Dove with Branch
June 2, 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, I am a fiftyish secretary in Seattle. My co- workers sometimes ask me my age. I am sensitive about my age and I try to joke with them, but they are insensitive to my feelings. How can I get them to stop asking? - Sarah in Seattle

Dear Sarah, Stop caring! Why should you want to hide your age? It is something to be proud about, not ashamed of. If you don't want to answer the question that is fine, but they have the right to ask the question, even if they are uncaring. The fact you are sensitive about your age is your problem; not theirs. Examine why you have this problem. If you are upset by such a simple request you have an issue it would be helpful to pay attention to. - the Dean

Dear Dean, People often insult me by saying I am just to heavy to wear a swimsuit. I am sensitive to my weight, and do not like being reminded about it. How should I respond so that people will stop teasing me about it? - Jeanne in CA

Dear Jeanne, Accept their comments with a smile. It would be good to laugh with them if you can learn to laugh about it yourself. The fact you are heavier than other people should be no reason to depreciate yourself. We can't enjoy life in this world until we learn to accept things as they are. Weight is not a real quality of personal worth. Give up the idea that it is. What other people think of you is their business and not yours. Give up the idea that you obtain your value from what they think of you. - 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

Some people look at history to find out how things were so that we will not repeat them again. Some even think that because events happened before that they are bound to happen again. They think of our society as flawed, and condemned to keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

When I look at history I see growth and change. We see so many things that have changed. For example, the right to vote, equal rights, and democratic government. There has been great movement around the world in those directions, even in our lifetime. We are at a place that never existed in our history. I do not see us going back to the way it was. We now have universal education, which I see as the great springboard for change. We will not march back toward ignorance. We will not burn the books!

What I envision, is that we will be dealing with new inequalities and issues in the future that we even now accept as reasonable. We will grow more intolerant of war, individual power, and personal greed, among other things. Let's work together to bring on changes rather than just resisting them. We would like to be in a "better place" than we are now. Only change will make that possible. If we get the idea that we are bound by our past and it can't change then change will be much more difficult than it needs to be. When we think change can't happen we resist it instead of embracing it.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Was your response appropriate for you in the present situation - or did it you simply go into onto "automatic pilot" and use a response that you had used in the past? For instance wouldn't it be better to leave the dishes on table or put them into the sink yourself than to get mad at your mate for not doing it? Wouldn't it have gone better with the boss if you had said to him that you would like to help but had already made other plans that were too important to be changed?

Perception is not a fact. It is a mirror of our thoughts. No two people see the world the same. Learn to observe yourself to find out how you see the world. Try to see how your problems overlap each other and are interrelated to your other problems as well as the problems of others. Try to see how your way of looking at things always agrees with your entrenched beliefs. Try to see how the way you think causes problems for you.

Especially pay attention to how you are feeling. "Emotional awareness" is being aware of what feelings are actually occurring in your body. Try to be more aware of your emotions and note how they make you feel. See if your responses are in line with the way you think and act when you are not feeling the emotion. Just the act of observing your emotions can take away some of the emotional charge.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: I learn to take a moment to think and make a conscious choice before I respond.

Tuesday: I look at my responses to see if the response I have chosen is the best possible choice.

Wednesday: Today I examine why I sometimes become upset by the action of other people.

Thursday: I examine other ways of thinking about the things that upset me.

Friday: I pay attention to the way I feel when I become upset. I examine the thoughts that result while I am upset.

Saturday: I notice how much better I feel when I examine the reasons for my upset.

Sunday: I resolve to immediately remove each thing that upsets me from my thoughts.

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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