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


The Grand Canyon Is In The Fridge

Big 3, Sonoma, California, USA

July 1, 2012



This essay, The Grand Canyon Is In The Fridge, is the companion piece to
  1. I'll Think Of Something
  2. Not "This Too Shall Pass": "This Too Is It!"
in that order.

I am indebted to Dr Franzi Ng who contributed material for this conversation.




I've never spent time with people in Conversations For Transformation - ever  - and not come away with more value, more insight, and more openings for action  than I bring to these conversations in the first place. That's not because there's anything necessarily positive  about Conversations For Transformation (notice there's nothing necessarily negative about them either). While Conversations For Transformation may tip their hat (so to speak) to Dr Norman Vincent Peale and to Dale Carnegie et al, they don't take their inspiration from them.

I assert the negative / positive  dichotomy, as much as we're thrown to use it as a measuring implement, isn't useful when gauging the power of conversations. It's especially not useful when gauging the power of Conversations For Transformation. What's a useful measure of the power of conversations and of the power of Conversations For Transformation in particular is when you're engaged with them, whether or not who you really are  is authentically brought to bear on the matters which concern you.

Transformation brings forth the possibility of massive, discontiguous  breakthroughs across the board in Life - often unexpectedly. Gaping portals magically appear in the beingsphere  through which miracles pour. The impact of something negative may change the way things are headed, just as surely as the impact of something positive may change the way things are headed. But whether it's a negative change in the way things are headed or whether it's a positive change in the way things are hearded, it's still nonetheless a change which occurs within the same context. Negativity is opening the refrigerator and seeing nothing to eat. Positivity is opening the refrigerator and seeing something to eat. Transformation, on the other hand, is opening the refrigerator ... and seeing the Grand Canyon in there  ... (as Werner Erhard may have said).

The thing is you can neither get transformation by avoiding the negative nor by accentuating the positive. In fact, avoiding the negative and / or accentuating the positive are the surest ways of keeping yourself stuck.

Gee! I hope you get that ...

I was sharing with one of my coaches about a negativity bordering on a total unworkability  within a group of people I know, participate with, and love. At about that time, I was also making travel plans to go visit with them. Given the triumph of transformation over circumstance, unworkability is never an obstacle ... except when it is. This was one of those occasions when it was. My coach said to me "Here's my two cents worth  Laurence: it's your call whether you don't go or whether you go ... and given the way things are, if it were me I wouldn't go.".

I reflected on her coaching. Just because she was one of my closest, most trusted advisors doesn't mean I accepted everything she said blindly without consideration. Soon, outside of her advice, I got in touch with that I didn't want to go  given the way things were (in other words, my coach was confirming what I already knew). So I canceled my travel plans. It was the right choice. I was at peace with it. It was alright.

Months passed uneventfully. Then one day I got that if I could allow the negativity, the total unworkability to be whatever it was, without trying to fix it, without trying to change it when I was away  from it, then I could equally allow it to be whatever it was without trying to fix it and without trying to change it when I was with  it.

I have an undeniable affinity with that group of people - that is to say I have an undeniable affinity with and I love each of them individually. I noticed in spite of the pervasive unworkability, I'd never lost sight of who each of them really are, and who each of them really are for me. As soon as I got that, I made new travel plans. Although nothing had changed, I could be with them after all. I went. It was great. In fact it was probably greater than if I had gone when I'd originally planned to go, and simply tolerated  the unworkability.

Looking back on the sequence of what happened, I first got the no. Then, instead of fixing it or trying to change it (which would have been my usual temptation), I let the no be, before I got the yes  which came later out of  letting the no be. Had I not gotten the no first, I would most certainly never have gotten the yes later. Tolerance maybe - but not the yes.

This  is what my coach stood for. This is what my coach really stood for me having. Whether I didn't go or whether I went wasn't the point. That was incidental. Saying if it were her she wouldn't go, was an access  at best. She was pointing to something. But what she was pointing to wasn't what she stood  for. She didn't stand for me not going. What she stood for was the possibility of me being great with the people in my life.

One other thing: from the conversation between my coach and I, and from the way this episode turned out, I stopped being concerned about being stopped. Being stopped is my no. Instead I can adjust my trajectory for each no (as in being stopped)  to have the possibility of it becoming a yes soon, or not. And I don't need to know what this will look like ahead of time before I commit to it. What I do know is when it happens, it will be something great.

That fact that it will be something great  isn't simply positive thinking. The Grand Canyon  is in the fridge.



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