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

"I Don't Get Sick Anymore!"

Connolly Ranch, Browns Valley, California, USA

October 17, 2018

"Health is a function of participation."  ... 
"Live a life you love." ... Landmark Worldwide
I am indebted to Camille Sanchez who inspired this conversation.

It's an extraordinary place, based as it is on an extraordinary idea, funded as it is (ie bequeathed to the community) by acts of extraordinary generosity. The best way to describe it is it's an educational ranch. Schools from miles around schedule days at a time for their pupils to participate in its programs. This is so much more than a day trip for them. It's even more than learning how a ranch operates, how crops are cultivated, how organic fertilizer is made, how farm animals are cared for, how to drive a tractor towing a plow. It extends all the way to getting an experience of character, of kindness, of being in communication, of being considerate of others.

Photograph courtesy Connolly Ranch, Browns Valley, California, USA
In its forested environs, there are mountain hiking trails, vast play areas which include so much more than the obligatory tire on a rope  swings. There are paddocks for sheep, goats, and ponies. There's a huge poultry house with its free-ranging population of chickens, hens, roosters, and turkeys. There's a big pond with its flocks of resident ducks, swans, and geese, not to mention wild waterfowl from hither and yon who fly in to visit. Imagine you're a bird. Wouldn't this would be a great destination for a rest stop during your migrations?

There's a covered outdoor area where arts and crafts projects are scheduled, sheltered from the fierce heat of the summer sun. And there are meeting areas at various places around the property where children and docents can sit and confer, either on bales of hay gathered around in a circle, or on benches made from roughly hewn logs.

I was sitting on one such roughly hewn log bench, speaking with a docent who conducts classes for the visiting children. I shared with her how much I love the place, how fortunate I think the children are who get to spend time here - not to mention how fortunate I think the staff are who get to spend time running its programs.

I asked her what she liked most about her work. She became quiet. I could tell she was looking to come up with the  thing to share to epitomize what she enjoys most about working here.

Was she going to say she likes working with children? Was she going to say she likes being outdoors? Was she going to say she's inspired to be on the team who run this bucolic facility? When she eventually did speak again, this is what she said exactly: "What I like most is since I started working here, I don't get sick anymore!".

What?!  Now it was my turn to be quiet. She didn't have to say one word more. She didn't have to qualify what she said any further, for that matter. Although others may have called for an explanation, with me she didn't have to explain it. And she did. Later. But she didn't have to: I got it totally. How utterly amazing: since she started working here ... "I don't get sick anymore!"  ... Wow! Just: wow. An extraordinary admission ... out of nowhere.

Living A Life You Love, Heals

What does that say about living a life you love? She said she'd had many jobs. She said before she worked here, she got sick a lot: colds, 'flu, lung and breathing issues (Napa Valley is ground zero for allergies, given the pollen and dust from its farming activities) ... you know, the usual gang of suspects. And then she changed jobs. But not in order to heal a sickness. No, she changed jobs because she changed jobs. She came here. And voila!  Now she doesn't get sick anymore. Change jobs, and get healed? Really? Look: you're not going to find that in Gray's Anatomy  (yes that is the correct spelling) or in The Lancet  articles on modern medicine, yes?

So what did happen? How did coming to work here, cure her erstwhile sicknesses? She said she doesn't know how that works. But I've got a pretty good idea about how it works - and it clearly does work. When you begin living a life you love and suddenly your health improves, you don't have to be an Einstein  to figure out why (and understanding why, by the way, in any case isn't required for it to work). What matters is something extraordinary becomes ordinary for us when we live a life we love. For some, it's the possibility of making a difference. For others, it's the possibility of being of service.

For her, it was the possibility of not getting sick anymore - in other words, it was the possibility of being healthy. For others, it's the possibility of taking their finger off the [Suppress]  button, and becoming fully Self-expressed, arguably for the first time ever in their lives. Indeed, perhaps it's that finger on the [Suppress] button which is the cause of all the malaises in our lives in the first place. And look again: that's not what's averred in Gray's Anatomy or in The Lancet either. It is I who's averring it here: I'm jus' sayin'  ...

By the [Suppress] button I'm alluding to suppressing who we really are. Why do we do it? We do it in order to be who we think  we are. We do it in order to be who we would like  to be. We do it in order to be who we think we should  be. My entire thesis is this: not being who we really are, is where all our malaises originate. It's in sharp contrast to being who we really are, and living a life we love. Living a life you love, is the catalyst which begins healing. Moreover it's congruent  with healing.

It's poignant that something so powerful, something so obvious, something so natural can sometimes take a lifetime to be realized, if at all. But doesn't that perfectly encapsulate us as human beings? We've learned to live as who we aren't, suffering as a result, yet staying stuck in justifying not doing anything about it. And that's at best. At worst, we adamantly aver there isn't anything we can  do about it. You don't even have to look closely to see that's written all over our faces. We assume the offer to enroll in the work of transformation and living a life we love, is a con. We don't realize all our malaises are proof of the fact that we've already  been conned.

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© Laurence Platt - 2018 through 2020 Permission