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

Victory Over The Past

Black Stallion, Napa Valley, California, USA

February 21, 2008

"A miracle is something that validates who you are rather than diminishes who you are."  ... 
This essay, Victory Over The Past, is the companion piece to Victory Like A Choice.

It is also the first in a trilogy on Healing: I am indebted to Dr Robert Lee "Bob" Culver and to Jubal Raffety and to Josh LeGassick who inspired this conversation.

Some of my fondest memories of my childhood are of my father and I fishing. We rented a rondavel  (that's an Afrikaans word for a whitewashed circular stone cottage with a conical thatch roof) at the Oysterbeds Hotel on the banks of the Breede Rivier  (Afrikaans for "wide river") near the hamlet of Witsands  (Afrikaans for "white sands") in South Africa. We'd get up before dawn, load fishing tackle, coffee and sandwiches into our fishing skiff  and, driven by a Johnson  fifty horsepower outboard, head twenty miles up the river where we would simply turn off the motor and drift downstream with the current, catching spotted grunter, steenbras, and kabeljou  for dinner.

On various occasions throughout my life I've had the good fortune to live on a beach. My guests and I fished at sunset, barbecuing freshly caught fish on the sand, a delicious meal fit for kings in a divine setting.

At some point in my life I discovered sushi, the Japanese seafood delicacy. Sushi evenings were always special occasions. I loved sushi. It was more than a meal. Sushi was a special treat.

One day out of the blue  my body developed a severe allergic reaction to seafood. Allergic reactions manifest differently for different people. I'd never had one before. When it came on, my lips swelled to the size of ping pong balls, the skin stretched so tight it felt it would split. My cheeks looked like I was trying to swallow tennis balls. My tongue was a big, floppy, protruding banana. If the alarming change in appearance from Dr Jekyl  to Mr Hyde  wasn't enough, in addition I was simply terrified the reaction would also continue into the mucous membranes of my nose and throat, causing them to swell and close my air passages, suffocating and choking me slowly to death. It was disfiguring, embarrassing, and very, very scary.

I pay close attention to my health and staying fit. I'm not satisfied with anything less than optimal performance of my body. While I accept the dictatorial  reality of it, I'm not happy even with those rare occasions when I have a cold. So the idea of suddenly becoming allergic to my favorite food certainly didn't sit right with me - to put it mildly.

The experts told me it was incurable. They said no one  could cure it. They said a cure was impossible. They said I'd have it from now on for life. Some said it could eventually indeed prove to be fatal (now that's  an attractive future to live into, I thought sarcastically). They gave me drugs to control it. That was their best bet.

On two occasions I was forced to visit an emergency room where I was put under observation and shot full of adrenalin  to reduce the swelling and avoid the danger of suffocation and choking. No, I was not a happy camper. I started carrying a divided pill box with me wherever I went. In it was prednisone (a mild steroid), claritin (an allergy combatant), and various what I call horse tranquilizers  which reduced the swelling but made me want to sleep for a week. I also carried an epinephrine "pen" with me to shoot the adrenalin antidote into my thigh in case of emergency. I almost fainted at the mere thought  of having to use it on myself.

The path to living with it was long and arduous. Since at first it wasn't clear seafood was the cause, it would occur randomly, or so I thought. Soon, putting two and two together, I realized it was seafood and stayed away from it. Then one night when I was away from home staying in a hotel leading a seminar, I was awakened at 3:00am by my face swelling to the size of a basketball. I hadn't eaten seafood in weeks! A new level of fear set in. Now it seemed it could be caused by anything!  I started becoming afraid of eating  - not a healthy situation at all.

I had discovered it was even worse than I realized. It turned out my body was prone to contamination: if a chef so much as touched  seafood, then prepared my meal which didn't have any seafood in it at all, my plate would be contaminated with seafood, and my body would react just a surely as if I'd eaten it. And the thing about contamination is it's out of my control. I could avoid eating seafood, but how could I control the way people prepare my plates in a restaurant kitchen out of my sight?

The next morning I got up onto the podium in front of the seminar, invited everyone to take a good look at my face (some people gasped), told them I was OK in spite of what I looked like (even though the horse tranquilizers were knocking me out on my feet) and would continue leading the seminar - which I did through completion.

Impossible Cure

When a friend of mine told me he'd been cured of a similar "incurable" allergy, I was more than skeptical: I simply didn't believe he was telling the truth. Even so, I couldn't disregard his account entirely. He told me about Bob Culver, a gifted and talented natural healer, who had cured him when the experts had also told him his allergy was incurable.

Eventually, with nothing to lose and everything to gain, I asked Bob to take me on as a client.

I'm not going to try to explain what Bob did to me. I can't. But it worked. He cured the allergy - the impossible cure. To say I'm grateful to Bob for acting in the face of no agreement  is putting it mildly. Thanks to Bob I get to live a normal life again.

I proved the cure by eating sushi every other week for three months. During that test, since that test, and in the last seven years there's not been one single recurrence. Not from eating seafood, not from seafood contamination. It's gone. This incurable fatal thing is history.

Gone But Not Forgotten

Indeed, the impossible  had happened. The incurable was cured. And yet  ... even though it's gone, since then I've lived in fear it would come back!  That's the truth. It's weird - I know. Even though it's gone, I've never eaten seafood since then. I'm even careful - as I was then - to ensure seafood doesn't contaminate my plates. I've gone off seafood entirely, and I'll probably never go back. I'm clear my body's no longer allergic, that there's no longer any danger of any given meal becoming fatal. And yet  ... the irrationality  of it is in spite of that, I've been run by the fear it would return.

Even though I knew it was gone, I still carried the divided pill box with me wherever I went just in case. At times I forgot to carry it with me, and when I found out I'd left it at home, I was concerned. I carried that little pill box with me for seven years "just in case". I also carried the epinephrine pen to shoot the adrenalin antidote into my thigh ... just in case. I carried that pen with me for seven years "just in case".

Today while walking in a vineyard in this awesome wine country  where I live, it occurred to me how attached I am to the fear  of something that's been proven to have no basis in reality anymore. It reminded me of my first experience of skydiving. It's common knowledge you can drop an elephant or a Sherman tank  from an airplane by parachute. Both of them will reach the ground safely and gently. How much less  concern should there be for a one hundred and eighty pound man skydiving? In a situation like this, however, stone cold reality  simply doesn't apply. Irrational fear  rules.

It was then I heard the call "Laurence, it's time to give it up. This ... ends  ... right now!  ...".

Miracle Among The Vines

A miracle occurred. There was no resistance. Not quite believing I was actually doing it, I walked over to a vine, dug a hole in the ground near it, and emptied the entire contents of the pill box into the ground and buried them there. Then I took the epinephrine pen and stabbed it into a piece of wood, shooting it with the full antidote dose.

Total ecstasy!  This thing has been cured for a long, long time - seven years or so - but only today did I get free  of it.

I walked over to a trash receptacle and dumped the empty pill box and the exhausted epinephrine pen in the trash where they belong. I was shivering slightly, teary eyed, and totally elated. My body's been cured, the impossible  cure, for seven years. But now there's a new sheriff in town, there's a new distinction here:

I'm finally free  of it.

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