Dove with Branch
May 26, 2008 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, In regard to your column about accept it change it or leave it I want to ask you what I can do about my work situation to make it okay. I need the work to feed my family and the situation at work is always very angry and tense. I come home each night upset and end up fighting with my family. How can I change this? - Harold in MI

Dear Harold, You always have the three choices, plus the fourth choice to suffer if you don't find a positive choice. You can leave, but it may take some advance planning and maybe some correspondence courses, or back to night school. You can reduce your financial needs. Perhaps the easiest solution is just to learn to not be upset by what is going on around you at work. In each situation we face we always make the choice to be upset - or not. If you don't like being upset you can simply choose not to be upset by changing you belief about how you should respond when the things that are upsetting you happen. - the Dean

Dear Dean, Thank you for your suggestion that I should find a way to accept all of the work conditions as long as I continue at my job. I have a commute of over one hour and I was upset at any delay and complained about it continually. I took your message to heart and began listening to self- improvement tapes and the lessons I have learned have enriched my life. I have learned that I am able to transform a negative situation into a positive one when I look for a way. - Charles in Vallejo

Dear Charles, Congratulations! It is nice to see how this little lesson has been helpful for you. Perhaps you can carry this even further by writing a book about your experience. You could do much of this during your commute using a voice activated recorder. - 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

We have a right to free speech. This is an essential right that should not be controlled or tempered by our government. In a free society we must be free to express our opinions about anything and everything. Even if the hearer doesn't accept the message as appropriate or desirable we still have the right to state our beliefs. Even if the government doesn't find it acceptable or even finds it against their (our) perceived interests we still should have the right to say it.

We are however a member of our society and we have a personal stake in how it functions. This creates a secondary obligation that we concern ourselves with the effect our message will have on the listener as well as society as a whole. When we find something about our society we don't like it is good to try to make changes. We should always advocate change whenever we see or even just desire a better way.

If we are to live with our neighbors in peace and harmony we should consider presenting our message in way that promotes that. If we care about creating a positive change we should present our message in such a way that it will most likely be considered in a positive way by the listener. All too often we present our message with so much anger and negativity that it is resisted by the listener just because of the way it is presented.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Like a fan at a basketball game we tend to judge life from the point of view of the team we are rooting for. Even when we can't see clearly what happened we tend to think any close decision in favor of the other team was incorrectly made. If it goes our way however we have no doubt that it was the right call. We tend to use this kind of biased thinking in our own lives as well.

When we become the observer of our own thoughts and actions we want to be like the referee. Our job is to be as objective as we can and call things they way they really are. Be open to being wrong, but you should believe you made the best call and go with it. If your opinion proves to be wrong be quick to recognize it and change the call. Be willing to make a different call the next time you are faced with the same situation.

Remember, how you feel about what is happening depends on which side you are rooting for. Try to be objective, no labels and no judgments. Don't let yourself be tricked by your own prejudices and biases. Be willing to stop and think if their could be another way of viewing it.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: When I get angry the first thing I want to do is get over it. I do not want to act out of anger.

Tuesday: Whenever I get angry I always ask myself why I got angry.

Wednesday: Whenever I make a poor choice I always ask myself, "What choice would be better than the one I chose?"

Thursday: Whenever I get angry I always ask myself, "What belief do I have that is the cause of my anger?"

Friday: When I get angry I determine what I have to do so that I will not react with anger the next time the same thing happens.

Saturday: When I am no longer angry I examine my beliefs to see what caused my anger.

Sunday: Each time I no longer respond with anger I appreciate myself for being able to change.

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:

Additional Notes

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