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


Tiny Correction, Vast Opening

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

October 7, 2022

"We all have relationships, and if you can complete your relationship with your parents, you can have incredible relationships, magical relationships, miraculous relationships."
"Resenting is like taking poison, hoping the other  guy will die."
... Nelson Rolihlahla Dalibhunga Madiba Tata (uBawom)Khulu Mandela
This essay, Tiny Correction, Vast Opening, is the nineteenth in a group of nineteen on Parents:

Graphic courtesy LabelMaster
The letter V
The petulant misinterpretations (miscalculations) I made of the ways my parents occurred for me when I was young, were exactly that: the misinterpretations of a child. They impacted my life as a child (to be sure) but only in childish ways, ways which I would have chilled and quickly dismissed, had I made them as an adult. But children don't distinguish "childish ways" and dismiss them. So my unchecked misinterpretations continued into my adulthood. My past took up residence in my future. It bled  into my future.

This is the trouble with the misinterpretations we make about our parents when we're very young: left unchecked, they have a disproportionately enormous  impact on our lives as adults. In this regard, living is like the letter V. We make (lay down) childish misinterpretations at the narrow point of the V when its arms are close together ie when its impact zone is minimal. Then as we live our lives, the arms of the V grow further apart ie the impact zone of the totality of our misinterpretations expands inexorably.

In adulthood, the arms of the V are wide apart. The impact zone of my childish misinterpretations of the way my parents occurred for me, was vast. Left unchecked, my life as an adult was run by the misinterpretations I made of my parents when I was a child. That's grotesque, the life of an adult being dictated to by the misinterpretations of a child! The inmates were running the asylum.

As an adult and parent, I'm maturer and wiser now. My parents did an amazing job raising me, an extraordinary job, an awesome job. They didn't have a manual for raising children (children, in case you haven't noticed, don't come with a manual). They raised me amidst the plethora of other demands on their lives. Mistakes were inevitable which I, the petulant child, had no space for. I cut them no slack. I blamed them. Too bad! I bore that cost, not them. I was righteous, heavy. And as long as that righteousness stayed with me, it impacted my life and my relationships. How could it not have? The arms of the letter V were wide apart by then.

That's bad news. Truly. Such missed opportunity! Such love lost! But these are conversations for transformation. And conversations for transformation don't just swap bad news for good (it cheapens them). No, they invent possibilities  for completing the past so it doesn't bleed into the future. There's an impact zone of misinterpretations and righteousness, and also an impact zone of correction and completion. It's the same letter V. Regarding the misinterpretations of my past, particularly in regard to the way my parents occurred for petulant me, correcting myself and being complete generates a vast new opening.

Here's my there's-no-secret-at-all  secret: correcting myself and being complete with my parents begins with me taking responsibility for the entirety of our relationship - not like accepting blame for it nor like being at fault for it (Thank you Werner) but rather like taking responsibility for being there  - in other words, like being responsible for my own experience of it. That's a tiny correction. But it's one that creates a vast new opening, a new world of possibilities.

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