We could be friends

We could be friends

We could be friends

A few weeks ago, my husband Joe was walking our dogs when they happened upon a skunk. Anyone who has seen my dogs knows that they look like they could be related to the skunk family.

The dogs stood and stared…and the skunk stared back. Tentatively, the skunk made steps towards them, as if inviting them to play.

“Zuri, Nara, come,” Joe commanded anxiously from the rear. Luckily the dogs obeyed. Dejected, the skunk turned around and wandered off, his head held low. Sucks to be a skunk.

Making new friends is not always easy. We all fear rejection. What if we say the wrong thing? What if we aren’t accepted? What if they say things that offend us?

Come meet new people in a supportive environment. We promise not to walk away…even if you arrive wearing black and white.

 

Warm thoughts,

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

Before I lay me down to rest…

Before I lay me down to rest…

Before I lay me down to rest

As life zooms by, it’s easy to get caught up in the high-speed lane. The list of commitments grows longer, and sleep…well, that sometimes eludes me.

In an effort to still my busy brain, I made a commitment to practice mindfulness each evening, before settling down for the night’s rest.

My mindfulness practice is simple: it consists of drawing; even if it’s only for five minutes. I’m pretty good at botanical drawings but have never mastered the art of sketching people. I found a good YouTube tutorial and am trying to etch out a quick line drawing of a face each evening.

I’d like to say it’s going well…but it isn’t. My efforts are pretty rough-looking. That’s okay, I remind myself. These things take time.

While I draw, I utter the simple word “grace” to myself. It’s a reminder to allow myself time to settle in, and over time, to grow. I believe that my sketched forms will start taking on a more human shape if I keep practicing.

Will you join the practice of extending grace to yourself?

 

Warm thoughts,

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

Holding on to what is dear to us

Holding on to what is dear to us

Holding on to what’s dear to us

On a recent trip to Tanzania, I had an unexpected encounter with a bird of prey. I was sitting quietly enjoying a long-awaited lunch when a Verreaux Eagle swooped down and tried to grab the chicken wrap I was eating right from my grasp. What I failed to mention was how hangry I was. Belinda versus Falcon. Who do you think won? Needless to say, I don’t back down when things are important to me, I rose from the tug of war victorious!

I proceeded to gobble down the sandwich thrilled with my spoils of war only to reflect on the many disgusting things the bird likely had his feet in before trying to make off with my lunch. Yet, it did nothing to diminish the satisfaction of having won.

I tell you this story with a smile because in many ways it reflects the work we’re all doing here. You are all part of this community because deep down there is something that you really want that you’re not willing to let go of. Forces of life or nature may try to pull it from your grasp, but I know you’re not letting go of the things that are dear to you.

Today is a special day at Landing Strong as we recognize and celebrate the efforts and accomplishments of veterans and first responders who continue to work on their health through program involvement. We call it a ‘Celebration of Unsung Heroes’ because the heroic efforts often come after the traumas. Courage takes the form of being willing to be seen and giving voice to experiences that have long been kept silent. This work is indeed worthy of recognition and celebration.

Warm thoughts,


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

 

Beneath the shell

Beneath the shell

                                            Beneath the shell

I recently visited someone I love in a dementia ward of a care facility.

I took a deep breath as I walked in the door. It was suppertime and a large group of seniors were gathered at tables awaiting their evening meal. Some were talking quietly; a number were staring into space.

I joined one of the tables and learned through a caregiver that one of the seniors spoke French. Trying it on for size, I threw them a line in my best attempt at bilingualism.

The man to whom I had aimed the comment suddenly sprang to life, his eyes lighting up and he blurted out a lengthy response to my simple question.

As though a sleeping clock had suddenly sounded, all the members of the table perked up and a second person joined the conversation in French, only to be followed by a third…and then a fourth.

When I commented on how impressed I was by their fluency with language, one exceptionally charming elderly man turned to me and said, “My dear, it’s one of the four languages I speak.”

With the prompting of their caregivers, I learned that two of the five people at the table had published books. I congratulated them on this accomplishment of publishing a book. Again, the stately gentleman gently corrected me letting me know he had in fact, published three.

One member at the table was a retired psychiatrist, another was a former CEO of an international corporation. I never got to learn what the women that didn’t speak French did, because she insisted on speaking to me in Italian
After lots of teasing and laughter, I left the facility with my heart full.

I am reminded that though at times, we may seem to be only shells of our former selves, inside each of us lies a passion and a rich interior. The fact that we are no longer practicing it, makes it no less interesting.

Warm thoughts,

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

Breaking out of hibernation

Breaking out of hibernation

Spring is synonymous with renewal, growth, and the promise of new beginnings.

The days are longer, the landscape is becoming more colourful, and it’s hard to resist the desire to go outside and simply enjoy what nature has to offer.

If you’ve been hibernating this winter and not feeling up to much social interaction, we understand. We all emerge from our safe spaces only if, and when, we feel ready to do so.

On your terms, and your time we welcome you.

If you’ve yet to try our group programs or have been away for a while and want to try something new, our Creating Confidence and Clarifying Strengths program may be perfect for you.

It begins May 7th and it’s not too early to get your name on the list now.

Warm thoughts,


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

Feel the fear and do it anyway

Feel the fear and do it anyway

I grew up in a big old house in downtown Toronto. In the garden there were flowers, in the basement there were monsters. I was sure of it.

I remember reacting with dread anytime I was asked to go down to that dark, spider-filled place. I would retrieve whatever I had been asked to get, flicking off the light and sprinting up the stairs as fast as my six-year-old legs could carry me.

Somehow I knew that if I could just move fast enough and leave enough distance between myself and the things I feared, I would be okay.

When we are injured and isolated, our monsters multiply. In an effort to protect ourselves, we naturally pull back from forces that threaten to harm us. The challenge with this is the more we avoid the things we fear, the bigger they become.

We all have things we may be afraid to do, the question is, are we able to find the courage to try it anyway?

Our upcoming program Healthy Living is all about giving new things a try. Give us a call to learn more.

The mornings take place here at Landing Strong, and the afternoons are at Maker’s Studio.

Oh, and in case you are wondering, I faced those monsters in the basement years ago.

Warm Regards and Happy Easter,


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

Warm thoughts,

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