“Helping people overcome their demons is not the same as helping people live well” – Martin Seligman
What does it mean to live well? Is it to be rich? Is it to be loved? Is it to live a life of purpose?
Many of you have chosen a life of service because at a deep level, you understand that personal fulfillment is connected to the notion of contribution. Being of service is valued. Through meaningful connection to one another, our lives have purpose. When we take off the uniform, it can be hard to know who we are.
Chances are, who you are was determined long before you put on the uniform. As a kid, you were probably the one who offered to help out. In social situations, you likely notice who is in need and are quick to offer assistance.
Who you are is not defined by the clothes you wear, rather, it’s who you are inside: who you’ve always been.
Sometimes, when we’re injured, it’s easy to lose sight of that old self. It’s still there. It’s always been there. Just waiting to re-emerge when you are ready.
Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych. Executive Director, Landing Strong
To a beach resort, where cold drinks are brought to you by the side of a pool? Or backpacking through a mountain pass, discovering tiny flower buds as they push their way through barren soil towards the sun?
Do you like things packaged, and neat? Or are you comfortable with uncertainty?
This April, I plan to escape for a week to somewhere hot where everything is done for me. Perfect.
Next Summer, I hope to backpack the rugged coast of Newfoundland with some good friends, hopping from cove to cove searching for hidden gems. I don’t know what we’ll find, but I know there will be great fun in the searching. Being connected and together is an important part of the journey.
I’ll get something different out of each trip. At the warm resort, I’ll get relaxation and catch up on my reading. On the adventure trip, I’ll probably be uncomfortable at times but learn more about myself and those around me. That’s the trip I’ll most remember. I need both, but if I don’t get out of my comfort zone I’ll stay pretty much the same.
In any journey, we have the power to decide how much risk we’re ready to take on. Increasing numbers of you are signing up for our workshops, and becoming involved with the Landing Strong community. Even after one day, we see change.
Life’s always smoother when things stay the same. It’s in our response to disruption that true growth takes place.
Take a moment to check out the workshops available this month.
Warm thoughts from the Landing Strong Team,
Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych. Founder, Landing Strong
“I just want to be happy,” the woman sitting next to me at the coffee shop exclaims to her friend, “is that too much to ask?”
I’m trying not to listen, but have a hard time tuning her out since she’s speaking so loudly. As I sip my London Fog, I wonder if she is struggling because she’s asking the wrong question.
Everyone is talking about having a happy life. I’m not sure such a thing exists. In true Buddhist tradition, we can’t fully appreciate joy without knowing suffering. Or love, without loneliness. I believe happiness is a byproduct of spending our time in meaningful ways, not a destination in and of itself. It’s really about understanding the impact of the many small choices we make each day. Happiness might come from supporting a friend instead of watching Netflix, or starting that fitness program we’ve been putting off. It’s about choosing to do the hard thing, instead of settling for what’s easy. It’s not always clear how important the struggle is when we’re in the midst of it. The joy of an accomplishment is in direct proportion to the challenge it presents. If it isn’t hard to do, it probably isn’t worth doing.
So instead of asking the question, “why can’t I be happy?”, we should be asking, “how have I challenged myself today?” Ultimately, it’s through meaning and purpose that we find fulfillment.
When stepping onto an airplane, you can expect to hear a short safety presentation from the crew. Passengers are usually instructed that in the case of an emergency, they should put on their own oxygen masks before assisting someone else. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we cannot be there for others. Sometimes, this means prioritizing ourselves even when someone we care about needs us.
This month, our focus has been on caring for those who support others. In many ways, we are all caregivers. Weather it’s in a first responder role or caring for loved ones, we can only continue in these roles to the extent that we take the time to properly nourish ourselves.
On November 30th, we are offering a 1-day program on self-care:
Learn how to improve your health, relationship, and ability to handle future challenges.
Gain clarity on your roles & needs
Master tools for success in all aspects of your life
Identify your strengths and make them work for you
Let us help you get to where you want to be.
We hope you’ll join us. Contact us at (902) 472-3272 or email@example.com to reserve your seat.
This has been a tough week. Lost lives and hate have been infecting the headlines in the morning papers. I was shaken when I read of the pipe bombs that were mailed to Democrats in the United States. Thankfully, they were intercepted before detonating. How many law enforcement officials risked their lives to move these dangerous packages away from the public? Then came the news of a hate-filled synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, where eleven people lost their lives. Four police officers were injured in the shooting, and many more police and first responders were exposed to the scene as they worked to rescue the civilians inside. Shortly after, I learn that Indonesia’s Lion Air Flight JT-610 crashed into the sea with 189 on board. I struggle to make sense of it all.
I can’t help but think back to the Swissair Flight 111 tragedy, and wonder how those affected by that event are coping with the news of a similar occurrence this week. Even for those who processed the difficult emotions they experienced as a result of Swissair and have been doing well, this recent crash is likely to trigger old memories. Recovering from trauma is possible, but making an effort to maintain our wellbeing and having ongoing support is crucial for long-term success. Overcoming trauma is not a linear process, there will be setbacks. Resilience is being able to recognize what your needs are when faced with stressors, and reaching out before they impact your life.
When I think of the scary things that can take place in public spaces, I try to remind myself of the better things people have done. I see the devastating effects that can result from just one person, but I also see flash mobs that required several people and many hours of singing, dancing and working together to create something special. During hard weeks like this one, I remind myself that those trying to better our community outnumber the disturbed few. I invite you to take a few moments to balance your exposure to the tragedy by reminders of the good that exists.
Below are links to a few videos that remind me of the abundance of light, even on a darkened evening. These videos serve to remind me that, despite the odds, by paying attention to the people immediately around us, anything is possible. Feel free to share examples of events that inspire you (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll share it with the community.