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

Know Where Your Body Is At All Times

Oakville Grocery, California, USA

October 21, 2018

"Life is kind of like a Monopoly game, and you can't play a Monopoly game unless you have a piece - a Scottie dog* or a top hat, or whatever it is - and in life, I need one of these, and a personality, and a mind, and all of those things."
This essay, Know Where Your Body Is At All Times, is the companion piece to I am indebted to Joan "Joani" Culver who inspired this conversation.

If you're a frequent visitor to the amazing Cowboy Cottage, it would be a scene you'd have seen (double entendre intended) often enough: I'm sitting at my writing table in front of the picture window, compiling these Conversations For Transformation, looking out every now and then onto the cattle pasture and the sunset (or the sunrise or the moonrise, as the case may be), then returning to my work at hand, alternating between the two. That's what the environment would look like if you came in just as new ideas were forming.

There's nothing unusual about this. These ideas kind of form by themselves - that is, if I get out of my own way long enough and far enough to allow them to form by themselves. I push back in my chair, letting them form, watching them form. That's how most of this works. If I'm asked "What are you writing?", the authentic answer for me is this: "I don't know. Really I don't. Not yet anyway. But when it's written, I'll read it. That's how I'll find out. That's when I'll answer your question.".

The chair I sit on when I write here like this, is a typical common or garden variety wheeled Office Depot  grade-A vanilla cubicle chair. I stand up, still reading what's appearing on my computer screen, reaching behind me absent-mindedly (literally) with one hand, for wherever I assume the chair's armrest is. It's not where I think it is. I, absorbed in the emerging ideas, am not giving its location my full attention. Pushed, the chair rolls out of my reach, away from being able to support my body weight. The next thing I know I'm almost on the floor, barely regaining my balance in time. Not a trip. Not a fall. No, simply not paying attention to where my body was located in the physical universe. I'm not hurt, just shaken up  a bit. It's instantly, abundantly clear to me how I endanger my body by not being fully aware of / responsible for it. Being absorbed in the emerging ideas, doesn't get me off the hook of being responsible for where my body is in space, and what I'm doing with it.

This essay isn't about falling. Yet topically, as I age (gracefully, I hope) and as my friends age, there's more talk than there's ever been before about people falling and hurting themselves, especially at an age when no one ever really wants to fall and hurt themselves. No, this is about paying attention to where my body is ie where my piece  is, about being in charge of it, about knowing where is at all times - in a word, it's about being responsible  for it. I'm discovering maintaining this awareness, is transformational. It's life-altering. It brings intentionality back into my life and living when my natural tendency to take my body's location for granted, leaves it vague.

Here's what I'm discovering: placing my piece on the Monopoly  board game of life, isn't arbitrary. It's not kinda-sorta. It's very specific. It's very deliberate. It's very intentional. It's either exactly on the square it should be on (ie on Mayfair  or on Oxford Street  or on Old Kent Road  if it's the British version of the game, or a utility or a railroad) ... or it's not. And if it's not exactly on the square it should be on, then I'm not in the game. There's no gray area.

So if you play Monopoly, know where your piece is at all times. If you don't, you can't play the game. Like that in life, you must know where your piece is at all times. When I say "know where your piece is at all times", I mean know where your entire  piece is at all times. Don't focus on one part of your piece and so be distracted from the whole. The thing is to not let the head directed at the computer screen, distract from the hand blindly reaching for the wheeled chair, inadvertently pushing it out of reach. Maintain awareness of your body as a whole  inclusive of all its parts. It's not merely knowing where my arms are. It's knowing where my "body/arms"  are. It's not merely knowing where my legs are. It's knowing where my "body/legs"  are. Know where your body is at all times. Your entire  body. At all times. Really.

* ... or "Scottie dawg"  - if I recreate that rich, deep, Philadelphian accent.

Communication Promise E-Mail | Home

© Laurence Platt - 2018 Permission