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November 20, 2014

On Noticing …

The more I work with groups, talk with clients, spend time with family, or spend time alone with my own thoughts … the more I realise that our capacity to perceive, listen and notice more is the greatest gift we have. Noticing more is a thing of mastery. You can never perfect it and you can always, always get better at it.

When I turn my ‘noticing’ inwards on breath and letting go of thoughts … problems diminish and clarity comes. When I turn my noticing to the outside world and to other people … I am struck by the beauty and wisdom around me.

 

GeoffBrown | Being Present, Just observations | Comments (0)

September 30, 2014

Reflecting on life in my 40’s

I’ve been having flashbacks to my own childhood lately and I’ve figured out why …

My eldest boy (Griffin) is 11 years old and, for some reason, 11 is about the age when I can vividly recall events, moments and interaction with my dad. That year was 1983 when Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ was released. Coincidentally, my dad and I had our first children at precisely the same age (within 3 days of each other).

So, when doing things with my kids, more and more I am remembering my life at 11 … when dad was my age. When I took this photo of Griffin emerging from the surf after riding a few monster waves, I remembered dad’s look of pride. I didn’t surf at 11 (hell, I wish I had), but I still remember dad praising me and giving me words of encouragement. I find myself doing the same with my boys and maybe even in the same ways as dad did with me.

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GeoffBrown | Gone Supping, Just observations | Comments Off

February 18, 2014

A moment in time

Every now and then, something special happens … and you say to yourself, “I wish I had a camera right now!”

Well, at last year’s Aireys Inlet Open Mic Music Festival, there was a moment when Mark Seymour (yes, the 1 & only) stopped singing for 30 seconds and ‘stared-down’ someone in the front row. That someone was our youngest boy. Young Hamish (now 6 yo) has an uncanny knack of engaging with people of all ages. In his own unique and genuine way, he brings attention on himself. He doesn’t show off and he’s not loud. He simply connects with people and he draws them in.

Mark went on to comment about his little staring game with Hamish and said something like … “You know when look into someone eyes that they are going to be trouble at school!” After Mark’s sensational performance (with his current band The Undertow), we had a photo taken of the 2 of them. It’s nice but it didn’t capture “that” priceless moment during the performance.

A few night’s ago I discovered a treasure trove of images from last year’s festival over at Peter Marshall’s photography website. And there on page 5 was “that” moment – a series of images the captured the essence of engagement.

 

GeoffBrown | Humor & Fun, Just observations, Music | Comments Off

January 28, 2014

On being part of the problem …

Co-conspirator of mine, Chris Corrigan, has shared a post he titled – Dealing with your slaves and seeing the world. This piece is a timely reminder about how we perceive the world around us. For me, it’s a little challenge to my own perspective … and to the stories I make in my mind about any problem that I am tackling.

I’ll only focus in on 1 angle of Chris’ post here. This quote from Adam Kahane is at the core of his post …

“Bill Torbert of Boston College once said to me that the 1960s slogan “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem” actually misses the most important point about effecting change. The slogan should be, “If you’re not part of the problem, you can’t be part of the solution.” If we cannot see how what we are doing or not doing is contributing to things being the way that they are, then logically we have no basis at all, zero leverage, for change the way things are — except from the outside, by persuasion or force.”

When I hear people (and myself) talking about any problem – communication at the local school, device/screen addiction in their kids, the Alcoa Coal mine – the image in my mind looks like this …

on being part of the problem

 

Imagine if we could really see our own part in every complex problem we perceived – local or global. I think this self perception would fundamentally change a lot of conversations. A deeper understanding about our part (and the parts other’s play) in the problem helps to build up a better picture of the whole. You can apply this to different scales – individual, team and organisational, national.

Chris concludes his post with a few questions:

“So, what is your experience in affecting change from inside the problem?  How do you work towards justice while recognizing your complicity in the very problems you are addressing?”

The practice-challenge to myself is a question about how I reframe things in my own mind. Here is one personal example I’ll apply it to:

What is my part (and how am I complicit) in the device-addiction that has crept back into our family life since returning from our 5 month trip last year? And then … how can I affect change from within the problem?

Geoff Brown

 

GeoffBrown | Being Present, Facilitation, Just observations | Comments (2)

November 8, 2013

To the gal’ who constantly amazes me

Ingrid and I were married 15 years ago.

It seems impossible that a decade plus 5 years has passed. But, as we reflected (just now) on all we have done, experienced and created in that time … well, it’s like a lifetime of moments compressed into 15 years.

We bring out the very best in each other and this has been the secret to our relationship flourishing. I have the deepest admiration for Ingrid – as a great mum, a loving partner, a caring health professional and a committed member of our community. I count myself as one of the lucky ones.

We share a passion for living life and being present with our boys as they grow. We don’t want to miss a second of their journey toward becoming good men. As close friend of mine, with 2 boys (now young men) who have left home keeps reminding me, “Geoff, these are the golden years!”.

Our family celebrated Ingrid’s 40th on a boat, swimming with Whale Sharks. Ingrid didn’t want a party … she wanted our family to experience something memorable. And for me, this photo of Ingrid says everything … happiness, reflection, contentment and wonder.

GeoffBrown | Gone Supping, Just observations | Comments Off

October 4, 2013

Seeing Differently

I’m in Melbourne enjoying an early breakfast at a familiar cafe on Spring Street. The streets are cold, but clear skies promise a warm spring day. It’s exactly 5 months since I’ve been here and I feel like a first time visitor … like I’ve lived another life since that time.

Everything looks and feels in slow motion – including my own thoughts, breath and walk. I am noticing things that I’ve either forgotten, or simply not noticed before. Sitting in this familiar place feels a little surreal.

I’ve just spoken to the cafe owner (who knows me by name only) and he asked, “How long has it been Geoff?” He couldn’t believe that 5 months had passed. For me it feels like a year … or more.

Our family witnessed new places, met new people and lived new experiences every day for 5 months. It was intoxicating and at times we needed a break … time to sit in one place and rest. In parts our journey around Australia seemed to fly by. Other stages seemed to live on and on. As a whole, the journey (for me) felt like a lifetime. Now that we’re back … I am seeing everything differently.

GeoffBrown | Being Present, Just observations | Comments Off

September 8, 2013

From Coast to Coast

We have lived outdoors under sun, moon and stars for over 4 months and I’ve lost track of how many sunrises and sunsets we’ve witnessed. Now we are travelling south, down the east coast, where the sun rises from the ocean and sinks behind the Great Diving Range. The difference feels disorientating after spending so long in the west.

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I watched the sunrise at Kinka Beach this morning – just south of Yeppoon and touch north of Tropic of Capricorn (approx 23° South … the southern most latitude where the sun can be directly overhead). On the west coast we crossed the same line at (about) Waroora Station, just south of Coral Bay. This Capricorn campsite on the southern tip of Maggie’s Beach was our favourite. We have camped at many locations, but at Maggie’s we were alone and everything about it was wild and alive.

Our hearts, thoughts and vehicle are heading home – Aireys Inlet at 38° south. Awaiting our arrival home are friends, family, our 2 dogs and colder marine waters. But first we have a few east coast pleasures to indulge in. Tomorrow we sail out to Heron Island for a (well earned) 4 day break from the trailer and canvas tent walls. Then 4 days mooching around Seventeen Seventy before heading further south in Noosa for point breaks and outrageously great gelati! Until finally we camp for a week in Scott’s Head – the NSW seaside town where our year of travel began.

Unlike the constantly changing itinerary of the last 4 months, I’ll bet a Noosa Gelato that we stick precisely to the east coast plan above!

GeoffBrown | Being Present, Gone Supping, Just observations | Comments Off

September 7, 2013

Principles for Traveling the Offroads

5th Aug. 2013

As I watched the sunset against the northern Bungle Range last night (this post began weeks ago!), I began to imagine myself (for the first time in months!) working with groups and doing what I do – facilitation. Before we left back in May, my friend and colleague Andrew Rixon said, “I'll be interested to read about your reflections and learnings from the road trip”. On a number of occasions I've tried (often too hard) to write a clever piece about the lessons from this trip and how they might relate to the world of facilitation. Early on I even tried to keep up with my favourite blogs. About 8 weeks ago I let go of these compulsions entirely. I've been surprised (and Ingrid delighted) as to how little attention I have given to anything work or home related. I also wonder how on earth we are going to adjust to the routine of life when we arrive home on September 29!?

2nd Sept. 2013

As we travel south toward home along the Queensland coast, Ingrid and I have been reflecting on the people we've met, places visited and family life on the road. Whenever we talk like this, recurring themes emerge … I suppose these are like principles for travelling the off-roads. Here are a few …

Prepare meticulously! Early in the trip we spent 12 days along the Gnaraloo/Red Bluff coast and we nearly ran out of food and drinking water! This was a wake up call. Had something gone wrong on the rough roads out of Gnaraloo, we may have been reliant on others for help. From this moment we prepared for extended, remote trips with military precision and we've learned that you can't wing-it!

Be prepared to abandon the plan! Anyone who has travelled knows this one. We have altered or abandoned many of our well thought out plans. Because the next day (or even the next hour) is impossible to predict, staying open to the unexpected is what makes this quote ring true …

“The zest is in the journey and not in the destination.” Lynn H. Hough


When it's time to move on … move! That feeling of needing to move on is like an itch that needs scratching. After 1, 3 or maybe 5 days at a camp, Ingrid might give me that look that clearly says, “I'm ready to pack up and go.” Or, the kids might sing out together, “We wanna go mum and dad!” When you feel it's time to move … move!


Its in the eye of the beholder! Everyone sees places through their own eyes. We have learned that Caravaners (with Air Cons) give glowing reviews of campsites exposed to intolerable levels of heat and sun. Fellow travellers in camper trailers and tents tend to give better advice … but not always. We've learned to go and find out for ourselves.

 

Finally … let go, connect with each other and find the flow!

With 17 weeks behind us and 4 weeks down the east coast to go, have turned for home. A trip of this length will, more than likely, happen just this once. I know my boys so much better. The boys themselves are thriving and their relationships have strengthened. Ingrid and I feel like we are in our 20's when we backpacked around the world back in the 90's! We have had a chance to be a family … together day in, day out … without school or work to separate us … it has been a gift and an adventure that none of us will forget.

 

GeoffBrown | Being Present, Facilitation, Gone Supping, Just observations | Comments Off

May 1, 2013

Possible FIX for #GoPro Hero3 nightmares!

BREAKING NEWS: The fix described below appears to only partially resolve the GoPro freezing issues when playing back videos on the LCD touch screen. I’ve submitted another request so we’ll see what happens next!?

(Note: Those directed here for a fix to freezing issues on the GoPro Hero3 see the steps at the bottom of this post). 

In January … I excitedly purchased a GoPro Hero3 (Black Edition)

By February … I was wondering why I rushed into the latest version of their high def, super-small action camera. It was freezing up regularly and I couldn’t even play videos back on the touch screen. Waste of money?

By March … I’d learned to put up with the camera freezing and start using it. It’s insanely great and my kids love it too. Here’s some evidence of our very beginning efforts to shoot and edit action footage … cheesy I know!


And on May 1st … The GoPro help desk just me a “possible” fix to the issues I was having. I just shared this procedure on a few of the Forums and I hope it works for others like it did for me.

POSSIBLE FIX to GoPro Freezing Issues! Hi everyone, the instructions (pasted below) that I just followed from GoPro support actually fixed a significant freezing issue I was having when using the LCD touch backpack for video playback – the touch screen would blank out and the camera would freeze and needed a battery in/out procedure to unfreeze. I am hoping that the other random freezing issues I’ve been having are resolved as well!

This procedure (which is complex and very long) required me to re-format my 32G (x10) Sandisc SD Card on my GoPro first and then on the computer before upgrading the firmware to the latest (April 2013) version. Here goes and good luck everyone:

Before you proceed, please make sure that the battery is fully charged.

1. Format the SD card in the camera, using the Delete All/Format option in the settings menu, so it acknowledges the card and builds it’s info on top of it. This step also removes the current version of the Firmware. Even if you have upgraded already, re perform the upgrade! (Also note that you’ll need a Class 10 SD card from a reliable brand, poor performing SD may result in freeze up issues or corrupted files)

2. Turn off GoPro and remove micro SD Card

3. Then format the SD card (using the adaptor) in your computer, either in FAT32 if its 32 GB or less, or exFAT if it’s 64 GB. For Mac users watch this super quick video to see how (using the Disc Utility App – found in your Utilities folder in Applications) –

4. Then follow these steps to perform a hardware reset:
– Remove SD card and Battery.
– Press and Hold Shutter Button (it will need to be kept pressed throughout the whole process)
– Insert the Battery … and insert the SD Card (keep holding down the shutter bottom!)
– Click the Power/Mode Button.
– Once the camera has powered up you may release the Shutter Button

Then follow these steps to try and do a manual update in order to re-flash the firmware. Before starting the procedure write down your camera’s serial number, that can be located on a silver sticker inside the battery compartment on one it’s side panels, and is composed of the two rows of numbers present.

1. Connect you camera to your computer with the USB cable and power it on.

2. To manually update the HERO3’s firmware you’ll need to have JAVA disabled on your Browser (for Mac users goto Safari Preferences … click Security Tab … untick the “allow java” option … that’s it)

3. Go to http://gopro.com/support/product-registration/hd-hero3-cameras

4. You’ll get a message ‘install Java’ on your screen, please don’t do so. (I didn’t get this instruction when I did it?)

5. Please click the manually update camera link on lower-right. (you’ll need to click it twice to confirm). Fill in the registration fields.

6. On the next screen you’ll need to type in the camera’s serial number (it’s case sensitive, so make sure that you have Caps Lock ON)

7. Following will be the registration information for the WiFi connection. The Name and Password chosen must have 8 characters, only Numbers and Letters, no other type of characters.

8. You’ll then have the link the download the firmware update files, which are downloaded in a standard zipped folder.

9. After you have the zip file on your computer, unzip it and place ALL files that came inside the zip onto the root of your micro-SD card. (You should noticed that the Root Folder is completely empty because you re formatted the SD card completely in the first step above)

10. Power Off the camera, and unplug it from the computer.

11. Power On the camera, the update process will begin automatically. Please do not press any buttons at this stage.
The firmware update can take between 5 to 10 minutes, and the camera may power off and back on by itself.

It worked for me guys and gals. Hoping the other issues are fixed along with it!

GeoffBrown | Just observations, Uncategorized | Comments Off

March 22, 2013

Community Acupuncture

I recently heard the term “Urban Acupuncture” as it relates to the Better Block movement and their efforts to bring-to-life precincts and neighbourhoods in cities all over the US. The acupuncture metaphor go me thinking about my own work and the work that my art-form supports.

I have just enjoyed 3 days of working and playing with diverse groups of people, mainly leaders beavering away at the grassroots to make their community (and the world) a better place. Listening to their wisdom and their stories has been inspiring. Witnessing their vulnerabilities and supporting them at their learning edge is a privilege.

Each of these community leaders are like healers … each performing their own version of social acupuncture. Directly and indirectly their little actions heal the fabric of community. We see symptoms like community fragmentation and signs like reduced community participation in decision making. Their purpose driven projects stimulate the acupuncture points of community by bringing people into conversation, to break bread together, play music, create art and build stronger relationships across the community.

My work supports community leaders to experiment, take risks, notice more and fail informatively. This week I went to edge of my own practice and pushed out a bit further. I was supported in this by my friend and colleague Russell Fisher. Together with Suzie Brown, Russell and I are embarking on a new journey that will support an ever growing network of community leaders to DO – both big a small.

GeoffBrown | Being Present, Community & Belonging, Facilitation, Just observations | Comments Off

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