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




Relationships:

They Start, They End

Oakville Grocery, California, USA

December 17, 2018



"I hold this to be the highest task of a bond between two people: that each should stand guard over the solitude of the other." ... Rainer Maria Rilke

This essay, Relationships: They Start, They End, is the fifth in the open second group of Experiences Of A Friend (click here for the closed first group of thirty five Experiences Of A Friend):
  1. Friend, Partner, And Ally
  2. Go To The Beach
  3. Proof Of Life
  4. Going Out Like A Supernova
  5. Relationships: They Start, They End
  6. Evidence Of Source
  7. On Knowing When To Be Ordinary
  8. Letting Be
  9. Transforming The Untransformable
  10. There's Always The Next Piece
  11. Plastic Chandelier II
  12. Yes You Really Are That Big
in that order.

It is also the sequel to
  1. 100%: A New Paradigm For Relationship
  2. What Did You Do To Me?
in that order.

It was conceived at the same time as


I heard something totally liberating recently. Someone told me something that a friend of mine had allegedly said. When I heard it, it forever altered the way I look at relationships (with the emphasis here on "the way I look at" relationships - I'll expand on that soon). In one fell swoop, it took all the struggle  out of relationships for me. And listen: if you've ever experienced the break-up of a relationship or a divorce (and who hasn't?) then you've experienced struggle in relationships. In a dramatic stroke of an enormous brush, it forever altered the very context  in which relationships occur for me.

I wanted to know (no, I had  to know): did my friend really  say it? or did he not say it? So I asked him (the obvious thing to do). I told him what I'd heard that he'd allegedly  said, then I asked him pointedly "Did  you say that? or did you not say it?". He paused, looking. After a moment or two of silence, he replied "Laurence, I don't recall saying it ... but it does sound like something I would say.". Yes it does. We both agreed.

What he said (allegedly) was "Relationships: they start, they end.". Given the way I / we struggle to make relationships work (I'm not discounting that approach - I'm just setting it aside for the moment), there's an entirely new context  from which and within which to look at relationships, which goeswith  (as Alan Watts may have said) "relationships: they start, they end".

This isn't rocket science. It's true: relationships do start, and they do end - even though when I'm mired in struggling to make a relationship that's not working work, it's elusive to see in the moment that it really is that simple. Getting it, and allowing it to be, I exhaled a long, satisfied, sigh of delighted surprise and total relief.

Look: the sunrise on the horizon, a spring tide on a beach: they start, they end. And you can't interfere with those processes, and you can't impact their outcomes. More than that, even attempting to interfere with those processes will inevitably and only result in frustration. What you can  do with them (and what may be all  you can do with them) is allow them to unfold, and enjoy your experience of them. Now, if you said "But hold on just a moment, Laurence: the sunrise and a spring tide are mechanical  automatic processes!!!", then I'd say "Yes they are. And do you say human beings in relationships aren't  mechanical automatic processes??? Really?".

Listen: I want you to get this: secondarily I'm suggesting "relationships: they start, they end" implies they're delineated by, measured by, book-ended  by their start and their end times. In this case, both (they have a) "start" and (they have an) "end" are nouns. That much is trivial and obvious. For now, don't go there. Primarily I'm suggesting "relationships: they start, they end" implies an observable process in motion, exactly similar in its compelling automaticity to the sunrise and a spring tide. In this case, both "start" and "end" are verbs  - and all events seamlessly in between are compelling, automatic verbs as well. It's all one contiguous process.

Be careful: don't look at this like it's "the truth"  (it may be and it may not be). It's next to useless  if you look at it like it's "the truth". Rather try it on for size, like it's a place to stand and look at relationships, which gives the context for relationships. That's where it's awesome, freeing  power is derived. Make  relationships work, and without transformation, you're coming from doing  relationships. With "relationships: they start, they end", you're coming from the context for relationships. If there's ever a struggle in relationships, it's in doing relationships. There's never a struggle in being the context for relationships: it's here in which "I love you" is the bedrock.



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