I Came Here to Heal

Happy Friday, Y’all! A special shout out to my friends in Ft. Lauderdale – Joel, Johnny Ace, Candy, CeCe, Seth, and the “Crew from Capone’s Night Club” and downtown FTL – in hopes that y’all literally “weathered the storm”! TGIF with me!  Done Deal!

Most of our lives were molded by our genetic makeup AND our particular environments and experiences.  Some of us had no choice in where we “landed”.  Others had plans in place already as well as the means to accomplish the goal of preparing their offspring to be ready to “run things”, you dig?!?  What about you?  Where were you supposed to wind up in “The American Experiment “?  You DO know that the country was an experiment at its inception with the Declaration of Independence, The Bill of Rights, and later the Constitution.  Yes, all an experiment.  But who was this country built for?  Who was conducting “the experiment”?  Who was the land pilfered from through trickery, greed, and superior weaponry?  If you haven’t answered these questions for yourself, you just might be living a lie.  Yet, I do know folks who are content with living and spreading lies.  Well, I’ll be damned!!  Imagine what life must have been like for farm hands in the Dirty South like my Dad, an African American male born into a status that was “one step above” slavery, newly manumitted, if you will?!?  Yeah, I had it a bit easier because of a soldier like him and his Dad, Robert Cook.  My Mother, Marietta Dolores, was his guiding light.

When I started to travel in my early retirement, I didn’t want to live the capitalist lifestyle of “making more money until you die”!  That’s what life looked like for me in my retirement if I had stayed in the States as I would NEED to work for someone else at one full-time job …  Or, if I didn’t want to work in my retirement like many other people living the “American Dream”, I could be homeless since my pension which I earned from endless days and nights and hours upon hours of work still wouldn’t cover the “American Bills”!!  LoL!!  That’s not really funny. While I wasn’t sure of my health as I traveled abroad after a biopsy revealed that I had cancerous granules in my prostate, I promised myself, since the granules were benign and not malignant that I would try to “heal myself”.  Physically, I had osteoarthritis and this prostate condition to deal with.  Spiritually and emotionally, I needed to heal from events in my life that had hurt me and restricted me from finding and enjoying happiness and peace in my life.  After traveling through Western Europe and then coming to Costa Rica, I continued writing, meditating, and praying.

Around 40 years ago after having a “honeymoon” baby with my ex-wife, my life was changed by a mother-in-law who had no respect for her “man” and told me that she would “take that (my daughter!) child away from me!”  I had never heard of such barbarism!  Yet, between her, my ex-wife who wasn’t sure of herself raising a child while trying to hurt me, and an extremely toxic environment in their homes, I had a constant struggle.  There were arguments and near physical fights over where our daughter would visit each weekend.  These women wanted to ruin my life, my family, and my happiness.  The envy and jealousy were clearly evident.  You bet it hurt while I continued to teach and coach at White Plains High School.  After her mother went to live with her grandmother, I tried to continue to stay in touch with my daughter.  These people made that really hard, too.  One afternoon, they “kidnapped” her in a car that I had to jump on top of as it sped away with my daughter inside.  The driver tried to shake me off of the top of the car in the parking lot of the City Park projects in New Rochelle, NY where her mother and stepfather lived.  It was non-stop drama EVERY weekend as these people would bully me for control of our daughter!!  Soon, things got worse and that family prevented me from seeing my daughter until we made an arrangement for visitation and child support.  That didn’t work either as I was still functioning, working, and living …  Once, my ex-wife’s lover surprise attacked me at her grandmother’s home in Norwalk, CT by running out of a bedroom when I had dropped off my daughter after she had spent a weekend with me in New York!  I was like “WTF”?!?  “I’m still here, Bitches!” THEY were still unhappy until my ex-wife ran away from New York to Virginia … with our daughter .. in an effort to keep her away from me!!  The drama was like a television series of the worst kind!!  And now, I’m trying to come to grips with the most recent drama where my daughter is not allowing my grandson to video chat with me.  She accused me of “being mean” to him while he was here because I yelled at him.  So, “she” wants me to believe that I spent a little less than $1,000.00 for my grandson’s passport and roundtrip tickets from Ft. Lauderdale to Costa Rica during his summer vacation … so I could be mean to him!! …  This is how “they” work … trying to make ME unhappy, crazy and using a child – my grandson – whom she wanted me to meet and get to know – to inflict the pain.  I need to stay away from this inhumane toxicity and embrace my retirement with open arms.  When my grandson was with me in Costa Rica, only ONE person EVER asked me how I was doing …  It was my grandson …  Fond memories, Caleb!!  I will continue to love and pray for him …

When “we” get hurt in our lives, we MUST heal ourselves or forever inflict selfish hurtful pain on those around us who try to love us.  This is the source of generational pathology passed on by unaware individuals who do not admit that they, too, have been hurt and abused.  Some people even think it’s heroic to deal with toxic others rather than embrace the truth that the other person is hurt and MUST heal, too.  How do we heal this hurt?  First, admit that one has been hurt.  Then, seek healing methods or professionals to counsel one back to reasonable mental health.  I like to travel, work out, listen to music and meditate.  Oh, I like to cook, too!  And I love to write …

So, when unnecessary drama appears in my life nowadays, I vacate the premises for my own self-preservation and happiness which only I am responsible for!!  You might not want to try this stuff at home or alone, but I am a soldier like my Dad was.  The only thing, I’m doing it alone …  No worries, I’m not complaining.  I’m proud of myself!  I might even treat myself to a trip to Medellin next weekend!!


John I. Cook, Director

ps. Thank you for reading!

When You Pretend to Have Mo’ Money …

Happy Friday, Yay!!  So, a cool “TGIF” might work, eh?!?  Vale!!

Do you know folks who want to keep up with the “latest” fads and fashions?  How about those who pretend (at least to “you”) that they are “rich”?!?  How ridiculous!!  And to measure a human life with a monetary amount … crude and rude!

Always something “new” to learn about us humans.  Greed is a demon as well.  Folks get carried away with that, too!  It can get so bad for some folks that they want to interact with “others” as if they are rich!!  What’s THAT all about?  Why does one need to feel “rich”?  That’s the allure of capitalism … everybody wants MORE!  Others “pretend” that they have more … in order to feed that demon!!  It seems to have infected many of our friends, family, and foes alike!!  So many lessons to learn for some of us!  I prefer to “pay attention” than to learn the hard way!!!  Did #45 really think that he would get away with “scheme after scheme on top of scheme”?!?  He did … and he still does!  I hope the legal system can check him, his family, and the cronies who employ that same ignominious technique!!  From where I sit, this “new way of thinking” … I use that term loosely here … simply allows “folks” to disagree with norms of behavior and even the law, sometimes … and make up a whole new narrative!!  This can become a problem for groups of people in a nation based on the concept of “laws”.  It can also be a problem for individuals who make up these groups of people, be it family or business.  For me, I try to live within my financial means and don’t need folks to think that I am “rich” financially!  I’m good!!  I prefer that people “think” that I am “broke” …  I’m full of surprises, too!  And of course, I sincerely thank several of you readers for your kindness, couches, and occasional help!!

I nearly gasped for air when I heard #45 say at a recent rally with a Q-Anon pin on his lapel that ” … America is no longer respected as an important country anymore …”  And to recall ALL of the dramatic stories from when he said that Pres. Obama was not a US citizen (birther bs!) and was an illegitimate president to how his NYC apartment “grows” when necessary, especially when applying for loans with great rates.  So, this is how one of the USA’s most recent leaders behaves … corrupt and criminal!!  I hope, though it’s late, that folks don’t emulate this sack o’ s**t!  With all of his many pending legal cases, “we” should be able to sink his ship!!

Very few people know how to apologize for their mistakes.  Then there are these “full-blooded fools” who insist that “they” don’t make any mistakes.  My Dad didn’t like a liar AND he never apologized … for ANYTHING!  But that’s because he was always “doing the right thing” for his family … all four of us in the Winbrook Apartments.  For a while, he even served as an armed guard in the very same housing project that we lived in!!  Do you think #45 will apologize?!?  Don’t hold your breath on that one …  “LOCK HIM UP!”

Have a great day, and a wonderful weekend, and try not to “fake the funk”, you dig?!?  Be REAL!!! RESPECT!!


John I. Cook, Director

So, What’s Next?!? American Politics, Stupid Stunts, and Fundraising

Happy Friday, mi Gente!  Here’s to hoping that you’re having a great week!  So, TGIF with me, if you will!  “Pura Vida!”

Yesterday was  Costa Rican Independence Day!  Hip hip … Hooray!  The story is quite interesting as to how a young “drummer boy” in the army eventually led the rebellion to liberate his country.  His name is Juan Santamaria.  The airport in Alajuela is named after him!  There were some “desfiles” or processions in various areas but nothing so commemorative here in Puerto Viejo that I saw.

In my retirement, I have found that if I have a few projects going to keep me busy and move my current living situation forward, I feel very comfortable.  After all, isn’t that why I worked so hard all these years?  Of course, it is.  Yet, I had a project of procuring my residency legally here in Costa Rica.  A while back, I had abandoned the idea and just decided to travel out of the country every three months as required for tourists and non-residents.  Yet, after being “stuck” in the process which I undertook on my own without any official legal help, a friend aka guardian angel informed me of the process where I was stuck with my background check – getting an apostille (official government approval) on my FBI Report and having it translated.  It is my LAST STEP in completing my application.  So, I am grateful to another “angel” who informed me of a company in New York that can help with the apostille process.  And, still to yet another one (angel) who informed me in conversation that I had to have my background check translated AFTER I get it with the proper apostille.  I’ve got about 30-plus days to complete the process after being given an extension by Migracion.

Meanwhile, back in the States, the “stupid politician stunts” continue!  Who sends South American immigrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard by plane?!?  Florida governor … Mark Duh-satan!!  How much money did he get donated to his political campaign to be the next president …  only the stars know!!  Between him and #45 who has gotten millions of dollars in donations based on the big lie and his legal defense, I don’t know who is the bigger (?) showman!!  It seems as if I used to tell my American History students that America is a business …  Imagine being the vice president of a country and a couple of bus loads of immigrants are dropped off in front of your home?!?  Just another “stupid stunt”!  I’m sure that you’ve noticed by now but folks do a lot of nasty stupid sh@t for money!!  It’s kind of like “prostitution” if you will … political prostitution even!!  How low can they go?!?  Then you hear these morons blaming the vice president for the lack of cohesion in Congress that might lead to a viable solution to this long-time concern of illegal immigrants on the southern border of Texas!!   Some of these political clowns use anyone and everything in their pursuits of political office in the United States of America …  The quality of leadership in the American political system has sunken as low as #45 and the MAGA group can make it … or not?!?  What’s next?!?

Try not to “pimp” yourself … for a price!  Just be a good person and seek to help those in need rather than always looking for a payout just for being a decent human being!!  I wonder what would happen if “we” sought to replace the use of money with “good deeds” … PERIOD?!?  It might take some time but there would be a “higher level” of human understanding, methinks!  What thinketh you?!?

Enjoy your weekend and try not to get “stuck” with stupid stunts to make a point!


John I. Cook, Director

ps. Thanks for reading!!

Don’t Stuff Your Feelings . . .

I just want to say Happy Friday, Y’all!  Youse knows the drill … if you will… TGIF!!  Thank you ALL very kindly!!

First, may I wish the Queen, Elizabeth II, of England a well-deserved rest … 70 years … that’s a long time to be “Queen”!!  Secondly, I want to give the Bidens and Obamas “props” for bestowing some decency and dignity to this “American Experiment”.  Some folks never heard that term – the American Experiment – and others could care less!  Yet, it’s hard to be a citizen of a country whose history and laws are not important and that one does not know.  Sheeesh!!  Ignorance IS bliss!!  The “first” African American president and his First Lady finally got their portraits finished and placed alongside the other “First Families” in The White House!  While class, style, intelligence, and dignity cannot be bought … or sold, I would agree with President Biden’s assessment of former President Obama and his ability to possess and display those rare characteristics of today’s world leaders!!  ‘Nough said!!

Have you ever wanted to say something or express a feeling like hurt or pain and were NOT allowed to do so?  Pretty uncomfortable, right?!?  Holding stuff inside contaminates one’s innards unless one knows how to digest the discomfort and toxicity.  When I was just a kid trying to learn how to manage my “angst”, my Dad used to ALWAYS suggest:  “Get a hobby or something …”  After all we had a “Hobby Shop” just up Post Road near the Projects!!  What a great idea!!  I started with wooden airplanes, then kites!  Soon, I graduated to making those tiny shiny model cars that you had to glue together!!  Soon after, in 4th grade at Rochambeau Elementary school, I took up the trombone!!  I continued playing until my freshman year at Princeton when my hometown group “The Whole Damn Family” opened for “Earth, Wind, and Fire” at Princeton’s Annual Cabaret my first year.  To this day, I still LOVE music … almost any kind of music!

Nowadays, I meditate on and ponder stuff so it doesn’t get the best of me.  Over the years, when I felt sad or exceptionally happy, I wouldn’t hold back!  I had the same challenge with anger.  I had to hone in on the sources of my anger and handle it better.  I still remember my Dad – Isaac Henry Cook – and how he must’ve overcome some tremendous odds in order to arrive in Harlem, NY post-WW II with his beautiful bride as they successfully escaped the “Dirty South” with help from friends and family who worked as porters on the passenger trains linking New York with Florida.  I took that same “train trip” a few times with one of my older siblings while my Mom and Dad and the other two kids rode in Dad’s two-tone pink ’57 Cadillac all the way from White Plains, NY to Tampa, FL.  That was often my summer treat or Christmas present during my childhood, whether in the car with the family or on the train with either Edna or Barbara (RIP) one of my two sisters.  I think back to when I was struggling with some personal issues and both my Mom and Dad stood firm with me, exhibiting a rare brand of tough love.  I needed the discipline to harness and develop my many gifts.  I know my Dad suffered as he watched his “baby boy” struggle with those damn demons!!  I could often see the pain etched on his face as he remained diligent to provide the basics for our family while Mom cleaned houses … (How could I dare let them down!)  So, I straightened up … real straight … stiff sometimes!!  But I still “let my hair” down and loved to dance and sing, play sports, and cheer for my favorite sports teams, often with my Dad who loved the NY Yankees and then The Mets!  (We watched a lot of baseball games on tv together as we couldn’t afford tickets to the stadiums to see the games in person.)

So, don’t stuff those feelings!!  Let them flow … it helps keep your emotions balanced, fluid, and healthy.  Of course, if you want to lift weights or run track to relieve stress and tension, do so!  Just don’t hurt anybody!!  When I meditate, and something makes me sad, I may shed a tear or two …  If I’m happy and grateful, I repeat “Thank You!” to the universe making sure that my feelings of joy flow, too!  I think my Dad had stuffed so much inside that it was the cause of his bone marrow cancer.  It ultimately claimed his 80-year-old life as he could no longer stand the pain …

Have a great day, a wonderful weekend, and a non-stuffy life!!


John I. Cook, Director

Thanks for reading!

Just In Case You Care …

Yes, yes, Y’all!  I’m at it again!  It’s Friday, right?!?  I’m living and breathing so I’m grateful right off the “rip”!!  TGIF with me, then!!  Thank you all very kindly!

Well, I’m here to tell you that while some parts of my life have been “unfair”, I still managed to learn some invaluable lessons.  One is “humility”.  I know for most people, humility may exhibit weakness or connote an “inferior” position.  Yet, for me, humility is almost like an x-ray … you get to see a person’s true character when given the opportunity to be arrogant, callous, or even a bully!  Sometimes, I get to “see” that some people begin to look for ways to consider themselves “better” than me or anyone else.  Right away for me, this type of behavior connotes some aspect(s) of this person’s low self-esteem or desire (need) to be better than others.  These are people who are not well-rounded and seek to take the upper hand when given the opportunity rather than demonstrate that they can “lead by example” and collaborate with others.  I know it’s tough sometimes to be seen as a follower.  I’m very particular about who I choose to emulate or follow as well as why “that” entity may matter to me.  While my humility misleads some to think I am weak or “misguided”, I still choose to display my humility for those who understand and have experienced how that helps to identify a true confident “leader” who is seeking excellence and NOT the upper hand.

Those of the readers who have been with me and my work as Educational Excellence know my “no-nonsense” style and approach to writing and what I advocate as Educational Excellence.  Mantras like “Know Thyself!” and “be the best that YOU can be” are integral to understanding what I do with Educational Excellence.  I speak out on things that others may shy away from or be ashamed or embarrassed to talk about or admit.  I also don’t “need” another entity to endorse me.  I have a “grassroots” approach to social science and “education”.  The “world” or universe … is my laboratory and I am seeking to contribute my love of peace, harmony, and humankind through the gifts and talents that I have been able to identify for myself!  Is that a bad thing?!?

Of course, our world is in turmoil as we humans have turned Planet Earth into an amusement park where “your guess is as good as mine”.  I applaud the people in position(s) to challenge these self-proclaimed leaders and advocate the interests of the WHOLE PLANET!!  People like Merrick Garland and Volodymyr Zelenski (Navalny, too!) who challenge our “modern monsters” and autocrats are great people.  We can’t let these “misfits” lead us to self-destruction!!  To witness American citizens making excuses for a former president who told over 30,000 LIES during his administration and is now suggesting that the FBI is dishonest as they try to retrieve confidential and top secret documents from this moron’s “beach house” is hideous!  Some complete morons compare #45’s stealing of government and taxpayers’ property to returning a library book late!!  This fool better be prepared to pay a big fine with his big mouth full of big lies!!  What a disease, all of this lying crap.  It seems like too many people have lost the capacity to tell the truth, to be peaceful … to be civilized.  Well, I won’t be quiet about stuff that bothers me and many others.  I will expose what irks me even if it comes from my own behavior or that of those family members who also disappoint me with their corrosive behavior!  I’ve got nothing to hide and I hope those who challenge me and my logic are prepared for an experience because I don’t back down.  I know I step out and speak up on some controversial ideas and topics but I have thought through what I say and it comes from a very confident and decent person … ME!

While I must admit that we have some “chronic crazies” in our world, I still have faith in and believe that there are more humble, honest, and talented people who have the continuance of humanity on the Earth, our home, as an important goal!  And you?!?  You don’t have to do anything, but let me do my thing … it shouldn’t hurt too much!


John I. Cook, Director

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