The power of walking one step at a time

The power of walking one step at a time

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The power of walking one step at a time

No matter how long your journey appears to be, there is never more than this: one step, one breath, one moment… Now.
               – Eckhart Tolle

Many of you who know me know that my family is strongly connected to Africa.  We’ve taken school groups to Kenya and Tanzania, both for community service and a trek up to the top of Kilimanjaro.  My son Kyle, my daughter Mackenzie, and I have done Kili twice.  Joe, my husband, eight times.  Each time, leading a group of trusting students.
 
Park rangers tell us that, generally speaking, half of the travellers who try don’t summit.  Our groups average a 98% success rate.  Here are some of the things we’ve learned that help:

  • Training takes time, and is done in gradual increments.  The journey is made one step at a time, one breath at a time. We start in September for a March climb.  Early training hikes are short, weight free, and low intensity. Over time we increase intensity, duration and load.
  • Working as a team increases the likelihood of success.  We train together, walk together, celebrate together, and struggle together.
  • No headphones are allowed.  By staying connected, we talk and encourage one another.  The strength of our team is directly related to the strength of the relationships with have with one another.
  • Every hike involves treats: something home-baked and yummy to look forward to.

Trauma recovery is like a personal expedition to Kilimanjaro.  I like to think all of the same principles apply.  Working together, we can significantly shift the odds in our favour.  As the guides say Pole pole (slow slow)…one step at a time.

Warm regards,

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

The power of choice

The power of choice

No matter what the situation, remind yourself “I have a choice.”
               – Deepak Chopra

Injury is often associated with powerlessness or a loss of control.  When I first started working in the federal penitentiary, I believed I was capable of evoking powerful, positive change.  Both for the inmates I was working with, as well as with the system itself.  

“You don’t belong here” the inmates repeatedly warned me.  Turns out they were right, but it took me seven years to understand that.  

I’ve never thought of myself as a quitter. I had to learn the hard way about the difference between quitting, and choosing not to continue.  Quitting is giving up.  Choosing not to continue is making an informed decision based on your experiences regarding what is healthy and sustainable, and what isn’t. It’s easy to judge ourselves based on what we were not able to do.

We can focus on the things we couldn’t do, or we can choose to focus on those things that are in our power.
I choose to do my best to help someone today
I chose to invest in my health
I chose to move forward.
I chose love.

Warm regards,

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

Finding light in a dark tunnel

Finding light in a dark tunnel

We don’t reach the light through endless analysis of the dark. We reach the light by choosing the light.
               – Marianne Williamson

True confession: when I swim over dark water, I’m overcome by fear of prehistoric creatures rising from darkened depths and grabbing me.  It harkens back to days as a young girl, reading through glossy prints of terrifying prehistoric fish.  Imagine a piranha, and multiply its size and number of teeth by 100.  You get the picture.  

For some reason, if I swim with someone beside me, I’m safe.  A magical band of protection unites us and protects us from harm.

Trauma recovery is like that.  Alone, in the dark, it’s terrifying.  Together, by shining a light on it, somehow it doesn’t seem so overwhelming.

Warm regards,

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

Noticing the things that bring us joy

Noticing the things that bring us joy

The key to joy is being easily pleased.
               – Mark Nepo

Let’s take a mental vacation. You’re enjoying one of nature’s greatest views, but the person beside you is struggling, noticing instead everything that’s missing from the experience.  Perhaps it’s too hot, or too cold.  Maybe they wanted to catch the sunset but just missed it. Maybe they think of the people who are not there to share it with them. 

They are trapped in the land of expectations.

What would happen if we stopped to notice each moment without expectations?  Relinquish judgement and focus on those things, here and now, that bring us jov.

Injuries from trauma involve judgement.  Usually against ourselves, sometimes others. 

An essential aspect of recovery involves living in the here and now.  Noticing, appreciating, without judgement, all that is beautiful in our day.

Warm regards,

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

What if we embraced change

What if we embraced change

How strange that the nature of life is change, yet the nature of human beings is to resist change.
               – Elizabeth Lesser

I was speaking with a government employee some time ago.  She identified the stress she experienced working in an environment that was constantly changing.  Every year, new procedures were brought in to address workplace challenges. It struck me that she was in for a hard road, since the only predictable thing about government is change.    

I was reminded of Kodak.  Remember them?   The former photography giant who missed the digital train because they were so resistant to change. Now the Kodak name is barely recognized by the younger generations.  

Recovery and growth are all about change.  Letting go of the familiar, and embracing the unknown: being willing to view our experiences from a different perspective.  By sharing our experiences within safe communities, we allow ourselves the opportunity to view things differently.  Our world expands, and recovery becomes real.  

Warm regards,

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