Browsing "Musings"
Jan 24, 2016 - Musings    No Comments

“I can’t go on. I wil go on!” – Samuel Beckett

Courage 5“There is a moment, a cusp, when the sum of gathered experience is worn down by the details of living. We are never so wise as when we live in this moment.” – Palul Kalanithi


I just finished reading Paul Kalanithi’s ‘When Breath Becomes Air’. This autobiography chronicles the passage of a 35 year-old brilliant neurosurgeon from Stanford who transcends purposefully through debilitating cancer to death in less than two years. The book was started after the discovery of his pending death.

He recalled with eloquence and earned insights the interests and life discoveries of his youth, his moving through medical school, and residency to moving from disappointment and despair to purposeful marching toward certain early death through living with purpose. Kalanithi asked himself, “At these critical junctures, the question is not simply to live or die but what kind of life is worth living?”

His story moved me greatly. His gifts were extraordinary – his personal brilliance and his contributions to save and comfort others – his published book continues to do both.

Positive DifferenceI am struck by my need/desire to live a life that serves my yearning to understand, to fulfill a (my) destiny and to effectively deliver a message promoting personal growth, responsibility, and contribution. I am fully aware that this starts and finishes with me demonstrating all. More writing – more discipline – more capturing of insights – probing and expanding them wisely to yield practical guidance and application. This feels like a sacred honor and privilege. I will energize myself with the fuel of appreciation for the possibility of learning more, being more, giving more. “When I can’t. I will!”

Jan 5, 2016 - Musings    No Comments

Burned Biscuits

Burned BiscuitsA lesson for all.

Author ‘Anonymous’

When I was a kid, my Mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work. On that evening so long ago, my Mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed!

All my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my Mom and ask me how my day was at school. I don’t remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that ugly burned biscuit. He ate every bite of that thing…never made a face nor uttered a word about it!

When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my Mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits. And I’ll never forget what he said, “Honey, I love burned biscuits every now and then.”

Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned. He wrapped me in his arms and said, “Your Mom put in a hard day at work today and she’s real tired. And besides–a little burned biscuit never hurt anyone!”
As I’ve grown older, I’ve thought about that many times. Life is full of imperfect things and imperfect people.
I’m not the best at hardly anythingGiving - Loving copy, and I forget birthdays and anniversaries just like everyone else. But what I’ve learned over the years is that learning to accept each other’s faults and choosing to celebrate each other’s differences is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship.

And that’s my prayer for you today…that you will learn to take the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of your life and lay them at the feet of God. Because in the end, He’s the only One who will be able to give you a relationship where a burnt biscuit isn’t a deal-breaker!

We could extend this to any relationship. In fact, understanding is the base of any relationship, be it a husband-wife or parent-child or friendship!

“Don’t put the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket–keep it in your own.”
So, please pass me a biscuit, and yes, the burned one will do just fine.

Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.
“Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil–it has no point”


Dec 30, 2015 - Musings    1 Comment

Six harsh truths which will make you a better person

Sign from the UniverseThe following, penetrating article from CRACKED magazine was written by American author David Wong. He has some very important things to say — about what most of us don’t want to hear. Whilst it makes for uncomfortable reading, this is the kind of insightful piece of writing which could genuinely help a lot of us change for the better. It’s long, but it’s worth taking the time to read. Take a look.

’Feel free to stop reading this if your career is going great, you’re thrilled with your life, and you’re happy with your relationships. Enjoy the rest of your day, friend, this article is not for you. You’re doing a great job, we’re all proud of you.

For the rest of you, I want you to try something: Name five impressive things about yourself. Write them down or just shout them out loud to the room. But here’s the catch — you’re not allowed to list anything you are (e.g., I’m a nice guy, I’m honest), but instead can only list things that you do (e.g., I just won a national chess tournament). If you found that difficult, well, this is for you, and you are going to hate hearing it.

  1. The world only cares about what it can get from you

Let’s say that the person you love the most has just been shot. He or she is lying in the street, bleeding and screaming. A guy rushes up and says, “Step aside.“ He looks over your loved one’s bullet wound and pulls out a pocket knife — he’s going to operate right there in the street.

You ask, ”Are you a doctor?“

The guy says, “No.”

You say, ”But you know what you’re doing, right?“

At this point the guy becomes annoyed. He tells you that he is a nice guy, he is honest, he is always on time. He tells you that he is a great son to his mother and has a rich life full of fulfilling hobbies, and he boasts that he never uses foul language.

Confused, you say, ”How does any of that matter when my [wife/husband/best friend/parent] is lying here bleeding! I need somebody who knows how to operate on bullet wounds! Can you do that or not?!?“

Now the man becomes agitated — why are you being shallow and selfish? Do you not care about any of his other good qualities? Didn’t you just hear him say that he always remembers his girlfriend’s birthday? In light of all of the good things he does, does it really matter if he knows how to perform surgery?

In that panicked moment, you will take your bloody hands and shake him by the shoulders, screaming, “Yes, I’m saying that none of that other stuff matters, because in this specific situation, I just need somebody who can stop the bleeding.”

So here is my terrible truth about the adult world: You are in that very situation every single day. Only you are the confused guy with the pocket knife. All of society is the bleeding gunshot victim.

If you want to know why society seems to shun you, or why you seem to get no respect, it’s because society is full of people who need things. They need houses built, they need food to eat, they need entertainment, they need fulfilling sexual relationships. You arrived at the scene of that emergency, holding your pocket knife, by virtue of your birth — the moment you came into the world, you became part of a system designed purely to see to people’s needs.

Either you will go about the task of seeing to those needs by learning a unique set of skills,or the world will reject you, no matter how kind, giving, and polite you are. You will be poor, you will be alone, you will be left out in the cold.

Does that seem mean, or crass, or materialistic? What about love and kindness — don’t those things matter? Of course. As long as they result in you doing things for people that they can’t get elsewhere. For you see…

  1. The hippies were wrong

Here is the greatest scene in the history of movies. For those of you who can’t watch videos, it’s the famous speech Alec Baldwin gives in the cinematic masterpiece Glengarry Glenn Ross. Baldwin’s character — whom you assume is the villain — addresses a room full of dudes and gives them a serious going over, telling them that they’re all about to be fired unless they “close“ the sales they’ve been assigned:

Nice guy? I don’t give a s**t. Good father? F**k you! Go home and play with your kids. If you want to work here, close.

It’s brutal, rude, and borderline sociopathic, and also it is an honest and accurate expression of what the world is going to expect from you. The difference is that, in the real world, people consider it so wrong to talk to you that way that they’ve decided it’s better to simply let you keep failing.

That scene changed my life. I’d program my alarm clock to play it for me every morning if I knew how. Alec Baldwin was nominated for an Oscar for that movie and that’s the only scene he’s in. As smarter people have pointed out, the genius of that speech is that half of the people who watch it think that the point of the scene is ”Wow, what must it be like to have such an asshole boss?“ and the other half think, “Let’s go out and sell some goddamned real estate!”

If you were in that room, some of you would understand this as a work, but feed off the energy of the message anyway, welcome the coach’s cursing at you, ”this guy is awesome!“; while some of you would take it personally, this guy is a jerk, you have no right to talk to me like that, or — the standard maneuver when narcissism is confronted with a greater power — quietly seethe and fantasize about finding information that will out him as a hypocrite.

the difference in those two attitudes — bitter vs. motivated — largely determines whether or not you’ll succeed in the world. For instance, some people want to respond to that speech with Tyler Durden’s line from Fight Club: ”You are not your job.“

But, well, actually, you totally are. Granted, your “job” and your means of employment might not be the same thing, but in both cases you are nothing more than the sum total of your useful skills. For instance, being a good mother is a job that requires a skill. It’s something a person can do that is useful to other members of society. But make no mistake: Your “job“ — the useful thing you do for other people — is all you are.

There is a reason why surgeons get more respect than comedy writers. There is a reason mechanics get more respect than unemployed hipsters. There is a reason your job will become your label if your death makes the news. Tyler said, ”You are not your job,” but he also founded and ran a successful soap company and became the head of an international social and political movement. He was totally his job.

Or think of it this way: Remember when Chick-fil-A came out against gay marriage? And how despite the protests, the company continues to sell millions of sandwiches every day? It’s not because the country agrees with them; it’s because they do their job of making delicious sandwiches well. And that’s all that matters.

You don’t have to like it. I don’t like it when it rains on my birthday. It rains anyway. Clouds form and precipitation happens. People have needs and thus assign value to the people who meet them. These are simple mechanisms of the universe and they do not respond to our wishes.

If you protest that you’re not a shallow capitalist materialist and that you disagree that money is everything, I can only say: Who said anything about money? You’re missing the larger point.

  1. What you produce does not have to make money, but it does have to benefit people

Let’s try a non-money example so you don’t get hung up on that. The demographic that Cracked writes for is heavy on 20-something males. So on our message boards and in my many inboxes I read several dozen stories a year from miserable, lonely guys who insist that women won’t come near them despite the fact that they are just the nicest guys in the world. I can explain what is wrong with this mindset, but it would probably be better if I let Alec Baldwin explain it.

In this case, Baldwin is playing the part of the attractive women in your life. They won’t put it as bluntly as he does — society has trained us not to be this honest with people — but the equation is the same. “Nice guy? Who gives a s**t? If you want to work here, close.”

“What, so you’re saying that I can’t get girls like that unless I have a nice job and make lots of money?“

No, your brain jumps to that conclusion so you have an excuse to write off everyone who rejects you by thinking that they’re just being shallow and selfish. I’m asking what do you offer? Are you smart? Funny? Interesting? Talented? Ambitious? Creative? OK, now what do you do to demonstrate those attributes to the world? Don’t say that you’re a nice guy — that’s the bare minimum. Pretty girls have guys being nice to them 36 times a day. The patient is bleeding in the street. Do you know how to operate or not?

”Well, I’m not sexist or racist or greedy or shallow or abusive! Not like those other douchebags!“

I’m sorry, I know that this is hard to hear, but if all you can do is list a bunch of faults you don’t have, then back away from the patient. There’s a witty, handsome guy with a promising career ready to step in and operate.

Does that break your heart? OK, so now what? Are you going to mope about it, or are you going to learn how to do surgery? It’s up to you, but don’t complain about how girls fall for jerks; they fall for those jerks because those jerks have other things they can offer. “But I’m a great listener!” Are you? Because you’re willing to sit quietly in exchange for the chance to be in the proximity of a pretty girl (and spend every second imagining how soft her skin must be)? Well guess what, there’s another guy in her life who also knows how to do that, and he can play the guitar. Saying that you’re a nice guy is like a restaurant whose only selling point is that the food doesn’t make you sick. You’re like a new movie whose title is This Movie Is in English, and its tagline is ”The actors are clearly visible.“

I think this is why you can be a ”nice guy“ and still feel terrible about yourself. Specifically…

  1. You hate yourself because you don’t do anything

“So, what, you’re saying that I should pick up a book on how to get girls?”

Because that’s the step that gets skipped — it’s always “How can I get a job?“ and not ”How can I become the type of person employers want?” It’s “How can I get pretty girls to like me?” instead of ”How can I become the type of person that pretty girls like?“ See, because that second one could very well require giving up many of your favorite hobbies and paying more attention to your appearance, and God knows what else. You might even have to change your personality.

”But why can’t I find someone who just likes me for me?“ you ask. The answer is becausehumans need things. The victim is bleeding, and all you can do is look down and complain that there aren’t more gunshot wounds that just fix themselves?

Here’s another video. Everyone who watched that video instantly became a little happier, although not all for the same reasons. Can you do that for people? Why not? What’s stopping you from strapping on your proverbial thong and cape and taking to your proverbial stage and flapping your proverbial penis at people? That guy knows the secret to winning at human life: that doing … whatever you call that … was better than not doing it.

“But I’m not good at anything!” Well, I have good news — throw enough hours of repetition at it and you can get sort of good at anything. I was the world’s shittiest writer when I was an infant. I was only slightly better at 25. But while I was failing miserably at my career, I wrote in my spare time for eight straight years, an article a week, before I ever made real money off it. It took 13 years for me to get good enough to make the New York Times best-seller list. It took me probably 20,000 hours of practice to sand the edges off my sucking.

Don’t like the prospect of pouring all of that time into a skill? Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that the sheer act of practicing will help you come out of your shell — I got through years of tedious office work because I knew that I was learning a unique skill on the side. People quit because it takes too long to see results, because they can’t figure out that the process is the result.

The bad news is that you have no other choice. If you want to work here, close.

Because in my non-expert opinion, you don’t hate yourself because you have low self-esteem, or because other people were mean to you. You hate yourself because you don’t do anything. Not even you can just ”love you for you“ — that’s why you’re miserable and sending me private messages asking me what I think you should do with your life.

Do the math: How much of your time is spent consuming things other people made (TV, music, video games, websites) versus making your own? Only one of those adds to your value as a human being.

And if you hate hearing this and are responding with something you heard as a kid that sounds like ”It’s what’s on the inside that matters!” then I can only say…

  1. What you are inside only matters because of what it makes you do

Being in the business I’m in, I know dozens of aspiring writers. They think of themselves as writers, they introduce themselves as writers at parties, they know that deep inside, they have the heart of a writer. The only thing they’re missing is that minor final step, where theyactually write things.

But really, does that matter? Is “writing things” all that important when deciding who is and who is not truly a “writer“?

For the love of God, yes.

See, there’s a common defense to everything I’ve said so far, and to every critical voice in your life. It’s the thing your ego is saying to you in order to prevent you from having to do the hard work of improving: ”I know I’m a good person on the inside.” It may also be phrased as “I know who I am” or “I just have to be me.“

Don’t get me wrong; who you are inside is everything — the guy who built a house for his family from scratch did it because of who he was inside. Every bad thing you’ve ever done has started with a bad impulse, some thought ricocheting around inside your skull until you had to act on it. And every good thing you’ve done is the same — ”who you are inside“ is the metaphorical dirt from which your fruit grows.

But here’s what everyone needs to know, and what many of you can’t accept:

“You” are nothing but the fruit.

Nobody cares about your dirt. ”Who you are inside“ is meaningless aside from what it produces for other people.

Inside, you have great compassion for poor people. Great. Does that result in you doing anything about it? Do you hear about some terrible tragedy in your community and say, ”Oh, those poor children. Let them know that they are in my thoughts”? Because screw youif so — find out what they need and help provide it. A hundred million people watched that Kony video, virtually all of whom kept those poor African children “in their thoughts.” What did the collective power of those good thoughts provide? Jack s**t. Children die every day because millions of us tell ourselves that caring is just as good as doing. It’s an internal mechanism controlled by the lazy part of your brain to keep you from actually doing work.

How many of you are walking around right now saying, “She/he would love me if she/he only knew what an interesting person I am!“ Really? How do all of your interesting thoughts and ideas manifest themselves in the world? What do they cause you to do? If your dream girl or guy had a hidden camera that followed you around for a month, would they be impressed with what they saw? Remember, they can’t read your mind — they can only observe. Would they want to be a part of that life?

Because all I’m asking you to do is apply the same standard to yourself that you apply to everyone else. Don’t you have that annoying Christian friend whose only offer to help anyone ever is to ”pray for them”? Doesn’t it drive you nuts? I’m not even commenting on whether or not prayer works; it doesn’t change the fact that they chose the one type of help that doesn’t require them to get off the sofa. They abstain from every vice, they think clean thoughts, their internal dirt is as pure as can be, but what fruit grows from it? And they should know this better than anybody — I stole the fruit metaphor from the Bible. Jesus said something to the effect of “a tree is judged by its fruit” over and over and over. Granted, Jesus never said, “If you want to work here, close.“ No, he said, ”Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.“

The people didn’t react well to being told that, just as the salesmen didn’t react well to Alec Baldwin telling them that they needed to grow some balls or resign themselves to shining his shoes. Which brings us to the final point…

  1. Everything inside you will fight improvement

The human mind is a miracle, and you will never see it spring more beautifully into action than when it is fighting against evidence that it needs to change. Your psyche is equipped with layer after layer of defense mechanisms designed to shoot down anything that might keep things from staying exactly where they are — ask any addict.

So even now, some of you reading this are feeling your brain bombard you with knee-jerk reasons to reject it. From experience, I can say that these seem to come in the form of …

  1. Intentionally interpreting any criticism as an insult

“Who is he to call me lazy and worthless! A good person would never talk to me like this! He wrote this whole thing just to feel superior to me and to make me feel bad about my life! I’m going to think up my own insult to even the score!”

  1. Focusing on the messenger to avoid hearing the message

”Who is THIS guy to tell ME how to live? Oh, like he’s so high and mighty! It’s just some dumb writer on the Internet! I’m going to go dig up something on him that reassures me that he’s stupid, and that everything he’s saying is stupid! This guy is so pretentious, it makes me puke!“

  1. Focusing on the tone to avoid hearing the content

”I’m going to dig through here until I find a joke that is offensive when taken out of context, and then talk and think only about that! I’ve heard that a single offensive word can render an entire book invisible!“

  1. Revising your own history

“Things aren’t so bad! I know that I was threatening suicide last month, but I’m feeling better now! It’s entirely possible that if I just keep doing exactly what I’m doing, eventually things will work out! I’ll get my big break, and if I keep doing favors for that pretty girl, eventually she’ll come around!”

  1. Pretending that any self-improvement would somehow be selling out your true self

“Oh, so I guess I’m supposed to get rid of all of my manga and instead go to the gym for six hours a day and get a spray tan like those Jersey Shore douchebags? Because THAT IS THE ONLY OTHER OPTION.“

And so on. Remember, misery is comfortable. It’s why so many people prefer it. Happiness takes effort.

Also, courage. It’s incredibly comforting to know that as long as you don’t create anything in your life, then nobody can attack the thing you created.

It’s so much easier to just sit back and criticize other people’s creations. This movie is stupid. That couple’s kids are brats. That other couple’s relationship is a mess. That rich guy is shallow. This restaurant sucks. This Internet writer is an asshole. I’d better leave a mean comment demanding that the website fire him. See, I created something.

Oh, wait, did I forget to mention that part? Yeah, whatever you try to build or create — be it a poem, or a new skill, or a new relationship — you will find yourself immediately surrounded by non-creators who trash it. Maybe not to your face, but they’ll do it. Your drunk friends do not want you to get sober. Your fat friends do not want you to start a fitness regimen. Your jobless friends do not want to see you embark on a career.

Just remember, they’re only expressing their own fear, since trashing other people’s work is another excuse to do nothing. ”Why should I create anything when the things other people create suck? I would totally have written a novel by now, but I’m going to wait for something good, I don’t want to write the next Twilight!” As long as they never produce anything, their work will forever be perfect and beyond reproach. Or if they do produce something, they’ll make sure they do it with detached irony. They’ll make it intentionally bad to make it clear to everyone else that this isn’t their real effort. Their real effort would have been amazing. Not like the shit you made.

When article comments get nasty, it’s always from the same angle: Cracked needs to fire this columnist. This asshole needs to stop writing. Don’t make any more videos. It always boils down to “Stop creating. This is different from what I would have made, and the attention you’re getting is making me feel bad about myself.”

Don’t be that person. If you are that person, don’t be that person any more. This is what’s making people hate you. This is what’s making you hate yourself.

So how about this: one year. The end of 2015, that’s our deadline. Or a year from whenever you read this. While other people are telling you “Let’s make a New Year’s resolution to lose 15 pounds this year!“ I’m going to say let’s pledge to do anything — add any skill, any improvement to your human tool set, and get good enough at it to impress people. Don’t ask me what — hell, pick something at random if you don’t know. Take a class in karate, or ballroom dancing, or pottery. Learn to bake. Build a birdhouse. Learn massage. Learn a programming language. Film a porno. Adopt a superhero persona and fight crime. Start a YouTube vlog.

But the key is, I don’t want you to focus on something great that you’re going to make happen to you (”I’m going to find a girlfriend, I’m going to make lots of money …“). I want you to purely focus on giving yourself a skill that would make you ever so slightly more interesting and valuable to other people.

“I don’t have the money to take a cooking class.” Then Google ”how to cook.” Damn it, you have to kill those excuses. Or they will kill you.

You have nothing to lose, and the world needs you.’



Dec 17, 2015 - Musings    No Comments

A Lesson from a Christmas Tree

Lesson treeI received the following letter from my sister Kristi Overgaard-Snow.

She is a Berserker!


Dear Jim,

My life…

I became inspired after touring homes last week on the Fresno Home Tour; a Valley Children’s Hospital Fundraiser where the Who’s Who’s of Fresno decorate their homes and permit a public tour for charity.  These amazing homes are alive with awesome Christmas decorations.

Following the tour I had great ambitions of making our family tree look like the beautifully decorated trees on the tour.  (Our tree had been up for a week and not yet decorated as my mind was ruminating on what I wanted it to look like).  So Sunday morning after everyone was up, fed, and settled I went about bringing my vision to fruition – carefully scrutinizing the placement of each ornament. The tree came out just as I had hoped, beautiful and quite unique!  Everyone was very impressed. (All except Grandma, but that was expected – she just cannot help herself). LOL

After cleaning-up all the left-over Christmas paraphernalia I went to the kitchen to tidy up.  Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I see a flash. I look and with time seemingly stopping as if in slow motion I yell…  “Noooo……” and run towards my beautiful tree that is now falling to the ground.

I didn’t make it in time.  The tree hit the floor.   My Lenox China ornaments that Mom gave me for Christmas over 10 years ago were all smashed, broken, and strewn about.  Water was seeping out, pine needles, and broken ornaments were all over the place.  All I could do is stand there and say; “WOW”.  No real dramatic outburst – just acceptance of what happened.   I simply grabbed the boom and towels and started cleaning-up the mess. I stood the tree upright again and backed-away to examine the extent of the damage.  No amount of new attention was going to restore its glory.

Later, upon reflection, it struck me that like my tree, life is often a series of falls – we fall, we get up, we dust ourselves off and we move on – hopefully learning and being better prepared for the next fall.  The goal, is to become stronger, more aware, and more loving/giving people along the way – with the intention and focus to not waste time by getting stuck or paralyzed by the drama of life’s ‘falls’ (a friend with horses describes these as ‘life’s unscheduled dismounts’).

I have chosen to leave our tree as it is – disheveled, uneven, and missing ornaments.  Leaving it just as I picked it up off the floor.  For me it is a reminder that not everything is perfect – things happen in our lives no matter how hard we work for perfection.  Our job is to learn something each day, adjust to the unscheduled dismounts, and become a better person than we were the day before.

Often our lives are far from perfect, sometimes not pretty, or convenient.  In accepting my current life situation, although it is not how I envisioned it would be, I am pleased with my practiced resilience, my good intentions, and my ability to laugh through its disappointments.  A wise someone said, “Laughter is the music that lets our troubles dance.”  Amen.

Love – Kristi

Oct 9, 2015 - Musings    No Comments

We Are So Much Stronger Than We Think We Are

Sunset over KilimanjaroA Tribute to

Scott Dinsmore, founder of the global project

“Live Your Legend”

Written by


October 1, 2015

Sunset over Mount Kilimanjaro

To the amazing LYL community,

First and foremost, I would like to thank everyone for the outpouring of love and support. While I have needed to focus my efforts elsewhere right now, please know that every single word will be read. Every single thought is appreciated. And every single well-wish is felt by me and by all of Scott’s friends and family.

This community is an amazing gift that Scott left for us. Thank you for being a part of it.

I am not going to lie about this being a daunting thing to write. To be quite honest, I don’t even know how to begin to talk about what I have experienced every day over the past few weeks. There are no words that can fully describe the disbelief I still feel, the pain that I wake up to every morning and the uncertainty in the life that I have ahead of me.

Scott is my husband. He is my best friend. He is someone who I had plans with for many many more years to come. He is my protector. He is my partner. He is the love of my life.

He is so much more to me than words will ever be able to convey.

I know I have a long road ahead of me and am trying my best to do what Scott always talked about – take unbelievably small steps, steps so small that I can’t fail. The big picture is too daunting to imagine so I’m trying to focus on what I can do today, this hour, this minute. Eventually I know those steps will add up to something greater.

So here’s to me being honestly and unapologetically me…

If there’s one thing I learned over and over during our trip this year (and is proving to be true now more than ever), it is that we are so much stronger than we think we are. If someone would have told me this was going to happen, I honestly would have told you that I would lock myself in a dark room and never come out. I would have told you that this was impossible – and there are plenty of moments that I feel that way! But the resiliency of the human spirit has surprised me.

We are so much stronger than we think we are.

Something gave me the strength to get down that mountain on September 12. Something gave me the strength to get home from Africa. And something is giving me the strength to write these words.

To be honest, I am still sorting out exactly what that is – and trust me, I don’t feel it all the time – but I know the people I have in my life, the beauty in the world and the deep belief that there is something mighty for me to do have helped guide me.

Instead of diving into the depths of what I don’t have, I am clinging to what I do have.

Scott left me (and all of us) with so many of his wise words. While I know he never envisioned this situation, his principles still ring true. I’ve tried to take his wisdom and apply it to this situation. Here are a few ways that I have used his Passionate Work Framework to help me get through each day.

Become a Self Expert

  • Meditation:Every morning, I begin the day with 10-15 minutes of seated meditation. This is the absolute first thing I do. I don’t turn on my phone, it stays on airplane mode. While Scott had a regular morning meditation practice, this type of meditation is new for me and I have foundHeadspace to be very helpful.
  • Write:I follow that meditation with journaling. I write down everything I am feeling. The good, the bad and the ugly. I write down the things I am grateful for each day. I write down the things I am not so grateful for. And I do this all throughout the day. If I think it, it gets written down.
  • Be Outdoors:I spend time outside every day. It is a big, beautiful world out there and being outside helps me get perspective and reflect on all that I am thinking, feeling and experiencing. I do this in the form of walks, drinking my cup of tea outside and watching the sunrise and/or sunset.
  • Limit Distractions:For the time being, I have completely removed all social media from my phone. It would be so easy to distract myself by checking Facebook right now, but I know that what is important right now is not Facebook. What is important is connecting with family and friends in person and over the phone. What’s important right now is to be with my thoughts. Scott was incredibly passionate about this topic as many of you saw in his last blog post.
  • Be Vulnerable:I feel more vulnerable than I have ever felt. I feel more exposed than I have ever felt. I am terrified to be writing this. But once again, I am taking Scott’s lead. Scott reminded all of us so often of the importance of being ourselves, and he led by example. I know I am probably not doing this “right.” I know in the days, weeks, months and years ahead I will feel many different emotions. But I am doing something. I am being me. I am letting love in. That’s one of the few things I can do right now.


Do the Impossible

  • Respect the Process:I think it is safe to say that I am currently ‘doing the impossible,’ something Scott preached religiously. In doing that, I am trying my hardest to respect the process, a great lesson I learned from the grief call we held last week. I know I can’t rush it. It’s a process that takes a lot of time and the only way through it is to feel it. This is going to be the longest physical and emotional feat of my life. Unfortunately there are no shortcuts. So I need to focus on one impossibly small step at a time.


Surround Yourself with People Doing the Impossible

  • Find Others Who Have Done It:I don’t know how to do this, but others do… Therefore, I have sought out some amazing women to talk to. To learn from. To see how they did it. And to find some of my own strength through theirs.

It’s helpful to remind myself that everything was impossible until someone did it.

While I go through this process, and it will be a process, I do want to reassure you that Scott created this movement to be larger than himself. He has an incredible team that I love, trust and enjoy collaborating with and he created a global community of amazing people that all believe in the same thing. And even though this is new for all of us, we will learn how to do it. Together.

Scott’s mission will live on because it is too powerful and too important not to.

Thank you again for your love, for your support and for being here,

Chelsea Dinsmore

Adversity 9b