Dove with Branch
September 08, 2008 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk


The weekend of  Sept. 11 to 14th  I will be doing workshops  at the conference for nonviolent living at the University of Oregon so this newsletter for next week will arrive late for some of you.

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Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, Before my mother passed away she put in her will that she be cremated and told me as I was her Personal Representative. She asked me not to tell anyone until after her death because she was afraid they would be upset and try to talk her out of it. When she passed away and I informed everyone; to no surprise they were upset. They were not only upset with her, but were upset with me for not informing them. One sister will no longer speak to me. Do you think respecting her wishes was proper in this circumstance? - Tonya in CA

Dear Tonya, Yes I think you did the right thing! Your mother has the right to choose in these things and it is appropriate for you to respect her wishes. The reason your relatives are upset is because of their own personal problems of not being able to accept your mother's wishes. Stay loving, do not let this upset you and go on with your life knowing you did exactly what your mother wanted and that is what mattered. - the Dean

Dear Dean, I work the day shift which starts at 7:00 AM. I found that I have become accustomed to late hours during my school years and now have trouble sleeping. I would like to work a later shift so that I would be more effective on the job but am afraid to ask. What do you suggest? - Mark in OR

Dear Mark, I suggest you first consider your options and choose the one that you believe will be the most effective in the long run. Unless you can change your habit to get enough sleep then asking to work a later shift seems like an attractive option. Since that is available at your present workplace, it would seem that asking to change is an option that would most likely be attractive to both you and your employer. They would benefit from a more energetic worker on the job and would most likely accommodate you. Just be sure that you ask in a positive way so that they will see value both in you and your request. - 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 almost all agree that we would like to create a more peaceful society than exists at present. We would prefer not to use war to achieve our goals. We have not figured out how to do that however, so we continue to go to war, both to protect ourselves and to achieve our interests. Let's set aside the more difficult question of war as a means of self- protection, and think about the use of war as a means of achieving what is in our own self-interest.

Sometimes it is difficult to tell which is which when we try to look to the future. If we ask ourselves the question, "will I lose my freedom if I do not act now?" and the answer is no, then it is too soon to go to war. We still have time to seek a peaceful resolution to our problem. If we make war truly a last resort in getting or maintaining our freedom we will prevent a lot of wars. This should apply to our personal as well as our national problems.

We have a bill that was before congress that has received the endorsement of seventy congressmen to create a Department of Peace. We should seriously consider this legislation, if not in this, then in the next congress. Not only will it save lives, it will also save huge amounts of money and increase our quality of life. We can learn to start using open negotiation instead of threats and intimidation to resolve our differences. All we have to give up is having it our way all the time. Let's support this legislation to create a Department of Peace with the assigned task of looking for peaceful solutions to both personal and national conflicts. Visit if you want to learn more about the Department of Peace legislation.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

There is a more effective way to deal with negative situations in your life. Regardless of the circumstances you come up against, the individuals you must deal with, the aggravating situations you find yourself in, you can learn to choose a response other than anger. Just because we have learned to react with anger in the past does not mean we must use it in the future.

When you no longer react with anger, what will happen? You will be able to think clearly. You will be able to respond effectively; with the best possible responses that your rational mind can create, in each situation that you face. You will no longer feel depressed, because you will be living life in a way that makes you feel good about yourself. You will be free to fully enjoy your life. You will face each new day with an eager anticipation of what is to come.

Joy, happiness, contentment, and peace with the world and those around you; these positive states of mind are what await you, once you leave anger behind. But getting to such an emotional state is not an easy journey. Is it worth it? For those who have made such a journey, the answer is a resounding, OH YES!!

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: I think about the problems anger has created for me.

Tuesday: I think about how I feel upset when I am angry.

Wednesday: I think about how I feel depressed when I get angry.

Thursday: I think about how I feel when I am happy.

Friday: I think about how much more effective I am when I am not angry.

Saturday: I think about how much better I feel when I am not angry.

Sunday: I resolve to no longer get angry.

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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