It’s a pretty powerful word. This word has inspired countless men and women to lay down their lives for what they believe in. This world is what our country has been built on. And it is because this word is so powerful that we are devoting this post to what freedom means to us.
Many people would argue that we have to give up some of our freedom as we grow older. We have more responsibilities now. We have a job where people count on us, we have a family to support, we have retirement to save for. There are so many things that we have to do, so it just makes sense that we have to give up some of our freedom.
Well, those of us at The Back Forty have a problem with that belief system. Why do we have to give up our freedom as we grow older? If anything, we should be gaining more freedom as we age, not the other way around.
Regardless of if you currently feel like you’re Failing Your Midlife Experience or if you just haven’t taken the time to Consider Your Purpose recently, we believe that your personal freedom has a lot to do with that purpose.
Wherever you are on your midlife journey you have to believe in your future. Whether you still feel that you need to Free Yourself From Your Past or if you need a reminder that You Are In Control, believing in your future is the first step toward freedom.
Today I am bringing you another quote from The Back Forty archives. Take a moment to read through it and, as always, I’ll see you on the other side.
First and foremost, if you don’t know what we mean when we say “Back Forty” take a moment to click here and learn what “Back Forty” really means.
Now that we have that sorted out, let’s look at the quote. As we move into (and through) midlife, it is important to do an inventory of where we are and who we are in terms of unique gifts and talents. You might think, “I’m a parent,” “I’m a husband (or wife),” or even “I’m a [fill in your job position here]“. But here at The Back Forty we want to dig deeper.Everyone has gifts and talents. But when was the last time you actually took the time to take stock of those gifts and talents?
What have you learned by working your way through all of your current and past roles? Why are we where we are at this current point in time? What brought us here? And most importantly, what are the gifts and talents that I’ve picked up along the way?
Everyone has gifts and talents. But when was the last time you actually took the time to take stock of those gifts and talents?
As you have been growing older, you have also been building skills and discovering talents that you didn’t possess when you were younger. Some of your talents were created by conscious planning while others you developed through a necessity.
By taking stock of those new gifts and talents that you have built, you have the chance to find new areas of interest and exploration that you didn’t even realize were an option before.
You’d be surprised at how many possibilities exist for a person to reinvent their life focus. By discovering all of your gifts and talents, you make it possible to purposefully choose the direction you want to head towards next. Take some time and discover what your second half of life has to offer!
“Nothing great is ever done without much enduring.”
-St. Catherine of Siena
There’s always a next level up we’d like to see in our lives.
More fulfilling career. Greater experience of relationship. Improved health and well-being. Fit finances. Ability to contribute and make a difference. Something to aspire to.
It’s the hanging in until we reach the prize that presents the rub.
A personal area for me has been the development of valuable content and offering helpful ideas to others in a social media world of lots and lots of noise.
You can’t look at Facebook without being barraged with sponsored ads. Since more people are online vs in front of the TV as in the past, the online world is busting at the seams with advertising.
So, bringing a new and innovative message out inside a room of louder and more experienced mouths presents its challenges.
We all know the story of Abraham Lincoln, and how many supposed “failures” he had to rack up before becoming President. We all know how many “failed” light bulbs hit the waste bin before one burned for Edison.
Throughout history, there are countless examples of how endurance paid off. This is what I remind myself.
Yet, when the seeming “Fail” button lights above any of our dream endeavors, what will make up the rope to keep us climbing?
Here’s a few strands of thought to consider:
One strand might be the palpable and visceral depth of the desire…which we don’t diminish just because we haven’t gotten there yet.
Can you imagine if Lincoln or Edison had made it mean something about them when they hadn’t “succeeded” yet? If either had gone the route of beating themselves up or just figuring that they are a loser, what would our lives look like now?
In The Back Forty, we say “you have yet to do what you came here to do”. If that’s the bandwagon you want to ride with us, then it means you must put all your past assessments of yourself and what you’re capable of where they belong: in the past.
A desire rooted in infinite possibility, vs already-decided determinations of our capabilities, is what will pull us.
Another strand might be the mindset that all of “this” is simply what there will be to look back upon after having succeeded. Remember: lost elections, dud bulbs.
Rather than looking at each “failed” attempt as an actual failure, what if it’s all research and development?
In The Back Forty, we actually propose that the whole first half of life is only R & D anyway, giving us laboratories and experiments so as to develop our own Formula of Unique Self Expression (FUSE).
So, with our past behind us and only research and development continuing ahead of us, we are unlimited in what we can truly accomplish.
A final strand may be the affirmative answer to the simple question: “Are you having fun along the way?”
Doing something because we love to do it, growing in the face of adversity and challenges because there’s no more fun game to play…those emotions keep us engaged.
If what we’re doing – whether we’ve found the “secret” to achieving our goal or not – is having us grow in the ways we want, there’s value. Regardless of the “results” showing up yet, if we’re whistling while we work towards our dream, the tune and tone of success is present.
So, I’ll keep enJOYing my Self as I put out my message, learning better ways to do it, and know that, if the intention to contribute is pure, the light developed in this lab will eventually burn for others too.
How will you braid your own rope to pull toward your next level up?
“I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go.”
In The Back Forty, we say you have yet to do what you came here to do.
If you’re here to play a yet bigger game – no matter what you’ve accomplished thus far – it will take you learning, growing, enduring and enjoying in new ways and mindsets.
Our 3-Day Back Forty INFUSE Program Ignites a New Formula of Unique Self Expression within you so that you use your entire first half of research and development to point you toward a playful, passionate and purposeful second half.
Check out The Back Forty INFUSE Program and join us for our next course on August 18, 19 & 20th here in Los Angeles. Use Coupon Code “SUMMER17” at checkout to receive a $200 tuition discount before June 30.
Recently, The Back Forty went to their first conference where they participated as an exhibitor. Scroll through the images below to get a feeling of what it was like in our booth and what we brought to the conference.
If you read our blog or follow us on social media, you probably know by now what The Back Forty is all about. It is about creating your second half of life as your best half of life and embracing the idea that your best is yet to come.
But how much do you know about our co-founders? Do you even know their names? Well, today I am unmasking the co-founders behind the curtain with 13 facts. So, without further ado, let’s learn about The Back Forty Co-Founders, Darrell Gurney and Alexandra Levin:
Now that you’ve gotten to know our co-founders a bit more, which of the above facts surprised you the most? Which fact made you the most interested? Who do you connect with knowing what you now know?
“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”
What’s the big deal about starting over?
There’s a cultural stigma that says, if you have to start over, you somehow failed on the first attempt.
Yet, every new day offers a new opportunity to take a new look at what’s in front of us…even if it’s patterns, projects and processes that may been going on for a while.
We recently completed a big push towards a conference that pretty much held our focus of attention and finances for the better part of a year. The conference itself turned out to be a bust. Yet, it was holding onto the regrets, couldas, wouldas, shouldas and other forms of making ourselves and others wrong in the aftermath that impeded moving on to “Next!”
This got me thinking that this whole phrase of “starting over” should not be limited to last-ditch attempts when gasping for air before finally going under. What if starting over were a way of life?
Perhaps it’s the ability to see newly what’s already in motion, to come from “beginner’s mind” even when things have been proven to work (or not), that is a practice we want to develop.
Of course, seeing this in hindsight around our year-long initiative doesn’t change anything in the past. But does anything ever change anything in the past…other than learning and moving on with greater awareness?
There’s only moving forward, and I’m thinking that a good forward-moving strategy is to start over continually…and to be proud of saying so.
An intention to grow invites change. Change invites constant transition. Constant transition invites starting over…again and again.
How empowering would it be if we could all get comfortable with a casual response to the common greeting “How are you today?” with “Great! I’m starting over!”
Where can you choose starting over today…even if nothing is broken?
Where can you choose starting over today…especially if you feel something IS broken?
For this reason, we created The Back Forty Re-NEW-ALL Online Program.
If you’re up to playing big games, you’ll always be in constant flux and transition. And if you’ve been dealt what seems like a blow from life, it’s only because you’re on the disempowered side of the Bigger YOU that this transition is bringing with it.
The Back Forty Re-NEW-ALL Online Program shows you how to turn lemons literally into GOLD (forget the lemonade).
It’s a way of life, and you’ll either adopt a strategy for engaging in it powerfully or you’ll get constant bag-of-brick bruises upside the head that you’ll put all your attention on.
Just like I tell clients around job search and career transition, if you don’t have an ongoing career management strategy, you’ll always be caught off guard.
By learning a strategy to take any of life’s transitions – around relationships, finances, business, health, loved ones, career, etc. – and become more powerful out of them, you set yourself up for unimpeded growth and development.
Behind, back-of, inside-of, and underneath all supposed “bad things” that happen to us there are blessings. We rarely want to look at those in the midst of the muck.
However, by turning our attention away from our victim-ness and onto the unseen blessings, all of a sudden they begin to grow in our awareness and activate our next level of growth.
On the other side of the chasm of transition, there are new territories to be explored and new skills and abilities to be developed.
So many of us resist change when we see it coming, and yet there’s nary a one of us that can’t claim some new understanding, skill, capacity, awareness, knowledge or personal improvement on the other side of any change.
Getting clear on the opportunity to grow one’s curiosity becomes a lucky life gift on the far side of yucky life rifts.
Every change brings with it NEWness: of ourselves and the playing fields we then enter.
Learning to give ourselves the freedom to open up and play again – without the need to have it all figured out – brings a breath of fresh air into what might have become a very standard, staid, and typically normal life.
In The Back Forty, we say you have yet to do what you came here to do.
We all think normal is to be sought after, but if we’re really here to play a yet bigger game – no matter what we’ve accomplished thus far – it will take us breaking normal, taking risks again, and learning to have fun in the process.
“Maybe it’s not always about trying to fix something broken. Maybe it’s about starting over and creating something better.”
“In all chaos, there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.”
“Waiting to exhale” is a phrase many are familiar with, if not from the movie of the same name, just the experience of life as lived. Stressful events in our lives and the world can cause a virtual breathing disorder.
Big changes in our world or our own lives (e.g., career shift, relationship changes, “midlife crisis”, etc.) can have us almost holding our breath. Such feelings of personal or planetary chaos may attempt to deflect our attention and hope from what Thoreau calls our individual versions of “the direction of your dreams…the life you’ve imagined.”
Though any change is always, at first, discombobulating, in The Back Forty we offer that any “crisis” can also be seen as an opportunity.
Yet, while in the midst of the crisis-come-opportunity, we do need to stabilize and get grounded. In that process of getting back to basics, the most basic of basics is to remember to breathe…into the apparent disorder.
We don’t often regard the practice of breathing – whether it be literally, or figuratively (e.g., stepping away from everything to gain perspective) – as a first-blush consideration in living life. Yet, too often that invisible or unappreciated practice becomes highly regarded after a scare of one type or another.
I recently wrote about the opportunity to invent reasons to stop ourselves and breathe before something else stops us (health scare, relationship upheaval, financial sideswipe, etc.).
If we subscribe to The Back Forty belief that each of us has yet to do what we came here to do, then that means we want to take the long view…because we’re ideally going to be around for a very long time.
So, whatever it takes to focus on breathing – literally and figuratively – into whatever disorder we stir up in our purposeful pursuit of a second half of play, passion and purpose is worth every last minute it gives us…because it may be that last minute of this life when we accomplish what we came here to do.
Here’s some thoughts to help you take a breather from world or personal events, and be inspired (latin inspīrāre, to breathe upon or into ):
“True stability results when presumed order and presumed disorder are balanced. A truly stable system expects the unexpected, is prepared to be disrupted, waits to be transformed.”
“One way to break up any kind of tension is good deep breathing.”
“Smiling is very important. If we are not able to smile, then the world will not have peace. It is not by going out for a demonstration against nuclear missiles that we can bring about peace. It is with our capacity of smiling, breathing, and being peace that we can make peace.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh
“Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.”
-L. Frank Baum
“I wake up every day and I think, ‘I’m breathing! It’s a good day.'”
“I’m convinced of this: Good done anywhere is good done everywhere. For a change, start by speaking to people rather than walking by them like they’re stones that don’t matter. As long as you’re breathing, it’s never too late to do some good.”
“The only reason I would take up jogging is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.”
And here’s a few deep breaths to keep in mind as disorder may, for the moment, continue to wave its frazzled, fearful head:
You can’t help anyone in any worthwhile way unless you have applied your own oxygen mask first.
First and foremost, be sure you’re getting the rest, nutrition and mental relaxation necessary to keep coming at your work, your life, your world with the highest functioning of your full faculties.
There’s a phrase that says, when things get a bit crazy, HALT: never get to Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.
There are many phrases from many cultures which say the same basic truth: things will look different in the morning.
Realizing that, if we give ourselves the self-care to step back for a moment, a bit of rest and NOT thinking about the issue at hand can actually open up new perspectives from which can then be seen new actions to take.
Take a breather from the urgency of the moment. Step away from the machine.
Actually realize the blessing of the fact that you are, right now, in this moment, breathing, with the health, and ability, and food in the fridge, and people who really do care all around you, and opportunities to contribute…all right now available in the present.
There is a next step. This is a life to be lived. There is something yet to unfold to have you be who you came to be and do what you came to do. And you need to keep breathing to get there.
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
Today I bring you another quote from The Back Forty archives. Take a moment to read it and then meet me on the other side as I unfold the meaning it holds.
First and foremost, if you’re asking what the heck the “back forty” of the ranch is – check out my previous post on that topic by clicking here.
Great! Now that we have that out of the way, let’s look at the quote. It isn’t often that we think of our second half of life as being “uncultivated”, “full of possibility”, or holding “infinite growth potential”. After all, when we think of our second half of life we usually think of things like slowing down, predictability, and stability.
But, if you actually take the time to think about it, it is all of those things that we think it is not.
In this way, your life IS uncultivated, full of possibility, and holding infinite growth potential. So take a moment to think about what adventure you want to work towards. After all, it’s all ahead of you!
“The days blur into one, and the backs of my eyes hum with the things I’ve never done.”
The term “radical” can raise our antennae and suspicions. It carries the energy of dramatic shift, and implies extremes.
Yet, the idea of extremities is only the word’s secondary definition. The primary definition is about going to the root of something, a fundamental shift.
Radical Forgiveness, Radical Happiness, Radical Restarts…all imply a going deeper than the surface norm by getting to the core of the thing itself.
To impact the drift of life often requires a radical wake-up, because it’s just too easy to stick to the norm. You hear of folks who took on whole new ways of living after sudden health scares, near-death experiences, etc.
The question is: do we need to wait for such an external wake-up?
I like the idea of fomenting a crisis proactively, meaning self-inflicting the urgency for shift before the shift hits the fan.
What if you knew (or could make yourself believe) that your body was about to give out next week for lack of care? How would your diet, fitness and sleep program look this week?
Alexandra and I recently looked at the logic-of-the-moment vs the generally-accepted-wisdom around sleep.
In the moment, there simply seems to be no choice but to get less sleep so that “everything can get done.” Yet, there’s the joke itself: everything will NEVER get done! And, allowing that thought pattern to continue – with sleep taking the hit from overzealous engagement – means that bodily rest becomes the red-headed, disregarded stepchild.
The generally accepted wisdom today, touted by many inspirational leaders and health experts, is that 7 hours is the minimum of sleep we need…for a boatload of reasons. So, the facts are in, and it’s just the question of “in the moment” whether we can go against our skewed logic and trust the facts. Who knows how much more alert, acute and astute we may become with solid nights of sleep under our belts?
So, we’ve taken on a commitment to our second half/best half of life including what seems like illogical sleep habits because if, as we say in The Back Forty, “we have yet to do what we came here to do”, we need the healthy bodies required to house the spirits to do that!
There can be many areas in which to foment radical change:
What if you knew (or could make yourself believe) that this job you’ve been hating will definitely end in a month? How would your career change efforts look then?
What if you knew (or could make yourself believe) that something is brewing under the surface with your mate that will have him/her leave soon? How would your efforts to communicate alter immediately?
What if you knew (or could make yourself believe) that your croaking was imminent, definitely within the year? What bucket list items or purpose fulfillment would you take on right now?
Consider this an invitation to look into your own life and foment your own crisis. It’s a real opportunity to put yourself in the driver’s seat of The Back Forty kind of life you want to live.
Here’s a few easy steps you can take to create some radical change in your own life. Start with one thing, and then apply it to others after you’ve had success.
Identify an area you’ve been nattering about, something you say you want to change but it keeps on keeping on just as it is.
Is it your work? Is it a relationship issue (either inside of one or wanting one)? Is it that “thing” you keep saying you’ll do – write the book, devote time to that charity, schedule a vacation, take that course?
Whatever it is, just find the top, most juicy thing you’re very logically convinced can’t happen yet.
Now, of course, I don’t mean to really kill yourself, but in your mind.
Consider that it’s all over now. Whatever you considered so important and critical that you simply couldn’t do that “thing”…all those reasons are now gone.
You exited the planet. Maybe you exited without having done that “thing”. How does that feel?
Maybe you exited the planet BECAUSE you didn’t do that “thing”? How does that feel?
Whoa! You just had a near-death experience! How radical was that?
Did you see light? Did you start through a tunnel? Did you hover over your body a while inside a peaceful state of ease and grace?
Well, whatever your experience, you’re back…back in this body, back in this life, and back with all of the same stuff and challenges and opportunities you left with.
What will you do about that “thing” now?
Consider that it’s time to get radical! Yes, you have all the time in the world…and yet not a moment to waste!
Frank Sinatra sings “The best is yet to come and, babe, won’t it be fine.” Let’s make Frankie right, ok?
“If you want to make any radical change in your life, then either give it a clear date and time or do it today. There is no someday.”
Join us for The Back Forty INFUSE Program May 5-7 in the Los Angeles/ Long Beach area. This 3-day midlife makeover will leave you renewed, inspired and ready to express your playful, passionate and purposeful second half of life.
In the Back Forty, we say that you have yet to do what you came here to do. Come get clear and on track to accomplish that!
From now until midnight PST, March 31, enjoy SUPER EARLY-BIRD tuition of $597 (because we’re still picking the location). The West LA or Long Beach location will be announced soon. This discount ends when our venue has been finalized after March 31…so grab the best tuition this program will ever have!
First 10 registrants get a FREE pre-program coaching session with Darrell & Alexandra!
Did you miss the SUPER Early-Bird sale? Don’t worry – you can still get our most recent discount by clicking here!
To get this Back Forty INFUSE SUPER EARLY-BIRD Tuition, click here. After you add the program to your cart, click “Apply Coupon” and type in the coupon code: SUPEREARLYBIRD. This will reduce your tuition to $597 before midnight March 31.
The Back Forty Story
The Back Forty INFUSE Program launched in May 2015, when Darrell & Alexandra first offered their new curriculum to a small, private, pilot group over two days. The reviews and testimonials afterwards were rousing.
Inspired by this response, Darrell and Alexandra then offered the program again in July 2016, expanding it by half a day to offer even more of what participants wanted and needed for this midlife makeover.
Now, Darrell and Alexandra have expanded the course to three full days, to offer the most radical restart to a life of play, passion and purpose to be found anywhere. The program will take place May 5-7, 2017, again in Los Angeles.
Be a part of this growing movement and community and give yourself The Gift of a Midlife Shift toward being who you came here to be and doing what you came to do.
Register before March 31 and get the same tuition as those in the 2015 pilot program! Where else can you get an entire midlife makeover for the price of 100 Lattes? And this is far better for your health!