Dove with Branch
October 8, 2007 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk

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Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, Like Harriet (8/27) my mother is still telling me how to run my life - how I am doing things wrong and if I don't do it her way I am going to have a lot of problems. I want to do things my own way but I want to keep a good relationship with my mother. I just listen to her patiently, consider what she says and thank her for her advice, and then I make my own choice. Because I listen I am able to keep a good relationship with her, and occasionally I get some really good advice. - Serena in NV

Dear Serena, Thank you for sharing this wisdom with us! We all too often create our own problems just by resisting what others are trying to do for us. It never hurts to listen unless we decide it does. We create a lot of problems for ourselves when we spend our time resisting instead of listening. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My mother was always giving me advice just as Harriet's (8/27) did. I felt like she was trying to control my life and I resented it so much that I left home and married a guy that she told me was trouble because I wouldn't listen. Now I have three kids, am a recovering addict and am back living with my mother learning bookkeeping so I can provide for myself and the children. It wasn't that what she was telling me was wrong; it was just because I didn't like her controlling style. I let my anger mess up my life. By letting go of my resentment I now have a wonderful relationship with my mom and I am repairing my life. - Brandy in IN

Dear Brandy, So often we make mistakes just because of our resistance to what is happening. It is good that you have learned this lesson and that you are making better choices. We create a good life when we make good choices. - the Dean

I welcome questions and/or comments from our readers. Send your Ask the Dean questions or comments to: P.O. Box 535, Elmira, OR 97437, or visit to submit by e-mail.

Law, Politics & Society ... As I see them
  Globe Magnify Glass

Our emotions have an extremely important affect on lives and we have learned in recent years that emotions are learnable just as any other skill. However, we still have not taken steps to introduce emotional training in our schools. Society as a whole has not yet recognized either the value or the possibility of learning how to make better choices relating to our emotional lives. As more of our politicians and educators come to this realization we will train our young people how to make better choices in their lives. Those choices will result in a better quality of life for all. Ultimately this will lead to world peace as we all learn to make choices in our own best interest rather than how we have learned to feel about things.

This past week we had the inaugural training program for Life Without Anger in Nepal (SEWA- Nepal). They have trained 6 teachers to teach the program to 180 students in three different high schools. After the initial pilot program the next step is to introduce the program into all of the schools of Nepal. As the world sees the effect this program has on the students, and their country, they will see the value of such training. A program will be made available to all countries through the auspices of UNESCO.

Once the students of the world have the ability to make positive emotional choices strife will be eliminated, because it will no longer be an effective way to solve problems. War has not been an effective way to solve problems but with our old thinking it was the best tool we had to get things done the way we thought they should be. With this new positive thinking we will find better solutions to our problems and war will no longer be necessary.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

All of the stuff that happens around us is just the game of life. Accept it as such. You are always free to start playing the game differently at any time. Choose to play the game in a way that feels good to you - and learn to quit paying so much attention to things that upset you. Our most natural state of mind is contentment and joy. Believe that every experience will be a positive experience in your life. It is at the very least a lesson that is helpful to learn. If we look at things in this positive way, we can benefit from everything that happens to us. Be grateful for each life lesson, and for every opportunity to learn.

Realize that the lesson is happening for a reason and that if it keeps happening to you that you probably haven't learned the point of the lesson yet.

Cut some of the drama out of your thinking, "I can't stand it." But you can and you do. It is just an exaggeration. When we dramatize, we just increase the stress in an otherwise already stressful situation. We benefit by just accepting things, without adding to the problem by making things worse in our mind. We can add a lot of negative emotion when we dramatize. Things we don't want to happen are going to happen. You will feel much better if you accept them as they are. Once you are fully able to convince yourself that you can stand whatever comes along, you will eliminate the horrors in your life. You will be left only with inconveniences, big and small.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about how you would like your life to be.

Tuesday: Think about what you would have to do to make your life the way you would like it to be.

Wednesday: Choose to find the good in everything that happens in your life.

Thursday: Resolve not to dramatize or exaggerate your experiences.

Friday: Resolve to learn from every experience in your life.

Saturday: Resolve that you can accept any experience in your life.

Sunday: Resolve that you can handle any experience in your life.

Dean Van Leuven is a psychologist, conducts workshops and is the author of A Peaceful New World and many other books dealing with quality of life issues. Contact him on the web at:

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