad”  or another family member …  This is what I was talking about – The McMichaels!!  Then, to watch the “courtroom performances” by defense counselors who are stuck in a time warp … in the USA … land of the free, home of the brave … is utterly reprehensible.  I mean, these morons have no shame!!  

Meanwhile back in Charlottesville, there are self confirmed white nationalists from all the far-right groups in the States facing trials for attacking peaceful protestors and killing one woman while wounding many others.  Has America become known as the country that tried to root out racial hatred promoted by the Ku Klux Klan but nowadays allows rallies where people chant: “Jews shall not replace us!”?  If the courts let these slugs off of the hook, it won’t be the last time we hear from “them”.

Then we have the then 17year old kid who has become for some “mentally ill” supporters of his who view him as their hero!  There is even a Congressional representative, Matt Goetz (R) of FL (still facing a sex trafficking investigation!) who demonstrated his mental illness by offering Kyle a job with him in Congress!!  “Hardy har har harrr!”  As he tells his story of how he went from his boring assignment (unofficial) to protect a used car lot from looters to flashing his “cool looking” AR 15 long gun down the streets in ANOTHER CITY in another state, Kyle also breaks down as he spins his story of why he HAD to kill two young men and wound another!  Is anyone else in “America” embarrassed at these displays of human hypocrisy?!?  Or, are you mentally ill, too?!?

Now, we live in a world where many “leaders” lie.  These leaders demonstrate to their constituents their lack of respect for THEM as they lie to them daily!  I mean, this country has become so much of a corrupt business opportunity that a twice impeached ex-president can still fundraise from idiots willing to believe that “it” won the election which it LOST!  This creature is raking in millions of dollars a day fundraising from still promoting “the big lie”!!!  Believe it … or not!!

Okay, so in closing, I want to thank all of the enlightened truth-seeking humans who promote harmony, dignity, and respect for ourselves and the Planet!  It requires outstanding people to take important positions during a time of human crises that threaten OUR survival.  There is ONLY ONE side in this situation … TRUTH!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

ps. Thanks for reading!

“Make Sure This Doesn’t Happen Again!”

Happy Friday, All!

I hope you’re ALL up for showing some gratitude, right?  A simple “thank you” to your Creator may suffice today!  TGIF, then!  Before continuing with this message, I want to wish those United States Military Veterans, past, present, and future a Happy Belated Veteran’s Day!  Thank you EACH for your service.  And imagine, today there is a serious threat to the democracy experiment taking place in the same United States of America …

Most students of or aficionados of American History know that the country was started as an experiment in the practice of democracy, not to mention a series of businesses or joint-stock companies.  Needless to say, the experiment’s hypothesis had to be modified to include ALL PEOPLE … not just the founding fathers who were wealthy white men.  As the founding fathers soon discovered, the experiment’s success required the election of qualified, moral, and trustworthy leaders to represent the people.  Have you noticed that we’ve had so many events in the USA lately that the most common comment is: “… let’s make sure that nothing happens like this again!”?!?  Whether it was regarding the Marjory Stoneman Douglas School shooting or … the whole world watching George Floyd … or Ahmaud Arbery get killed in broad daylight and on film, we end up saying the same thing …  Is this the “new normal”?  Now we have a kid who got sucked up into the “war of words” that so-called “educated people” are spewing from their mouths and he is now facing murder charges …  And the judge … oh my goshhh!!!  People are just looking for “stuff” to disagree with in order to carry out a “civil war of words”.  The only thing is that people who have been riled up with fundamental lies don’t realize that they are feeding into the “negative energy” until it gets out of control …  Ask Kyle …

Okay, so what I am suggesting, as we see countries and governments as well as very well-off private citizens looking to help the less fortunate on the planet, we can each do our part!  How you may ask?  By spreading positive vibrations … wherever you go and in whatever you do!!  In case you haven’t noticed, much of the geography of this Planet is a mess.  “They” don’t want “us” to know how bad it really is.  It is clear that a “shift” must take place …  Be the change at every opportunity.  Realize that we are each an integral part of Creation.  Carry on!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

“Shyft Happens!”

Is it Friday, yet?!?  Has it been a long week or what?!?  Do you still have a “TGIF” somewhere deep down inside?  TGIF, then!!

Can you say “Shift Happens”?!?  Do you know what that means or insinuates?  Well, I don’t know either but it’s something that you can feel …  Have you felt anything lately?  Or are you just numb like many of us from all of the lies, misinformation, disinformation, and hideous “human” behavior?  Imagine trying to literally cover up the truth about what you can see with your own eyes … like … a seventeen-year-old white kid marching down a city street in the USA with a long gun … and he waves to the police who are in an armored vehicle … and the police do NOTHING!  “He was protecting the peace …” … yeah, right!!  How about training your eyes to see an African American man jogging through a neighborhood unarmed until being converged upon by three white men all carrying (and shooting!) firearms?  “Why didn’t they call the police?”  Had enough yet?!?  It’s long overdue for a “shift”!  Can you feel it?  At this point, there is only ONE SIDE – HUMANITY!

When I first arrived in Costa Rica nearly 4 years ago come Christmas, I was looking for a place to finish my third book, work on taking care of my arthritis in my hips and allay any concerns about cancerous tumors that might be in this body.  I was open to options other than a senior citizen’s lifestyle stateside with all of the doctor’s appointments, co-pays, overpays, and just plain old “robbery”!  The lifestyle that I saw horrified me!  The stress that I was feeling being a constantly monitored “black man” in a country with hate and guns oozing out of the seams was insurmountable …  “Something’s bound to happen out here!”  It was happening over and over … the murders of unarmed black men across the united states of america …  Did I want to become another statistic like Eric Garner in NYC?  Then it came to me  …  “I’ve got to get out of here!!”

Okay, so since I’ve been here, I’ve noticed people working on the “shift” and coming to grips with outdated attitudes and behavior.  Did you think that something as wrong as “slavery” would last forever?!?  Would “you” like to be the slave this time … or … should we just put a STOP to racial and other forms of discrimination and prejudice?!?  I can’t hear you?!  I see even Elon Musk is ready to give up some of that money that he doesn’t even know what to do with to help save the planet!!!  There are other private citizens with money as well as world-renowned billionaires looking to invest in this shift.  The shift moves us from a level of “greed” to a level of heightened responsibility for the planet we live on.  It involves changing the focus from a world dependent on fossil fuels to one that is able and ready to function using solar, wind, even water-powered energy!

So, if you are “feeling” it, go with the flow …  Change those hate-filled, fear fostered attitudes and behaviors for a world in which we can all get along with respect for one another and planet Earth!  Who knows with clarity what’s beyond!  Embrace the love we already have and heighten it.  Practice respect and collaboration as we pull humanity from destruction’s door!  Rise up, raise our vibrations.  Let’s be the change …

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

Money Over Humanity

Happy Friday, All!

I’m feeling rather grateful this morning just because …  So, I’ll do the “TGIF” for ALL of us!!  Chime in your own way … just be grateful for the ability to be aware!  It’s a tremendous gift that the average person ignores and doesn’t even develop!!  Kind of like “sheeple” …  “If you don’t stand for something hopefully good for humanity, you will fall for anything.”

It’s becoming more and more obvious that “world leaders” are more concerned with amassing more and more wealth rather than being concerned with The Planet and its inhabitants as global warming and pollution wreck the planet!!  Money over morals is a deep rabbit hole that most people can’t crawl out of …  Whether we’re re-living the “Unite the Right” white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA, or … the ignorance of leaders and their supporters surrounding “global warming” and the destruction of planet Earth, we are facing a bigger problem than we’re ready to admit!  Number 45 said, “There were fine people on both sides!!”  But only one side was chanting, “Jews will not replace us!” and only ONE side drove a car into the crowd of peaceful protestors killing one woman and injuring several more people!  Were those the good people on the other side!??  I get tired of hearing this “side” crap as an excuse to be savage and inhumane.  Did Chauvin have the right to kill someone over a counterfeit $20.00 bill??  Didn’t Mr. Floyd deserve a fair trial?  Did you know that in Minnesota, you can NOT be arrested for a counterfeit $20 bill?  You are supposed to receive a fine and/or be given a court appearance. Obviously, a jury of white women, African American women, and a few African American men, and a few white men disagreed unanimously with Derek Chauvin and found him guilty of ALL charges!

The panel included six men and nine women; nine of the jurors are white, four are Black, and two are multiracial!!  

As a social scientist and a social activist not to mention an “anti-racist”, I seek to educate those people who are drawn into these rabbit holes out of fear and ignorance … and greed!!  It’s a tough job but SOMEONE (else) has to do it because the so-called leaders are lying to the people, especially those who are ignorant about issues like “white supremacy” and the evils of racism!!  Half of those racists don’t even know American history or the law and allow their fears and ignorance to lead them … into the rabbit hole!!  Educate yourselves people and stop letting liars ruin our country (our Earth!) through your ignorance and threaten democracy.  Democracy means rule by the people through trustworthy elected officials who represent “we, the people”  ALL of the people, not greedy power-hungry disinformation specialists.  Look it up, don’t spread disinformation.

As I often contemplate, the average person may not know the damage caused by treating a fellow human being as inferior because of their skin color (or anything else, gender, religion, and sexual preference included!).  It not only illustrates the FACT that the “racist” already has low self-esteem and may be worried that someone of another race will “take” something from “them” (a job, a house …), it gives them a false sense of entitlement or superiority that the racist tries to impose on its victim.  It also causes a tremendous amount of stress, fear, and discomfort, or insecurity that wears heavily on the person(s) that is victimized.  This treatment may cause a weaker person who is already demoralized to use drugs or become violent in order to temporarily escape the discomfort and/or retaliate.  Not an excuse, just an observation.  In the USA, it has already been proven for 8 years that an African American man (or woman) can lead a democratic country as well as a person of any other color, including so-called whites or Caucasians.  It is really acute ignorance that allows a person to use the color of someone’s skin as a measure of their humanity … intelligence or leadership.

In closing, I would like to reiterate that we are ONE human family whose interdependence is required for our human existence and survival on this planet … believe it … or not!  Learn to accept each other based on the content of our character while simultaneously NOT creating divisions that will doom humanity.  Now, if a person doesn’t care about that, we are doomed. Some humans are more concerned with their imaginary wealth rather than saving humanity!  Mark my words, watch and see.  Love and respect for each other are the unifying factors.

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

Thanks for reading!!

“Let Go . . .”

Happy Friday, All!

Last week on Friday, I was traveling from San Jose International Airport, Juan Santamaria in Alajuela to Ft. Lauderdale, so I didn’t have time to put a proper message or blog post together and send it before leaving!  I was saving it for today.  But first, let’s do the TGIF thing right quick!!  TGIF … BOOM!  Thank you kindly!

So much stuff happened over the past weekend.  I had to change my plans several times …  There was one event after another!  I learned so much about being flexible when traveling and trying to be courteous and de-escalating difficult situations when they popped up!  There is a song by a recording artist named Frou Frou called “Let Go!”  It’s a driving tune, alternative near punk music.  A former yoga instructor, Maria, introduced our class to some of Frou Frou’s music as we listened during our practices at LA Fitness … Maria passed away due to epilepsy and respiratory challenges several years ago (RIP) …  So, I put into practice the concept of letting go.  It made the “problematic” things become just challenges that could be resolved.  I worked through the flight’s late arrival at our gate for Spirit Airlines at the airport in Ft. Lauderdale.  Then once I finally got a shuttle (not the correct one), the rental car office where I had made and paid for a reservation was closed!  So, I walked into the office of “Nexxt: Rental Car” where the shuttle/van driver had left me, and soon discovered that I was at the wrong rental car office and would have to return the next day.  Things weren’t looking too bright!  I called my best friend there in Ft. Lauderdale who told me that they were at “The Elbow Room” on Ft. Lauderdale Beach!  The kind rental agent called a taxi for me which arrived after two tries and took me to the beach!!  Can you say “Let Go!”?

So, I arrived at the bar on the beach with my laptop, my carry on and my walking cane from Spain!  The security guard at the door of The Elbow Room looked me up and down carefully.  Then he said, “You can’t bring all that stuff in here!!”  I had to chuckle as I complied and explained that I was looking for a friend.  He told me to look from outside of the bar.  I finally saw Johnny.  He came out, asked security to put my bags in a closet which he did.  It was especially funny when he said, “I’ll put the cane in here for you, too!”  “Welcome back to Ft. Lauderdale!”, I thought to myself.  And the letting go continued.  I hung out at The Elbow Room for a few more hours until they called an Uber back to Johnny’s home.  I was glad to lay down somewhere since I had left my place in Costa Rica at 2:45 am that morning!  I was going on 24 hours of traveling!

The next morning, after preparing an “all-day” omelet and coffee, Candy took me to the Green Motion rental car office where I discovered that I didn’t have enough money on my credit card to cover the deposit … which I had forgotten about since I hadn’t rented a car in a while!!  Still … letting go.  But it was cool.  When I contacted my daughter to let her know that I wouldn’t make it to the resort in Orlando for my grandson Caleb’s birthday celebration, she was cool, too!  I felt better.  We did a video call Tuesday eve and I got to wish him a happy birthday!  Thanks, Ayanna!  So, Candy who had waited patiently while I was reminded of the security deposit drove me back to my buddy’s.  Later, we watched “Unhinged” starring Russell Crowe!!  I had never seen it!!! OMG!!  Sometimes, we can be courteous especially since we don’t want to push an “unhinged person” …

So, I am taking this opportunity to remind us that international travel is a bit tough for a “jet-set grandpa” … at least this one!  My plan was to get another chance to see my daughter and grandson, Covid test and vaccinations included as well as the new travel requirements from one country to another called a “Travel Pass”.  I’ve learned to be cool when things don’t go as I had hoped and keep moving forward!  “Let go … this too shall pass!”

I got a chance to see two members of the Zachary Family (RIP, Peter) whom I have known since being bussed to an elementary school as part of a program to integrate the previously segregated schools in White Plains, NY.  It was great to see Lisa at a club in Boca Raton where Johnny’s band played Saturday night.  She passed by to say hi and we hugged incessantly.  The next night, Christy Zachary came and picked me up and we went to her place on Hollywood Beach, FL to catch up.  Later, she treated me to a lovely seafood dinner … and then drove me back to Johnny’s home where I spent the last night of my stay on his couch!  Early the next morning, Candy popped by on her way to work near the airport to drop me off in time for my flight!  So … there was “peace in the letting go” as well as other options.  I continue to live and learn something new or different each day!

Thanks for reading!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

Over and Over … Until …

Happy Friday, Y’all!

Give it up for our Creator!!  TGIF, then!

It’s been another week of international drama, so, how are you all holding up?  Pretty well, I’m hoping.  So, the USA is once again “toying” with the debt ceiling and all of the well-off Congressional representatives get to decide what “we .. the people” deserve in some of the most challenging times the world has ever witnessed!  Do “we” really want to see or hear “Mushmouth” Mitch McConnell offer some alternatives for “the people” to consider as the deadline for raising the debt ceiling approaches?!?

Some of you may remember how I challenge people to consider racism as a mental illness … self-induced, at that.  I know some folks think that people should stop complaining about racism and its negative influences on human beings.  I think NOT …  Maybe “people” should cut that insane crap out.  Can anyone believe that a contractor can wake up every morning and go to a job where racial slurs are written on the restroom stalls and walls, where hideous drawings of black children are scrawled in plain sight!?  What is the reason for this type of behavior … IN the workplace, not to mention outside?  Perhaps then in the next breath, the culprit may utter a common stereotype that “… they are ALL lazy and don’t want to work anyway …”!?!  Are you crazy?!?  Not only did it take 4 years for Mr. Owen Diaz and his relentless attorney to close the case in which a jury awarded him $137 million for nearly a year in hell at Tesla’s work environment in California, but the word on the street is that MORE suits are being filed for the EXACT SAME REASON!!  The Tesla employees who engage(d) in this type of behavior are crazy if they think this crap is cool!!

As I watched some programs highlighting the slow down in the commercial supply chain showing the many containers in ports as well as the cue of cargo/freight ships streaming from international ports out into the planet’s seas and oceans, I felt pretty helpless.  Maybe we need to change the way “we” do things on the planet.  With additional earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, what do we think will happen next?!?  Or, can we think that far in advance?  Maybe a few more oil spills to cover more wildlife and contaminate the planet’s oceans might catch our attention.  Or maybe as some of the world’s most corrupt leaders say, “There’s nothing to see here!”

Keep in mind. please, we each can make up our minds, should there be such a thing anymore.  Are we going to be held accountable and responsible for our actions?  Or will we continue to demonstrate only greed and disrespect as we claw our way to the imaginary top?!  What about Mark Zuckerburg and Big Tech’s responsibility to the mental health of their customers  … or do we allow the greed to overshadow their responsibility?  Try telling that to parents of teens suffering from anorexia or those parents whose children committed suicide due to cyberbullying!  Trust me I know there’s a tough world out there, but if we help to remedy these ills, our grandchildren may inhabit a better planet …

Okay, so now that I’ve attempted to clarify how for me, racism is a mental illness employed by greedy, selfish, irresponsible low self-esteemed people let’s take a look at the position that the Pope is in regarding centuries of child abuse by some of the Church’s leadership and affiliates!!  Oh no … that’s a whole ‘nother topic in itself!!  Yet, let’s not forget what Asian Americans, not to mention Native Americans, have experienced at the relentless claws of racism.  I think the young people get it, but the outgoing generation has problems releasing the world leadership to them!!  It’s almost like the outgoing crew doesn’t want to let go of their imaginary power!!  Let’s hope that they do still care!!  Young people, ask your parents and grandparents what kind of planet they want to leave for you.  Hold them accountable … NOW!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

Roll With It . . . Sometimes!

Happy Friday, TGIF, it’s Friday and … “all that is good on Friday”!  Especially us!!

Okay, so … I know I talk a lot about a lot of stuff … yeah … “that’s what I do” … I try to write down the thoughts in my head as I’m traveling.  I try to record what I see and feel into words.  If I want to comment, I usually try to make it positive.  If not and I point out something in myself and/or “the world” we live in … something maybe not so nice, I also try to offer up a bit of motivation – take it or not – to make us healthier spiritually, perhaps.  Maybe even suggest some options.  Now, I see in today’s politics worldwide, so-called leaders point their bloody fingers at each other.  They simultaneously gorge themselves on their drug of choice – power – and seek to hurt anyone or thing that gets in the way of their acquisition of this drug for them.  They forget that they are supposed to be working for the good of humanity as these same leaders juggle different political systems to their advantage! 

I can’t sit and watch.  So I dig a trench somewhere safe and peaceful nowadays and offer tidbits of strength, hope, and love.  Is that bad?!  It helps me remain enlightened and positive. Maybe unnecessary for some.  The choice is each individual’s option, I respect and cherish that for myself, too!  Maybe you can find something good in it because I am NOT trying to demoralize anyone!  Please don’t forget that.  I’ve been hurt before like most “unentitled” individuals, disrespected, taken advantage of for various reasons (including being stupid or ignorant, if you will), and talked about by people worse than me.  I admit the errors of my ways, offer apologies when necessary, stand tall in my beliefs and get on to the next part of my journey!

This is one of those “That’s what I do!” messages a la Kevin Hart.  I don’t belong to a gang or anything, I don’t capitalize from low-level/energy activities … I worked ALL MY LIFE for a living!  In other words, I was raised by two morally sound people who worked every day for themselves, our family, the community and city they lived in … and also to the world with their positive energy and humble hearts.  Now, I am not looking for any handouts … Yet, I don’t plan to be thwarted or “eff-ed with” while I carry on with my life’s goals and dreams and balanced ambitions.  I come from a work-based background and seek to live that way helping others when I can!  So while I roll with some things, I don’t tolerate ANY disrespect nor “bs”.  A person should know where I am coming from if they find themselves with me at any point in their interactions.  Of course, I know that comes with familiarity with each other.

I am sure we have ALL had moments when we had been pushing so hard to achieve a goal, and, no matter what we tried could not make much if any progress.  It’s at points like these when we may need to re-evaluate our goals and determine if it (the goal) is something important and integral to our lives!  I don’t have the answers for anyone.  Yet, I do believe that if we EACH employ a very humble task of getting to know ourselves aka “Know Thyself”, we will find our own answers.  So as a humanitarian with an educational background in social science as well as an acute interest in making our world and existence a better place to be, I come to you!

Have a great day and a wonderful weekend!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

ps. Get the books, please! You might enjoy them or know someone who will! (From the Projects to Princeton, Three Strikes, You’re Out! and Cooking With Life; Cookbooks I, II & III, respectively!)

The Re-Rise of Racism

Happy Friday, y’all

Don’t fret much since we made it through another week!  So, let’s TGIF, if you will!

Yeah, trust me I know that this is a tough topic that few people want to have an honest, mature, maybe even intellectual conversation about.  The effects of racism can be observed in both the victim and the instigator.  The instigator, who is more often white complexion, uses racism to secure her/his comfort zone in a given situation.  The instigator creates a situation (ex: walking in front of someone waiting in a line) and does so to demoralize, bully, or intimidate the victim.  As I’ve stated before, for me racism is a mental illness found mostly in people with low self-esteem.  An unconscionable difference like skin color can become the determinant of how the instigator wants to interact with the victim.  Personal qualities not readily available to assess the situation are cast aside as the racist seeks to portray her/his dominance … until checked.  Can you imagine how many times I’ve had to “check” a person?!?  It gets tiring sometimes … but I got this!!

Why do people “hate” on others?  It’s an easy position to take but a tough one to defend!!  Why not use shoe size or buttock shape to indicate and determine a “superior human” being?!  Ridiculous, right!?  So is skin color …  I’ve seen the duality (dichotomy) of greed vs. responsibility in a paradigm to illustrate how an individual may shape her/his own position.  On one hand, the basic human fear of losing something … anything … elicits greed.  On the other hand, a balanced healthy self-esteemed person might choose to be responsible … and do the right thing!  In an environment filled with stereotypes, misinformation, and fear, toxicity flows easily.  Some people have little self-control and insight to admit the truth … even to THEMSELVES.  One of the main reasons for meditation is to separate myself from toxic fears and influences and seek a higher plane or level of existence.  In that realm of options, one can be sure to choose a positive vibration!!   One can return self-confident.

Whether we look at the horseback drama (now suspended) that took place recently on the Mexican-US border or, at European futbol matches, we find the re-rise of racism.  While many of us get to watch and judge these images on tv, imagine what it’d be like to experience what some of the Haitian immigrants did!?!  I doubt many of us would be able to walk across parts of South America to the Mexican border with family and belongings in hand and bags.  How would one like to change places with them?  Chelsea’s futbol star, Romelu Lukaku, has experienced the ignorant hatefulness of racist chants during futbol games.  He like many other stars on social media feel that the Big Tech companies need to stop the online abuse.  He says, “Some people harm themselves because of social media abuse.”  Who is responsible for these types of things?!?

What is it that the haters are missing?  In other words, what makes it so easy for them to attack another human being who has not done anything to them personally?!?  Maybe they are missing something to belong to … like the universe … not the Ku Klux Klan!!  One shouldn’t allow themselves to get suckered into the victim rabbit hole and then spun like a dreidel until the evil spirit gets its prize, including lunatic loyalty.  

Remember, racism as a mental illness feeds on fear … any fear … pick one!  Have that conversation with someone.  Make that conversation intellectual without slinging blame, names, and other things!  No need to “touch” another person either.  It is here where enlightenment may take place.  Until we learn to accept each other as equals as the “Great American Experiment” suggests, we can expect to see the re-rise of racism. 

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

Make A Plan

Happy Fridaaaaaay Yayyy!  I’m feeling chipper so join me in a TGIF!  (Use “Thank God I’m Friendly”!) TGIF, then!  Gracias!!

Since returning from my trip to the lodge at volcano “Arenal”, I have been contemplating another trip maybe!  But in the meantime, I have decided to work out with yoga stretches and asanas, push-ups and sit-ups, all poolside here if it is not raining. I plan on doing this 3 times a week while working on a healthier diet. While the pool is small, I am usually the only one doing yoga poolside.  I often take a quick dip and then sit poolside listening to my favorite music!!  That’s my plan for the next month or so …

Thinking back to courses I taught at City College in Ft. Lauderdale, FL I had a favorite – Personal Development.  I was an English/reading specialist for our international students and also served as the International Student Advisor for 2 years.  Other than my 10 years at White Plains High School in my hometown in New York, City College Ft. Lauderdale provided me with opportunities for tremendous professional growth and leadership.  Shucks, I even worked for a couple of years as an advisor to “The Ambassadors Club”, which was a group of upper-class students (sophomore, at least) who served as mentors for incoming students.  I had so many plans, I had to keep them in my Franklin Planner.  When I worked as a learning manager for American Express in Sunrise, FL for three years, they paid for managers to take a course in using the planner as well as a year of replacement pages. It was here where I improved my business Spanish skills since I had worked in “the Spanish gate” at AMEX taking escalated calls until being promoted to “learning manager”.

So, I share this essay with folks who may think there is something wrong with you … or your goal(s).  Don’t fall prey to self-doubt – change and modify the plan … not your goal.  Make it fun, carry a pad or notebook (old school stuff!) and keep your goals alive and well.  I have seen these palm pilots but haven’t found a need to learn how to use them … yet!!  A goal without a plan is just a wish …

Have a great weekend!

Peace,

John I. Cook. Director

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