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!


John I. Cook. Director

Being Alone …

Yep, Y’all!

It’s not as if we didn’t know that Friday was coming, right?!  Or, if we’d be here … so … TGIF with me!  Done!

You’ve heard the expression “No (one) man is an island!”  How far do we take that axiom?  We don’t ask just “anyone” to help us because it’s important to be selective in our interactions … safe even … and get the proper help!  When we’re spending time alone and feeling like we need “somebody” there with us, what are our options?!?  I am sure they vary as each of us does!  Sometimes, I enjoy positive memories when I’m alone.  That’s why I often seek to have wonderful experiences in my life and in interactions with people.  I do this thing where I mix prayer and meditation – talking to my higher power and then listening to It!  I have found that when I am alone, I can focus better on those positive memories, maybe through a song or poem.  I like lyric-less jazz (improv) music so I can entertain my OWN thoughts while listening.  THINK POSITIVELY as often as possible as your thoughts spin “your” reality.  Does someone think you are a jerk or not worth fine treatment?  Vacate the premises, my liege!

I used to always want to “right a wrong” or “defend myself” when being spiritually (or physically) attacked.  Now, I realize that “I am better than that” … than to sit idly while an underling has its way with me or act out of character!!  We see this in less enlightened individuals who seek confusion rather than harmony in their interactions with others.  This confusion is often a smokescreen in their attempts to manipulate someone and take advantage of them.  When I see a person saying one thing and doing another, I usually vacate the premises to avoid the negative vibrations!  You can ONLY help someone as much as they want to be helped, you dig?!?  Don’t waste and deplete your positive energy.  Be a positive role model instead and demonstrate how it should be done.  That’s how I keep my head to the sky!  Now, don’t get me wrong because I do a lot of self-checking and often do a personal self-inventory several times a day.  That’s how I spend my time alone if not listening to music and enjoying nature’s finest!!

It’s okay to be alone and not suck up to others who need attention.  I like to be seen out on the town, feeling and looking good, too!  So, don’t get me wrong ’cause I have learned how to mix and mingle with some of the finest people … and I thank them for that.  Time alone can be used for self analysis (awareness).  Just don’t be too hard on yourself because there are a lot of people we will meet with many different issues.  Be kind … be yourself!


John I. Cook. Director

“And Just Like That – Arenal Volcano!”

Happy Friday, now!  I can’t explain things sometimes, but just like that … Wham!!  It happens!  So, I’m going to start us off … TGIF, join me if you’re feeling it today!

When I was less thoughtful, less mindful of what I was doing at times, those “Whams!” were wake-up calls.  Usually, they were disguised as a “problem”.  Nowadays, since I “know myself” and behave accordingly, the “Whams!” are wonderfully surprising great gifts disguised as the present!  I know, I know, I’m just saying how things unfold sometimes.

This morning, I am slated to travel to La Fortuna in Costa Rica where there is a volcano.  So, since I have not gotten a chance to sit in a jacuzzi over four years ago at an LA Fitness in Ft. Lauderdale … Cypress Creek facility … I will be staying at the Volcano Lodge, Hotel & Thermal Experience this weekend.  Rumor has it that the lodge is located so close to the Arenal Volcano that you can not only see it looming in front but can experience the hot thermal water resulting from the volcano’s lava base.  I should be leaving soon on a shuttle bus for 4 or 5 hours.  Like I said, “Wham!”  The idea came and I investigated the trip so … it’s on!  I am excited because it is the first real “tourist” type of activity that I will be doing since I have been here in Costa Rica!!  Seriously … yes, I am retired but I still work a bit.  I mean, that’s how I finished the third manuscript … in my free time!  At first, I didn’t want to take the adventure alone …  But after briefly contemplating it and paying attention to the universe, I will enjoy myself with breakfast included each morning!

Needless to say, my hats go off to the survivors of the Hurricane Ida saga that threw floodwaters from Louisiana to Massachusetts!  Water was coming out of the subway system in New York City after going inside of it at different points and stages of the storm!  I really couldn’t believe my eyes!  So, I’ll close with a bit of gratitude for another opportunity to enjoy myself in my retirement … Pura Vida style!

Have a great weekend!  “Know Thyself!”


John I. Cook, Director

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