Kristofferson, Kris - 2012 You don't tell me what to do
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Rolling Stone Magazine - Kris Kristofferson: An Outlaw at 80 - Neil Strauss June 6, 2016
In his current state of mind, there is one period of his life that Kristofferson often returns to when reflecting on his past – a decision that, for him, changed everything. It was a combination of luck and choice. The year was 1965; the luck was that he was a captain in the Army and signed up to go to Vietnam, but was assigned a teaching position at West Point. The choice was to leave the Army instead. After reporting to West Point, he moved to Nashville to try to make it as a songwriter. As a result, this Oxford-educated Rhodes scholar soon found himself emptying wastebaskets at Columbia Recording Studios.
"I'm kind of amazed by the whole thing," he marvels. "I was on my way to a totally different life. And all of a sudden I committed my future and all my family and everything to this! It was pretty scary."
Kristofferson and Lisa say that his brother joined the Navy; his father was a two-star Air Force general; both grandfathers were in the military; even his great-grandfather was in the Swedish armed forces.
"Didn't your mother say she would rather have a gold star in the window?" Lisa asks him. Kris gives a sheepish shrug. It is his way of saying, "I can't remember." It is an expression he uses a lot these days.
"When you have a family member that died during World War I, they would put a gold star in the window," she reminds him. "And your mother said she would have rather had a gold star in the window than to see what you're doing with your life."
"She said that I was an embarrassment to the family," he recalls a little later. "I've given them moments of pride, when I got my Rhodes scholarship, but she said, 'They'll never measure up to the tremendous disappointment you've always been.' Why tell your kid that?"
But when his mother sent him a scathing letter disowning him, Kristofferson experienced something he'd been seeking his whole life: freedom. It's an independence he's embraced to this day. He bucked Nashville's conventions, helping start the outlaw-country movement. More recently, he canceled a book contract for his autobiography because he didn't want to work on a deadline. His latest album includes a song called "You Don't Tell Me What to Do."
"Even if someone tells him to have a good day, he'll say, 'Don't tell me what to do,' " Lisa says. "He's unmanageable. You can't manage him."
Kristofferson looks down at the table and screws up his face as she speaks.
What were you just thinking? I ask.
"I..." He pauses and purses his lips. "I think it's probably true."
"You Don't Tell Me What To Do"
So the highway is where I believe I belong
Losing myself in the soul of a song
And the fight for the right to be righteously wrong
It’s a story that’s sad but it’s true
So I sing my own songs
And I drink when I’m thirsty
And I will go on
Making music, and whiskey,
and love for as long
As the spirit inside me
Says you don’t tell me what to do
Gone are the reasons for changing my mind
Gone like the future that I left behind
If you want to I warn you
You’re wasting your time
You don’t tell me what to do
You don’t tell me what to do
The source of the experienceKristofferson, Kris
Concepts, symbols and science items
Activities and commonsteps
SuppressionsBelieving in the spiritual world
Dementia and Alzheimers