“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.

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!

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 …

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!
John I. Cook, Director

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