Striving to be more

Striving to be more

Striving to be more

It’s easy to define ourselves in terms of our work.

Pushing hard, staying within a single lane, the temptation is strong to lose sight of the rich scenery and possibilities around us.

Last night my husband Joe came home beaming. He’d had a great night of hockey, stating that it may have been “his best game ever”. The night before that, he spoke excitedly about having had a great evening of tennis. Tonight he has a bit part as an Oompa Loompa in The KES Junior school’s rendition of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Joe seems to have mastered the talent of being many things. I’ve always been grateful that, come a zombie apocalypse, he’s on my team. At some deep level, he’s understood the importance of staying engaged in many diverse aspects of life, not simply driving in a single lane.

Getting and staying healthy is about diversifying our investments, not putting all of our eggs in one basket. I’m particularly aware of that as I approach the latter half of my life. Over the past year I’ve worked hard to deepen my interests, explore new hobbies, and challenge myself to discover things that might intimidate me. At the end of my life, I doubt I’ll be asking myself if I worked enough. Rather, I expect I’ll look to relationships, hoping I have been authentic, honest and trustworthy. Both inside and outside of my work, I never want to stop striving to be more.

Warm thoughts,

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

I am the work

I am the work

I am the work

People often speak about the discomfort they experience having to leave their jobs following injury. They’re eager to push through their symptoms, trying to get back to work as quickly as possible. The interesting thing is, pushing to speed up recovery often has the inadvertent consequence of slowing it down.

When it comes to recovery, you have to go slowly in order to progress quickly.

What does this mean?

Recovery isn’t a vacation as others might think. We all know it’s a period of time requiring intentional work.

Instead of asking yourself the question “When can I go back to work?” It might be more helpful to consider the following statements:

I am the work.
There is no other work.
Recovery is my mission.

Processing traumatic events is a part of being a first responder. If you don’t do it while you’re operational, you’ll likely be forced to take time off to deal with it later. It’s like putting off paperwork. It never actually goes away.

The skill of emotional processing is a necessary component of health but is something that is not often awarded the time and space it needs.

This my friends, is the work.

Warm regards,

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

Kicking isolation to the curb

Kicking isolation to the curb

Kicking isolation to the curb

We all know the darkness we deal with in our various lines of work. Intimate knowledge of trauma can separate us from others, at times, creating a divide from those who might not have shared experiences. Wanting to protect those we love from the details of the job, it’s easy to sit alone.

When in the job, people often face hard things together, working as team to overcome adversity. Following injury or end of service, the journey can become a lonely one. This loneliness can have devastating consequences.

It’s often easy to connect over lighter aspects of life, but more rare to find authentic connection over the challenges. Finding a way to communicate such intimate thoughts and experiences to others is not easy.

Trauma is connected to such deep emotion that it draws us in. Anyone who has done a group program knows how fulfilling and rewarding it can be. Leaning in together, we see not just the darkness, but also the light. In some of the most difficult moments can shine moments of courage, truth and beauty.

Recovery is about finding a place, and community that we can call home. Being willing to sit in the discomfort, with others, long enough to understand and transform it.

We hope that you join us on this journey. 

Warm regards,

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

Triggers or glimmers? It’s all a matter of attention

Triggers or glimmers? It’s all a matter of attention

Triggers or glimmers? It’s all a matter of attention

PTSD is a condition where our central nervous systems are constantly scanning for potential threats. It’s our brains’ way of keeping us safe. The problem is, it’s easy to miss the good stuff. By hyper-focusing on danger, we overlook signs of safety.

We may have a good sense of triggers, those are the people, places or things that create a sense of danger or unease.  In contrast, Trauma Specialist Deb Dana introduced the term glimmer to describe experiences that foster a sense of safety.  Glimmers are small moments that help shift our system towards calm. 

This month in our Maintaining Health group, we worked on recognizing Glimmers. It’s really about intention. Noticing both sides of the equation.

Hurricane Fiona created challenges for many. It also brought out the best as communities bonded together to help one another. A tree may have fallen on my veranda, but the plentiful rain produced the best crop of carrots I have ever had. I’ve never seen such abundance. That’s my glimmer.

If you catch yourself focusing on the threat or problem, take a mindful moment to balance the equation. Notice the simple things that bring you peace: the crisp fall air, colourful leaves, or pumpkin people dancing on the lawns of Kentville.

Don’t forget to enjoy the glimmers.Warm Regards,

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

The power of walking one step at a time

The power of walking one step at a time

ThT

The power of walking one step at a time

No matter how long your journey appears to be, there is never more than this: one step, one breath, one moment… Now.
               – Eckhart Tolle

Many of you who know me know that my family is strongly connected to Africa.  We’ve taken school groups to Kenya and Tanzania, both for community service and a trek up to the top of Kilimanjaro.  My son Kyle, my daughter Mackenzie, and I have done Kili twice.  Joe, my husband, eight times.  Each time, leading a group of trusting students.
 
Park rangers tell us that, generally speaking, half of the travellers who try don’t summit.  Our groups average a 98% success rate.  Here are some of the things we’ve learned that help:

  • Training takes time, and is done in gradual increments.  The journey is made one step at a time, one breath at a time. We start in September for a March climb.  Early training hikes are short, weight free, and low intensity. Over time we increase intensity, duration and load.
  • Working as a team increases the likelihood of success.  We train together, walk together, celebrate together, and struggle together.
  • No headphones are allowed.  By staying connected, we talk and encourage one another.  The strength of our team is directly related to the strength of the relationships with have with one another.
  • Every hike involves treats: something home-baked and yummy to look forward to.

Trauma recovery is like a personal expedition to Kilimanjaro.  I like to think all of the same principles apply.  Working together, we can significantly shift the odds in our favour.  As the guides say Pole pole (slow slow)…one step at a time.

Warm regards,

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

We’ve got this

We’ve got this

The wonderful thing about starting a New Year is that it’s a fresh start.  

This is the time of year when we reflect on who’ve we’ve been this past year, and who we want to be in the year ahead.  The ritual of making New Year’s resolutions is a cultural tradition that normalizes the act of publically declaring our intention to change- identifying the ways in which we hope to grow, and asking those around us to support us. 

Implicit in this is the notion that change is more likely to occur when we don’t do it alone

The trick is starting small and doing it in good company.  Together, we’ve got this.

Consider making us part of your change. Give us a call to see which programs might be best for you. There’s always room for one more.

Warm regards,

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