President’s Message: Let Your Light Shine!

Randi Gottlieb
President, LA-CAMFT

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

It is truly an honor to have the opportunity to share some thoughts with you each month and I do so with a fervent desire to connect, to inform, perhaps even to inspire. This month, however, I am truly lost for words. What words can I possibly offer to the information-overload that you are bombarded with non-stop? What can I say that would be useful or comforting about what we are experiencing as individuals, as therapists, as a society, at this moment in time entering the last week of Election 2016?

You don’t need more information. You don’t need more analysis, and you certainly don’t need trite commentary about how we’ll get through this in the end. Yet, to say nothing, to ignore the topic altogether would be unconscionable.

While I cannot presume that my experience is yours, perhaps it is enough to simply acknowledge what is so: that we all – each in our own way – are profoundly affected. And of course, so are our clients. We not only are dealing with our own physical and emotional response to the unrelenting stress, but must also create and hold a safe space for our clients to do their inner work and when called for, to assist them navigate their external world.

And so I acknowledge the courageous warrior healer spirit in each of you. I give thanks to each of you for being part of our LACAMFT community! And I offer this poem by William Stafford beseeching us to reveal ourselves to each other. As Stafford says, “The darkness around us is deep”. And to this I say, “Never question how critical it is that you let your light shine!”

A Ritual To Read To Each Other
If you don’t know the kind of person I am
and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail,
but if one wanders the circus won’t find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider–
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give–yes or no, or maybe–
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.