President’s Message: Welcoming December

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We now enter the last month of the year, time to begin the process of saying goodbye to 2015. I invite you to join me in giving the year a thoughtful farewell, which paradoxically requires us to first stand in a place of welcoming.

Welcome to December. The first month of Winter. The month of Winter Solstice, when shortening days reach the year’s shortest; lengthening nights culminate in the longest, and “the sun stands still.” As explained in Wikipedia, the word Solstice is derived from the Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), because at the solstices, the Sun stands still in declination; that is, the seasonal movement of the Sun’s path (as seen from Earth) comes to a stop before reversing direction.

Welcome to standing still. To taking time to slow down, to quiet, to reflect and recharge.

And welcome to darkness, a time often shunned and feared, described beautifully by the poet David Whyte as sweet:

Sweet Darkness

When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.

When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.

There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.

The dark will be your womb

The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.

You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

Welcome to the quiet reflection that allows discernment…and welcome to courage, so that if and when it is right, we can let go of the people, things, and activities that do not bring us alive.

Welcome to the awe of the winter galaxy and to all the myth and lore born out of this season. To narratives that allow us to believe in the light when we find ourselves in the deepest dark and to believe in new life when all the trees are bare. To Demeter and Persephone, to candles that light for eight days, to doves and olive branches, to good food that nourishes, to fires that warm, and to gathering of friends, families and colleagues that embrace us with love.

In the spirit of the above, I hope to see you at the LA-CAMFT Holiday Party on Sunday, December 6th. I also invite you to reflect on what it is about LA-CAMFT that “brings you alive,” that serves and supports you in your professional life; and also to think about what is missing, what programs, speakers, workshops, activities you would like to see next year. Please share these with me at so that I can include them in our chapter planning for 2016.

Finally, I invite you to ask yourself if this might be the time to engage more actively and become more involved in the leadership of our therapy community association. If you want to get more involved, please contact me directly to explore opportunities. Also, look for the announcement about our Involvement Event to be held Sunday, January 10. Details to come.

Randi Gottlieb
President, LA-CAMFT