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


Once In A Lifetime

Mumm Cuvée, Rutherford, California, USA

November 29, 2013



This essay, Once In A Lifetime, is the first in the eighth trilogy Questions For A Friend:
  1. Once In A Lifetime
  2. Fireside Chat
  3. Whole And Complete
in that order.
The first trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Prelude
  2. Ask Me Anything
  3. Coming Around Again
in that order.
The second trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Familiar Unfamiliar Territory
  2. Interview
  3. Straight Talk
in that order.
The third trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Dancing With My Mouth
  2. Cave Paintings
  3. Velvet Tsunami
in that order.
The fourth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Creating Creating
  2. Tell Me Something About Nothing
  3. Lucid Disclosures
in that order.
The fifth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Closer And Closer
  2. Tête À Tête
  3. Dancing With Life
in that order.
The sixth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. What Would I Ask You If I Could Ask You Anything?
  2. Wonderings About Nothing In Particular
  3. Tipping Point
in that order.
The seventh trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Beyond Breathing Underwater
  2. Bold Faced Truth
  3. What You Create For Yourself About Me
in that order.
The ninth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Questions For A Friend
  2. Nothing Else I'd Rather Be Doing
  3. Free To Be And Free To Act
in that order.
The tenth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Attracted To Dance
  2. I Told A Friend I Love You
  3. Terse Transformed Communication
in that order.
The eleventh trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Questions For A Friend XI I (working title)
  2. Questions For A Friend XI II (working title)
  3. Questions For A Friend XI III (working title)
in that order.
This essay, Once In A Lifetime, was written at the same time as Orchid Leaves.



Good Morning! It's a new day dawning. No, listen: it's not just a new day: it's a brand  new day dawning. This will be a brand new day for a conversation.

The languaging here is precise. I'm not saying it'll be just another  new day for a conversation (which, in some grammatical sense, I suppose you could also say is true). But the thing about regarding it that way is it has little or no power. Can't you hear the "Ho hum! ...", the yawn  in "... just another new day for a conversation ..."? Instead, this will be a brand  new day - literally, a once in a lifetime  opportunity to be with you. And it's completely irrelevant, really, if there've ever been any opportunities like this before or if there'll ever be another opportunity like it again: this  opportunity, today, right here, right now, is the  once in a lifetime oportunity to be with you.

In the space of who we really are individually, together, and for each other, there's a critical difference between having this be a brand new day, a once in a lifetime opportunity, distinct from just any other day. The distinction between them isn't merely semantics either. Rather, it pivots on who we're being  for it to occur for us the one way or the other. Said another way, the deciding factor  for whether it'll be a once in a lifetime opportunity or just another new day shows up  in the way I'm being. All it takes is the dawn to give another new day. But it's who we are who stands for it as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

So this once in a lifetime opportunity too, regardless of the fact that it's not the first, regardless of the fact that it won't be the last (there'll be more), is how we're being: it's a totally new, never been had before, fresh opportunity to speak with you, to be in a brand new conversation with you which touches, moves, and inspires anyone and everyone who's fortunate enough to be within its earshot (I include myself in this group, by the way). There's a danger, however: because I've done this before (which is to say because we've  done this before), there's a pull  to repeat what's been done before ie simply to do it again, and to make simply doing it again OK just because it worked last time. That's when cracks appear through which elements of taking it for granted  can creep in. It's very  pernicious. To not watch for that eventuality like a hawk is to insult the privilege of this conversation ie to be asleep at the wheel.

That said, I want you to know I'm committed that this time and all future times aren't simply "doing it again". What I'm committed to is this time and all future times will always be brand new. What I'm committed to is this time and all future times will always be brand new conversations, and never just another  conversation with you - as attractive as it may sound. I'm committed that each and every conversation presents a once in a lifetime opportunity.

The context for our next upcoming conversation, for the next opportunity, is now in place. Yet I'm still concerned I might not have been clear enough about the duration of this opportunity. Yes, its duration. So (to be clear): the duration of this opportunity ie how long it lasts, is my entire life. This opportunity will last for as long as I'm alive. When I call it a once in a lifetime opportunity, it's true it actually does happen only once in my lifetime. But because the duration of this opportunity is my entire life, this once in a lifetime opportunity literally lasts my entire life. This once in a lifetime opportunity, is lifelong.

I'm always in conversation with you. Always. There's only one lifelong opportunity to have a conversation with you once in a lifetime. There's nothing else.



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