Benevolent Planning

San Francisco Bay

   The best laid schemes of mice and men / Often go awry- John Steinbeck

I shot the image above, from the deck of the Robert G Brownlee, which is the 90 foot Research vessel for the Marine Science Institute. The view was what we saw, as our crew wrapped water tests with some of the new technology developed under the authority and expertise of some remarkable people, who work as Scientists at NASA and are associates with one of the groups I am a member of: Blue Ocean Sciences.

It had been a fairly wonderful day. I will write more on it in the blog for the Ocean Lovers Collective, an organization which was birthed when a bunch of smart people got together in a few events and looked at a select few,  significant questions. One of those which really struck me, was posed by Astronaut and Scientist, Dr Ed Lu, at the Sea-Space Summit which was held at the Mountainview location of Google earlier this year, under the guidance of Guillermo Sondheim of Opus Novum.

I liked Ed from the first moment I listened to him. Here is the question he posed, which changed everything for me.

“How would one fund an effort to save the Commons?”

Basically, this is what the Commons are: assets commonly held by all mankind. Air, Sea, Land.

As a man of Native descent and Christian upbringing, I understand Mankind to be a steward of the Commons. Being of a different order than the rest of the beasts (Though many can be beasts) of the world, mankind has the ability to act with foresight,  strength and benevolence over a protracted period of time, and affect the Commons. Man owns nothing. We just get to play in the sphere that Buckminster Fuller termed, “Spaceship Earth”.

As I stood on the rock steady deck of our ship, along with some of the visionaries of our time, who had come at the call to examine a crises and potential vehicle to a solution, I once again asked myself what I was doing being here in SF with these great and compassionate men and women?

A lot of people seem to think I am pretty smart. In some ways, maybe I am. It is why I  find myself invited into some rather heavy conversations, which have a bearing on the survival of the planet. Oh, don’t get me wrong, the planet is not really in much danger. It is mankind which is. BIG difference. (And it is fixable. Most everything is, really. Even death, is a fix of sorts)

I happen to be convinced that we can do better than that. And to run around screaming “the sky is falling” in order to get people’s attention is not only irresponsible, but it invokes a fear based response, which is the antithesis of a Faith and Creative response, which is based on Love.

You see, fear is based on Hate. Hate, also known as darkness, is simply the absence of sufficient light. Hope is rooted in Love. Love illuminates all who hold her. Here is the irony. Love requires you to give. She is only held as a flow. Grab hold too tightly, and like a tourniquet, the flow of life ceases.

All of these people were on the boat, because they are fans of those quantifiers, not to do anything less, than to create,  to assist and facilitate.

Why was I there? What am I doing?

Pretty simple. I have no secrets really. I am just a guy who insists on doing the job set before me. But this is how I approach the diverse and radical things which I find myself in the midst of.

Here is what I believe. Man is where he is, due to not asking the right questions. There are reasons we do this.

Earlier today, Rob Caughlan, the great Environmental thinker had said this. “Pollution is just a resource out of place”. He had said it as he spoke with one of our fellows, regarding the ongoing Nuclear disaster in Japan, which BOS is deeply invested in resolving. It struck me. It should grab everyone.

I believe I am where I am, not because I ask the right questions, but because I go to my source and commune with it.

I actually learned the process while  in a Bible College many years ago. A preacher named Norville Hayes had said it in one of my courses. “Everyone always makes big plans and then goes to God and asks for Him to bless them. I have a better idea. Why not go to God first, and ask Him what the plan is? Then when you get done with the conversation, you have a plan that is already blessed?”

That is what I endeavor to do.

So I am really not so smart. I just go to the right entity, partner with it,  spend some time and ask for the plan.

None of what I come up with is me being really smart. In fact, the more of ME I remove, it seems like the better and more effective the actions generated after the conversation with God. Imagine that? We tend to be the enemy of the results which we desire.

Oh yea, some call this process praying. I call it communicating.

Communication is funny. When you are speaking, you are not receiving. So I go spend some time in reflection and submission, and reverently and personally, ask for God’s Wisdom.

He is more Faithful than me. He always delivers. I always TRY. Big difference there. I wish we all could deliver more frequently. Our Families, Friends, Community, Nation and World could use some of that from us.

So there it is, I have outted myself. Just some guy with cameras and a keyboard who is incredibly grateful and humbled by what is entrusted to him daily to work on and who really truly deeply enjoys the presence of God and experiences it everywhere he looks. Nature is a funny thing to me. She reflects God. She is NOT God. She is the mirror image of Him and illustrates a vast Wisdom and yes, Benevolence.

The following Blue Note was a shot I did before Dr Andrea Neal and I hit the road for the event in SF. I knew what I was making when I shot it. I also understood the message. I had spent some time listening to my source, and he always rewards those who diligently seek him. That is my life’s mission. To find the heart of God and carry it to a world that maybe is not in the same position as I, to see what I get to.

Why Communicators matter.

Blue Note

This is a shot which I did at the end of a series of interviews with some of the great minds of our time. It is Jean-Michel Cousteau, whose voice and heart, I deeply respect. You can find his work here at Ocean Futures.


This image  is of Wallace J Nichols. Creator of the Blue Marble movement, Blu-Mind, and a renowned Marine Biologist.

Blue Marble

J “gets” the long arc of change better than most. I like that.

This image was shot in Ventura California. A double rainbow. In my native culture this denotes the birth of something significant.  None of us chase rainbows. We live in them. It is where the conversations begin.

And finally, Johnny Cash says it well, in his version of the Trent Reznor song, Hurt.

We all are passing through. Better to ask the right questions. And then to mean it, when you act. Then you truly will have mattered.

It is what counts.

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