We All Need A Place Where We Feel Welcomed

We All Need A Place Where We Feel Welcomed

We all need a place where we feel welcomed

My mother used to own an antique store in Rosseau, Muskoka.

Things pretty much shut down during the winter but as spring emerged, so too did the seasonal cottagers who invariably popped by her store for a quick “hello”.

What seemed like a chance encounter really served as an opportunity for them to announce that “they’re back”.

I realized that her store was so much more than a place where old things were sold. Antiques are about people’s stories, lives and histories. My mother’s role in this small village was to bear witness to her customers’ stories but also to serve as an informal welcoming committee for cottagers returning and opening up for the spring.

We all need a place and people who welcome us; someone with whom we can share the trials of winter as well as joining to celebrate the warmth and light of spring. We hope to create that experience for you here at Landing Strong.

Whether you’re attending our programs or you’re a friend who pops online to read this blog each Friday, know that you are an important part of our community.

Warm thoughts,

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

 

Gifts from the Universe

Gifts from the Universe

This month has been a bit challenging for me. My father’s health is declining, and as a result, I’ve made a few extra trips to Toronto in recent weeks.

On the last flight to Toronto, I wasn’t feeling particularly chatty. I sat beside a polished young woman. She was well-coiffed, armed in high heels, a white designer bag and immaculate make-up.

She didn’t make much eye contact, so I took it as my cue that we wouldn’t chat. I developed an internal story about who she might be based on her appearance. As we got up to leave, she stood and with her perfectly manicured hands passed me my bag from the overhead compartment, even though she did not have one of her own.

This thoughtful gesture prompted me to revise my initial appraisal of her. We chatted as we stood in line for our bags, and I learned that she holds a doctoral degree in genetic engineering and is dedicating her life working to develop drugs to cure hereditary illnesses. She was passionate, thoughtful, and inspired. My superficial impression proved to be very wrong.

This brief interaction encouraged me to be more open to the idea of getting to know people before judging them.

On the flight home, I felt exhausted, after five days in the hospital at my father’s bedside. An elderly woman, was sitting beside me, scribbling furiously into a journal. Her notes were organized and meticulous. Remembering my earlier vow, I threw her a line, asking if she was a writer. It turns out she holds a master’s degree in divinity and has spent the latter part of her life on a spiritual quest.

The next three hours proved to be a fulsome conversation around topics of Buddhism, consciousness, spirituality, quantum physics and mysticism. She writes under the penname Augusta. The conversation was good enough that I ordered two of her books. I left the plane feeling grounded, calm and appreciative.

I am grateful to the universe for sending both women my way. I wonder how often people of potential importance in our lives are sent to us, but we miss the opportunity to benefit from them because we are closed off or not looking.

I am renewed in my commitment to being open and receptive to what the universe has to offer. I hope you will do the same.

Warm thoughts,

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

Sending love and support to victims of the flood

Sending love and support to victims of the flood

Sending love and support to victims of the flood

We join you this afternoon with an acknowledgement of the hardship and loss faced by the people in our community, expressing thanks to the first responders who put themselves at risk assisting those who were trapped by flood waters.

We feel gratitude for those who are safe, and want to express our sympathy and support for those who have endured unimaginable hardship. Our hearts are with you.

In such challenging times, it is important to acknowledge the valiant efforts of the Brooklyn Fire Department, in addition to all other emergency, hydro, and road repair crews who worked around the clock to restore safety and order.

If you were part of this emergency response and are struggling, please feel free to reach out and give us a call. Know that we are here for you.

Warm thoughts,

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

Conversations that matter

Conversations that matter

Conversations that matter

We recently had a visit from Invictus Games athlete Darrell Ling. Darrell brought a yellow bench that he built out of completely recycled wood, which we are proud to have sitting by our front door. The Invictus Games introduced “The Yellow Bench” as a way of creating shared spaces for people – even strangers – to have conversations that matter. 

Athletes were invited to bring the concept of The Yellow Bench back home to their respective countries and communities.

In the Invictus Games, each athlete competes in 2 individual sports and a team sport. Darrell brought his competitive spirit to Archery, Sit-down Rowing, and Wheelchair Basketball where he successfully scored a basket in the final minutes of the game. 

Darrell shared that one of the most meaningful aspects of the Invictus Games was the opportunity to meet other athletes who understood his experiences, without needing an explanation. He described the implicit understanding amongst the Athletes of what it took to get there; something that doesn’t always exist in the civilian world. Darrell also noted with pride that the person in last place got the loudest cheers, something that warmed his heart.  Competing and finishing an event requires a tremendous amount of preparation, training, determination and courage. Not all accomplishments are marked with a medal, but this certainly doesn’t detract from the success. 

He was also thrilled to meet Prince Harry in person. 

We invite you to take seat and connect the next time you visit us. 

Warm thoughts,

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

Shouldering things together

Shouldering things together

Shouldering things together

Just because a problem has been around for a long time doesn’t mean it’s there to stay.There is something intimidating about an issue that we’ve been carrying for a long time. It can almost take on its own life. In my experience, the longevity of a problem does not indicate the difficulty it will take to sort it out.It is often a matter of looking more deeply, or through a different lens. This emphasizes the importance of not carrying things alone. By talking things out loud, and being open to new perspectives, it opens the door for change to occur. Positive shifts happen.If you have been carrying around a weight for a long time and aren’t sure how to get rid of it or lighten your load, we hope you’ll consider giving us a call.

Warm thoughts,

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

Preparing for the aftermath in Nova Scotia: how we can help

Preparing for the aftermath in Nova Scotia: how we can help

Preparing for the aftermath in Nova Scotia: how we can help

In times like this, it’s easy to feel powerless, wishing that we could do more. We are incredibly grateful to our first responders who have been working tirelessly over the past week to contain wildfires across the province.Being a small province, we feel the impact strongly when family, friends, or people in our community are facing undue hardship.For those who have been trained in first responder roles but are unable to work due to injury, the draw to active service can be particularly powerful.It’s important to remember that there are many lines to fighting a fire. There are those on the front, and there are multiple levels of invaluable and necessary supports who stand behind them.What each of us does makes a difference.

  • Family members of those who are on the front line are making sacrifices and staying supportive while those they love move toward danger.
  • Community members are opening their homes, readying beds and preparing meals for those who need them.
  • Businesses are contributing through food donations and free services
  • Many people are reaching out through text and using social media proactively to check on those they care about, offering support and letting them know they’re not alone
  • Farmers and friends are taking in livestock and pets, ensuring their safety. We heard of a local farmer who took in 200 horses that needed to be evacuated.
  • For the most part, people are using common sense, keeping out of wooded areas and following evaluation orders and safety restrictions as required.

Perhaps one of the most powerful things we can do, is to ensure that we are taking the time to have an open ear and heart for those who have been affected, understanding the varying emotions they will experience through this process.  As always, we stand behind those who serve their communities. We recognize that there are very real injuries that arise from such selfless service. As an organization, our mandate is preparing for the aftermath of such significant events. If you’d like to support first responders in accessing the mental health care that they need and deserve, please follow this link to donate.

Warm thoughts,

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