I Unapologetically Choose ME!

Happy Friday again one and all!  Join me if you’re feeling thankful that you made it to Friday.  I don’t know about you but I used to often take my good fortune for granted.  So, join me with a TGIF, if you don’t mind!  TGIF, yes!

We all should know what “good fortune” means.  Too many of us, me included in my past, took this good fortune when it came, for granted.  I didn’t realize what I “had” was not monetary or material.  Yes, it is good spiritual fortune.  It came with the need to be creative in finding solutions to some of life’s challenges at different times.  For me, this fortune was elusive to my wandering mind when the answer was sitting on my nose.  It was obvious … I didn’t realize or “see it” because it wasn’t material, ie – a new car! – or financial like a new better paying job!  It was more spiritual, if you will, like faith and fortitude, gumption and desire!  There was no fear in tackling a new project that fell in my lap or a situation I may have “found myself in”!  It happens to all of us.  Some of us pay attention, and some of us don’t.  Some of us aren’t looking for anything spiritual at first like me.  We look for stuff that we can show off to others with that “look what I’ve got!” as they show you something or anything material.  I have gotten so disappointed looking for the wrong reward in the first place.  I have this spiritual warrior gift that I found myself located in the middle of my chest.  In sports and other somewhat competitive activities we used to call it “having heart”.  Perhaps facing up to my shortcomings and finding a positive desire to remedy this/these shortcoming/shortcomings successfully.  And not settling to be defeated… but find a viable solution.

After several personal challenges had taken their toll on me, I had to try to not only understand why these things happened but how.  Then, I turned my case over to a Higher Authority – my Spirit!!  I patiently and somewhat painfully looked at my options.  Be happy … or NOT!  Easy choice for me.  Now, how do I do that?  Take a trip … with MYSELF … and enjoy myself … and just let go!  Trust me … easier said than done.  So, I went to Medellin.  The positive vibrations I carry made a way for me.  I wasn’t thinking about anyone else and I wasn’t trying to “take anybody” with me!  I chose ME!  I hadn’t been to Colombia since I had lived and taught in Cali … Colombia, that is, since 1995!  I had taught at two private bi-lingual high schools there and even had the opportunity to teach technical English at La Pontificia Universidad Javeriana.  (Look it up)  I mean, I had just applied for a high school teaching job with a woman, who with her husband, ran what was Colegio Bennett.  The growth I experienced while I prepared courses for technical English for fields of study including engineering, business administration, and psychology was incredible.  So, in teaching these bright, hungry, and intelligent students at this well-known Jesuit university in Colombia, I had to learn these concepts and ideas in Spanish!  They were waiting and I had to deliver.  I was a relatively young buck who applied for and accepted this teaching assignment in addition to my high school English teaching position at Colegio Bennet there in Cali and 4 years later a year at another private bilingual high school, Colegio Bolivar, so I had to deliver.  It was a tremendous opportunity and I had no idea how I was going to handle it.  After a one-year contract at Bennett, I signed up for another year … then another year at Bennett after I was able to create a professional relationship at both the University and the high school.  I didn’t need anyone else to help me and was just coming out of an extremely uncomfortable divorce, so I chose myself!!  I was super busy teaching and traveling on weekends throughout Colombia and only had time for myself and my students.  That’s how I roll.  I literally fell in love with what I was doing, thank God.  I forgot about my previous problems and focused on these opportunities.  My Mother even came to visit me and Cali during Semana Santa one year!  We had a blast.  I even took her with me one weekend to Popayan and Silvia in chivas (look it up, if you don’t know) which was an incredible experience for both of us!!  “I’ll ALWAYS love my Momma …”  After five years teaching there, I contracted walking pneumonia and decided to return back to Ft. Lauderdale where I entered Broward General Hospital for treatment.  Between the hospital and a Haitian friend of my sister who prepared these incredible home-remedy beverages daily for me, I was healed but still have scarred lung tissue from having had walking pneumonia.  

I wanted to return to Colombia one day, I even thought about retiring there at one point!  So, after some melodrama with my daughter, her partner, and my ex-wife, I had to re-heal or at least not let this situation sink in too deep, I decided to return to Colombia … But this time to Medellin, a city in Colombia that I hadn’t visited in my five years living there!  And trust me … I traveled in Colombia including Bogota, Cartegena, Villa de Leiva, Santa Marta, and even Ipiales!!  So, I went to Medellin, a city that I had never visited while teaching there, as well as where a friend lived who graduated from White Plains High School when I taught there for ten years!  It was over the top.  I chose me and the rest is a story of a spiritually grand time in Medellin.  I couldn’t believe how things fell into place … because I chose me!  The “universe” delivered on so many levels that I was literally dumbfounded with sober healing happiness!!  “Thank you … thank you … thank you!”  I also want to thank “Naty”, the former student, who guided me through parts of my uncharted journey there and showed me a few places, including where I could get a deep tissue massage there close to where I was staying at Jardin de Provenza en barrio El Poblado.  Once again, the “universe” delivered!!  The trip was EXACTLY what I needed.  I got home in time last night so I could deliver this message!  Silly, ain’t I!  But, that’s ME!

Thanks for reading …


John I. Cook, Director

Thanks for reading!

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