Choosing Peace

Successful Relating
Fulfillment through Connection and Community
Alice G. Vlietstra, Ph.D., Editor

To subscribe or unsubscribe, see below.

May 2007

In This Issue:
1.  Welcome
2.  Choosing Peace - Forgiveness  
3.  Forgiveness Defined
4.  The Benefits of Forgiveness
5.  Moving Beyond the Obstacles
6.  Announcements

1.  Welcome

Welcome. We have just celebrated Memorial Day, in which we have honored those who have fought for our country. War has its place when defense is needed, and we need to honor those who have fought valiantly and given their lives for our country. At the same time, I would like to consider what we can do to continually honor them in our daily lives by making a choice for peace, one moment at a time.

In the last e-newsletter, I spoke of the “Gift of Forgiveness.”  In this newsletter I
would like to look at how making a choice to forgive promotes peace. Unfortunately forgiveness is rarely discussed, frequently misunderstood, and often less practiced. This e-newsletter is one of three follow-up newsletters on the “Gift of Forgiveness” to help us better understand it. In this
e-newsletter we will examine the benefits of the choice to forgive.

2.  Choosing Peace - Forgiveness

Frequently people who are successful, who contribute to society, are the people who  have experienced many setbacks and failures and have come through them.  They have often suffered much hardship and hurt. 

These examples demonstrate that the real key to success may not just be a focus on the positive, but how we overcome the negative. An important part of this success is a willingness to forgive, especially ourselves. It allows us to view setbacks differently, and to use the experience for good.

Forgiveness is often misunderstood. First, it is not just a one-time event, but also
is a process. Second, it has its appropriate time and place. It is not something that you might do immediately when under attack, and you might not want to consider it when you are angry.  Third, it does not need to mean, “Forgive and forget,” Instead, it is an opportunity to “Forgive and correct.”   Forgiveness is for those who know they have been wronged and are willing to reflect on the situation so they can view it differently.  

3. Forgiveness Defined

Luskin (2002) defines forgiveness as the following:

"The feeling of peace that emerges as you:

*Take hurt less personally,
*Take responsibility for how you feel,
*Become a hero instead of a victim in the
 story you have to tell."

Forgiveness is not:
*Condoning unkindness,
*Necessarily reconciling with the offender,
*Minimizing your hurt, and
*It does not have to  be a religious experience,
 or done for religious reasons (Luskin, 2002).

Forgiveness helps us to honor the pain of the past. It serves to remind us of the importance of taking positive action in the present. It can be used to help us celebrate growth.

4.  Benefits of Forgiveness

The following are a few benefits of forgiveness. It significantly enhances
our well-being and health.

*It frees us from being a victim of the  past, and provides a way to resolve
 painful memories.

*It allows us to set a positive example  that can help others.

*It helps to move from strength. When  we forgive, we know we have been hurt
 and are not ashamed of it. 

*It recognizes that no one is perfect.   It is what we do with our grievances
 that counts.  As a consequence,it helps  us to have more compassion with others.

Research findings:

The impact of forgiveness has been demonstrated in a number of research studies.  They are summarized very well by Luskin, (2002) in his book “Forgive for Good.”  Here are a few of the findings.

Luskin (2002) measured a number of symptoms of stress, such as a rising heart rate, upset stomach, and dizziness, on people who received
forgiveness training. Those who received forgiveness training had a significant reduction in symptoms of stress, compared with those who did not.

People who are more forgiving are the less likely to suffer from a wide range of illnesses, such as cardiovascular problems, headaches, etc.

Those who forgive experience greater emotional stability and improved relationships.

On the other hand, individuals who do not forgive evidence higher degrees of blame suffer more from a variety of illnesses and stress.  Blame is at
the core of holding a grudge, and results from an inability to manage anger and hurt.

5.  Overcoming the Obstacles

One of the main obstacles to forgiveness may not the hurt itself, but the lack of tools with which to forgive. We only imagine that that a problem is unforgivable.  Fortunately, forgiveness is now much better understood and new techniques are available.

The following are three good sources of tools:

Fred Luskin, in his book “Forgive for Good,” describes a number of techniques that can be used to help you throughout forgiveness process. These include tools such as focusing on the positive, challenging old hidden beliefs, and creating new intentions that give hope.  You may check his website,

Colin Tipping in his work on “Radical Forgiveness,” provides a spiritual framework for forgiveness.  From a spiritual perspective, our challenges
happen for a reason. They happen not TO us, but FOR us, for the highest good of all concerned, and are divinely guided for our healing and spiritual growth.  You can explore this approach at the radical forgiveness website and by using
his forgiveness worksheet.

The Attractor Field Approach puts forgiveness in a broader theoretical framework Attractor Fields from quantum physics.   Kurt Ebert has defined Channels of Stress adapted from the earlier work of David Hawkins. Developer of the Attractor Field Techniques, Ebert has developed a methodology to identify the patterns that lead to stress, illness, and upset as well as tools for releasing these
patterns through self-forgiveness and disruption of the underlying neurology. The subsequent shifts in consciousness lead to greater happiness, well-being
and health.  This approach is excellent for releasing patterns that are deeply rooted. You can find help for many diseases and problems at

I do hope these resources will help you choose to forgive. 

5. Announcements

Monthly Mondays.  Come join our support group to release old blueprints and raise your consciousness. The next Monthly Monday is June 11, 7:00-9:30 P.M.  We will meet at 12131 Dorsett Road, Ste. 101, Maryland
Heights, MO. Email me for a flyer.

I will be giving a workshop “Mind, Money, and Spirit.” on Saturday, July 21, 2007, at 12131 Dorsett Road, Ste. 101. Email me for a flyer.

Warm Regards,

Dr. Alice

Resource:  Luskin, Fred. Forgive for Good.  NY: HarperCollins, 2002.

© Copyright 2007 Alice Vlietstra. 
All rights reserved.

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Alice G. Vlietstra, Ph.D.
12131 Dorsett Road, Ste. 220
Maryland Heights, MO  63043




Newsletter Name: 
Successful Relating

Life's Deeper 'Purpose

Successful Relating
Fulfillment through Connection and Community
Alice G. Vlietstra, Ph.D., Editor

March 2007

In this issue:
1.  Welcome
2.  Relationships
3.  Life's Deeper Purpose
4.  Be Willing to Learn and Grow
5.  Announcements

1.  Welcome

What is life's deeper purpose?  I would say it is to bring us to Spirit, and to
experience love, joy, and peace. It is to become more of who we really are, while still being connected.  Much of this experience comes from our relationships. In this e-newsletter, we will look at our relationships and the deeper sense of purpose they bring to our lives.

2.  Relationships

Relationships foster who we are and what we can become.  We are born in relationship, we are wounded in relationship, and we are healed in relationship. We discover our deeper purpose from our relationships.Our sense of family and community comes from our relationships. Since so much of our lives involves being in relationships, it is useful to look at how our relationships help us to learn and grow.

3.  Life's Deeper Purpose

Relationships are the perfect medium for evolving the soul. The first step to evolving in our relationships is to become more aware and conscious of the hidden forces that give meaning to our lives.

In the past, we had clues on these forces from the spiritual wisdom of the ages. Today, we have support from science.  We have become aware of the exciting world of vibration fields, or attractor fields, that organize our lives.  We connect to these attractor fields through our conscious and unconscious thoughts.

High-energy fields bring us the experience of flow, expansion, openness, and well-being.  At these higher energies, our relationships are fueled by our deeper values and ideals of love, joy and peace. This loving energy is like a magnet, and draws everything unto itself. Low energy fields are life destroying, they are associated with more negative thoughts and feelings such as guilt
and shame. They elicit illness, emotional upset, and even war. 

We all have a combination of life-enhancing and life-destroying energy patterns.  The challenge is to identify and release the negative ones, often unconscious, while promoting the positive. It is this struggle that gives meaning to our lives.
4. Be Willing to Learn and Grow

Our relationships always give us opportunities for learning and growth. The relationships we attract to our lives create challenges.  This is part of a Divine plan.  Initially, we often have high aspirations for our relationships, only to discover incompatibility is the norm.  Often, the temptation is to see the problem in the other and complain.

Instead, we can see this as the chemistry for change. By looking at ourselves and stretching to meet the needs the relationship, we grow, we develop, and we heal.  In the process, we discover the unique purpose for our lives.

In order to have relationships on purpose, it is important to clean up past issues.  These issues often relate to unconscious thoughts from childhood. We can use these experiences for growth. When we do so, we experience more connection with Spirit, and our relationships become more open, peaceful, and
harmonious.  We find we can be our unique selves and connected. We can honor our higher strengths and ideals while ending criticism and unplanned fighting. This allows communication to be caring, smooth, effective, and productive.

Would you like to experience this process?  Then come to our workshop "Life's Deeper Purpose.  You will learn how you can grow in your relationships while discovering the values and purpose that give your life focus.

5. Announcements

Monthly Mondays.  Come join our support group to release old blueprints and raise your consciousness. The next Monthly Monday is April 9, 7:00-9:30 PM.  We will meet at 12131 Dorsett Road, Ste. 101. A flyer is attached.

Life's Deeper Purpose. Find your focus, honor your strengths, and release old
blueprints.  All is done within a relationship context.  This workshop has been rescheduled from March to April 14 and 15. We still have space, and a reduced fee through April 6. It will be held at A Gathering Place, 12131 Dorsett Road, Ste. 101.

Creating Fulfillment in Your Relationships.Discuss the unique perspectives of menand women and appreciate both as you explore your strengths, vision and mission for a relationship in your life.  Clarify your relationship essentials needs and wants. This is a four-week workshop given at the Soul Esteem Center, beginning April 26.

Warm Regards,

Dr. Alice

© Copyright 2007 Alice Vlietstra.  All rights reserved.

Newsletter Name: 
Successful Relating

Relationship Landmines

Successful Relating:
Fulfillment through Connection and Community
Alice G. Vlietstra, Ph.D. Editor

July 2005

In this issue:

1.  Welcome
2.  Relationship Landmines
3.  The Big Picture
4.  Radical Personal Responsibility 
5.  Announcements

1.. Welcome

Welcome!  This is the sixth of a series of twelve e-newsletters focusing on "Creating a New Story." In this e-newsletter I would like to give you a
perspective on what I call "relationship landmines," and how to diffuse them.  This new perspective can lead to adventure and personal growth.   

2. Relationship Landmines

Have you ever been in a relationship that felt like a mine field, where almost any wordyou uttered could set off an explosion?  Many times, when we have upsets in our relationships, we see them as stemming from present circumstances.
If the problems, however, keep coming up, they most likely come from repressed childhood emotions and from negative aspects of your relationship blueprints
(see the last newsletter).  Just as landmines are hidden under the surface, so also are the causes of problems in our relationships.

3.  The Big Picture 

If you were diffusing a landmine, would you put your face close to it, or would you keep a safe distance?  Keeping a safe distance allows you to understand how
the landmine was set, and how you can diffuse it.  I find an evolutionary perspective most helpful in understanding the development of relationship
landmines.  These landmines result from our early relationships with our parents and caregivers, and often arise from disruptive and traumatic experiences. 

In past generations, life spans were shorter, the infant mortality rate was higher, and negative emotions such as grief and guilt were prevalent.  Warm, close
attachments between caregivers and children were less common than they are today.  When we look at photographs of our grandparents, they are
usually stone-faced and dour.  It is hard to imagine being lovingly regarded by such faces!  Warm, emotional connections with such faces would hardly seem possible.

Young children unconsciously interpret this lack of warmth from their caregivers as "something must be wrong with me." In the process of developing, children
tend to repress these painful thoughts and may become over-accommodating or rageful in order to cover up the resulting shame and negativity.  They create a false front which gives them attention, even if it is negative attention.
This false front creates an emptiness, which the child tries to fill in various superficial ways. Because the child's need for unconditional love is never met, a
frustration and rage emerges which interferes with the child's growth, with his/her ability to give and receive love, and limits the child’s ability to create a positive sense of self. This repressed rage fuels the explosions of relationship landmines as they become adults.
As long as the shame and hurt is hidden, the front works. When a landmine is triggered, however, the unleashed rage can lead to feelings of worthlessness, contempt, hostility, and rebellion.  At the very least, it creates walls between

By uncovering and understanding the source of our relationship landmines, we can harness the forces of compassion and forgiveness to bring about our inner
healing. The rageful voice of the inner child can be appeased. Repressed emotions can be expressed in nondestructive ways, and dysfunctional beliefs can be released and replaced by more positive, loving attitudes. This results in our becoming wiser, kinder, and more secure adults.  
Because we have a common humanity, this process allows us to create a new picture of ourselves in which we are better able to accept ourselves and accept the differences we see in others. We can choose to set limits with love and affection rather than with judgment. We can willingly choose to be inclusive.

3. Radical Personal Responsibility

Paul and Layne Cutright from the Center for Enlightened Partnership, have developed the concept of "Radical Personal Responsibility": When there is
discord between two people, each person accepts responsibility for his/her own feelings and behavior.  Neither places blame on oneself or the other, but
rather chooses to look inward for the true source of the pain.  This process of looking within and seeing the source of the upset in its developmental
and historical context, is evolutionary.

When we accept responsibility for our own perceptions, feelings, and beliefs, we reclaim our personal power. This frees us from the limitations of the past and gives us new energy and wisdom to create a more fulfilling future. This personal inner work is hugely significant! It is our spiritual work. It affects everything we do and everyone with whom we come in contact. As we release our early conditioning, we are better able to discover and fulfill our life purpose. Our relationships become more accepting, mindful, and loving.  As more and more people are able to do this, our world will become more harmonious, compassionate, and peaceful.  

Warm Regards,

Dr. Alice


Layne Cutright, Paul Cutright.  You’re Never Upset For The Reason You Think:  The Cure For The Common Upset.  Heart to Heart International Publishers, Las Vegas, NE 2003.

5.  Announcements

Catalyst Leadership Training on Inclusiveness is scheduled for August 5 and 6, and August 13 and 14.  If you are interested, send me an e-mail to receive a flyer.

Another workshop that may interest you is a six-week workshop called "Secrets to Abundance, Love and Money."  It is offered Monday evenings, at my office, (12131 Dorsett Rd., Ste. 220), from 7-9 PM, beginning August 1st.
Email or call 314-729-2855 to receive a flyer.


© Copyright 2005 Alice Vlietstra.  All rights reserved.

Newsletter Name: 
Successful Relating
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