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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

The discomfort of being in transit

The discomfort of being in transit

Have you ever noticed the expression on people’s faces when they’re riding the subway?  It’s a specific look: slack face, eyes downcast staring intently at an imaginary object on the floor.  Some people wear ear buds, some read their digital novels, others close their eyes and escape to their thoughts to pass the time.  There’s something about being in transit that’s uncomfortable.  We’re willing to endure it, because it doesn’t last and it’s taking us somewhere we want to be.  Like an ill-fitting coat, we’ll put up with it temporarily because we know that, in a short time, we’ll be able to take it off and be somewhere better.

If you’re feeling a bit uncomfortable with the spot you’re in, know that it’s normal.  It can feel like a long dark tunnel, where you’re impatiently waiting to get to your destination. It’s good to remind ourselves that any good trip has periods of discomfort.  It’s the nature of transit.  Don’t let it scare you.  It’s worth the journey.  

Warm regards,

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

Do you read the obituaries?

Do you read the obituaries?

Do you read the obituaries? I do. I didn’t use to, but since I have moved to our small community, I have a deeper sense of connection to those around me. I’m surprised by how often I recognize the names or families listed. Living in a small town, I’m more aware of the trials and tribulations of others in my community.  When I pass the fruit and vegetable section at Sobey’s, I expect to run into an old friend who I would often see there, only to be reminded he is no longer with us.  When I see fundraising notes and coin jars on the counters of local stores, I’m more inclined to donate knowing that I likely have an indirect connection to the face I see on the bottle.  When our first responders pass by areas on the highways that mark the sites of accidents, they too are reminded of losses.  Having grown up in downtown Toronto, I wasn’t used to that degree of connection. 

I received a letter from my father last week, and for the first time noted a shakiness in his writing that reminds me of his passing years.  I pray that those who reside on his busy Toronto street will keep an eye out for him, as I know we look out for each.  Together we celebrate, grieve, struggle and grow.  Growth, recovery and healing lies in the heart beat of our communities.  Strength lies in connection.
 
In appreciation of each and every one of you who helps to make us strong,

Warm regards,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Founder, Landing Strong

I’m so excited…

I’m so excited…

My New Year’s resolution is being realized.  

I committed to ensuring my work is filled with creativity and joy.  Today marks a special part of that with the launch of our first veteran/first responder day treatment program.  The program is full, and Mackenzie has been madly cooking chilli and baking wonderful treats to ensure that everyone feels welcomed and well cared for.  We’ve run two caregiver workshops now, and are thrilledby the response.   It’s such an incredible feeling knowing that a group of people who come together as strangers can so quickly form meaningful connections as they discover the strength of shared experience.

As Doug and I led the Caregiver workshops, we were struck by what an incredibly powerful and resilient group of people they were.  In addition to their caregiver roles, all lead very rich and full lives in their home communities. They wear regular clothing, but in our eyes, looked very much like superheroes.

By the time you read this, the important work we set out to do today will have begun.  I salute the courage it takes to come forward and register for a program.  I commit to do everything in my power to ensure the experience is both positive and welcoming.  It is such an honour to be able to walk on this journey with such a special community.

Wishing you all the best for a warm weekend.

Regards from the entire Landing Strong Team,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Founder, Landing Strong