President’s Message: Welcome Winter

Randi Gottlieb
President, LA-CAMFT

Welcome Winter. Welcome December. It is time to write my last President’s Message of the year and bid farewell to 2016. We will never forget this year. It will go down in history as a defining year for our nation and for each of us. Exactly how, is still to be determined by who we are and how we respond personally and professionally, individual, and collectively.

As I shared with those who attended the Appreciation Dinner last month, I am supported at times like these by poets, and Leonard Cohen is one whose profound lyrics are so perfect for this moment.

I shared an abridged version of his song, Anthem, In my opening comments at the Appreciation Dinner last month. I want to share the complete lyrics with you now.

The birds they sang
At the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don’t dwell on what
Has passed away
Or what is yet to be

Yeah the wars they will
Be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
Bought and sold
And bought again
The dove is never free

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything (there is a crack in everything)
That’s how the light gets in

We asked for signs
The signs were sent
The birth betrayed
The marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood
Of every government
Signs for all to see

I can’t run no more
With that lawless crowd
While the killers in high places
Say their prayers out loud
But they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up
A thundercloud
And they’re going to hear from me

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

You can add up the parts
You won’t have the sum
You can strike up the march
There is no drum
Every heart, every heart to love will come
But like a refugee

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in
That’s how the light gets in
That’s how the light gets in

Next Sunday LACAMFT will kick off the season with our Holiday Potluck! We are so privileged to be able to come together in support and in celebration when so much of the world is plunged in darkness and chaos.

This is the time of year that we come together to celebrate our joys and our accomplishments, to install our new board of directors and to enjoy the camaraderie of friends and colleagues. We truly have had a great year! The Olympic Collection has been a wonderful new home for us. We have had engaging and informative speakers and mega-generous sponsors. Our chapter membership is increasing and our reserve account is growing; our chapter infrastructure is strengthening, and our technological capacity is developing! We initiated a Leadership Skills Development workshop series and offered three free workshops to members. We rebooted our 3000 Club with a dynamic leadership team, our Special Interest Groups continued to create affinity communities within our larger therapy association, and sponsored numerous successful gatherings and workshops.

That said, the work we do as marriage and family therapists, psychotherapists, expressive art therapists, social workers, psychologists, healers, counselors, mediators, and coaches, isn’t confined to the office, clinic, or agency. It exists in context. Life got a lot tougher for our clients this year and we know it’s going to get even harder for many years to come.

What does that mean for us? How do we meet the challenges we need to face as individuals in practice, as a profession, and a community? What are the most important issues we face and how can we build our capacity to face them? I know I am not alone when I feel overwhelmed by how daunting the task before us is. I know too that the way forward is to be together and to be in action. Mohandas Gandhi said “It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your lifetime, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing.” Studs Terkel said, “Heroes are not giant statues framed against a red sky. They are people who say: This is my community, and it is my responsibility to make it better.” June Jordan said, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” Leonard Cohen sang “ring the bells that still can ring/forget your perfect offering/there is a crack in everything/that’s how the light gets in.”

Gratitude to all for the work you do every day to provide education, treatment, and healing to the children and families in our community. None of us can do this work alone. We are stronger together. If you are not already, now is the time to join! Now is the time to get involved, to offer your time, your voice, your talent, your unique perspective. Now is the time to step it up and give whatever you can contribute, to shine your light so that our cumulative light shines brighter.