Things I am grateful for

Things I am grateful for

Things I am grateful for

Today is National Day for Truth and Reconciliation: A day dedicated to honouring survivors of the residential schools as well as those children who never returned home. It’s a time to acknowledge the painful impact these dark periods of our history have had, and continue to have on individuals, families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic history and ongoing impacts of residential schools has been identified as a vital component of the reconciliation process.

I am incredibly grateful that the words Truth and Reconciliation are given the weight they deserve and are becoming so deeply imbedded within our cultural understanding. We may be powerless to change the past, but as a society we are able to take the time to fully understand the historical impacts of our actions, take stock of where we stand today, and plan for an enlightened future.

On a side note, and in no way to detract from the importance of this day, I also wanted to express gratitude for all of the first responders, hydro and emergency workers who worked tirelessly over the past week to restore power, order and safety to our communities following Hurricane Fiona. My son Albert lives in the 40-unit Dartmouth apartment building that was emergency evacuated in the middle of the night during the hurricane. It was an unsettling time, but the impression that he is left with was the kindness, generosity and positive spirit of neighbours, first responders and volunteers alike. He spoke of the efficiency of an emergency response system that organized warm busses for evicted residents to stay in rather than standing in the raging storm; the kindness and compassion of the Red Cross Workers who handed him a blanket and showed him a cot in the Sportsplex at four in the morning; and the good humour of his neighbours who jokingly commented “they had always wanted a pool, too bad it was in the living room when they had hoped to have it in their bedroom”. In true Nova Scotia style, they meet adversity with good humour and a positive spirit.

I am happy to witness the kindness of strangers, generosity of spirit, and willingness of society to undergo a process of self reflection, ensuring all members of our community feel welcomed, respected and cared for.

Warm regards,

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

Gather your storm chips close

Gather your storm chips close

Gather your storm chips close

Fall on the East Coast is a time of predictably volatile weather. As Mother Nature unleashes Hurricane Fiona upon us, we batten down the hatches, gather our Storm Chips, and hope the power isn’t off for too long. We lost part of our house to Dorian. Like a whale floundering in the surf, our roof was harpooned by falling tree limbs, and our side entrance completely flattened. I trust we’ll fare better this time around.

On Saturday I’m supposed to be presenting at a First Responders Conference in Bridgewater. Somehow I don’t think that’s going to happen…you’ll all be busy.

Our community is fantastic for emergency preparedness and lending a helping hand. I know many of our first responders will likely be out there battling the elements and its consequences over the next day or so. We send a mental note of thanks on behalf of us all. While we are staying warm and dry inside, we know that you are likely out there working hard to keep us safe.

Warm wishes on a wet cool day,

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

The relationship we have with ourselves

The relationship we have with ourselves

The relationship we have with ourselves is often the most difficult

 

We often have automatic self beliefs that stop us from seeing ourselves accurately.  If I believe that I’m not enough in some way, my brain will selectively seek out examples that support this belief. I might ignore the many signs that contradict it.

Group involvement offers a chance to get to know ourselves better. It’s an opportunity for growth. By seeing ourselves through the compassionate lens of others, we alter the way in which we view ourselves.

The stories we make up about ourselves may not always be true. They might just be habits. When we can name these things, we take away some of their power. We have a chance to tell the story differently.

Are you carrying any stories that you might like to re-write?

We’d love to hear from you.

Warm regards,

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

Being intentional about our space

Being intentional about our space

Being intentional about our space

Busy lives can often translate into cluttered homes. In many ways, our environments really do reflect our internal states.

My husband Joe is going away for work for an extended period of time this fall. He doesn’t yet know it, but amazing things are going to happen to our home in his absence. Inspired by the Home Edit, I’m committed to intentionally organizing our house so that it is calming and joyful. I actually want to have fun with this. It’ll be important for me to place items that spark happiness in plain sight.

Deb Dana, Social Worker and Polyvagal Theory expert speaks of the importance of objects and surroundings as tools for self-regulation. She suggests that we take a moment to find something that reminds us of the feeling of being anchored and calm (regulated), then placing it somewhere we’ll see it as we move through our day.

Simple suggestions for positive internal shifts.

In our next Maintaining Health Program we’re going to explore more of Deb Dana’s work. We’re calling the day “Get Your Glimmer On.” It’s in person, with a trip to Maker’s in the afternoon. Please let us know if you are planning on coming so that we might order lunch and reserve a spot for you

Warm regards,

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

No risk no reward

No risk no reward

No risk no reward

Often the things that are the most rewarding involve challenging ourselves. It’s through pushing the limits of what’s comfortable that we discover our strengths: whether it’s through signing up to race in the Valley Harvest Run or allowing ourselves to be seen and heard within group. Taking small risks, while scary at first, ultimately allows us to become more confident healthy versions of ourselves.

What challenges might you look forward to this fall?

Are you willing to lean out of your comfort into an area of new growth

What could you tell yourself when that little voice in your head threatens to get in your way?

We still have spots in the on-line Identity and Transition program if this speaks to you. We’re a community that supports each other as we take small risks aimed to improve the quality of our lives.

Anything worth doing likely has something in it that’s hard.

Warm regards,

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

The courage to show our true selves

The courage to show our true selves

The courage to show our true selves

Recently I watched two really well-done documentaries on Netflix about Olympic Athletes who underwent gender transitions: Olympic Decathlon gold Medalist Caitlyn (formerly Bruce) Jenner, and professional Skateboarder Leo Baker (documentaries titled Untold Caitlyn Jenner; and Stay on Board the Leo Baker Story respectively). Both stories describe the inner struggle faced by people who are very much public figures who feel unable to reveal their true selves without facing devastating consequences. Both Caitlyn and Leo are exceptional people who desperately want to live their true lives, no longer feeling able to keep up the image of what others expect of them. The whole world watches, and many criticize as they speak their respective truths.

Although these are stories about gender transition, they are ultimately tales of struggle, courage, conviction, and staying true to oneself. It is a theme of having to give up a former identity and learning to embrace something new. These themes are universal. What interested me most was the notion that inner struggle was possibly an important part of what motivated these athletes to become world class. Our struggles also become character defining strengths.

I wanted to take a moment to salute all individuals who possess the courage to walk a new path: be it gender transition, or rediscovering or redefining oneself following injury.

Warm regards,

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

Life Lessons from the bees

Life Lessons from the bees

Life Lessons from the bees

Last year I planted a small Greek Oregano plant. This spring, it germinated, but instead of being a small herb, it took the form of a woody bush. I thought about cutting it down as it was unsightly, but when I leaned in, realized it was literally a hive of activity. This one plant was filled with HUNDREDS of buzzing honey bees.

This plant that I almost pulled had become the most valuable contributor in the garden

Following injury, we don’t always understand our purpose and may lament the fact that we are no longer the person we used to be. The thing is, our skills and strengths never really disappear. They just show up unexpectedly in forms we might not recognize or be accustomed to. It’s often a matter of simply leaning in and looking more closely.

Our Identity and Transition program is about knowing who we are outside of our work roles. Mining down to the values that define us.

Creating Confidence and Clarifying Strengths focusses on reclaiming personal power.

Call now if either call to you.

Warm Regards,

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

Things don’t always turn out the way you expect

Things don’t always turn out the way you expect

Things don’t always turn out the way you expect 

Last winter I wrote of my dream of making blue beans almondine with beans grown from my garden. I’m happy to report that I was able to harvest the beans this week, but the dish did not quite materialize as imagined.

When I cooked them, the brilliant blue colour vanished, and I was left with a pot of plain ol’ green legumes.

At first I felt incredibly disappointed. With a moment’s reflection, I realized what had happened was quite special. The beans may no longer be blue, but they are magic!

When any of us are in a period of change or transition, it’s easy to be self critical if we don’t turn out as expected. I encourage you to examine more deeply the magic that might be stirring within. You may be in the process of becoming something brilliant, but not yet recognize your final destination. Chances are, it won’t be what you expected.

Our Identity and Transition program is quickly filling up.

Call soon to avoid disappointment.

Warm regards,

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

Who are you… really?

Who are you… really?

Who are you… really?

To be enlightened is to know oneself -and not run away

– Veronique Vienne
 

It’s not easy knowing who we are beyond the work we take on in life: Military Member, Police Officer, Fire Fighter, Corrections Officer, Health Care Provider. These are all powerful roles, guided by deep- seeded values such as integrity, compassion and service. We all want to make our mark on the world, but this nature of work takes an invisible toll that is often unrecognized for years, even to ourselves.

Now you’ve stopped and are taking stock. What was it that prompted this?

Perhaps you’re more irritable than you used to be.

Or your focus or memory seem off.

You catch yourself tearing up during your children’s TV shows.

Your body has chronic pain that occupies all your thoughts.

These may be your body’s way of signaling that your ready for a change. A step towards assisting yourself rather than always being focussed on helping others.

Check out our fall program line-up and see if there’s something right for you.

Warm regards,

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

The medicine of meditation

The medicine of meditation

The medicine of meditation

In The Art of Doing Nothing, Veronique Vienne notes the word meditate has the same root as the word medicine.  All you have to do is look at Buddha to know that he is indeed a happy man.  I mean, it takes effort to smile that much.

Clearing our minds of the traffic jam of daily life is no simple feat.  In fact, few people can maintain a calm composure for more than a couple of minutes.  The moment I think I’m getting there, I suddenly remember the grocery items I have to pick up on the way home… or a report I have to write… or what I’m going to have for dinner.

Veronique Vienne writes that, paradoxically, it is when we accept that we can’t meditate that the meditation starts to work.  Instead of being a success-oriented venture, the practice becomes a humble reminder of how difficult it is for any of us to stay in touch with ordinary reality.

My strategy over this next month is to do a small drawing meditation each day.  Many of you have joined in our artistic sessions at Maker’s where we’ve learned to do just that.  The focus isn’t on creating good art.  It’s simply on creating.

How wonderful would it be for us to draw or write together.  Our September Identity and Transition program uses meaningful discussion and creative practices to create opportunities for exploring who you are beyond your uniform.  If you haven’t yet signed up it’s not too late.  Just give us a call or drop Julie a line.

Warm regards,

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