What does it mean to be Canadian this year?

What does it mean to be Canadian this year?

What does it mean to be Canadian this year?

There are many things about this country that I’m proud of.  This hardly feels like a time for celebration, though, as deep penetrating sonar unearths our nations darkest secrets.  

Today, on Canada Day, I choose to focus on the beauty and diversity of our country.  I celebrate tolerance, respect and understanding.

I celebrate compassion and education.

I celebrate the richness of the culture of our First Nations people.

I celebrate a day and time when we view one another as equals, regardless of race, gender and ability.

I envision a country where all this is possible.

Warm regards,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Executive Director, Landing Strong

How do we make a difference when the problem feels so big?

How do we make a difference when the problem feels so big?

How do we make a difference when the problem feels so big?

Over the past few weeks, the very foundation of our country has rocked with the discovery of 1,323 bodies of First Nations children at various sites across Canada.  It’s believed that there are many more yet to be found. 

I’ve hesitated to write about this.  It’s incredibly important and I don’t want to get it wrong.  How do we possibly come to terms with this level of atrocity?  The genocide of a generation of our First Nations children: are we glimpsing the ugliest part of humanity? 

I’m reminded of a discussion I had many years ago following news of the tragic shooting at Montreal’s École Polytechnique where innocent lives were taken.  During a National conference of 1000 psychologists, we sat in a room together and asked ourselves the question: How to we respond to such atrocity?  How can we prevent such horrific acts of violence from reoccurring?  There were no quick answers.  We all felt powerless.  Eventually one of the speakers stood and spoke in a tentative voice:

“I don’t have the power to change the world, but I certainly can have a significant impact on my immediate circle within my community.” 

Others chimed in:

 “If each of us has a voice and speaks out, we are 1000 strong in this room alone.  If we all speak to 100 people that’s 100,000 minds that we have the power to change.  We all have an immediate circle of influence.  If we all commit to being part of the solution, demanding change, that has to have an impact”.  

I don’t pretend to have the answers.  Nothing can make this right.  We can’t go back and undo the harm that has been done.  I was taught that Canada is a mosaic woven of many different colours and fabrics.  I believe the diversity is what provides richness to our Country. 

We don’t heal from our past by looking away.  If there is to be hope for a version of Canada where all are treated with dignity and respect, we need to witness even our nations darkest periods.  

Ignoring pain does not allow for healing.  It prolongs it.  Let’s strengthen our circles, making sure the steps forward are meaningful and lasting.

This is news that needs to be felt.  Only then can we ensure it never happens again. 

Warm regards,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Executive Director, Landing Strong

Hope is just around the corner

Hope is just around the corner

There they are.  Crocuses, snowdrops and daffodils, pushing their way to sunlight, oblivious of everything that has transpired during this past year. 

With reassuring predictability and beauty, they remind us that hope is just around the corner.

Stay the course.  

Take a moment to breathe in the fresh fragrance.

Notice the rich colours.

Like prickly bears after a long hibernation we’re eager to be roaming freely.  Reconnecting with long lost family and friends.  I vow to remain patient, tolerant and kind, grateful for the vaccinations that will once again return a semblance of normalcy to our lives.

Giving thanks to all those who have worked so tirelessly to keep us fed, healthy and safe.

Warm regards,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Executive Director, Landing Strong

Hope is just around the corner

Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder

Working in the federal penitentiary, I frequently met inmates who chose alcohol over life.  They repeatedly shared stories of relationships that fell apart because the pull towards substances was more compelling than their desire to be in relationships.  When given the choice, they chose Johnny Walker over their partners. 

The decision to cut down on substance use (or to be abstinent) is really a decision about health and connection.  

I choose to trust.
I choose to feel.
I choose to fully live.

Abstinence does indeed help the heart grow fonder.
We run group programs year round designed to help you ensure the life you are living reflects the life you want. Feel free to call us if you’d like to jump into an upcoming group.

Warm regards,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Executive Director, Landing Strong

Hope is just around the corner

Noticing the tiny perfect things

I recently watched a charming movie on Netflix called A map of tiny perfect things.  A young couple, caught in their own personal ground hog day, struggle to find meaning when every day seems a repetition of the previous one.  Somewhat like waking up each morning to hear the COVID report. They hatch an ingenious scheme to devote themselves to finding tiny perfect moments that exist within the fabric of each day.  

I love this idea.  Instead of focussing on things that can’t be controlled, I want to form my own list of tiny perfect moments.  It’s easy to miss them.   Sometimes we have to look very closely to see.  

I’ll share one from yesterday.  A young man in his late teens is at the Big Stop struggling to get his debit card working. He’s filled his gas tank, but can’t pay for it because his card won’t work.  The cashier mentions that she is supposed to call the RCMP in such a circumstance.  Immediately a woman in line steps up and says “don’t do that, how much is the bill?  I’ll get it for him”.

Embarrassed that I didn’t think of it, I offer to cover half.  Turns out the bill is only $20.

That could be the end of the story, but it isn’t.  As I am pulling out of the station I see the young man waving his arms and running after me.  He explains that he got his card working and wanted to give me back the $10 I had chipped in, insisting that I take it.  He was articulate, thoughtful and appreciative.

What a beautiful tiny perfect moment to start this week’s collection.

In group we have the opportunity to witness many tiny perfect moments.  Moments when people listen to one another without judgement.  Notes of support that are offered after a difficult share.  Celebratory cheers when there has been an accomplishment.  Or simple quite head nots of understanding when a group member shares something they are struggling with.

There are still two seats left in our Healthy Living Group starting next week.  It’s a chance to ensure the life you are living reflects the person you want to be. Give us a call today if you’d like to join.

Warm regards,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Executive Director, Landing Strong