“We Are ONE!”

Happy Friday, All!
Yes, yes, y’all!  Time for a grateful T.G.I.F. even!  “Just Do It!” is still one of my favorite “slogans” in my lifetime!
This has been a pretty “power-filled” week for me.  I got a lot done in “my life” with things that are important to me.  My daughter reached out after I had contacted her a week or so ago and asked for my address . . .  I was flattered and honored!  It’s the “little” yet important things that make a person like me happy!  I am waiting for the “mail” to arrive and anticipate its contents.  Thanks, “Kid”!
This has also been a week when I learned the importance of “minding your own business”, as well as the power of my Creator and its many many resources, me included!  It’s a warm feeling when you know that you’ve done the best you can, all ones’ intentions are good … then the “universe” has got “your back”.  For me, all these “elements” are intertwined, kind of like us humans.  The Creator, “natural law”, divinity, “God” and the “universe” are all intertwined.  It would be a “fool-hardy” person who attempts to tamper with such “powers” … believe it or not!  I think of our connections as humans in the same way.  We are “weaker” when we separate “ourselves” … with some freaking policy of government or some housing zones or train tracks … or a color or religion.  As I sit here this morning composing this piece, I am looking at one of the most magnificent marvels of nature … the rain forest!  The peace and the power it commands is quite intriguing!  I wake up each morning, thank “Creation” for waking me, and then I immerse myself into the “universe” beyond the windows here.
I am a great music “aficionado”.  I enjoy classical, which I learned to play trombone with such tunes in 4th grade.  I marched in a band in “junior high” school toting my shiny trombone down the streets of White Plains for the Annual Memorial Day Parade with the “Highlands Jr. High School Marching Band”.  I played 2nd trombone in the orchestra, sitting next to Robert Boydstun who still plays his to this day.  We are still friends today though via Facebook.  The “silky soul” group called “MAZE” featuring Frankie Beverly has found its way back into my music playlist.  “We Are One!” has been stuck in my head for “dayssss” and the message has sunken in!  It was just before MLK, Jr. Day in the States and I encountered this tremendous music video by the group with footage of the struggles of “the people” in the States … the African American people in particular.  It is so well done, with footage of the “Civil Rights Movement”, Rosa Parks, Dr. King, Malcolm X, the March on Washington in which Dr. King delivered his “I Have A Dream!” speech, the “Black Panthers” and more!  I was born in 1954, so I witnessed the origins of the Civil Rights Movement and was able to take advantage of the opportunities that “opened up” for me, thanks to my mother’s intuition and guidance, and a lot of “lives lost” … men, women and children … of the Civil Rights Movement.
I am hoping that with the universal changes that some of the “gifted” humans can get on course to make some drastically needed changes.  I wonder if we had a “before” and “after” photograph of “The United States of America” … say in the early 1600’s … and lay it side by side to compare with one of say, yesterday 2019, to be exact!  Some of “us” would say, “Look at the progress!” while others might suggest that there is a lot of destruction that we “intelligent creatures” should have been able to avoid.  Perhaps, we as a species have been looking to develop “money” and “power” rather than seeking the enhancement and continuation of the human civilization.  Can you see that other things are important, like the planet on which we are doing all this stuff?!?  Or, are we too hungry for “material wealth, power and money”.  Those things alone will NOT continue “our” civilization.  In fact, many of us are becoming “savages” as we loose our way through the menageries of societies to build more “power and money” for the “political/economic elite”, which unfortunately, is an “illusion”.  It will be “gone” when “we” are “gone”, unless we decide to take some important steps to “save ourselves”.  “Let’s UNITE”!
In closing, y’all, “no matter what they do”, we are one!  “Our love will see us through, we are One!”  “Right from the very start, we are One!  Deep down in your heart, we are ONE!”
Have a wonder-filled weekend!
Peace and blessings,

What Is Karma?

Happy Friday, All!
Thanks for putting up with me!  I ain’t perfect but I know how to cheer “T.G.I.F.” every Friday!
Hopefully, there was no “huge” problem with getting last week’s e-mail yesterday, in particular those who didn’t sign up with Word Press yet to get the notifications.  Have you ever noticed that “you” were late realizing something?!  Like, that you had done something wrong, had even thought that “you” had gotten away with it until there was a “gentle reminder” from the “universe” that “it” knew that you had done something wrong?!?  Any of you readers believe in “karma”?  It takes some “maturity” and a lot of “spirituality” to realize that … “you ain’t foolin’ nobody but yo’self!”
Well, needless to say, I believe in “what goes around, comes around” … especially if “you” sent it!!  I don’t see how folks don’t understand that their behavior is being “observed” by “a power greater than ALL of us”!  I use to believe that there was like a “score card” on “good things done” in one column and “bad things done” in another column.  Once I realized that I liked doing “good things” more than “bad things”, I got rid of the “score card” concept, just to keep ME on the straight and narrow path.  I always feel better doing “good stuff”.  What about you?!?
Well, “life” here in Puerto Viejo is rather interesting from time to time, though my latest lesson has taught me to “stay to myself” unless genuinely invited otherwise!  “Coolness” for me.  Still, I have to remind myself “what I came here for” … to finish my third book!  I would also like to live in peace with the universe and have the best quality of life possible considering the challenges.  I am up for it, like I have always been for a “good time” or a “good game of anything”!  It’s so funny when I meet people here … who “think” they know me, but they don’t.  People still look at a “brother” like myself and imagine that I am “anything” other than what I really “am”.  Some people find it “hard” to believe because they are so “stuck” in the past and have never seen ‘the over-comers’ in person.  So, they go to what they have been taught either around the “dinner table” or hanging out with their favorite “chums”, probably also ignorant like them!  I love it when they finally realize that “they had me all … I said ALL … wrong!”  Either “they” smile and walk calmly away, probably angry because they were “wrong” about me … and they don’t like to be “wrong” about anything!  Or, they refuse to believe what they JUST learned … about me … from ME!  It was so funny, a guy who I thought “knew” me asked me in a rather “challenging tone”, “Why did you come here anyway?”  He already had some misinformation about me and some of the associates I have here so I knew he wasn’t ready for this!  I replied, “I came to finish my third book …”  You could hear crickets … and it was daytime.  I “dropped the mic” and walked away.  I am anxious to see his demeanor when we encounter each other again.
I have made a few mistakes in my life that I KNOW were “handled” by “karma” and my Creator, if you will.  One of the things that I always liked about the Bible was the many “scriptures” that still apply to our lives today … and always.  The “stories” are trying to teach us “humans” morality.  As you look around the world today, especially so called “leadership”, we can see that there is no longer any morality amongst THEM!  Now, I am NOT anti-atheist as long as “one” has morality.  Be what you want … just don’t pretend that you can “judge” me … ’cause we are pretty much the same.  I don’t need to do anything to you when you “offend” me (or anyone else) because the “universe” will GIVE YOU just what you need!  Of course, that might be a “swift kick in the a$$” from a mule, not the person you intended to offend! BOOM!
Let’s go forth with wisdom, kindness, pride for our existence, peace and love.  Challenge “evil” with “goodness”!

John I. Cook, Director

When You Try to Do Something(s) Good, Negativity Comes Around!

Happy Friday, All!
And if you haven’t already done so, let’s do a “T.G.I.F.”!
Yep, I am at it again!  Trying to identify “the enemy” aka “life’s challenges”, and move quietly, peacefully …. lovingly, if possible, past (or through) them … learning to enjoy the journey!  We all know about “good” vs. “evil” …. God vs. the devil, even “the yin/yang” concept.  I am not sure if those “opposites” have appeared in “your” journey, but they have been around my life forever … no pun intended!!  They often serve as road maps, this duality, though most successful endeavors require the tenacity to get going and often “pure grit” to get to a more placid plateau!  Quite often, I might add here, the challenges are within our “selves” … “we” created them, for one reason or another.
Health-wise, I am feeling some improvements!  Life is more enjoyable for me without screaming sirens every ten minutes and screaming people every other minute, not to mention “hostile” people seeking their goals in a world filled with others.  Like I mentioned earlier, I haven’t seen even a fist fight out here.  The energy of the people, somewhat fostered by the environment and the lifestyles in the Caribbean, is much more laid back.  While people still “play” their games, no one is visibly trying to hurt someone else in the street.  New Year’s Celebrations here in Puerto Viejo witnessed one death that I heard of … a deaf/mute woman of African/Jamaican descent was hit by a “hit and run” driver, left and … due to the challenging infrastructure of one road going in both directions and New Year’s Eve traffic, help didn’t arrive in time.  For me, the supplements of collagen and stinging nettle I take each day as well as the daily curcuma (tumeric) tea with ginger base and black pepper added with a splash of honey seem to be giving some long term relief.  The pain of the challenged hip area on both sides still comes and goes.  Yet, with a tablet of diclofenac (pain relief and anti-inflammatory) of 100 mg. in the morning, the pain is reduced so I can feel more comfortable.  As the day continues, I take doses of the “total extract” (CBD w/thc) as needed for pain relief.  I move slow, deliberately  (like a sloth!) … no running and jumping and trying to meet someone ELSE’S deadline(s).  I plan way ahead if I have to do something, including shaving and showering and/or going out to a restaurant or to enjoy “the Caribbean streets”!  At this stage of my life, retired and all, if I have to rush for it, it’s probably NOT meant for me … ’cause I am not rushing no where for no one.  The life-style and environment here are extremely therapeutic.  I am grateful to be here.
Like most of us “humans”, I have identified somethings that I want to accomplish as a goal “this year” … or whenever.  I have  noticed a pattern when heightening my “efforts” to achieve something … that demons come out of the “woodwork”.  That person who once seemed so calm and helpful is now seething with envy at “you” because you are actually “doing” something with your life!  Maybe “you” are doing it better than them or “you” are more successful or getting the “attention”  they so crave.  Has that ever happened to “you”?!?  Shucks, I have had people say, “I am trying to help you!” to which I reply, “No thanks, I don’t need that!”  The “universe” or our spiritual realm often challenges our intentions or goals, especially if they are too “self centered”.  It is almost like your positive energy and intentions “attract” negativity or the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish.  Sometimes, that negativity comes in the form of people who are envious of you and seeking to do you harm.  Other times, that negativity comes in the form of an unexpected “event” that gets “you” AWAY from intended harm or a hostile environment!  I have found that I MUST read the spiritual signs along the way because there are clearly “evil efforts” trying to get me off the course of my goals.  I have had so much “drama” in my past relationships that I am almost afraid to get involved and perhaps encounter “unnecessary drama”!
So, do your “spiritual” push ups (meditations) and keep your energy moving in a positive direction with something like yoga, swimming, walking or martial arts … or anything that brings you peace.  I promise you, if you are anything like me, the “journey” will continue to be filled with experiences, both yin and yang, good and evil, love and hate, peace versus violence.  I encourage “us” to choose wisely, for some things said and done cannot be reversed.  Pay attention to your inner workings, learn about your own strengths and areas needing improvement … and WORK on them … evolve them even!  Be patient with yourSELF with unconditional love!

John I. Cook, Director

Apologize, Be Humble . . . Stand Tall!

It’s Friday again, Folks!  I am feeling chipper and grateful … simultaneously!!  So … “T.G. to the I.F.”!!
It’s the first Friday and weekend of the New Year!  What are you going to do with it!!?  I hope something worth your time and experience along the journey.
Hey, tell me (you) something … Is it hard to say, “Look, I am sorry for that comment … ” or, am I the only person who has trouble with that one?!  I am “my Father’s son” and he didn’t like to say he was sorry, let alone that he ever did something wrong!  As a result, sometimes, I am overly grateful or thankful (I might say “thanks” a bunch of times!), but I don’t shift into the “I am sorry” mode too easily.  Yet, me, like my Dad, had to learn that “we” do stuff that is incorrect sometimes …  He for sure did NOT like to apologize as he felt, I think, that it would erode part of his authority base in the home.  My mother would occasionally apologize on behalf of “Dad”, especially when he “went out on a limb” looking for a culprit of stolen cookies or “chump change” left on the kitchen table.
As the New Year and Full Moon got closer, I felt a variety of sensations in my body, emotions ebbed and lulled.  I realized that I had to make a long overdue amend to a person who had helped me out a few times, in particular when I struggled with one of my demons and was “under the influence”.  I fought that demon and won, though I am ever so careful of what I put inside my body today!  I reached out and made my amend, I felt better … I felt like I had permission from the “universe” to move on and continue on my journey.  This, according to astrologers, was the time for “new beginnings”, not just New Year’s Celebrations.  Many of us “miss” that journey within which sometimes culminates in tears of joy as well as tears of a forgotten pain we once had.  I have learned to apologize for my “poor decisions” nowadays because I have come to understand that no matter what … “We are ONE” and all connected in one way or another.  Yes!  I wanted to “get my balance on” and move forward into a new year with renewed hopes and aspirations, continued goals and good behavior, and as much “peace and love” as I can conjure up along the way!!  What about YOU?!?
Our “egos” as humans are often way too big.  As I learned in one 12-step program, “ego” stands for “easing God out” and letting that ultimate selfish demon “in”!  Oh, hell no!  In my past experiences, and there have been many, I have found that when I let the “ego” take over, everything is “fake”!  I don’t feel too good, I am not proud of myself … and I don’t like feeling like that!  It feels contrary to who I really “AM”!  How many of you readers “know thyself”?!  You can lie for a minute to yourself, but you’ll come around, hopefully sooner than later!  We each have a gift … it is called “the present” … and if we tarry with it too long, it becomes “the past” – gone!  Can we ever get those opportunities back again!??  Will we be able to “recognize” the opportunity the next time the “universe” gives “us” a present moment to enjoy and evolve?!?  I hope so, folks!  It works for me.  I can apologize, being very humble, I can regroup … so far … and I can once again “stand tall”!
Make some changes, if necessary.  Be honest with YOURSELF with those changes …  In other words, “know thyself” a la Educational Excellence!  Enjoy your day and have a wonderful weekend!  Thanks so much for reading.

John I. Cook, Director

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