Dove with Branch
August 08, 2011 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 daughter has a longhaired cat And can you believe it! She brings it with her when she comes to visit. After the first visit and what it did to our furniture I said never again. When I told her no, she said, "Well I am not going to come without her." What should I do to solve this dilemma? - Vanessa in OH

Dear Vanessa, Your daughter is throwing a mini-tantrum. As you probably know tantrums work as a strategy only as long as we allow them to work. Once you have set the rule you should support it. We don't need to be unreasonable or arbitrary when we set rules but if you see the cat as a problem you don't want to deal with then a threat is no reason for changing the rule. Giving in to someone's demands is not the way to solve life's problems. You may want to offer an alternate solution such as you visiting her place if the cat is the only real problem. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My son-in-law wants to smoke in our house when he visits. My husband thinks we should compromise and let him smoke in the guest bedroom and the family room when it is vacant. I don't think we should do that. I think it's about boundaries and he needs to respect ours. He has known since courtship how we feel about smoking in the house. - Tiffany in MD

Dear Tiffany, I don't see it just as a question of boundaries. It is also a question about negotiating with your husband. He is suggesting an alternate rule that he feels would be more effective. You should discuss and consider this change. It is not just about your wishes. It is also about what works best, and your husband's wishes as well. If you decide to stay with the rule think of it as standing in your truth. When we think of it as a boundary then we create resistance (anger) when anyone tries to violate it. Yes your son-in-law needs to respect your (and your husband's) wishes. - 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

As individuals we always make choices according to our beliefs. If we believe that the world is a dangerous place, and that everyone is out to get us, then we act accordingly. And the world will respond accordingly. Things will always end up being the way we think they are - just because we think they are that way. When we don't believe that we can have the things we want, then we won't have them. When we think this way we create for ourselves an un-enjoyable life.

Most of us want to have peace in our life; and in the world as well. The problem is we see a world where others want to take advantage of us or rule over us. They see the world in the same way. As a result we end up distrusting the motives of others and believe we have to defend ourselves from them. Most people want to be loved but don't act loving! All we have to do to have a peaceful world is to believe and act as if that is what everyone wants.

When someone does a bad thing to another, what we really want is that they never do such a thing again. If we search together for a new way of responding we can solve this problem. When we believe that they must be punished for their act; and respond accordingly; they take it as an act of aggression, and vow to continue the fight. When they learn to trust our peaceful motives they will respond with trust and we can then solve our differences in a loving way.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

We each have our own unique belief system, which is like a filter that new information passes through before it comes into our awareness. It is an extremely complex system that contains all of the things we have learned in life. These are the beliefs that we have been taught and accepted as true. Our beliefs determine how we think the world works and embody the truths that we hold as self-evident, and accept without question. In order to make meaning out of any new input to our brains, we always compare it to our existing belief system.

Our belief system will always make perfect sense to us - at least until we become troubled by the answers we are getting and begin to re-evaluate them. This system is self-validating because it is "truth" as we "believe" it to be. It is important to understand this if we hope to change the beliefs that trouble us.

Understanding the nature of our belief system and why we hold the beliefs that we do will help us to find the things we believe in that are not working for us; and that we may want to change. It will help us to change to more positive and effective beliefs. Before we change we must recognize that we would like to change. And if we want to change we need to know how to go about it.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: I think about how beliefs systems are created.

Tuesday: I think about how beliefs systems are created.

Wednesday: I think about the beliefs that make my life good.

Thursday: I think about the beliefs that cause me to be upset.

Friday: I think about the beliefs that I would like to change.

Saturday: I decide on new beliefs to replace my old upsetting beliefs.

Sunday: I begin the process of replacing my old upsetting beliefs with the new positive ones.

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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