Have you ever thought to yourself: “I’m on a round object which is spinning and flying through space.” A few evenings ago as I was sitting outside reflecting on life, I noticed the movement of the stars and constellations over the hours I was outside. Then a thought hit me; we're moving! I was sitting  in the same spot in my yard, and I know that stars don’t move, yet they seemingly were moving. The constellations weren’t in the same spot they were when I first sat down as they were a few hours later. Of course I know, intellectually, that the stars aren’t moving, although I have never reflected on the implication that if the stars aren't moving, yet they seem to be moving, then it must be me who is moving, even though I am sitting in the same spot! “I’m on a round object which is spinning and flying through space.”

According to my research, the earth is spinning, at the equator, at a speed of roughly 1,000mph!  While at the same time that we are spinning, we are moving forward at an estimated speed of 67,000mph! At all times, no matter what we are…

Read more: Kids Teach Us How to Find Peace

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The intensely heated political season in the US is leading people to unfollow others from their social media sites. It’s not just strangers they are unfollowing, either. I know of friends of mine who are unfollowing long-term friends, and, in one case, unfollowed a family member due to the political postings and comments they make on social media. Social media allows for a sense of anonymity, or, at least, a physical distance from the person with whom you are communicating, allowing people to feel more open and safe to engage in interactions which eventually lead others to unfollow them.

But what about in “real” life, as opposed to social media? There are people with whom we interact, whether it be at work, school, social circles, or even family members, whom we need to “unfollow” for our own mental well being. In a Forbes article (10 Toxic People You Should Avoid At All Costs) author Travis Bradberry writes: “Recent research from Friedrich Schiller University in Germany shows just how serious toxic people are. They found that exposure to stimuli that cause strong negative emotions—the same kind of exposure you get when dealing with toxic people—caused subjects’ brains to have a massive…

Read more: 5 tips for knowing when to unfollow someone

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"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms...to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances." - Viktor Frankl

I’m writing this article while sitting at home on the 4th of July. Unfortunately, this summer holiday is being rained out in my part of the world. The cool temps, clouds, and rain make today feel more like autumn than mid-summer.  So, while sitting here, I am thinking about freedom and how freedom applies to my life and not just a country. Do I have freedom? Am I truly free? Yes, we all have the potential to be free! Let’s find out how.

Have you ever thought of how minuscule our place is in the universe? I do. Try it now for a moment. In reference to the vastness of the millions of galaxies, and the large size of our planet, focusing now on my exact location, where do I really fit in? Am I just a cog in the gears of the universe, or do I have freedom?

A few weeks ago I attended a symposium focused on the current heroin epidemic in the US. The conference room was filled with…

Read more: Rest Stop (Fri) ... freedom & hope is possible: here's how

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Recently, a storm came through my area bringing with it gusty winds and heavy rain. Where I live storms are commonplace especially in the spring. That period immediately following a rainstorm is one of my favorite times to go outside. If you have never experienced nature immediately following a rainstorm I strongly suggest you give it a try. Personally, the air seems clearer and fresher, and there is a distinct smell of cleanliness permeating the air. It’s nature's way of cleansing the Earth. When you do venture outside you will most probably notice debris on the ground consisting of dead twigs, branches and anything else that has fallen from the trees. Cleaning up after a strong storm is not typically a favorite pastime of mine, but recently when I was mowing the yard I noticed this pile of dead twigs which had fallen over the course of many storms. I took this picture as the positioning of the twigs gave me pause and a moment of reflection.

I wasn't planning to reflect upon fallen tree limbs and twigs, but after noticing those branches and taking the picture I couldn't help but to reflect on them as I continued to mow…

Read more: Rest Stop (Sat) Lessons from the twigs

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"If I try to fail and succeed, which have I done?" - anonymous

I use the above quote with my college students trying to challenge them to look at life, from a different perspective. In challenging our perspectives, and even our definitions, I am not merely playing semantics as I  firmly believe that words actually do hold meaning. If you aren't sure about the validity of that statement, think of the last time someone's words either caused you joy or caused you pain. Words do have the power to affect our emotions, therefore, by challenging ourselves to look at our own definitions from a new perspective can change how we feel.

How I define success, or how success is defined for me, influences how I feel about myself. Many of us have culturally learned that success is defined by tangible goods and/or wealth. We hear expressions such as “If I have more things than someone else, I am successful”; or, “if I have a title or initials after my name, I am successful”. These cultural statements aside, I hope that people who have worked hard to accomplish what they feel is a level of success take pride in themselves. Yet, the question remains, does…

Read more: Rest Stop (Thurs) ... The 4 Tips on How to Feel Successful

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