President’s Message:
Wishing You an Endless Waterfall — Inviting You to become part of the Water Cycle

Randi Gottlieb
President, LA-CAMFT

I invite you, kind readers of our Los Angeles therapy community, to join me in greeting the new year, and thank you for understanding that my salutation does not have the celebratory spirit of the customary “Happy New Year.” Though we leave 2016 with a simple turning of a page on the calendar, we cannot leave our grief for the many artists, poets, singers, and philosophers who will not follow us into 2017. We cannot leave the images of violence and inhumanity from Aleppo, the Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Orlando, and San Bernardino; the spray-painted swastikas, church arson, police shootings, or militarized attacks against unarmed, peaceful water-protectors. Precisely because we carry these images with us, and as mindful people, are attuned to the impending difficulties to come, it is paramount that we enter the new year well-grounded and fully resourced to face the days ahead.

In a recent post, and homage to Princess Leia, Elaine Miller-Karas, LCSW, wrote, “The Star Wars Saga is art and mythology and reminds us of the power of the FORCE within all of us…the best way of going forward is to remember the FORCE that is possible for each and every one of us that we can ignite and persevere when faced with grief and despair…we can build a reservoir of the antidote to the Darth Vaders of the world.”

This is exactly where LACAMFT comes in. LACAMFT can be part of the reservoir that we build together to resource ourselves so we can do the work that we have chosen and committed ourselves to do as healers and therapists.

Holly Near, American singer-songwriter, teacher and activist, wrote a song that was formative to me back in my college days in 1974. The chorus goes:

It could have been me, but instead it was you
So I’ll keep doing the work you were doing as if I were two.
I’ll be a student of life, a singer of songs
A farmer of food and a righter of wrongs.
It could have been me, but instead it was you
And it may be me dear sisters and brothers before we are through.
But if you can work (live, die, sing) for freedom,
Freedom, Freedom, Freedom
If you can work for freedom
I can too.

Back then, Holly’s verses commemorated the lives of the Kent and Jackson State students protesting the invasion of Cambodia who were shot down by the Ohio National Guard, the Chilean poet and guitarist Victor Jara who was killed, Pinochet’s Junta, and a Vietnamese woman in the jungle who “studies late into the night, defends her village in the day”

Over the years, as other sisters and brothers have been killed, new verses have been added. There is one for Karen Silkwood, “If you can speak for freedom,” and the most recent, for the victims of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, “if you can dance for freedom, I can too.”

Holly Near’s message, is as meaningful to me today as it was 40 years ago. The way to keep the essence of those who have died — those whose spirit, work, lyrics, or leadership so deeply touched our lives — is to continue to sing their songs, recite their poems, champion their causes.

So my friends, as we enter the new year, let us be mindful to take care of ourselves, the caretakers. I entreat you not only to do individual self-care, but to support the community that supports you! Take an active part in the synergistic process that sustains our chapter and by doing so, there will be plenty of water in the well to for all to drink. For the waterfall to continue to feed the river, it must be resourced by a reservoir or alpine lake. But the lake would not be able to source the waterfall were it not for the precipitation of rain and snow that falls from the clouds. And the clouds could not release rain or snow, had they not first been filled with moisture that had evaporated from the river. And so it goes.

My new year’s wish to each and every one is that LACAMFT be for you “an endless waterfall, spilling over, over all” (click to hear Chris Williamson circa 1975).