Los Angeles Chapter — California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
Los Angeles Chapter — CAMFT
Reflections on Change
These past few weeks have seen so many changes in the world, our country, our families, our jobs and our own personal lives. Life seems to have come to a standstill. No eating or dining out in restaurants, all sports events cancelled, no Summer Olympics, no movie theaters, no live theater venues, doctors’ offices closed. We must practice social distancing, keep a 6-foot distance between ourselves and others. There can be no more than 2 or 3 people in an elevator at the same time. I was walking on Santa Monica Blvd. yesterday on the way to an appointment, and a woman walking at the corner frantically waved me away as if I had the power to do her great harm.
I laughed in shock and sadness, sad because I felt as if I were in a science fiction world like Stranger in a Strange Land, where I couldn’t “grok” what was going on. I’ve been told change is good, but does it have to be so drastic? I want to return to my comfortable schedule, my fun networking events, my gym, dining out with friends, going to the supermarket without having to stand in line for 30 minutes before I even get in the door and still not find any toilet paper!!! How in the hell is all this change good? Will we really come out of all this with positive results for ourselves and planet Earth?
Yes, I believe we will. This is a time to pause, take a deep breath, or many, as long as we don’t hyperventilate (a little dark humor, sorry). Seriously, we need to ask ourselves what we can learn from this sudden standstill in all our lives. What must we do now, encased in our cocoons, isolated from our friends, co-workers, clients and activities, to emerge with a deeper understanding of why we are here on this Earth? I realized during my spiritual studies in my 20s that life is a schoolroom and we have chosen to come here. I must have done something really bad in a past life to create this karma. OK, as you can see, a healthy sense of humor is absolutely necessary to make it through the “best of times” and especially through the “worst of times.”
But does this really have to be the “worst of times” (Thank you, Charles Dickens). This seeming “dark night of the soul” may actually be the best thing that ever happened to our country, the world, our families, and ourselves. I love the phrase I am hearing on TV newscasts: “We are Americans and we will get through this together.” But in addition to that, we are first of all spiritual beings in a human experience. In order to get through this life and grow in character and moral strength, we must go within to that center of wisdom, peace and serenity and listen to that still, small voice of our Higher Self. This Voice will guide us through any unfamiliar territory and seemingly daunting challenges, like the COVID-19 virus.
As a psychotherapist, I must be centered, calm, positive and supportive of my clients as they experience the fears and changes brought about by the virus. If I am not practicing mindfulness and walking my spiritual path, how can I possibly guide anybody to a place in mind where they can draw upon their positive beliefs and exercise wisdom in their physical, mental and emotional life?
I received a text this morning from a client who has confessed to me many times that he is fearful and expects the worst, although he participates in life by running a very successful business, has raised a family and travelled the world. In his text, he warned me that “it’s getting closer . . . a friend’s wife is in ICU in critical condition.” He won’t come to my office nor see anyone socially, nor even use Skype for a session. I knew I had to respond, so I just sat for a moment and asked myself what would help this man.
The answer came really quickly. Just share with him what you are doing and have been practicing for 40 years . . . remembering my Source and surrendering my fear to the faith that my Higher Self has this covered. So, I wrote him a simple text, reiterating what I have often said to him in session, that we rise above the problem and find the solution metaphysically. He texted me a thumbs up. Something I wrote hit home and reminded him of his true spiritual self.
Leila Aboohamad, LMFT, is a psychotherapist practicing in Brentwood, Santa Monica and West Los Angeles, California. She specializes in helping individuals and couples create successful, committed loving relationships. She has studied and practiced spirituality and mindfulness for over 35 years. Leila also works with gifted, talented and creative adults helping them to identify and share their special gifts and passions with the world. Website: www.leilalmft.com.
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California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists
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