Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Good and Bad

A few emails responding to the "FALL OF THE WALL" have highlighted the reality that such an incredible and joyful event could be - and was - also followed by pain, injustice, great frustration, despair ....

Current events have also sparked anew the debate on what and who is "good" and "bad," "right" and "wrong" - or "good" and "evil."

I was reminded of the ancient Cherokee story retold by Michael Neill in his book, Feel Happy Now!; it offers some great insight.

A tribal elder is teaching his grandson about life, (I quote):

"A fight is going on inside me," he [the Grandpa and tribal elder] said to the boy.

"It's a terrible fight between two wolves.

"One is evil - he is angry, envy, sorry, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, deception, false pride, superiority, and ego.

"The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.

"The same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too."

The boy thought about it for a minute, and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."
(pp. 153 - 154)

Dr Duly

Monday, November 9, 2009

20 Years Ago Today


After hearing the rumors circulating ... I hopped on the U-Bahn at the Free University - where I was studying after serving as a volunteer in a community project in Berlin(West) - and rushed to Checkpoint Charlie.

There I saw the unfathomable right before my very own eyes!

Trabis, roses, Sekt (German Champagne), joyful shouts, tears and a grand celebration!

Around an hour later I rushed home to call and wake up my brother (4 am or so) in Illinois and persuade him to write a story with me and go down to the local newspaper and tell them THAT INCREDIBLE HISTORY - and NEWS - IS BEING MADE - RIGHT NOW and they have a direct link to all the action ;-)!

It challenged people's frames of mind, politics, international strategies .... as well as everyday life for me as a student and later as an author, a consultant, professor and even as a mother.

Since I had coordinated a program visiting families and communities in the East in the mid/late 1980s, I knew many families who were divided and folks who were restless; some shared their dreams of visiting me some day "on the other side." Indeed, one young girl I met in Zwickau with her family became our babysitter in Leipzig, Germany some 10 years after the Wall fell!

Now when I fly back to Germany to teach seminars on the art of dealing with conflicts -- many of my students do not remember ... have no clue ... were not born.

However, the excitement, the unfathomable, the historic and historical significance of that day live on within me! :-)

Take a look to find out what is happening in Berlin!

Dr Duly

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Time to THINK HARD - not to hardly think

I think it is time that every U.S. American give serious thought about the state of our health care system - whether or not s/he voted for Obama. Place the partisan warfare aside and just think about this issue. I for one, find it appalling that millions in our country are not insured. This "mere fact" is touching many more lives than most people realize.

Seriously, how can this be good for any of us?

Some children are not getting the care they need - which will affect future generations. If they are losing their parents and loved ones, this is affecting families and upcoming generations as well. Just ethically and morally, how can a nation who prides itself in "liberty and justice for all" NOT be concerned about the welfare of all citizens?

It can happen to anyone here, because health insurance is most often available through full-time employment, when employment is lost or is only part-time or undocumented, there is no coverage.

Please read these words with an open and critical mind. What do YOU think? What can be done?!
Dr Duly

Friday, September 11, 2009

Pain, Hope & Renewal

It appears that we all experience different types of pain at some point or points in our life. It is indeed "universal." Sometimes short-lived, sometimes chronic, sometimes absolutely devastating, sometimes just a bit of a nuisance, sometimes "in between" - sometimes vacillating back and forth.

I have been giving the phenomenon of physical pain a bit more thought recently, following an injury and empathizing with a close loved-one dealing with chronic pain. I have been quite surprised at what I have discovered in my everyday life. When I dare to confide how I am (REALLY feeling) in response to, "So how's it going?" or "Good morning, how are you doing?" or I tell someone how my loved one is REALLY doing. I more often than not hear similar anecdotes from others. I am simply amazed at how many people around me on a day-to-day basis are experiencing similar physical discomfort and pain.

One way pain can be transformed is through the sharing of survival stories -- communicating the impact with others, sharing the steps one took to survive, sharing the struggle and the outcome(s) . . . and inspiring others to begin the journey with their pain instead of being victimized by it. (Much easier said than done when you are in the throes of tremendous pain! I submit, I think it can take much time and effort to reach that "inspiring others" stage!)

As I signed on this early morning (unable to sleep because ...), this photo and article gripped me.

Pain and agony on a whole different dimension - not only physical but encompassing so much more - emotional, cognitive, spiritual ... -- NEVER can mine be compared to the pain this little girl/woman has endured. A photo that imprinted its image onto and into my brain forever at an early age.

Kim notes that it is this pain that humbles her and serves as a daily reminder, to cherish her life and share her story with others. Such a wise and compassionate survivor!

After years and years of horrible, traumatic pain, Kim sends us a message of hope and renewal, challenging us to move on.
Are we "listening"?

Dr. Duly

Thursday, August 27, 2009

"I want an A"

With the new semester upon us, once again I have heard omitted from a few students' vocal chords: "I want an A."

Over the years I have heard this quite frequently; I have also had the pleasant experience of being threatened once or twice by students who believed that it was their right to tell their instructor the grade they will earn before ever submitting an assignment.

To all students out there: I hope you all CAN EARN AN A if this is your goal and you are willing to dedicate time and effort to reach this! TIP: You may need to check your own attitude and realize that earning an A is like achieving something of significance anywhere anytime -- it takes perseverance, hard work, hours, knowledge and dedication.

I hope it is not the case, but for those who want good grades dissociated with any effort or achievement: if earning an A would become as easy as chewing gum, then an A would have little meaning anymore.

A little over 3 week after I wrote this, an article was published in the Chicago Tribune concerning behavioral patterns in higher ed. I found this interesting -- take a look.
Dr Duly

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Tribute - Words to Ponder

"You Are My Life"

"Once all alone
I was lost in a world of strangers
No one to trust
On my own, I was lonely
You suddenly appeared
It was cloudy before but now it's clear
You took away the fear
You brought me back to life.

"You are the sun
You make me shine
Or more like the stars
That twinkle at night
You are the moon
That glows in my heart
You're my daytime my nighttime
My world
You're my life

"Now I wake up everyday
With this smile upon my face
No more tears, mo more pain
'Cause you love me
You help me understand
That love is the answer to all that I am
And I'm a better man
You taught me by sharing your life

"You gave me strength
When I wasn't strong
You gave me hope when all hope is lost
You opened my eyes when I couldn't see
Love was always here waiting for me."

- Michael Jackson, Babyface, Carole Bayer Sager and John McClain From the 2001 Album, Invincible

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Have a word?

A few days ago while lifting weights at the Y, to my surprise, an older gentleman my husband and I have seen in passing many a time walked over to me, inquiring, "Do you have a word for me?"

Huffing and puffing with my 70 pound weights, I replied, "Excuse me?" not understanding what he meant.

"I mean, do you have a word, you know, with a special meaning or like a word or words of wisdom?"

I observed him carefully that split second assessing whether this was a joke - or not.

(Little did he know I used to pull this one all the time as a grad student at the university - I'd sneak up to slap a buddy's back and in a loud jovial British accent remark: "Hey - don't you have some wisdom for me today?!" But here I was 20+ years later in about the same basic scenario - only reverse - I'm being asked!)

My gosh, he's really serious I thought. He is standing - waiting - in front of me and though we have never had a conversation and I have no idea what his name is, he is waiting for a word or even a group of words - from me! Sweat was dripping down my face, back and arms and I must not have been the prettiest sight to behold. However, I was not alone - all of us were working out hard.

I paused, let the weights go, wiped my forehead and looked him directly in the eyes, stating emphatically,"Cherish every moment."

"Hm, wow, that, that is a good one - Cherish every moment." he replied nodding his head as he began to walk towards the door diagonally across from where I was planted on a shoulder-press machine.

"Yeah, even THIS one, and have a great day!" I yelled after him.

He smiled and walked out of the gym. Still a bit perplexed, I finished lifting my 40,000 plus; pleased that I could offer him a few words to contemplate and chuckling to myself, I exited as well.

Isn't it these short impromptu conversations or spontaneous exchanges that liven a dull day and add sunshine, colors, textures and tone to seemingly predictable patterns of our existence day in and day out?

Aren't they fun to remember when after grading 30+ papers you just can't sleep?!

Another moment to cherish!

On second thought, is each and every moment in life cherishable - REALLY?!

Auf Wiederlesen!

Saturday, May 30, 2009


I am just getting started in the world of blogging! After seeing many former students graduate this year, it has taken me back down memory lane . . . .



If you do not remember anything else I ever said, please remember:
KEEP ON LEARNING FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE - ENJOY and SHARE your knowledge with others you meet along the way! Contribute and make our planet a better place! :-)


Dr. Duly

Dr. Nina L. Dulabaum

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

5th Auflage/Edition to be published soon!

The 5th edition of my best-selling handbook on mediation and the art of dealing with conflicts successfully will be out soon in Germany! Stay tuned for more about this edition.