Purpose Statement

Exploration -> Experience -> Feeling -> Awareness -> Understanding -> Transformation -> Liberation

Friday, November 27, 2015

Manai'a Explorations Logo

The next iteration in the development of my logo. Artwork by Pete Olivas.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Performance as Liberation from Shame

"Had both my parents been around, I probably would have done something completely different with my life. I think all performers come from a place of self-doubt and pain. Ray Romano said once, very accurately and hilariously, that if his dad had spent more time with him he would have been an accountant instead of a comedian. I think that anybody who wants to get on stage or tell jokes or sing songs has some sort of, at a fundamental level, desire to be paid attention to, and I'm no different. But my mother instilled in me an incredible desire to learn and an incredible curiosity about the world and an incredible joy in achieving things. And she also put me in creative-writing classes and acting classes when I was a little kid and encouraged me to do stuff. So that's probably the biggest influence in what got me here." - Jon Hamm

"If my father had hugged me even once, I'd be an accountant right now." - Ray Romano

Performance = the graceful display of form, beauty, art.

Normal everyday introverted life is inhibited by shame. When done well, performance is a vivid, outrageous, prideful display absent of any shame. “The pride of the peacock is the glory of God.” - William Blake

Performance temporarily liberates the performer from shame (how wonderful that feels) and activates a longing in the audience; a longing to be protected and blessed in the aura of the shame-free exemplar-performer, a longing to be likewise liberated and potent, and a longing to create such sacred art as a life proudly displayed.

Those of us wounded by shame live introverted, inhibited lives of quiet desperation, even though we have the consciousness and potency to create sacred art. And when we take a risk and perform, our shame is reinforced if no one recognizes or appreciates our artful display. However, performance can be a momentary liberation from shame and the feeling of being free of shame, the feeling of pride in our graceful display of artistic creativity, is encouraging, empowering medicine. I want more of THAT!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sartorial Philosophy

"Either way, you just have to be immoderate. Like, dress like a slut or a mogul, but don't dress like a mid-level regional sales manager, ever." - Jonathan Adler

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Chasing a vision

The clouds looked promising this evening, so I headed to Signal Hill. It didn't turn out as I had hoped, and there were lots of people milling about, so I didn't get my image, but it was lovely to be out photographing. I need to get out more.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Still Trying

I have a vision in my mind's eye of the Signal Hill petroglyph underneath a pink and orange monsoon sunset. This evening looked promising, so I ran out there, a little bit late, but didn't get what I was hoping for. Still, it was a lovely evening. A beautiful rattlesnake was coiled up on the trail. I let him be and walked around him. As I was taking this picture, I watched some other folks coming down the trail from the parking lot. When they encountered the snake, they spent 10 minutes antagonizing the snake with sticks, then got back in their car and left without ever seeing the petroglyphs.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

From My Front Porch

My neighbor Roy getting zapped tonight:

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Working In The Field Today

I was in the field today measuring the resistance to remote earth of ground grids around transmission towers. There was a terrific thunderstorm going off to the southeast right at sunset making a magnificent double rainbow. I got my point and shoot camera out and was photographing the rainbow. No tripod, so this was all hand held. I saw a lightning strike in the distance and heard corona on the overhead shield conductor right above my head, so I knew the lightning was hitting the line I was working on. Catching a lightning bolt by pressing the camera shutter is all but impossible as are long exposures during the day without a tripod, so I switched to video at 30 frames per second hoping to catch a lightning strike.


Update: Turns out, another photographer caught this exact lightning bolt from a location west of me. He posted his image on Facebook and it went viral. The story of his shot. His image.

Pretty photos (if you are a power systems engineer):

Monday, August 03, 2015

Friday, July 31, 2015

The View at Work

Making ground resistance measurements in the field yesterday:

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Friday, July 24, 2015

Monsoon Madness

From my back porch, looking southeast at sunset.

Sunday, July 12, 2015


I have been working in northwestern New Mexico this week and took the opportunity to visit Shiprock.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

A Contemplative Celebration

Signal Hill just after sunset. Petroglyphs created by prehistoric people we call Hohokam, 500 to 1100 A.D.
Nikon D800E, 14mm, f22, 30 seconds. Metal Halide flashlight on the petroglyphs.
Elsewhere at Signal Hill, there are petroglyphs of antelope and humans, but I am always drawn to this rock with its spirals and suns. The spirals are for me a contemplation of infinity, an enso that never stops growing to encompass everything new, and the rays of light emanating from the suns remind me of the ancient Egyptian depiction of Aten radiating energy to Akhenaten and his family (Nefertiti and three daughters).
Today is Independence Day. Celebratory fireworks were going off as I took these pictures. I am very fortunate to have tremendous freedom and opportunity. Aten's flux radiates on me as well and the Hohokam artist's endless spiral circles around to encompass me and my photography and storytelling.

Of course, it is also possible the Hohokam artists were kids doodling graffiti.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Maui Honu

My Maui swim buddies, a few hours before I got on da plane to leave.

The view from 10k'

The view from 10,000', atop Haleakala on Maui.
  The Milky Way behind Argyroxiphium Sandwicense subspecies Macrocephalum, the Haleakalā Silversword
60 second exposures made with my point and shoot sitting on a rock.

Inside the crater.

Alpenglow at sunset.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

BT Smackdown

Wait for it ...
Wait for it ...
Wait for it ...

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Blue Room

San Xavier Mine, south of Tucson, about 100' underground.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

You have no idea how intense I am

I am intense. I like my toast dark.

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Antidote for Co-Dependency

I do my thing and you do your thing.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
You are you, and I am I,
and if by chance we find each other, it's beautiful.
If not, it can't be helped. - Fritz Perls

Monday, March 09, 2015

Old Pueblo 50 Mile Trail Run

I was planning to do the Old Pueblo 50 mile trail run last weekend, but my training fell apart back around Halloween. Between traveling for work, sailing across the Tasman Sea, and coming down with a terrible virus, I was nowhere near ready to run 50 miles. So I volunteered at the 40 mile aid station. It was a great inspiration to see all the athletes come through.

Dear friend Angela volunteered her Saturday and snapped this photo of a homeless man that ate a lot of our food:

 Even the poopers came out to support the athletes (by barking at their wives\girlfriends\dogs).

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Typhoon Maria

Typhoon Maria is in the lower right hand corner of the image, about to plow into Catnip at anchor in Yeppoon.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Tragedy strikes Catnip

Excerpts from emails from Dwight over the last few weeks:

January 28, 2015
I've found a safe place to leave Catnip. It's at the Yeppoon Inlet. And my neighbor George will keep an eye on it. I'm heading south, and doing my Walkabout.

February 14, 2015
I surfed my way down the coast. I'm in the Blue Mountains now.

February 27, 2015
Yeppoon just got hit with a category 5 cyclone. It pushed Catnip up onto the rocks, and put couple of holes in her. Fortunately the multi flotation chambers keep her afloat. I'm doing repairs during low tide when she sits on the sand.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Adventures in Baja

May first adventure in Baja was in 1985 with Norman, StevO, and Wade. My Grandma and Grandpa had been there a few years before me. Catherine Louee Davidson-Davenport (1912-1999) and William Hartman Davenport (1909-1987).

Even my Mom adventured in Baja. My Mother Catherine Dalene Davenport, my Grandpa William Hartman Davenport, my Great Grand Mother Johnnie Annie Robert Pauline Estelle Frost-Davidson, and my Grandma Catherine Louee Davidson-Davenport.

Mom notes that Grandma was proud of her nice legs. 1948.

Colored Waiting Room

Left to right: My Great-Grand-Father Joseph James Davidson (1885-1938), my Great-Uncle David Davidson (1919-1996), my Great-Grand-Mother Johnnie Annie Robert Pauline Estel Frost-Davidson (1886-1971).

My Great-Grand-Father worked for the railroad and I presume this photo was taken outside the "Colored Waiting Room" of the Russellville, Arkansas train station, circa 1937.

This photo came to me via Great-Uncle David's wife, Dottie Davidson, now 92 years old.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Smack dab in the middle of a Rumi poem(s)

I have a thirsty fish in me
that can never find enough
of what it is thirsty for!

Show me the way to the ocean!
Break these half-measures,
these small containers.

All this fantasy
and grief.
Are you jealous of the ocean's generosity?
Why would you refuse to give
this joy to anyone?

Fish don't hold the sacred liquid in cups!
They swim the huge fluid freedom.
This is how it always is
when I finish a poem.

A great scilence overcomes me,
and I wonder why I ever thought
to use language.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Bucket List – Travel

Italy with Mom and Dad, October 2015. Mass with Francis. Pompeii. Size myself up against David.

Photograph and record whale songs, Baja California Sur, Mexico

The Buddhist Pilgrimage, ideally walking to:

·         Lumbini, Nepal: birthplace of Siddhārtha Gautama
·         Bodh Gaya, India: where Gautama became the Buddha, and where my friend Bablu has a school for untouchables
·         The deer park at Sarnath, India: where Buddha first taught
·         Kusinagara, India: where the Buddha died

Photo safari in Kenya, July 2016

The entire south Pacific, but probably Sulawesi first.

A Moment of Clarity

"The last thing I want to be is a domesticated bourgeoisie in a white-picket-fence house with a minivan, wife and 2 point 5 children." - Scott Horton, provoked into a moment of clarity

Isn't it interesting how one person's heaven is another person's hell?

Thoreau is next on my reading list. "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation."

Monday, February 02, 2015

Leucothea's Scarf


Ah poor man, why is the god of earthquakes so dead set against you? Strewing your way with such a crop of troubles! But he can't destroy you, not for all his anger. Just do as I say. You seem no fool to me. Strip off those clothes and leave your craft for the winds to hurl, and swim for it now, you must, strike out with your arms for landfall there, Phaeacian land where destined safety waits. Here, take this scarf, tie it around your waist - it is immortal. Nothing to fear now, neither pain nor death.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Look at that hat!

100% positive feedback on the hat. No comments on the pro camera work.

100% ridicule on the sunblock.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

My business partner's gift to me

I went to the zendo this morning for sutra chanting and zazen. Some lines from Torei Zenji's Bodhisattva's Vow on the usefulness of abuse struck me as particularly relevant:

That very abuse conveys the Buddha's boundless loving-kindness. It is a compassionate device to liberate us entirely from the mean-spirited delusions we have built up with our wrongful conduct from the beginning-less past. With our open response to such abuse we completely relinquish ourselves, and the most profound and pure faith arises. At the peak of each thought a lotus flower opens, and on each flower there is revealed a Buddha. Everywhere is the Pure Land in its beauty. We see fully the Tathagata's radiant light right where we are.

Perhaps Janis Joplin sang it over the Coral Sea even more poetically:

That's Australia off our port side, Brisbane behind us, headed north to the Great Barrier Reef.

Dwight shared with me on the trip that his mother taught him that you can have security or you can have growth, but you can't have both simultaneously.

I've spent my adult life ranting against bourgeois sensibilities, disdaining the very comfort, convenience and security that I fearfully clung to, too much a coward to risk venturing down an unbeaten path. I was trapped in dualistic thinking just like Dwight's mother - I could follow my bliss, be an explorer/oceanographer, or I could have security. When my business partner made his pitch to me, what clinched the deal was "zero financial risk" to me. Of course in the end, it is I that am bearing the entire financial burden of other people's foolishness. I was ingenuous (GRE vocabulary!), I was ingeniously (alliteration!) manipulated by others, and I got screwed. But my screwing is also a compassionate device that has quite effectively liberated me from my attachment to my delusion of security. Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose.

The truth is: security and growth are mutually exclusive, and simultaneously; security and growth are one and the same thing. (Outside of human consciousness, the notions of security and growth have no meaning, so do they exist in reality?) The toggling between the two perspectives is entirely in our heads. I wish I could have learned this without getting screwed, but I was so entirely entrenched in the dualistic perspective and so very attached to my delusion of security, perhaps a spectacular screwing was the only effective medicine for what ailed me.

Financing my business partner's supercharged Miyata, home improvements, European vacations, state of the art electronic equipment, and giving all my money to his creditors is just the cost of my liberation. 

Thus spake Eliot:

A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)

My father praises and compliments me (Thank you, Dad!) for being graceful and composed through this long, drawn out screwing, and for being patient with greedy, petty people. Part of my gracefulness and patience is my inheritance of my father's personality, and part of it is my focus on the gift of my liberation. There is opportunity in every crisis.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

104th Birthday

Great Aunt Jewell's 104th birthday party.

104 year old Great Aunt Jewell with her 3 month old second Great Grandson Oliver Cy.

Jewell's Great Grandson Denton James (named after Jewell's husband) knows what he likes - icing.

My family's great matriarch. She was a school teacher and her method of disciplining problem children was to love them until they behaved.

Jewell's method is perhaps the perfection of John Wesley's method.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Where did we go? Or rather stop?

If you have Google Earth, click here to download our GPS track.

Tauranga and Mt. Maunganui, New Zealand
Brisbane, Australia
Lady Elliot Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Lady Musgrave Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Hoskyn Islands, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Fitzroy Reef, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Mast Head Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Gladstone, Australia