Table of Contents

  • Inner Peace: Keep Balanced through Humor
  • Inner Peace: Preventing Fatigue and Worry
  • Health: A Learn-to-Laugh Exercise
  • Marital Harmony: Do You Stonewall?
  • Marital Happiness: Practice Caring Behavior
  • Interpersonal Relationship: Sensible Assumptions When You Communicate
  • Parenting: What is “Quality Time” With Your Children?
  • Inner Peace: Free Yourself from the Tyranny of Time
  • Personal Growth: Self-Image Builders
  • Peace Education: Peacemaking Journals
  • Happiness: Give Anonymous Appreciation
  • Interpersonal Relationship: Spontaneous Friendliness
  • Resources: Peace Quotes
  • Interpersonal Relationship: Forgiveness Meditation
  • Parenting: Helping Your Child Become More Responsible
  • Ecology: Four Ways to Help the World
  • Ecology: Einstein’s Message for the Future
  • Personal Growth: Test Your Intuition
  • Ecology: Less Waste Less Pollution
  • Self-Mastery: Mindfulness vs. Pillow-Pounding in Dealing with Anger


Keep Balanced through Humor

Through the many adversities in life, humor can play a significant and helpful role:

It provides perspective. No problem is so great that it can’t be overcome. Today’s mountains become tomorrow’s molehills.
Others will find you more approachable.
You’ll have more energy because you won’t waste it coping with tension.
When you use humor, however, take note of the following:

Be sure the humor is tasteful, or at least does not violate the standards of the recipients.
Don’t make someone the butt of your humor. He or she may feel threatened or embarrassed.
Timing is everything. The funniest joke sours if told at an insensitive moment.
Source: Meladee McCarty and Hanoch McCarty, Acts of Kindness. Health Communications, Inc. 3201 S.W. 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, Florida 33442-8190, USA

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Preventing Fatigue and Worry

Here are four good working habits that will help prevent fatigue and worry, according to Dale Carnegie:

Clear your desk of all papers except those relating to the immediate problem at hand. The constant reminder of “a million things to do and no time to do them” can worry you into tension, fatigue, high blood pressure and ulcers.

Do things in the order of their importance. Henry L. Doherty, founder of Cities Service Company, said that regardless of how much salary he paid, there were two abilities he found it almost impossible to find: a. the ability to think, and b. the ability to do things in the order of their importance.

When you face a problem, solve it then and there if you have the facts necessary to make a decision. Don’t keep putting off decisions.

Learn to organize, deputize and supervise. Many business-persons are driving themselves to premature graves because they have never learned to delegate responsibility to others, insisting on doing everything themselves.

Source: Dale Carnegie, How to Enjoy Your Life and Your Job. Pocketbooks, Simon & Schuster Inc., 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, N.T., 10020, U.S.A.

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A Learn-to-Laugh Exercise

If indeed faking a smile, is as beneficial as doing it for real, then go ahead and do it. Smile. How do you feel when you are smiling?

Now, frown and notice how you are feeling.

Okay. Now go back to your normal face, whatever that is.

Maybe you noticed that it felt better to smile than not to. And perhaps you will do it more often.

If you are still having trouble smiling, try what Virginia Tooper does. She has six-inch cardboard cutout smile with an elastic band on it. When she does not feel like smiling, she puts it on. Then she looks in the mirror. Suddenly a real smile happens under the cardboard one.

Source: Allen Klein, The Healing Power of Humor. Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 200 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016

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Do You Stonewall?

Of all the tactics that a spouse uses in an argument or quarrel with his or her partner, one of the deadliest is stonewalling. It is a danger signal in a marriage.

Stonewalling, says Daniel Goleman in Emotional Intelligence, is a withdrawal from a conversation “by responding with a stony expression and silence . . . something like a combination of icy distance, superiority, and distaste.” Researches indicate that 85% of cases, the stonewalling was done by the husband.

“As a habitual response,” says Goleman, “stonewalling is devastating to the health of a relationship: it cuts off all possibility of working out disagreements.”

In these cases, the symptoms of poor communication are perhaps evident. This can be improved when both spouses learn at least two things:

Listening with empathy to the hurts or complaints of the spouse, and not trying to speak one’s mind until the other party feels that he or she has been understood.
Assertiveness, which is the skill of stating something honestly (such as a hurt or disappointment) without attacking or condemning the other person.
Source: Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence. Bantam Books, 1540 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10036, U.S.A.

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Practice Caring Behavior

Try this experiment with your husband or wife.

Ask your spouse to give you a list of things that would make him or her feel more content. If your spouse is interested, give him your list too. Examples of things in the list can be: Help me wash my hair; open the door for me; take me out to dinner so I won’t have to spend time in the kitchen.

Try to do at least 3 things in the list every day for your spouse. Acknowledge what your partner did also and show appreciation.

Susan Smith Jones, Choose to Live Each Day Fully Celestial Arts Publishing P.O. Box 7123, Berkeley, CA 94707, U.S.A.

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Sensible Assumptions
When You Communicate

Communication is one of the most important aspects of effective and harmonious relationships, whether individually or between groups. Here are eight assumptions suggested by author Sam Deep and Lyle Sussman that will help make communication more effective:

Communication skills are acquired more than they are inborn. Hence, do not stop learning new skills.
Assume the next message you send will be misunderstood. Then you will be more thoughtful in your attempt to communicate. Get feedback, and whenever you don’t get the desired results, examine yourself first.
Don’t worry about being clear; worry about being understood. You may have said it well, but still not get the message across.
Meanings of words can’t be found in the dictionary. Definitions are in dictionaries; meanings are in people. We don’t transmit meaning; we transmit messages that elicit meaning in people.
Meaning comes more from how you say things, such as your tone of voice and body language. These account for over 90% of the meaning received.
Whenever two people are in each other’s presence, they communicate. You cannot not communicate.
87% of the information stored in people’s minds entered through their eyes. When your words conflict with your actions, your listener will believe the actions.
Communication is a complex, ongoing, dynamic and changing process.
Source: Sam Deep and Lyle Sussman, Smart Moves. Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., Reading, Mass 01867, U.S.A.

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What is “Quality Time”
With Your Children?

We often hear of “quality time” for the family. With our work pressures, traffic, and social activities, many of us spend less and less time with our family. Here are guidelines from Gloria Gilbert in her book, 2001 Hints for Working Mothers.

Quality time is any activity that shows your children you are interested in them, care about them, and love them. These three questions will help you determine whether the activity qualifies as quality time:

Does it involve active participation by both children
Does it draw the family closer together and help foster a sense of self-worth in your children?
Does it produce a feeling of happiness and satisfaction for everyone?
Your kids are only with you for a brief time – don’t miss it!

Source: Merrill Douglass, Success Secrets: A Common Sense Guide to Lifelong Achievement. Honor Books, Inc. P.O. Box 55388, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74155, U.S.A.

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Free Yourself from the
Tyranny of Time

There is no reason for us to be ruled by time where we are stressed beyond all limits, and maybe even driven to an early grave. Jon Kabat-Zinn believed that inner peace exists outside of time and suggested four ways to free yourself from the tyranny of time:

Remind yourself that time is a product of thought. How we see that time and what we do with it can make all the difference in whether we feel we have “enough time.”
Live in the present most of the time. This will put you in touch with life in the only time you have to live, namely right now. Whatever you are engaged in takes on a greater richness when you drop out of the automatic-pilot mode and into awareness and acceptance.
Take some of the time intentionally each day to just be, in other words to meditate. The calmness, relaxation, and centering that come from letting go of time, transform your experience of time when you go back into it. It becomes possible to flow along with time during the day rather than constantly fighting against it or feeling driven by it.
Simplify your life in certain ways. This means prioritizing the things that you have to and want to do and, at the same time, consciously choosing to give certain things up.
Source: Jon Kabat-Zinn. Full Catastrophe Living, Bookcraft Ltd. Midsomer Norton, Bath, Great Britain.

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Self-Image Builders

Many under-achievers suffer from low self-image. They think that they are incapable. Fortunately, something can be done to repair this. Denis Waitley suggests the following to build your own self-image.

Take inventory. Write down your accomplishments in life that you are proud of, whether small or big.
List your strengths and best qualities. List also positive alternatives to the negative habits you want to change.
Improve your skills. Under-take a self-improvement program, and identify the positive improvement in your life that will result from change.
Use positive words. When talking to yourself and to others about yourself, use uplifting and constructive adjectives and adverbs.
Set your own standards. Don’t compare yourself to others. Measure yourself by your standards.
Source: Bob Harrison, Power Points for Success. Honor Books, P.O. Box 5388, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74155, U.S.A.

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Peacemaking Journals

Here is one way of raising peace consciousness among grade school and high school students. Ask them to keep a Peacemaking Journal that will record their thoughts on practical peacemaking. Here are some guidelines from Naomi Drew, in her book Learning the Skills of Peacemaking:

Ask the children to have their own notebook which will serve as his/her Peacemaking Journal.
Tell them that the journal is where they can express their thoughts in all areas of peacemaking, and to discover solutions to problems through writing or drawing
Ask them to put their journals in a specified box after each entry, and the teacher will read and return the journals to them.
As a start, ask them to write on “My Vision of a Peaceful Classroom.” Tell them: “Close your eyes and picture our classroom being empty. This is the beginning of a new day. It’s bright and sunny, and you feel wonderful. Now fill the room with children, and have them treat each other in a way that makes everyone feel accepted and at home. Picture all the children being together in this way. What does it feel like? What do you most want to learn about in this classroom? How do you feel coming to this kind of classroom?”

Then ask them to open their eyes and write down or draw what they have just pictured.

Assure them that anything they write is fine.

Give them 5-10 minutes to work, and then ask the class if anyone would like to share his or her journal entries with the class. Remind your students that there are no put-downs or negative comments of any kind about other people’s journal entries. Say, “Peace begins within each of us. Accepting others and what others have to say is a big part of this.”

Discuss the journal entries together. The teacher can put comments or responses to the journals when appropriate.

Source: Naomi Drew, Learning the Skills of Peacemaking. Jalmar Press, 45 Hitching Post Drive, Building 2, Rolling Hills Estates, California 90274, USA

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Give Anonymous Appreciation

There are many things we like and appreciate about people around us, but have we bothered to let them know? The genuine appreciation of other people is one of the sources of human happiness not only on the part of the recipient but in the giver as well. One interesting variation of this practice is by giving anonymous and unexpected appreciation of people. Here are examples given by Matt Weinstein in his worth-while book Managing to Have Fun:

When there is a new employee in your company, put a note on his or her workplace that says something like, “Welcome Clarissa, we’re happy you’re joining us.” In one such case, the receiver posted this welcome note on her desk in the first two months in her job.
One lady always puts a candy when she deposits a check in the drive-in window of her bank. You may wish to put a personal thank you note when you deposit in the automatic teller machine.
Put a wholesome humorous anecdote or cartoon together with your mailed payments for your bills. You may make the person opening the envelope cheerful for the rest of the day.
Do a good turn to a stranger waiting in line, like buying him or her a popcorn or soft-drink.
Try them. Not only are you doing a good act, but you are having good act, but you are having good fun as well. Think of your own versions of spontaneous or deliberate kindness. You can be sure that you are helping to make this world not only a more peaceful but also a happier place.

Source: Matt Weinstein, Managing for Fun Simon & Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York NY 10020, USA.

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Spontaneous Friendliness

Jeffrey Randall of Playfair, Inc., when he goes to the movies, sometimes would buy popcorn for the person next in line in the food stand. One time, this was what happened:

Jeffrey turned to the man behind him and said, “Say, you look like a nice guy. I’d like to buy you some popcorn?”

After the man hesitantly agreed, the next man behind said.

“Hey, wait a minute! What’s the matter with me? Don’t I look like a nice guy? Why don’t you buy me some popcorn?”

Jeffrey’s immediate reaction was, “Wait a minute. I’m going to wind up buying popcorn for everybody in this whole place!” But then he thought, “Well why not?” so he said: “You’re right. You probably are a nice guy. Okay, I’ll buy you some popcorn, too.”

“Oh, no,” said the man, “I was just kidding. You don’t really have to buy me any popcorn.”

“I know,” said Jeffrey, “but now I really want to buy you some popcorn.

“Oh yeah?” said the stranger. “Well, if you buy me a popcorn, I’m going to buy you a Coke.”

“Oh yeah?” replied Jeffrey “Then you’d better make it a LARGE Coke!”

So the three of them, laughing and joking, finally reached the head of the line, where the man behind the counter put an end to the entire discussion. “You guys are all nuts!” He told them. “I’m the assistant manager, and just for that I’m going to give you all popcorn and Cokes, on the house!”

Source: Matt Weinstein, Managing for Fun. Simon & Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York. New York

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Peace Quotes

We’ve learned how to destroy, but not to create; how to waste, but not to build; how to kill men, but not how to save them; how to die, but seldom how to live. — OMAR NELSON BRADLEY

Every kind of peaceful cooperation among men is primarily based on mutual trust and only secondarily on institutions such as courts of justice and police. — ALBERT EINSTEIN

A peace that comes from fear and not from the heart is the opposite of peace. — GERSONIDES

The true and solid peace of nations consists not in equality of arms, but in mutual trust alone. — POPE JOHN XXIII

Peace does not rest in the charters and covenants alone

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. It lies in the hearts and minds of all people. So let us not rest all our hopes on parchment and on paper, let us strive to build peace, a desire for peace, a willingness to work for peace in the hearts and minds of all of our people. I believe that we can. I believe the problems of human destiny are not beyond the reach of human beings. — JOHN F. KENNEDY

If we could raise one generation with unconditional love, there would be no Hitlers. We need to teach the next generation of children from Day One that they are responsible for their lives. Mankind’s greatest gift, also its greatest curse, is that we have free choice. We can make our choices built from love or from fear. — DR. ELIZABETH KUBLER-ROSS.

If you want to change. . .
. . . the world, start small. — Peace Corps advertisement

Happiness is . . .
. . . . the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads.” — ALBERT CAMUS

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Forgiveness Meditation

Stephen and Ondrea Levine suggested the following forgiveness meditation:

Begin by centering the mind, as in meditation. Become quiet, soften the belly.

To Forgive. Slowly bring into your mind and heart, the image of someone for whom you have resentment. Invite him or her into your heart and silently say, “I forgive you. I forgive you for whatever pain you may have caused me in the past, intentionally or unintentionally, through your words, your thoughts, your actions. However you may have caused me pain in the past, I forgive you.” Allow that being to go on him or her way touched by the blessing of forgiveness.

To Be Forgiven. Gently allow into your mind and heart, the image of someone who holds resentment for you. Invite him or her into your heart and say, “I ask your forgiveness, I ask to be let back into your heart. Forgive me for whatever I may have done in the past that caused you pain, intentionally or unintentionally, through my words, my actions, even through my thoughts. However I may have hurt or injured you, whatever confusion; whatever fear of mine caused you pain. I ask your forgiveness.” Allow yourself to be forgiven. Let your heart meet this other heart in forgiveness. Allow that being to go on him or her way touched by the blessing of forgiveness.

To Forgive Oneself. Gently allow yourself into your mind and heart. Say, “I forgive you” to yourself. Use your own first name, say “____ forgive you” to yourself. Whatever hard thoughts arise against yourself from your mind, hold them with softness. Allow yourself into your heart, into forgiveness. Bathe yourself in its mercy and kindness. Let yourself be loved. Return yourself to your heart.

Source: Stephen and Ondrea Levine. Forgiveness Meditation, Personal Transformation p. 28, June, 1997. U.S.A.

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Helping Your Child Become
More Responsible

Here is a quiz to see whether you are helping your child become a more responsible person. Put 5 points for something you usually do, zero for something you never do, or other numbers in between for what you think you deserve.

_____1. I give my child a regular allowance.

_____2. My child has regular chores around the house.

_____3. I don’t always “bail my child out” when he has problems.

_____4. We have routines to help everyone finish the chores.

_____5 I don’t do my child’s homework.

If you scored more than 20 points, it means you are raising a responsible child. Fifteen to 19 is average. Below 15 points means you need to give your child more responsibility.

Source: Parents Make the Difference! Published by the Parent Institute, P.O. box 7474, Fairfax Station, VA 22039-7474, USA.

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Four Ways to Help the World

Many young people want to help to make this world a better place. Here are four ways as suggested by Patricia Adams and Jean Marzollo in their book The Helping Hands handbook:

Provide Service. You can help the world by volunteering to do a job that needs to get done, such as planting community gardens, helping someone learn to read, or shelving books in a library.
Give donations. Help organizations that help the world.
Use Your Purchasing Power. You can be an educated consumer. When you shop, you have the power to affect the environment. You can refuse to buy foods wrapped in polystyrene or non-biodegradable plastic, heavily package products, or products that depend on harsh experiments using animals. In the United States, according to the New York Times, kids have an impact on the US economy that totals about US$230 billion. Manufacturers will listen to the consumer vote of young people.
Influence Others. Be an example. If you throw away your food wrappers in a trash can, your friends may do so also. If you refuse to buy environmentally harmful products, your classmates may follow you. You can also influence other by writing songs, making poster, telling stories, or write letters to newspaper
Have an action plan on how to help. Make inquiries or read books on global peace and environment issues that will acquaint you with the serious problems that affect the world today.

Source: Patricia Adams and Jean Marzollo, The Helping Hands Handbook. Random House, Inc., Inc., New York, New York, USA

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Einstein’s Message for the Future

In 1939, Albert Einstein was asked to give a message for people in the year 6939, or five thousand year after. Here is what he wrote:

“Our time is rich in inventive minds, the inventions of which could facilitate our lives considerably. We are crossing the seas by power and utilize power also to relieve humanity from all tiring muscular work. We have learned to fly and are able to send messages and news over the entire world through electric waves. However, the production and distribution of commodities is entirely unorganized, so that everybody must live in fear of being eliminated from the economic cycle. Furthermore, people living in different countries kill each other at irregular time intervals, so that any one who thinks about the future must live in fear. This is due to the fact that the intelligence and character of the masses are incomparably lower than the intelligence and character of the few who produce something valuable for the community. I trust that posterity will read these statements with a feeling of proud and justified superiority.”

Source: Geoffrey Hodson, Basic Theosophy Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Chennai, India.

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Test Your Intuition

Genuine intuition has been recognized as a source of superior judgment by many great people, such Albert Einstein, Alexis Carrel, etc. Here is a simple test given by Ivan Burnell that may help you determine whether your behavior tends towards intuitiveness or not:

When I lack a ready answer, I tend to be (a) patient, (b) clumsy.
When I work on a tough problem I usually (a) concentrate on solving it, (b) play with possible answers.
In most cases, change (a) makes me nervous, (b) excites me.
I prefer to be told (a) exactly what to do, (b) only what needs to be done.
Faced with a task, I usually (a) plan before I start, (b) plunge right in.
When I describe something, I usually rely on (a) analogies and anecdotes, (b) facts and statistics.
When I disagree with others, I usually (a) let them know it, (b) keep it to myself.
When my intuition differs from the facts, I usually (a) trust my feelings, (b) follow the logical course.
According to Burnell, the more of these answers you chose, the more intuitive you chose, the more intuitive you tend to be: 1 (a), 2 (b), 3 (b), 4 (b), 5 (b), 6 (a), 7 (a), 8 (a).

Source: Ivan Burnell, The Power of Positive Doing. Featured in Communication Briefings, 700 Black Horse Pike, suite 110, Blackwood, NJ 08012, USA

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Less Waste Less Pollution

Here is one source of environmental problems wherein which we are all involved: throwing wastes. In England, over 26 million tons of household and commercial waste are thrown away. According to Friends of the Earth Handbook, we can lessen this by recycling and preventing excessive packaging:

Recycling means putting waste back into productive use. This results in less need for “virgin” raw materials, such as trees and oil. Recycling creates jobs and reduces environmental damage.

Here are two basic principles to reduce unnecessary waste:

Before you buy something, ask yourself if you really need it.
Before you throw something away, consider whether there is any alternative use for it.
Below are suggestions on reducing, and making use of wastes:

Support local paper recycling schemes, such as for newspaper and magazines.
Re-use envelopes
Re-use paper and plastic bags again and again, avoid unnecessary bags
Re-use bottles, and support companies that use returnable bottles
Avoid buying over-packaged articles; complain to manufacturers if you see such articles
Sources: Friends of the Earth Handbook, edited by Jonathon Porritt. Published by Macdonald Optima, Orbit House, 1 New Fetter Lane, London EC4A 1AR, United Kingdom

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Mindfulness vs. Pillow-Pounding
in Dealing with Anger

People deal with anger in many ways. One of the ways is by suppression. Another is by expressing it towards somebody. These are often not helpful.

Some people may use the technique of pillow-pounding, where the energy is release, and we tend to feel better afterwards, though exhausted. But, say Thich Nhat Hanh, the well-known peace advocate, pillow-pounding does not make use in touch with the anger. In fact it does not make us in touch with the pillow, else we would not pound on it. “The roots of our anger are still intact. . . . our anger will be reborn, and we will have to pound the pillow again.”

Mindfulness is a time-tested way of dealing with the seeds of anger. Through the use of breathing, one becomes aware of one’s body, feelings, thoughts, and reactions. Acknowledge anger and be in touch with it. As we breathe in and out, the energy will normalize without suppression.

Author Thich compares mindfulness to the silent transformative power of sunshine on vegetation.

“Our mindfulness will take care of everything, as the sunshine takes care of the vegetation. The sunshine does not seem to do much, it just shines on the vegetation, but it transforms everything. Poppies close up every time it gets dark, but when the sun shines on them for one or two hours, they open. The sun penetrates into the flowers, and at some point, the flowers cannot resist, they just have to open up. In the same way, mindfulness, if practiced continuously, will provide a kind of transformation within the flower of our anger, and it will open and show us its own nature. When we understand the nature, the roots, of our anger, we will be freed from it.

Source: Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step. Bantam books, 666 Fifth Avenue. New York, New York 10103. USA.

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Prepared by:
Peace Center
Theosophical Society in the Philippines