Friday, November 17, 2017

We are Moving to Sweden!

Posted: 17 November 2017
Updated:
Her Homeland's Flag

Dear Family and special friends,

This is to inform you all that Birgitta and I have decided to move to Sweden to be with or close to Birgitta’s family. 

In her last years I want her to be with those she loves most, who love her. She has always felt a longing for her Swedish children and grandchildren ever since I flew to Stockholm to propose in spring 1993 and stole her from her loved ones. “Reconciliation” was my motto back then, which she chose to help me achieve. She has more than fulfilled that commitment and now I need to fulfill mine by returning her to her heart’s home. 

We anticipate leaving as soon as summer 2018, but no later than fall 2020. Of course such a major change will take much planning, in which we invite you to participate if you are interested and willing. All good suggestions and practical ideas are welcome! We will probably have to proceed in stages by downsizing first and making sure our internet connections are healthy and up-to-date.

With love,

Dad, bro, uncle, g'pa...and friend.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

VFW Post 8744 Dream Seminar, Parts 3 & 4.

Posted: 12 November 2017
Updated: 
Veterans Day Presentation by VFW Post 8874
Following our 4th small, private dream work session on Friday, 10 Nov, our complete VFW Post 8874 put on a public presentation for Veterans Day. Since all of our seminar participants, except me, are leaders of this post, they had to juggle their schedules to keep our weekly momentum going. 

During Session 3, on Saturday, 4 Nov, we encountered a lull in the momentum until they asked for more information on my own background in this dream work methodology. That gave me permission to share a draft forward to a book my co-author and I are in process of publishing. So, I read it to the group near the end of our session. It made them laugh and the momentum resumed. Here is that (draft) forward by best selling author Kelly Sullivan Walden, who had attended my workshop at the 2017 IASD conference this past summer in California:

Foreword for CREEI book:

Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.
~Allen Saunders


Last summer, 2017, I was honored to be one of the speakers at the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) in Southern California. One of the perks of being a speaker at the IASD is you get to attend the other seminars, lectures, and workshops during the time you’re not speaking. As I was flipping through the catalogue to see which dreamwork session I wanted to next attend, I saw a lecture about dreams and shamanism that caught my eye. I took note of the ballroom, and bee-lined on over.

Note: When you attend a dream conference of any kind, especially one sponsored by the IASD, you are consciously and deliberately placing yourself in a vortex outside ordinary reality—a reality the late Rod Serling would’ve called, “The Twilight Zone.”

Feeling the “in between realms” energy, I padded carefully into the dark ballroom, and maneuvered to a seat on the right side of the front row. I looked up to see blaring on the screen:

“A Practical Process for Working with the Structure of Dreams: The CREEI Process, with Eugene N. Kovalenko.”

No! Wait a minute? I’m in the wrong room! This isn’t the shaman dreaming workshop—in fact, this is the farthest thing from it…because the description read, “In this workshop we will not share out loud about your dreams.” That’s crazy! Not my style, at all! How can you possibly accomplish anything significant if you don’t expose the dream and talk about it… out loud! Dreamwork is revealing, and it’s supposed to be. I’ve got to get out of here!

Just then, a bearded man walks to the front of the room.

Darn! It’s starting…it would be rude to leave now…and I’m in the front row. I’ll just listen for a few minutes, and as soon as he turns his back, I’ll gather my belongings and in a flash of lightning, exit stage right…he won’t even know I was here!

His baritone voice lulled me in as he sang the old spiritual “I’m Just a Poor Wayfaring Stranger, and his mischievous eyes twinkled and beguiling smile were so mesmerizing.

He’s a trickster…maybe he is the shaman I came here to meet…funny…a real shaman would never introduce themselves to you as a shaman…they’d be sneakier than that. Hmmm…maybe I’m supposed to be here, after all.

I relaxed in my seat and listened with rapt attention as the bearded mischief maker shared with us his method of dream work, which was a million miles from what I was accustomed to. In his CREEI process, I learned to take a dream, and instead of talking about it, take inventory of it by writing CREEI across the top of a sheet of paper. Each of the letters in CREEI represent categories in which to evaluate your dream. If this seems complicated, don’t worry, it’s not, and Eugene explains this in detail in the book you are now reading.

The dream I brought into the workshop was, shall we say, traumatic, in an ego-annihilating kind of way. To say the least, it left me feeling off center, angry, and worried. This was a dream that I needed to talk through in order to find resolution…or so I thought.

All I know, is that about half-way through the workshop, the light bulbs began flashing over my head. At first one at a time, and then in rapid succession…so much so, that I began to cry, then laugh, at the same time. As much as I tried to be polite and keep this experience to myself, Eugene took notice.

Sorry to distract from the class, I’m just bursting with insight about this dream and what it’s trying to show me. Your process is amazing!

I was amazed at the fact that just an hour earlier I’d accidently walked into a class I didn’t want to attend, carrying a burdensome dream I didn’t want to admit was mine… and I walked out feeling ten-feet tall. I was flooded with gratitude for my blessed mistake, because I was flush with empowerment by the CREEI process, my dream…and this amazing bearded man!

Eugene shared with me about the many situations where dream details should be kept private. Most people, don’t realize the extent to which they reveal themselves when they share their dreams. And, unfortunately, there are places and spaces where dream sharing might not work in someone’s best interest. So, if you are one of those people who happens to work or live in a situation like this, the CREEI process is here so you can still work your dreams, and even have a discussion about them, without having to reveal top secret information about yourself.

After the workshop, I had the blessing of engaging in an impromptu conversation with Eugene, and was mesmerized by his stories and thunderstruck by what a truly remarkable human being he is. His incredible gifts of wisdom, depth, and intuition can only be matched by his humor and warmth.

I hope you open your heart and mind to experiencing him and his work as I have.

Eugene’s CREEI process is enlightening, grounded, and formed by thousands of hours of time tested research, and is a blessing to all of us who want to take a deeper dive into understanding the mysteries of our dreams and dreaming mind...and still stay somewhat secretive about it.

P.S. Because my experience with CREEI was so impactful, I later wrote a poem about the dream I brought to the workshop. If you care to see my soul X-Ray (aka dream)—clearly I’m NOT the secretive type—it’s in the post script at the end of this book. I will caution you, however, it does involve adult language. So, if you are offended by that, just go on and read this book, and omit the last few pages.

Enjoy!

Kelly Sullivan Walden (aka “Doctor Dream”)
Bestselling author of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams and the Unexplainable

******
 Post Script:

At this point, you’ve read the book and are no doubt well versed in the CREEI process, and have probably worked several (at least one) of your own dreams.

How did it go? What kind of ahas did you have? Do you see what I saw about the brilliance (and sneakiness) of this technique?

Ok, as promised in the forward of this book, I’ll share with you the wretched dream I brought into the CREEI workshop, and what I did to change it into a sweet dream.

But, before I do, you should know that “changing the ending of the dream” is not necessarily a part of the CREEI process, but is a technique I’ve developed over the past twenty years of professional dream work. Some would say that it resembles IRT (imagery Rehearsal Therapy). My working premise is that there’s no such thing as a bad dream, because the dream isn’t over until you’ve redirected it to an empowered conclusion. A nightmare (traumatic dream) is an unfinished dream. I believe it is incumbent upon the dreamer to act as director (or at least co-director) of their dream movie, and carry the dream through to its empowered conclusion.  For example, if you have a nightmare and it ends abruptly just as you are jumping off the cliff, being cornered by wolves, or your ass is hanging out in public, then it’s your job to “finish the dream.”

Thanks to the CREEI method for shining a laser beam of light on my dream, helping me to excavate it and bring it to the point where I was then able to “finish the dream” with greater ease and clarity.

Spoiler Alert: This dream has a little (ok, a lot) to do with my derriere.

Here is the dream:
           
Dream Report:
Ass Hangs Out (June 2017 – Kelly Sullivan Walden)
I’m observing a blonde woman (not me, by the way, but of course everyone in our dreams is us—and for me, any blonde person in my dream is a not-so-cryptic-code that it’s really me) who is soon to be receiving an award, ala the Academy Awards.
She’s wearing a gorgeous, bejeweled dress, and is giving partial acceptance speeches…all over the stage, in strange staccato ways. I, being omniscient, can see that there is a woman behind the scenes, wearing a white dress and a headset, telling the blonde woman via her ear-prompter, where to go, what to say, when to turn, and how to be.
I’m disgusted that this blonde woman is being bossed around like a perfect little soldier, except that it’s not working! From the audience’s perspective, she’s completely disconnected.
Finally, it’s time for her to receive her award. But, instead of presenting her with an award, she receives an even more gorgeous dress. She says thank you, and the woman with the headphone instructs her to put the dress on, so the blonde begins to look for a backstage changing room, only she can see that there is no back stage.
The headset lady instructs her to change right there.
The blonde questions her, “Right here? In front of everyone?”
Yes.
I know that the blonde is Being modest, and I watch her the blonde as she turns her back to the audience and disrobes, and tries to wiggle into the dress…only it’s too small! And the dress gets stuck right under her ASS!
The dream comes to a screeching halt when the blonde woman says: “Are you FUCKING kidding me!?!”
           
            CREEI Score: +----+//+-+/--- Characters: blonde woman, stage, dress, woman behind the scenes, woman’s white dress, headset and ear prompter, new dress, blonde’s ass.  Pattern 3,4 [ Anticipatory, Traumatic].

ENK PS, continued. Kelly, I read your score from the whiteboard to be: +-?+--//???/?-+, whereas my current score is +?+---//?+?/?-+, which is closer to your whiteboard score. The point here is that scores will vary, depending on when and who is doing the scoring, but not by much. Scoring is merely a mechanism for allowing the dreamer to return to the no’s and ?’s of the dream and wonder what outer personal behavior changes might be made.

One last thing. Remember how we wrestled initially in the June workshop about focusing only on the behavior of the dream self in the scoring process? You began by focusing on the blonde character [which, incidentally is the focus of your fabulous poem!]. If I remember correctly it was at that point of reminding you to focus strictly on your dream self and nothing else, that I think you had your first “aha”. Did I remember correctly?
***
For reasons that are probably too obvious to mention, I, Kelly, the dreamer, awoke very upset. I felt angry, shocked, and off-center. As you know, if you read the forward to this book, this was the point where I met Eugene and the CREEI process. Eugene taught us to write a poem that would help us to rework such an anticipatory and traumatic dream into a transformative one, and already in the workshop I was hard at work on it.

After attending Eugene’s workshop, here’s the poem I wrote, to “finish” this dream:

No Ifs, Ands or BUTTs
My ass is hanging out on stage tonight
In front of everyone
my worst fear expressed
‘cause I can't fit in my dress
I was supposed to be receiving an award
a reward for being a people pleaser extraordinaire
Fred Astaire
On air
Minus Ginger Rogers
'cause she's not there
she trying so hard to get it right
holding tight
to the rope she walks
trying so hard to do what she's been told,
trying so hard to not grow old
trying so hard to not be too bold
‘cause they like you, won’t love you
won't protect you, won’t accept you, won’t respect you
In fact, they’ll reject you

but what the FUCK!
I did what they said,
I became the Walking Dead
I wore the pretty dress
they swore would look best
on me and my figure
now they'll have an image that’s sure to linger
of me in my naked glory
wiggling into this ridiculous story
real quick before they can get a good look at my ass
real quick before they have time to ask
why not use a changing room?
or go backstage to a private womb?

Because there is no backstage,
not at this age!
It's all upfront
and there's nowhere to hide
so, you're forced to see my backside
and the moon, she’s full tonight.
I’m stuck in a dress that doesn't fit
I'm stuck in my shame and it feels like ---

My people pleasing is broken
That’s it!
I quit
I'm out
I'm done
Whoever you are!
See my white flag
You’ve won!
I rip off the dress
Unzip my distress
Leave the scene of the crime just in time
Naked as a Blue Jay walking a fine line
Shake it all off
And then it hits me:
The worst thing happened
my public humiliation
my ass hanging out for all to see
but I'm not dead, it didn't kill me,
I’m still me, in fact more me
‘cause now I have permission to be
surprised to suddenly be free
of the shackles that used to bind
me too the disease to please that made me blind
to the fact that I was in a Stepford trance

But, now I can do my own dance
to my own rhythm, my own grooves,
my own gyrations, and my own moves
I could end this dream here and I'd be fine.
but my stage of Shame is still behind,
I’ve got to go back and claim what’s mine.
After all, it's my ass that's still on the line

I’ve got to figure out how to make it right
I’ve got to figure out how to plug into my light
if takes all night, and takes all of my might

Because how can I love if I’m not there
how can I contribute if I don't care?
I have to participate, to integrate, to excavate, to retaliate,
at least put in my two cents
Otherwise it's not worth wearing the most beautiful dress

I deserve this award
a reward for getting my ass back in my body
for honoring my soul
that's worth more than gold
In my acceptance speech, I'll share
about my glorious derrière
that was out there for all to see
And it didn’t kill me
I'm still alive,
in fact, I thrive


P.P.S. Here’s a video of me performing this story/dream/poem just a few weeks after meeting Eugene at his CREEI workshop: (http://tinyurl.com/noifsandsorbutts).

How has it helped you to be a better dream therapist?  A more adjusted person?

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

VFW Post 8874 Pilot Dream Seminar, Part 2


Posted: 31 October 2017
Updated:

VFW Pilot Dream Seminar for PTSD Veterans
Week 2
VFW Post 8874, Los Alamos, NM 
(Deacon St. view)
The second dream session of our VFW Post 8874 initiative for PTSD veterans occurred on Sunday, 29 Oct. We are realizing that we are exploring new territory and that our group needs to be kept small at this stage.

Continued in Part 3






Monday, October 23, 2017

VFW Pilot Dream Workshop/Seminar at Post 8874

Posted: 23 October 2017
Updated: 31 Oct 17
VFW Post 8874, Los Alamos, NM (Trinity St. view)
On Saturday morning, 21 October 2017, a small group of VFW veterans met at Post 8874 headquarters to explore a dream workshop along the lines I had presented at an earlier business meeting. Two were Vietnam vets, others were in Iraq. I represented the Korean and Cold War.

Although excited about sharing my 30+ years of experience teaching dream workshops and seminars, I was also apprehensive. Never before had I considered dealing with PTSD nightmares of veterans until that idea was suggested by a VA social worker last spring. [See here for back story.]

After our first 2-hour meeting last Saturday, we were all pleasantly surprised by the experience, which we had set up to determine whether the process was worth continuing. It was. So, we agreed to give it six additional weeks to allow us a fair time to evaluate it and whether to offer it to other comrades. 

This thread will keep track of this pilot six-week seminar without revealing the dream content or identity of its participants, unless I am given group's express permission to do so. 

Continued in Part 2.


Saturday, October 7, 2017

Wise Counsel from Old Friend

Posted: 7 October 2017
Updated: 

Dr. Joseph Dillard
In response to my previous post regarding the tragic death of my granddaughter, long-time good friend Joseph Dillard sent a compassionate practical personal message to my FaceBook account. It was so timely and relevant that I want to post it below. 

He refers to me as "the family patriarch" to which I wince, since I do not believe most of my family accepts me in that role, especially my LDS daughter or my LDS younger brother. Nevertheless, I will alert my family to this wise counsel.
Dear Eugene, As the family patriarch you need to emphatically insist that all of your family members get family counseling, not primarily for grief, although that is important, but for suicide prevention. I know just going to counseling is a big step for a lot of people; present it to the parents as familiarizing their children with that resource in case they or some other family need it. I highly recommend a non-sectarian counselor, simply because doctrinal allegiances can get much in the way of hearing people. I would recommend someone trained in cognitive behavioral therapy. Suicide creates a real possibility within families and it can go from generation to generation, as you have seen. Love you, my brother.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Granddaughter Tina is gone.

Posted: Friday, 6 October 2017
Updated: Saturday, 7 Oct 17

Tina and family (April 2017)
On Tuesday evening, October 3, I received a tearful call from my only daughter, Katya. She was in shock: her daughter Tina had just taken herself out! No one saw it coming.

On Thursday, two days later, Katya wrote:
Two days seems like an eternity to me today. That's when I found out that my beautiful, remarkable, phenomenal, talented, determined daughter Tina Johnson Scott left us to finally be at peace with her Father in Heaven and Savior Jesus Christ. My heart is shattered. I love her and my other precious children with all my heart. I miss her so much! I pray for her dear husband and our beautiful granddaughters as well as our whole family, as she leaves a gaping hole in the family and the world. It breaks my heart at so many levels. I have so many regrets as a mother, but I believe deeply in forgiveness, repentance, and The Plan of Salvation and Happiness, so it gives me solace. I am deeply grateful for the many people who have generously reached out and provided the help necessary for Annie and myself to go to Nashville for the family gathering and services. Annie and her 4 children are currently living with us so it was no small miracle. I keep hoping I'll wake up from this nightmare and see another text from her or hear her delightful voice telling me "It's me, your favorite child!" again. She was such a tremendous example to me. I am privileged to be her mother, and I cherish the thought and deep knowledge that I will see her again and give her great big hugs. Her services will be held in Mt Juliet TN on Sunday (viewing) and Monday (Funeral).

I, too, was shocked and wondered what I could say to Katya and her family. At the suggestion of my youngest son, who counseled me to "just let it flow", I managed to write:
Dear daughter and your (our) family. There is no earthly way I can begin to express my shock, surprise and bewilderment about Tina's passing. I harken back to when we lost your younger brother Ivan in a similar way 20+ years ago. It was incomprehensible to lose my very bright son at age 35, just under Tina's age now. You remember how our family came together at that time and how the tears flowed but also how the laughter miraculously came into our mourning that extraordinary week we were all together. We told each other the truth of how we really felt and what we thought at that time. No way we could be phony with each other. Prior to Ivan's passing many of us were not talking to each other for what became irrelevant reasons during those magical, wondrous hours and days. All I can offer now amid this most recent family tragedy is that we stay alert to our dreams and be willing to share them with each other. Do you remember that Ivan began showing up in my dreams and those of at least two of your other brothers? Especially your brother who felt the most guilt and responsibility for Ivan's decision. Ivan came as not only a helper, but a teacher for your brother who was struggling with a college class he needed to pass for his work. Ivan also rescued me during an impasse in my own work. I would be surprised if Tina does not reach out in subtle ways to you, my dear daughter, and to Troy and to her two so-vulnerable beautiful daughters. I implore you all not to ignore your dreams now. The veil between here and where Tina is now is thinner than you might suppose. Let us all look through our grief and into wondrous new ways of comfort, understanding and enlightenment. Dad, g'pa and great-g'pa.

An hour or so later Katya replied:
Excellent counsel, Dad. That gathering and what happened there is part of what holds me together now. And the phenomenal number of people who are reaching out and sharing their love and wonderful memories of her magnificent influence in their lives. Everyone loved her. I'm confident she will reach beyond the grave and positively influence many.
Later today my cousin Igor in Ukraine wrote: 
Дорогие Катя, Женя и все родственники. Примите наши искренние соболезнования в связи с тяжелой утратой-преждевременным уходом из нашего мира дорогой Тины.Очень горько терять своих близких любимых, особенно когда они молоды.Упокой Господь её душу.Будьте все благословенны.С любовью, Игорь, Родион, Наташа, Вика.
Translation: 
Dear Katya, Zhenya and all our relatives. Please accept our sincere condolences in connection with the premature and heavy loss-departure from our world of dear Tina. It's very hard to lose loved ones, especially when they are young. God rest her soul. Be all blessed. With love, Igor, Rodion, Natasha, Vika.