Estelle Fisher, MA, LMFT
About a year ago, my friend, a native of Japan, surprised me with a visit to my home when he was in LA on business. When he arrived, he was carrying a bundle wrapped in an elegant scarf. Once he sat down, he offered to make me tea, and proceeded to unpack the bundle, revealing a beautifully painted tea bowl, the finest green tea artfully packaged, a bamboo whisk, a small bamboo spoon, and a small sieve, all items used in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. I was completely blown away by the deep honor he bestowed on me by performing the tea ceremony. When I asked him how I merited this honor, he disclosed that this year he was evaluating the relationships in his life, and that with this ceremony, he was reaffirming the importance of our friendship.
Fast forward to this past summer, when the call went out for LA CAMFT board members to indicate whether we will be continuing in our current capacities in the coming year. The time had come for me to evaluate my relationship to LA CAMFT as its Secretary and Sponsorship Chair, and to decide, much as my Japanese friend had done, whether this is a relationship I want to strengthen, or whether this is the time to let it go.
My desire to be of service has been my guiding principle in the 20 years I’ve been an MFT. I suppose that’s why I initially signed on two years ago as Secretary, and then spearheaded the sponsorship effort when that need became apparent. So, now that it’s time to re-up, I ask myself, “Should I continue to give so much of myself to LA CAMFT? What is the value for me in this relationship?”
The answer is: the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Under Randi Gottlieb’s gifted guidance and inspiration, our board functions as an interdependent body, one which respects and supports our individual functions while integrating them into a cohesive entity. I answered my own questions with the recognition that the “value in this relationship” is in the safety and support I receive for my own role in building and sustaining LA CAMFT, and in growing myself as a professional, and as a person.
This board has become my community.
So, yeah, I guess I will re-up.
Tea ceremony to follow.