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

Dancing With My Mouth

Somewhere At 34,000 Feet Over The United States Of America

February 11, 2010

This essay, Dancing With My Mouth, is the companion piece to
It is also the first in the third trilogy Questions For A Friend:
  1. Dancing With My Mouth
  2. Cave Paintings
  3. Velvet Tsunami
in that order.
The first trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Prelude
  2. Ask Me Anything
  3. Coming Around Again
in that order.
The second trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Familiar Unfamiliar Territory
  2. Interview
  3. Straight Talk
in that order.
The fourth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Creating Creating
  2. Tell Me Something About Nothing
  3. Lucid Disclosures
in that order.
The fifth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Closer And Closer
  2. Tête À Tête
  3. Dancing With Life
in that order.
The sixth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. What Would I Ask You If I Could Ask You Anything?
  2. Wonderings About Nothing In Particular
  3. Tipping Point
in that order.
The seventh trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Beyond Breathing Underwater
  2. Bold Faced Truth
  3. What You Create For Yourself About Me
in that order.
The eighth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Once In A Lifetime
  2. Fireside Chat
  3. Whole And Complete
in that order.
The ninth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Questions For A Friend
  2. Nothing Else I'd Rather Be Doing
  3. Free To Be And Free To Act
in that order.
The tenth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Attracted To Dance
  2. I Told A Friend I Love You
  3. Terse Transformed Communication
in that order.
The eleventh trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. A Context Worth Playing In
  2. Tie The Brush To My Hand
  3. Unimaginably Terse
in that order.
The twelfth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. What Will I Do When You Die?
  2. Access
  3. The Newest Piece Of Work
in that order.
The thirteenth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Worthy Of The Company
  2. Creating Them For Myself
  3. Standing With Masters
in that order.
The fourteenth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. This Context Of Privilege
  2. I'm Not Going To Let It Go
  3. Questions For A Friend XIV III: Not Yet Titled (working title)
in that order.

This is a dance. I'll never get over dancing with you.

I'm comfortable with my friends. After getting to know people, after they become familiar to me, it becomes easy  to be together. Friendship, it's said, is like your favorite pair of well worn Levis:  comfortable, familiar, and easy to wear.

Around you, I'm neither comfortable nor familiar nor easy. Yet neither am I uncomfortable or unfamiliar or uneasy. Around you I'm just being in my skin, being with whatever thoughts, sensations, and emotions are going on, not distracted by them, not avoiding them, not overly shy, and not overly gregarious either. Just being. Just being ... with you. Just being with you. It's a dance.

Dancing with you isn't comfortable or familiar or easy, but it's sublime nonetheless. To be with you, all I have to do is get myself on the floor ... and here I am ... and here you are. Dancing with you, I have no sense of having  conversations with you, although clearly there are conversations going on. Rather, dancing with you, conversations seem to be having themselves. Really. It's like that.

Whenever I anticipate and prepare for being with you again, I never know what I'll say to you when I'm around you. It's an unknown. Then when I'm around you again, I notice when I open my mouth, words come out. By listening to what comes out of my mouth, I find out what I'm going to say to you.

Preparing for Questions For A Friend III isn't like preparing for anything else I know. I'm looking at what I want to ask you. And the thing is it's so complete  with you, there's nothing, nothing at all  to ask about. No questions come. It's a paradox. The questions I'm looking to ask you, aren't for you to explain something to me. They aren't for you to clarify something for me. Rather, the questions I'm looking for honor the conversation  we are. And because the conversation we are is so full and complete, there are no questions. That's the paradox.

At the same time I'm acutely aware the value of this priceless opportunity to ask questions, and of what's not appropriate to ask, and of what's appropriate to ask. By appropriate  I'm referRing to taking advantage of the privilege it is to be with you in this conversation. Anything I ask should reveal new ground, should hoe new row  in addition to setting up the abstracts in which transformation can presence itself like a possibility.

It doesn't come easy. I may as well be sitting waiting in front of a rock wall pretending it's a movie screen on which a show is about to begin. I'm literally up against it. The questions I'd like to ask you don't yet exist. They're not on notes I've filed away somewhere waiting for just such an opportunity. They're not on a list titled "Questions to ask someday  if the opportunity arises". If I'm going to ask you anything at all, I'm going to have to make up useful, opportune questions out of nothing.

But nothing comes. I sit. And I sit. And I wait. And I sit. Looking. Nothing comes. I realize I have no natural implements or tools. I'm scratching the rock with my fingernails trying to get deep under its surface. Still nothing comes. So I scratch deeper.

* * *

Then slowly it dawns on me, very  slowly: I'm looking in the wrong place. I'm looking for questions to ask instead of being already related.

So I look at you, then I look at me ... and I connect us by the shortest possible straight line.

This is when it happens. This is the catalyst for the breakthrough. A veritable treasure trove of questions as relationship  suddenly bursts into my mouth out of nowhere. It's a rich harvest with which I'm both totally surprised and delighted. Over the next three days or so, I select the most appropriate ones, writing each one down to ask you later, crafting them like a blacksmith in a forge until they're minimalistically Zen perfect.

This is a dance. I'm dancing with my mouth. I'll never get over dancing with you.

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