The Power of Positive Memories to Propel Creative Advances into Novelty

It is difficult for me to think of a more powerful inner process than the ability to access and maintain positive memories in my attention. As easy as this might seem negative memories have an uncanny ability to override the positive. The mind more readily goes to the negative rather than positive. I am sure that this has survival element to it that goes back many millennia. It turns out that when I can hold a positive memory in my attention, I am able to not only repeat it, but also to have a creative advance into new experiences. The purpose of dwelling on negative memories is some sort of survival so usually it means that when I dwell on them, I tend to not go after new things, to not go beyond my current borders. Being able to take risks relies heavily on the ability to access positive memories from the past and at the same time letting go the negative ones. When we hold onto negative memories such as when we were punished or hurt in a relationship, then our lives are ruled by fear. After the third time I was fired for being a risk taker in my career as an educator, my mind somehow would only go to negative memories. It got me to stop taking major risks by playing the negative memories over and over. When I wanted to take new risks, the memories of having been fired just incessantly reappeared. I kept trying to solve the reasons behind the injustice in being fired. The revelation to me is that the goal is not to prevent the firing. If I would be foolish enough to work for another relatively conservative administrator, I would be fired again. I have no doubt about it. Taking risks frightens conservatives because they are fearful of losing their advantage or their position or whatever they have. The goal for me is to let go of the negative memories of having been fired so that I can access the positive memories of risk taking. The benefits of risk taking, of using my creativity to go after new things far exceeds the inconvenience of having been fired. What is important to realize, in this process, is that I can not have it both ways. I cannot try to hold the negative memory and the positive one at the same time. There is only space for one. I can either have the positive memory of risk taking and go forward or I can hold the negative memory so that I will stop. I cannot stop and go at the same time. While there important reasons to stop certain activities, it doesn’t apply to me at this time in my life.

Animal Dreams 1: Dogs

Have you ever dreamed of an animal? Animals are great as symbols because they are fairly easy to interpret. Here is what you do. Say you are dreaming about a dog, and the dog bites you. This is a negative dream so you have to start with how you feel. When you get bitten, the negative emotion you feel is hurt. OUCH!. In real life the dog doesn’t represent a real dog. It is a symbol for friendship and loyalty. So if you get hurt by a dog, it means that you are hurt or bit by friendship. You can ask yourself who the dog is in real life, which friendship or which person. Then you get to the big lesson. The lesson when you see an animal in a dream is for you to become more like the positive qualities of the animal. Dogs are very friendly and loyal. When you are hurt by someone, the tendency of the ego side of you is to turn away from the person and stop being friends, or to bite back. But the spiritual lesson is to learn how to forgive, to let go, and then stay in a loving friendship. If you had the type of friendship that was poisonous, where you would need to avoid it, you would get something like a venomous snake dream, not a dog dream. Lots of us get hurt and then turn away from our friends. Try letting go and be like a dog.

How Where You Are Stuck in Time Affects What Virtues You Resist Developing.

The virtues like self-discipline, organization, and determination are rooted in time in the past whereas virtues like courage, optimism, and idealism are found in the future. When they work together in perfect unity, they are capable of achieving almost anything. When you are stuck in the past because of fear, such as the fear of terrorists attacking your country or the fear of immigrants taking your job, then it becomes almost impossible to have the virtues connected to the future such as optimism and creativity and courage.  You look to the past for your answers and believe that the answers lie in the past. It becomes hard to develop new abilities or to express yourself in creative endeavors. Oftentimes, you look for a leader who will restore order, restore the past.

IMG_7220When you are stuck in the future because of the fear of tyrants or bad authority, then it is difficult to be organized and determined.  You consistently look to the future to solve everything when maybe what you need is in the past like sticking to a plan that has given you great results. For a large portion of my professional life I had to deal with authority figures who tried to keep creativity out of the organizations. As a result I had the tendency to not develop the virtues like determination and organization. I was fighting against the way the leadership was relying on tradition for doing things and not letting in new approaches. When leadership was more balanced, then I could be self-disciplined and creative, trying out new things and using older ones.

For some people the past always looks bright and the future looks very frightening.  The goal is to hold onto the past.   For others the future always has the solution because the past was full of inequalities and abuses of power.  To achieve great things there is always a need for a balance of both energies.    Courage to try new things balances with determination to finish what you began.

When we are in a state of fear, one way or the other, that we tend to not relate to time in a balanced manner.    Where are you stuck in fear?  Do you look for the past for solutions primarily or the future?

Changing the “Getting Rid Of” Paradigm to the “Adding On” One.

When there a bully in the schoolyard, he takes advantage of the fact that most of the children have a lot of fear.  He can push his weight and size around because he is pretty certain no one is going to challenge him.  He gains access to the feeling of power and getting what he wants.   In the traditional approach to dealing with the bully, the bully is the problem that the school has to get rid of.    A lot of effort is put into disciplining the bully.     What isn’t so apparent is that the bully is only taking advantage of the fact that there is a huge amount of fear.      If the school were filled with the virtue of courage,  the energy it doesn’t have now,  then the bully could be easily taken care of.

Courage is the capacity to go for a particular goal where there is a risk involved.    If you just look at the above scenario in terms of the bully, then you don’t see that the people in the environment do not have the virtue of going after goals where there is some risk involved.   They shrink into fear because of the risk, and then the bully has its way.    If the environment promoted courage, a place where people could takes risks safely,  then bullies would go away on their own.    Schools traditionally don’t promote courage or taking risks.  They do the opposite.  They promote conformity and following the rules because the ability to take risks is such a threat to the established ways of doing things.   If you can promote courage, then when you get rid of the bully, he stays away.

Counseling Work with Richard Hastings

When people have on-going digestion problems,  they have a tendency to go for physical remedies like antacids or digestive enzymes or other medications.     The first place they go shopping for a remedy is the medical one.  The idea is to get rid of the digestive issue and return to the good ole days when you could eat anything at anytime.      What if the fear was the cause of digestive issues, that is,  that you live in such a state of fear that the body’s digestive processes just don’t work well?     Medication, when there is fear involved,  just gets you relief for a time.    Your system can go back to where it was temporarily.    After some time, however, the physical remedies stop working, the problems return, and the fear is as present as ever.    This happens because the fear which comes from the ego is insistent.  It isn’t going to go away by physical means.   It is has an emotional cause rooted in some experiences.   It calls for a new capacity, a new energy,  or virtue because the person living with the fear is not fit spiritually to participate fully in what life is asking of him/her.    Maybe the person needs determination, but is fearful that going forward means being treated unjustly by bad leadership.    If this were the case, then as soon as determination is in place and the fear is gone, then the digestive enzymes would start working because the body would not be held in a tension filled state from fear anymore.

The logic of this approach is so simple and easy to understand.   The physical problems are mostly held in by negative emotional patterns.     Fear, anxiety, grief, anger, disappointment, frustration and jealousy cause the body to hold negative tension which cause physical problems.    When you replace the ego patterns with higher new ones such as compassion, honesty,  generosity,  wisdom, and patience,  then the body releases its tension filled energy with new energy that is healthier.


The higher energy is the lure to us.    Our spiritual qualities are our purpose in life that never stop developing..  Life is about constant change and transformation everyday.   Who you are today will be asked to change tomorrow to someone even better.   It doesn’t ever stop.   The higher being, your spirit, will be asking you to change.   It will show you your places of change in your negative emotional patterns and the bodies reaction to them.    What is your life needing right now to make it work?   Where are you being challenged?     Get out of the old pattern of trying to return to an old state of being.  Advance to the new state.

What holds true for the individual also holds true for humanity?   Some leaders are gaining a lot of support these days by trying to get people to go back to old worn-out ideologies like nationalism and racism and sexism because they feel so utterly incompetent in a world based upon cooperation, respect for the rights of others,  equity, and lifting the downtrodden for the same reason that the bully in the schoolyard doesn’t want to have to share a swing.   The bully just wants to be able to have the swing whenever it pleases.   He is scared to death of having to share.

A lot of people are going to go kicking and screaming into the world of equality and unity and will experience a lot of pain in the process, but the higher self of the world is moving to higher energy.  It isn’t going backwards.   It is only going to go forward.    Shouldn’t you be doing the same in your life? Find the virtue that is calling to you and let it develop without so much resistance.     Try some tranquility for a change.  Or maybe some tolerance.   And by the way,  tonight when you dream, your dreams will be showing you the way.


Living Life as a Metaphor: Interpreting Your Life as if it were a Dream

Below is a picture of my youngest grandchild being on a surfboard for the first time in her life.    She was so ready to stand and ride a wave that after only about the third wave she stood right up and felt  hugely exhilarated.   After several more successful waves, she was beaming with confidence.


In the old paradigm of life, when the spiritual world was not so real (in the old days, hahaha),  teachers would put their children through long periods of training and skill building without doing anything in the real world.    I have watched martial arts teachers train children for a whole year without them ever “fighting”.       When I did my P.E. classes,  I almost always had them play the game first, and then the skills later.     It is not that the skills are not important,  but the game is the purpose.    Let them play, try.   Then gradually add the skills.    Give the kids a few rules and then let them fight.    The game, the fighting are the thing!!!!!!


When my kindergarten children would have their first experience on the climbing wall,  I would tell them that the class was about courage.   What better way could anyone have thought up to help a child to learn how to face fears.    Courage is an invisible thing as is fear.  It belongs to the spiritual world.    When you live life like a metaphor,  you learn to recognize the invisible energies and then name them.   It is seeing “God within” and then being in awe of it.   Many children would inevitably reach a difficult challenge on the wall that required a leap of faith, a leap of courage.   The fear would grip them causing them to hesitate or stop.    If they did not meet the challenge on that day, many would go home and carry it in their mind thinking a lot about the next time when they were going to reach their goal.     At some point most of them took the leap of courage.   They transformed themselves.    They were lured in by the vision of the challenge,  faced the fear,  put it aside and went for it.      That is living life metaphorically!!!!    You don’t have to ask a child about why they should climb.   They don’t need to answer.   They just know it is a great thing to do.


Running a marathon or a half (as in this case) is not so much about courage.  It is more about endurance.    Endurance is about feeling the pain of tiredness and weary legs, but going forward anyway.    You always come to a point in the race where you feel really tired and you have to push through an energy gap.   You have to set aside the pain and stay determined to get to the end.    It usually feels so great in the beginning.  The end hurts.    Climbing is just the opposite.   You just have one moment of really hairy fear, you leap and then you feel great.    Endurance running is about maintaining your joy and energy kilometer after kilometer.    The weird thing is that you can be in terrible pain at the end after the grueling pace, but then when you cross the line, you start thinking about the next time.    Something happened when you finished.   You ended with God Within, the God of Determination and Endurance.   Then you suddenly feel elated.

I read this article today,,  and I have to say it really turned me off.    Essentially the article says that if you do sprinting and  strength building you will lose body fat and gain more lean muscle.   What it should have said is that if you want to look pretty,  do sprinting and strength building.   But instead they made an untrue statement about running by actually saying that running is the worst way to get fit.  Hello, sprinting is running!!!

If you look at life metaphorically,  then sprinting is about getting somewhere in the near distance very quickly.    It is what businesses are trying to do all the time.  Of course, sprinting is getting popular because the people who don’t want to do the endurance work which is staying with something for a long period of time,  are trying to do a dash to the finish.   They don’t enjoy the long process of getting somewhere.   They want to get there yesterday.

If you live life metaphorically, it means that you can assess where you are and what kinds of qualities you need.   Do you need determination and endurance or do you need courage and initiative?    Do you need to be more honest and forthcoming or do you need wisdom and compassion?   Could your life use more peacefulness and tranquility?  How is your joy?   What is your generosity like?   When you need peacefulness and you live your life metaphorically, it means that you pick metaphoric experiences to help you like walking in the forest and being by a clear and calm lake.   You pick the experiences that stimulate the virtue you need..


How would you get to the feeling of awe, that something much bigger and positive is at play?


it is pretty hard to live life metaphorically if you are stuck in the material world solely looking after your material possessions.   It kills your spirit and the God within.

You can begin to think of life as if it were a dream and the invisible energy around as the real life.  The material life is only here for a small fragment of time.   The life filled with invisible positive energies is eternal.  Don’t just think of your dream life as the only place where you are dreaming.   The whole thing is more like a metaphoric dream.

I think I will go for some joyfulness today.  How about you?


Crashing Dreams: How to Slow Down, Stop, or Reverse Time

Dreams For Peace

I just had a dream last night that I was driving really fast down a dirt road and I couldn’t slow down so I crashed into a truck and the truck fell over into the ditch with a small stream. I felt really guilty.  When I found a place to pull over and came back to see if everyone was ok.  I was riding a bicycle.  Then it became night time and I drove to an area of a city with lots of people and restaurants. I parked and went out and was hanging out with an old friend and her newborn. Then I went to try to find my car but couldn’t find it. I was wandering around a dark parking lot with lots of levels and started to get really scared because I could hear a group of guys notice me and then start to come after me.

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Bear Dreams: Getting to Your Empowerment

Dreams For Peace

I dreamed I was in a house which was being invaded by bears the size of Sasquatch. Someone told me to not worry they know what they are doing, and they had some sort of trick to get them out, but it seemed to me the bears were going to attack. I felt so small. The presenting feeling was being over-powered – standing close to the bear and it looking down on me. But when I saw it that close it looked like a person in a bear costume who stood about 7 feet tall.

Empowerment is the ability to be able to finish what you set out to achieve by doing what it takes to get where you are going.   It means that you are using your power, your strength, your skills to get to the positive end.   You need strength and skills because any goal worth achieving puts…

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How to Use Negative Emotions to Your Advantage: Part 1A FEAR

The upcoming negative emotion that I am going to write about is anxiety.  Stay tuned in.  It is such a prevalent emotion in lives of most people, but first I am going to write a bit more on how to be more enthusiastic when you are addressing a fear.

The problem that fear addresses is how your ego self continues to operate in old patterns that are not longer useful.    When you feel a fear inside of you, it is saying loud and clear that you do not have the new capacity to meet the challenges that lie ahead.

When fear is your friend rather than your enemy,  then the fear is just a messenger that says you need to develop something new inside of you.   What it does, which is its purpose, is to show you just how incapable you actually are.    It is like getting a phone call that allows you know exactly what you need to overcome to get to the next phase of life.    When it is the enemy, it is treated with disdain.   The goal is to just rid yourself of the fear by whatever means necessary.   People seek alleviation.   The proper attitude is to seek curiosity and enthusiasm about what is the new capacity that is coming into place.    It it human nature to always be seeking new growth.   We are beings that are driven by the impulse of inner growth, of new capacities that will benefit others.

If you go to most medical professionals including most psychiatrists,  they are interested in helping you get rid of things so that the negative that you are feeling goes away.  The thinking is that if the fear goes away, then everything will be back to normal and you can return to happiness.    In my model of dealing with fear, the fear is the messenger that is telling you that in your current so-called normal state, your life isn’t getting to where it is supposed to go.   It is a very different way of looking at fear.   Fear is the friend that is going to take you to your growth.  If you don’t have it, you won’t grow.

I am going to use my own example of skiing here.    After I retired from working overseas in international schools,   my wife and I moved back to Vancouver, Canada.    The previous two decades we had lived in warm climates that never saw snow, but on return to Canada, we had the joy of lots of snow in our local mountains during the winter months.  My previous experiences with snow were with snowboarding,  but it just seemed like, with my age, it would be better to return to skiing.     We have just completed our second winter of skiing.    Every new challenge is exactly the same when I am skiing.    It starts with a degree of fear on going down a new run that is a little more difficult than the ones I feel comfortable on.    The process is always similar.   I see the new run start heading down it, get into difficulties that I haven’t encountered before, tense, stress, hold back, and then wonder if I am ever going to make it down the hill because usually I have already fallen.   After getting down to the bottom,  I usually try to find someone who will help me or encourage me in improving technique.   My eyes tell me that it is really steep and that I am not going to be able to do the turns, that I am going to go out of control and get really hurt.    When I let go of what my eyes are seeing and let go of making a big deal out of a possible fall and injury, relax and remember how to turn, then the run goes really well and is exhilarating.    It is so difficult to remember to relax and go forward and turn.   I can just tense and get stiff and lose all of my flow.      When I do the run for the second time and then the third,  remembering to relax and flow and turn,  then it becomes exhilarating.    My capacity for skiing on a more difficulty run increases run by run.   What I can do now compared to two years ago is significantly different.    My joy keeps multiplying.

The big question is not about how I get rid of the fear because it would be easy to just not try the new runs.   The question is about where  the fear wants to take me that is new and positive?   Where does your fear want to take you?   That is a life altering question.

What is your fear and where does it want to take you?

Inherited, Acquired, and Innate Qualities

Dreams For Peace

One of the big questions people have, when they are embarking on a new change process, is how to find where the problems originated and then how to let go of them so that the new energy can function fully.   The first question I ask others or myself is what the biggest issue is that they are facing right now.   That is where you always start.  It is pretty easy and developmentally sound.  It is not a big search problem.  However you are feeling the most negative is where you need to change the most.

I broke up with boyfriend.  My best friend betrayed me.   My mother or father died.   I lost my job.  My children are out of control. 

There are three types of origins to issues, and they always unfold in this order.   The first are issues that arise from your inheritance, that began in your family or…

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How to Use Negative Emotions to Your Advantage: Part 1 Fear

The purpose of the next few posts is help people understand how you can use negative emotions as powerful vehicles for change.   The idea of a negative emotion is not to run away from it but to use it as a way to get to the really positive energy that wants to develop in you.   Wouldn’t it be great if you could take a negative emotion, find out what it is communicating and then develop something new inside of you?

All negative energy is fear-related in one way or another because the purpose of  every fear is to stop something from happening. When you become friends with the fear, you have a starting point for the new growth. This is a repeated message that I am trying to communicate throughout my work so that it becomes so believed that you will rush to deal with negative emotions all the time. Negative emotions are just messengers. Period. They are there for our assistance. They are not the enemy. So many people are so reluctant to deal with negative emotions because they see fear and all of the other emotions as enemies and then rush to war against them and others.

Fear is a negative emotion that makes you feel reluctant or stopped or fleeing from a particular negative force. It differs from anxiety in that it is a specific force that is known rather than vague illusion. You can be fearful of almost anything. In most types of fear what happens internally is that the negative force seems much bigger than it actually is. Here are some examples.

Fear of Authority– the authority figure seems larger and more powerful than they actually are.
Fear of the Future– the future seems a lot worse than it actually is.
Fear of the Past– what you have done in the past seems a lot worse than it actually is.
Fear of being excluded– the people doing the exclusion seem much more influential than they actually are.
Fear of closed in spaces– the space seems bigger and closer than it is.

The problem with fear is that it tends to be  much more powerful than the rational mind. Part of what may be wrong with current science is that it treats fear as a noun rather than a verb. Because it can be so powerful and science has not been all that competent in its infancy to change fears, it often considers fear a permanent condition rather than just a signal of the necessity to change. If you think of it as a verb, that is, you are fearing, then it is much easier to change. The first step is to know what it is trying to communicate. Using the above examples in a very general way, you can change fear into its positive opposite and then understand where your true self is moving.

Fear of Authority
What you are fearful of with authority is bad authority, that is, the misuse of authority by others so get to to their selfish ends.  When you are feeling the fear of authority, you get the communication inside that you should act in exactly the way the authority wants or you will be dismissed in some way.   The positive solution to the fear is to use of the authority of your own true self to accomplish great goals. Authority of self is similar to being able to take initiative. What prevents initiative is that negative authority makes you feel like you are smaller, and they are larger. You become fearful of taking initiative because you believe that you are much less powerful than the bad authority. What you need to know is that the true self is a 1000 times more powerful than the worst tyrant. The goal is believe that the true self is enormously powerful and then to understand how to take initiative in the current place you are.   It doesn’t mean that you need to suddenly become rebellious or resistance.  On the contrary, you don’t have to be disloyal or disobedient at all.    When you feel fear, it means that the virtue of taking initiative is not strong enough inside of you, that the bad authority trumps your initiative.   The place for taking initiative will begin to appear in your life (maybe not even at work) and then it will produce amazing results that you may not ever have thought possible.

The fear of authority leads to a strong authority of self (initiative).

Fear of the Future
When you envision the future and see horrible events happening, it means that your true self has not imagined the future in a positive enough manner. The worse your future is in your imagination, the more positive your true self wants to imagine it. The future is meant to be extremely positive because the true self only thinks in positives. The reason that the future becomes so fearful for people is that their negative experiences in the past are so magnified. The goal is to imagine the future magnificently by diminishing the value of the negative past.

Fear of the Past
The past is where you acquire all of your confidence so that you can go forward into the future. When you have fear of the past, it means that you have something negative back there that you believe is going to catch up to the present and affect what you are doing. If you have taken short cuts as in taking the easy way out, the past will have a way of creating paranoia in you. If you don’t deal with the paranoia, it will expand and generalize to nearly everything and everyone. The simple way to overcome the fear of the past is to go back to the past and do honestly what you did in a slip shot or dishonest way previously. Many relationships fail because people enter them for the wrong reasons trying get something from the other person without doing the honest work. The solution to fear of the past is to find the positive quality of your true self that was hidden in the past and work on making it huge in your life. Overcoming the fear means admitting the weakness and not seeing it as so difficult to do.


Fear of Being Excluded
This is the root fear of all fears. Sooner or later we all have to face it.  The fear of being excluded is about seeing and believing that the negative power of others to exclude as much greater than your own true self’s power to include. The way to solve it is to see positive qualities in others and see how you can weave a strong web of unity in all of your associations.

Fear of Closed-in Spaces
When you are feeling closed in, it means that the negative forces around you seem too large and  too close, that they are even smothering or right next to you menacing you. It means that the true self is wanting to have lots of positive options and express a great deal of creativity in them. You can solve this fear by seeing many positive options and going wild with expression.

Positive Opposite Exercise

List some of your fears either present ones or ones you have had, and then write a positive opposite statement to solve them, followed by a brief explanation. (e.g. fear of losing a big game- positive opposite- winning at developing a huge skill. What I am fearful of is how disappointed others will be if we lose. This shows that the fear originates outside of one’s control. You can develop and improve skills which you have control over that will assist the team to perform better and then you can feeling fantastic about it. Most people love the development of a new skill much more than they love winning a single game.