Who Do You Trust?

Who Do You TrustIt’s Hump Day again . . . Middle of the week even!

Are we there yet? No! Not the weekend … the last weekend in October 2013. How’re you feeling today? Here of late, not that it is the first time I noticed it, people are scrambling to find something, someone, almost anything to believe in.

Just yesterday, I noticed an article comparing the repairs from Super Storm Sandy last year in more affluent areas to those in less affluent ones. There was a discrepancy: less income areas have had “less” government monies come in to repair damages caused by the Super Storm than more affluent areas that had “much more” government monies come in to aid repairs after clean up! We here in the USA have boasted that we “uphold democracy” while it is clear that here at home, this is not the case. This has come up over and over and over and over. Nothing changes. The conversation continues. Do you trust elected officials?

It has been demonstrated throughout history that human beings have always looked to some form of religion or supernatural intervention, if you will, to alleviate some of our human woes. There are things like sickness from old age, birth defects from young age and everything in between that peak our interests in some “divine entity”, if you will. It seems that our elected officials, church leaders as well, not to mention our own family members have placed “self” before “others” … more often than not. If this is true on a larger worldwide scale, and has been happening more and more over time, what is the future of human kind?? Do we take time to think about those things? Or, do we have the intellectual conversation with words coming through our lips but nothing … NOTHING … permeating or changing our actions. “Acts speak louder than words!”

I had learned some years back, through my own life challenges, that most people have trust issues. The average person has been lied to, cheated, mistreated and intentionally misled by those they trusted the most. Those with illnesses and human frailties have been mistreated and abused beyond our individual comprehension. What is happening … what has been happening … to the fabric of human societies? Is this why so many young people (and adults alike!) are attracted to organized religions and in some cases cult-like groups similar to “Scientology” or Christian Science? Where have our basic human values gone? Or have we given up on “helping each other” and decided it is best to be “each person for him/herself”? I think it is time to resurrect some of the most delicate human values that bind us ALL together – TRUST! One person at a time . . .

Peace be with you!

John I. Cook, Director

“And The First Shall Be Last . . .”

the firstHappy Monday, All!

Yes, folks, it’s another opportunity to live this life! Now, don’t get me wrong, I know how hard it can be sometimes getting out of bed. But think back, perhaps, to how you got that “bed”, not to mention the roof underneath where it sits. Some of us may be better off financially than others … Does that make anyone a “winner” or a “loser”? Perhaps, financially, at least. Often, there are repercussions, like health care, or food … maybe even psychological care and related issues that can be better served if one is a “financial winner”. But is this life we are living “a game”? Do you think some of us are trying to win while others of us are trying to lose? Think a little longer … maybe a little deeper.

Well, this past Friday, a long time case was finally concluded in Fort Lauderdale. This time, there was no “racial profiling” issue, nor was there any overt “drug monies” involved. But it was “money”. Could it really be the root of all evil? Anthony “Little Tony” Ferrari, apparently a mob-styled boss in SoFlo, was found guilty of the gangland style murder of the former “Subway” owner Gus Boulis. This was one of those cases right out of the “story books” where “Little Tony” was even seen making threatening gestures to the State’s key witness during his testimony! Mr. Boulis, also former owner of SunCruz Casino out of Fort Lauderdale, was killed due to his interest in re-gaining control over the lucrative gambling cruise ships that allowed folks to play on the ocean. Apparently, “Little Tony” had the same interest … so, he had him killed! Another alleged conspirator, “Big Tony”, will be charged as soon as his attorney’s health is better. Boulis’s family sobbed in contentment after the verdict was reached. “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we practice to deceive!”

Does it matter to you who is “first” or who is “last”? Does it matter how much someone has as compared to what you may or may not have? Is that the meaning of life for you? It leaves one with a bit to think about. Are you happy being you, or do you want to be someone else each morning when you wake up? Could you simply be “a better” you, rather than NOT you at all? Whatever you do, “Be yourself, because you are you!”

Peace and namaste,

John I. Cook, Director

“Life Is Just A Moment . . . Yeah, Yeah . . .”

Roy AyersYes, it is Friday again! And I’m going to do it … T.G.I.F.!

I have a friend from my boarding school days at St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH when we “went” co-ed there. She is quite a lady who wanted to remind me that most of my writings deal with people who work 9-5, Monday through Friday. So, she wanted me to give a shout out to those of “us”, including myself, who work running their own businesses, which include hours longer than Monday through Friday, 9-5pm. I reminded her that I knew, and I DO, too, work ’round the clock often, seven days a week! So, you can still enjoy my typical “Hump Day” messages and T.G.I.F. messages, too! ‘nough said.

Over eighteen years ago now, a group of “us” came down from New York with my mother, after we had packed up her apartment in White Plains at an apartment complex not too far from the Winbrook Projects, and even on the same street, South Lexington Ave. It is called the Grant House. I drove the largest U-Haul truck that they had with all my mother’s belongings in it, since my father, Isaac Henry had passed away some years earlier. I had just gotten back from Cali, Colombia, South America, where I had taught English for five years. My mother had even come to visit me on Easter, also known as “Semana Santa” (Saint’s Week) in Cali. So, my niece Fawn, the daughter of my oldest sister Barbara Anne (RIP), her significant other, Jill, who passed away yesterday morning …. RIP, my mother and I had a caravan all the way from White Plains to Ft. Lauderdale, Fl, where I currently reside. Well, as I stated, Jill passed away Thursday early in the morning. Life is just a moment . . . you’d better enjoy it . . .

Next month, I will be honoring my mother, Marietta Dolores, again on her 8th year having departed from us. It is usually a difficult time for me, though last year, I didn’t weep as much. But last night, after explaining to my daughter, Ayanna Lynne, the situation regarding Jill’s bout with … and loss to … cervical cancer, I became very “mystical”, as my friends from my teaching days in Cali used to call it when someone seemed preoccupied with things NOT of this world! Some tears covered my eyes as I laid myself down to sleep, and, I remembered Jill, who was also like a family member who had often visited Fawn at my parent’s apartment. I also remembered my father who lost his bout with bone marrow cancer at the age of 80 in 1989. He died in my arms, riddled with the pain of this dreaded disease, blowing out his last tablet of morphine prescribed to ease the pain. He was looking in the corner of the bedroom in the Grant House (he wanted to die at home with his family), just as my sister Edna had arrived from a road trip from Florida with her youngest, my nephew, Kyle, having just been born.

“Life is just a moment . . . you’d better enjoy it!” -xylophonist, Roy Ayers

Namaste,

John I. Cook, Director

NOTE to Self . . .

Note to selfHappy Hump Day, All!

Yes, it is middle of the week, so much in local news as well as international, right?! There has been a “new” drug discovered that is being used on the streets that supposedly comes from Russia!!! Another wonderful gift from the Soviets, heh?! It’s called “Krokodil”, and supposedly is cheaper than heroin . . . And, it is an opiate drug that has been cured or mixed with gasoline . . . And, it rots the user’s skin away from the inside. One doctor in the USA who has been working with heroin addicts who were “slipped” krokodil instead said, “When I walked into the room of patients, all I could smell was rotting flesh!” Note to self . . .

And yes, we’ve managed to see Congress avoid the continued shut down as well as default on our national debt. Just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I will stick to no comment today. The head of the department (HHS) that has been designated to “roll out” the Affordable Care Act website¬†has made a statement that I like as well. Now, all eyes have been on the POTUS, for sticking to his “guns” during the government shut down, and, on Kathleen Sebelius, who said, “If I had five years to get this ready, it would’ve been much much better. But, we didn’t have that much time!” She sticks to the fact that she will not resign because of the glitches in the website for the Affordable Care options. Note to self . . . “Give people a chance to do their jobs!”

I don’t know about you but I often leave “notes to myself”, either things I would like to write about, or need to research, or things on my “to do” list. Years ago, when I worked for American Express as a “learning manager” for the telephone service center, they had given us classes on how to use “The Franklin Planner” system. Ever since then, I realized the importance of leaving physical and mental “notes to self”. Give love a try! Note to self . . . Have a great day!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

” . . . Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall!”

some rain must fallHappy Monday, All!

Some of you might be asking yourself, what’s there to be happy about? Well, we could start with the basics … breathing, reading, speaking … and maybe progress to something a bit more substantive … getting ready for work or school! Definitely several things to be grateful for … happy, if you will!

Working at developing Educational Excellence has become a life style … I look to incorporate life sustaining practices into the spiritual company’s format. I have been given suggestions from time to time, like … make a book from the anecdotes that I write every other day. Some have suggested “life coaching”, which I have also been familiarizing myself with lately. Needless to say, these usually require some investment and training as well as a support group or staff! I’ll get back to you all sooner than later on this.

Yes, Congress has gotten back to work, so to speak, and “60 Minutes” last night had picked up on a topic that I had done just a little research on – Benefits of Members of Congress’s Family Members! What I had suspected and found out is that while there are certain laws that keep the congressional reps from spending official monies on their families and personal trips, there is a loop hole, called I believe “a pac(t) account or fund”. These monies, donated by supporters and citizens whose political philosophies are aligned with the representatives’, or vice versa, can be used to pay family members for campaign related work. They can also be used for “special events” identified as helping the representative and supporters “actualize” their common goals, say, perhaps in a golf tournament! It was interesting to listen to comments about “90%” of Americans who are supposedly seeking entitlements like food stamps and medicare/medicaid! Needless to say, there is no comparison to these types of entitlements …

Everyone faces challenges in their lives …. some more than others. Once we have learned to minimize the challenges in our lives, it is then and there where “tough love” or “karma” or God’s blessings, if you will, must enter ones life. Also, last night on “60 Minutes”, there was an update on the medical ship providing service in particular to people on the Coast of Africa who are suffering from facial disorders – the Africa Mercy Ship. They … the organization … has received an incredible donation from a wealthy couple who saw the first segment on the “60 Minutes” program focusing on the relentless work done by the staff, especially doctors, who often pay their own way to participate in the Africa Mercy Ship’s voyages and healing! Peace be still.

Have a great Monday, count ones blessings and be a blessing, if possible!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

” . . . And The Winner Is . . . “

The WinnerHappy Friday, All!

Aren’t you glad this week is finally over … with all the drama created by Congressional representatives who finally allowed the nation to avoid a default after an extensive shutdown? So, may everyone say, “T.G.I.F.”!

I don’t know about any of you but it seemed that the shutdown was kind of like another “forced election”! I mean people were still coming out of their closets with the nastiest ideas that their meagre brains could muster ….. about the President! Yes, of course we live in a country where “freedom of speech” is an integral part. Yet, some folks think that after the POTUS, whom had been depicted as anything from a terrorist to a primate … and called everything from the “n-word” to a socialist, can not say that the Tea Party was holding America hostage as they tried to influence Speaker Boehner and his cronies to keep the shutdown on until the POTUS and the nation “surrendered” the Affordable Care Act! Was it that his assessment was precisely on point and he was able to “cut through the crap” without using the race card? Would any of us admit that this is like The Civil War Part III?

Well, picture this: There was a “man” with a confederate flag outside of the White House … not your house or my flat … but the White House … in 2013, after the POTUS was elected TWICE … waving a confederate flag outside of the White House! Does that seem normal to any of you who know this nation’s history and what many of our forefathers, parents even, have fought to address the issue of racial discrimination of African Americans? How about seeing Mr. Ted Cruz, who spoke way too long about changing and maybe even eliminating the Affordable Health Care Act with veterans at the World War II Memorial taking down barriers so vets could visit the Memorial!? Wasn’t he the guy who wanted the “shutdown” and pushed for the default even until … the people … even some republicans … wanted the government to pay its bills and get back to work!? I mean, are some Americans really so anti-Obama or … I won’t say it, it has to do with the “race card” … just ignorant to the fact that the Memorial was shut down as were hundreds of thousands of other federal jobs BECAUSE of “muppets” like Ted Cruz!?

Okay, I am done here. Of course, those of you who know me know that I don’t like to entertain such illusions as the political climate in this country … land of the free, home of the brave … with undertones of whatever types of injustices that Dr. King spoke about! Do people actually listen to people like Ted Cruz? How about John Boehner? Or are these guys mere cronies of a greater “social movement” aimed at discrediting the first African American president of the United States? Be honest. Besides, one can only lie to oneself!

Go forth and enjoy the weekend. Remember, it is “each one teach one” on the grass roots levels of “love”, because some folks are less interested in humans enjoying our natural state of “love, peace, harmony, bliss, truth and purity”. Yet, I still choose love! Have a great weekend!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

“Just In Case . . .”

Just In CaseHowdy, All!

Happy Hump Day, anyways! How’ve your weeks been so far? I mean, we had “Columbus Day” on Monday and I decided to give you all “a day off” from Educational Excellence’s e-mail. Hope you didn’t mind much. I also took a day from work to get an x-ray of my hip/psoas nerve/muscle area because my “discomfort” there hadn’t really subsided. The x-rays came back without any visible injury or complication but the doctor in the ER gave me some medications, including pain killer and an anti-inflammatory. She also gave me the name of an orthopedic doctor that Holy Cross has “on call”. I pray I don’t need him.

So, the week goes on … the representatives that we voted into office still haven’t learned to “lead nice”, so “we the people” continue to wonder what’s next! Will the government face default on our “bills”, as the POTUS has encouraged ALL not to embrace? It’s amazing to watch the continued “finger pointing” as the “ship” faces default … as if pointing fingers is the solution!!

This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending a workshop on “Love and Forgiveness” presented by a good friend and Brahma Kumaris “yogi”, Marianne Weiss. I hadn’t been to an event at Sister Ganga’s home in Miramar in over a year, as she is out West and I live Northeast of her. It was definitely a workshop to be in attendance. Interesting thing about the Brahma Kumaris is that the core value is “peace”. When we met, which was through Ms. Weiss at a Big Brothers, Big Sisters administrative meeting where I was marketing Educational Excellence, I didn’t know that we shared the same “core value” – peace. I have been “other routes”, if you will, in my lifetime, but I find the “know thyself”, peaceful route, acknowledging each of us as “energy” makes more sense to me, and feels better! Have you ever noticed how people can talk for HOURS about someone else and their challenges, rather than talk about themselves and ones own issues?! Our workshop was successful not only because of the stellar presentation skills of Ms. Weiss, but we each talked about “ourselves”, allowing others an opportunity to see oneself in “others” experiences! How radical, heh?!

At the end of the workshop, most of us agreed that there is a negative side of what we call love, and that is attachment. Love is no longer free when it becomes attached to something … some THING … that we want! Egos get bruised when they are put in the way and the fear that is generated by attempting to recuperate a bruised ego can be catastrophic indeed. Sister Marianne finished the workshop as we had started, speculating that if everyone really knew what love is, without attachments, we’d have no need for forgiveness! Believe it … or not!

Just in case this whole thing going on called the human experience gives you any concerns and you wonder where humankind is headed, choose LOVE!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

Columbus Day Celebration

Columbus DayHappy Friday, All!

I’m going to go for it … T.G.I.F.! There, I said it! It’s about time Friday rolled around again! What have you got going on?

Well, it looks like the “Big Boys” are talking, which means there might be a re-opening of the Federal Government. No speculations as to dates and exact components of the talks but it’s about time people stopped pointing fingers and got back to work. While there are some members of Congress who have been said to have donated their salaries, or not accepting them right now, there are still others who haven’t. We, the people, continue to point fingers and look for excuses to keep doing the same immature behavior … but there is none. The only reason some of us can still point a finger is because we are not affected by the government shut down, at least that we can “see”, better yet, feel. Most of us still have food on our tables and checks from our jobs as we live paycheck to paycheck. So, we have enough energy to raise our fingers and point!! Get over it already!! “Big Boys”, get back to work, reopen the government and follow the law!!

It’s a long weekend for many of us while banks and schools in most places as well as the post offices are closed. Monday, October 12th, is the traditional Columbus Day as it is this year. Any Breast Cancer activities to attend? Well, this Sunday at Esplanade Park in downtown Fort Lauderdale, near the IMAX Theatre and Discovery Museum, there will be a “Glam Doll Strut” sponsored by WSVN Channel 7 and others. I attended last year and it was definitely an event to remember, as was the “Save the Twinz” event I attended last Saturday! The ladies (and some men) dress in pink and parade in teams or groups with different displays of themes to support and acknowledge an awareness of “breast cancer”. News host, Lynn Martinez, will emcee the event that, given the weather, should be well attended as the “Glam Dolls” strut their stuff!

We all know the story by now of the controversial views of “who discovered America” as well as “how can you discover something that was already there … and inhabited”, so I am going to leave the politics for another discussion. I won’t entertain this right now. Be close to one another, something we could “discover”, and seek to help one another. No … it is not socialism … it is called “loving they neighbor”, as so many Christians claim to believe, as it is written in the Bible. I am sure that people like Mother Theresa, the Dalai Lama … even Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wouldn’t have a problem if we decided to work together … as human adults!

Namaste,

John I. Cook, Director

“It’s Never Too Late To Learn Something . . .”

Never Too LateCan we find the space in the corner of our mouths to say “Happy Hump Day”?!

Mr. Boehner, Speaker of the House, and GOP “leader”, is it Hump Day yet? Is there something new we can learn to do?

How many times have you encountered the need to learn something? Maybe it was something new, or perhaps it was something that you knew already but had to relearn it? To forgive, to love … as is the topic of a talk by Brahma Kumaris, Marianne Weiss this Saturday … is something we often re-learn, if not learn it for the first time. Here of late, I am interested in learning more “reporter” style writing and have a professional friend, Kevin McNeir of the MiamiTimesOnLine.com, who has taken some time to show me the art of reporting, which I’ve always been curious about, since I often blog and do the EE E-mail Family pieces. It was just last evening that I sent a yogi friend, Christen Scott, a message for feedback on some issues, including treating an aggravated psoas nerve and muscle that I’ve been dealing with … she gave me her advice.

Well, I say this to say that I hope the Republican Speaker Boehner, clearly directed by Tea Party Initiatives – and I use that term loosely, continues his journey to help the POTUS re-open the United States Federal government as enough people have suffered, nearly died in some cases, and continue to struggle in most cases. I did hear Speaker Boehner say on a newscast last night that, “I agree with the President, we should pay our bills.” What a moment of enlightenment that must have been … for him to actually SAY this!

May we keep our positive thoughts and energies moving to encourage our “elected officials” to finally bring the nation back to a functioning status … believe it … or not!

Happy Hump Day, y’all!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

“Decisions Decisions . . .”

Decisions decisionsGood day, All! And I’ll dare to say Happy Monday!

How were your weekends? I hope they went well for you. I don’t know about you but I had the pleasure of attending my first Breast Cancer Awareness Event on Saturday called “Save The Twinz”. For the past four years, this organization has been acknowledging the need for additional awareness of the illness that affects both men and women, but there have apparently been more cases of women faced with this challenge. Thanks to a wonderful organizer friend, Andrea Jean-Baptiste CEO and President of Axum Management, I was able to attend and enjoy it. I am presently gathering more information to attempt to put together an article for the event.

Is anyone concerned with how long these … um …. representatives in Congress will take to get the nation’s government up and running again? The report I heard is that each day of the shut down is costing the American taxpayer hundreds of millions of dollars …. I wonder where that’s coming from!? Are these representatives really as intelligent as they claim to be? Blocking the opportunity to take a vote to get the government back up and running has been the Tea Party’s latest contribution, if you will, to this century’s political developments. Does it seem that they are having a tough time making a decision? I think we all are faced each day, several times a day, with making life altering decisions …. peace be still!

This past weekend was a time of regrouping and relaxing, organizing and re-organizing elements in my humble life. Some of the decisions I am faced with are simple enough while others can effect my life for the next ten years or so, should I have that much time around here! How do you handle decision making? Do you wake up and say to yourself, “I’m going to have a wonderful day!”? Or are you less optimistic wondering how you may need to forge your day to take advantage of someone or something? I recall one morning not too long ago when a guy driving a big SUV was weaving in and out of traffic as we both approached a red light. Needless to say, since my vehicle is smaller and less powerful, I let him go ahead and simply changed lanes from the one he was in. I threw my hands up in amazement how someone could want to race to a red light at 8am in the morning! I wished him a nice day in an attempt to diffuse possible road rage, and he wished me a “shitty” life!! Do you think he has good “karma” …. a happy life maybe? I doubt it!!

Enjoy your Monday with simple hopes and dreams and take them one day at a time.

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

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