Beauty sometimes lies in the hardest moments

Beauty sometimes lies in the hardest moments

To listen is to lean in, softly, with a willingness to be changed by what we hear.
              – Mark Nepo

I love what I do.  Perhaps it’s because every day offers the opportunity to learn something new.  If I approach a situation thinking I know the answer, this can prevent me from truly seeing, listening, and understanding.  

In truth, the more I learn, the more I realize how much there is that I really don’t know. 

There’s something incredibly freeing in that. 

It’s often in the hardest moments that we discover life’s true beauty: courage, compassion, sacrifice, and love.  I want to lean in, softly, with a willingness to be changed by what am witnessing, and hearing.

Warm regards,

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

What if we were royalty?

What if we were royalty?

Recently I’ve been enjoying the television series The Crown, and find my thoughts returning to a scene where Queen Mary explains to her granddaughter the young Queen Elizabeth, the importance of remaining impartial: 

“To do nothing is the hardest job of all. And it will take every ounce of energy that you have. To be impartial is not natural, not human. People will always want you to smile or agree or frown and the minute you do, you will have declared a position, a point of view…and that is the one thing as Sovereign that you are not entitled to do.”  “Well that’s fine for the Sovereign… but where does that leave me?” Queen Elizabeth responds sadly.
 
It strikes me this conversation is not limited to royalty. Many of us are in service related professions where we routinely perform duties that may not be in line with personal beliefs or preferences.  Putting on a “game face” is part of the job, and a display of emotion can compromise our ability to do so effectively.  

Soldiers are asked to go onto the battlefield, defending a cause they may not believe in. They do not have the privilege of evaluating whether they want to advance when ordered to do so.

Police are asked to place themselves in the midst of violent situations, working to protect those who, a moment earlier, may have been threatening them.

Paramedics repeatedly respond to calls at the same house for drug overdoses.

To be of service means, by definition, to put our needs aside and tend to those of others.  There comes a time, though, when we need to put ourselves first.  Recognizing what we are experiencing, and finding a safe place to work through the emotional residue.

Only then do we truly care for ourselves.  Separate and distinct from the work we do.

Warm regards,

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

Home isn’t always a place

Home isn’t always a place

Anyone who knows me also knows I love sappy movies with predictable happy endings. I love the feeling of knowing that, in 90 minutes, no matter what challenges are faced, everything will be okay in the end.  I think in many ways it’s my philosophy of life.  If we keep on journeying, eventually we’ll get home.  

Home isn’t always a place is it?  It’s often a feeling.  Sometimes it’s just being:  Listening to music with friends, having a heart to heart over coffee with a friend, or walking in nature with your dog.

Home is a feeling that starts with being comfortable with ourselves.  Whatever challenges you may have faced on your journey, we can overcome them together.  Join us for a group program, and make your home a supportive community of peers who may have walked similar paths.  

Warm regards,

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

Managing Triggers

Managing Triggers

“I’ve learned how to be in the present”
“How?” Asked the boy
“I find a quiet spot and shut my eyes and breathe”
“That’s good, and then?”
“Then I focus.”
“What do you focus on?”
“Cake” said the mole.
 
True confessions time.  When I’m in yoga, trying to clear my mind, I may not think about cake, but I do contemplate having a lovely London Fog at the café next to the studio when class is over.  It’s usually when I am really uncomfortable, experiencing the full force of my cardboard stiff body that I allow my mind to drift to more pleasant things.
 
It’s normal not to think about the things that are uncomfortable.  When we are at work doing uncomfortable tasks, that’s an essential skill.  Knowing how to unpack it at the end of the day, though, is often a skill that needs to be developed.

Warm regards,

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

What is love anyway?

What is love anyway?

It’s hard not to ask the question, especially at this time of year. The following answers were offered by young children in response to a survey by the Couples Institute regarding the question “What is love?”  

Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your fries without making them give you any of theirs
– Chrissy age 6

Love is what makes you smile when you are tired
– Terri, age 4

Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it every day
– Noelle 7

Love is when mommy gives daddy the best piece of chicken
– Elaine age 5

Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day
– Mary Ann age 4

You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it,  But if you mean it, you should say it a lot.  People forget
– Jessica age 8

 
Perhaps the best example of love wasn’t something that was said, but done. Leo Buscaglia shared this special moment he witnessed:

A four year old child had an elderly gentleman as a next door neighbour who had recently lost his wife.  Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there.  When his mother asked what he had said to the neighbour, the little boy said “Nothing, I just helped him cry”.

For me, love is an action.  It’s about moving toward rather than moving away.  It’s about staying present, even when it’s uncomfortable.  It’s about patiently waiting through silence, until emotions can form.

Love is what keeps us whole, allows us to heal, giving the walk forward meaning.

Warm thoughts and lots of love on this Valentine’s Day,

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

Being there for one another the best way we can

Being there for one another the best way we can

“I got you a delicious cake,” said the mole
“Did you?”
“Yes”
“Where is it?”
“I ate it,” said the mole
“Oh”
“But I got you another.”
“Did you? Where is that one?”
“The same thing seems to have happened.” 

-The Boy, the Mole the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy
 

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to show up for someone even if we might not know what to do.   Or maybe we try to say something and it comes out all wrong.  

Many people are hesitant to join group because it can be scary. 

“What if I say the wrong thing? What if I don’t belong?”  Or even worse, “What if I say something that injures someone?”  

Being in group is about meeting people where they are at.  Everyone starts in a different space, and goes at their own speed.  We aren’t supposed to all be the same. We don’t always say or do the right thing. But somehow we work it out.

I can promise you one thing …we won’t eat your cake!  Give us a call and join us for a group program this spring.

Warm regards,

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

What if people really saw us

What if people really saw us

Isn’t it odd.  We can only see our outsides, but nearly everything happens on the inside.
      – The Boy, the Mole the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy

If people could see us, truly see us…what would they think?  Would they see honour, integrity, courage, and loyalty?  Or would peeking behind the curtain reveal things that we may be hesitant to acknowledge: sadness, exhaustion, guilt and loneliness.   

Anger is the easy emotion- the suit of armour-  but it’s not what lies underneath.  

What strikes me, is that we wouldn’t feel the hard feelings if the good ones weren’t also true. 
We can’t feel guilt or shame if we don’t have integrity
We can’t feel loneliness if we haven’t known teamwork.
We can’t feel fatigue if we haven’t worked hard.
We can’t truly know sadness if we haven’t known love.
We are all these things. 

Perfect is overrated.  It’s the knocks and bruises that make us real.

Warm regards,

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

The bravest thing you’ve ever said

The bravest thing you’ve ever said

“What is the bravest thing you’ve ever said?” asked the boy.
“Help” said the horse.
“When have you been at your strongest?” Asked the boy
“When I have dared to show my weakness”

  • The Boy, the Mole the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy

 
I used to belief courage was about doing things that involved incredible risk:  Running into burning buildings; putting oneself into the line of fire; more recently caring for those with contagious diseases.  

These are indeed acts of courage.

What I have learned to appreciate though, is a quieter more invisible form of courage.  It’s the force that motivates us to speak when it’s easier to remain silent.  To stand up and be seen when we can blend in or remain invisible.  To ask for help when in many ways it’s less effort to simply carry on.

Asking for help may be one of the hardest and most courageous things we can do.

Warm regards,

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

We’ve got this

We’ve got this

The wonderful thing about starting a New Year is that it’s a fresh start.  

This is the time of year when we reflect on who’ve we’ve been this past year, and who we want to be in the year ahead.  The ritual of making New Year’s resolutions is a cultural tradition that normalizes the act of publically declaring our intention to change- identifying the ways in which we hope to grow, and asking those around us to support us. 

Implicit in this is the notion that change is more likely to occur when we don’t do it alone

The trick is starting small and doing it in good company.  Together, we’ve got this.

Consider making us part of your change. Give us a call to see which programs might be best for you. There’s always room for one more.

Warm regards,

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

Quiet Connections

Quiet Connections

Every Christmas Day I know two things will be true: 

  1. I will likely eat chocolate for breakfast
  2. I’ll spend time connecting with people I love.  

This year, although I’m fairly certain a Toblerone bar will make its way into my stocking, I also know the way I’ll connect with others will look different. With some people, I’ll connect with by phone, others by computer.  

The largest community, though, I’ll hold in my thoughts. 

When people are thinking about us, we often feel it.  Even when we may feel alone, our community is still there.  The connection is simply quieter… but not forgotten.

Know that each and every one of you are in our thoughts.  

Wishing you a Happy Holiday Season and looking forward to connecting in the New Year.

Warm regards,

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