President’s Message: Autumn Reflection, Elections, and Ritual

Randi Gottlieb
President, LA-CAMFT

As we enter the month of October we become increasingly conscious that we are nearing the end of the year! October marks our last regular Networking Event of 2016, followed by our chapter’s Appreciation Dinner in November and Holiday Party in December. October is the month we will be sending out election ballots to chapter members to vote on the slate of LA-CAMFT Board of Directors for 2017. Though there will only be one candidate for each position, your vote is important as confirmation of your support for the slate of officers. The ballot will also offer you an opportunity to share your thoughts about what you value most about LACAMFT and your ideas for changes or additions to our current programming. In the coming months, the board and I will be entering a time of deep reflection as we assess the progress we made this past year, review the feedback that you provide us in your return ballots, and begin the process of setting our intentions and goals for the coming year.

As conscious citizens, we enter October with heightened awareness of the vulnerability of our democracy and the extraordinary significance of November 8th, the day we cast our votes in an election that will determine the course of history not only for our country but for the entire world.

October also marks the beginning of the “season of holidays”, several months chocked full of celebrations and ceremonies, both religious and secular, including but not limited to the Jewish New Year – Rosh Hashanah, the Islamic New Year – Hijra, the Day of Ashura and Muharram, Yom Kippur, Halloween, Day of the Dead, Thanksgiving, Mawlid an Nabi, Solstice, Christmas, Chanukah, Kawanzaa, and finally ending with the secular calendar’s New Year’s Eve.

With the holiday season in mind, the Expressive Arts Special Interest Group chose October to be the month to calendar a workshop on Conscious Ritual. Ritual is a subject very close to my heart and I am very excited to finally be offering an experiential workshop teaching how to create conscious ritual in our personal lives and in practice with clients.

Cultural anthropology tells us we are meaning seeking animals; that every human culture, regardless of time or place, has been concerned with questions of meaning: who are we, why are we here, what makes life worth living, what happens when we die? Both physical anthropology and psychology tell us we are relational animals dependent upon each other for survival. If we are lucky, we start life with a healthy attachment to a primary caregiver and from there, are able to form relationships with others in ever wider clusters: extended family, community, tribe, and clan. These clusters fill a fundamental need for relationship, identity, and belonging. For millennium, we have gathered around the fire for warmth, security, council, storytelling, passing down traditions, and ritual. And as times change, so does the meaning that we attach to our experience. Creating conscious rituals allow us to re-envision family traditions and holidays, rekindling and deepening their meaning and relevance in our lives. Conscious Rituals can also be created to honor and support our life milestones, transitions and rites of passage.
As you enter the month of October, may the falling autumn leaves remind you of your own life transitions, the letting go that precedes new growth. May you look with new eyes upon your holiday traditions and create ceremony that speaks to your heart.