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12 Dayze of Christmas Gratefulness-ELEVEN: You who lead, must follow:stars, angels, inner prompts...

Traveler: To experience the other "dayze" in this seer-ease...just get back on your afar (out) the blog:

As we've traveled so far through fields and streams...we've highlighted seasonal tunes and symbols. "FOLLOWING" is now in focus...

...What do we follow???Who???Why??? Where???...

In the traditional Christmas tales we hear of women and men who encounter other-worldly messengers like angels who give them instructions to go and do. These often involve leaving the KNOWN for the UNKNOWN...

They are picked for their assignments and may be the only ones that hear this call to follow...

"And if you go no one may follow

That path is for your steps alone"

--Ripple - Grateful Dead

...their actions ("go", "stay")...produce their own lives and in the lives of those around them and on to future generations...


"You, who choose to lead, must follow..."

Ripple - Grateful Dead


"What do Al Gore, Whoopi Goldberg, Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin, Carlos Santana, Nancy Pelosi, Mario Batali, and yes, Ann Coulter have in common? Give up? They are all members of the inimitable community of Grateful Dead fans commonly and affectionately known as Deadheads. [My add: Bill Walton of the Celtics]

Urban Dictionary defines Deadhead as 'a person who greatly enjoys the music of the Grateful Dead and particularly the genius of Jerry Garcia.' But decades ago, a subset of fans cranked up that devotion to a whole new level and began following the band from city to city. This subset grew in number, soon giving birth to a community with its own set of rules and even slang." (Full text and link is at the end of the post.)


[Thanks to my mate of 44+ for these next-day additions to this section...]

Getting fooled and making "mistakes" is part of the trip. At 75, when I look back at my life, I see that's simply how I've we learn.

To change, we must take risks...including risking getting it "wrong"...One of my life guides says it like this:

So, let's keep this in mind as we first learn to lead...ourselves...

...and remember, let's be patient and gentle with ourselves as we wander...wonder...stumble...around...This practice helps us develop compassion towards ourselves and then others: LOVE our neighbors AS we love ourselves...

First the fall, and then the recovery from the fall, and both are the mercy of God.”

--Julian of Norwitch - mystic (1342-1416)

"Julian’s showings helped her to understand that it is in falling down that we learn almost everything that matters spiritually. Humans come to full consciousness precisely by shadowboxing, facing their own contradictions, and making friends with their own mistakes and failings." Source: Center for Action and Contemplation

This critical practice deserves much more, for now, here are two articles. Additionally, check out the "ELEVEN" section that follows.

'You were built to count, as water is made to run downhill. We are placed in a specific context to count in ways no one else does' - Dallas Willard, Theologian.

"We are all influencing other people. Arguing against this idea is like arguing that you can throw a stone into water without creating ripples. Even the most gentle attempt to slip a stone past the surface of a pond would still create ripples. This is us! We are stones in the pond of people around us having a ripple effect."

1. You can only influence others to go where you are actively going.

2. Quality performance is the result of quality preparation that is built on quiet pursuits.

3. You are always passing along who you are.

1. Invest time and energy into what you are passionate about by first figuring out what you are passionate about.

2. Make a simple, daily plan on how to invest into what you are passionate about.

3. Never miss your simple, daily plan.

The author closes with this:

'Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.' Lao Tzu


THE ELEVEN - Grateful Dead

"The Eleven"

High green chilly winds and windy vines In loops around the twining shafts of lavender They're crawling to the sun Wonder who will water all the children of the garden When they sigh about the barren lack of rain and Droop so hungry 'neath the sky, Ai-yi Underfoot the ground is patched With climbing arms of ivy wrapped around the manzanita Stark and shiny in the breeze William Tell has stretched his bow 'Til it won't stretch no further more And/or it may require a change that hasn't come before No more time to tell how, this is the season of what [Now is the time of returning with our thought Jewels polished and gleaming] [Note 1] Now is the time past believing the child has relinquished the rein Now is the test of the boomerang tossed in the night of redeeming Seven faced marble eyed transitory dream doll Six proud walkers on the jingle bell rainbow Five men writing with fingers of gold Four men tracking down the great white sperm whale Three girls waiting in a foreign dominion Riding in the whale belly, fade away in moonlight Sink beneath the waters to the coral sands below

Note 1: As I see it, the two bracketed lines seem to tell us that the speaker has gone on a quest - within...without...possibly both - to seek "a change that hasn't come before" and is now "returning with our thought jewels polished and gleaming"...

This can be a description of what can happen when we have a regular practice of prayer and meditation. These quiet, spacious places awaken with us new eyes that help address the limitations of the two eyes and the rational mind that only sees through them. This deeper seeing has been called by terms like Holy Spirit, Third Eye, Calm Center...

"Trouble with you is

The trouble with me

Got two good eyes

But we still don't see"

--Casey Jones - Grateful Dead


Step 11: The Contemplative Mind

We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood [God], praying only for the knowledge of [God's] will for us and the power to carry that out. --Step 11 of the Twelve Steps The word prayer, which Bill Wilson rightly juxtaposes with the word meditation, is a code word for an entirely different way of processing life. When you "pray," you are supposed to take off one "thinking cap" and put on another that will move you from an egocentric perspective to a soul-centric perspective.

--His "Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps" was my introduction to the wisdom of this recovery process. He was also one of my early guides into meditation, as was Thomas Keating, who taught our family the centering prayer method.

Takin' time to CHILL in the desert...

The following 4 meditations are by Jody Johnson (Minnesota Contemplative Outreach)

Note: In the first, the Hosea verse should be Hosea 2:14.

"The desert offers timeless space to discover, engage, and wrestle with restlessness"





The lifestyles of some members of the band (and many bands), were NOT healthy. In the early 80's, some Grateful Dead fans who were trying to live life SOBER...

"one show at a time..."

...banded together and WHARF RATS was born. They showed up at concerts using yellow balloons as sign posts.

"Old man down (note 1) Way down, down by the docks of the city (note 2) Blind and dirty Asked me for a dime, a dime for a cup of coffee I got no dime, but I got some time to hear his story

My name is August West And I love my Pearly Baker best, more than my wine More than my wine (note 3) More than my maker, though he's no friend of mine

Everyone said I'd come to no good I knew I would Pearly, believed them Half of my life Spent doing time for some other fucker's crime (note 4) The other half found me Stumbling around, drunk on burgundy wine

But I'll get back on my feet someday The good lord willing, if he says I may I know that the life I'm living's no good I'll get a new start, live the life I should I'll get up and fly away I'll get up and fly away

Pearly's been true True to me, true to my dying day, he said I said to him I said to him, I'm sure she's been I said to him, I'm sure she's been true to you

I got up and wandered Wandered downtown, nowhere to go but just to hang around I've got a girl Named Bonny Lee, I know that girl's been true to me (note 5) I know she's been, I'm sure she's been true to me"


In the article at the end "How Grateful Dead Fans Became Deadheads" and other places, we read of the synergy...the communication that took/takes place between the band and those who follow them...Each learning from the other...In actuality, this is the foundation for all healthy relationships...


--FOLLOW the "Tariotteer's" cards in this fitting video for these allegorical and mystical words and images...

Ripple (Grateful Dead) feat. Bill Kreutzmann | Playing For Change | Song Around The World (04:41) (Click and move the lyrics frame to see the performers' names and locations)

--Check out all the musicians making ripples around our shared world including Keelin Garcia, Bill Kreutzmann, David Crosby, Jimmy Buffet, and others

Jerry: "Working in the studio is like building a ship in a bottle...Playing live is like having a row boat on the ocean..."

Also includes mandolinist David Grisman recalling how his invitation to sit in on this song came by way of an invitation to attend a softball game between members of the Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead.


--take a load off, baby, and browse the comments. WE ARE a mixed tribe...

YES, the Grateful Dead are a KULT… Yes, "Weir" a cult…a KULTure of KINDness… --post has links to several examples of how the band and followers practice BEING KIND...

--article can help us appreciate the culture

How Grateful Dead Fans Became Deadheads (complete article text below)

What do Al Gore, Whoopi Goldberg, Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin, Carlos Santana, Nancy Pelosi, Mario Batali, and yes, Ann Coulter have in common? Give up? They are all members of the inimitable community of Grateful Dead fans commonly and affectionately known as Deadheads.

Urban Dictionary defines Deadhead as “a person who greatly enjoys the music of the Grateful Dead and particularly the genius of Jerry Garcia.” But decades ago, a subset of fans cranked up that devotion to a whole new level and began following the band from city to city. This subset grew in number, soon giving birth to a community with its own set of rules and even slang.

Sure, Beatlemania once swept the U.S., where the demand to see the foursome live gave rise to stadium rock. And the Rolling Stones still have audiences under their thumb, despite their combined age of 284. Fans of the band Phish—Phishheads—as well as Bruce Springsteen are a formidable force, but in terms of unbridled loyalty and devotion to the late Jerry Garcia and his bandmates, Deadheads are without peer.

Rock critic Robert Christgau was the first to write about this unique, traveling audience, commenting in the Village Voice after attending a 1971 New York City concert that “regulars greeted other regulars, remembered from previous boogies, and compared this event with a downer in Boston or a fabulous night in Arizona.”

And the band took notice. As Jerry Garcia once said, “our strong suit is what we do, and our audience.” The Dead played a different song set at every show, sending “regulars” on the road to the band’s next gig—since no two shows were ever the same. The Dead also not only allowed but actually encouraged fans to tape the concerts, eventually setting up a “taper’s section” for them. Hence, somewhere in the Deadosphere there exist tapes of practically all of the 2,500 shows the Dead performed in their 30 years of touring. If you have a lot of time to kill, just ask a group of Deadheads to talk about their favorite live show.

The atmosphere at a performance reflected a sense of community and a deep bond between the band and the audience. In an interview in the short film A Conversation with Ken Kesey, which followed the documentary Tie-Dyed: Rock ‘n Roll’s Most Deadicated Fans, author Ken Kesey commented on this phenomena: “[the Dead] weren’t just playing what was on the music sheets, they were playing what was in the air. When the Dead are at their best, the vibrations that are stirred by the audience is the music that they play.”

And if you couldn’t get a ticket to the show? No problem—there was plenty of action outside. When the Dead were in town, parking lots outside of their concerts were transformed into small villages, with vendors selling tie-died shirts, burritos and of course, drugs. Many of these vendors never attended a single concert, but would camp out, hoping to earn enough money to pack up their painted Volkswagen bus and follow the band to their next stop.

Among the parking lot hordes you could always spot the hopeful, roaming the grounds with a single raised finger: Deadhead code for “I Need a Miracle,” a free concert ticket. Interestingly: That gesture was still in play in 2007 when newly-elected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi threw a party and invited former members of the band to play. Outside stood a pony-tailed, grey-suited gent holding a sign that read, “I Need a Miracle.” A staffer on the inside recognized his clarion call and sneaked him in.

The parking lot scene was featured in the Tie-Dyed documentary and aptly described by one hippie couple in the doc, who met at a show and had been following the band for three years, with their baby —conceived at the first show—in tow: “It’s one big happy Dead kinda thing.”

It was not always happy, though. As Jerry famously sang, “every silver lining’s got a touch of grey”—more than a touch, actually. With the proliferation of drugs at Dead concerts, it was not uncommon to spot fans who had overdosed. The Dead were the first rock band with a group of fans who formed a 12-step program to keep the lure of drugs at bay during concerts, where temptation is everywhere. These Wharf Rats—named after a Dead song—gathered under an arc of yellow balloons during concert breaks, finding strength in numbers as they maintained sobriety “one show at a time.”

Over the years, the fan base changed and evolved, but one thing remained constant. As Dennis McNally, longtime Dead publicist and author of the best-selling book A Long Strange Trip wrote about deadheads, “[They] had only one thing absolutely in common: Each had experienced some inner click of affinity, some overwhelming sense of ‘here I belong,” when confronted by the Dead, its music and scene. It was the recognition of an essentially spiritual experience that bound them together. “


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