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



My Life In Front Of Me

Exertec, Napa, California, USA

December 24, 2011



When I was a child, the world was a playground.

It was exciting to go anywhere. Everything was new. My favorite things to do were the simplest. Going for a drive with my Dad in his car was a treat. It didn't matter where  we drove. Just looking out the window at the ever changing scenery captivated me. Playing in my tree house with my neighborhood friends pretending it was a pirate ship would occupy us for an entire afternoon. And as for sitting astride the armrests of our big, puffy couch pretending they were race horses, my sister and I could pass hours  ... galloping, galloping, racing, racing home ...

Every evening ended a year  of playing. Every night lasted forever. And every morning was the start of something fantastic. What I loved most about the morning was whatever was going to happen was always unplanned, surprisingly deliciously unpredictable. The morning and what it brought, was always something magical and new to look forward to. Clearly living was (and was intended  to be) a matter of creative play.



And Then ... "Something Happened"  ...



And then something happened. What happened to me changed everything. But if I digress and describe what happened to me personally, while it would arguably be a powerful share, it would also detract from the point I'm making - which is: when I say "something happened ...", I'm actually asserting something happened to me and  to you and  to every one of us.

Yes that is  a pretty bold generalization. So just try it on for size. Try it on that living, once simply a matter of creative play, was interrupted  when something happened. And what happened, happened to every one of us. No it didn't happen to every one of us at the same time. Neither did it happen to every one of us in the same way. But something did happen to every one of us which interrupted living as creative play.

Someone said something which was unexpected (it was probably shockingly  unexpected). Or something happened which threatened your survival - perhaps literally. It may have involved bodily harm. It may have involved an impact and a threat to your life itself. It may have been you were very disappointed - something didn't turn out the way it always turned out (at least, until then). Whatever it was, the entire equilibrium of your life was thrown into question, uncertainty, doubt, and disarray.

If you tell the truth about it, there was  at least one such incident in your life - probably more than one (possibly many  more than one). But the details of the incident, while relevant, aren't as important as what you did with it next. Or, speaking with rigor, the details of the incident aren't as important as what you did with what you concluded about  it next (bear in mind, what you concluded about it may not have been accurate).

What you did with it next is you concluded  something about the way living works and about how people are, based on the incident(s). What you concluded became your modus operandi. It became the way you operate. It became the way you are. It became the way you survive. It became more than that actually. It became set in stone. And it became set in stone forever. In fact, when you set it in stone forever, you considered it to be a good move, a clever move, an intelligent thing to do. At that point you had learned  about living. At that point you had made up your mind. At that point you had determined living wasn't ever going to get  you again, and you had learned how to ensure  living doesn't get  you again.

Yes you got smarter  from it. Yes you became a survivor  because of it. But in the middle of the night when you lay in bed, unable to sleep, in those moments when you can tell the truth  to yourself, you noticed living was no longer creative play. Living had become a struggle. And it mattered not whether you were losing the struggle or winning it (although you preferred to win it). What really mattered was something happened  ... after which you no longer lived your life as creative play. And you missed living your life as creative play. You missed it very much. And you would have gotten it back - if only you knew how  to get it back. But you didn't know how. You even became resigned  to not being able to live your life as creative play anymore. You told yourself it had something to do with growing up  - which you used to justify dismissing it. Then (which finally sealed its fate) you stopped questioning it.



Transformation



One of the miracles of transformation isn't what you get from it, because the truth of the matter is you get nothing  from transformation other than  a new realm of possibility. However, it's inside of  this new realm of possibility that an opportunity emerges to recontextualize  the past, as well as to recontextualize what happened in the past, as well as  to recontextualize what you concluded about what happened in the past.

If you give a moment of critical thought to what I just said, you'll notice I'm speaking about nothing less than real freedom.

Real freedom. What is that?

Freedom from what?

Freedom to be  what?

Freedom to create a life worth living. Freedom to live - drawing on the past, but no longer enslaved  by the past, no longer enslaved by what happened in the past, no longer enslaved by what you concluded about what happened in the past. Freedom to be. In fact freedom to live your life as creative play - once again ... at long last.

Given the past, given what happened in the past, given what you concluded about what happened in the past, the occurrence called transformation is simply not possible. And yet, given the occurrence called transformation, all  things are possible, including the erstwhile impossible, including the erstwhile impossible being free of the past, including the erstwhile impossible being free of what happened in the past, including the erstwhile impossible being free of what you concluded about what happened in the past, including the erstwhile impossible being free of whatever interrupted you living your life as creative play.



Living From The Future



What does it look like when I live a life which, before transformation, was impossible? What does it look like when I live a life free of the past? What does it look like when I live a life free of what happened in the past? What does it look like when I live a life free of what I concluded about what happened in the past? What does it look like when I live a life free of whatever interrupted me living my life as creative play?

I call this "living my life in front of me", rather than living my life behind me, rather than living my life from the past. I call this living my life in front of me, rather than living my life from what happened in the past. I call this living my life in front of me, rather than living my life from what I concluded about what happened in the past.

Rather than living my life from the past, rather than living my life behind me, living my life in front of me is living from the future.

Wait! If you heard me say "living into  the future", I didn't say that. That ain't it.

In the first place, living into the future is really living from the past  into the future, yes? So living into the future is really just the same old same old, yes? It's just more business as usual. In the second place, living into the future is really living into a "come what may"  future. Living into the future is really living into a "que sera, sera"  future (as Doris Day may have said).

Living from  the future, on the other hand, is living from a created future. It's living from an intended future. It's living from a chosen future. It's living from a future you love. Living from the future, from a created future, from an intended future, is (almost by definition) living a life you love. Rather than being stuck living into  a future lived from the past, a future lived from  is a future worth living into. It's real freedom.

This is my life in front of me: a future worth living into, real freedom. The possibility of my life in front of me keeps me up late at night, and drives me out of bed early in the morning. Once momentarily interrupted, it's all creative play again now.



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© Laurence Platt - 2011 through 2016 Permission