Dove with Branch
January 04, 2010 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, My brother is a very successful person in the business world. He is working on a special project in Australia. He does call home occasionally but never comes to visit. Dad is very sick and will be dieing soon. My brother says he is very busy and can't come now. Dad says he understands but would really like to see all his children before he dies. What can I do to get my brother to come now? - Alma in CO

Dear Alma, You can ask him and tell her how you feel. If he doesn't come don't hold it against him. Your Dad has accepted it and you should too unless you want to lose a brother. Your brother isn't perfect, even in his own eyes. He has had to make some difficult life choices that only he can understand. Be willing to accept his choices. You seem to care about family. Don't double your losses just because you can't forgive your brother. - the Dean

Dear Dean, I am engaged to be married. My fiancée and I love each other very much but I am upset that he wants to spend some weekends with his friends instead of me. He wants to go fishing with his friends. He invites me but I am not interested. I have tried to get him to do something that I enjoy but he is not willing to give up his friends. I want to find a way we can do things together, what do you suggest? - Taylor in WA

Dear Taylor, I suggest you resolve this issue before you marry since you consider it an important one. A happy marriage requires agreement on important issues. If you do not have the ability to resolve important differences before marriage, you most likely will not have that ability during marriage. I suggest that you don't marry until you have the ability to resolve your issues. -the Dean

I welcome questions and/or comments from our readers. Send your Ask the Dean questions or comments to: 90022 Sheffler Rd., Elmira, OR 97437, or visit to submit by e-mail.

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

One by one the dictatorships and monarchies of the world are slowly fading away. As the people become more educated and are able to make better decisions for themselves they are more able to provide for their own governance and less tolerant of others controlling the wealth and quality of life in their country. People are becoming more aware of how others live and are demanding that they be free to have those things in their life.

A recent example of this process is the Country of Nepal. They were able to adopt a new constitution and remove the monarchy and replace it with a representative form of government. What is so remarkable is that they accomplished this with a revolutionary movement that didn't result in armed conflict.

We are learning that we can create positive change more effectively through nonviolence than through war. Once this lesson sinks in to the people of the world we will find a way to replace the despots of the world with freely elected governments to carry out the will of the people. When we realize that we create a better life by living in peace than we do by wasting our resources on telling other people how they must live their lives, we will find a way to work together to create a meaningful and lasting peace in the world. We the people are evolving! With our evolution comes the understanding that we are all in this together. We now know that war does not bring peace. That war only brings more war is a lesson we have learned from history.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

We know our opinions stem from our thoughts, not from external truth. So, perhaps we shouldn't go to battle over our truths as we so often do. Although deeply held, your truths are not necessarily those of others. When you come to terms with this reality and place feeling good above the need to be right, you'll be taking a giant step toward eradicating the angry conflicts in your life.

The need to be right is also the need to prevail. We live in a competitive society, and we like to be winners. Part of being right is winning the conflict. Realize this, and know that your desire to be right is your ego trying to win another contest. Reframe your thinking to accept the idea that we are all in this together. Expect that others will think differently and that their perception of events will not be the same as yours. Accept their differences with joy. If we were all the same it would be like living in "Pleasantville," the movie about life in the suburbs where everything is the same - dull, and colorless. < p align="justify">

So how might you change your way of looking at things to take into consideration someone else's perceptions - and to wind up with a more harmonious result? Imagine someone using a cell phone in a restaurant where you are having dinner. They are chatting away somewhat loudly and this upsets you because you think they are making too much noise and being rude. But what if you came up with a new way of looking at the same situation - forced yourself, in other words, to perceive this unpleasant situation in a new, more pleasant light. That light might look something like this. "I'm going to imagine that this cell phone person is simply having a conversation with a real live dinner guest, and he is speaking as loudly as he is in fact speaking on the phone. I wouldn't be disturbed by the live conversation scenario - so why should I be disturbed by the cell phone exchange?" In this example by changing our perception of the event, we have succeeded in changing our response to it - from angry to accepting.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Today I listen to peaceful music.

Tuesday: Today I release stress.

Wednesday: Today I speak in a calm and loving tone of voice.

Thursday: Today I praise someone for their efforts.

Friday: Today I use words that lift and inspire me.

Saturday: Today I speak my truth, honestly and from the heart.

Sunday: Today I commit an act of kindness toward our planet.

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

The World Emotional Literacy League in conjunction with World Without Anger and Lumbini Buddhist University has taken on the task of introducing emotional literacy training in the educational system of Nepal nationwide. In support of that program I will be conducting workshops throughout the United States and Canada. These workshops will provide an introduction to the emotional skills training program as well as an introduction to establishing emotional skills training programs in your local area. The program and my workshops are based on my textbook "Emotional Intelligence - Taking Control of Your Life."

I have taken on the task of supporting the teaching of emotional skills training in the educational system with the trust and hope, that many in your community will be able to share in the vision of this great work, and join us in this amazing project. We are promoting a "Sponsor a School" program to raise awareness and support throughout the U.S. & Canada If you have any interest in the program and/or having a workshop in your area. Contact me for additional information.

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