Lou Kraus

By Lou Kraus

Posted May 18th, 2017
7:13 am

The Truth Sometimes Hurts, BUT It’s Still the Truth

Wisdom comes from the strangest places. 

What do you think of what George Carlin says here?

Lou Kraus

By Lou Kraus

Posted May 1st, 2017
8:49 am

Normalizing Rape

What is Rape Culture? 6 everyday examples of normalizing sexual violence

  • April 21, 2017  By domesticshelters.org

Now we have different names for the same vicious abuse. Changing the name tries to soften the blow. But, if you ask the victim, nothing has changed.

You can find it every time you turn on the TV. Movies utilize it to create drama or illicit laughs. It’s used in advertisements to seduce you into thinking you need a product. Video games widely exploit it. And music blends it in seamlessly to its lyrics.

“Rape culture” is a term that’s as sinister sounding as its definition—it means to turn sexual assault, rape and other forms of violence against women into entertainment, or to all together ignore or trivialize these crimes. And, it’s happening all around us.

“We breathe in rape culture like air,” says Carolyn Levy, a professor at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn. For nearly two decades, Levy has been immersed in the intense and often heartbreaking world of rape culture, educating future generations on how it permeates their daily life—many times, without them noticing.

She teaches a women’s studies class called “Living in a Rape Culture: What Are we Going to Do About It?” and, as the university’s theater director, she co-authored, “Until Someone Wakes Up,” a play centered on rape, now performed nationwide. An essay she wrote about the play can be found in the book Transforming a Rape Culture.

“Rape culture is a society that accepts sexual violence as the norm,” Levy explains. “It perpetuates models of masculinity which foster violence and normalizes these ideas that men are aggressors and females are victims.” And she adds, unabashedly, “It’s a society where men who brag about grabbing women by the pussy can become President. You see yourself above the rules and your behavior is excused.”

What Does Rape Culture Look Like?

The six examples below demonstrate how desensitized society has become to accepting rape culture as, simply, culture.

1. “The Stanford Swimmer.” Brock Turner, a Stanford University student, was convicted last June of sexually assaulting a woman behind a dumpster. His six-month sentence—of which he served just half—sparked national outrage for being far too lenient.

“The fact that we still refer to him as ‘The Stanford Swimmer’ and not ‘The Stanford Rapist,’ is an example of perpetuating rape culture,” says Levy. Language used by the media often perpetuates rape culture by highlighting the accolades of well-known figures accused of rape and abuse, before mentioning the crimes of which they’re suspected of.

2. Dolce & Gabbana’s “Rape Ad.”This ad, which appeared in magazines in 2007, could be interpreted as simulating a gang rape in order to sell the designer duo’s clothing. It’s almost as bad as this ad, which turns a naked woman into a piece of furniture, or any number of these violence-against-female themed ads that Buzzfeed highlighted in 2013.

3. Sexualized Halloween Costumes for Girls. If your son wants to dress up as a police officer for Halloween, he’ll be able to get a shirt and pants and look like a tiny law enforcer. But if your daughter would like to emulate the same profession, she may be offered a short dress described as “sassy.” Says Levy, “Even the way she’s posing, with the handcuffs hanging off her belt, seems sexual.”

4. The “Date Grape Koolaid” Cocktail. While it may not be the first or only bar to offer an offensively named cocktail on their menu, the Daiquiri Factory in Spokane, Wash., drew controversy two years ago by adding this shocking mixer to their drink menu. To top it off, they vehemently defended the drink to critics on social media, saying, “Just like everything in life … your [sic] either going to like it or don’t. We all can look for something to make a big deal about.”

5. Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke. The song has been called “rape-y,” and rightly so, singing the praises of women who are unclear that they “want it.” The video shows mostly naked women walking back and forth in front of a fully clothed Thicke and rappers T.I. and Pharrell Williams. The lyrics include such lines as, “Not many women can refuse this pimpin' … I'm a nice guy, but don't get confused, you git'n it.”

6. The Ray Rice Incident. In 2014, Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice punched his then-fiancé (now, wife) Janay Palmer so hard in the elevator of an Atlantic City hotel that she was knocked unconscious. A video of the incident, made public by TMZ, showed Rice dragging Palmer’s unconscious body out of the elevator. Some believed the NFL was trying to keep the video under wraps, but once it was released, or, as the NFL cites, as soon as the incident was brought to the their attention, Rice was given a two-game suspension. The Ravens sent out a blatant victim-blaming tweet saying Palmer “regrets the role that she played the night of the incident.” Eventually, Rice was essentially blacklisted from the NFL—no team would sign him—but avoided jail time. Instead, he was sent to a “diversionary program” of therapy and anger management that allowed him to be clear of the charges in a year. News media continued to place the focus and blame on Palmer, with articles like “Why Does Janay Rice Keep Standing By Her Man?

Maybe one of these 50 barriers is standing in her way.

What Can We Do?

Notice it, says Levy. “Just acknowledge it exists. Be aware and talk about it, especially with your kids. When you see a movie with your kids, talk about what scenes might be problematic. If violence is celebrated, discuss why. Ask kids to be more critical when they listen to music. If the song is about hoes and b*tches, what is that saying?”

Even when reading fairytales, says Levy, discuss what they’re teaching. Should the prince have kissed Snow White without her permission?

Levy also encourages men to get involved. “Rape culture has long been seen as a women’s issue and that cannot be. Doing something to stop it has to involve men talking to other men.”

Want to do more? Watch Tony Porter’s powerful TED talk about redefining what it means to “be a man.”





Lou Kraus

By Lou Kraus

Posted March 21st, 2017
8:25 am

Retaliation will not bring lasting Safety and Peace!

Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of NonViolent Communication wrote this on September 27, 2001 after 911.

It seems that we the only thing we learned since then is how to make bigger bombs and to hate more. WE CAN ONLY HOPE that reprinting and sharing it again will help. Or you can determine that there is a better way and explore Nonviolent Communication and Better Outcomes.org                                                                                          

After the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, millions of people throughout the world are feeling deep pain and grief. They feel outraged, scared, powerless—and very vulnerable. Many have a deep need to feel safe again. They long for a world where they can live in peace. Others have a deep desire to get even. They long for revenge and retribution.

Currently, the United States has decided that it must take action, and other countries have decided to join them.

Some people want the goal of these actions to be peace and safety; some want these actions to focus on retaliation and punishment.

Continue reading “Retaliation will not bring lasting Safety and Peace!” »

Lou Kraus

By Lou Kraus

Posted March 12th, 2017
7:37 am

How Trauma Lodges in the Body

Krista Tippet's interview with BESSEL VAN DER KOLK, a leader in the study and treatment of Trauma is fascinating. Anyone who has been the victim of trauma, in any of its various forms, can learn a lot from this On Being's podcast. The more we learn about ourselves, the better able we will be to understand what our world is doing to us.

Bessel van der Kolk — How Trauma Lodges in the Body

Lou Kraus

By Lou Kraus

Posted January 25th, 2017
10:00 am


I got this today from Rabbi Simon Jacobson's Meaningful Life Center in New York. The thought, I think, is particularly meaningful now, so I thought I'd share.


The severity of the situation doesn’t matter; when things fall apart there are three initial steps you can take to start restoring security and order to your life. Conventional wisdom says, “Pick up the pieces of your life.” That approach is reactive and negative and can compound feelings of hopelessness. Try this instead when things fall apart.

Remember Who You Are

Your strength comes from a firm foundation. Your foundation is knowing who you are at the soul level. Before you look for solutions to your problems, affirm who you are. Think about it. Journal about it. Talk to a trusted friend or mentor about it. A tree cannot withstand heavy wind and rain without strong roots. Your roots — your foundation — is your true self at the soul level.

Think Optimistically

Think good and it will be good. When things fall apart, it can be hard to see a way out from under the rubble. “Think good” isn’t just about sunshiny optimism. It means having faith in your Creator, knowing that you are never alone. “Think good” means looking at all of your internal and external resources and finding ways to use them. Your thoughts, if they’re good, will propel you to take action.

Ask for Help

Asking for help has two benefits: One is that you might get not only the help that you need, but that new doors, doors that you didn’t even know about, could open. The other is that you will not feel alone. Isolation is the most devastating part of times when things fall apart. But just knowing that you are not alone can give you hope.

Remember a time in your life when things fell apart and you put them back together. Examine the process that you used to put things back together.  Record your answer in MyMLC

Copyright © 2017 The Meaningful Life Center, All rights reserved.
788 Eastern Parkway, Suite 303, Brooklyn, NY 11213 | 718.774.6448

Lou Kraus

By Lou Kraus

Posted January 16th, 2017
8:20 am

Violent and Nonviolent Communication – Definitions

Marshall B. Rosenberg, PhD's book "Nonviolent Communication, A Language of Life" is the source of sweet words and the antidote for Evil Speech. We are exploring ways to integrate Nonviolent Communication into our offerings, but I want to share the CENTER FOR NONVIOLENT COMMUNICATION's (NVC) definitions.

What is Violent Communication?

If “violent” means acting in ways that result in hurt or harm, then much of how we communicate—judging others, bullying, having racial bias, blaming, finger pointing, discriminating, speaking without listening, criticizing others or ourselves, name-calling, reacting when angry, using political rhetoric, being defensive or judging who’s “good/bad” or what’s “right/wrong” with people—could indeed be called “violent communication.”

What is Nonviolent Communication?

Nonviolent Communication is the integration of 4 things:

  • Consciousness: a set of principles that support living a life of empathy, care, courage, and authenticity
  • Language: understanding how words contribute to connection or distance
  • Communication: knowing how to ask for what we want, how to hear others even in disagreement, and how to move toward solutions that work for all
  • Means of influence: sharing “power with others” rather than using “power over others”

NVC serves our desire to do three things:

  1. Increase our ability to live with choice, meaning, and connection
  2. Connect empathically with self and others to have more satisfying relationships
  3. Sharing of resources so everyone is able to benefit

Center for NVC

Lou Kraus

By Lou Kraus

Posted January 9th, 2017
7:56 am

The Positive Side of Criticism

I hope it puts a bit of a positive spin on things and we all have a good week.

Way #35 Love Criticism

Criticism is usually seen as a personal attack. But think of what an Olympic athlete willingly endures from coaches! To reach your potential, seek constructive criticism. Continue reading “The Positive Side of Criticism” »

Lou Kraus

By Lou Kraus

Posted January 7th, 2017
9:20 am

Podcasting with my Friend Kiki from MYI’MPOSSIBLE DREAM

Our first podcast of the year. I found a book called "Nonviolent Communication" hidden on my bookshelf. As I looked it over, I realized that it was I needed to complete the Better Outcomes package. Let us know what you think and stay tuned.

Happy New Year to all.


Lou Kraus

By Lou Kraus

Posted January 1st, 2017
10:20 am


I was given the opportunity to attend a Veteran's Healing Circle with Senior Pastor John M. Schluep of the First Congregational Church in Tallmadge, Ohio a few months ago. I want to share a reading by Anne Wilson Schaef, from "Native Wisdom for White Minds" with you.

(Being a warrior) it is a willingness to sacrifice everything except your truth, your way of being, your commitment. The ultimate stand is to your commitment to do something with your life that will make a difference.                                                   – Douglas Cardinal, Canadian Indian architect, writer, and artist

Throughout the world, a new breed of warrior is being discussed. These warriors have nothing to do with weapons, battles, or killing. Rather they are taking a stand on living. To fight for life and harmony as if each of our lives makes the difference is no small challenge.

To stand for our way of being in a closed system whose nature is to destroy everything unlike itself – and perhaps ultimately to destroy that closed system – is not easy. Instead, what if each of us is willing to do something with her or his life that would benefit at least seven generations to come? What if we become warriors for balance and healing?

Warriors don't always have to fight. They may just have to stand up.


Will you stand up with me?



Lou Kraus

By Lou Kraus

Posted December 30th, 2016
7:24 am

Stop Using Evil Speech Petition

To: Donald J. Trump, President-Elect

United States of America

Stop Using Evil Speech*

Words Hurt

*derogatory, disparaging, belittling, manipulative language

The recent Presidential campaign was the most “unusual”, anybody has ever seen. You were elected because you spoke to the people about serious problems which had been ignored for a long time. And you spoke to them in a way that they understood and could relate to. We pray that your plans will turn out to be beneficial to all of us.

Unfortunately, your approach, while it won you the election, brought the angry, nasty tone that has divided Washington for many years, to a new low. In addition, your choice of language, offended many people and has serious, unintended consequences, for you now and for everyone in the future.

Linguist, Deborah Tannen, PhD, in her book, “The Argument Culture”, p. 14, explains that “the terms in which we talk about something shape the way we think about it-and even what we see”. “… It invisibly molds our way of thinking about people, actions, and the world around us. Military metaphors train us to think about-and see-everything in terms of fighting, conflict, and war. This perspective then limits our imaginations when we consider what we can do about situations we would like to understand or change.”

On January 20, 2017, you will become the head of our government and our representative to the world. We want that date to be the turning point in our country’s struggle to come together.

The first step is to Stop Using Evil Speech! Evil Speech is not the way to anything, but more trouble. Better Outcomes’ “10 Steps to Speaking More Nicely” can help. These guidelines come from the writings of Rabbi Israel Meir Kagan, (1839 – 1933). They provide behavioral guidelines which are specific to how we speak.

In order to help you make this transition, we have attached “The One Minute Apology”, part of the One Minute Manager Series. It is a complete process for making amends and much more beneficial than just saying “Sorry.”

The tactics and language you use worked very well for you in the construction business and your campaign. This material can help you change the words that you use. It is very important to us, to your success and to everyone on earth.

You have started the biggest political argument we have ever seen. Now it is time to become a statesman.

Take the first step and see what happens.

10 Steps to Speaking More Nicely

Kind or cruel, words affect us. Derogatory, disparaging, belittling, manipulative language, even if TRUE but especially when it is a Lie, can seriously damage a person’s confidence and self-esteem. Words mold the way we think about people, actions and the world around us. They can cause each of us to be less civil with each other. We call these statements: Evil Speech.

These guidelines can help us all be more civil.

1. Be aware! If during a conversation, someone’s skin becomes flushed or pale, you may have hurt them.

2. Speak positively. Don’t assume you know the reason why someone said what they did. All you really know is that they did or said something. You don’t know why until you ask. Everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt.

3. Jokes are funny, except for the person who is the butt of it or has had the same experience.

4. Your words have the power to hurt 3 people: you, the person you are talking to and the person you’re talking about. Speaking badly about someone, even if you include yourself, still hurts.

5. Evil Speech includes your tone of voice, your facial expressions, and your body language, as well as the words, you speak, write, tweet, sign, etc.

6. Speaking badly about a group or a community hurts many people.

7. Don’t repeat Evil Speech to ANYONE.

8. Don’t listen to Evil Speech. Even if it is public knowledge, it is still wrong.

9. Telling someone what you’ve been told about them may simply make things worse, and put you in the middle where you become the bad guy.

10. SOMETIMES, Evil Speech is necessary. For example, using it to warn someone that they are about to make a BIG mistake, in an effort to save them from a bad relationship or a disastrous business deal. You may also use it to protect someone who is being hurt by the things that are being said to or about them. 

The One Minute Apology*

Start by examining yourself and your behavior. (#1-5)

1. I recognize that what I did or failed to do was wrong.

•What mistake did I make?
•Did I dismiss another person, their wishes, feelings, or ideas?
•Did I take credit when it wasn’t due?
•Why did I do this?
•Was it an impulsive, thoughtless act? Was it calculated? Was it a result of my fear, anger, or frustration? What was my motivation?
•How long have I let this go on? Is this the first or repeated time? Is this behavior becoming a pattern in my life?
•What is the truth I am not dealing with?

2. What I did is inconsistent with who I want to be?

•Am I better than this behavior? (If you answer yes, proceed. If not, start over.)

3. I know that I am better than my poor behavior and I forgive myself.

4. I take full responsibility for my actions and recognize how much I hurt I caused. I need to apologize, regardless of the outcome.

5. I know that apologizing, by itself, is not good enough, it is only talk. I must make also make amends as soon as possible. Go to each person you hurt and proceed. (#6-7)

6. I tell everyone I harmed specifically;

(1) What I did wrong.
(2) Honestly, how I feel about what I did.
(3) What I will do to make amends.

7. I swear to myself and the ones I hurt not to repeat what I did and I sincerely commit to changing my behavior.

You may have to go thru this process more than once, but at some point, if you are sincere and do change your behavior; you will end with your integrity restored and your relationship repaired. Eventually, those you have hurt will have to forgive you.

*From Blanchard and McBride’s Book of the same name, Reorganized by LHK

Please sign the petition at Change.org

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