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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

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

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,

Spring cleaning your emotional closet

Spring cleaning your emotional closet

When I was a little girl, I was sure that there were monsters in the basement.  I remember running full speed up the stairs, away from the dark cellar so that the monsters didn’t get me.  They were huge, scary and dangerous.  Avoiding it kept me afraid.  Had I faced them, I would have discovered it was just the furnace making a weird noise.  Slightly unsettling but not scary at all. Certainly not unmanageable.

Sometimes when we don’t want to feel something, it’s easier to compartmentalize our emotions.  We run away from them so that they can’t hurt us.  The problem with this is that our fear of them is usually greater than the pain they can cause us.  We feed our fears by looking away.  They get their power from silence and being ignored or hidden.  

By talking about them, we take away their power.

This May, we’re offering a repeat of our trauma program: Your Past is Not your Future: Master Strategies to Overcome Trauma.  For those of you who have already taken this course, try Mind Body Health and Recovery, an exciting new program co-facilitated by Naturopathic Doctor Adrienne Wood. Program size is limited, so sign up now to avoid disappointment. 

Warm wishes,

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

The face of courage

The face of courage

They say courage is born on the battlefield.  That may be true, but I think just as often it arises in the aftermath, when we work to face our emotions. Anyone in a service profession knows about putting a “game face” on.  You know it, showing no fear even when you are about to walk into a situation that is dangerous, frightening or threatening.  Joe Frazier knew it when walked into the ring to face Muhammad Ali, arguably one of the greatest boxers of all time.  Ali had a total of 56 professional wins, 37 of them by knockout.  So when Frazier walked in the ring, he likely knew that he had a 50% chance of being knocked unconscious.  Yet he did it anyway.  
 
Shoving our emotions aside in times of distress is important and often necessary.  It allows us to remain functional.  The challenge is knowing when and how to take our game face off, and look deeper to discover what it is that we are actually feeling.
 
In treatment groups I’ve had Special Forces Members, Police, RCMP, Firefighters, Paramedics, EOD Techs, Corrections Officers and Trauma Counsellors say the same thing.  Coming to treatment was one of the hardest, but most important things they have ever done.
 
So perhaps courage does take many forms.  The obvious ones, and the more invisible form as we all come together to regroup, recalibrating our central nervous systems, and reclaiming important aspects of self that may have been lost along the way.
 
In my mind, that is indeed the face of courage. 
 
Warm regards, 

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

Alone in this together

Alone in this together

My husband recently took a group of 30 students, aged 11-18 to the summit of Kilimanjaro.  Every one of them made it to the top.  Braving the cold on that last difficult night, the students dug deep to find the resources to keep going when their bodies were shrieking at them to stop.  There is no doubt in my mind that if they were walking in isolation, very few would make it.  With support, encouragement and companionship of others in the same predicament, the venture somehow feels less daunting.   There is, indeed, strength in numbers.

This week I came off an intensive week working with veterans and first responders recovering from Operational Stress Injuries.   Even though they are only four days into a ten day program, I already see a difference: a lightness in their faces; straightness in their back; and a shift in the manner they speak to one another.  What originally started out as a journey of isolation has transformed into a group effort. Accessing emotions that have been long buried they push forward in their desire for recovery. 

Initially avoiding eye contact, they now meet each other’s gaze with respect and admiration. Trained to view expression of emotions as a sign of weakness, they are coming to understand it is, in fact, the opposite.  Facing that which we fear is the ultimate act of courage.  

“We are alone in this together.”  One of them affirmed.   With these words I know that something important is shifting.  For what started out as a solo journey, has now become a group expedition.

Warm regards,

Belinda