Sunday, December 24, 2017

Sitting at Family Round Table

Posted: 24 December 2017
Updated: 6 Jan 18

Our Deck Table in Winter
In reflecting on my new family role I began wondering how to proceed before moving to Sweden with wife Birgitta in the next year or so, or before leaving this earthly life. Our deck table (above) gave me an image to ponder. 

On December 22, I received a most welcome dream from my second son, which he shared via email with all of my first family. It was a profound and dramatic contribution to a first family round table discussion. Although I cannot reveal the dream here, he has given us all a first important topic to discuss in depth. I dare say that it addresses the challenge his older brother made to me on my birthday last month, regarding issues that my deceased third son left behind over 20 years ago, which I learned about only recently in my first son's birthday challenge. 

Needless to say, I have been greatly affected by both my oldest son's challenge and my second son's remarkable dream to the family, which directly reveals aspects of the conflict that deeply divided us in the past. 

My second son's dream portends a healing, good will conversation among all family members, their mothers and their aging father (me), who can now see a clearer pathway forward.

So, here I sit at my virtual family round table, waiting for other members from our family to take a seat for heart-to-heart conversations. My son's recent dream (above) was a great first visit. Sharing our dreams with each other is my preferred way to communicate. They get us beyond superficiality and into deeper truths about ourselves and each other.

On 28 Dec 17, my fourth son sent a surprising Christmas gift via email containing a transcription of old recordings between my father and me, dealing with my father's life just after he came to this country after the 1917-20 Russian Revolution-civil war. This son announced that he was taking responsibility for finishing this father-son (my dad and me) project chronicling my dad's life up to the point of meeting my Mormon pioneer mother in Phoenix, Arizona. This son is now gathering all the scattered recordings and writings that my dad and I have left behind with several other family members.

This is another process for reconciling our family history and unresolved family relationships. The path forward has become clearer and brighter still!


Saturday, December 16, 2017

Blast from the Past

Posted: 15 December 2017

Kovalenko family members at PKMB Party circa 1987
From L to R: Jim, Ivan, Eugene (me), Nick (in back), Michael, Lawrene (Michael's mother) + two of Lawrene's friends

On this, his birthdate (also Jim's), Michael sent this great photo to the family, taken by Jack Houck, creator of the "PK Party". These days the process is referred to as a "PKMB Party" (psychokinesis metal bending or "spoon bending").

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Accepting Role as Family Patriarch

Posted: 7 December 2017  
Updated: 22 Dec 17

Mormon General Conference

It is ironic that the original date of this post should coincide with the anniversary of my being confirmed a member of the Mormon Church as a boy in Phoenix, Arizona. This was the very day that Pearl Harbor was being bombed! I was 8 years old. 

Little did I know what "family patriarch" meant back then, but I soon learned that such a role was defined by the head of the Mormon Church, then considered by the membership to be the only legitimate earthly mouthpiece of God.

Mormon Father blessing his family

Well, that was then. Now it is different. I have four families, two of which (first and third) were born and raised in the Mormon culture. The other two are from different cultures, the second in a Jungian analytic society, the fourth in a Swedish charismatic Christian tradition. The genealogy of my third family goes all the way back to Joseph Knight, protector, patron and disciple of Joseph Smith, Jr., whose son Newell was the first Mormon bishop.

Back then, in my Mormon boyhood years, I learned that "patriarch" was defined in terms of a top down  'dominating' authority. These days I choose to redefine the role of family patriarch in terms of 'partnering', using a round table metaphor, where family members have an equal voice, choosing to relate to each other on the same level. 

One of my daughters-in-law sent me a standard 2-version dictionary definition for this role: 

1. the male head of a family or tribe.
2. any of those biblical figures regarded as fathers of the human race, especially Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, their forefathers, or the sons of Jacob.
We both agreed on the first definition, deliberately avoiding the second.
20, 22 Dec 17. I was motivated to accept this role of "family patriarch" (having avoided it for over 5 decades) because this current earthly life has simply put me into this position and because of recent comments by two people:

1) Ex-wife of my oldest son (mother of a grandson), during a recent crisis in the life of my youngest son and recent suicide of one of my active Mormon granddaughters, whose husband was/is a Mormon bishop. (See Comments)

2) Conversations with the chaplain of local VFW Post at the end of a recent six-week pilot dream work seminar for veterans suffering from PTSD nightmares. We discovered we are both great-grandfathers as well as family patriarchs and agreed to help each other become better grandparents. Whether we two old VFW veterans, at this stage of our lives, can function effectively in this capacity remains to be seen.

To be continued in Part 2: Sitting at the Family Round Table  

Sunday, December 3, 2017

VFW Post 8744, Pilot Dream Seminar has finished.

Posted: 3 December 2017

The 6-week Pilot CREEI Dreamwork Seminar for VFW Post 8874 completed its last scheduled session on Saturday, November 25, 2017. Since this application of the CREEI Process (to VFW veterans with PTSD) was new territory for me, I did not know how long or how psychologically deep to go in the 2-hour limit per session. Here are some initial conclusions:

1. Subsequent seminars need to be more than 6 sequential weeks. (All participants in this pilot seminar wanted it to continue.)

2. Seminar size needs to be kept small (3-6), closed and confidential.

3. Determine the best way and time to introduce Joseph Dillard’s IDL (Integral Deep Listening) interview to individual participants. (After this pilot seminar ended, one participant agreed to do an IDL interview for a particularly troubling recent dream. Although his expectations were low at first, he found the one-on-one experience surprisingly transformative.)

4. A second workshop/seminar is planned in early 2018 for Post 8874 veterans who have already expressed a desire to participate. (Subsequent seminars will include one or two from previous seminars.)