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The beauty of simplicity

The beauty of simplicity

Summer is often a time of travel and exploration.  This year will be no different.

I won’t be leaving the province, but instead will enjoy a staycation, looking more closely at the wonder of things closer to home.  

Last weekend, Joe and I walked a dark laneway near our cottage, surrounded by hundreds of fireflies dancing in the darkness around us.  It was our own miniature Canada Day celebration courtesy of Mother Nature.  Truly magical.

A few months ago, during a full moon, I managed to capture the above image on my iphone. If I hadn’t happened to wake up in the night, I would have missed it.

Tomorrow, a farmer’s market in Belleveau Cove will have my attention.  I’ve discovered that Tyler from Bear River has the best oregano bread I’ve ever tasted.  Bliss for a mere $5 a loaf.  In a few weeks’ time, we’ll be sea kayaking near Yarmouth, an area of Nova Scotia we’ve little explored.

Sure, there are things that leave me more than a bit uneasy if I allow my thoughts to dwell on them. 

The world is in an unprecedented state of unrest.  

I don’t know when I’ll next get to see my son, or extended family who live in Ontario.  

I just need to speak to my 87 year old father to be reminded of the meaning of resilience.  An artist, he is little perturbed by the state of the world, focussing instead on the incredible landscapes he recreates on canvases.  He understands the secret…  The beauty of simplicity.  Walking his tangled garden, capturing small glimpses of beauty, and finding creative ways of recreating them.  

Way to go dad, thanks for the inspiration!

Warm regards,

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

The joy of intentional living

The joy of intentional living

Have you ever placed a glass upside down in the sink while washing dishes?  Sometimes, it gets stuck.  A powerful force of suction holds it to the bottom.  If you are able to pry it up, water rushes in, quickly filling the vacuum or void that was created.

Most of us are experiencing significant upheaval in our lives due to COVID-19.  The hustle and bustle of daily routine is replaced by a strange new reality.  Maybe you are trying to work but struggling to find a quite space to do so.  Perhaps you have not been able to work or pursue your regular daily activities and find yourself stuck at home more than you would like.  One of the challenges we face is knowing how to intentionally fill the time so the default isn’t just whatever happens to be close by.  Hmmm, the gym is closed, so I’ll get a snack instead.  You see where I’m going with this?

If we are not intentional about how we spent our time, we run the risk of the vacuum being filled by whatever happens to be around.  It might be video games, Netflix marathons, excessive eating, alcohol consumption or cannabis use. Maybe you normally go out and socialize, but now you are finding yourself stuck at home.     

There has never before been a better time for intentional living.  What is that you might ask?  It’s the idea of structuring your day so that it falls in line with your values and beliefs.  It ensures you are doing what you can to feel pleased with the way you’ve spent your time.

Me, I’ve increased my creative time.  I’m painting up a storm, having fun replicating beautiful patterns on rocks.  I am starting a series called “Napkin prints”, copying beautiful patterns from napkins onto smooth rocks that I found at the beach. It gets me outside rock hunting, and is both relaxing and enjoyable copying beautiful pictures while listening to great tunes. Simple mindful practices such as this can go a long way towards restoring calm and a sense of order in a chaotic time.  I’ve made a short video to show you, which I’ll post below.  For those of you interested in learning more, we still have a few spots in our Healthy Living program, starting April 16.  Instead of meeting at our office, all of our courses will be offered online, and we’ll arrange for you to have a box of supplies needed in advance.  No fears, we are quarantining our supplies as we speak to ensure that they are germ free, both after we purchase them, and before sending them to you.  Even though these groups are being held virtually, spaces will remain limited.

Warm wishes,

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

If you want to go far, go together

If you want to go far, go together

Apparently there’s a toilet paper shortage in Nova Scotia.  When under stress, we run the risk of going into survival mode, taking care of ourselves while losing sight of the larger picture.  If I run out and buy a month’s worth of toilet paper tonight, chances are the old man who lives down the road who has run out will get none.

That’s the difference between community thinking and individual survival.  

If you want to go fast, go alone.
If you want to go far, go together
– African Proverb

Most civilians are not trained to work in high risk emergency situations.  It’s times like this that we truly appreciate those who are trained in risk management and emergency response.  They specialize in big picture thinking, operating from a position of prevention, resource and risk-management, and de-escalation.  

A large percentage of police work, for example, involves talking to people while calming volatile situations…

Step away from the toilet paper Ma’am… 

Ultimately, we all do better when we approach any situation from the perspective of the needs of the group. A panic response to stress might be a natural human instinct or response.  Learning how to cope with these instincts allows us to connect with our community in a supportive and meaningful way.

Warm wishes,

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

It’s all a matter of perspective

It’s all a matter of perspective

Last week was a bit of a rough one for me, and my brother, bless his heart, sent me flowers.

Touched by the gesture, I brought the flowers to work so that they could be enjoyed by all.  The first client who walked in the building noticed them immediately.

“Who died?” he asked.

The second person who entered the building was someone we’ve known for a while.  When she saw the flowers she leaned over, closed her eyes and took a deep breath.  Sighing, she sat down to wait for her appointment, a serene expression on her face. 

The exact same experience, but very different reactions.  Proof that emotions aren’t created by situations… rather, they are the result of how we interpret them.  It’s our thoughts that determine how we feel, not the actual events. The wonderful thing about this is that it gives us a powerful degree of control over how we experience the world.

If you want to learn more, give us a call or send a message.  We’re gathering names for out next Emotions group, starting in the near future.  If you’ve already taken the Emotions program, the Healthy Living course may be for you.  It’s a hands-on chance to apply all that we’ve learned to our daily lives.

Warm wishes,

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

The wisdom of tolerance

The wisdom of tolerance

I started reading Michelle Obama’s book Becoming this weekend, and was reminded that unless I have walked in someone’s shoes, I really have no way of knowing what they’ve been through.  Michelle speaks kindly of her stern and humourless Aunt Robbie who lived on floor below Michelle’s family.  If young Michelle and her brother Craig got too wound up, Aunt Robbie let them know:

Aunt Robbie would flick the light switch on our shared stairwell, controlling the lightbulb in our upstairs hallway, off and on, again and again- her polite-ish was of telling us to pipe down. 

Michelle’s parents took this in stride, reminding the children that even if they didn’t know the context, they were instructed to remember that context existed.

Everyone on earth, they’d tell us, was carrying around an unseen history, and that alone deserved some tolerance.

What incredible wisdom, to remember this simple fact.  If someone does something rude or thoughtless, I can assume it’s deliberate.  Alternatively, I can remind myself that I don’t know what’s been happening in their day, or what kind of life they’ve had.  I can tell myself that that seemingly unkind action may simply be out of context.

So the next time someone cuts you off in traffic, or is rude to you in line, it may help to send a request to the universe that their day will get better.  Wish them a bit of happiness in what may be a difficult day.

Warm regards, 

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

The things I’m thankful for

The things I’m thankful for

I like to take Thanksgiving literally.  A time for reflection, and gratitude.

The internet and news remind us that there’s a lot wrong with the world.
This weekend I plan to turn it off.
Instead, I want to think of the many things that I’m thankful for. 
 
Simple things, nothing earthshattering…

A perfect latte on a cold day

The tantalizing smell of a roasting turkey

The good company of family and friends 

Sun rays glistening off a water’s surface

The cry of a newborn baby

Crisp fall air and brilliantly coloured trees.

Picking perfect apples on a sunny Saturday morning.
 
Join me in thoughts of gratitude and plenty,
Warm thoughts and Happy Thanksgiving 

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