Magic Lamp

Magic Lamp

A few years ago I purchased a magic lamp for our Christmas table.

I loved it so much that I began bringing it out at the beginning of the month and illuminating the kitchen each night as we gathered for a meal.

It also proves to be handy for power outages, bringing a sense of wonder to what otherwise could be a cold evening.

My colleague Deb Eaton was so moved by it’s magical glow, swirling snow and vibrant red cardinals that she too had to have one. She shares that on cold days it makes her feel warm inside, bringing back memories of yesteryear. Deb bought a second one for her mother, as I did last year for my father.

I should really think about buying shares in the company given that such a simple item can bring such immense joy.

It’s a true gift to find joy in small packages and unexpected places. Do you have any items that do the same for you?

Warm thoughts,

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

Managing Triggers

Managing Triggers

“I’ve learned how to be in the present”
“How?” Asked the boy
“I find a quiet spot and shut my eyes and breathe”
“That’s good, and then?”
“Then I focus.”
“What do you focus on?”
“Cake” said the mole.
 
True confessions time.  When I’m in yoga, trying to clear my mind, I may not think about cake, but I do contemplate having a lovely London Fog at the café next to the studio when class is over.  It’s usually when I am really uncomfortable, experiencing the full force of my cardboard stiff body that I allow my mind to drift to more pleasant things.
 
It’s normal not to think about the things that are uncomfortable.  When we are at work doing uncomfortable tasks, that’s an essential skill.  Knowing how to unpack it at the end of the day, though, is often a skill that needs to be developed.

Warm regards,

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

Making the best of a bad situation

Making the best of a bad situation

How are you holding up?  These are uncertain times indeed.  
 
When I go to the grocery store, I like to play a game.  Which line is moving the fastest?  I scope out the cashiers, check out how efficient they are, how much they’re talking with their customers, and how full the carts are of the people in line ahead of me.  I’m talking about the sophisticated, mathematical equation that predicts grocery-store line waiting time.  Even when the lines are long, I can tolerate it if my formula predicts an acceptable outcome.  In a way, I’m inserting a degree of control over a situation which might otherwise cause internal stress.  
 
The current situation we’re facing is challenging, because there are many uncertain variables which seem to change on an hourly basis.  I haven’t been able to figure out the mathematical formula that tells me when life goes back to normal.  My gut feeling, is that this is going to be a long line.  
 
I tried asking google home to set an alarm for when COVID-19 will be over, a reassuring voice informed me that the alarm was set for 7pm the next evening.  If only it were so easy.  
 
So there are many things I’m not able to control, but there are others that I know I can.  I’m doing my best to create a semblance of normalcy in my daily working life.  I have been able to learn to use video conferencing for counselling appointments.  Not bad for an ol’ dog.  It may have been stressful, but I think I’ve got it.  
 
As for outside of work, I’m going to focus on those things I can control.  Doing art, organizing my house, planting an abundant garden.  I’m even thinking about trying to make crumpets from scratch.
 
Let’s make the best of this, we’d love to hear what fun things you’ve been doing to cope. 

Warm wishes,

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

The business of getting better: part 5

The business of getting better: part 5

The freedom of choice.
 
Many years ago I attended a work seminar where the facilitator spoke of the importance of developing a Plan B for any major venture you take on.  His words struck a chord, for at the time I was working in a federal penitentiary.  I wasn’t sure how long I would remain there.  Every day, I was surrounded by people who repeatedly reported how many years they had until retirement. 
 
“Good morning” they would greet me cheerfully, “only six years left ‘till retirement”.  

It was the institutional running joke, with people reporting the time they had left on their “sentences” prior to being released.  Like the inmates they were supervising, they were serving life sentences on the installment plan. 
 
This prompted me to develop a solid Plan B.
 
From that moment forward, every day that I went to work became a choice.  I could continue, or I could change, but I would not allow myself to complain about it because I had the freedom to exercise my will.
 
Even now, every day I go to work knowing that I have options.  My Plan B may not make much money, but it’s always less stressful and generally involves doing something creative. Somehow, that allows me to go to work each day with joy, owning the decision to be there.
 
It may be your Plan B involves taking time off work so that you can take proper care of yourself. That in itself is a plan.

Warm regards,

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

Love your muffin top

Love your muffin top

As I view the dark days of winter in my rear view mirrors and think about the months ahead, I find myself contemplating bathing suit season.  That’s right, the dreaded time of year when we’re held accountable for our mid-winter indulgences.  I admit it, I put on a few pounds.  My stomach isn’t flat the way I want it to be.  Could it be encroachment of the dreaded Muffin Top?

I found myself defaulting to considering quick weight loss strategies, accompanied by uncharitable thoughts about myself and unkind words about my body.  “There is absolutely no reason,” I think, frustrated with myself, “why I shouldn’t look exactly like I did in my twenties.  I just need more discipline!”  I seem to be overlooking the fact that I’ve had a few kids and it’s thirty years later.

Okay, I’m a psychologist, I should know better.  Enduring change is built on love and compassion, not hatred.  History holds countless examples.

But I’m still human. It was Mackenzie, my daughter, and our Landing Strong Director of Community Engagement and Wellbeing who reminded me of this.  I made a comment about being displeased with my muffin top, to which she replied:

“Remember, the top of the muffin is the best part”.

The wisdom of these words struck deep, for I know in my heart that I am in the best years of my life. Instead of internally criticizing, I’ll focus on practicing loving compassion.  A person who loves her body cares for it, exercising it regularly and nourishing it with whole foods and a rainbow of colour.  A person who struggles with their body doesn’t connect with it or use it much, viewing food as the enemy.  This makes enduring change very difficult.

I think our relationship with our bodies very much reflects our relationship with ourselves and with life in general.  With courage, love, and compassion, we’re able to leave the dark days of winter behind.

Stuck in the dark corner of judgement and shame, we remain immobile. Change escapes us.
I’ll think of you all as I wander the nature trails with my dogs, enjoying the buds of spring and bursts of colour.  I won’t focus on what I don’t want, but on what I desire, and allow that path to gently guide me forward.
 
Partners in recovery,

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

Getting out of your comfort zone

Getting out of your comfort zone

If you go on a trip, where do you like to go? 

To a beach resort, where cold drinks are brought to you by the side of a pool?  Or backpacking through a mountain pass, discovering tiny flower buds as they push their way through barren soil towards the sun?  

Do you like things packaged, and neat?  Or are you comfortable with uncertainty?  

This April, I plan to escape for a week to somewhere hot where everything is done for me.  Perfect. 

Next Summer, I hope to backpack the rugged coast of Newfoundland with some good friends, hopping from cove to cove searching for hidden gems.  I don’t know what we’ll find, but I know there will be great fun in the searching.  Being connected and together is an important part of the journey.  

I’ll get something different out of each trip.  At the warm resort, I’ll get relaxation and catch up on my reading.  On the adventure trip, I’ll probably be uncomfortable at times but learn more about myself and those around me.  That’s the trip I’ll most remember.  I need both, but if I don’t get out of my comfort zone I’ll stay pretty much the same.  

In any journey, we have the power to decide how much risk we’re ready to take on.  Increasing numbers of you are signing up for our workshops, and becoming involved with the Landing Strong community.  Even after one day, we see change.  

Life’s always smoother when things stay the same.  It’s in our response to disruption that true growth takes place.  

Take a moment to check out the workshops available this month. 


Warm thoughts from the Landing Strong Team,

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