Category Archives: Personal Growth

Where were you on September 11, 2001?

Recently, I dreamed about being a detective in a building with bombs going off. It had such a strong FEELING of what I imagine it was like for the thousands of people in the World Trade Centers on the morning of September 11, 2001. So I’d like to share where I was that day, how it affected me, and what comes to mind on this day twenty years later.

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Part One – Beginning to Understand Metaphors in Dreams

Want to read about metaphors instead of watching a video about them? Check out this brief summary below.

Every person, place & thing in the dream is a SYMBOL/METAPHOR for something else. Dreams "speak" the language of metaphors to tell us about ourselves & the world around us. When we understand what the metaphor stands for then we can understand what the dream is telling us about ourselves & our lives. 
A good example of a metaphor (which shows up in my dreams often) is a forest. Trees in real life have a lot of strength and they have the ability to grow to great heights over long periods of time. So when there is a tree in a dream it is a message to the dreamer to have the ability to do a lot of growing, in a slow, steady way, over a long period of time. Water is about being fluid, flexible, accommodating in relationships - water is about relationships & life. Rocks & stones are about being solid, unbreakable, etc. We might dream of rocks when we need to be very confident in our beliefs, for example. 
So the steps go like this: 1) We have a dream with a metaphor of a tree   2) We think about what QUALITIES trees have 3) We consider if we tend to have a lot of those qualities or do we struggle with those qualities? 4) If those qualities come easy to us already then we can ask ourselves

How to Overcome Obstacles the Way I Do it

Last night a number of dreams came to me with one common theme: overcoming obstacles.

The unique way I overcome obstacles is to not shy away from the negative but to learn from it, to embrace it, to seek to understand it because in doing so I can discern the CODE which unlocks the very positive potential within me or the people I’m working with.

The unique way I overcome obstacles is to not shy away from the negative but to learn from it, to embrace it, to seek to understand it because in doing so I can discern the CODE which unlocks the very positive potential within me or the people I’m working with.

Here are the obstacles in my dreams last night (in no particular order):

  • A man showed up on my property falsely claiming to be from Stats Canada but he was really someone from the past who I couldn’t remember because of post-concussion syndrome. As I was talking to him I realized my conditions were worse than expected.
  • A bomb was set to explode at the camp I was at…I ran the fastest to get away but then had to go back because we all needed some sort of device to protect us … my running away skills were useless
  • A bunch of wild animals inhabited the area I was living in and it was very uncomfortable. Wild dogs, elephants, a rhino, hippo, ostrich – stinky, annoying creatures who I couldn’t get away from. Every time I thought they were under control something worse happened. More and more animals kept coming out and it was worse than I expected.
  • Upon graduating from a renowned university, I discovered I owed them tens of thousands of dollars because my post-concussion brain forgot to make payments … somehow someone did something to have my fees waived but then she was annoyed with me (Leslie from FM). I remembered that there was a financial “glitch” but didn’t recall how bad it was. When I realized how bad it was I felt very embarrassed.
  • My “odd” behaviour caught the attention of a bartender who started asking a lot of questions about having post-concussion symptoms. As I answered him I began to realize just how bad things were for me, how long it takes me to process, how difficult it is to communicate, how fragmented my memory is, hard it is to remember a plan and stick with it, how short-lived my energy & focus is, how often I don’t follow through with commitments. The bartender was like, “Hun, you can’t go at this alone. This is really bad. You need support.” I had thought it was manageable but as I spoke I realized it was not.
  • Tony was looking at something I’d drawn (a vintage record player) and showed me that my description did not make any sense. His ex-wife said it’s okay and showed me how she figured it out.

It’s easy, at first glance, to take the post-concussion issue literally. But this is a dream, not real life, so we must take the metaphor first.

So what is the symbolism of a post-concussion brain injury?

A diagnosis of Post-Concussion Syndrome is appropriate if the symptoms of the concussion do not subside after 4-6 weeks from the time of the injury. Symptoms include:

  • headache
  • dizziness
  • vertigo
  • fatigue
  • memory problems
  • trouble concentrating
  • sleeping problems
  • insomnia
  • restlessness
  • irritability
  • apathy
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • personality changes
  • sensitivity to noise and light
My post-concussed brain is a lot like an abstact image of chaos & beauty

In real life, I have all of these symptoms and have had them since a car collision in March 2019 when a truck pulled out of a side road and T-boned my Ford Focus.

The most common obstacle in all these dreams is “post-concussion” symptoms.

The way I can dive deeper into the metaphor is to go back to the symbolism of a car crash, which was the cause of the concussion in the first place.

Cars in dreams are about getting from Point A to Point B. Sometimes people with a really strong ego will do anything or hurt anyone in their path to Power. A common metaphor for this is a car collision.

There is someone in my life right now, who is so full of ego that it seems nothing of her True Self is left, sadly. Her actions have caused a “crash” in my life in that I can no longer go from Point A to Point B because she has metaphorically crashed my vehicle.

So that is what the dream is telling me: That the damage done by this woman is more traumatic than I realized and has had an even worse affect on my brain/mind than what I was aware of.

Well, what do I do with this information?

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The positive solutions are in the negative images from the dream.

Richard Hastings
  1. What is the biggest challenge in the dream images? What’s the biggest threat? The most dangerous situation?

Answer: In every dream, I am embarrassed to some degree. But in every situation, the obstacle is resolved without danger or harm to anyone. So that tells me that there is no immediate risk or threat to my real life physical world and what I can focus on instead is the development of inner capacities so I can better deal with the challenge at hand. Therefore, the biggest challenge is the wild animal dream; each animal represents a quality of Strength, Courage, Power, etc so these are the qualities which are still innate within me but not activated in their fullest potential in the real world. (Other people who dream a lot about animals will be familiar with this concept.)

2. What is a situation in life that needs you to have more Courage, Power, Strength? If you had these qualities developed to their fullest what would you be doing differently?

Answer: The Canadian Family Court System seems to be calling me to it. If I had more Courage, Power & Strength I would definitely take bolder actions to advocate for families.

3. What can I do today to practice and demonstrate some extra Courage, Power or Strength?

Answer: Today it ‘s taking a lot of Courage to Write & Share these dreams publicly. I’m doing it anyway. My aim & intention for writing and sharing my dreams is to shine new light on an ancient tradition of gleaming insight from the dreamworld, from our dreams, from our unconscious. I am not afraid of or embarrassed about the actions others have taken in a cruel plot against me. Still, I hold fast to my goal to share with others the guiding inspiration of dreams, using my dreams & real life as an example.

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Murky Water Dream WAKES ME UP TO New Opportunities for growth in relationships

August 27, 2021

Tonight I awoke with a jump & a twitch. A dream with a lot of fear in it woke me up.

Ever since the car accident in January 2020, when my Ford Focus slid on ice going down a hill and drove into a pole I’ve had nightmares regularly. Unlike the negative dreams I used to have prior to the accident, these ones shock my body into an alert state quickly and I awake with my heart racing, sometimes in a sweat.

Negative dreams, even ones that startle us terribly, are valuable to me because I believe all emotions have value. We call a dream “negative” because there is an uncomfortable emotion in it, like fear or anger, or embarrassment, etc. I use an approach to transformation which brings me into the so-called negative state to understand it and then use it sort of like a code to discern a solution to a challenging life situation.

The emotion in last night’s dream started off as playful and adventurous because I was exploring a forest with my German Shepherd. But then I dropped a stick in a murky puddle and when I reached down to retrieve it I slipped and fell in and the puddle was actually very deep and I fell into a bottomless abyss and then right before I drowned I awoke with a twitch & a jump.

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Water in dreams is about life, emotions & relationships. Dogs are about friendship & loyalty. Falling into murky water that appears to be shallow but is really deathly deep means it is possible someone near me is appearing to be friendly and loyal but who is actually being deceptive.

At this moment in my life, I have been brought to court by a family member. When I stop to consider who could be around me who appears to be a friend but is really a foe, I realize that it is difficult to know who can be trusted when you are the defendant in a court hearing where your character is being assassinated. Sometimes people hear that someone is a defendant in a hearing and they believe the person is guilty until being proven innocent instead of the other way around.

This dream is about what it is like for me to try to be playful & connect with loved ones and friends in this environment of conflict which others are perpetrating on me. I am not writing about this as gossip. It is my human right to share my opinion and feelings and experiences privately or publicly. I do attempt to use wisdom and tact when writing about the situation. I learn from mistakes and attempt to correct them.

So now that the dream has opened my eyes and made me conscious of something which I was formerly unconscious of, what will I do?

The solution is in the dream: instead of allowing myself to “fall” by the deception in front of me I can become really UPLIFTED! I already have a playful, adventurous, friendly and loyal character so when I remember who I truly am and what I have accomplished in my life than I can use all the tools and techniques at my disposal to use the current challenge as an opportunity for growth and transformation for families & communities.

How can I be playful and adventurous while under persecution? Wouldn’t that make me seem careless and insensitive to the serious nature of the accusations?

I don’t entirely know the answer to this yet but I’m working on it. I think it has to do with finding Joy in the moment and Peace in my heart and allowing myself the freedom to live my life, to enjoy hiking, and writing, and the things which I do in life which are enjoyable and carefree. I can detach from the deception, even though I’m aware of it, and I can then dive deep into life’s adventures. That is one way which I have survived this decade-long conflict.

So even though I awoke feelings of fear and worry now I have a clear idea on how to get and stay uplifted. This gives me a vision of hope for a bright future for my life and relationships with the people I love and care about.

Chloe and I heading back from a hike in the redwood forest

The Fruitless Search For a Pain-Free Life

Hedionsim vs Stoicism … what’s the right approach when teens want to break the law for their own pleasure in search of a pain-free life?

In a month-long investigation into the fundamental flaws in Canadian law which allow for the easy transport of teens from one side of the country to the other, I find myself acutely aware of the issues in the Canadian “youth justice system.” These flaws perpetuate the prevalent issue of human sex-trafficking of young women between ages of 13-25.

On the one hand the argument is that “a teen is old enough to decide what they want” and that trying to reign them in per say is “tough love” and inappropriate. On the other hand there are strong, stable, loving parents who are woke and cognisant of the risks, dangers & threats targeting youth. These parents are fighting against the inherently corrupt system for the safety and well-being of their teens. The former opinion echoes a hedonistic viewpoint that all human beings have a moral right to seek out a pain-free life, seeking fulfillment of individual desires and pleasures. The latter is a more stoic perspective which holds that all life is suffering and humans can attain fulfillment by detaching from emotional desires, practicing self-control, and focusing on the good of the many over the good of a few.

While it’s up to the individual to decide their preference between these two extremes or some combination of worldviews, as a society we are still bound to common laws. Unfortunately, Canadian Children and Youth laws and actual real-world practice and application of these laws vary enormously, further complicating an already complex issue.

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Provincial Laws Contradict One Another…Written Law is not Practiced or Enforced

Laws and their enforcement are legislated at the provincial, territorial or municipal level. Furthermore, just because it’s written in law doesn’t mean it’ll be enforced. For example, the written law in British Columbia seems to be in support of the Stoic approach by stating age of majority is 19 in British Columbia, whereby teens are expected to live with their parents (and practice self-control and obedience). The written law states that RCMP will find runaways and bring them home as many times as necessary. However, the day-to-day actual application of this law is more hedonistic in that 16 year olds are pretty much allowed to do anything they want “in search of pleasure, happiness, and a pain-free life.” The RCMP does not enforce the written law. (I have my suspicions why officers do this which I explore further in this article but go into much greater depth in upcoming articles on this blog.) The written law is stoic but the application promotes hedonistic behaviour in teens & the adults who support a runaway’s rebellion.

My research revealed that there are no universal federal laws for the age of majority in Canada but that each province has its own regulations. Here is a list of the things British Columbia law says teens can’t do until they are 19. Here is another link to an Ontario-based site called Justice for Children & Youth which outlines information and laws which are contradictory to the ones in B.C. Therefore, hypothetically, a teen who runs away from B.C. to Ontario can avoid the B.C. restrictions by claiming they are now an Ontario resident, even though B.C. still recognizes them as a resident as well. You see the tangled web? A lawyer in B.C. would state the teen is a B.C. resident and a judge would have to decide which laws applied. It’s a jurisdictional nightmare!

The most disturbing metaphorical WALL that I’ve come up against when I’ve spoken with police officers, bylaw officers, social workers, lawyers, family, friends and social justice advocates is a philosophical conundrum debated since ancient Greek philosopher Aristippus. He is known to be the founder of Hedonism: the view that our human fundamental moral obligation is to maximize pleasure or happiness. When teens leave a loving parental home, where rules are set down and enforced ,in search a more pain-free and rule-free existence, this is hedonism in practice. The adults who support a teen to do such things are of the belief that living a pain-free (albeit hedonistic) life is the ultimate moral obligation for an individual.

Interestingly, on a bit of a side note, the term ethical hedonism came about years after Aristippus and is most associated with the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus (342-270 BCE) who clarified that pleasure received from such things as torturing another human being is not ethical. So apparently, even hedonists do draw the line at psychopathic torture of other humans & animals. It’s like…okay…you can do anything you want that brings you pleasure…but no waterboarding….that’s just psychotic. That’s against the rules even for hedonists. Unless you’re CIA. Then it’s okay? Additionally, in recent years we’ve seen a growing awareness of people with narcissistic or psychopathic tendencies which are defined as receiving pleasure from observing the suffering of others. Have our hedonistic laws & common societal practices bred a generation of narcissists? Could it be possible that a narcissistic family member would lure a teen into their home in order to cause pain to the teen’s parent; would the narcissist receive pleasure in seeing the pain they’ve created for the teen’s parent? … Just a thought….I guess that’s a topic for another day. Let’s get back to hedonistic Canadian teen laws in 2021!

What do these ancient Greek philosophers have to do with a hypothetical Canadian 16 year old in the year 2021? I’ll tell you.

Age-old Debate of Hedonism Vs Stoicism

The two camps of thought still influence society today to a large degree and the hedonistic worldview has not only shaped teen & youth law but it actively alienates stoic-minded parents from guiding their teens to an alternative, less pleasure-seeking way of thinking and living.

Hedonism is the idea that pleasure is the highest form of good, or even the only form of good. Hedonists usually focus on maximizing their personal pleasure, or if discussing societal values, bringing the most pleasure to the most people.

Stoicism is the idea that emotions lead to poor judgment and poor decisions. Followers of Stoicism focus on keeping their emotions under control, not displaying emotion, and not allowing their emotions to influence their decisions.

In the past month as I’ve been researching Canadian and provincial teen and youth law, (which incidentally defines a juvenile as under the age of 18) I keep coming up against this hedonist philosophical world view. Time and time again they share the same view – whether professional associates, family or casual friends – they tell me the parents of a teen should let them do what they want [if it makes them happy]. This means the general norm in society which is encapsulated into our provincial law is the idea that teens are permitted to follow a path to minimize their pain and maximize their pleasure. We are willingly accepting and perpetuating a culture which promotes and supports hedonism. Isn’t that odd?

Although the federal law states a juvenile is under the age of 18 and it’s against the law to move out of the house without parental consent, in reality when a teen turns 16 then police, social workers, lawyers, and well-meaning community members do not feel the law applies to them.

Truthfully, at this domestic level of the issue I feel strongly that “the law” cannot make an ill-intentioned person behave morally. Safety & security are somewhat arbitrary words & differ from culture to culture. The law cannot force people to change their morals or beliefs. And also everything that is legal is not necessarily moral (take slavery or women’s suffrage for example). The question of “where is the right place for a teen to live” brings up a plethora of strong feelings, emotions, thoughts and behaviours for everyone involved. No wonder it’s such a touchy legal and moral dilemma for any family with a teen runaway.

Although I seem to have an unpopular opinion, fortunately I’m not alone. I tend to lean on the stoic approach to life, living & parenting. Stoic individuals and advocates for tighter laws seeking to protect children & youth have been striving successfully and diligently for decades. To what end? That children & youth are taught to be responsible, conscientious and contributing members of a family, a community. A strong and loving family is the bedrock of a thriving community. A hedonistic pleasure-seeking life fundamentally contradicts a model of society in which people practice self-control, choose a degree of individual suffering in exchange for communal harmony, and use reason and rationale to determine positive action instead of flights of fancy of emotion.

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What is Safety, Stability & Security? Who Defines it? Who Enforces it?

When I was looking into the mandated procedures of the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) of Ontario I learned from a social worker, Tanya Katch, that even if she does a wellness check for a 16 year old and discovers they are living in a drug-filled house infested with insects and dirt there is still nothing she can do to have the teen removed. She says the CAS mandate is to “protect” teens under the age of 18, however in practice this is not the case. She says there is nothing she/they can do. Again, isn’t that odd? Especially considering they promote themselves as being THE authority on child & teen safety and protection. Did you know that the CAS organization in Ontario is a privately run business contracted by the provincial government? They are paid (by the government) something like $70,000 a year for every child they remove from a home. The stats are staggering but, again, a topic for another time. Young children are removed from homes more often because foster parents and adoption agencies have a greater preference for younger children. The rule of supply and demand seems to be in full force here as our children are being treated as a valuable commodity, while our teens are being neglected or mistreated or mismanaged by archaic laws & practices.

So how does all of this create a nation where a multi-million dollar human sex trafficking industry flourishes? I’ll outline it in 14 steps although this is just the tip of the ice burg.

  1. Teens are encouraged by law, by societal norms, by friends & family to seek out a pain-free life, even if that means leaving a loving home, school and gainful employment to do so. Afterall, loving homes have rules, school is hard and employment is a lot of responsibility.
  2. Loving and stoic-minded parents are given no rights to their teen’s living arrangements by law. Reasonable laws that exist on paper are not followed by judges, lawyers, police officers or child protection workers in practice.
  3. Schools accept teens who have “withdrawn from parental control” without asking any questions. Sometimes schools let a teen enter a classroom as a new student even without a registration form or any proof that the adult accompanying them is a legal guardian.
  4. Police officers allow teens to do anything they want or live anywhere they choose in order to avoid strenuous paperwork, provided there is no evidence of criminal activity.
  5. Even if there are signs of theft or fraud, the Juvenile justice system strongly protects youth from harsh penalty and/or consequences.
  6. Social workers focus on children under the age of 12 and give a lot of freedom to teens, at times even encouraging them to break free from their family home in pursuit of a pain-free life.
  7. Nonprofit organizations and websites provide information to teens on how to find loop holes in the justice system so they can withdraw from parental control, without any evidence that this is in the best interest of the child.
  8. Airports allow children of all ages to travel without any evidence that the adult they are traveling with, or who booked the ticket, is a legal guardian. This is so shocking my head is still spinning.
  9. Phone companies (Telus specifically) allow 15 year olds to enter into a phone contract with any adult who shows up saying they want the teen on their phone plan, without requesting proof of legal guardianship.
  10. Provincial laws vary from place to place and there are very few (if any) youth protection laws at a federal level.
  11. Teens who lie can get away with whatever they want because no professional agency looks into the claims or seeks out facts & true information.
  12. Provincial Court-orders for parenting and divorce can be arbitrarily broken by either parent without consequence, making the documents fundamentally useless for child protection and seem to be just a money-making scheme for the family justice system.
  13. Once a child “runs away” there is very little anyone can do to compel them to return to the safety of their own home. At that point, unchaperoned and vulnerable they become VERY easy targets for predators recruiting new slaves for their flourishing human sex trafficking rings.
  14. There is “very little” which can be done but that does not mean there is NOTHING. Strong, determined, intelligent and stoic parents have successfully “beat the system” in order to protect their teens from going down hedonistic life paths. There ARE resources, supports and passion-driven people and agencies in existence right now acting in the REAL best interest of teens. Laws are changing. Society is maturing. What wasn’t possible 50 years ago is possible now. Yes, it is like walking with a small flashlight in a dark cave but still there is hope and there is enlightenment.
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The Secret Epidemic Amid Viral Pandemic

I make a lot of claims here and will explore them in greater detail over time. The point I’m making is this: In Canada we have a quiet epidemic of human sex trafficking which is a heinous crime against our children & youth, especially young women. Our laws, societal norms, policies, procedures and practices do not protect or support average teens or their parents in developing strong and healthy relationships. Hedonistic philosophical views are enshrined in our antiquated provincial & federal laws which not only lure average teens out of their parental homes but also turns a blind eye to the abhorrent criminal behaviour of those who are trafficking teens for the purposes of sexual slavery. For a fascinating read in Global News check out this article with the headline “Fighting human trafficking ‘more urgent’ amid pandemic.”

It’s a well-documented scientific fact that adolescent brains are not fully developed yet, and function very differently than the adult brain. The frontal cortex, which is the decision-making part of the brain, is still underdeveloped at age 16. It’s not until the early 20s when the brain matures and begins functioning more adult-like. The Baha’i Faith defines the time of youth between ages 15-30. I want to know why Canadian law and societal practices give so much autonomy to 16 year old youth who have underdeveloped brains? Who benefits from these laws which pull teens away from loving & supportive parents? What’s really going on here?

A personal curiosity in March 2021 led to this month-long investigation into the laws and practices of our country. I was shocked and horrified by what I discovered. I hope this short introduction into the nature of the issue helps to open the readers’ eyes.

It leaves me with the question: what can be done? Where do we go from here? That will be explored in more detail soon.

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