Monday, June 29, 2015

Working with Structure of Dreams, Part 3: References

Posted: 29 June 2015
Updated: 24 Mar 16

Cover of our new book
Working Table of Contents
Foreword/Introduction [begin with audio experience]
Author's Preface
Co-author's Preface 
Part A: Experience
Part B: Explanation 

On March 11, 2015, shortly before Bob Thomsen and I agreed to co-author this book, I received a surprising, serendipitous email from Patrick P, a colleague who had been with the company where and when the CREEI process was invented. He was looking to contact old co-workers portrayed in a nostalgic photo from those days that he keeps on his office wall, but at a different company. I was one of those co-workers. Here is the photo:

Engineering Department, Wintec Products Div., Brunswick Defense Corp.

ENK (me--engineering manager) second from right; Betty Moore (drawings manager) front center; Gene Chang (design engineer) in back and left of ENK; Linda B (engineering secretary) in back row second from left.  Betty, Gene and Linda are key initial figures in the history of CREEI development.  (See Origin of CREEI Process.) Email sender Patrick P is the one peeking from behind Betty M.

Fr. Gary Baldwin, Episcopal priest (June 2015)
Prior to my ordination into the priesthood of the Episcopal Church, I had been trained and served as a licensed psychotherapist. Part of my training was a significant introduction to Jungian Dream work. I often found using this training quite helpful, especially when my work with clients encountered periods of impasse. Almost without exception, the therapeutic process became richly productive and healing.

This was also true in my vocational preparation to become a priest. I worked for a period of time with a Jungian therapist to better understand and grow in my spiritual maturity. Many sessions were spent in the rich exploration of my dream world.

Shortly after arriving at Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church in Los Alamos, New Mexico, I was introduced to Dr. Eugene Kovalenko. I had been called to serve in this parish as their Priest in Charge during a time of intense transition following the twenty-seven year service of their former clergy. My role was to assist the people of this parish through this transition by carefully looking at where they had been, where they were now, and where was God leading them into the future. This was especially difficult as many of the parishioners were in various stages of grief. Eugene showed significant interest in my work. He suggested and offered to me the availability of a process he developed called CREEI. It was a process that allowed groups to explore their dreams in a group setting that promoted cohesion and growth.

At first I was not sure as to how such a process would be accepted in this parish full of scientists. He then set up a special workshop to introduce me to the process for my evaluation. Skeptically, I attended. Sitting in the room were four or five other people I had just met or had only known a short time. After introducing the process to us, each of us was invited to share a dream. I found it somewhat intimidating sharing a dream, as it was like disclosing a very intimate aspect of me to what amounted to be strangers. Each of us, however, was, figuratively speaking, in the same boat. Shockingly, one person shared a dream he had the night before that was about me! In the dream he described me as a father with six children. I was a bit stunned for I have no biological children. Later, in a private meeting with Eugene, the parts of this dream became more apparent, as I am a priest in a church denomination that refers to me as “Father.” I was presently serving in my sixth parish as a priest. In a sense then, I am the Father of six children. Such information was not available to the conscious life of the dreamer. Further discussion revealed some other information that was significant about my current circumstances.

After a period of time I asked for volunteers within my parish to participate in the CREEI process. We started out with twelve persons who came to the initial workshop. Four stayed on regularly for weekly meetings in which we put the process into action. What I found so very helpful was using a process that easily identified the types of dreams we shared, as well provided a tool to measure our changes and progress. It was interesting observing the changes in each of our dreams and lives over the period of the next several weeks. Mine went from traumatic dreams to transformative dreams. Part of this process was nurtured along with individual sessions of deeper dream exploration with Eugene. I became more aware of my personal spirituality strengthening, as my relationship with God deepened. My work as a priest in this intense setting became more effective. I also observed this in the lives of the others who were availing themselves of these sessions

The CREEI process has been a strong addition to my understanding of dreams, as well as how this can be significantly applied in group settings. We who allowed ourselves to participate in this type of intimacy found our relationships becoming profoundly rich and unifying in the mysterious life of the Divine. I am a better priest and person because of it. Little did I know that when I first met Dr. Eugene Kovalenko how my life would be truly enriched and a profound new friendship began.

The Rev. Dr. Gary Lee Baldwin
Priest in Charge (2013-2015)
Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church
Los Alamos, New Mexico

See: 24 March 2016: First DRAFT manuscript Table of Contents.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Working with Structure of Dreams, Part 2

Posted: 19 June 2015
Updated: 23 Jun 15

Cover of our new book
Working Table of Contents
Foreword/Introduction [begin with audio experience]
Author's Preface
Co-author's Preface 
Part A: Experience
Part B: Explanation 

Author's Preface (origin of CREEI)
The impulse for CREEI emerged from a personal crisis decades ago in 1964.  I had just accepted a research position with a prestigious southern California laboratory after taking a technical doctorate at a prominent western university.  My resume was superb and my career had shifted into high gear.  Additionally, I was active with wife and family in church and community service and eager to make a mark in society.  Family, friends, colleagues were proud of my determination, years of driving hard, and my resulting academic and social accomplishments.  It looked promising, but was not to last.

Powerful forces beyond my conscious awareness and control had been building beneath my highly structured, smooth outer life.  Soon these forces began to break into my waking life, erupting with such stormy intensity that I fell into an emotional sea that became a chasm.  To survive, I was forced to examine every rational decision I had ever made, as well as reconsider my entire belief system.  I had little choice but to begin a new search for resolution and meaning.

As I began my search, I instinctively felt that any meaningful results must be simple, direct, and experiential.  I believed that anything less than this would remain unconvincing and controversial.  My search precipitated profound personal and professional life changes.  In consequence I left for uncharted waters both in the United States and abroad.  During this time I began to take an interest in dreams and their potential to reveal inner reality to bridge emotions and intellect. This became a wilderness period.

After more than a decade, I returned to the world of business and industry with new perspective and motivation.  I began to wonder how to apply the ordinary universal human experience of night dreaming not only to personal experience, but also to the standard world of business and industry.  This was a natural consequence of having kept a night dream journal during the previous decade of my life.

I began wondering about applying dreams to industrial problem-solving as the result of consulting for a small southern California manufacturing company.  This company had a vexing contamination problem with its nuclear grade product line.  Finding the cause took six intensive, painstaking weeks, which turned out to be he cleaning agent itself, used by the company. The alcohol, certified chemically pure by its manufacturer, had contaminated thousands of products before we re-evaluated its trustworthiness.  Reviewing my notes a few days later, I found “contaminated alcohol” in one of my dreams recorded the night after first interviewing workers associated with the problem!  Had I taken this dream as a possible clue at the time, many thousands of dollars and weeks of wasted time would have been saved.  I had already learned that dreams reveal emotional truths in personal symbols.  But now I had learned that, if taken seriously, they could also provide information for making practical waking decisions.

About this same time I was invited to develop an experimental course on dreaming at UCLA entitled “Creative Dreaming and Spiritual Awakening”.  Designing this course began to awaken me to the possibility that dream work could bridge the gap between head and heart within a person.  Preparing for the course and interacting with the students saturated me with new meaning and I became convinced that this was a promising direction.  However, it was not yet simple or practical enough to apply in business and industry.

After completing the UCLA assignment, I came across the work of a small group of young psychologists in Los Angeles at the Center for Feeling Therapy. This encounter inspired the idea of applying objective parameters not only to dreams, per se, but to the memory of any kind of experienced event.  By realizing that it is the memory of an event, rather than the event itself, one can deal with one’s present condition.  This idea ultimately evolved into the CREEI acronym which stands for five key structural aspects of a remembered experience.

In the process of applying these structural parameters to my own personal experience and to that of friends, family and colleagues, I eventually developed a second set of parameters for considering the content of an experience.  These parameters allow one to examine how pleasant, fearful, hopeful, tolerant, or caring one’s experience in the dream is.  

In the late 1980’s, in the role of engineering manager for a southern California aerospace company, I began offering informal classes to the engineering staff.  This expanded to include the entire company on a formal basis.  The results produced an immediate improvement of morale.  They also included resolving a debilitating conflict between two key managers, which turned a forecast annual loss to a substantial profit.  Participants soon realized they had learned a new language, which enabled them to relate to each other in more honest, meaningful ways.  They even began to look forward to coming to work, which before they had dreaded!

To test its cross-cultural applicability, I presented a CREEI workshop in Kiev, Ukraine (then part of the Soviet Union), to a group of psychologists associated with a bureau of family relations.  These professionals were concerned not only with family harmony, but also with good relations in the work place.  A single evening workshop with a follow up a few days later produced enough positive results between staff members and their clients to last for months without further contact.  However, when I met two of the key participants in this country a year and a half later, they reported that they had had much initial success applying the principles for the first year, but that accumulating unanswered questions among themselves had eventually deteriorated the effectiveness of the process.  This demonstrated the need for a minimal maintenance program to keep the process alive and fresh.

More recently, thanks to the work of Professor Mac Freeman of Queen’s University, I added a final set of four basic human values to the CREEI scoring instrument.  Professor Freeman, concerned with the wellness of teachers, teaches the values of belonging, becoming, believing, and beloving.
In a subsequent six-week pilot seminar, a variety of participants came with specific and varying expectations.  One woman came in a state of considerable stress, feeling out of control of her life.  She had hoped to reduce the stress and feel in control of her life so that she could enjoy her family once again.  At the end of the seminar she was surprised to discover (but only with the help of the other participants) that her hope had unconsciously been achieved during the six weeks.  She had been unaware that this had happened so subtly until her colleagues helped her trace the evolution of scores and images in her dreams.

A young man learned about how better to relate to others in practical ways.  This translated to understanding better what his employer wanted from him as well as enabling his employer (who was also at the seminar) to better understand how to communicate with him.  Another employee from the same company, skeptical at first, discovered he was beset by fears that were preventing him from making effective decisions.  During the the seminar he was able to confront and transform these fears and feel released to take initiative in his job assignments.

Another woman experienced weekly transformations in the creative way she had wanted for years.  These areas were in music, poetry, and art.  She created her first poem during the seminar and recited it recently in a public arts festival.  Her husband, a tough engineering maintenance contractor also attending the seminar, found a way to transform frustrating hostilities towards a particular church leader by learning to write poetry.  He too read two of his creations at the same public forum. 

These experiences are typical of the impact of applying the CREEI process in making a meaningful difference in the daily experience of ordinary people.  Participating in such a process is meaningful in itself.

Our dream mind is different from our waking mind in that it deals with our experiences and emotions in symbolic language.  Imagine turning on your personal computer and finding that the screen is showing you numbers and symbols in a foreign language that you do not understand.  Our dreams are similar to this scenario:  every night our minds are displaying vital information in our dreams about unresolved problems and questions.

Many students of dreams have found that the complex concepts of such masters of dream analysis as Freud and Jung have done little in providing them with simple practical tools for dream analysis on a daily basis. 

In looking for a practical tool for daily applications of “dream feedback” I learned about the work done by psychologists at the Center for Feeling Therapy, mentioned above, in applying objective structural parameters to dreams.  Their findings prompted me to develop a simple scoring instrument as an analytical tool not only for dreams, but for ANY remembered experience. I call this tool CREEI, which is an acronym for five structural aspects of a dream (or any remembered experience).  These are Clarity, Role, Emotion, Expression, and Interaction.  Clarity refers to the details of the dream as we wake up.  Role is our personal level of activity.  Emotion is how intensely we feel in the experience.  Expression is what we do with these feelings.  And Interaction addresses our level of involvement with other figures in the dream experience.  

Content aspects of a dream are further categorized to define more detail about our feelings.  We ask ourselves how pleasant, fearless, hopeful, tolerant and caring we are in the experience.  All of these parameters are scored on a simple three step scale from “+” (plus) to “?” (question-mark) to “-“ (minus).  

Through learning to use the simple, powerful tool introduced in this book, you can begin to understand the language of your dreams.  This will enable you to locate areas needing adjustment in your life and show you how to initiate the changes necessary to improve it.  Fear, trauma, stress, confrontation, indecision, guilt, and every other emotional obstacle in our lives can be located, evaluated, and transformed using the CREEI process.

1. Enhance individual performance
2. Improve interpersonal communication
3. Increase organizational morale

1. Improve accuracy of individual perceptions
2. Improve quality of personal decisions
3. Enhance personal job satisfaction
4. Reduce job stress
5. Increase teamwork performance
6. Help solve personal, company, and technical problems

Friday, June 5, 2015

Greatest Fathers Day card of all time!

Posted: Saturday, 6 June 2014

From my oldest son, Nick:

"The 1st son of the 1st son of the 1st son of the 1st son..."

I just noticed the postmark date of 29 May 2015 PM 1:10. Nick was in a hurry!  Fathers Day isn't until June 21st! But his Polish wife Bogusia claims happy credit for finding the card at Trader Joe's...

Ah, yes. How nice it is in principle...

But then, can you even  begin to imagine how much joy I experienced in reading these surprising, wonderful words?!!! I had to read them again. And then again when I asked wife Birgitta to read them aloud...

Thank you, Lord, thank you! That I have lived long enough to have seen such words from my oldest son! The most honest, honorable, fearless man I know.

Nick, aka "Yosemite Sam", aka Abinidi Kovalenko
The text of Nick's comments are:
Big Dad, Super Pops, Not-So-Old Man,
I am so Grateful to have lived long
enough to have become aware of how
important & special you are, and
for us to have been able to establish a
loving, interesting and meaningful
relationship. (The best of which is yet to come!)
I sense there just aren't that many
sons of fathers, throughout the history
of our species, that can honestly, and
authentically say that.
Non-realistically speaking, that sounds like
a kick-ass F'ing monster BLESSING tone.
Please allow me to to take this opportunity to
apologize for every time I have been a
dumb-ass and not have known, and respected,
you properly & appropriately.
I love you so much-- Nick, your 1st son.

AND SO MUCH LOVE FROM BOGUSIA!!!!! (who found this card)