Knowing your heart. At the end of the day, we answer only to ourselves and perhaps our higher power. As I go to bed I review my day and assess, have I endeavored to be loving, purposeful, living my life ‘on’ purpose, doing what my soul is meant to do. Some days I feel more on target than others. Other days I am impatient with my humanity. But, I am owner of it all. And my aim is to do good, to be a servant of sorts, using my skills and passions to create good. Each night I can go to bed knowing my intent is always, ALWAYS strong and in that vein.
The internet and communicating, stretching what we think and know, publically, is intriguing to me. I am now a part of the Blog movement and experiencing the world in a new way. I’m finding that being transparent, open and honest about who we are, strengths, foibles, all of who we are, takes guts.
I am not sure how other people live their lives though I know that being hurtful and negative serves no one. I am reminded of the story of the man who had a print shop close to a downtown area in a big city. He was a man of meager means, working to pay his rent, service his customers, to do good in the way he knew how. Again and again the neighbor boys would turn over his trash and paint obscenities on the outside wall of his building. Week after week this man would clean up the garbage and wash the paint off his wall. This went on for months.
I don’t remember the exact details of the story, but the long and the short of it was, he came upon the boys doing their thoughtless acts and instead of yelling at them, he surprised them and asked, ‘which one of you is the great painter,’ as one of the boys made lewd caricatures on the wall. He persuaded the boys to come in to see his shop one day. After a time, they grew to know the man, to hear stories of his life and his dreams beyond the printing shop, the challenges he’d encountered, the stories of his family, they met his aged father, were shown photographs of his children, now grown and living elsewhere, learned that his wife had passed away.
Compassion grew within these boys as they found that he was very much like themselves. They grew to understand this man’s heart and could no longer do the careless things they had done so thoughtlessly.
I received a curious email from a woman the other day. It was posted to my entire team at Carl House. Apparently I inadvertently posted stock photos on my Blog misunderstanding ‘Royalty Free’ as something I could use freely. I’m adamant about crediting the many gifted photographers who shoot weddings at my venue, clearly I am not an intentional ‘pirate’. That’s not me. People who know my heart know that that is certainly not me. My unawareness of the rules was perhaps not particularly savvy, but nonetheless, an unintentional error.
‘Kim’ (though it’s doubtful that is her real name, sent me her hotmail note which reads as follows):
To whom it may concern,
I was visiting your website during my recent wedding planning search and felt I needed to write to you.
I viewed the links from your website to both the Carl House blog and the blog for the apparent owner, BB Webb. I am utterly appalled at the unprofessionalism of both blogs for their content and for the unethical and illegal usage of stock photos from companies such as Fotosearch and Shutterstock. I am completely surprised that a business would openly use photos that have obviously been pirated from these companies without compensation to them!
Ms. Webb, you write of “being in the arts” so it seems YOU of all people should understand that you are stealing from the same people you claim to support.
I have notified these companies of your sites and hope they can recoup the loss of income from your apparent lack of ethics. Also, I will certainly NOT contact you for my upcoming 2010 wedding plans nor will I refer anyone to your venue.
Might it not have been more gracious to call me directly to alert me of my error. I wondered why someone who doesn’t know me, would speak so hatefully. I wish I were more thick skinned, but it was hurtful.
After thanking her for bringing this to my attention, I spoke immediately with John at Fotosearch telling him of the letter and my error. I have calls into two other companies I have used. He said that lots and lots of people do the same and don’t understand what ‘royalty free’ means. He accepted my apology and shared with me some cost effective sites I might use. I suggested I post the rules of ‘royalty free’ on my Blog, mentioning his company and additional sites. He thanked me and said he will put together something to post, sent in a separate email after getting the okay from his manager.
I shared the email I had received from ‘Kim’. He was shocked at its sharpness and accusing tone. He was stunned by a letter so hateful.
Perhaps this email is really a disgruntled former employee masquarading as Kim, or maybe she IS a bride-to-be. If it is a bride, I wish she’d contacted me privately, to better know my heart.
This person does however represent a part our culture who think little about being hurtful, they hide behind email, are unwilling to have a thoughtful conversation. ‘Kim’s’ follow up email was all the more blaming and obsessed. I decided not to participate. To me it’s an odd way to spend time and energy.
I am thankful to have so many dear friends and colleagues who know me, who know my heart, my intentions toward good.
My world is becoming and will become more and more public as I do what I am meant to do, sharing all I’m learning as a business owner, as a woman, as a servant and student of the world. One of my dear friends promised to make me a suit of teflon to let the negatives barbs and thoughtless jabs hurled by people roll off me.
Emails such as Kim’s help me know better who I am. They strengthen my resolve to continue the work I am doing and to release the people and things who serve me not.
And with the knowledge of my error, please stay tuned, you’ll be hearing from the various photo stock companies I’ve contacted… so far, gracious, understanding, considerate. My sincere apologies to them all and thanks for agreeing to help educate me and others on the rule of ‘royalty free’ photos. I’d rather be part of the solution than the problem. Any day.