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

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

You never know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been

You never know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been

“Don’t look back, stay in the present,” people may tell you, urging you not to dwell on the difficult times. 

Yet…like trickles of rain finding their way through creases in a rock, our minds revisit old scenes and emotions, replaying them in an endless loop that interrupts sleep.

It may feel like you’re haunted, having these old stories replay over and over in your head. In reality, it’s our brain’s way of pointing is to the things we need to examine in order to recover.

“You never know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been.” A wise man said to me recently.  Besides the fact that’s it’s a great lead line for a country Western song, it’s also true.  Our brains know that, in order to heal, they need to repeatedly return to the site of injury, working to make sense of what happened.  The problem is, when we do it alone, we tend to view our past the same way, over and over.   Knowing where you’ve been helps navigate the way forward.  Doing so in good company provides a fresh lens through which to view it.

Join the Landing Strong on-line experience.  Call now to register for programs starting in November and January. We’ll help you find your way.

Warm regards,

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

A waste of lime

A waste of lime

It’s amazing how two people can hear the same thing but interpret it in entirely different ways.

Joe and I were at the cottage recently, and he shared a line from a country music song he’d heard recently that he found amusing.  The song is by Ingrid Andress, entitled “Waste of Lime”.

“That’s disgusting!” I exclaimed.

“What, no it’s not, it’s funny” Joe protested.

“I don’t understand what’s funny about it” I respond, looking at my husband with a tight feeling in the pit of my stomach.

“Well, she’s singing about the fact that she and a fellow shared tequila, and at the end of the evening, he left her, leaving her feeling that it had all been “Just a waste of lime and a waste of time” Joe explained.

“Oh,” I respond, with a sigh of relief “I thought she was singing about the fact that someone had been killed.. but they weren’t  even worth the lime that had been put over the body”

Joe and I started at each other.

How is it possible that something as simple as lyrics to a song could have such different meanings?

Joe immediately understood the lime reference related to drinking. 

After years working at the federal penitentiary and reading through forensic files, the same ingredients had very different meanings for me.

Different experiences, and different lenses for interpreting the world.

It makes a huge difference doing work with people with shared experiences.  They’ve been there.  They get it.  What may seem dark in one context, is just business as usual in the next.  

Come to a place where you’ll be understood, whatever lens you’re viewing the world through.  We’re offering a number of exciting fall programs. Sign up  now in order to avoid disappointment.  Seats are filling quickly.

Warm regards,

Measuring growth

Measuring growth

On the surface, a young seedling looks fragile. In fact, it has likely spent a good deal of energy and time growing roots, and building strength even before it breaks the earth’s surface.

Trauma recovery is like that.  Chances are, a great deal of growth happens even before anyone notices.  When people come for their first group session or counselling appointment, they have usually started a change process even before walking through the door.  Merely deciding to make a change is a step in the right direction.

You may be unsure if you are ready to join a group, but the fact that you are starting to think about it is evidence that you may be further along than you think.  Some people may get a new plant and think it is just beginning.  In truth, we know that it has already had to prove it’s resilience by making it this far.

We invite you to imagine how it might feel to sit in a group with others who understand what it took for you to get here, as they have had to do the same.

A strand of trees grows stronger than a single seedling. 

This fall we are offering a number of groups. Something for everyone, irrespective of where they are in their recovery.


If you’re thinking you may be ready to join a group this September, give us a call.  

We’d love to hear from you.

Warm regards,

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

You do you

You do you

It’s been a few weeks now since we’ve been allowed out and I still can’t get my haircut. Things are returning to normal, but not for me.  My roots are exposed, clear as day for everyone to see.  I feel vulnerable, and less than my best self. 

Everyone around me is looking good while somehow I got left behind.  I even know someone who has had his hair cut twice already.  How did I end up I the slow lane, I wonder?

In groups, it’s inevitable that some members will recover quickly, while others, who do the exact same programs, may take longer.  It’s easy to fall into the comparison game, measuring ourselves by the progress of those around us.  

I do have a hair appointment, but it isn’t for three more weeks.  I tell myself it’ll be worth the wait.  I imagine myself emerging from the salon thrilled and confident with the transformation that will inevitably occur.  I hope you can do the same.  Do recovery on your time.  You do you, and don’t worry about the rest.  As long as you keep plugging away, it’ll come…in good time.

Warm regards,

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