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

Getting Into Your World

Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara Pier, Santa Barbara, California, USA

May 9, 2010

This essay, Getting Into Your World, is the eighth in a group of sixteen about my daughter Alexandra:
  1. Alexandra
  2. Babe On The Freeway
  3. Light In The Night
  4. Alexandra II
  5. Santa Barbara
  6. True Gold
  7. Goleta Beach
  8. Getting Into Your World
  9. Fly Baby Bird!
  10. Celebration At Essaouira
  11. The Woman She Creates Herself To Be
  12. City Girl
  13. Vocal Prowess
  14. Lost And Found: A Tale Of Ownership, Loss, And Triumph
  15. Girly Girl
  16. My Baby Girl, Now A Bride
in that order.

It is also the fifth in a group of twenty written in Santa Barbara:
  1. Santa Barbara
  2. Unbelievable
  3. Give Me Money (That's What I Want?)
  4. True Gold
  5. Getting Into Your World
  6. You Say Stop: About Resisting Transformation
  7. The Cavalry's Not Coming
  8. On This Team Everyone's The Leader
  9. Fireside Chat
  10. The Next Best Thing
  11. Full Circle, Full Spiral
  12. Truth, And What's True
  13. Snowflakes In A Furnace
  14. Something In The Air
  15. Vocal Prowess
  16. Flames In My Rearview Mirror
  17. Back Nine
  18. Chess II
  19. But And And II
  20. My Baby Girl, Now A Bride
in that order.

I am indebted to my daughter Alexandra Lindsey Platt who inspired this conversation.

Photograph courtesy
Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara Pier, Santa Barbara, California, USA
Everyone shares the sense there's something special about family. There's something fundamental and proud about being  family. If family doesn't work, its unworkability carries with it a sense of profound disappointment. There's a sense it should  work - we expect it to. And if or when it doesn't work, there's a sense of surprise, of upset, of confusion, even of loss. There's near total universal consensus among all people everywhere that family not working isn't the preferred way of being.

If any other group in which you include yourself doesn't work eg your residential community, your work group, even your friends, while there's often a sense of dislocation, it's never as pronounced as the sense of upset, confusion, and loss when family doesn't work. If you examine this aspect of family closely, you'll notice the sense of upset, confusion, and loss when family doesn't work, comes on automatically. If you tell the truth about it, anything which comes on automatically isn't easy to distinguish. In other words, whatever judges family isn't working, is on automatic - and is therefore not easy to distinguish.

For this particular conversation, I'd like you to consider the possibility that "whatever judges family isn't working" IS  "family isn't working".

Sometimes family doesn't work; sometimes family works. Mostly there's no choice in the matter of family not working or of family working. Mostly family working just like family not working  is on automatic. When family isn't working, it isn't easy to distinguish. Yet surprisingly, what's harder to distinguish is what makes family work. Without transformation, the entire arena of family not working and / or family working, is almost always automatic no choice  machinery.

"Without transformation"  are the operative words here.

This point of view isn't for the faint hearted, nor is it for those with a sense of entitlement. It's not reserved for the pragmatic either, although they'll more likely grasp its implications sooner than most. It's simply available free to the committed and to the fearless.

All that's set aside when I'm with you. All that's no longer in play when you and I make time to be together, uninterrupted, undistracted, uninfluenced. There's nothing going on right now, nothing else exists right now outside of our conversation on this wharf on this pier in this town in this state in these United States here on Planet Earth in our solar system in this galaxy right here right now in our local neighborhood universe - you and I.

What sets any conversation with you apart, what elevates speaking with you beyond the realm of business as usual, what makes our interactions distinct from the usual filling the space with noise and gossip  which pass as sorry excuses for communication, is you allowing me to get into your world, you letting me in on what's really  going on with you, you allowing me to share your experience.

The way you are when you're with me alters how I am with you. The way you are when you're with me alters the very abstracts of what's possible for family. When I am alone, when I'm by my Self, I'm inspired by the tangible sense of what's possible for family. When I'm with you I get to experience  what's possible for family. When you're with me we get to live  what's possible for family.

In the space of your generous oneness, the ulterior motive that's often present like an unwanted overstaying house guest, disappears from whatever I'm talking about. Around you, all the "in order to"  vanishes from my questions. In the benevolence of the clearing you are, in the gift of the open listening you are for me speaking, and the open speaking you are for me listening you, my questions become simply tools I deploy to find out more about you, rather than to manipulate you or to sway your point of view to my way of seeing things. When I'm with you my suggestions are intended to allow you to stay present to whatever you're present to, rather than to make my ideas sound impressive, rather than for me to be right about something. When you're here, even my answers to your questions are reflections of what you're expressing, rather than things I think I know more about than you.

What you make available ie the way you be  with me changes the very notion of what's possible for communication. In the normal course of events at their worst, true communication is swamped by the rising tide of combatant opinions. At it's best in the normal course of events, true communication is eclipsed by helping, fixing, changing, reworking, and even by disagreeing or agreeing - none of which, by the way, create the opportunity for true communication to occur.

True communication occurs in your  space when you allow yourself to be, eschewing all sense of vulnerability, eschewing all ense of fear, eschewing all sense of embarrassment. True communication occurs when you allow me to get into your world. What I say about your world is immaterial. My opinion about your world doesn't matter. It's the mere fact that I can get into your world, thanks to your unflinching  permission, which allows true communication to happen.

When true communication happens ie when you allow  true communication to happen for us, I experience it as a personal gift. When you allow me to get into your world by sharing openly, vulnerably, without embarrassment, unflinchingly, I experience it as a personal gift and a blessing. When it happens with you my family, I experience it as a personal gift and a blessing and a privilege.

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