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from the publisher



It’s November, and we find ourselves at the end of a long, nasty, and unavoidable election process. The nation is splintered, and the suspense is palpable. Let’s pray for subsequent unity—and peace.

For our 42nd anniversary Gratitude issue, I spoke with John Perry Barlow in his hospital room, where he is struggling. His sickness is complicated, but suffice it to say that pain had prevented him from attending a fundraiser on his own behalf two nights prior. The benefit attracted a star-studded musical lineup that played many of the songs Barlow cowrote with his best friend, Bob Weir, of the Grateful Dead. A retired fifth-generation rancher, John is a poet and essayist who has been politically active as both a Republican and a Democrat. As cofounder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Freedom of the Press Foundation, he helped coin the term cyberspace and is the Internet’s most outspoken cyber-libertarian. Take a peek into this very popular man’s interesting life.

In homage to Bob Dylan, the first musician to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, we are fortunate to publish some of the most extraordinary photos from the collection of Joe Alper in a pictorial we’re calling “Dylan Before Dylan.” These images, in large part taken in 1961 and 1962, show an innocent portrait of the artist as a young man, mostly before he released his first album. Prior to Dylan’s overwhelming fame, we see a young man with his then fiancée, Suze Rotolo, in an era where a smile prefaced the trademark scowl. We are grateful to Joe, who died in 1968, and to Edward Elbers, who manages the collection.

On the broad topic of gratitude, we have very pertinent essays from Brother David Steindl-Rast titled “A Vision for the World: Five Small Gestures of Gratitude to Counteract Violence” and from Sheryl Paul titled “Befriending Emptiness: Healing Anxiety in an Anxious World.” Mark Nepo gives us “The Bones of Grace,” while Deepak Chopra shares his wisdom in “America’s Shadow: The Real Secret of Donald J. Trump.”

I want to thank Janine Shepherd for her essay “Blue Skies and Tailwinds: If I Can’t Walk, I’ll Fly” and Antonia Hall for “Pleasure in Gratitude: Enriching Life’s Sensual Potential.” Martha Fishburne offers us the insights of a 13-year-old, which is refreshing.

We enjoyed seeing you at the Bioneers and SAND (Science and Nonduality) conferences, as well as at Emerging Women.

Thank you for your appreciation of Common Ground. As ever, your gratitude is best expressed by patronizing our advertisers, for whom our existence depends. And please consider becoming an advertiser yourself or recommending us. We reach a tremendous audience of thought leaders in the oh-so-important Bay Area.

With 42 years of gratitude,

Rob Sidon
Publisher/Editor in Chief