How The Unwanted Project Changed The Way I See Myself

What a long strange trip it’s been. For the last 4 years Thilde has worked tirelessly on traveling around the US and photographing homeless in different cities. Most of these trips we took together, living out of our minivan. The work was hard, waking at 5 AM before the sun and heading into the city to photograph all day. By the time the day was over, we would both always be exhausted. Our trials paled in comparison to what the homeless all over this country have to endure every single day. This book is about them, and their struggle, captured in an authentic and real way.

James was one of Thilde’s first connections to the homeless, since he was 18 James has weathered the cold winters sleeping outside in Syracuse – Image by Thilde Jenson

The Kickstarter campaign can be found here. Please consider funding it and sharing it on your social media accounts. I know it’s a big ask, but I’ve seen all the photos and I can tell you that no one who buys this book is going to be disappointed.

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In Dust We Trust : Burning Man 2016

Returning to Reno from the Playa this year Doug and I were high on life. This year had been the best burn yet and the desert had left us feeling raw to the bone. We had a bunch of food left over that we wanted to give to a homeless person. The first homeless guy we found could not accept any food as he had just had his last supper. He was dying of cancer and was headed to the hospital to be fitted with a feeding tube. Oh yeah, this is reality. Full of pain and suffering and death. Somehow after 10 days at Burning Man we had completely forgotten about the real world.

dancingflames

It hit us like a ton of bricks.

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Turning 44 – How The Hell Did I Make It This Far?

As I laid in bed meditating this morning in the arms of my beautiful partner staring out into the surreal snow covered landscape I was left with this incredible feeling of gratitude.

How did I get here, how could my life possibly be so good?

Was it luck, hard work, did the universe finally reward me for decades of suffering? It’s really hard to tell.

karl
I’ve decided to take a different path than my father before me. I’ve decided to do what I love to do and nothing else. It has paid off big time in quality of life.

I consider myself a depression survivor. In many ways it’s kind of like being a survivor of something more like cancer, but for people who struggle with depression most of American’s attitude is ‘just get over it’. Not only is this incredibly unfair, it’s also unrealistic to judge others harshly for a condition that they really have little or no control over. I read a statistic online that said 50% of Americans will struggle with mental illness at some point during their life. If so many people suffer from it then why is there so little support and compassion for it?

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How Transcendental Meditation Can Ease A Troubled Mind (aka How I Kept $2500 In My Pockets)

When I first met Thilde Jensen she encouraged me to try TM to help with my obsession and depressive nature. We have been together for 2 years now and committed to each other last summer. Meditation has become a daily habit for both of us, one that I hope we will carry with us to the end of our days. This is not a sales pitch for TM, honestly I feel like it’s a total scam, I am promoting the medical benefits of any meditation not just a single ‘brand’. Although Thilde and I have settled quite comfortably into doing TM, there are a lot of different styles of meditation each with their benefits and drawbacks. This is a story of my personal path.

enlighhtenment-maharishi

The TM style of meditation has been around since 1955 and seems to have changed very little throughout the years. The biggest change to the movement has been the price of the training. It has gone from being free to several thousand dollars for private instruction. So then the question becomes, why should I pay $2,500 for something that I can teach myself for free?

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How Suicide Leaves A Deep Rift Where Once There Was Love

Dez, Matt, Jops. It’s hard for me to even type those names without starting to cry. Three people I has so much love for made the same choice, to end their own lives. This article is not about their choices, but about the rift that it leaves in its wake.

dez2
Dez

 

Matt
Matt
Jops
Jops

 

What do I say about those that are gone? Why did you leave? Why didn’t you ask for help? What more could I have done. The questions haunt me year after year. As someone who has struggled with severe depression for most of my life, I know what it’s like to feel overwhelmed and lost in the world. Somehow I never gave up. Somehow I just put my head down and kept pushing on. For those that chose to give up, it is the emptiness in the ones they love behind that is so moving to me.

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The Confessions Of A Teenage Alcoholic

For the last 20 years I’ve been sober. Strangely enough I look back and I don’t even know how I got here. My teenage years were a blur of drugs, alcohol and almost constant partying. As my friends from high school stayed on track and got accepted to Ivy League schools I went on a downward spiral into a nihilistic existence. And I loved every minute of it.

My completely wasted youth. Jae Brim was one of my closest friends during those years.
My completely wasted youth. Jae Brim was one of my closest friends during those years.

I loved eating out of dumpsters and living in abandoned buildings. I loved getting chased by cops night after night. I loved being totally lit out of my gourd and doing the stupid possible things night after night. Whether is was doing donuts in the front yard of a fraternity in a Volvo with no doors or dumpster diving an easy chair from the Starvation Army and keeping it in the bed of a pickup and launching it into the air while driving at high speeds over the jump going down Buffalo St hill. I remember spending all my time exploring rooftops and abandoned buildings and doing whatever I liked. We took trips to NYC and got into riots with the cops when our car got stolen. It was pure insanity.

Many of my friends from that era died from overdoses, suicide or literally drinking themselves to death. One of my closest friends, Mike Spike, dropped dead at 25 in the  County Jail. When they did the autopsy they said his arteries were 99% blocked. I never saw him eat or drink anything but alcohol.

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Can a piece of art really change your life?

I was asked by my good friend Dr Pamela Moss to submit my vision board that I created under her supervision  to a transformational art show. Two long years ago myself and a dozen other people spread out a bunch of old magazines on a table and after a deep soulful meditation we looked through them and ripped out any pictures that called to us. We then spent another hour cutting out the pictures and gluing them on a posterboard. That ‘vision board’ has hung in my kitchen and I’ve looked at it every day for the the last two years. I mounted color changing LED lights around it and I setup a LED spotlight above it so it could have the brightest light in the room. This simple collection of pictures pasted together from magazines that people threw in the trash has completely transformed my life.

The center of my vision board
The center of my vision board

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