Friend of Ned: Dick Jackson
By Rory Coulter
Meet Dick Jackson — legendary IFMGA mountain guide who founded Aspen Expeditions Worldwide back in 1976, adventure photographer, grateful husband and father, and Friend of Ned. We chat with Dick about his iconic career and what an active life in the mountains has taught him.
Ned: How would you describe yourself?
Dick: I am a well adjusted ‘over the hill’ mountain athlete who has been a professional mountain guide for over forty-five years. I remain active in the high mountains, although my slower pace and endurance have shown my age and years gone by. Otherwise I continue to enjoy each day, especially while sharing an uphill skin track or bike ride to yet another daily adventure.
Ned: What are the core values that guide you in your daily life?
Dick: I try to practice a display of open-mindedness and mutual respect for those who I encounter, even though I may not share their values and priorities. An active life in the mountains has taught me patience, humility and respect.
Ned: What’s your motto or favorite quote?
Dick: “Lose your dreams and you’ll lose your mind!”… Ruby Tuesday/Mick Jagger
Ned: What brings you the most joy?
Dick: I have an 18-year-old daughter who constantly offers the greatest joy in my life. Her maturity has been such a pleasure to share and participate with along this journey called LIFE.
Ned: What’s your best tip for stress?
Dick: Take deep slow breaths, look up with your eyes wide open, and find calmness within your mind and heart.
Ned: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Dick: “Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”
― The Dalai Lama
Ned: What’s something you’ve learned this past year?
Dick: I have realized that one's love for one another far exceeds one's ‘need’ for each other! Our only true ‘need’ is for love and compassion, without which we simply cannot survive!
Ned: What’s wellness to you?
Dick: Wellness to me starts with my Heart…formal education of the heart that teaches love, compassion, justice, forgiveness, mindfulness, tolerance and peace. Simply put, my physical well being depends on my mental, emotional and spiritual well being.
Ned: What’s a super simple practice you do that’s improved your life?
Dick: Mindfulness meditation is a daily practice that prepares me for the daily routines and potential challenges.
Ned: What’s the smallest change you’ve made that’s had the biggest impact?
Dick: My relatively recent “semi-retirement” has been an unexpected benefit, as my available and quality time spent with new and/or old friends is mostly dependent on their timing. It’s such a treat to reconnect in ways that our ‘normal’ working schedule simply does not often accommodate.
Ned: How do you start your day?
Dick: I start with a routine that includes feeding our dog, Babouschka…as her patience is tested each morning on a daily basis. Then after a nice vanilla latte I enjoy some free time down in our guest studio, starting with about 30 minutes of quiet meditation, then a session spinning on the Peloton and rowing machine. By that time, I prepare for the day’s activities that normally include skiing (winter) or biking (non winter).
Ned: How do you end your day?
Dick: I enjoy the later hours of the day with a good reading session to lift my awareness and ultimately relax my mind to anticipate a good restful sleep.
Ned: What’s your favorite ritual?
Dick: My quality time with our small family offers a special and unique opportunity that I cherish beyond description in mere words. This closeness has been a consistent source of gratitude and inspiration. My daughter will be ‘off’ to college next year, so the time spent together is even more important than ever!
Ned: What’s something you want to start doing?
Dick: I have been procrastinating about documenting past experiences and thoughts gained over the 70+ years I’ve been around. As a combined project, the many thousands of photographs (as transparencies/slides) need to be edited and digitized in order to augment and compliment the writing of these memoirs.
Ned: What’s something you want to stop doing?
Dick: At this point in my life, if I should stop doing something it’s not likely to happen. Like the old adage, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”! I look forward to new friends and experiences, yet the diverse past is an integral part of who I am now so I’m OK with that!
Ned: Who do you follow that really inspires you?
Dick: It would be difficult to deny my awe inspiring consistent admiration for the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, the spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people. His many teachings and writings are both personal and universal, offering perhaps the most perceptive approach to Hope for this planet and the future of racial equity, that being the Human Race!
Ned: What’s something you’re grateful for?
Dick: I must admit to having somewhat of a blessed lifetime on this planet. The era of available adventures, ease of travel both domestically and abroad, along with a shared love with our extended family of friends have all contributed to a mindful acceptance and calmness of my mind and spirit. This ‘modern’ world has increased challenges which my daughter’s generation has inherited; and I am grateful to ‘pass the baton’ with best wishes for success and happiness.
Ned: What’s something that would make the world a better place?
Dick: Empathy is the basis of human coexistence. Human development relies on cooperation, not competition. We are focusing far too much on our differences instead of our commonalities. After all, every one of us is born the same way and dies the same way.
Ned: What brought you to Ned?
Dick: This is an easy one . . . I first met Ret via a mutual friend in the best of circumstances. We shared a backcountry hut trip near Aspen right about when he was first introducing Ned. It was incredibly obvious that his passion and commitment to this life changing product line was more deeply rooted than simply launching a new business. The success over these years has not been by chance, although the timing was significant in his vision and self-motivated desire to help make a better world, one by one!
Ned: What’s your favorite Ned product(s) and why?
Dick: The Full Spectrum CBD Hemp Oil is extracted from organically grown hemp flowers. NED’s premium hemp oils are rich in powerful cannabinoids and terpenes to restore balance, reduce stress, and get the rest I want and need. Daily Blend helps to enhance my health based on a cumulative foundation by bringing my body back into balance and providing functional support for sleep, stress, and pain management.
Ned: How do you use your favorite Ned product?
Dick: I have a daily practice of using the Daily Blend Hemp Oil twice a day, always before a day of adventure activities and just before the calmness of restful sleep. It takes a few weeks to fully benefit from this ‘cumulative’ use pattern, and I fully support and recommend this to friends on a daily basis.