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

Stepping Into People's Lives

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, and Auberge du Soleil, Rutherford
California, USA

Cinco de Mayo, May 5, and 25, 2016

"There are certain things that I think you have to be willing to be responsible for when you step into people's lives."  ... 
I am indebted to Jubal Raffety who inspired this conversation.

Almost everyone who participates in Werner's work experiences a spontaneous, enthusiastic urge to share what they got for themselves, with their family and friends and the people they love - with everyone  actually, but especially with their family and friends and the people they love. It's true. Really it is. What that is, is a natural correlation of people experiencing being free to be, then having mastered the access  to being free to be - arguably for the first time. And even though I say "almost  everyone who participates in Werner's work" and not "everyone  who participates in Werner's work", the actual number is in any case a disproportionate percentage of people who experience that spontaneous, enthusiastic urge to share what they got, compared to another similar group of people participating in almost anything else.

This facet of transformation is widely known. It is well documented. It goes with the territory. As Werner points out, "If you don't take it out into the world, you didn't get it in the first place" - to which I'd like to add this personal observation: if you got it in the first place, it  will take itself  out into the world by  itself. Really. It will.

So there I was, sharing something with someone I had just been introduced to, an attractive woman I liked immediately. It was something I'd gotten about being fully awake to the possibility of who I really am, something I got when I first participated in Werner's work almost forty years ago. It is something which has always stayed incredibly valuable for me. She listened, looked at me, looked away, then looked back at me again ... then said "That's funny", a quizzical look on her face. "What is so funny?" I asked casually, certain I hadn't made a joke (at least not intentionally). "What's so funny is I don't remember either asking you or paying you to train me?".

It was like I had run into a brick wall. We all know what that feels like. It is one of the worst things for me when I'm coming from full, unbridled enthusiasm, only to have someone stonewall me, or make me wrong, or simply not get  me, yes? I blanched, stopped in my tracks. I felt horrible, thwarted, deflated. Yet the truth of the matter is she did me a great service (it's more than that actually: it's she changed my life). In that moment, I realized I had to look beyond my own enthusiasm, and instead look into the listening of whomever I'm speaking with, then speak directly into that listening if I'm ever going to share this work really effectively with people.

There is a dance  that is called for in sharing transformation. What I mean by that is: to share transformation effectively with you, my speaking needs to be in a dance with your listening. I'm clear (at least now  I'm clear) it is not enough to merely speak transformation, albeit enthusiastically: if it is not being listened, I'm just wasting my time - and yours. And as for the cause  of it not being listened? It's less likely that it's you who isn't listening me, and it's more likely it's the way I'm speaking with you which isn't listen-able. It's the way I speak to people's listening for which I need to be responsible if transformation is ever going to have a prayer of being heard.

What also goes with this territory of sharing transformation (which is to say what is also almost inevitable  when sharing transformation) is your conversations will take deeply intimate, personal turns. It goes with this territory of sharing transformation that you'll step into people's lives, like a guest. And if you ever get they experience you as an uninvited, unwanted  guest, you should leave right away. As an uninvited, unwanted guest, your listen-ability  (if you will) is nearly zero - like theirs is nearly zero when they are your  uninvited, unwanted guests, yes? What I first noticed when I was so masterfully stonewalled way back when, was it was the result of me not being responsible for the way I was being. Enthusiasm alone is not enough. I saw my enthusiasm, left unchecked and wild, can have the unwanted effect of abdicating my responsibility for who I really am in this matter. Listen: there are few bigger transformation killers when you step into people's lives, than abdicating responsibility.

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