On thanking the pain

The wall

My mortal view of the edge of the universe.

I was born into a messed up family. I have always had a desire to shake my fist at God, if there is such a being. I have indulged that desire frequently, and with some intensity.

Today I talked on the phone for half an hour with a wounded lady of 34 years who loves a wounded man of 27 years. They have both experienced more family pain than I did. I am meeting with her in person tomorrow.

I have another relationship with a woman who said she was suicidal. We met recently, and I presented the idea that she was trying to solve too many problems that are owned by other people. The idea touched her in a good way. Today I invited her to meet again. She accepted.

What came from my encounters with pain is that I understand the pain other people are going through. At least, the pain that resembles mine. And I care about it. And I have some suggestions for them that might actually make a difference to them.

Today, for the first time, I see value in the crap I experienced. I am ready to stop blaming God, if there is one, and maybe even be grateful for something I have resented for so many years. I see more value in pain than I ever have.

Your thoughts?

On being remarkable

Four wonderful ladies celebrating the affection they have for each other.

Jen, Justice, Nayada, and Dallas celebrating the affection they share. This shoot was a remarkable experience for me.

One of the meanings of the word remarkable is this: “extraordinary, unusual; that deserves particular notice, or that may excite admiration or wonder.”

I like to admire and to wonder.

We are, however, conditioned to avoid being extraordinary or unusual, and to blend in. That practice denies us a lot of fun.

In Tucson we have Jade Beall, a wonderful photographer who photographs mothers to celebrate the whole amazing variety of shapes and sizes post childbirth. I admire her, the work she creates, and the wonderful ladies who reveal themselves to the camera.

Jade Beall photographs mothers and publishes the images under the title The Bodies of Mothers.

Jade Beall photographs mothers and publishes the images under the title The Bodies of Mothers.

How many people have considered doing something remarkable but hesitated because it might stir controversy, criticism, or misunderstanding? What have I talked myself out of doing? Where do I hesitate?

I choose the photographs I publish in this blog with a view to caution, and perhaps too much of it. I am probably too restrained about promoting my work and my services.

I only recently began bubble bath photo shoots. I could have begun them much sooner, to the delight of myself and the models. The models are always playful and happy during the shoots.

We are bombarded with messages urging us to use caution and restraint. What are the costs in terms of remarkable work that never gets done?

Is there something remarkable you have put on hold?

Good clean fun



Amanda Carin and I worked together again today. As always, we enjoyed the experience and are pleased with the images. We created a bubble bath series and a costume series. We chose 83 images from the shoot.

She has a profile on Model Mayhem number 1598490. You can find her on Facebook by searching on her name. She loves to model, is creative, and energetic.

I met her at an Arizona Photo Events shoot, and we immediately decided we wanted to do more work together.

She brings a lot of ideas to the shoot.

Why most big businesses suck as employers


From my Hemingway period.

I have worked for several large businesses. I will not name names. There would be nothing gained by that. I just want you to know that I have been on the front lines.

Big businesses suck as employers because they are run by men. Let’s look at what men believe.

First, they believe that showing emotion is to reveal personal weakness. The most they allow themselves is to applaud at an award ceremony.

They also conceal any and all evidence of curiosity. They believe they are paid to have all the answers, so curiosity would merely reveal a chink in their armor.

They are taught, and for the most part accept, that profit is the reason the organization exists. It is not to serve, inspire, encourage, invent, or nourish. It’s all about money. How much can you get, and how soon can you get it?

They believe that talented, worthy people have college degrees. And where you got them matters. Harvard awards talent too, not just a diploma.

Men also deny any kind of personal destiny. We are not the Wright brothers. We do what we are told. Obedience and conformity measure our worth.

A big problem in most organizations is that hidden agendas are the norm. Books like Overcoming Organizational Defenses, by Chris Argyris, describe and define these problems, and prescribe methods for dealing with them.

I photograph people. Men are usually dull subjects unless they are with a woman. I much prefer photographing women. I would prefer working for one.

I notice when I pay my monthly bills that I get little value from the companies who receive my payments. None of them inspire me. That is a mark of our times. It is the mark of male management. Yes, I am amazed. I’ve seen a lot.

Your thoughts, ladies?

On the value of listening

Christ in the House of Mary and Martha, Jan Vermeer, c. 1654.

Christ in the House of Mary and Martha, Jan Vermeer, c. 1654.

Today’s post is from the archives. Click the link to access it. The subject is central to the practice of kindness.

One of the things we overlook in life is that a simple gesture can have a profound effect. The simple gesture featured in this post is to listen to understand.

We have never pondered, as a society, the effect we might have on people by showing an interest in their deeply-held stories.

Today a friend posted on Facebook a photograph of a lady who received a message demanding that she kill herself because of her weight. She was told she had a fat ass.

The person who sent the message is clearly very wounded, and probably lacking anyone who cares about that. The object of his hatred was wounded. I feel a wound from simply knowing about it.

There is much work waiting for us as listeners.

I aspire to learn kindness


Emma has been with us four of her ten years. Thanks to Tina, we brought Emma home from her no-kill shelter.

Kindness is not easy. If it were, we would all being doing it. But it’s not easy. I’ve been a fan of Jesus of Nazareth since grade school, and I’m still stuck in my fear. It is time to take this blog to a new level. It’s not like I have a choice in the matter.

We adopted Emma Louise four years ago because Tina was so kind to Emma and to me.

There are homeless people, and homeless quadrupeds, everywhere. I looked for median strip folks today and yesterday, and found none. I only give them a token offering. I wonder if I should bring them home for a shower and some food, and some conversation, but that thought frightens me at a very deep level. I have my own insecurities.

I was recently called to meet with a friend who, she told me, was contemplating suicide. I met with her 30 minutes later in her own neighborhood for a long and very satisfying conversation. I left her in better spirits than I found her. God bless. We agreed to meet again, and we will.

This video is about the rescue of a homeless dog. It is very, very sweet. It’s about an abandoned dog, frightened, and with very matted fur.

I have been aspiring to kindness for more than 60 years, and the work still frightens me. It will take me too deep, I say. I cannot fill the voids I discover in other people. I cannot fill my own.

My friends are all people of goodwill, but we do not often discuss our fears, nor our obligations to those who are wounded. Well, maybe we never will. What does that mean?

Do you readers have something to say about your adventures with kindness? It would be a great help to me.