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

Snowflakes In A Furnace

Santa Barbara, California, USA

February 7, 2015

"Always be open to being related to everyone you have been related to." ...   speaking with Laurence Platt in Visits With A Friend VI II (Open To Everyone) 
This essay, Snowflakes In A Furnace, is the thirteenth in a group of twenty written in Santa Barbara:
  1. Santa Barbara
  2. Unbelievable
  3. Give Me Money (That's What I Want?)
  4. True Gold
  5. Getting Into Your World
  6. You Say Stop: About Resisting Transformation
  7. The Cavalry's Not Coming
  8. On This Team Everyone's The Leader
  9. Fireside Chat
  10. The Next Best Thing
  11. Full Circle, Full Spiral
  12. Truth, And What's True
  13. Snowflakes In A Furnace
  14. Something In The Air
  15. Vocal Prowess
  16. Flames In My Rearview Mirror
  17. Back Nine
  18. Chess II
  19. But And And II
  20. My Baby Girl, Now A Bride
in that order.

It is also the ninth in an ongoing collection with embedded Music Videos: I am indebted to my children Alexandra Lindsey Platt and Christian Laurence Platt and Joshua Nelson Platt who inspired this conversation, and to my daughter Alexandra Lindsey Platt who contributed material.

As any parent (I suppose) could attest, the particular group of conversations we have with our children, naturally call for an openness, for an honesty, for a straight no BS  reaching into the soul for the bone-searing truth which ordinarily doesn't see the light of day in our everyday business as usual  conversations. That assertion may even be understated. It may be closer to the truth to say this kind of bone-searing openness is actively precluded from  our everyday business as usual conversations.

with Alexandra - Harvest Moon (Neil Young)
I've looked at what might explain this. My goal  ("goal" is certainly not the best word for what I intend to say, yet in this context it's good enough for jazz)  would be to have total openness in all  conversations. But here's the thing: love and intimacy do not occur in every conversation. Yet to the degree I hold back ie when I'm not telling the whole truth, I can't love. And love, while not given in all conversations, is a given with my children.

Given the overwhelming overpowering experience of love I share with my children, any impediments to having this love present (which is to say the holding back, the not telling the whole truth), easily and so very naturally disappear like snowflakes in a furnace. The bone-searing is worth it. It really is the proof of "no pain no gain".

One of the greatest conversations I have with my children (or rather one of the great conversations they start with me) are the "Let's ask Daddy" conversations - as in "Daddy, what happened to you when ... ?" or "Daddy, how did you ... ?" or "Daddy, why  did you ... ?". And it's like a grand stirring up wind has come into my house and blown open all those closet doors and swept aside all the drapes revealing truths about myself and my life I've long forgotten I no longer tell - and which I still hold back. But they're my children. So I can not not  tell.

That's the way they get to know me: unfiltered, unwashed, unembellished, undramatized, and unpolished. It's when I'm sharing with them the answers to their "Daddy?" questions that they get to know me as their father. But it's when I'm telling the unfiltered, unwashed, unembellished, undramatized, and unpolished truth unflinchingly  while I'm engaged responding to their "Daddy?" questions, that we  (ie all of my children and I) get to experience who I really am. No man or woman, I assert, can introduce their children to the experience of who they really are without being willing to stand in who they really are themselves first. Just answering their "Daddy?" questions is delightful - but it isn't enough. It's in their experience of me unflinchingly meeting the questions fully  head on, especially the truths I'd rather not tell, which test my mettle (not a typo) as a human being.

It's easy to tell the good stuff, the heroic  stuff. It's what we don't want others to know about us which is harder to tell. And it's especially in the conversations I have with my children, when I get to confront that which is harder to tell, and weigh the choice of telling it anyway. The results are sometimes dramatic, life altering: it's in having the experience of telling that which is harder to tell with my children, that I get the possibility of being OK with telling it across the board in life. It is selective telling, after all, which is diminished authenticity. Being around and speaking with my children, my barriers to being authentic disappear - like snowflakes in a furnace.

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