Leading with Gratitude: Meet my friend Kenneth Kamyuka

Leading with Gratitude: Meet my friend Kenneth Kamyuka

Leading with Gratitude: Meet my friend Kenneth Kamyuka

During a recent trip to Toronto, I took an Uber in order to transport a load of groceries to my father’s home. My good-natured Uber driver, Kenneth, struck up a conversation as we drove. I asked him if he enjoyed being an Uber driver and responded happily:

“I love it. As a newcomer to this country, I find Canada full of opportunity for those willing to work hard.”

Kenneth went on to explain that he had immigrated from Uganda. He shared a story of his first arrival in Canada thirteen years earlier:

“You see, I was assigned a case manager to help me settle. The first time we met, she handed me a cheque for $730. I couldn’t believe it. That represented 3.2 million shillings. I asked her ‘when do I have to pay it back?’ and she said, ‘you don’t…we will give you a check like this each month until you find work’.”

Kenneth explained that he could not believe he received such a warm welcome, counting himself lucky to come to such a caring place. Hailed as one of Uganda’s top cricketeers, Kenneth later came to play on Canada’s national cricket team.

Kenneth was truly an unexpected spark of joy in the middle of a busy day. The conversation reminded me of the importance of moving slowly, taking the time to notice people, places and all things good around me. I was pleased to meet Kenneth, and proud of the manner in which Canada welcomed him. For all of those of you who have worked so hard to help maintain our freedoms, rights and privileges, my encounter with Kenneth served as a reminder of the power of gratitude in transforming lives.

Warm thoughts,

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

A community of support

A community of support

A community of support

This week Jen Whalen and I had the pleasure of visiting the Hantsport Fire Department to offer training on Strategies for Staying Healthy and Strong in First Responder Roles. What a great turnout and discussion! The new fire station was gorgeous and the reception warm and welcoming. We’re excited to be working in partnership with our local first responders, having the opportunity to talk strategy regarding injury prevention and recovery. Special thanks to Training Captain Jennifer Daniels for inviting us.

Landing Strong is a hub of positive energy this month. This week we have 48 people enrolled in our intensive programs with our online Emotions Program drawing participants from three different Atlantic Provinces.

Date Night is this Thursday 6-9 pm: For those who are interested it isn’t too late to enroll. Come have an evening of fun, creativity and connection with your loved one – Dinner is on us!

Maintaining Health is next Thursday. Please call ahead to reserve your spot.

I look forward to our Board of Directors Annual Retreat this Saturday. We have a fantastic group of dedicated volunteers who, led by Board Chair Shawn Hiscott and Facilitators Julian Young and Tara Burley, will be working on enriching the long-term vision and strategic plan for our organization. Watch our website soon for a new section introducing all of our Directors.

No moss growing on these rolling stones!

Warm thoughts,

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

A call from the universe

A call from the universe

A call from the universe

Hello, I am suffering from severe ptsd, anxiety and depression and am feeling stuck. I need to do something but don’t know what. Are you able to help?

There it is. A call from the universe. Someone who, after years of contemplation, manages to muster the courage to reach out. These are the spectacular moments of bravery that inspire me.

I imagine a solitary soul, standing on a cliff shouting to the universe:

Hello, is anybody out there? Do you hear me? Do you see I am suffering and that I’m alone?

We’re here. I call back. We can’t see you but we hear you. Where are you? Come join us. You’d be welcome and there’s room.

January may be a month of cold, but it warms my heart to meet new members and welcome them to our community.

New programs are starting next week. Virtual and in person. It’s not to late it you’re interested. Just drop us a line or give us a call. It just takes a few moments of courage.

Warm thoughts,

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

Resiliency isn’t a bullet proof vest

Resiliency isn’t a bullet proof vest

Resiliency isn’t a bullet proof vest

How do you define resilience? Many might think of a titanium vest that deflects bullets or adversity: a protective shell that protects from harm.

Recently, I have come to understand resiliency as something softer, sweeter.

It’s the ability to work through emotions rather than shutting them down.

To be able to slow down time when the world around us is speeding up.

It’s about making space to really talk and listen to the people who are important to us, asking for what we need and learning to be emotionally present without judgement.

The work of resiliency happens behind close doors, in sharing circles.

Injured Veterans and First Responders often complain that they are too quick to experience sadness. They view it as evidence of injury since they used to be able to “turn their emotions off.”  Me, I view it as a sign of recovery.  Emotional availability is resiliency starting to take shape.

A wise First Responder recently shared a Thomas Edison quote with me that captures the notion of resiliency quite succinctly: Most people miss opportunity and look over it because they don’t recognize it looks like overalls and hard work.

Together, we ‘ll strap on our coveralls and not be afraid to stir up some dust. Ultimately that’s what allows clarity.

But it’s not all about hard work. We also need to have fun. We’re excited to announce the launch of our new program Date Night. It’s a chance to reconnect with the fun, playful side of yourself and enjoy a stress-free evening with a close friend or partner. Join us for an evening of creativity, conversation and connection. The first Date Night starts on Thursday, October 13th from 6-9 pm. Thanks to the support of Employment and Social Development Canada, there is no fee for this program. Light refreshments are provided.

We are also registering participants for our second round of Creating Confidence Clarifying Strengths, scheduled to start November 1, 2022. This feel-good program is receiving rave reviews and has no fee thanks to the generous funding of ACOA.

Call (902) 472-2972 or email info@landingstrong.com to register.

Warm regards,

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

Hope is just around the corner

Hope is just around the corner

There they are.  Crocuses, snowdrops and daffodils, pushing their way to sunlight, oblivious of everything that has transpired during this past year. 

With reassuring predictability and beauty, they remind us that hope is just around the corner.

Stay the course.  

Take a moment to breathe in the fresh fragrance.

Notice the rich colours.

Like prickly bears after a long hibernation we’re eager to be roaming freely.  Reconnecting with long lost family and friends.  I vow to remain patient, tolerant and kind, grateful for the vaccinations that will once again return a semblance of normalcy to our lives.

Giving thanks to all those who have worked so tirelessly to keep us fed, healthy and safe.

Warm regards,

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

What if we were royalty?

What if we were royalty?

Recently I’ve been enjoying the television series The Crown, and find my thoughts returning to a scene where Queen Mary explains to her granddaughter the young Queen Elizabeth, the importance of remaining impartial: 

“To do nothing is the hardest job of all. And it will take every ounce of energy that you have. To be impartial is not natural, not human. People will always want you to smile or agree or frown and the minute you do, you will have declared a position, a point of view…and that is the one thing as Sovereign that you are not entitled to do.”  “Well that’s fine for the Sovereign… but where does that leave me?” Queen Elizabeth responds sadly.
 
It strikes me this conversation is not limited to royalty. Many of us are in service related professions where we routinely perform duties that may not be in line with personal beliefs or preferences.  Putting on a “game face” is part of the job, and a display of emotion can compromise our ability to do so effectively.  

Soldiers are asked to go onto the battlefield, defending a cause they may not believe in. They do not have the privilege of evaluating whether they want to advance when ordered to do so.

Police are asked to place themselves in the midst of violent situations, working to protect those who, a moment earlier, may have been threatening them.

Paramedics repeatedly respond to calls at the same house for drug overdoses.

To be of service means, by definition, to put our needs aside and tend to those of others.  There comes a time, though, when we need to put ourselves first.  Recognizing what we are experiencing, and finding a safe place to work through the emotional residue.

Only then do we truly care for ourselves.  Separate and distinct from the work we do.

Warm regards,

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