Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More

Coming From Love

Napa, California, USA

Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 2015

This essay, Coming From Love, is the fourteenth in a group of twenty one on Love: It is also the eighth in a group of nine written on Thanksgiving Day:
  1. The Friends Of The Landmark Forum In South Africa
  2. Simple Things
  3. Full On You
  4. Regular Guy
  5. No Line
  6. Orchid Leaves
  7. Service: The Same Game Played In A Whole New Way
  8. Coming From Love
  9. Velcro Faces
in that order.

It is also the sequel to Being Upset: This Side Of A Breakthrough.

She's one of my all time favorite people - definitely in my top ten, actually more like my top three. I love being with her. I love being around her. All my memories of every past time with her go straight to the heart. In my relationship with her (which is to say in my friendship with her) I know real, thrilling love, a love that's made me a better man, a better human being for having known it.

We were talking one day, relaxed in the comfort of each other's presence, reveling in the simple joy of just being together ... when suddenly something inexplicable happened, something you may relate to (and probably will), something you may recognize as one of the least pleasant concomitants of being human.

I said something essentially great which, not spoken clearly enough, was left open to being misinterpreted - which is exactly what she did. Then my response to her misinterpretation only compounded the error and made it worse ... and all of a sudden our easy conversation became (as if all by itself  ie as if out of control)  a full blown reactivated argument, a nasty confrontation, an ugly incident which for the life of me seemed to take on a direction all of it's own, a direction I certainly didn't want it to go in - and yet that's the direction it went in, sweeping both of us along with it. One minute there was love - the next minute there was a complete and total breakdown of communication. Right in the middle of it, there seemed to be nothing I could do about it except be swept along by it like a twig in a tsunami.

Somehow we got through the day. But try as I might, the fog of reactivation hung thick in the air. At the end of the day after she'd gone. I felt washed up and alone - literally, like a castaway unceremoniously dumped by powerful tides on an inhospitable desert island. Yet if there's any consolation about arguments between people who love each other, it's that there's less investment in wanting to be right, and a bigger interest in simply wanting to get over and past whatever happened. Clearly something happened. And the more I looked at it, the clearer it became: I said this, she misinterpreted it as that, I got defensive and instead of cleaning things up, I inadvertently made them worse, to which she also got defensive ... you know how it goes: a downward spiral in which everybody loses.

I wasn't interested in being right about what happened. OK, I was  interested in being right for about a minute  (I am machinery too - no surprise there), after which all I was interested in was getting our love back on track. I resolved to contact her and make sure the air (ie our  air) got cleared. But amazingly, before I contacted her, she contacted me and suggested we talk (I say "amazingly" because not only didn't I expect it, but I would have totally understood it if she didn't contact me). So we set aside time to talk - which we did: by phone, for almost an hour and a half.

There's no greater healer than conversation. We talked about everything, walking back everything that happened (which is to say walking back everything that was said)  leaving nothing out. To everything I said, I experienced her listening without judgement. I too was able to hear everything she said without judgement. There wasn't one moment of argument. There wasn't one moment without total mutual respect. She told me what happened for her, and I told her what happened for me. What's interesting is although we were obviously describing the same event, each of our versions of it were markedly different - that is to say, we each created our own version of it, markedly differently. "What happened" for each of us, is always a function of what we each uniquely say happened.

What I said to her in that hour and a half, wasn't more important than what she said to me, and what she said to me, wasn't more important than what I said to her. We're equals. The thing is that everything got said, and in the space of everything being said and out in the open, it all cleared up. Our relationship is in better shape now than it ever was before (I know that's hard to believe because it was in such good shape before ... but it's true).

What's great about this, is secondarily how everything got handled with dignity and respect, and is now complete, over, and in the past. But primarily, what's great about this is it underlines how many solid walls we can actually walk through with conversation coming from love, and how little of value we can get done without it. Also, I can now take this revised, completed photograph  (if you will) of the incident, and paste it over the original one that happened (I actually prefer this version).

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