Listening to the Universe

Well, well, well … it ain’t hard to tell!  Who ever heard of listening to something other than “human noise”?!?  Or, listening to something that you can’t see?  You’ve got to be in tune with it for sure.  It’s about time for me to do my TGIF acknowledgement!  Done!

Over each human’s lifetime, we have been exposed to some form of religion, as it has come to be called.  Others may call themselves atheist. I remember taking a course in boarding school called “The Rise of World Religions”.  (I graduated from St. Paul’s with honors in English, Spanish, and religion) Today, there would be a heated debate on which those would be.  For me, it doesn’t matter much.  If it’s not part of a solution for me and humanity TODAY, I won’t waste my time debating or contemplating it!  If I were so daring as to try to create a “new” religion, it would be based on “mutual respect” (love) for ALL, including and especially Nature!  I want to mention how I witness the universe operating in my life, without my consent!  Yet, I have learned to just listen sometimes and not act so fast on human impulse.  Those impulses have in the past been generated by stress, “flight or fight” type situations.  Out here where I am at, the peace and tranquility exceed my expectations sometimes. I actually look forward to though quietly and not anxiously for the “universe” to direct many of my activities.

Last weekend, I was planning to drop by a location where there has been an organization called “El Puente” that services the local indigenous Bri Bri population.  It was started by two Americans who ran it for many years.  When I first arrived, I had volunteered as a tutor for English class …  And then “covid” hit and the Ministerio de Salud shut such entities down.  I had met many of the participants at the Saturday lunch or “soup kitchen” where I used to set up shop to help with any English assignments or interests.  Many of us became friends.  So, just by chance of “universal intervention”, I had planned to stop by and say hello to Derek and his wife Maria and their daughter whom I often see in my travels here in Puerto.  I have an “El Puente” cap that I bought from them last year along with an indigenous handmade bead necklace for protection. I put them both on and decided to just stop by to say hi …  When I got there, I was pleasantly surprised to see so many people there including the new director of “El Puente” Kent and his daughters!  His wife, Melissa, needed some “her” time since the family had just arrived from the States.  They were celebrating “Dia de Los Indígenas” at their location – El Puente – which is just around the bend from the rental house!  The festivities were over the top including typical group dancing in a circle which was happening when I arrived, a typical lunch served with rice, ham and boiled banana (platano) eaten without ANY utensils and served on a leaf!!  Of course, I purchased a few empanadas and a local ice cream/refresco which they were also selling to tie me over until I got home.  I videotaped and saw many of my Bri Bri friends who also fondly remember my almost 2 years volunteering as an English tutor!  No one had told me anything about the event, I wasn’t sent an e-mail by anyone …  It was straight up messaging from “the universe”!  I spent over two hours there!

Part of the credit for being accessible to universal direction is that I have learned and come to value the concept of “not messing with anyone/anything” and instead being very benevolent with the few material things that I possess as well as any of the spiritual things that I may offer.  Living with this as my philosophy not only brings me peace, but it also often provides inexplicable guidance and gifts that I could NOT have planned or acquired with my greatest efforts and intelligence.  So, I often find myself raising my eyes to the sky and whispering “Thank you” out loud.  We MUST learn to listen to the divinity of the universe and NOT the drama of our colleagues.  It takes patience, time alone, and skill.  It’s not something that you can suddenly do.  When I observe my health and sense of well-being, I see leaps of progress and improvements.  It seems that once I was able to disconnect from a lifestyle driven by fear, full of so much work that I could barely take care of myself, I feel like myself again!!  THAT was a big challenge, especially once the arthritis in my hips had set in.  Finding a place where people don’t normally rush around so much, and with birds chirping incessantly, dogs barking periodically, and even a rooster or two crowing out here has been invaluable.  I’m able to get in tune with the universe on a very uplifting and positive frequency or level.  When any stressful thoughts come, I simply am able to let them melt away.  If any stressful situations arise, I can simply walk away.  Coupled with my one hour per day, three days a week workout routine, I’m feeling groovy again!  I remember back in the day when I was trying to find myself, as we used to say!  Come to discover, I was here all the time!  It’s about tuning in to positivity with genuine respect and love.  People are still people out here, but I can find my frequency easier with less societal distractions, if you know what I mean.

The journey is a bit different for each of us as we come from a set of different experiences.  So, we have to learn to “vibe” with each other, you dig?!!  This again is what Educational Excellence seeks to advocate, Y’all!  Thanks for reading!


John I. Cook, Director

“Ain’t Nothin’ but the Money!”

Okay, it’s another Friday under Creation … I’m thankful just to be here and aware!  While I don’t advocate any particular religious or social “doctrine”, I’ve always liked the axiom “TGIF!”.  It’s cool to be happy and thankful!  So, TGIF!!

Whether we want to accept it “they” have us fighting each other for it, destroying the Planet for it … as if we were “gods” when money was created to make trading easier during the Middle Ages.  Now, we (us humans) have gotten so carried away with it – money, the concept of intangible “wealth”, that our civilization has normalized the acquisition of “wealth” by any means necessary.  Humans are addicted to it.  Personally, I still use it to exchange for “goods and services”.  It’s NOT a mark of excellence nor a position of power … for me.  Most people have it twisted to the point where we “sell” our values of dignity and self worth – some of us – to “appear” ahead or better than someone with less than you … and so the vicious “game of human dominoes” begins!  Speculate … when and how will it end!  Paul McCartney said it a while back: “Come Together!”  Frankie Beverly and Maze said it over and over in “We Are One!”

The US Supreme Court “jester” Thomas and his wife “Bonnie” Thomas have proven how low one can go, ignoring the “rules” in their personal lives while advocating the importance of “law and order” on the professional “stage”.  And yes, it all seems to be “political theatre” with everyone wanting to be “the star of their OWN story”!  I mean. It’s gotten so bad that these characters are doing it in “plain sight”!  So, y’all can tell them when I’m gone that I tried to “say something” along with the rest of the “social activists” and social scientists and people who genuinely care!  But we had a great time trying to save “humanity” with a priceless basic ingredient called “love”!  Accept no substitutes that end up with “one” being manipulated to do “dirty stuff” in the name of love!

Between the “money” and “weapons” in places like the USA, it seems that nothing else matters.  Now, it’s the same everywhere just in lesser (or greater) degrees – once a person gets their hands on a gun, their “self-concept” changes … for worse quite often.  It seems that everyone is “afraid” of something that determines how they view their own life.  Shouldn’t “life” be lived with lots of “love”, peace, and happiness maybe?!?  Yet, we see so-called “leaders” motivating people with “fear” of each other!  Keep in mind, these are not real “leaders”.  They may have convinced you that they are a “leader” while simultaneously doing what “they” tell you NOT to do!  Sounds like anyone that you know?!?  There are a lot of “fake” leaders like that!  I’m not sure how this “divide and conquer” strategy will work but I’m placing my bet on “the power of love”!  You might say that it’s cliche, but … do you have something BETTER to believe in that might unite us humans?!?

Every generation seems to be plagued with the same problem(s) of getting our human “ills” right and legislated!  You know, some things can’t be legislated …  Some things must come from the “heart of humanity”!  Don’t let yours die.  When “trapped” in a situation where you must demonstrate either the evils caused by greed … OR … you may demonstrate “the power of love”, choose wisely!  The fabric of human values must be restored … no matter who you think you are or where you’re from!!  There are many things other than money.  “Choose wisely”!


John I. Cook, Director

Stand Up! For Yourself … At Least!

It’s Friday!!  How are y’all holding up?  Sometimes, I’m just glad to be “above ground” … and out here, too … in the Caribbean, that is!  So, I really do have a lot to be grateful for … TGIF!!  And you?

Nowadays, for me … life looks challenging!  Now, I am not “a fighter” but I can be when necessary!  And NO … I’m not talking about fisticuffs!  I’m the type of person who fights intellectually for what I believe in!  When I lay down at night, I want to be at peace with myself because … today I can!!  So, I take advantage of the fact that I have time … imagine that … to get involved in my physical and mental health (education, too) and make them my priorities!  I’m sure that by now, readers can tell that “I am NOT for everybody!”  If you want to know lies and deceit, gossip and garbage … PLEASE … keep it moving!  I try to make it clear that I take a stand for what I am.  If you challenge “who” or “what” I am, a person should be ready for an intellectual battle at least …  I don’t play “stupid” for nobody.  Please, don’t mistake my humility for stupidity!  As I told one ex-friend, “I will smoke you … keep messing with me and I will show you!”

Amongst the many banners that I hold high in my life is the “anti-racist” one.  I mean, I was born into the skin I’m in and I am quite proud of how I handle myself as I am constantly challenged to defend myself or at least “stand up” for myself! It’s not becoming to allow someone to “define” me!!  Most people have the wrong idea anyway as “they” focus on my skin color for jokes and basic disrespectful behavior.  I was reading up on some information yesterday about the “Colfax Massacre” on Easter Sunday in Colfax, Louisiana in 1873.  After the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, it wasn’t actually enforced in places where “whites had become accustomed to black slaves”.  Often, there were no federal troops to enforce the document.  Even those whites who KNEW that slavery and racial discrimination were wrong tried to stand up for their “fellow human beings”.  This “massacre” was one such event as the former slaves sought to “stand up” for their freedom and rights to the “white supremacists” of which there were many.  There were areas where there was no “law enforcement” and the racist “white” Americans did EXACTLY as they wanted!  You can imagine that it must NOT have been pretty as an estimated 62 – 153 black militiamen were murdered as they surrendered to the “former Confederate soldier” counterparts!!  There are accounts that say the estimate of murdered “blacks” was way more!  As well, there are accounts of the Colfax Massacre that describe how the “blacks” who sought to protect their newly established “freedmen” rights were GUNNED down by these ex-confederates AFTER they had surrendered!  Can you say “barbaric cowards”?!?  You see, it’s a MUST for any respectable African American to be an anti-racist, especially amongst the men!  “Stand Up!”

As the fires burn in the streets of Paris, the drama continues to unfold as Netanyahu postures himself to be the next dictator, the USA has its hands full with multiple legal cases as well as factions defending a twice impeached, racist, sexist and incompetent ex-president!  Enter “Li’l Jerk” Jimmy Jordan to defend this sack of crap!  And of course, #45 uses his racist attacks (calling Mr. Bragg an animal) as he seeks to stir up his remaining losers to defend him and donate money to him.  Most respectable African American men have experienced these types of challenges throughout our lifetimes!  “Stand Up!”  Bragg is swinging for the bleachers as “the little stupid people” continue to defend … well … GARBAGE!  While I didn’t mention the corrupt and unstable election results in several African countries, it’s clear that the problem is world-wide.  These “dominators” or “controllers” lose their minds when presented with the opportunity to dominate and ultimately control any affairs that they can get their grimy little paws on!  “Stand UP!”  If we look around the political landscape in the States, we can see how there are some people who recognize the injustices imposed on “people of color” in the States.  While I am MUCH happier here in Talamanca, I continue to “stand up” against controllers, dominators, and racists!  It’s a job that I respectfully step up to take wherever I am!

At this point in my life (retirement), I still face challenges as I notice the lack of respect for seniors and people of color.  I’m not complaining because I know that humans are always trying to get on “the winning side” until they hopefully and finally realize that we are on the same “side” – Humanity.  If we can try to learn to embrace a “common truth(s)” and work together regardless of the color of our skin or the religion we may choose (don’t hurt nobody!), not to mention our financial state, things can turn out better for ALL of us.  Right now, it seems that humanity is “fractured” and either we roll together, or we “self-destruct” together!  Don’t ignore the role of “guns” as it seeks to hollow out humanity!!  I’m sure you’ve heard the axiom, “Live by the sword, die by the sword!”  In part, that’s American History, too!  Right about now, a lot of humans are “standing up”!  Keep in mind, I don’t mind having a little fun, just not at my expense!!


John I. Cook, Director

Thank you for reading!

Everybody’s Got A Narrative

Yeah! Yeah, Y’all!  It’s Friday again and I’m about to jump out of my skin with JOY!  TGIF, if you’re up to it!!  You don’t have to be grateful but you’re gonna learn!!  That’s something I’ve learned over and over – BE GRATEFUL!

It’s “Semana Santa” out here in my neck of the woods … where I’m at today … Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica!  I remember one “Easter” when I lived in Cali, Colombia, SA and my Mother came to visit me!!  I was so freakin’ happy … we BOTH were!!  She wanted to know why I returned to teach English in another country just as much as I wanted her to know why!!  I was just coming off of a whirlwind of a divorce and I really HAD to leave the country!!  It was at a time when I KNEW that I was going to do something stupid … so I just left … the country!!  It was a “win/win” for me as I imbibed myself in Spanish and Colombian culture, and taught English at two private secondary schools and two universities in Cali.  The students got a few years, five to be exact, of a very talented African American man … from “Snoop Dogg’s” country!  I kid you not!  Those well off Colombia youth loved Snoop, ‘Pac, and Dr. Dre in Cali!  So, out here in Puerto it’s pretty much tourist and “Tico” madness.  I am so glad that I have my e-bike and can enter or leave the town easily even with all of the traffic which is common for Semana Santa, especially on those “one lane bridges”!  Really, I have calmed down so much that I don’t recognize myself sometimes!!  People gossip, backstab, and do stupid stuff here too and the town is small so everybody “claims” to know YOUR business!  Half of the time, those same people don’t even know what they are doing!!  But, they have enough time to spread nasty rumors about “you” because one (you) is actually doing something positive with their life (lives)!  So, I try consciously to “stay in my lane”!  Trust me, it gets lonely out here in my “magic carpet” lane!! LOL!  But I’m good … not so much traffic “up here”!!  And little to no drama unless I allow myself to be sucked into it.  Lord knows that I didn’t come here to get sucked into OTHER PEOPLE’S DRAMA!

As Semana Santa kicks into high gear out here this weekend, I was feeling a bit mystical … you know … thinking about my Mom and Dad and how we used to dress up and go to church together when I was a kid on Easter Sunday … just the three of us … me in the middle!  I never have spent Easter with my estranged daughter or grandson and that tugs hard on my heart strings.  But THIS is what makes me “ME” … handling the hard stuff pretty much alone!  “It’s a tough job and I have to do it!”  (I do know that “the family spirits” are with me.)

Something that I’ve noticed amidst the “madness and mayhem” going on Stateside is that there are so many narratives out there that some of these people, politicians included … and especially them, can be classified as “insane”!  I mean, damn!!  Now, some want to have two different countries, ie Civil War II, and even some governors act as if they “own” their state!!  It might sound cute as one chooses sides or colors but it looks pretty stupid to me!  I was on social media Thursday morning and noticed a post of a student from the high school where I taught for ten years.  The gent had a Confederate flag stuck to his wall in the background … and he’s from New York!!  I wanted to write him a kind note just to ask him what that flag symbolizes for him.  I decided against it, probably best for now!  The behavior of #45 is unraveling slowly, his comments about people who are doing THEIR job(s) and his continued attempts to claim to be the victim while he lies through his teeth about EVERYTHING he discusses is insane … and people follow him and GIVE the “fake” Millionaire mo’ MONEY!  Is that just stark raving madness or am I missing something?!?

It seems that we live in these “modern times” where everybody wants to be a “rockstar” and thus, has to come up with a narrative.  Some of the narratives are based on lies, pure nonsense, and deceit.  Those narratives can become pretty far-fetched as we observe people playing their “personal madness” out!  Me, I stay clear of that madness as it wrinkles my peace.  But, my heart breaks over and over as I watch these “politicians” attempt to turn back the hands of time to allow them to impose their narrative of “supremacy” and infallibility.  It’s pretty disgusting, to say the least!  This is when an individual MUST know who they are or run the danger of becoming a miniscule part of somebody else’s narrative!  I had one “person” introduce me to some visitors as her “perverted uncle”!  I was like, “No she didn’t!”  But it was clear that she did!  I vacated the premises in hopes that people could see who the real pervert was, and it ain’t hard to tell … unless one has an axe to grind with me.  Believe me, I saw that coming maybe four years ago with this same person!  Things like this can happen in your own family and circle of “friends”, too.  It’s becoming more and more difficult to determine who your “friends” really are nowadays!!  I mean, with everybody spinning their own narratives like the politicians do, it’s become more of a daily challenge … just to LIVE!!

Of course, I have my own narrative which is backed up by experience, facts, and documentation.  I get “challenged” a lot either in person or on social media.  It gets pretty interesting trying to navigate my response with some of these “creatures” who find their way into my life.  It is during moments like these that I embrace the mantras of Educational Excellence …  “Know Thyself!”  or “Be the best that YOU can be!” … and maybe “Be yourself … because you are YOU”!  A few weeks back, I had the opportunity to sit and chat with a guy from the States who some people call a shaman.  I’m glad to call him a friend!  Yet, I do recognize his creative genius in his craft and wanted to give you an opportunity if interested in reading some of Jade Wah’oo Grigori’s contributions to humanity.  He’s the person who generated the concept of “the dominators” to identify those mutated personality types who want to be in control of everything and dominate EVERYBODY.  Visit Jade at: for some interesting “shamanic” readings, information, and thought!

In the meantime, enjoy your Passovers, Easter, Ramadan and other “holy days”, and be sure to include an extra dose of “respect” to make things flow smoothly!  Thank you for reading …


John I. Cook, Director

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