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bluesmpshpin.gif (1016 bytes)A Message to Our Readers (March 22, 2007):

I have been taking a sabbatical for a period of reflection on how I can better serve the Peace Community (by working smarter, not harder J ).  In the process, I have been undergoing a significant personal transformation – a journey that I will be pleased to share with you as follows, developed as a response to a fellow Peace Educator.  Here is her edited letter to me, followed by my response:

Hi Bob,


On a more personal note. I have taken a leave of absence from teaching and am doing a part time Master's ...   Last term I took a course with (another Peace Educator) on community peace building.  She is an inspiration and an amazing woman. I remember first hearing her at the first Mac Peace conference. I also took a course on Women, War and Learning that was more than I could have hoped for. I ended up reconnecting with my inner artist and doing a painting for each of these two courses, ... I have also started taking writing classes and have been working on writing poetry. I'm attaching one that I wrote at the end of the Women, War and Learning course.

I'm learning that creativity is an integral part of building a culture of peace. I also want to tell you, (again) that that first conference you organized was a life changer for me. It started a lot of wheels turning. I've re-examined much of my life and feel the changes I have made have been an important part of my personal evolution. It's interesting how there is always such a ripple affect. I was telling (another Peace Educator) that I'm even re-evaluating my marriage and she mentioned that you were having difficulties also. I hope whatever transpires brings growth for you both.

Wow, that's much more than I thought I'd write, but I thought you might want to know how the ripples you started in Hamilton are still being felt.   Hope this finds you well ... and take care of yourself.


"Jane Doe"


Dear Jane,

Boy, I don’t hear from you for what seems like years and then you come through with the power of the universe. J  Well, first let me say how wonderful it is to hear from you, and about your opus.   [As Carl Jung puts it, “The goal is important only as an idea: the essential thing is the opus (i.e. the work on oneself which leads to the goal: that is the goal of a lifetime.”]

“Our task is to learn, to become God-like through knowledge.  We know so little.  You are here to be my teacher.  I have so much to learn.  By knowledge we approach God, and then we can rest.  Then we come back to teach and help others.”

Congratulations on your ... Course, your Master’s studies and reconnecting with your creativity.  I loved your poem.  I recognize the truth in all you have to say, and am happy to have had a small role in your growth and transformation.  You are on the spiritual path and, as hard as it may seem at times, it means great things for you – this is only happening to you because your soul is ready for this important journey.

While I started on the Spiritual Path of self development 12 years ago when I started my peace journey, it took the great trauma of divorce to cause deep introspection and great change over this past year.  Thomas Homer-Dixon refers to this as “The Upside of Down”.  My previous work on myself helped me to weather this storm, and I can not begin to tell you how much I have learned and I am sure that I am a much better person today than I was a year ago (certainly more literate about relationships and marriage and myself and peace).  I am grateful to be part of the relatively small percentage of the population to transform from relative unconsciousness to relative consciousness (in life and relations).   Of course my journey is by no means ended, as it is ongoing.

There is what appears to be a great risk we take if we truly follow the Spiritual Path necessary to build peace at the individual level and family level, and ultimately the community and world levels.  In a way, we “betray” our family and friends because we change and are no longer the people they expected us to be.  If they do not also develop themselves, then the gap (and misunderstanding) widens.  It is incumbent upon us, if we want to retain those relations, to “come back to teach and help others”.  Maybe I forgot to do that, and my wife revolted (however, I am happy to say that my children seem to get it).  Paradoxically, I have noted that it seems like a larger proportion of Peace Educators suffer divorce than the average, and hence we Peace Educators need to pay special attention to this phenomenon.

Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”  I am so happy to hear you are well on this path.  And it sounds like you have avoided “trauma” so far – that is good fortune.  Please allow me to make a few comments that I hope might help in your re-examination of your marriage, based on my personal experience (which may or may not be relevant to you).  Whether you call it intuition or something else, I believe that I know that I made the right choice when I married my wife of 28 years, and that we are the best two people for each other.  A reality check with our families and friends seems to confirm this.  You should go inside yourself, meditate on the question, and ask what your intuition or higher self tells you.  

If you read the books (particularly Dr. Harville Hendrix’s ‘Getting the Love You Want’, and ‘Keeping the Love You Find’, detailed references below) you learn that we were attracted to our mates (chosen by our unconscious) for good reasons – in short, they were good people to challenge and help us become whole.  Dr. Phil’s book ‘Relationship Rescue’ tells us that the problem is not with our mate, it is with us – in other words, you and I must work on ourselves since we are the only people we can control (we can’t control the other, we can only love).  In my case, I felt strongly that my wife and I were the best two people to work together to help ourselves grow to the maximum in this stage of our lives, with the hope that whatever the best thing would happen, would happen – and Buddha teaches us not to be attached to the outcome.  Que sera sera.  So my choice was to leave no stone unturned in what I thought was ‘saving our marriage’ but is more wisely termed with hindsight ‘working on me’ – which is what it really was.  The conclusion of our marriage is still to be written, but I am proud of how I conducted myself through this trial.  Below, I attach a list of books I found to be recommended resources in my opus.

My goal in my peace work is “to help significantly reduce the human cost of violence, at home and abroad”.  The breakdown of a marriage (or any intimate relationship) brings the participants to a crossroads – one path leads to breakthrough and a ‘profitable’ experience, the other to personal breakdown and a ‘costly’ experience (there are huge costs in terms of psychological damage to spouses, children, family and friends, as well as financial costs of lawyers, reduced productivity, etc.).  Unfortunately, people are generally ill equipped to deal with relationships and breakdown – our parents didn’t know to teach us, we didn’t get taught at school, and most people can not afford the time and money to research as I have and consult with expensive experts.  As you can see, this is a critical area of Peace Education that we can and should help advance.  Hence, it will go on my web site and become the subject of workshops, etc.

I hope this gives you some food for thought along your journey.  I hope you will remember to let me know how you progress, and feel free to contact me as you may need.

With love and best wishes,

Bob Stewart

Read some of the very insightful responses received from other peace educators with respect to their Relationships by clicking here.




[Note: You can see summaries by clicking on the links where available.]

Find the best marriage counsellor that you can.  To help identify issues, facilitate communications, conflict transformation and problem solving.  In Calgary, I recommend Dr. Gary Kneier, Ph.D., C.Psych., Clinical Psychologist, ; tel 403-255-9341; fax 403-255-9340; Suite 330, 2204 - 2nd St. SW, Calgary, AB T2S 3C2.  Let us know at stewartr[at] of other recommended marriage counsellors.

GETTING THE LOVE YOU WANT: A GUIDE FOR COUPLES, By Harville Hendrix, Ph.D., ISBN 10: 0-8050-6895-3, Published by Henry Holt and Company

KEEPING THE LOVE YOU FIND: A PERSONAL GUIDE, By Harville Hendrix, Ph.D., ISBN 0-671-73420-2

GIVING THE LOVE THAT HEALS: A GUIDE FOR PARENTS, By Harville Hendrix, Ph.D., ISBN 0-671-79399-3


Relationship Rescue: A Seven-Step Strategy for Reconnecting With Your Partner, by Phillip C. McGraw, Ph.D ("Dr. Phil"); ISBN 0-7868-6631-4

How To Make Your Relationship Work: Learn how to love and be loved, By Anne Geraghty; ISBN:1843404087

Can Your Relationship Be Saved? How to Know Whether to Stay or Go, By Dr. Michael S. Broder; ISBN 1-886230-41-2

“Collaborative Divorce: The Revolutionary New Way to Restructure Your Family, Resolve Legal Issues, and Move on with Your Life”, by Pauline H. Tesler, M.A., J.D., & Peggy Thompson, Ph.D.; ISBN 10: 0-06-088943-8

The Breakthrough Experience: A Revolutionary New Approach to Personal Transformation, by John Demartini (particularly Chapter 6 on Relationships)

I Need Your Love – Is That True?: How to Stop Seeking … and Start Finding …, by Byron Katie

Betrayal, Trust, and Forgiveness: A Guide to Emotional Healing and Self-Renewal, by Beth Hedva, Ph.D.; ISBN -13: 978-1-58761-096-7

The Survival Papers: Anatomy of a Midlife Crisis, by Daryl Sharp; ISBN 0-919123-34-1

Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships: Healing the Wound of the Heart, by John Welwood; ISBN-10: 1590303865

If the Buddha Married: Creating Enduring Relationships on a Spiritual Path, by Charlotte Kasl, Ph.D; ISBN 0-14-01.9622-6

The Jill Principle: A Woman's Guide to Healing Your Spirit After Divorce or Breakup, by Michele Germain, LCSW; ISBN 10: 0-7387-0916-6

Under Saturn's Shadow: The Wounding and Healing of Men, by James Hollis; ISBN 0-919123-64-3

The Way of the Superior Man: A Spiritual Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Women, Work, and Sexual Desire, by David Deida; ISBN 1-59179-257-6

The Eden Project: In Search of the Magical Other - A Jungian Perspective on Relationship, by James Hollis; ISBN 0-919123-80-5

Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring For Yourself, by Melody Beattie; ISBN 0-89486-402-5

Facing Love Addiction: Giving Yourself the Power to Change the Way You Love, by Pia Mellody; ISBN 0-06-250604-8

After the Affair: Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When a Partner Has Been Unfaithful, by Janis Abrahms Spring, Ph.D.; ISBN 10: 0-06-092817-4

Surviving Infidelity: Making Decisions, Recovering from the Pain, by Rona B. Subotnik, L.M.F.T. and Gloria G. Harris, Ph.D.; ISBN 1-59337-480-1

Emotional Infidelity: How to Affair-Proof Your Marriage and 10 Other Secrets to a Great Relationship, by M. Gary Neuman; ISBN 0-609-81000-6

Act II: Rekindle, Renew, Restore - Recreate Your Relationship, Recover the Romance & The Passion, by Albert Andrew Stone; ISBN 0-9682554-0-X

"The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict" by the Arbinger Institute, 2006.  Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers (July 28, 2006).  ISBN-10: 1576753344; ISBN-13: 978-1576753347.  It is an excellent story about how we see ourselves and others and that when we betray our best self, the way we see and act in the world around us changes for the worst.  What if conflicts at home, conflicts at work, and conflicts in the world stem from the same root cause? And what if individually and collectively we systematically misunderstand that cause, and unwittingly perpetuate the very problems we think we are trying to solve?  Through an intriguing story of parents struggling with their troubled children and with their own personal problems, The Anatomy of Peace shows how to get past the preconceived ideas and self-justifying reactions that keep us from seeing the world clearly and dealing with it effectively. Yusuf al-Falah, an Arab, and Avi Rozen, a Jew, each lost his father at the hands of the other's ethnic cousins. As the story unfolds, we discover how they came together, how they help warring parents and children to come together, and how we too can find our way out of the struggles that weigh us down. The choice between peace and war lies within us. As one of the characters says, "A solution to the inner war solves the outer war as well." This book offers more than hope — it shows how we can prevent the conflicts that cause so much pain in our lives and in the world.  From Publishers Weekly: The premise of this follow-up to Leadership and Self-Deception is simple: people whose hearts are at peace do not wage war, whether they're heads of state or members of a family. In this semi-fictional narrative ("inspired by actual events") illustrating the principles of achieving peace, the setting is a two-day parent workshop at an Arizona-based wilderness camp for out-of-control teenagers, but the storyline is a mere setting for an instruction manual. Workshop facilitators Yusuf al-Falah, a Palestinian Arab whose father was killed by Israelis in 1948, and Avi Rozen, an Israeli Jew whose father died in the Yom Kippur War, use examples from their domestic lives and the history of their region to illustrate situations in which the normal and necessary routines of daily life can become fodder for conflict. Readers observe this through the eyes of one participant, a father whose business is in nearly as much trouble as his teenage son. The usefulness of the information conveyed here on how conflicts take root, spread and can be resolved more than compensates for the pedestrian writing. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. [Thanks to Maggie Rogers for this recommendation.]


see also the Message to Readers at



  Canadian Peace Education Foundation For a World Fit For Children - The Canadian Peace Education Foundation for a World Fit For Children (“CPEF”) purpose is to raise funds for education for building peace, and to consider results-oriented peacebuilding educational projects at home and abroad.  Our ultimate goal is to significantly reduce the human cost of violence against children and others.   If you support this worthwhile cause, please consider making a contribution and including the following insert under your email signature line [via Tools/Options/Signatures] to spread the message as widely as possible --

Making an Impact: Your gift to the Canadian Peace Education Foundation will do much to reduce the human cost of violence in our communities and world through education about peace and the future in classrooms.  Your gift will have a critical impact on future generations.  You will enable youngsters to widen their sights by exploring alternate paths to transforming conflicts and building a better world.  Gifts of cash, securities, and planned gifts are welcome and may be sent to the Canadian Peace Education Foundation, Box 70, Okotoks, AB, Canada, T1S 1A4.  For more information, visit the website at

PEACEBUILDING FOR ADOLESCENTS: STRATEGIES FOR EDUCATORS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS, EDITED BY LINDA RENNIE FORCEY AND IAN M. HARRIS.  Relying largely on the work of peace- and conflict-resolution scholars from many disciplines, Peacebuilding for Adolescents presents proactive strategies for educators and community leaders.  In order to deter adolescent violence, educators have been responding to increasing levels of school violence by severely punishing aggressive children, and politicians have been clamoring for taught criminal justice measures to deter youth from crime.  The authors in this book argue, instead, for more humane response by teaching young people to value peace, to learn to manage their own conflicts, and to live more peacefully.  They take a broad view that ranges over three strategic levels of analysis-personal, school, and community.  They argue for the promotion of a culture of nonviolence in the schools to help create what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called the beloved community. Table of contents and ordering information: 

Positive Discipline site -  The Positive Discipline Philosophy - Positive Discipline is based on the philosophies of Alfred Adler and Rudolf Dreikurs who believed that all human beings have equal rights to dignity and respect. All Positive Discipline methods are non-punitive and non-permissive. They are "Kind" and "Firm" at the same time. Kind, because that shows respect for the child (and for the adult), and Firm because that shows respect for what needs to be done.  All Positive Discipline methods meet the following Three Criteria for Discipline that Teaches:  1. Is it respectful?  2. Is it effective long-term? 3. Does it help children develop valuable life skills for good character?  Our mission is to create peace in the world through peace in homes and classrooms.  Positive Discipline Associates are available for lectures and workshops.  Contact 1-800-456-7770 or e-mail .

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- "Love and harmony in a family can only be achieved through strong bonds of relationship built on respect, understanding, acceptance, and appreciation." (Arun Gandi)

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