Dove with Branch
February 26, 2007 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk
Hello! - Dean Van Leuven

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Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, We live in San Francisco and all of our relatives live in the east. We have retired on a fixed income. Many of our relatives like to visit because the bay area is such a great place to visit. We don’t mind them staying with us but we just don’t have the extra money for food and car expenses to take them to the wine country, Monterey, etc.. How do we let people know we can’t afford to have them stay with us? – Retired in SF

Dear Retired in SF, Staying with you doesn’t seem to be a problem except for the expense. Why throw out the baby with the bathwater. Why can’t you simply let them know your situation? Being with friends is still a good deal for both of you. Be honest and things will work out fine. They will be happy to cover expenses, or stay elsewhere. Be ashamed to tell the truth and everyone will be upset. – the Dean

Dear Dean, I have a potential in-law problem. My fiancée’s family do not approve of me. They think I am not good enough for him because I am not of their culture which is Lebanese. They think I act like an American, and they are always finding fault with me and telling him he needs to find someone of their ethnic background. The problem is that he will go there for holidays without me. I want to be with him on the holidays but he says he can’t neglect his family and that I should go and they will eventually accept me. – Minnesota Girl

Dear Minnesota Girl, The inability to understand ethnic differences frequently results in problems. This is something both you and your fiancée need to work out. Neither you nor he is obligated to handle it in a certain way, or do a certain thing. What you do need to do is find a solution that will work for both of you. Look hard at the possibility of going with him, even if the reception is cool. They may warm when they grow accustomed to you, and see that he truly cares for you. The important thing is to resolve this problem in some way before you marry. Issues that could break up the marriage need to be resolved before the marriage. How the two of you are at resolving differences is usually more important than the differences. - the Dean

I welcome questions and/or comments from our readers. Send your Ask the Dean questions or comments to: P.O. Box 535, Elmira, OR 97437, or visit www.DeanOfPeace.com. to submit by e-mail.

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

Gradually those governments who want to take power over their own, or other people by force, are finding it more difficult to do so. This change to being governed only with our own informed consent comes gradually as our awareness as individuals increases. We must become aware enough to make choices, and elect only those who make decisions that are in our own enlightened self- interest. In order to have peace within our own society we have come more and more to realize that we ourselves must be peaceful. Only when we come from a place of peace will we be truly concerned about peace for other people. Only when we change our own personal way of being, to peaceful and joyful living, will we be able to create peace and joy in the world. The world will always be acting in a way that is an out-picturing of the general level of consciousness of the people.

Today we still worship and admire the rich and famous. When we do this we are giving our power to others. I often wonder if we make a great mistake in our society when we provide limousines for our leaders to ride around in. Doing so tends to devalue our own personal self-worth. When we set them above us in some way we are giving them power over us. When we take a closer look at the rich and famous we see that being rich and famous does not automatically give a person the sense of peace and well being that they seek. Being rich and famous does not of itself produce joy.

Those who have achieved the goals of riches and fame are often among those who are the most troubled and lead the least peaceful lives, especially when their riches and/or power were inherited or came without learning the necessary skills to manage and care for them. They often admit that their achievements have not brought them the peace and serenity they desire. As many of us have already learned, the answer to peace does not lie in riches or power but somewhere else.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

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: Today I treat all animals kindly.

Tuesday: Today I give thanks for the children of the world.

Wednesday: Today I hold peaceful loving thoughts for the world’s leaders.

Thursday: Today I take time to sit and be peaceful.

Friday: Today I give life the light touch.

Saturday: Today I take time to enjoy and appreciate my family.

Sunday: Today I re-label my “mistakes” as lessons.

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: www.DeanOfPeace.com

Additional Notes
 

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