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Hello 2015

Hello 2015

Hey there everyone,

As we embark on another year I wanted to provide a quick update. Below is the content from my most recent newsletter. Here's wishing the very best to you and yours as we reflect on last year and move forward into this one.


I am currently living in upstate, NY working on a contract with a consulting firm who does culture change through diversity and inclusion. We’ve been working together to do some interesting things with both large and small organizations, as well as in the community. The contract goes through February 4 and we’ll see where the journey goes from there. I’m excited to see what 2015 will bring.


On of July 10, 2014 My sister Jessica and her husband Michael II made me a very proud uncle after they brought Michael III into the world. After four months I met the nibbling (gender-neutral term for nephew/niece) over Thanksgiving. Uncle Michael loves you M3.

11222014_M6_M3_005_BW 1.jpg

Current Projects

The pilot for the “Peace by Piece” empathy journaling project has officially launched. Five people have committed to serve as the initial beta group and all have received their journals. The purpose of this project is to allow people to take their time to share and reflect their inner thoughts, experiences, and feelings with others with whom they may not normally share time and space. I mail a journal to each person and ask them to fill the pages in whatever way suits them.

After 30 days I’ll email each participant a prepaid shipping label for them to return the journals. Then each person will receive somebody else’s journal along with a blank one. At this point, they will be asked to reflect on the other person’s entries for thirty days. Only after both journals have been returned will each person learn who they’ve been sharing with.

The pieces will be viewable online and I'll be working with various places to display them physically as well. If you're interested in participating, let me know and I'll send you a journal as well. Also, if you know anybody who might be interested, please feel free to share with them. I'm hoping to get enough feedback to modify the process, increase its effectiveness, grow the scale, and build series around various themes.

What I'm Reading

Big thanks to Dyana Valentine for sending me I Wanna Take Me a Picture by Alexanra Lightfoot and Wendy Ewald. I’m currently doing my first read-through and am enjoying how it’s making me think more critically about how I approach photography, visual literacy, and sharing in learning. Plus it’s just a fun read.

Another book I’m reading is To Be A Slave by Julius Lester. It’s a relatively short collection of first-hand accounts of slavery—actual stories from the actual slaves—not recreations. I’ve found it is difficult to read and while also providing me with a great sense of pride and hope. I've been losing a lot of sleep over what’s been going on around Michael Brown and Eric Garner. The events and our responses have given me a lot to think about. This book is one that reminds me just how resilient we can be. Plus it has inspired a project I hope to do in partnership with the African American Museum in Seattle.

Friend Brag

Nina Carduner

You may have seen the “100 Years of Beauty in 1 Minute” video around the Internet recently. It was a collaboration between some very talented women with a well-executed concept. What you may not have seen, though, is the person who takes center stage in the video, Nina Carduner, is not only a model, but holds her MBA from Bainbridge Graduate Institute, has been very involved in the startup and technology movement in the West Coast, and is currently working in sustainability efforts. Plus she’s a fun person to be around. Get it Nina! Congratulations!

Stacy Flynn

This year I’ve had the honor of spending more time with Stacy Flynn, creator of The Future Resource Collective and Evrnu. I’ve truly found her tenacity and resilience inspiring. 2014 was both a challenging and rewarding year for her. After putting just about all of her time, energy, and soul into bringing her concept to reality, she received first place in the SVP (Social Venture Partners) Fast Pitch in Seattle, presented at the Cradle-To-Cradle Conference in NYC, and ran a successful $25,000 Indiegogo campaign. Watch out for this one. She’s on a mission to change the apparel and manufacturing industries specifically, but aims to create processes that can change the way we fundamentally do business. I’m proud of you Stacy!

Free Photo

I promised that with each newsletter I’d be giving away a free download of one of my photographs. Here’s one that many have expressed interest in. I hope you enjoy. Download link is below.

Links From This Newsletter

• I Wanna Take Me a Picture

• To Be A Slave

• Nina - Carduner 100 Years of Beauty in 1 Minute

• Stacy Flynn - Future Resource Collective

• Free Photo - Seattle Boats

What's new in your world? Best wishes the beginning of your 2015!


Self Portrait

I took a little extra time with this blog post. Rather than write it all in one sitting, I‘ve spent hours in reflection and countless others in thought over the image that will serve as its subject. Now, as I put the pen to paper (I literally hand wrote this post before publishing it here), John Coltrane’s “I’m Old Fashioned” is playing on the turntable. I took an extra few minutes and recorded the song directly from that turntable and have converted it to MP3 below. As I venture into this post, I invite you to press play and experience this moment with me—complete with record pops and whispers. If you might, take a few moments to take a look at the photograph and then read the following reflection.

Self Portrait, Photo by Michael B. Maine

A few weeks ago I decided to take a day and walk around Vashon Island. Months prior I was taking a stroll over there and noticed an abandoned house marked with a sign declaring it unsafe and uninhabitable. It struck me as ironic that the human-made structure was decaying and labeled unsafe amidst the ever-renewing trees, grass, water, and the rest of the natural world surrounding it. To me, the house appears to be at peace, almost desiring to return to a state where it is the provider of life once again. At first sight I knew I had to make time at some point to photograph that scene. Making that photograph was a secondary goal of this later trip. The first was to enjoy a peaceful day away from the computer.

Although I did capture the house scene it was the image above that I feel I was destined to find. When I got home that night I posted the picture on Facebook with the title “Self Portrait” and was quickly asked by several people why I named it that. After staring at the print and reflecting at length, this is what the photograph means to me:

I feel this image accurately describes my presence in this world. More than a mere reflection in the glass, everything in this photo tells a piece of my story. Firstly, everything is apparent, but nothing is fully resolved and comprehensible. Just as you can tell the dark blob of a human figure is my reflection, the distortion and lack of detail keep you from  being completely  sure who or what it is. You know that is a newspaper, but what does it say? You can stand right in front of it, but even under close analysis you can only make out a few key pieces of information. I think those who know me might find that a fairly clear depiction—every now and then you’ll get a glimpse of the person underneath. But more often than not, you’re left without the entire story. Authentic, yet not fully understood. I’m working on that—working on allowing more of myself to be read.

Notice the blackberry stem. It is neither attached to the ground nor is it draped from the top. However, it is present. The decaying car represents the death of my old hopes and dreams while the grass represents the emergence of new ones. No longer do I find myself with grandiose dreams of succeeding in the corporate structures as it exists today, but rather finding creative ways to build the organizations of the future—the ones that exist with purpose beyond the bottom line. Even beyond the triple bottom line.

I could continue deconstructing this image further, but I’d like to leave at least some of it to your own interpretation. What do you see in it? What does it mean to you?

Reflection Series: What To Keep and What To Let Go Of

In my Leadership and Personal Development (LPD) class we are assigned weekly reflections. Normally, I respond only to our professor Mary Kay. In the sake of transparency and to provide some personal insights, I’ve decided to share one of those reflections with you.


Here I am sitting in a beautiful condo in downtown Seattle. I look out of the window to my left and see the Seattle Space Needle. I look behind me, and I see the beautiful waters of the Puget Sound. Several of my goals have come to fruition. I’m in a great graduate program. I’m in a beautiful city. And I’m surrounded by wonderful people. I should be feeling great. And for the most part, I do. However, at the same time, I just can’t release this feeling of guilt—this feeling that I don’t deserve the success I’ve achieved up to this point—the feeling that I am sitting on this couch because of pure, undeserved luck.  That’s what I need to let go of.

For the past several weeks, I’ve been trying to fight this feeling. I think, finally, I may be starting to win that fight. I had a conversation with a couple of friends about it and, through that conversation I learned three things. 

  1. It’s an obligation to take full advantage of the opportunities that are presented. To not take advantage of those opportunities would be a waste.
  2. There are systems and institutions in place that play a major role, many of which I cannot be held responsible for (e.g., family, social, financial, educational, access, etc.)
  3. The best place for me to make a difference in those systems is a position of success.

Success with compassion is what they explained to me. It’s great to care, but we can’t let the caring become a debilitating factor in our quest to promote positive, social change.

I want to keep my drive. And I want to keep those positive people in my life. I want to keep making progress.

What would I like to create? I’d like to be part of a community that helps ensure that everybody has the opportunity to dream.

"Peace" - A Short Story

Last week I attended orientation for Bainbridge Graduate Institute as a member of Cohort 10 (C10). On the third day, we were asked to have a “silent morning” and reflect on why we have chosen this path. I found a large rock on the shore of Channel Rock and sat there. The following short story is what came to mind as I reflected and meditated:

My view off the coast of Channel Rock

I didn’t end up where I thought I would. But when I arrived, I knew this was where I needed to be. It wasn’t the view, or the sounds, or the sun that brought me here. In fact, it was slightly cold, slightly murky, and slightly dark. No, it wasn’t those things, but rather it was the feeling that this is where I belonged, here, in this moment—the feeling of peace.

Not long after I arrived did I become acutely aware of the living and non-living beings who welcomed me into their company. “Strangers we are not,” they told me. “For we have been here all along, waiting for your arrival. Welcome.”

Closing my eyes, my consciousness transcended from the acknowledgement of those around me to the connections we share. “We’re not here for you,” they explained. “And you’re not here for us. We’re just here…existing…for each other. For without me there is no you, and without you there is no me. We all come together, and through appreciation, we combine to make this world beautiful. Remember that, as you pursue all of your endeavors. We may appear to be stationary, but we arrived here too, just as you did. We will continue to exist, and the things we do, however inconsequential they may seem, will affect you; just as the things you do, however inconsequential as they may seem, will affect us. Keep that close to your heart, mind, and soul thus we may continue to not only co-exist, but co-appreciate. And please, remember to come visit, for we love you more than you could ever know. If not us, our descendants will be here to welcome back you and yours. Peace.”

So I sat and I thought…and sat…and thought…

The word slight, which I used earlier, suddenly became more significant in my thoughts. Earlier I used slight to describe what I was sensing. Now I realize that it being slightly all of those things helped me reach a higher plane of consciousness. The temperature was just cold enough for me to breathe more shallowly. The wind blew just hard enough for me to feel it. The water flowed just loud enough for me to hear it. The small rocks shifted under my feet just enough to make me feel unsure. The sun was just high enough for me to notice the darkness. They all came together for me to take notice of everything around me. They came together to say, “Hey, we’re here,” and nothing more… “We’re here.”

I guess the word I was looking for was gentle. No, better yet…peace.