Dove with Branch
August 06, 2012 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. - Teresa in OK

Dear Teresa, 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 is not 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. She just needs to let her friend know that she is uncomfortable 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. - Cora in IL

Dear Cora, 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: 90022 Sheffler Rd., 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

One of the most difficult lessons we have to learn is to let go of the past and to judge a situation based on its present merits. Something that worked for us when we were ten years old may no longer work very well today. When something becomes a negative experience or feeling in your life you need to take the time to open it up and examine it. Find what is causing you to feel that way. Decide whether it is something you can change, or fix in some way, in order to make it positive again. If it is possible, fix it. If not, then it is time to let go. Start the process of changing sooner rather than later.

Once you have made the decision to let go of a negative attachment, the next step is to make the commitment to release it. Have faith that the attachment can be released. And finally go through the work of breaking the old habit and putting the desired new one in its place. Some of us have the skills to let go of attachments quickly. For others, it can take more time and effort.

How quickly you release an attachment determines how much pain you experience. Releasing an unwanted attachment will bring you back to joy and happiness. Realize that if you give up the process of letting go of the negative attachment before you finish, you will be back where you started. You will have the same old problem and will have to either live with it, or start the process of change all over again. The good news is that it will be easier the second time.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Make a list of all the things in your life that upset you.

Tuesday: Think about each of the things on your list and determine why it upsets you.

Wednesday: Think about the things on your list and determine if you will want to keep them in your life.

Thursday: Think about each of the things on your list and determine if you can make some change/s to make it better.

Friday: Think about the things that are actually okay and you are willing to accept them.

Saturday: Decide to release all of the negative things or conditions you are unwilling or unable to change.

Sunday: Resolve to accept those things you wish to keep but cannot change.

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 conduct workshops throughout the United States and Canada. These workshops 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."

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