Meet my friend Mayan

Meet my friend Mayan

Following injury, many veterans and first responders are faced with the dilemma of whether they will return to their former occupations.

During my trip to Tanzania, in a remote community on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, I met Mayan, a local goatherd. Even at the age of seven, he understood his destiny.

Shy at first, he quickly warmed up when he saw his 40 goats surrounding me in an attempt to snag my bowl of afternoon popcorn. Grateful for his assistance I rewarded him with half of the bowl, and we happily sat on a large rock, watching the sunset, sharing the crunchy treat.

I can’t help but wonder at the vast difference between our two worlds. The choices we have in comparison to the predestined fate of the Maasai people.

I’m grateful for our choices, but appreciative of the simple and happy life they lead.

Warm thoughts,

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

A day at the market like no other

A day at the market like no other

This week I had the opportunity to meet some Maasai women living by the plains of the Serengeti who were selling their beaded handiwork.

After the expected amount of haggling, I struck a deal with one of them and purchased a few bracelets. Pleased with the exchange, she spit in her hand and held it out for me to shake.

Naturally I accepted her offer and shook back, knowing it was a mutual sign of agreement and respect.

Knowing the local customs sometimes takes a leap of faith. Like those who are transitioning out of military careers, understanding the norms and nuances of civilian life can come as somewhat of a culture shock.

Allowing yourself patience and grace is an important part of the journey.

Warm thoughts,

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

Finding beauty in unexpected places

Finding beauty in unexpected places

Late this past Saturday afternoon, as Nova Scotians were swept in a swirl of snow, Torontonians were bathed in unexpected sunshine.

Moderate temperatures and clear blue skies had coaxed even the most hesitant outdoors.

I was leaving the hospital after a good visit with my father and came upon an unexpected sight; on the slope of a large hill sat dozens of families and couples enjoying picnics. Behind them stood a large crowd of onlookers all gazing across the park below. I wondered if a concert was about to begin and thought maybe it had already started since many people had their cameras out, all pointed in the same direction. I could hear nothing, nor see anyone performing in the natural amphitheater below.

Then I realized what everyone was gazing at: a glorious sunset spreading its last rays over the skyline of the city. Like animals waking from deep hibernation, people had stumbled outdoors, dazed by the beauty of the mid-winter sun.

Even in the greyest of winters, we can find windows of warmth and light.

I hope that now you have dug yourselves out from under, you too are able to pause and catch glimpses of the unexpected beauty that surrounds us.

Warm thoughts in a wintery week,

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

The art of being present

The art of being present

It is February 2nd – Groundhog Day.

Legend has it that if the groundhog emerges from its den and sees its shadow, it will retreat, and winter will slog on for another six weeks. If it doesn’t see its shadow, spring will arrive early. Judging by the amount of snow we’ve had this week winter is far from over.

In the early darkness of winter evenings, I sometimes catch myself wishing the days away, yearning for the warmth and light that come with spring. Dark winter nights can have a distinct Groundhog Day feel to them.

As much as I’m excited for the sunshine ahead, I’m determined to appreciate the season that I’m in. This past Monday brought with it a slate of school closings, a massive dump of snow and sporadic white out conditions. After considerable debate about whether we should go out for our lunchtime stroll, Mackenzie and I forged out to enjoy a surprisingly pleasant walk through the winter storm. From the inside it looked foreboding, but once outside we were able to appreciate the beauty of fresh snow, enjoying the squeals of laughter rising from children playing gleefully in a snowbank as we passed.

I feel the bite of winter air as I step out each morning and am reminded of the gift it is to wake up and commute to work on foot.

Don’t get me wrong – I’ll take blue skies over grey and a surplus of sunshine over shovelling snow any day of the week. But I’ll continue to practice presence and find gratitude on even the coldest of days.

Regardless of whether the groundhog sees its shadow or not, I hope you will join me in practicing the art of being present, and find some little ways to be grateful for the season that we are in.

I don’t believe that chunky rodent is clairvoyant anyway.

Even in the greyest of winters, we can find windows of warmth and light.

I hope that now you have dug yourselves out from under, you too are able to pause and catch glimpses of the unexpected beauty that surrounds us.

Warmly,

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

Possibility of Wonderful.

Possibility of Wonderful.

Possibility of Wonderful

Have you met my husband Joe? AKA: ‘The Frenchy’s King’. His superpower is to hit any Guy’s Frenchys in Nova Scotia and within minutes, have his arms loaded with designer athletic gear that looks great!


Me? I’m not so lucky. On the few occasions I actually buy something for myself, I take it home only to realize the outfit does not at all match my imagination of what it would look like on. Think of me in a large paper bag. That’s the look.

However… I’m going to let you in on a secret that I haven’t admitted to many people… I go to Frenchy’s frequently to buy ridiculous amounts of gorgeous baby clothes. It’s become a thing.
I have an entire cupboard dedicated to tiny outfits, adorable sleepers, and little onesies. It is over-stuffed with a wide assortment of beautiful baby items, many of them new with tags still attached. I can’t make much sense of this, except to confess that I’m preparing for ‘the possibly of wonderful’.


I know its just around the corner! Whether it’s for a friend, neighbor, or a member of the family, I’m going to one of the first to show up for the celebration!

Not only that, but I’ve also developed my own style of packaging. Carefully creating wonderful baskets- assembling them like rainbows in a manner that brings me joy!

What ideas or themes do you play in your mind in the preparation of wonderful? Are you actively practicing it? Or silently rehearsing it? Our thoughts do create our realities…

Warm thoughts,

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

What’s your Thanksgiving Back-up plan?

What’s your Thanksgiving Back-up plan?

What’s your Thanksgiving Backup Plan?

It must be Friday, because once again there’s a potential storm forecast this Thanksgiving weekend.

I don’t know about you, but I’m taking special joy in finding hacks to dodge the weather. Turkey remains on the menu, but we don’t necessarily need electricity to make this meal a success. Slow-roasted turkey over a charcoal BBQ provides a heavenly smoky flavor that has spoiled me for life.

What work arounds do you have to ensure the potentially wet weather doesn’t dampen your spirits?

Although we all have our special ways of preparing this time honored meal, ultimately, we know that Thanksgiving is about so much more.

This weekend offers an opportunity to practice gratitude, for the richness of our lives, the people in it and the beautiful province and country that we live in.

Regardless of the weather I feel grateful!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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