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


If I Don't Love You Now, I Never Did

Chateau Montelena, Calistoga, California, USA

September 6, 2013

"Always be open to being related to everyone you have been related to."  ... 
This essay, If I Don't Love You Now, I Never Did, is the companion piece to Disengagement.

It is also the sequel to Open To Everyone.




Here's a new inquiry which, if you're bold enough to step up and engage with it, frees up tons of congested affinity and acres of suppressed past. This is how it goes:

Relationships start. Some relationships end. Some relationships never end. Some relationships which never end are intimate and intense and romantic. Some relationships which never end, aren't. When relationships end (especially relationships we don't want ended), we struggle to come to grips with what happened. When my marriage, for example, which produced my three awesome children (to distinguish which marriage I'm talking about - I've been married twice) ended, it took me a while to get up the verve  to look clearly and unflinchingly at what happened.

It's not that I neglected to look sooner at what happened. It's that at the end of a long, great, happy relationship, there's enough dislocation and enough sadness and enough being upset in the space to effectively cloud looking clearly. And when there finally was enough clarity (the point of which was reached I could say when I finally manned up  to confronting it, but really was just due to the healing properties inherent in the inexorable passing of time), what I noticed was it ended because it ended.

That's the truth. That's the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It ended because it ended. All the rest is embellishment and avoidance and denial and the blame game.

The question people mostly asked me (with good intention, I might add) is "What went wrong?". It's true: we really do  have it that when a relationship ends (especially a great one), something  must have (quote unquote) "gone wrong". Listen: I doubt that question's useful. And even if it implies something which is partially  true, I assert if we go down that tunnel, it may produce reasons and it may produce explanations but it won't produce power. Instead, what I'd rather like to look at is something which is much harder to confront:

Nothing  went wrong. Relationships that were  (which is to say relationships which ended) simply completed themselves. It's taken me a while to get that. It's taken me a while to get nothing went wrong. Once the dislocation and the sadness and the being upset was over (and if not totally over then at least sufficiently over  to no longer completely cloud my vision), I got nothing went wrong. They just ended. They ended because they ended. That's all.

That was the first part of this inquiry, which could have been subtitled "Why do relationships end?". They end because they end - it's that god‑damned  simple.

To continue:

When I look at relationships which ended, what I notice is I somehow get left with the pictures  of what the relationship looked like at the very end. Think about it: those are often the most acrimonious, the most confused, the most hurt  pictures of the relationship. These acrimonious, confused, hurt pictures of the relationship at the time it ended I then make paramount in my memory of the entire relationship. As I look back at any relationship I've had which ended, how I've etched the relationship in my memory is what it looked like when it ended  - with all the acrimony, with all the confusion, with all the hurt of that time.

I've had a breakthrough in this area of my life. It's truly profound. It's I don't do that anymore. What I've realized is that's just one  possible way of holding what happens when a relationship ends. And it just so also happens to be one way which produces being stuck  with the end of a relationship - which is to say being stuck with the entire  relationship.

The key for me to seeing other  ways of holding the end of a relationship, is to first admit (which is to say to first tell the truth)  that I'm the author of how I hold the end of a relationship ... because only when  I tell the truth that I'm the author of how I hold the end of a relationhip, can I regain power  creating many other possible ways  of holding the end of a relationship. In other words, I've discovered the key to recontextualizing  (I love  that word) any relationship which ended, is to recontextualize how I hold the way it ended. Gee! I hope you get that.

Saturday January 24, 1987
Werner Erhard
Here's one possible way, one potent, powerful tool I've devised for myself which recontextualizes how I hold any relationship which ends. I got it from something Werner Erhard proposed over dinner one evening when our conversation turned in that direction - which is to say I got it from something Werner Erhard proposed over dinner one evening when he got me to see something I wasn't seeing.

It's simple. It's always simple - but then again, once you know anything, it's always simple. The pictures of what a relationship looks like at the very end, aren't the only pictures of the relationship. The pictures of what a relationship looks like at the very end when it's often acrimonious, confused, and hurtful, are but one tiny fraction of the entire collection of pictures of the relationship. There are pictures of the relationship starting. There are pictures of the relationship gaining traction and becoming vibrant, vigorous, and vivid. There are pictures of the relationship being creative, alive, and pregnant with possibility. What I got from the dinner conversation with Werner is this:

Only  etching a relationship with pictures of its end, of its demise, when there are so many other great pictures  to etch it with, is eloquent testimony to how we're so easily overcome by feigned scarcity. In any long, great, happy relationship, there's a veritable plethora  of pictures of it. The pictures of the relationship when it ended are but one tiny fraction of the entire collection. Etch the ended relationship with any pictures but  those.

It works. It really works. Always be open to being related to everyone you have been related to. It doesn't do any good etching an ended relationship with pictures of acrimony, confusion, and hurt even if there was  acrimony, confusion, and hurt. When I do that, the only person who pays the price for doing so is me. I pay a price in loss of power, loss of energy, and diminished creativity. It's easy enough to replace the pictures with which an ended relationship is etched, with any number of other great pictures. Since I'm the author of how I hold the way a relationship ended, and since I do this by choosing which pictures will etch the relationship in my memory, I can recontextualize how I hold the way it ended (which is to say I can recontextualize the relationship which ended) simply by choosing a vibrant, vigorous, vivid collection of pictures from it, with which to etch its memory.

This not only recontextualizes past ended relationships in the present  but also recontextualizes them for the future, keeping possibility alive.

<aside>

Make sure you get keeping possibility  alive in this context has absolutely nothing to do with keeping hope  alive.

<un-aside>

That was the second part of this inquiry, which could have been subtitled "What are you left with when a relationship ends?". What I'm left with (which is to say what I'm left with now  after that dinner) is "I'll always love you" - and "If I don't love you now, I never did.".



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