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


Ventura! Oh, Ventura!

Ventura Highway, Ventura County, California, USA

August 28, 2011



"Venture Highway in the sunshine - where the days are longer, the nights are stronger than moonshine." ... America, Ventura Highway

This essay, Ventura! Oh, Ventura!, is the six hundred and fiftieth in this Conversations For Transformation internet series.

It is also the companion piece to Laurence Platt Audio.

It is also the first in an ongoing collection with embedded Music Videos:


Coming to the Napa Valley in the "wine country" where I live, visitors enjoy the breathtaking scenery, the dry climate, and oh yes, they say we also have some pretty good Cabernet Sauvignon  here. This is a destination known throughout the wine world simply as "The Valley". In oenologists' circles when talking about this revered wine region, adding "Napa" as in "The Napa  Valley" is gratuitous and unnecessary. Like Madonna's  last name, it's not required.

with Alexandra - Ventura Highway (America)
When they come to The Valley, they ask me where I go on vacation. I tell them "I don't go on vacation: I'm already here.". It's a double entendre. The first entendre  is obvious: they've come here on vacation, and I already live here. The second is I eschew vacations as "getting away from it all". I don't want to get away from it all. I like it here. I am  here. And by "here"  I don't necessarily mean where I currently live. I mean wherever I am.

That said, here I am driving at dawn on Ventura Highway in Southern California with my daughter Alexandra. I'm not here to get away from The Valley. I'm not here because it's better  than The Valley. I'm here because I'm here. I'm buoyed. I'm elated. I'm ecstatic. I'm up. "Exuberant" is a fitting word.

You may not say so if you saw my face - unless you're already familiar with exuberance. Being exuberant is an experience which doesn't manifest as smiling and laughing and jumping up and down with glee. It's more profound than that. Secondarily it's a joyfully energetic, enthusiastically driven, powerfully intent experience, filled with and inspired by the presence of Self. Primarily it's an experience of being - just natural plain ol' being.

Ventura Highway doesn't make me exuberant. And if it made me anything at all, whatever it is couldn't be exuberance. Exuberance is prior to  all this. It's prior to Ventura Highway. I was exuberant in The Valley. I'm exuberant now. But here's the thing: Ventura Highway is such an awesome backdrop  for being ongoingly exuberant. And what's really cool  is that driving on it with Alexandra to the Ventura yacht harbor where she'll run a five kilometer road race, is a triumph, a victory. Every palm tree, every beach town, every wave breaking as the gentle Pacific Ocean kisses the feet of this heart-stoppingly majestic coast road, speaks eloquent testimony to this triumph, to this victory. Exuberance is the context  for this triumph, for this victory - first in The Valley, now here.

Alexandra completes her five kilometer road race in record time. I stand at the finish line cheering and taking photographs as she comes in, way ahead of the next group of runners. She's satisfied with her time. I'm satisfied with her intention to live well. I like my new role as her supporter rather than as her director and manager. There's new freedom and space in our relationship. The parent / child connection is a given. But when it morphs  into friendship, the magic can really begin. It's the result of each granting being  to the other.



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