Insights From the Dean of Peace
November 02, 2009
Notes from the Dean's Desk
This weekly newsletter is available free by subscription. All copies for the year are available on my website.
If you enjoy this newsletter and know someone who you think may enjoy it as well, please feel free to share it with them.
Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven
Dear Dean, My mother still tells me how to run my life - how I am doing things wrong and if I don't do it her way I am going to have a lot of problems. I want to do things my own way but I want to keep a good relationship with my mother. I just listen to her patiently, consider what she says and thank her for her advice. I then make my own choice. Because I listen I am able to keep a good relationship with her, and occasionally I get some really good advice. It costs me nothing just to listen politely. - Olga in MN
Dear Olga, Thank you for sharing this wisdom with us! We all too often create our own problems just by resisting what others are trying to say to or do for us. It never hurts to listen unless we decide it does. We create a lot of problems for ourselves when we spend our time resisting instead of listening. - the Dean
Dear Dean, My mother was always giving me advice. I felt like she was trying to control my life and I resented it so much that I left home and married a guy that she told me was trouble because I wanted to challenge her. Now I have three kids and I am a recovering addict. I am back living with my mother and learning bookkeeping so I can provide for myself and the children. It wasn't that what she was telling me was wrong; it was just because I didn't like her controlling style. I let my anger mess up my life. By letting go of my resentment I now have a better relationship with my mom and I am repairing my life. - Teresa in CA
Dear Teresa, So often we make mistakes just because of our resistance to what is happening. It is good that you have learned this lesson and that you are making better choices. We create a good life when we make good choices. - 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 www.DeanOfPeace.com. to submit by e-mail.
Law, Politics & Society ... As I see them
I attended a discussion group recently that was discussing methods of nonviolence. It was disappointing to me as the subject content was more aligned with civil disobedience. Those present were more interested in how they could have their way than they were with the concern for what most people wanted. The comment that caught my attention the most was when someone referred to voting as the opiate of the people.
If we are to live together as a peaceful society, then we must have some method of determining and be willing to carry out the will of the people. Otherwise we have the tyranny of the powerful. If we are willing to fight for our own way; even when it is not the way of the majority, then the use of nonviolence just becomes a strategy we are using to have our own way. Revolution against the rule of the majority is much different than revolution against the rule of a powerful and abusing minority.
Most of us want to live in peace rather than just have our way. When our system is not functioning in a peaceful way our job should be to restore and use the system, not to overthrow it by the use of force, even if that force is nonviolent. We abandoned the idea of lynch mobs as a bad idea many years ago. We have the means in our society to create change that reflects the will of the people. When we see mistakes are being made our job is to bring it to the attention of others; seek better solutions; work to get them implemented; and finally to accept and abide by the decision chosen by the majority until that decision is changed. It would be better to live in a separate group whose ways we honor than it would be to war against the ways of those we live with.
Creating a Peaceful New World
We tend to make ourselves the victims of our own thinking. We grow up expecting certain things out of life, and when they don't happen we feel cheated. When something bad happens we tend to say, "What did I ever do to deserve this?" We find it difficult to accept what happened, because we are tied up in our own expectations and attachments.
We put ourselves in the victim role whenever we deny that the feeling of being a victim actually originates in our own mind. If you find yourself thinking in terms of "How can I possibly cope with this situation?" You are admitting that you are a victim. Thinking about how you can just get by is victim thinking.
Instead we need to think in terms of, "I am in control here," "I am the boss of my life." Until you take over control of your life in every way, you are making yourself a victim. Taking control means that you are the one who makes the choices about your own life, based on your independent needs and thinking.
Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
I think about the things in my life that I feel are out of my control.
I think about why things are out of control.
I think about the beliefs I have, that allow things to be out of control.
I think about new choices I can make to take control of my life.
Today I take one thing in my life that has been out of control and bring it under control.
Today I think about the decisions I must make, in order to take control of my life.
I resolve that I am the boss of my life.
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
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.
If you are a charitable or religious organization and would like to reprint any of my articles please contact me for permission, which will be cheerfully granted.
If you know someone who might be interested in using any, or all of my regular newspaper columns please pass this information on to them. Or send me their e-mail address, or telephone number, and I will be happy to send them the information.
Past issues of this newsletter are archived on my website.
I welcome your suggestion or comments. If you have a question that you would like addressed in the Ask the Dean? column feel free to send them to email@example.com
phone: 800-359-6015 fax:541-935-9361