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


Year Of The Tiger

Trefethen Family Vineyards, Oak Knoll Appellation, Napa Valley, California, USA

February 9, 2016

This essay, Year Of The Tiger, is the thirteenth in a group of seventeen with titles borrowed from Songs: It was written at the same time as Five Ways To Be With Being Hit On.



We're walking through the cattle pasture. Underfoot, emerald green grass glistens from the recent rains. Totally relaxed in each other's company, we're not saying much, watching a cloud formation above, and a herd of deer foraging on the ground ahead of us, when suddenly - out of the blue - she asks me "How did you get what you got?". I turn to face her. "What do you mean?" I ask. "I love what you do with your life. I love the way you live. I love the way you are. How did you get to be this way?". I grin and say, savoring each word: "I guess it must be because I eat oats every day, and I drink lots of water too - that  must be it" (of course I'm kidding her). "No, really Laurence: how did you get what you got?", she persists. "Walk a mile in my boots, and you'll know" I say (now I'm not kidding any more).

"No, seriously  ..." she hangs on (indicating she isn't  taking me seriously), "what's the single most impactful thing that's gotten you being who you are today?". This time I tell her, straight: "I've gotten great coaching from some of the world's great coaches.". "And how does one get great coaching?" she asks (evidently she's taking me seriously now). "You get great coaching by being coachable"  I tell her. She stops walking. "Excuse me?"  she says, then pivots and looks me square in the eye.

"It has to be someone you trust" I say. "You mean someone who's earned  your trust, don't you?" she asks. "No I don't mean that. If I trust someone, which is to say if I give  them my trust, then I'm coachable. Then they can coach me. But if they have to earn my trust first, then that all gets in my way of being coachable."."

Now I know the idea that for someone to have our trust, they have to first earn it, is rampant. I can tell she has it that way too. She doesn't speak as she mulls over what I've just said. Then she asks "What do they coach you in?". I pause. It's a straight question which deserves a simple answer. But any answer won't be easy. So I venture "In the such-ness of it, in the thus-ness of it all.". Will she get my Zen answer? I'm not sure. I don't know if transformation can be imparted in a sound bite.

She asks me when my birthday is. So I tell her the day and the month. "Oh, you're a Gemini!"  she says. Then she asks me what year I was born in. I tell her that too. "Oh my God!"  she says (she seems to be both surprised and delighted upon hearing it), "you're a Tiger  Gemini!". "Oh please no! Don't do that. Don't even go there"  I say. "Why not?" she asks, "isn't that who you are?". "That's exactly my point: it's not  who I am. That's a well thought out belief system, and a widely accepted and intelligent, revered belief system at that which has great value for many people, I might add. But for me it shuts down almost all my possibility of new, spontaneous, discontiguous  creatings. For me, being coachable doesn't require explaining or understanding why  I'm the way I am because of when I was born. Look: it's the future I invent, not my past  which determines my life. And I got that, by the way (in answer to your question) from friends I trust who coach me. That's  who I am.".

She looks at me for a moment in the way people look at you when their point of view is being attacked ... until it becomes eminently clear that I'm not attacking her, and that I'm just answering her question as to how it is with me (I don't explain that to her - in my experience, it will work better if she gets it for herself). Something suddenly lifts off  her concern - I sense it. "It figures" she says, now demurely, "life is in front of us, not behind us.". "Exactly" I say, "and even if it's true I was born in the year of the tiger, I say so what?!  More to the point, even if it's true I was born in the year of the tiger, now  what?! That was then. This is now. What's next?".

"Hmm! Very  cool" she says after a moment or two. The cloud formation has changed ... somewhat. The deer are still foraging. We walk on, still not saying much.


Background soundtrack: Al Stewart: Year Of The Cat - wait for 4.62M download


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