It’s a funny thing sitting down at a computer, composing thoughts that will be sent out into the universe. Who are you I wonder? What are you thinking? What are you feeling? Will I be able to write something that will make a difference in moments when you may feel tired or alone? Am I able to offer something that is helpful, or simply bring a smile? Normally, when I go out for coffee with a friend, I rely on my companions feedback to let me know how the conversation is going. It may be a smile, a glint in the eye, or a shared confession of the soul.
But when I look at my computer screen, it’s different. I imagine you, my on-line friends, busy in your lives, squeezing a quiet moment for yourself so that we might connect and hopefully find points of convergence in our lives. It’s those quiet moments of reflection that cherish, opportunities to dip into the well that nourishes us.
I think today I’d like to make you a cuppa tea, and offer you a freshly baked cookie. There’s something about the smell of fresh chocolate chip cookies that feels like home. Because they’re virtual, they’re calorie free, so you can enjoy as many as you like! Please sit with me as I welcome you into my heart.
Next week Joe and I are off for a well needed break in the Dominican Republic. My main goal is movement. That’s it, allowing my body to go anywhere or do anything without fear of time constraints. I don’t know about you but for me, one of the biggest challenges of aging is range of motion. If I don’t move enough, I lose myself. We’re taking our inflatable paddle boards so that we might explore and dip to the tune of our internal rhythms. By the time you get this blog, I’ll likely be out there, floating in the crystalline Caribbean. I’ll take a piece of you with me, and think of you all as I connect with the sun, the sand, the ocean breeze, and my quiet self. Thank you for enriching my community. For although I may be miles away, I know we are still connected.
Thanks as well to those of you who have offered comments and feedback, it means a great deal and helps guide the next discussion.
It’s a common question we ask ourselves, particularly during periods of change or transition. After years of service, taking off the uniform can mean a stripping of identity. “Who am I behind the uniform?” you may wonder.
Growing up, I dreamed of changing the world, somehow making it a kinder, gentler place. The older I grew, the more I understood this was not so simple. Today, my aspirations are more humble. Every night as I lay my head on my pillow, instead of judging whether I changed the world, I simply ask myself the following:
“Have I had a heartfelt discussion with someone today and felt a meaningful connection? Have I been a good person today?” If the answer is yes, then I sleep well. If not, then I‘m motivated to do something about it. It’s my belief that a series of meaningful connections leads to a mountain of change, and a whole lot of purpose.
So when you look in the mirror and wonder if you’re making a difference, I challenge you to ask yourself the simple questions. It’s my sense that the meaning and purpose will follow.
Warm wishes from the entire Landing Strong Team,
Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych. Founder, Landing Strong
Just before Christmas, I had the chance to accompany a competitive girls basketball team to a tournament in Arizona. In addition to watching some great basketball, my husband Joe and I had the opportunity for a hike up Camelback Ridge, a famous trail in Echo Canyon Park. As we passed the trailhead at 4pm, a park ranger warned us to be back down by 5:25pm. Confident and energetic, we forged ahead, making the steep climb to the peak by 5pm. At the summit, we stood proudly among a gathering of happy people enjoying the spectacular view. A friendly and hard-core looking hiker warned us that the 5:25pm deadline was real, and the park gave out tickets to anyone who is late getting off the mountain. We laughed and took a series of great photos to the warm glow of the setting sun.
Making our way down, we continued to take great photos. We started to be passed by a series of ultra-marathon looking types jogging quickly by. Enough runners passed that I started to think that maybe they knew something we didn’t: either, they were being chased by wild game; or the 5:25pm penalty was real. With a surge of energy, we started to sprint down. My husband laughed at me, as he’s never seen me scamper down a mountain slope with such glee. It had become a game – Belinda versus park ranger. With sixty seconds to spare, we made it across the finish line. I looked around to give the ticketing officer a high-five, but none was to be found. Enquiries with other hikers revealed that ticketing is a practice, but seldom enforced. However, the large number of foolish hikers stranding themselves up on the mountain after dusk with only their cell phones to guide them was real. The emergency response team is frequently called to help pull people out after they injure themselves after dark.
All in all, what could have been a stressful situation ended up being the highlight of my trip. Sometimes when we’re stressed situation, it’s hard to see the silver lining. Only afterwards are we able to reflect on the strength, courage or skill it took to get ourselves out of it.
Although I know the journey that each of you is on might be difficult, we hope that you are able to take time to catch the sunset or beauty that exists within it.
Warm regards from the entire Landing Strong Team,
Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych. Founder, Landing Strong
On Saturday night, my husband Joe and I had the pleasure of attending the Festival of Trees in Halifax. This black-tie event is a gala fundraiser for the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia. Each year, a forest of stunning trees is admired and auctioned off.
Joe and I have a tradition of bidding on the tree that is beautiful but isn’t being noticed. It often sits there quietly, waiting to be claimed, but for some reason is overlooked. Over the years, we have amassed quite a forest. With the opening of Landing Strong, I thought it would be nice to take one of our trees to the new centre. When I brought this up to Joe, I could see evidence of the love in his heart for all of our trees. Parting with any one of them would not be possible. The only option was to find another evergreen in need of a home.
We were successful. When I saw the tree, I immediately knew it belonged in our office and would find a home with us.
Along with the tree, we hope that many people might take root in our community. Like the enchanted forest, we will create something magical.
In the spirit of new growth, we would like to tell you about what’s in store for you over the next few months:
Today marks the launch of our program, “Care for the Caregiver”. This is the first in a series of day-long workshops. Don’t worry if you missed the first one, each is offered as a stand-alone.
In the month of December, keep an eye on your inbox for useful tips around managing the holidays in a healthy and low-stress manner.
Early in the new year we will be unrolling a menu of programs designed to support you on your journey of health and recovery.Connect with us onsocial media for news on these exciting initiatives.
Ps. Special thanks to Compass Group Canada for including us in this special evening.
Connecting with Belinda
Founder Belinda Seagram, Ph.D. shares regular blog posts to inspire you during your journey.