Dove with Branch
July 28, 2008 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk

Dear Peacemaker,


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Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, Regarding the lady who didn't want to disclose her age; she has a perfect right to keep it private. It is none of anyone else's business. She has a right to be angry because her age is a private matter. - Patricia in ID

Dear Patricia, Of course she has a right to be angry! We all have a right to be angry at whatever we want. But I find being angry to not be very much fun. I would like my life to be enjoyable so I do not choose anger, especially when more pleasant options are readily available. When we get angry at what others have a legal right to do, we make life less fun unnecessarily. - the Dean

Dear Dean, This regards the lady whose friend constantly criticizes her clothes. A loved one or a friend who is so concerned with what they think is right that they try to impose their thoughts on other people by critiquing their clothes, their parenting skills, their housework or whatever is not helpful. This calls for some honest communication. She needs to let her friend know that she is comfortable with the way she dresses. A true friend would get the message. If the problem remains you just have to realize your friend has the problem not you. The friend is focusing more on her values than on your friendship. - Virginia in WV

Dear Virginia, You are absolutely right that we should tell our friend exactly how we feel. However it is important to learn not to be insulted by what other people say, even if they are your friends. We cannot control what other people feel and say, but we can control how we feel about what they say. Being insulted is unnecessarily making our selves a victim to what the other person says. If I am upset, then I am the one with the problem. I believe we are better off knowing how others feel than to not know. We can learn to be secure in our beliefs regardless of another's opinion. Differences are what make life beautiful; if we can learn to accept and enjoy them. - 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

When we have a conversation with someone let's start by assuming they are speaking the truth. Let's also assume that they believe fully in the rightness of their belief. Let's assume that they have valid reasons for thinking the way that they do. And finally, let's assume that we could be wrong. After all we do not possess all of the knowledge in the universe. Stop for a moment and think about how the beliefs of our society have changed as we have grown.

Since we want to be peaceful, let's decide that we would like to have a peaceful relationship with other people. Knowing how much we like to stand in our own truth let's look for a way to allow others to stand in their truth. Even if they are a racist we can allow them to exclude whomever they want from their own homes. What we cannot allow is for them to require us to do the same, or to exclude others from rights shared by all.

The best interest of each of us is tied up in the best interest of all others. Since we have an innate desire to be joyful and live in peace we will eventually learn that lesson, as will others. All we have to do is to prevent those who have not learned that lesson from taking control of our lives and messing it up for us. We need to be sure our government is ultimately controlled by us instead of those who happen to be running it. We will then eventually be able to resolve differences in a way that we can live together in peace.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

As we grow, we are taught certain ideas of how the world is by our society and by those around us - our parents, our teachers, and our friends. We take all of this in and form our own special idea of how the world is. We then form expectations of how things should happen in order to fit with our own special idea of how the world is. When things don't happen that way, when reality doesn't match our idea of what we think should happen we get angry.

We need to realize that our idea of how the world is, is only our ideal world, as we see it, and not the real world at all. If what is happening in the world doesn't conform to your idea of what should be happening, then take it as a clue that your ideal world does not actually match the real world. If you could accept the idea that what is actually happening in the real world is appropriate, then you would have nothing to be angry about.

The ideal world file that we have in our brain just doesn't match the real world. In order to eliminate anger, we need to create a relationship between our ideal world file and the real world file itself so that they are not in actual conflict.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about how you would like the world to be.

Tuesday: Think about how the world actually is at this time.

Wednesday: Accept the world for what it is now.

Thursday: Think about the things in the world that you would like to be different.

Friday: Select the things in the world that you want to become active in changing.

Saturday: Accept all of the things in the world that you don't want to actively change at this time.

Sunday: Think of ways you can work to create 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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