Dove with Branch
March 10, 2014 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, I work in San Francisco and live in San Jose. I love my work and the pay is good but the commute is miserable. Some days it is as much as two and one-half hours just to get home from work. My family is suffering from my coming home late and stressed. Do you have any suggestions? - Hal in CA


Dear Hal, The basic rule in dealing with life's problems is - accept it, change it, leave it, accept it, or experience misery. You have gone directly to the last step. Go back to the second step and look for solutions such as moving, changing your or your family's hours, or working at home. If that doesn't solve your problem then consider finding another employer or work that will fulfill your needs. If that doesn't work find a way to accept the commute. Perhaps you can find some way to enjoy this period such as listening to educational or music CDs, taking a course, or writing a book. For the well being of both you and your family find a way to avoid the last step - the Dean


Dear Dean, When I was young my stepfather abused me sexually. This was never taken to authorities and my mother still lives with him. The problem is that I am still greatly disturbed by this and it is messing up my life. I am unable to afford counseling. What do you suggest? - Leslie in WA


Dear Leslie, You can afford counseling because there are places where you can find free counseling. Check with your church, city or county offices or simply look in the newspaper or phone book for what support services are available in your area. As long as you are unable to forgive and feel victimized by the event you will not be able to enjoy a happy present life. What happened is in the past and you live in the present. It is not necessary to allow the past to mess up the present. You will be able to stop suffering as soon as you learn how. - the Dean


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

We have developed a way of thinking in our society which I refer to as partisanship. This means that we choose up sides, and then do our thinking on the premise that whatever supports our side is what is right. When we make the decision of which side we are going to support we tend to give up our own independent thinking and accept the thinking of the group as our own. We no longer trust our self enough to do our own thinking. We agree because belonging seems important to us.


This also means we resist whatever the other side says. We no longer try to understand their position. We no longer seek compromise. We feel we must prevail because we are right, and they are wrong. It is like being elated when our team wins the World Series - and depressed when they don't. We forget it is just a friendly game. We support it with our emotional life.


If we are aware we have this tendency, then we can pay attention and catch ourselves when we have this feeling. We are not going to be able to live well together, unless we are as caring and friendly with the fans of the opposing team just as we are with our own fans. Give up the idea that the other team - the other fans - the other country - the other religion - the other society, are the bad guys. Give up the idea that life is a game that you must win. This idea makes half the world losers who will be out there to beat you the next time.


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 still 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 choose for any reason not to 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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