Today the United States celebrates its Independence day, a day we recall freedom from oppression. On this day we also remember all those who struggled, and those who have died, allowing us to live in freedom.

As I reflect on today, my thoughts wander to the meaning of freedom. When I think of freedom as the opposite of oppression, I not only think of physical oppression, but also of emotional and cognitive oppression. How often do we self-impose oppression through our thoughts and feelings?

On this day of independence, let's reflect on the following quote from Viktor Frankl. In his statement he reminds us of the meaning of true freedom.

"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."

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Read more: Rest Stop (Independence Day) ... Freedom

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Based on my experience, there are two main reasons we have trouble sleeping: either because you are excited about something upcoming, or you are anxious about something upcoming. I can still vividly remember that night before we as a family were leaving for Washington, DC for the first time. I was a child then, and the thought of travelling all the way to where the president lives was almost overwhelming for me. I tossed and turned in bed; walked around my room, looked out my window into the dark, and before I knew it, I looked out my window to see the sun rising above the horizon. I finally fell asleep in the car during the over 8 hour drive to DC.

Personally, I suffered for many years on Sunday nights trying to get some sleep. I dreaded Sunday nights because as soon as I would lie down in bed for the night the worries and stress of the upcoming week flooded into my thoughts. I had not yet found the peace of living mindfully, and so I allowed the thoughts of the future to take over, believing the worst of what could happen come Monday morning at work. Note…

Read more: Rest Stop (Tues) ... Tips for sleeping soundly

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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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Many readers of this blog access the content through sources other than the Lifesjourney website, so I thought I would point out to my readers that I also record a podcast called "On Finding Peace".

"Life is sometimes difficult, but even so, it is always possible to find inner-peace. I talk about topics of daily life which cause us stress and anxiety, guiding us on how to change our perspective and to learn how to live in the moment." -Chris Shea, host of "On Finding Peace"

I am open to topic suggestions, share your suggestions through comments made on this post, or Lifesjourney's social media. The podcasts are typically 15 minutes in length; long enough to make a point, but short enough to listen in one sitting. Here are the places to

Read more: Rest Stop (Wed) ... podcast listeners take note

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A CAPTION WAITING TO BE WRITTEN BY YOU. When I took this photo I figured it would make a great centerpiece for one of my reflections. But, it needs a caption. Give me your suggestions and the best one will be used. Be creative.

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If you're ready to explore life coaching, we would be honored to help. You can read more here about our life coaching practice or call the office directly at 301-850-2177. 

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Read more: Rest Stop (Mon) ... A caption is needed

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