Nova Scotia Thoughtful

Nova Scotia Thoughtful

Have I told you recently how proud I am to live in Nova Scotia?  It’s sentiment I know many of us share: everywhere we look, there are flags and signs celebrating the strength and loyalty of Nova Scotians. 

I’d like to add another word to our vocabulary when describing Nova Scotians: Thoughtful.

Last night I was in IKEA.  I wanted to pick up a large shelf unit and had parked my cart on the warehouse floor, wondering how the heck I was going to get the heavy unit onto my cart.  It really was a two person job. A young couple walked towards me, interested in the same unit.  

“Wait a minute,” the young man calls to me, “You’ve got the wrong kind of cart, I’m going to grab you a flat one.”  

Before I knew it he had dashed to the end of the aisle and grabbed me something more suitable.  Together we easily got it loaded.  The next step was loading this monstrosity into my car.  I parked my shopping cart by the trunk, and was walking around to unlock the door when an older couple walked by.

“Don’t try lifting that on your own,” the man called out.  “Let me give you a hand.  No sense you strainin’ yer’ back.”

I hadn’t even had a moment to ask anyone for help and here this fellow was, making sure things went smoothly.  This is the kindness of small towns and close communities.  I drove away with a warm heart and appreciation for the thoughtfulness strangers. There may be a lot of challenging things going on in the world these days, but I, for one, am happy to be living in the Atlantic Bubble, and super proud to be in Nova Scotia.

Warm regards,

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

A waste of lime

A waste of lime

It’s amazing how two people can hear the same thing but interpret it in entirely different ways.

Joe and I were at the cottage recently, and he shared a line from a country music song he’d heard recently that he found amusing.  The song is by Ingrid Andress, entitled “Waste of Lime”.

“That’s disgusting!” I exclaimed.

“What, no it’s not, it’s funny” Joe protested.

“I don’t understand what’s funny about it” I respond, looking at my husband with a tight feeling in the pit of my stomach.

“Well, she’s singing about the fact that she and a fellow shared tequila, and at the end of the evening, he left her, leaving her feeling that it had all been “Just a waste of lime and a waste of time” Joe explained.

“Oh,” I respond, with a sigh of relief “I thought she was singing about the fact that someone had been killed.. but they weren’t  even worth the lime that had been put over the body”

Joe and I started at each other.

How is it possible that something as simple as lyrics to a song could have such different meanings?

Joe immediately understood the lime reference related to drinking. 

After years working at the federal penitentiary and reading through forensic files, the same ingredients had very different meanings for me.

Different experiences, and different lenses for interpreting the world.

It makes a huge difference doing work with people with shared experiences.  They’ve been there.  They get it.  What may seem dark in one context, is just business as usual in the next.  

Come to a place where you’ll be understood, whatever lens you’re viewing the world through.  We’re offering a number of exciting fall programs. Sign up  now in order to avoid disappointment.  Seats are filling quickly.

Warm regards,

Everybody needs a prickle

Everybody needs a prickle

We all need to have a sense of belonging. Even porcupines need to connect.  Did you know that a group of porcupines is called a prickle?  Even if we don’t look approachable, it doesn’t mean we aren’t looking to connect.

I have a friend Kari MacLeod who walks both her cats and dogs through the forest near her house.  Recently, she has had an unlikely new addition to the walking crew: a porcupine has been welcomed into the ranks. 

This porcupine found its prickle with Kari and her pets.

Sometimes we find belonging in unexpected places.  Even if we are coming out of our comfort zone to create it.  Like porcupines, people who suffer from injury are not always seen as approachable.  There might be fears of getting close.  

It’s only after getting to know porcupines better that we realize their quills are only used as a protective measure.  They might look threatening, but underneath it all, they’re just as loveable as any other creature.  Their quills aren’t designed to keep people away, but to protect them from harm.

Many first time group participants have concerns about fitting in, but our shared experiences and common ground connect us in a way that is stronger than any differences that may exist.  Whether you find your prickle with us or somewhere else, we hope you find strength and support within a community. 

Warm regards,

How do we mark the passage of time?

How do we mark the passage of time?

Many people I’ve talked to recently complain about the challenge of feeling unmotivated.  It seems they’re working twice as hard as usual, less than usual, or having to balance a full work load while co-habitating an overcrowded house. The consistent theme is that they don’t feel motivated. 

I often think of my working life as blocks of concentrated energy punctuated by tantalizing rewards.  Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do, but I love it even more when I know there is a vacation coming, or a family outing.  Or even a simple night out with friends at the movies or local pub.  

The strange thing about time recently is that many days feel the same.  Excitement consists of the sun coming out, or having time to work the garden in the evening.  Such is life.

Today I noticed a few businesses starting to open their doors.  It felt like spring was finally here.  Perhaps we’ll all catch that forward momentum as we look ahead.

If you’re looking to boost your energy and motivation, check out our new on-line course starting next Friday:  Mind/Body Health and Recovery.  A holistic look at getting better. Each day, we’ll spend time checking in with each person to see how they’re doing, and do some fun exercises with Dr. Adrienne Wood to learn how making a few simple changes can have a profound impact on health. Sleep better, look better…feel better.  I’m in.

Now that’s something to look forward to.  Hope to see you there!  We still have few seats left.

Starting May 28: Mind Body Health and Recovery

Warm wishes,

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

If you want to go far, go together

If you want to go far, go together

Apparently there’s a toilet paper shortage in Nova Scotia.  When under stress, we run the risk of going into survival mode, taking care of ourselves while losing sight of the larger picture.  If I run out and buy a month’s worth of toilet paper tonight, chances are the old man who lives down the road who has run out will get none.

That’s the difference between community thinking and individual survival.  

If you want to go fast, go alone.
If you want to go far, go together
– African Proverb

Most civilians are not trained to work in high risk emergency situations.  It’s times like this that we truly appreciate those who are trained in risk management and emergency response.  They specialize in big picture thinking, operating from a position of prevention, resource and risk-management, and de-escalation.  

A large percentage of police work, for example, involves talking to people while calming volatile situations…

Step away from the toilet paper Ma’am… 

Ultimately, we all do better when we approach any situation from the perspective of the needs of the group. A panic response to stress might be a natural human instinct or response.  Learning how to cope with these instincts allows us to connect with our community in a supportive and meaningful way.

Warm wishes,

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

Life is a struggle vs life is a climb

Life is a struggle vs life is a climb

Glancing through Facebook, it’s easy to believe that for most people, life is a series of joyful moments.  Even knowing that social media is a highlight reel of people’s lives, it’s easy to start believing that others are always happy.  
 
In reality, I think of life as more of a climb.  Some days a struggle, but most often a climb. 
 
I’ve had the opportunity to climb Mount Kilimanjaro twice.  The night before the summit push is long, cold, dark, and tortuous.  There are many times I asked myself why I was doing it.  Reaching Uhuru peak at the break of dawn, it all made sense.  When we’re in the struggle, it’s often hard to see the point.  Glancing back in the darkness, the distant glow of headlamps of the other groups weaving their way up the mountain reminded me of how far we’d come, even though we weren’t yet at the top. 
 
We judged our movement by the needs of the group, taking breaks if people were struggling, telling stories, and singing songs when spirits needed to be lifted.  We knew we were going to do this as a team, and that we would leave no one behind.  
 
By husband Joe has led over 7 school groups up Kilimanjaro.  Of the people who attempt to summit Kilimanjaro, about 50% are successful.  With these school groups, after months of training, group work, and team building, the success rate is almost 100%.  What I have learned from this, is that we work best in teams.  The second time I summitted felt harder than the first.  Although the photos look the same, they represent two completely different experiences.  Both of which were preceded by many months of training. 
 
Perhaps life is like this, a climb, punctuated by triumphs and joyful moments.  If I’m not having fun today, that’s okay, as long as I’m content with the longer term journey.  Wherever you are on your journey, we invite you to reach out and join us as we move forward, together.  

Warm wishes,

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