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


Nothing But The Truth

Islandia, Long Island, New York, USA

St Valentine's Day, February 14, 2003



This essay, Nothing But The Truth, shares my completion with my mother Andee and hers with me.

It is the companion piece to The Whole Truth, which shares my completion with my father Asher Manfred Platt and his with me. This is The Whole Truth and Nothing But The Truth.

It is also the second in a group of nine on Parents: It is also first in a group of six written on St Valentine's Day: I am indebted to my mother Andee who inspired this conversation.




Photography restoration by Ana Paula Monteiro Tavares
 Zolezzi
Andee Platt

My mother Andee and I had a relationship which grew from negative to zero, so in a way, you could say that we made progress. But there never was any hope for possibility in our relationship.

I called her "Andee", her first name. Even though she requested it from time to time, I never called her "Mom". If I wrote to her when I was traveling, I would sign my letters "Love, Laurence" or "All the Best, Laurence". I never signed "I Love You, Laurence". The formality was appropriate to the space of our relationship.

Whenever we did speak, she seemed to misinterpret so much about me that I couldn't respond to and wasn't willing to respond to. I never told her I wasn't willing to respond to being misinterpreted. I was disempowered by not being totally gotten by my mother. But the apparent alternative (to fight to be correctly interpreted) seemed to be the worse of the two evils, so I didn't deal with her at all on that level. I had no urgent calling nor pressing urgency to complete it with her. The Zen of it was our relationship was the way it was. I stayed in the status quo. It was OK with me.

My father Asher Manfred and I, however, had a completely different relationship. There was nothing left unspoken between us. The completion and the love between us was rich and full. Inspired by that, it slowly began to dawn on me that a similar completion was possible with my mother too. And so I set out to make it happen, yet I had no inkling of where to start. I looked for something I could take responsibility for.

Not knowing where to start, I started in the middle. I told my mother I had been covert by not making it clear to her I was unwilling to be misinterpreted. I apologized to her for not making it clear to her. By not making it clear to her, I left her with no choice in the matter of how she could be with me. I told her I took full responsibility for the condition of our relationship. I said she didn't have to take any responsibility for the condition of our relationship, tainted as it was by me being covert.

Along with whatever was lost in the relationship my mother and I shared, I had never included her in insights I'd gotten in the space of the relationship between my Dad and I, as he and I became complete when his time on Earth drew to a close. In fact, until then I had simply regarded my Dad as "my Dad". The fact that he was also my mother's husband, lover, friend, confidant, companion, provider, and protector was so far down my list of priorities as to be insignificant. Sensing an opening for possibility, I opened up to her and shared with her what my relationship with my Dad had become and how it had gifted me with completion and freedom of the most awesome kind.

I apologized to my mother for not visiting her more often than I did and for not telephoning her more often than I did, especially during my Dad's final months. I confessed I didn't telephone as often as I could have, not because I didn't want to speak with my Dad (which she had assumed), but rather because I didn't want to speak with her  (which I had withheld from her). I'm not proud of that truth about my life. Yet it was the truth about my life, even though it wasn't an honorable truth about my life. In sharing it with my mother, I gave up that dishonor.

We both got our not being close came at a huge cost. The cost it came at was my Dad not having me around more in his final months, and me not being around him more. The cost it also came at was me not being around my mother more, and her not having me around more. I apologized to my mother for that. She got it, and in the space of my apology, we both experienced closure.

My mother has never participated in Werner Erhard's work (neither, for that matter, did my Dad). Actually, it's more than that: my mother is a stand not  to participate in Werner's work. That's a confront for someone like me who has not only enrolled literally thousands of people into Werner's work but who also started Werner's work in South Africa when I went there in 1979 out of a promise I made to Werner, and led the first ten seminars there in the major cities and enrolled the first thousand people there. In spite of that, I didn't guard my vocabulary with my mother, even though I had some concern the language of possibility wouldn't be gotten by her.

I told my mother (and remember, she's not a graduate) the possibility I'm inventing for myself and my life is the possibility of being accepting ie giving her the space to be whichever way she wants to be, saying whatever she wants to say in whichever way she wants to say it. I told my mother the possibility I'm inventing for myself and my life is the possibility of being open and non-judgmental, and I asked my mother to forgive me for not giving her that space until now.

I told my mother I appreciate everything she's done for me. I told her she got her job done with me. I was referring to the fact that she got her job of raising me done in such a way that my life has turned out truly great, and by that I mean extraordinary. That was her job as my mother - to raise me so I could have a great and wonderful life. She got her job done, and I thanked her for doing it. I thanked her simply for being my mother, and (for the first time in years) I called her "Mom" rather than "Andee", and (for the first time in years) I told her I love her.

She said to me:

<quote>

I do feel close to you, Lar (her term of endearment for me), as close as I felt to Dad and as close as I feel to Anthea (my sister) and Bang (her term of endearment for my brother, Brandon).

I regret very much that the last two visits of yours here did not allow the two of us to have a talk - as we once did in a coffee shop in Napa (Napa Valley in California where I live). I will always remember that hour or more as a rare occasion. I spoke to Alexandra, Christian, and Joshua (my three children). I noted how composed they were, and I know that greatness will be theirs, in life and in happiness.

The photograph of you on the fifteenth anniversary of your marriage certainly shows how happy you are and how much love you share. I enjoyed the Christmas messages from you.

I Love You, Lar. I always have loved you, and always will. I know how difficult I have been, and I have worked very hard to change that. I love you, I always have and always will.

<unquote>

That's my Mom. I love her just the way she is and just the way she isn't. I wouldn't change one single thing about her now. And it's OK with me she hasn't participated in Werner's work. Totally.

When nothing but the truth is told, I wouldn't have the life I have today had my Mom not gifted it to me. There's clearly not another human being who's ever walked the face of this Earth whom I can say has gifted me like that like my Mom.



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