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


Holiday Spectacular

Sonoma, California, USA

September 7, 2010



This essay, Holiday Spectacular, is the seventeenth in an open group Encounters With A Friend:
  1. Showing Up
  2. Poet Laureate
  3. A Man In The Crowd
  4. Real Men Cry
  5. A Different Set Of Rules
  6. Nametag: A True Story
  7. Half Life
  8. Waiting On You
  9. Erotica On Schedule
  10. A House On Franklin Street
  11. NeXT
  12. Reflection On A Window
  13. Here And There
  14. How To Enroll The World
  15. Demonstration
  16. Two Of Me II: Confirmation Not Correction
  17. Holiday Spectacular
  18. Hello! How Are Things Going For You?
  19. Regular Guy
  20. A Scholar And A Gentleman
  21. Images Of You
  22. With Nothing Going On
  23. Where No One Has Gone Before
  24. Attachment: Causeway Between Islands
  25. If You're Not Then Don't
  26. Images Of You II
  27. Living Where Life Is
  28. Create Me The Way I Am
  29. How Do You Spell The Sound A Ratchet Makes?
  30. You Don't Ask "Why Me?"  When It's Raining II
so far, in that order.




I know travel. I've traveled more than most people ever will. It didn't start out with me planning to break any travel records. It didn't start out with me planning anything. It started out completely innocently and continued turning out from then on.

Back in the day when it was safe to hitch hike, I stuck my thumb out at the side of the road. Soon forty years had gone by and I had traveled a lot. That's what happened. I'm probably the only person you know who's lived in different countries long enough to be granted the equivalent of a green card  by five of them.

There's a difference between travel and going on holiday. There's an intentionality with travel, a deliberateness. Travel is often hard work. It could be said what distinguishes travel from going on holiday is when you travel, you take yourself with you  to experience yourself in different environments. Going on holiday, on the other hand, is characterized by getting away from it all, by taking a break, by leaving the world behind  (if only for a few fleeting illusory  moments).

Then you introduced me to transformation. Afterwards neither travel nor going on holiday would ever be the same again. Now travel brings who I really am  to different environments. Rather than experiencing myself in different environments, the erstwhile travel experience, now when I travel I experience different environments in the light of who I really am. Transformation brings a subtle yet profound shift to travel. But it's going on holiday which is most powerfully impacted by transformation.

For starters, what's there to get away from?  Really. One of the breakthroughs of transformation is having it all be OK the way it is and OK the way it isn't. The futility of wanting to "get away from it all" is gone. You're the source of all of it. Wanting to get away from it all after transformation epitomizes being unclear on the concept.

I was a fly on the wall one day in the Franklin House listening you speaking. The conversation focused on a two or three people saying they wanted to take a break. Not just a five minute stretch break. They were saying they wanted to go on holiday. They were saying they needed  to go on holiday. They were saying they needed to get away from it all and rest for a while. In any other work environment, it would have been a normal request. In fact in any other work environment, it would have been a business as usual  request. But this  environment is anything but  business as usual.

It's so perfect, so human. We work. Then we need a holiday. "They sound like I used to sound" I thought - not sharing my thoughts with anyone.

Trunk Bay, St John, United States Virgin Islands
Trunk Bay, St John, United States Virgin Islands
You listen intently, your elbow resting on the arm of your chair, your chin firmly placed on your closed fist. You look straight at them, completely in their world. After a moment in which no one says anything, you ask them to do a most extraordinary thing. You ask them to close their eyes and go to the beach. Go to the beach?  In a meeting room in the top floor of a house overlooking a busy San Francisco street?

Some people get it immediately. Others look around puzzled. Nervous laughter titters. "Close your eyes and go to the beach" you say again, firmer this time, smiling. Slowly everyone realizes this is no joke, this is what you're going to do now. So they close their eyes and go along with you. It's much easier to ride the horse in the direction he's going. And if the horse is going to the beach, who's to decline and miss out?

I love what I'm seeing. Everyone in the meeting has closed their eyes. They're walking with you along a beach, a pristine beach. It's totally clear to me watching in awe that everyone in the room has gone to the beach on holiday. "Breathe in the salt air" you say. "Feel the sun on your shoulders and the sand between your toes. Listen to the waves breaking. Feel the water swirling around your ankles, the spray on your face. Feel the breeze. It's neither too cold nor is it too warm. It's just perfect  on your skin. You're rejuvenated, refreshed, relaxed. Hear the splashing sound as you wade in the surf, content.".

People are actually moving their feet (clad in socks and shoes) on the carpet as if they're dipping their toes  in the water to see how warm it is. It's totally amazing. You're creating an experience for people of being on holiday at the beach when in actual fact they're miles from the nearest ocean. And what's even more amazing is I can see their bodies relaxing. They're relaxing and the tension is falling from their faces just as it would after a holiday at the beach.

Then you say "OK everyone. Enough being on holiday. Open your eyes and get back to work!".

As I watch, people open their eyes. But they're not the same people they were a moment ago. This group is a completely different rejuventated, refreshed, relaxed group. I'd like to say tanned  as well but I'm afraid this artistic embellishment  will dilute my account of what you created. Yet there is  something new, something je ne sais quoi  like a new glow  which fits with "tanned". Most remarkably, no one is talking about wanting to take a break  anymore. No one is talking about going on holiday anymore, about needing to get away and rest for a while anymore.

"Get back to work" you say, your elbow resting on the arm of your chair, your chin firmly placed on your closed fist lit by a radiant smile. And they do. They get it. They're the source of it all. They're rejuvenated, refreshed, relaxed, and alive and rarin'  to go, having just returned from a most spectacular holiday.



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