Monthly Archives: January 2017

You Need to See How Inspiring this 98-Year-Old Woman Is!


Do you ever have one of those days where you just feel old? You wake up and your back is aching, or your leg, or a random arm. And then you try to get out of bed and your joints are popping and you’re groaning and you’re tired. It’s days like these where I get up and say to myself,

“You are so old!”

Now don’t get me wrong, some days I feel young and full of energy, but other days…not so much. Other days I feel old and it causes me to make excuses. I can’t go to the gym because I hurt too much. I’m just too tired to go out tonight. The excuses go on and on.

Well, the other night I found a video posted on Facebook by NowThis and was inspired by it (and a bit ashamed of myself). I searched the internet for more information on this topic and I found the original video that NowThis had cut up for their 30-second news clip. If you are ready to realize just how young we all are and how our excuses should never get in the way of achieving greatness, watch this video created by Athleta below:

[youtube]This is Tao Porchon-Lynch and she is the world’s oldest yoga teacher at the age of 98!

Tao is absolutely inspiring. At the beginning of this video she says,

“When you wake up every morning say, ‘This is going to be the best day of my life,’ and it will be.”

– Tao Porchon-Lynch

Meanwhile, I was here feeling old.

So, I challenge you (and myself) to be as strong and dedicated as Tao is.

Are you interested in learning a little more about Tao? Well, get ready to be inspired even more!

  • She has been a yoga instructor for over 75 years and still teaches 4 days a week!
    Tao 1.jpg
    Source: The Times
  • She was a model during WWII  and even had the title “Best Legs in Europe”.
  • When she moved to America after the war, she worked as an actress for MGM and even co-starred with Elizabeth Taylor in “The Last Time I Saw Paris”.
  • She has a passion for ballroom tango and has won several hundred first-place competitive dance titles.
  • She is the co-founder of the American Wine Society (as if I didn’t like her already)!
  • She’s written two books (one about yoga and one about dance).

All in all, she is an amazing woman that we should all aspire to be more like!

So I’ll leave you in awe of Tao with this last quote:

“Don’t let age dictate to you what you can and cannot do.”

– Tao Porchon-Lynch

Sources: NowThis, Athleta, Wikipedia

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Discovering Darrell’s New Year with The Quiz of The Year


A fellow blogger asked us to participate in this quiz (see Saddles to Shorelines for her answers)…so I’d better get my answers out before I get too much into this New Year!

I’ll share my thoughts from the Darrell side of the Founders of The Back Forty Fliers…and leave Alexandra to share hers.

What were your highlights of 2016?

Several main events stand out, though it was overall a year of massive transition and elevation.  First, there were big opportunities presented this year which broke me outside the limits of the games I’m capable of playing.  Some of those big brass rings of opportunity were grasped, others weren’t.  Either way, it was a great stretching process to simply begin to think on the terms of many of these possibilities.  One that was grasped was the incorporation of a full-time support team member who has proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that growth results from being blessed to find great people and letting them be great.  Another great stretch was the buildout of our message and programs, all while Alexandra maintained a full-time corporate role and I maintained my standard coaching offerings.  A really big accomplishment was to add in, in a substantial way, new areas of PlayGame and Back Forty coaching which are expanding so much as to take over as the main pillars of our work.  OH, and we became PCC certified coaches through the ICF…though both of us have been coaching for decades.  We just decided to get that “seal of approval.”  Lastly, we bought our first home together.  A foundation has now been set for the bigger growth ahead!

Name one thing you are likely to remember about 2016 if asked in five years time?

We established our own Back Forty roots from which to grow like weeds by purchasing our first home together.

Sum up 2016 in one word.


Name one pearl of wisdom from 2016 that you will carry into 2017.

Trust the process beyond what I know how to figure out or do…and just allow BEing happy.

Do you have any new year resolutions?

I don’t do resolutions.  Here are a few blogs, however, that give a good sense of how I treat the New Year design ritual:

I will say my “theme” for the New Year involves a lot of gratitude, joy, and BEing happy!

How did you ring in the new year?

We actually did a little guided-intuition New Years Eve!  We were so busy the week before and during the holidays, continuing to get settled into our place, that we never made plans for New Year’s Eve.  We even ran around doing errands to multiple stores on Saturday afternoon, ending up only showering and being ready to do “something” around 9 pm!  So, trusting our intuition to get us somewhere good, we thought we might brave going out into Downtown Long Beach and were only going to drop a bottle of wine off at some new neighbors who had purported to have a little open house early in the afternoon.  Turns out, they still had friends over, they still had food and drink, and they invited us to hang…so we did!  The most unplanned and yet fun, friendly and intimate New Year I’ve ever rung in.

What are your goals for 2017?

Expand awareness of the freedom, fun and frolic encouraged by The Back Forty, bring out a #1 NYT Bestseller of the same name, and enjoy the energy of making huge contributions and being contributed to in creating this second half/best half of life. Please join us on this wild ride by grabbing your “Top Ten Tips for a Radical Second Half” here.

Anyone is welcome to join in, and share your answers to or thoughts about the above questions.

I tagged a few bloggers that I enjoy following and look forward to their answers if they wish to take part. Check out their blogs below:


Expert Tip #8: Become Curious Again


Curiosity is something that has a general air of positivity surrounding it. Curiosity causes invention, creativity, creation, excitement, and more. So, it is no wonder that a wonderful way to help you win your midlife experience would be through being curious.

However, as we grow older we adapt a mindset that we know enough, that we are enough. After all, have you ever heard yourself or a loved one say things like, “that’s just the way I am,” “been there, done that,” or even “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”?

As we age we seem to adopt the viewpoint that we no longer need to be curious, that curiosity is for the young. Here is the problem with that way of thinking. Everyone has had certain life experiences that shape who they become. There are some things that you hate simply because you have had bad experiences surrounding it before. Similarly, there are things that you love for the same reason. The problem with this is that each experience, either good or bad, puts on a new filter through which you see life. As more and more experiences create more and more filters, your view gets smaller and hazier.

The world is full of infinite possibilities, but if you are determined to see the world through your many many filters, you will miss so many of the possibilities that come your way.

You might be thinking, but all of these filters are different pieces of wisdom that I have gained throughout life. Isn’t wisdom a good thing?

Well, here is the problem with wisdom. Based on the small pieces of wisdom that we gain, we decide what we are capable of. These one-time experiences turn into pieces of “wisdom” that we have gleaned from our lives.

For example, at a relatively young age I cut my hair “short” it was to my shoulders and the first time my hair had ever been that short. In that moment I decided that I don’t look good with short hair and that I now had the wisdom to never cut my hair that short again. Is that really wisdom or is it just one bad experience that has shaped my entire life?

Maybe I would love short hair if I tried it again, but my previous filter has closed me to that new experience.

What are some of your experiences that you have always assumed gave you wisdom but might actually be limiting you? Maybe it’s something that you have always assumed is how you are, how life is, how relationships are. What can you be curious about this week?

Come back next week for Pro Tip #9 and remember to be curious this week!

See other tips here!


Our 100th Blog Post!


The Back Forty has officially posted 100 blog posts!

To celebrate this occasion, here are our top ten performing posts of all time (as well as a few rising stars)! Check them out and pick your favorite.

  1. The Gift Inside My Fear
  2. I Am In Love with My Wrinkles
  3. Expert Tip #5: See Midlife Crises as opportunities
  4. The Real 12 Days of Christmas (Plus a Strange Family Tradition)
  5. Free Yourself from Your Past and Fulfill Your Future
  6. An Interview with Alexandra Levin
  7. 5 Myths about Sex During Midlife
  8. No More Little Miss “Good Girl”
  9. The Difference between Men and Women in Midlife
  10. This Midlife Crisis is Just a Game: Want to Play?

And here are our top 3 rising stars in the past two weeks:

  1. Going Gray? Here’s How To Do It With Style!
  2. Get Ready NOW to Fulfill on Your New Year Resolutions
  3. Expert Tip #6: Consider Your Purpose

We hope you enjoy these top posts of the past and we look forward to bringing you much more content in the future!

Five Ways to Bring Meditation to the Workplace


“Let me tell you what I got while meditating today…”

Regular practice of meditation has become a norm for many people – it is no longer the “strange” practice “strange” people talk about; many people meditate in the privacy of their own home.  The benefits of meditation are so well and vastly known, that there’s no need to rehash them here.

But what about meditating in the camaraderie of the company where you work?  What about using the insights and awareness to be gained from meditation for professional and organizational growth?

“Let me tell you what I got while meditating today…” was a phrase frequently heard from a CEO I know during his executive team meetings.  It’s an unusual phrase to hear at a leadership meeting, but what if this became the norm?  What if we tapped into this intelligence as organizations, not just as individuals?  

This might be a part of creating The Back Forty of an entire organization, vs the second-half-of-life transformations that only individuals now enjoy.  What if organizations as a whole could create a radical and purposeful future distinct from their past and access yet untapped potential through conscious practices such as this?

More and more companies are starting mindfulness programs.  Google, Aetna, Target, and General Mills are among the organizations encouraging employees to meditate while providing environments and programs to support mindfulness.  Even the United States Marines introduced “M-Fit” – a military initiative that teaches Marines secular meditative practice of mindfulness in order to improve emotional health and mental performance during combat.

The most important key to success for such an initiative is not just buy-in from the top, but total ownership, direction and guidance from the organization’s leadership.  Leaders can’t just say “Ok, let’s try it” without a whole-hearted dive personally into the world itself.

For an organization with the type of leadership that has the eyes to see and the ears to hear, these are 5 simple ways to bring meditation into your organization.

1. Encourage quick, individual 1-5 minute meditation breaks a few times a day.  

For those employees that have not meditated before, here is a way to start.  Sit up straight in your chair, straighten your back, put your feet flat on the ground and your hands on your lap, and relax your shoulders.   Take 10 relaxed, deep, slow breaths, and focus on the breathing.  Everyone will report feeling more refreshed, recharged, and clear after taking on this practice.

Of course, if someone has their own office, they might close the door with a little note saying “In for Meditation: Refreshed in 5 Minutes!”  If in the middle of a big, open cubicle set up, perhaps either ear plugs can block out the ambient noise or there might be a conference room designated for only meditation breaks and “No Chit Chat Allowed…Except Within Yourself”.

2. Start staff and leadership meetings with a one-minute meditation.

From years in the corporate world, we all know how much time is wasted in meetings where, instead of moving towards the organization’s vision and addressing challenges, only more stress and frustration is created.

Giving an entire group a moment to “check in” with themselves and the intent of the meeting can serve for improved focus and initial alignment.

Sounds weird?  Rethink, and trail-blaze.  My invitation is to start now – the results will speak for themselves, and it will sound less weird next year. Before you know it, it will become a common practice across the corporate world and your organization will have benefitted the most and earliest.

Implementing a regular practice of starting the meetings with a one-minute meditation will help create a sense of teamwork, collaboration and partnership, as well as increase focus and effective decision making.  The result will be shorter and more productive meetings.

Success begins with the CEO.  Be bold.

3. Designate and establish a meditation room.

It can simply be a small office in a quiet area.  There are abundant conference rooms – why not have a meditation room?

By offering a space to meditate, companies can empower employees to manage their own stress and well-being, and offer a quiet space to those employees who do not have a private office, or who would prefer to meditate someplace other than their office.

4. Offer structured guided meditation or silent meditation times at break or lunch time, for employees who would prefer to meditate as a group rather than on their own.

This can easily be accomplished with a variety of available guided meditation resources and music, utilizing the audio equipment owned by most companies

5. Offer easy curriculums to teach executives and staff to meditate.

I spoke with Darrell W. Gurney, a career and executive coach ( who recently worked with two executives dealing with stress and personality conflicts with other employees and clients. Highly valued employees, yet both were close to losing their jobs because of their behavior.  As part of working with them as an executive coach, Darrell taught them to meditate.  

Darrell says both executives resisted at first, but as they gradually began a practice, their transformation was abundantly evident.  Their meditation practice created an internal shift, which impacted their behavior for everyone to see.  

As a result, both employees demonstrated completely new attitudes and got back onto productive paths noticed by both co-workers and clients.  According to one of the executives, this transformative work “opened my eyes to an entirely new level of self-awareness which has enabled me to lead a more fulfilling life. From learning to take more responsibility for my actions to learning way of finding inner peace.”  The CEO said “it was like a 180-degree turn-around.”

Bringing meditation to work is easy.  Don’t complicate it.  Start anywhere from the above points 1-5.  Just pick your favorite and go from there.

Where and when will you start?


New Year Self-Change Leadership

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“There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.”

-Niccolo Machiavelli

The New Year resolutions/goals/intentions/declarations/ideas/musings have now had over a week to transform our lives!

And by now, many have already been dropped.

The grand plans and visions can often be a drug-producing magical high and yet, when the rubber hits the road, many a beautiful intention ends up in the ditch.

For many, it’s easier when some institution or corporate change-management official determines that things will be done differently and we must comply.  We may moan and groan, and yet — with something critical on the line (like our job)– we do or die.

Yet, taking that change-management leadership into our own hands — being both the stalwart of possibility while, at the same time, the comfort-zone addicted rebel — can be a fascinating process to observe.

Here’s a simple 5A Method to help:


Simply stay awake to the fact that there’s a new kid in town who said they wanted to play differently!

Because we were the way we were for so long before we chose to make a change, it’s easy to just fall back into the old patterns and routines.

Simple structures like posting your goals and intentions in front of your face, where you practically have to fall over them in order to conduct your day, can serve as a daily “Hello!” to the new kid.

Also, making sure you’ve told plenty of friends, family, associates and co-workers helps ensure that the changes get addressed more often than they will if left in your head.  Your inner voice is out for your comfort.  Others being aware and engaged can get you out of comfort for your change.


Calling a spade a spade.

Did you actually do what you said you’d do? No judgment here, just being an objective and astute observer of your actions and telling it the way it really is.

There WILL be some form of internal resistance to the change.  Otherwise, you’d already be BEing or DOing what it is that you want.

Being honest and dispassionate about what is or isn’t happening and telling it like it is gives you power to implement.


If change were easy, we’d all have exactly the lives we want right now.

If you designed goals and intentions for your new kid in this New Year, you must want something other than what you have.

Accept that change doesn’t happen overnight.  It takes a wide radius to turn a big ship around, and your old ways are a big ship that have been heading a particular direction for a long time.

Forgive your Self, and accept the love of your Self that had you bring this new kid into town in the first place.

Absence Analysis

What’s missing, the presence of which would make a difference?

The old ways of the old you had certain structures and patterns in place, keeping you in the old you.

For this new kid to take residence, there will be new structures to be put in place.

What new ways of operating, new systems, new communications, new mindsets are required?

The new kid will need a new look to this home if he/she is going to hang around.  Bring in the interior (and exterior) decorator to refurbish the look of the place you call “You”.


Simply put in what’s missing…over and over and over and over again.

We often realize that we need to keep getting up after we fall down…until we just decide to not get up anymore.

“It’s too hard.”  “It’s just not working.”  “I guess this just can’t happen after all.”

Not true!  An ongoing process of Activation of What’s Missing can only get us closer and closer to the change we seek.

As Winston Churchill said, “Never give up.  Never give up.  Never give up.”

Engaging in this 5A process on an earnest and regular basis can provide access to keeping those high-minded intentions on the road to real self change vs. landing in the ditch of defeat.

Got self-change leadership?

“Consider that all accomplishment is constituted by a series of resolved breakdowns.”

-Werner Erhard

Going Gray? Here’s How To Do It With Style!


“Going Gray” has been associated with getting old for what seems like forever. It’s a part of the aging process that people try to hide from the rest of the world. At first, people pluck those first few gray hairs that dare to arrive and then they start to dye their hair so no one will find out that they are officially old.

Now, if you actually take a moment to think that scenario through, it’s completely ridiculous. There are so many factors that effect when you “go gray”. Some people are completely gray by the age of 30, others don’t get gray hair until their 50s. Does that mean the people who have naturally gray hair at the age of 32 are old? I don’t think so. Honestly, I wouldn’t consider the people going gray at 52 to be “old” either. I would argue that gray hair has nothing to do with being old and, because of this, I want to share with you the top 5 ways to have gorgeous gray hair.

Funny senior people

1. Use the Right Shampoo(s)

Gray hair brings brand new concerns to the forefront when it comes to choosing the right shampoo.  White strands of hair are far more susceptible to the colors of the products you use. Because of this, you should avoid using blue shampoo too regularly. Using blue-hued shampoos regularly can cause your hair to pick up a bluish tint. Why use blue (or violet) shampoo at all? Gray hair can pick up a yellow hue just from exposure to the elements. To counteract this, you can use a shampoo with a blue/violet tone (which counteracts the yellow) a few times a month.

All of this being said, you have to experiment and find the best shampoo for you. Some people just need one shampoo while others need to use two or three different shampoos throughout each month. Don’t worry though, below are a few of the best shampoos for gray hair to get you on the right track!

2. Condition, Condition, Condition!

This is where my above point about gray hair looking dull with exposure to the outside world really comes into play. How do you prevent your hair from looking dull – you get a great conditioner! Look below to see some of my top picks:

3. Pick the Best Cut


Which haircut would you consider “old”?

Do you have a go-to hair stylist? If not, it’s time to find one. Choosing the right haircut makes all the difference. After all, just look at these two women on the right. There is one who clearly looks older than the other, right? When it comes to picking the right hairstyle, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Consult your stylist to decide which haircut best flatters your face.
  • Pick a modern cut with clean edges.
  • Don’t let your stylist use a razor on the ends because it can cause your ends to fray and look a bit ragged.
  • Schedule a trim every 6 to 8 weeks to keep your hair looking clean and fresh.

4. Protect Your Hair

Like I’ve mentioned before, the biggest threat to your hair is the elements. The simplest option is to try to wear hats when you are out in the sun for a long time. However, there are other options as well. Using platinum or silver color defense shampoo and conditioner with antioxidants can help protect your hair from the elements. There are even sunscreens specially made for your hair! Check out the top hair sunscreen options below:

5. Update Your Wardrobe (& Makeup)

Your entire life you have worn certain “flattering” colors, but now that your hair is a different color, the colors that compliment you best have also changed. Follow these tips for picking the most flattering outfits and makeup:

  • Try wearing more clothes that are gray and blue, they often compliment your hair well and cause a striking beauty effect (although your eye color might cause these colors to be more or less flattering).
  • Take the chance to be bold in your style. High fashion looks wonderful on people with gray hair.
  • Brighten up your wardrobe. Think of your new hair as a blank canvas no more do you have to worry, “will that look good with my hair?”
  • Deep colors often make you look refined and regal. Try deep reds, blues, purples, and grays.
  • On the other hand, earth tones often make you look washed out.
  • With your hair taking on a cooler tone, it is time to warm up your makeup.
  • Try a peach blush to warm up your face in a few seconds.
  • If your eyebrows seem to be disappearing, define your arches with a taupe pencil to make them stand out a bit more.
  • Don’t forget to groom your eyebrows as well, trim hairs that are getting out of hand.

Need some more makeup tips? Check out this video from Sixty and Me:

Regardless of which of these suggestions you find work best for you, embrace your new look and I promise, you will look phenomenal!



Expert Tip #7: Consider a Presence


Today I want to talk about presence, and I want to talk about it in two different contexts.

First, there is the presence that is who we are. We each have our own presence that comes from owning our own life and future. It is the part of us that causes others to realize just how empowered we are. It is what makes people look your way when you’re in your element.

Second, there is a Presence that is greater than us. It doesn’t matter how you choose to think about this Presence. Whether you believe in a God/Goddess or gods/goddesses, whether you believe in aliens or spirits or the Universe, or even a giant monkey that can grant wishes. It really doesn’t matter. The important thing is to realize, and to accept, that there is something in this existence that is bigger than you, bigger than anyone.

Why do I spend the time talking about these two types of presences?

I talk about them because both aspects of presence are equally important. By awakening and exploring both aspects of presence we are able to build on our ability to tap into our full potential.

How to you relate to your own presence as well as to a greater Presence? Are you accepting or do you find yourself trying to hide your presence away and ignore it? Try to realize the power of your personal presence and understand that sometimes you have to let a bigger Presence come into play.

Come back next week for Pro Tip #8 and remember that you can win your midlife experience!

See other tips here!


A BE-Annual New Year Commitment



“You are not limited to the person you wound up being, the person you think you are. You can create a way of being for yourself that currently would be unrecognizeable for you as really being you, and have that way of being be authentically who you are.”

-Werner Erhard

The quote above goes against the grain for many folks in their second half of life.

It implies that the first half didn’t already carve you into the stone YOU that you know yourself to be.

That’s what The Back Forty is all about.  The YOU you know yourself to be is just as create-able, design-able and great-able as it ever was.  No stone.  Only ongoingly invent-able form.

At 40, I was sitting in a meditation chair one morning watching my son sleeping in my bed because my parents were sleeping in his bed.  They had come into town to loan me money in fighting a half-million dollar custody suit.  I was pretty clear that my first half of life had not been worth much: broke, in debt, and possibly about to lose the opportunity to raise my son.

A thought then came to me: What if the first half of life is simply R&D, research and development?  What if what we really came here to do and be came in the second half, after all that research?

That insight, and the possibility of re-BE-ing my SELF, has resulted in a second half which continues to become unrecognizeable to the first.

If we look at life as a growing up and “finding ourselves” process, we lose out on the real opportunity of living.  Finding our greater SELF is a continual process.

The first half of life, if mined for what it has told us about our passions, proclivities, and tendencies, will render us amazing insight and direction as to what we’re here to do and be.  This is the work we do in The Back Forty programs and community.

However, the whole point of that analysis of our past is to show us that we are experimenting in the laboratory of life ALL THE TIME so as to continue to discover who we’re here to be and what we’re here to do.

If we ever get “fixed” on some idea of who we are, then the ever-evolving growth process towards what we’re here to do gets thwarted.

Perhaps you have plans for the results you intend to accomplish in the New Year.  

What if the true source of the results you’ll achieve is not what you’ll do, but who you’ll BE in the fulfillment of them?  Sure, actions must be taken. Yet BEING shapes and colors those actions.

Personally, I’m intending some way-out-in-the-ethers results for 2017, and I’m getting more and more clear that the achievement of such unrecognizeable results must come from an unrecognizeable me.

“Come on! New York Times Bestselling author of ‘The Back Forty’?  Me?  You’ve got to be kidding!”

It’s only a joke if the me I am now continues to be recognizeable to myself.  The aim is for the BE of who I am to be recognizeable to my SELF.  Big difference

Therefore, who I will be BEING in 2017 is where I’m placing my primary focus.  From there, I’ll take action.

If BEING precedes results, then consider putting your annual ritual of creating New Year possibilities focus there.

If you are so far gone into recognizeability that you don’t even have a ritual of creating New Year possibilities…WAKE UP!  Get in the game of the life you came to live!

Who can we BE for the next 12 months that will have our next January SELF be unrecognizeable to who we are now?

It’s a be-annual opportunity.

“For what it’s worth…it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you’ve never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start over again.”

-F. Scott Fitzgerald


You’ve Always Controlled Your Life – Even if You Failed to be Aware of it!

As we start out this new year, I want to bring you an important message. It’s easy to see things in our past (especially life-changing things) as something that we didn’t really have control over. After all, when something is out of your control it can’t be your fault.

But today I want you to think about your past differently. Take a moment to read the following quote:


You have always had a say. Even though sometimes it seems that you had no control over a situation. When you think of your past as being created from all of your decisions instead of being created by things out of your control – life suddenly becomes easier to manage.

You had a say over your past. You have a say over your present. And, most importantly, you will have a say over your future!