That Day We Lost Our Soul Mate

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Soul Mates via Unsplash

Monday began like any other. After my morning ritual, I paused to briefly scan social media before getting back to work. What’s this?

Someone commented about Scott Dinsmore. I remembered him mentioning going off-line for a bit. Then began that bubble in time where the rest of the world continues in a muffled blur while you gather the facts in “surreal time.”

This felt all too familiar. Years ago I watched the news as rescue workers pulled the body of my on-wing (your assigned mentor until you solo in flight school) out of Corpus Christi Bay. Some time later someone called to tell us that my younger brother had been airlifted off a ski slope in the Poconos.

Each of these reminded me of how I felt watching the footage of jets slamming into the World Trade Center played over and over again. It just doesn’t seem real.

It’s now Thursday. The past few days have been a haze of doing what needed to be done. I’ve commented a few times, sharing some my thoughts and feelings. And only now do I feel a little more ready to add my voice to the conversation in the wake of Scott Dinsmore’s death.

What’s strangest to me is that I’ve never met Scott or Chelsea. Sure, we bantered a bit on Instagram or via email. We live in an age, of course, where we can connect in so many ways without ever being in the same place.

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Chelsea & Scott Dinsmore via Instagram

Yet, these token moments are opportunities to touch each other’s lives in ways that no one can ever predict. This butterfly effect reminds me of my favorite film, It’s a Wonderful Life where the main character George Bailey gets a chance to see what life is like if he hadn’t been born.

At a pivotal moment the angel turns to George and points out how the nightmarish alternate world reflects the void left by his absence and all the ways that he didn’t get to touch the lives of others.

Some of my personal online mentors shared their thoughts as well – many of whom I had no idea that they were even connected to Scott in any way. And that’s what I see – a life that touched so many others in so many ways.

  Gone Too Soon: My Friend Scott – Jonathan Fields

  When Friends Die: The Clarity & Confusion of Grief – Jeff Goins

  29 Ways to Live Your Legend Now – Tribute to Scott Dinsmore – Natalie Sisson

  Sudden Loss, New Beginnings and Three Simple Words – Sean Ogle

  Scott Dinsmore, I Miss You Bro – Jonathan Mead

  Scott Dinsmore, I Miss You Deeply – Leo Babauta

  Scott Dinsmore, I Will Miss You Forever – Corbett Barr

More tributes to Scott’s legacy on the Live Your Legend website.

In Eat, Pray, Love Elizabeth Gilbert writes,

“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention.”

Scott often joked that after talking one-on-one with him, 8 out of 10 people quit their jobs. And he was proud of this.

People come into our lives for a time.. a season.. a reason.. often in shapes and sizes that we never imagined. Who could guess that a frat bro demigod flashing his brilliant Apollo smile was really a Yoda in disguise that forced you to look at your choices? Not me.

But this wasn’t just some guru or therapist, Scott lived this himself. He shined that same light on his own choices and stepped into his own truth.

What makes me saddest about Scott’s untimely death is how it leaves so many questions unanswered.

What was he thinking? No, not in the sense of “why did he try to climb Mt Kilimanjaro? didn’t he know it’s dangerous?” That’s something my parents would say. Scott went into things fully aware of the risks and embraced them.

What last thoughts did he have and what is left undone?

What could he have done if he were still alive?

So many questions but the biggest one is.. where do we go from here?

Years ago a friend of mine said that the reason why some souls leave this earth sooner than others is because their work is done.

Maybe so. It just sure doesn’t feel like it.

People tend to use words like “freak accident” for things like this. What’s made Scott’s passing even more gut wrenching is that it came so soon after the loss of someone else who touched so many lives, Dr. Wayne Dyer.

One of his favorite sayings is “there are no coincidences.” And, no, the irony of all this isn’t lost on me as I’m reading the chapter in his memoir, I Can See Clearly Now  where Dr. Dyer talks about the effect that losing President Kennedy had on him and his own work.

“It was no longer just about my impending career as a teacher. I began to think in terms of how I could impact the consciousness of the entire planet. I saw myself from that day forward as a man with a voice of compassion for a higher good. I didn’t know how or even what my role might be, but I knew that one person with a conscience could make a difference and I was that person.”

Each moment is a chance, an opportunity to touch the lives of others – to live your legend. Scott knew this and taught us most by living his. Now he’s given us a chance to live our own.

Camping Along the Oregon Coast Pt 2

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photo: Unsplash

This is Part 2 of my Oregon camping trip. You can read Part 1 here.

“There’s a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.” – Steven Wright

I was definitely treading the.. heck, let’s face it. I was running up & down that divide!

Luckily, a neighbor was generous enough to offer part of his catch – a salmon filet from the season.

By now Molly and I had gotten down some routines.. “best practices,” if you will –

Simplify by Being Organized

When you’re running around amuck in the woods, it’s important to be organized.. There’s enough stuff to try and figure each day. A lot of stuff you take for granted – like going to the bathroom becomes a chore.

So, it helps to color code stuff, if you can. Stuff like having bags for specific uses – dry goods in one / utensils in another – comes in handy, so you can find stuff & not spend time looking for that bottle opener when you’d rather be enjoying that riesling while it’s still crisp and nicely chilled.

When we talk about a “sanitized cockpit” in aviation, we’re not talking about keeping hand sanitizer in your flight bag. Just like having clipboards for air charts and pockets for gear, you will appreciate how simpler life is when you compartmentalize.

Keeping perishables in the cooler not only keeps them fresh and handy, but you can quickly know if you’re running low on any items. Separating this from the dry goods makes sure that ingredients are the way you need them when you do.

Keeping a Smooth Camping Environment

In a lot of ways campsites become small towns in themselves. Trust is key – at some point you leave stuff out. So, hopefully you feel safe about doing so with your neighbors.

What helps to build connections with others is sharing information. Sometimes you’re the “expert” but sooner or later you need others. This applies to all kinds of resources, but information is the most handy social currency.

Within your own “village” it’s important to have self-sufficiency, yet you need to work together. Camping creates an environment that’s intense. The last time I spent this much time in such close quarters was my time in the military on a ship in the middle of the West Pacific Ocean. You learn the need to balance between keeping to yourself and connecting with others.

Part of self-sufficiency is re-use – Those paper bags for groceries then become kindling for fires. Having a “waste not / want not” mentality translates to how that plastic container may become a much needed water jug. Even though there’s more recycling and minimizing waste today, we forget some of these ideas in our “civilized” world.

What You Learn to Appreciate

Boy, do we forget some of the things we take for granted!

Things like:

Bathrooms less than 150’ away

Running water that didn’t require pump

Showers – HOT showers!

Why did we pay for such inconvenience? To be honest this was an affordable way to be with Molly. There was no way that I could have afforded hotels for the time we spent with our limited budget. Plus, we got to know each other in ways that nothing else.

It does take a self-sufficient, capable gal – camping is definitely not for your typical girly girl. At the same time there’s a lot of guys who’d probably have a hard time keeping up with someone like that. I think I did okay. Well, at least average – if not a little above-average? (hopefully, this isn’t the same way we all think we’re above-average drivers..)

I’m still amazed that we did it – not just in the sense of surviving.. unfortunately, Molly got a sprained ankle, but that’s not too bad considering we spent so much time “out in the wild.” Hey, we didn’t get food poisoning, or any number of typical nasty camping ills like poison ivy, ticks, or snake bites.

Our relationship deepened.. something that nothing else can really take its place.