Dove with Branch
May 31, 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 husband has informed he has been having an affair and is in love with another woman. I have decided to divorce him and get a new life for myself. Now my husband tells me that he has come to his senses and is pleading for me and the children to take him back. The children want him back and I don't hate him, but I don't want to go through the pain again. For the children's, sake should I consider taking him back? - Barb in NC

Dear Barb, You can consider it, but it's not a step I would take easily. If you simply take him back without getting to the root of the problem there is a good chance that the behavior might be repeated. Make it clear to him that the problem that resulted in this behavior must be corrected. Start by having him go to counseling for at least three months. After that the two of you go to couples counseling until you and the counselor agree that you are ready to experience a loving, trusting relationship. Learn to communicate honestly and trust each other before you resume the relationship. If you resume the relationship make regular status checks and resolve problems as they arise. This is much more work to do than simply forgiving, but he must learn a new way of thinking and good intentions are not enough. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My husband thinks it's important what kind of clothing we wear when we are working in an office and representing our family. He says he knows what is best for me and that I must follow his advice. Should I follow his advice for the sake of the marriage? - Janell in CA

Dear Janell, You get to be the decider of what you wear. Your husband may want to maintain a certain appearance or social status but apparently you have a different vision. You should consider his concerns for the sake of the relationship but you are not required to follow his advice unless you find value in that. We should be aware and make the best choice for ourselves. What our mate wishes should be a part of our consideration, but not necessarily the deciding factor. - the Dean


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

Let us stop for a moment and reflect on some of the more practical reasons for learning to live together in peace: We produce products from our limited resources at a considerable cost in time, labor and materials. The products we produce enhance our quality of life. The amount of time, labor and resources are all limited in supply. When we produce goods for war we are using some of our limited resources The need to use our resources to protect ourselves from others or to settle differences comes as a great price to our quality of life. We have tried to war while trying to carry on our normal way of life and find we have made a mess out of the economy.

Yet when we say we want to quit making weapons of war we hear complaints that it hurts the economy because people are losing jobs. If we reflect for a moment, we realize that if we weren't making war machines we could use our resources to increase our quality of life.

How much does it cost us to learn to love, trust and care for each other on this planet? Is it more than the cost of war? I don't think it is. I think we need to spend more effort on increasing our quality of life so that we won't have the need to defend ourselves from each other. The need for war is simply a state of mind. Let's change our state of mind!


Creating a Peaceful New World
    World Peace

Humor can be an effective way to prevent our negative emotions from occurring. It is not possible to experience true humor and negative emotions at the same time. If you find something funny you are not looking at it in a negative way. When we look for the humor in every situation and respond with humor whenever possible, we tend to blunt the tendency to feel negative about something. Instead we transform it into a positive emotion. When we do this we change the negative situation or the event, whatever it may be, into a positive event from our point of view.

Humor can also be thought of as a way of re-appraising a situation. Because you have thought of something in a humorous way, you have changed it into an emotionally positive event. You have intentionally placed yourself in your positive emotions when you chose humor as a response. Also, this allows you to send the information to the thinking center of your brain in order to develop an effective reply. Thinking about something instead of just reacting, tends to remove or reduce the emotional impact.

When you respond with humor you are able to actually shift from a negative emotion to a positive one just by the way you perceive and react to the event. Thinking it is funny when someone cuts in front of you in traffic will change your emotional response. By using humor, you're telling yourself that you refuse to take things too seriously. Humor reduces the seriousness of your thought. It shows that you can laugh at your failures. Humor laughs at our failures, but in an accepting and tolerant way. It helps you see the other side of things..


Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
    Left Arrow

Monday: Think about how often you use humor.


Tuesday: Think about how it makes you feel when others use humor.

Wednesday: Think about how humor can transform a negative situation.

Thursday: Think about how others feel when you respond with humor.

Friday: Think about how good it feels to be able to laugh at whatever happens.

Saturday: Think about something that disturbs you and find a funny way of looking at it.

Sunday: Resolve to always see the funny side of life.

Dean Van Leuven is a psychologist, conducts workshops and is the author of Life Without Anger 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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