Don’t Be Frightened In To Submission: CHANGE!


Yes, yes!  Another Friday … so … uhhh … T.G.I.F.!

I know, I know … I stayed up last night reading about the shooting at a newspaper office in Maryland yesterday … peace be still …  So many folks are saying, “When will it end?!?”  Obviously just our saying that doesn’t do “diddly” squat!!!  We have to DO something!!  It is called “change”!  Some of you may ask, “How? And to what?”  And until you “understand” how and to what, one will be in submission of a broken system that uses your fear to power it!  Now, I am not trying to be crass, but some folks just WANT to be crazy … or at least act it … because they KNOW it frightens “you”!  Hey, y’all … don’t get in my face with that “-ish” … I will redirect your efforts!!!  Now the thing with you “folks” who are charmed with “adult bullies and liars” is that you have no (low) self esteem.  “You” have given your self esteem to the “bully and liar” in hopes that “it” gives you what you want!  Did you get it yet?!?  I know, and you won’t!!  That’s the nature of a “liar and a bully”!  That’s what they “do”!

Some of you reading may remember me writing about the 4th of July last year on Ft. Lauderdale Beach where I had lived over the past 20 plus years.  There were barriers ON the sidewalks of the beach so people had to walk to an intersection to cross and traffic was moving slowly already so the City of Ft. Lauderdale put those barriers up for safety reasons …  The city bus was permitted to drop passengers off at a location of “their” choice, but NOT at the intersection, again for safety and smooth traffic flow on the heavily populated beach as celebrants hung out ALL day and waited for the firework displays on the beach at night!  I was one of the celebrants until after getting off the bus and attempting to walk to the intersection due to the barriers placed on both sides of the street’s sidewalks … a speeding motorcycle cop rides past me and a friend from France and yelled, “Get out of the street!”.  I replied, “Where are we supposed to walk?”  The rest is a simple case of a “power hungry” public servant … imagine that! … with a gun!  I was issued a ticket after a lengthy delay while the “public servant” looked for a reason to arrest me.  He couldn’t find one, which is why he asked for my identification or license … so he could “run it” and find out everything I’ve done wrong … And if there is anything outstanding that they can bolster their business (incarceration in the States IS a business) with and satiate their feeble egos by bullying someone and ordering them around … because they have a gun, handcuffs, a badge to justify detaining you, and a bunch of “goons with guns” to back them up, they DO IT!  Are you afraid yet?!?  Nope … not me!  I believe in a power greater than any “sucka” I know, including myself, so try frightening someone else … I am NOT going to fight you … but I will TALK to you!!  Can you handle that?!  If not, let me be ….  This “character cop” couldn’t find anything on my “rap sheet” to arrest or detain me for … ON THE FOURTH OF JULY … so he wrote me a “fake ticket” for walking in the street when a sidewalk was available.  After I had filed a formal complaint with “Internal Affairs” for the “fake ticket” and the hostility of the officer who ordered me to sit on the curb where he told me NOT to walk, my driver’s license got suspended and I had to hire an attorney to fight a “fake ticket”.  The Internal Affairs sergeant replied to an e-mail I sent him a few days ago, as I had not heard anything except the notice from the State that my license had been suspended.  His response was:  “After a thorough investigation, we have concluded that Sgt. Schoen DID NOT violate any department policy.”

So, understand then … racial profiling IS a department policy as well as writing “fake tickets” to citizens in retaliation for the citizen questioning said public servant.  Am I afraid now?!  HELL NO!  I want to help CHANGE this crap shoot a.s.a.p.!  That’s why I write … you dig!  Yet, I will NOT jeopardize my freedom and dignity by living in a place that does THIS!  You may ask, “Are you angry?”  I will answer, “No, I am enlightened!  Are YOU?”

A guy from the states who lives here now shared a TED Talk with a group of us Wednesday night at Barry and Nanci Stevens monthly “pot luck” dinner for ex-pats and others living and volunteering in Puerto Viejo.  The title was something to the effect of: “How can we learn to live together”.  It introduces an alternative to the Western corrupted concept of democracy.  It is called “sortition” or representative random selection for officials in government with support from informed aides … I will do some more research to bring you the facts of what and where to look for it, if interested.  I am suggesting that we NOT bend to corruption and public disorder and that we NOT be worried by clear displays of hatred by government leaders and on down to your neighbor.  Let’s get together and CHANGE this!  It’s everybody’s planet … NOT THEIRS!  Okay, call me corny but I still think “LOVE IS THE ANSWER”!

Have a great weekend!  Don’t be afraid!


John I. Cook, Director

Where I Find Magic . . .

Happy Friday, All!

Aren’t you glad we have arrived and are on our way to a great weekend?!?  “T.G.I.F.” … will do!  Optional interpretations apply (ie. – thank goodness it’s funny!) … plenty of room in here so, come aboard!

It’s been a great week … to the point where I noticed more moments of “magic” around.  One of the first things I heard when I came to Costa Rica, in particular Cahuita first then Puerto Viejo where I am seeking residence, is that this place is “magical”.  Now, quiet as kept, I have been one of the biggest skeptics of magic … I’m just saying.  You know, all self centered and stuff … thinking that everybody came to the party to see me!!  Just kidding … graphic example, though.  Soon, I realized that there are multiple moments of this “magic” each day!  One has to tune in to it … but tune out the “noise” FIRST!  Then … and only then … you can see the magic.  Let me back up … I speak for myself!

Brief elaboration on that concept of “witnessing the magic”.  If you are so busy trying to … say … drive quickly so you are not late to work, you might miss the smile on someone’s face at an intersection who thought you looked nice today.  Or, in a moment when your life flashed before you … say in a canoe mishap and near drowning (true story!) … and you are rescued!  Don’t forget … in this case … I won’t forget … I was surrounded by “angels”, beautiful spirits of love inside human bodies … that wanted me to live!  Same thing when I had my motorcycle accident … some “things” (angels, perhaps) carried me from my speeding motorcycle to the asphalt after I was ejected when my front wheel hit the curb of the exit ramp.  No human was there … nothing broken … me … not dead …  Do I believe in magic?!?  You bet!

So, I finally found out the type of “background check” I need.  After calling the American Consulate, speaking with operators who knew more than the consulate counselors in one situation, and sending e-mails, I will need to travel stateside again and get prints taken and sent to the FBI’s Identity Unit in Virginia …. just to make sure that I am not one of “America’s Most Wanted”!  I can do that … I need to check my mailbox in Ft. Lauderdale anyway and my birthday is Friday the 13th of July!  I think I’ll make a two or three day trip of it.  Still checking for affordable flights.  It’s kind of a simple magic, if you will.  I have met some nice people here, including my new students from the Bri Bri tribe here in Puerto Viejo.  One couple’s little boy, Angel Gabriel, celebrated a birthday at Nanci and Barry Stevens’ home at “El Puente/The Bridge”.  He was so cute … he turned 5 … and he didn’t even know it was his birthday until the presents started appearing from Nanci and Barry’s home!  There were two balls, a couple of toys … Finally, he looked at everyone with the biggest brightest smile and said, “Hoy son mis cumpleanos!”  Do you believe in magic?!?

Okay, so in closing, I want to mention that I am meandering along a writing routine and tackling this next manuscript.  This past week, a former co-worker from a tough time in my life, and current friend who has overcome some tremendous odds as a single parent of autistic children, Tia Frosland, posted something on my Facebook page.  It read: “Tmee (I used to call her T-me because her name was Tia …) I saw your book, “Three Strikes, You’re Out!” at the library in Coral Springs (FL)” … “I remember you were talking about publishing it.”  I did publish it several years ago after the first “Cook Book” and hoped but never believed it would get to a library bookshelf!!  This … is magic … and I helped!


John I. Cook, Director

Plan Something . . .


Yes indeedy … it’s Friday again, y’all!  T.G.I.F.!

Shake off the unnecessary “elements” and let your hair down … (if you’ve any!)  T.G.I.F.!

It’s been a very decent week for me all things included.  I found that after I swim, which I have modified by moving my hips as little as possible, I am sore for three days!  I swam Wednesday … light stuff … wading near the shore mostly.  It feels good to let the waves move over and around ones body gently … up and down … side to side.  And the water is so comfortably warm with cool spots the further from the shore you go and the deeper the water.  I gave myself the acupuncturist style self massage (hard to reach my feet … forget my back!) and carried on my usual schedule yesterday.  I had a few visits and took my leisurely walk to Puerta Pirata down by the water.

This morning, I am still a little sore … but I have a PLAN!  Do you know what those are?  Do they have to be “airtight” at first?!?  Let’s agree that practice and experience at a chosen task or skill is paramount.  We live and we learn …  I still think that much of the “educational system” needs revamping with an intense focus on “ourselves” – the human body, our surroundings (galaxy, -ies) and our relationship to ourselves and each other.  It’s going to take some genius, some patience … and some planning!  If we each start with “ourselves” and maybe a small group (like the earliest “churches”) and make a promise to “be the best that we can be” … each and every day, we may be able to “save ourselves”.  Shucks, we could call it “Plan Save Ourselves”.  Of course, we can have back up plans and alternative plans … and we can modify the initial plan as needed.  But most importantly, plan something!

There are a lot of graduation and commencement ceremonies going on “world wide” as we enter the beginning of the summer season.  This was a time of year where for me, in the past, I did graduation closing ceremonies and made speeches for programs at the Urban League of Broward County.  For the most part, I find that the concept of planning is important no matter WHAT kind of system we replace the current one with or that we use to modify our current “system”.  Here in Puerto Viejo, I have had occasion to meet many young people with plans of recycling plastics, plans of purchasing property and establishing eco-friendly “housing” including self sustenance farming (growing basic perhaps organic crops).  At this time, there are many “wild life” sanctuaries where they actually gather endangered animals (bats included) and attempt to nurse them back to health.  The goal is to release them back in to the “wild” … or what I like to call … nature!  I met one young man here who had gathered quite a following with his business plan to purchase property and build an eco-friendly environment to foster basic projects including improving trash removal and recycling.  “Veysel” came complete with a fair amount of savings to invest in his project, a drone … I was impressed, a rental car and a PLAN!  I don’t know about you, but I have developed a technique to first calm myself when a crisis arises … and then formulate a plan to counter the crisis, or at least “manage” it so it doesn’t get out of control … if possible.  I am usually able to come up with an alternative right there on the spot.  It, too, comes with experience.  I see Veysel as indicative of where we need to go and what we need to do!  Good luck!

In closing today, encourage those graduates from “wherever” to consider our world situation, identify where one might be most helpful to improve the world situation … and make some PLANS!

Enjoy your weekends!


John I. Cook, Director

“We Are ALL Connected”!


Happy Hump Day, y’all!

How’s the week going for youse?!  I hope it’s all “Kool and the Gang”!

Yesterday … and Monday were good days!  I started feeling confident about the new manuscript.  I organized some time and stayed in my cabin.  Once doing that, I began to look over my notes … plugged in my thumb drive … and brought up the copy of the manuscript on my desktop.  It looks “doable” …  I went out Monday afternoon  and picked up a few groceries and went back to the cabin to write … and relax.  Tuesday was kind of a repeat  but I went out for an ice cream though.  I tuckered out in the afternoon and left the thumb drive in, my resume up on the computer … and took a nap!!

Monday was super, too, because I got an e-mail from the American Embassy where I correspond for a national background check as well as THEIR approval for me to apply for residency here.  It is called a “comprobante” from what I can understand.  So, I replied to the e-mail as requested and am awaiting a reply.  I still have a form called an “Expediente” which means that I am in the process of applying for residency and can come and leave Costa Rica without any legal issues!  That’s important for me a variety of reasons.

I am sure that many of “us” have heard the expression that “we are all connected”.  How many of you agree with that?!?  The first time that the statement was proposed to me, I must admit that I began to look for reasons NOT to be connected to various people – because they got on my nerves!!  However, as time went on, I realized that there is a “power greater than myself” … My Creator … who calls the shots.  (I saw a gent yesterday with a shirt on saying “Call the Shots!”)  How many of us want to “call the shots”?  It is tempting.  Yet, if we want to call the shots in our OWN lives, thereby not affecting others negatively, then CALL ’em!  If YOUR “shot call” affects me negatively, we will probably have to modify something … at least … “our” relationship!  I don’t need YOUR “shot calling” to mess up MY life … nor others!  How many of us know how to “Let Go!” when you can’t call the shot?!?  How many of “us” know how to stand up and state that a particular “shot call” is not functioning well for me and my loved ones?!?  Yeah … Let’s talk!  You all are the people we need at the “front” of good things!!  I have no time and little patience for a “person” who talks about doing everything … yet, does NOTHING!!!  In truth, humans have the same composition, thus, “we” are connected … with EVERYTHING!

Enough said for a “hump day”!  Go forth and enjoy … if you aren’t already!


John I. Cook, Director

“People Get Ready …”


It’s Friday!

I’ve got to do my bit of praise for my Creator today … and everyday … T.G.I.F.!

I know that we ALL remember the number of songs in our life times about “People Get Ready …” for something!  The most famous is the renowned “Negro Spiritual” – “People Get Ready … There’s a train a coming; you don’t need no tickets … you just get on board.  All you need is faith to hear the diesels humming; Don’t need no ticket, you just thank the Lord!”

Do you think that we need a “change” in humanity?!?  No brainer, right?!!  But change to what???  That’s the secret … well … one of the secrets anyway.  The next secret is “how” do we carry out this “change” that has been coming for what seems like FOREVER!  By now, we should all be able to see that the change will probably not come from “the top down” … meaning from human leadership, which we are lacking at this moment in human history.  Many people “don’t think that we are on the brink, about to sink” if we don’t implement some very serious changes and soon … and sweepingly.  With the election of the current president in the US, “humans” have been forced to take sides … because he doesn’t care about any humans!  This person is like a catalyst, we thinks, to bring all of the “dirty laundry” out that has been stored for hundreds of years in some people’s ancestors “closets”.  Now, it is coming out!  Most people don’t TAKE time to THINK!!  They just pick an issue like “race” or “income” or “employment” and hang their hats on it, so to speak, without having done any thinking let alone research on that “issue”.  Some people are posting things and saying things … yep, even tweeting nonsense!  I hope all you Canadians know that according to some people’s “leader”, you guys burnt the White House in the War of 1812 even though “the” colonial troops were fighting a revolutionary war against ENGLAND!!  I know one guy who still supports this character even though it makes no sense from the standpoint of who he is …

Okay, so many of us who are able to “distance” or remove ourselves from the “harsh gears of the machinery” can see where the change has to come from … inside!  Each individual has to initiate a personal revolution to revamp “ones” own values and self education (we need to learn about humans … our “history” but the TRUE history … of how we survived for centuries, curing ourselves of illnesses).  We need to stop pitting one human against another and do away with this competitive aggressiveness that has thrown our natural value for “sharing” with one another to make the experience (journey) of being a “human” more fulfilling … literally into the “trash”.  Look around … every country and every city … many people are still “trapped” in to this way of thinking that they have to be better than their fellow human.  That way, these “troubled souls” can feel superior to someone, which is NOT a characteristic that aides in sustaining the human civilization as a community.  Be logical.  Then, some of the more feeble minded creatures “buy into the illusion” that one race or religion, or head gear or skin color and lip shape has caused “their” own discomfort in this “fake” journey to compete for everything down to the last crumb on the Earth! (Imagine how long that would take!)  Well, this is why we have to change this “crap shoot”!  “The hunter has been captured by his game!”

Hey, start to think about peace and harmony, helping one another rather than criticizing each other every chance we get.  Let’s start to look at our values … and OURSELVES … to see where we can improve our individual selves FIRST.  Grasp honesty and truth, stop “one upping” and lying to each other about all of the fantastic things one has imagined one did!  Besides, you are only fooling yourself!  Okay, alrighty then, I hope you see what I am driving at.  As one “friend” often says when the conversation gets challenging, “I don’t care about that anyway …”.  Well, I am here to tell you “DO CARE” and check yourself out!  You might need to make some changes!

Enjoy the weekend!

Peace Out,

John I. Cook, Director

“Death Be Not Proud!”

Happy Hump Day, y’all!

Remember, “we’ve got to get ova da hump”!  I am in a great mood this morning … just grateful!  Have you ever had that feeling … lately?!  I get it quite often here.  Now, everybody is different.  In fact, we each are different at “different” stages of our lives!!  Most folks don’t consider “death” to be part of the process of our lives as we know it.  There is so much intrigue and fascination with the “hereafter” and what happens next!  Most people don’t think that far ahead about “life”.  We have been conditioned and trained to focus on how we will maintain “financial independence” in a “world economy” based on capital.  When do we get a chance to “look at, care for and love” ourselves?!?  “Retirement” is the catchphrase very commonly used as the time when you get to “love yourself”!  What were “we” doing the rest of the time?!?  What if we run out of time to “love ourselves and be loved by others”?!?  “Oh well …”

I think back to my days of studying “British and American Poetry”  at St. Paul’s School and one writer’s poem, “Death Be Not Proud”, caught my attention.  In that poem, John Donne attempts to discredit the power of “death” over our lives.  It seems to me that we live each day not keeping track of where we are or who we are as we try to sustain a system whose goal it is is to sustain itself at our “expense” – physical, mental and definitely spiritually.  In my studies of sociology, I read a lot of “material” attempting to deal with the “aura” of death.  Most of such material emphasizes “death” as the “end of life”, not another stage or “level of existence”.  How does that make “one” feel?  For me, I WOULD feel rather “finite” …. like after this, I won’t be “needed around here” anymore!  But I don’t … I have learned to embrace the concept that there is “life after death”, that we are spirits consisting of energy that has inhabited these bodies we carry around!  Sounds “spacey”, right?!?  It sounds better to me than “you are no longer needed here – just die!”

Just a couple of days ago, I was at my favorite “hang out”, Puerta Pirata, and one of the well known ex-Pats here, Cleo Robertson author and business woman extraordinaire, made a comment.  She said, “You heard that the guy with the bad leg who rode the bicycle all the time … he died somewhere a few nights ago and the vultures ate him.  Well, you know … we all go back to nature somehow.”  I sat there for a minute … I remember the guy.  At first when I would speak to him, he wouldn’t respond.  I kept it up … and after a few weeks maybe a month of me seeing him and saying hello, he replied.  According to Cleo’s account he was suffering from many health issues.  He was a “regular” around town and at one super market that I pass each morning on my way to the beach.  He, too, was homeless … it seems.

At this time, I have been feeling extremely relaxed and have been organizing things that will make living here more comfortable.  Some folks ask me, “Is this your ‘forever happy place?'”  And my response is, “For now, yes!”  Do I have to be “finite” in order for folks to understand me … or themselves?!?  I beg to differ!  While my mother struggled through her last days of “life” with Alzheimer’s and high blood pressure before her fall and ultimate brain hemorrhaging, she often talked about “transformation”.  Many of the Bible passages she read as death loomed at her door referred to this “transformation” after death …  I became curious about this “transformation” thing and have begun to explore how it might apply to me.  What thinketh you?

A quick yet special “shout out” to a very special friend, pilates and yoga instructor, spin specialist, Orange Fitness expert, mother and wife and daughter … sister, too … wishing her a Happy Birthday yesterday!  Lydia Richardson sent me an e-mail reply last Friday that made me appreciate her … and the friends like her whom I have been able to make along this journey … more than ever!  Catch you later!


John I. Cook, Director

Summer Time, Summer Breeze!

Happy Friday, y’all!

It’s that time again . . . T.G.I.F.!

We never stop “growing” . . . have you ever heard that before?  It’s something to think about, because if one doesn’t think about it, one probably WILL stop growing.  This topic opens a “can of worms”, so to speak, about something that science as Western civilization goes has not confirmed – the possibility of alternate realities.  I know, it is a bit too deep for a Friday … with a waning Full Moon … and lots of rain here in Central America.  So, I will stop here for today on this subject.

Summer seems to be here in this “reality” and I am waking up to some steady though not horrifying rain in Puerto Viejo.  I am thinking of traveling maybe “stateside” at the end of this month as I still have a PO Box there in Ft. Lauderdale.  I have the necessary documentation to travel and return to Costa Rica and am planning on staying and renting the cabin I am in.  Sometimes, people ask me if I want to buy property here.  I always give them my stock answer:  “No, first because I don’t have that kind of money and second, I don’t want to be tied to anything that requires too much maintenance!”  I am feeling that “free spirit” existence around this time and summer time certainly adds to my state of “listlessness” …

It’s June 1st and I want to welcome summer time … whether it be warm breezes and cook outs … or tropical rainfall and omnipresent heat.  Do your best to enjoy it!  It’s another season in your life!


John I. Cook, Director

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