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


Orchid Leaves

Cayetano Creek, Coombsville Appellation, Napa Valley, California, USA

Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 2013



"In Chinese art the Orchid symbolizes Love, Beauty, Elegance, Refinement, many descendants, and the perfect human being."  ... 
This essay, Orchid Leaves, is the companion piece to
  1. Contribution: Surrender
  2. You Say Stop: About Resisting Transformation
in that order.

It is also the sixth in a group of nine written on Thanksgiving Day:
  1. The Friends Of The Landmark Forum In South Africa
  2. Simple Things
  3. Full On You
  4. Regular Guy
  5. No Line
  6. Orchid Leaves
  7. Service: The Same Game Played In A Whole New Way
  8. Coming From Love
  9. Velcro Faces
in that order.

It was conceived at the same time as Axis Of Ecstasy.

It was written at the same time as Once In A Lifetime.

I am indebted to my father Asher Manfred Platt who inspired this conversation.




In Chinese art the Orchid symbolizes Love, Beauty,
Elegance, Refinement, many descendants, and the
perfect human being.

Chosen by Werner for his Up To Your Ass In Aphorisms
book cover.
Orchid Leaves

Hello! I'm an Orchid leaf in a breeze. I'm delicately beautiful, exquisite in fact. My beauty is the soft, elegant beauty. I frame and complement an extraordinary flower. I'm its protector. But when the breeze blows, I can't maintain control. The breeze always gets the better of me, moving me this way, blocking me that way, taking me away from that which I must frame, away from that which I must complement, away from that which I must protect. Try as I might, I can't overcome it. It breaks my will. I fail. Eventually I give over to it. I surrender. That's when I notice surrendering to the breeze doesn't cost as much as resisting it. That's when I notice I'm in better shape when the breeze stops blowing if I'd surrendered to it than if I'd resisted it. That's when I notice I've maintained all the control I thought I'd lost to the breeze. It's when I notice I've maintained creative control in surrendering to it. It's when I notice I love that breeze.

Hello! I'm a Willow in the wind. I'm bendy. I can bend. But I never owned my bend-ability (if you will) as a great  quality of mine - at least, not at first. At first, bendability seemed like no spine (literally), no backbone ie no strength (that's the macho  curse). The trouble is if I can't bend in the wind, it doesn't go well for me when the wind blows. I'll be bent anyway, no matter what I may think about bendability - and that's not totally satisfactory. Then I listened people, friends. "Bend little willow, wind's gonna blow you hot and cold tonight"  sings Paul. I know he's on to something awesome: what can you do if the wind's gonna blow you hot and cold, whether you consent or not? You can bend!  Yes ... you ... can ...  Man!  That's profound. You're a willow. Your true nature (waiting for you to discover it for yourself) is bendability. Ditch the macho illusion. You can bend. This  is who you really are. Bend, little willow!

Hello! I'm a pebble in a stream. My rough edges get in other pebbles' way. More than that, my rough edges get in my own way. As the stream tumbles me over and over, I'm in control, I'm out of control, in control, out of control, my rough edges bump, chip, and shatter against other pebbles, angering them, scaring them, angering me too, scaring me. I rail against my environment, against this stream my home which takes from me that which I've not given it my permission to take. The tyranny with which it takes it from me is enigmatic, sometimes confusing. Then eventually when I get it's a paradox, when the confusion lifts, when I'm no longer angry or afraid, I notice I'm smoothed - rounded and smoothed by the stream. I notice I no longer get in other pebbles' way. I notice everything's going easier. I ask myself, perplexed, "Why do pebbles in a stream resist this transformation for so long?" and you know there's no answer. For the first time, not having an explanation, not having the answer  doesn't bother me. I'm just glad it turned out this way - very, very glad.

Hello! I'm Laurence. Like an Orchid leaf in a breeze, a Willow in the wind, a pebble in a stream, my life (all our lives really) are variously moved, blown, and smoothed by Life itself. There've been two distinct phases in this lifelong inquiry which is my life. The first was stabilizing counteracting, and managing the impact of the breeze, the wind, the stream on my life - or at least, attempting to. Most of the time (when the truth is fully told), stabilizing, counteracting, and managing require resisting or taking a stand against  the status quo. In fact (as it turns out) things work better surrendering to the way it is, or (said another way) surrendering my life to Life itself. But that's not final either - and to hold it that way generates a false dichotomy where none exists. It's not I surrender my life ie who I really am to Life itself. It's that who I really am is the context  for Life itself, symbolized with carefully positioned Orchid leaves.



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