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3 Deep Breaths to Address Disorder

3 Deep Breaths to Address Disorder (4-12-17)lightbulb

“In all chaos, there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.”

-Carl Jung

“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.”

-Tom Robbins

“One way to break up any kind of tension is good deep breathing.”

-Byron Nelson

“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.'”

-Eve Ensler

“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.”

-Maya Angelou

“The only reason I would take up jogging is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.”

-Erma Bombeck

And here’s a few deep breaths to keep in mind as disorder may, for the moment, continue to wave its frazzled, fearful head:

Breathe

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.

Breathe

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.

Breathe

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.”

-Albert Einstein

4 Pointers to Help Dig Relaxspiration

4 Pointers to Help Digg Relaxspiration (4-5-17) - Take Twoeclectic

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”

-Chinese Proverb

The tendency is to do, and do, and do…and keep doing until done.

Our cultural work ethic values pressing forward and figuring it out, whatever it takes.

There’s a lot to be said for pressing forward, yet especially with an easy touch.

When the chips are down, we often go head down, nose to the grindstone and get so tight that we only breathe in.

We forget that tight means no openings for entry…for new ideas, innovative approaches and, God forbid, playfulness.

Literally, I can see myself having two completely contrary personalities at times. When in a relaxed state of playfulness and connection, I can attract play partners like the biggest magnet on the planet. Yet, when I’m tightly wound, trying to figure out through smarts or strategy the best ways to go, often the flow stops…as well as those wanting to be around me.

Winston Churchill, a man with the fate of the world on his shoulders, painted to open his mental creative faculties for battle.

Thomas Edison, one of the greatest inventors of all time, was an avid fisherman–with no bait because he wanted solitude and inspiration, not fish.

Researchers have discovered that people exhibiting relaxed playfulness appear to be better at coping with stress, can easily see things from new perspectives, and are more likely to report leading active lifestyles.

It’s in those moments where it really counts that our exhibiting such playfulness has its greatest impact. Yet, in those moments, a playful attitude just doesn’t make logical sense.

The gold is in the contrary action.

In our second half, we can become rigid in how we have forced things to happen in the past. As Monty Python says, “and now for something completely different”—becoming playful—can feel different, and yet far better for our long run of doing what we came here to do.

So, the next time the tight wad of forcing an outcome wraps you up, contrary action such as loosening your grip may save the color in your knuckles and even incite some chuckles.

Laughing and relaxing in the face of challenges and tribulations may be the smartest strategy to play.

Here’s a few pointers on how to dig on relaxspiration.

Distinguish

First, you have to get really good at noticing the tightness.

Start feeling your body when you’re doing what seems relaxing and easy and then compare it to times when you’re in the heat of forcing something to happen.

If you’re so tight most of the time that a piece of charcoal could turn to diamond in your presence, it will be hard to for you to see it yourself. Do a tightness survey with your friends. Find out how they’d rate you on a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of diamond mining.

Ignore

Notice the worldly weight of the moment, when everything seems to hinge on the answer, the path, the route to take absolutely needing to be on the table hours before.

When there’s no time to waste and every slight delay or challenge meets with irritability and a few choice expletives, just ignore the logic…and step away from the critical-importance machine.

It’s really not worth all that tension in your body.  Your health and well-being are of much greater long-term importance.

Give

Give it up! Don’t take yes for an answer. The answer at this moment is no: no to working harder, no to figuring it out, no to breaking necks and backs to force a result.

Don’t give up, but do give up the struggle. This isn’t the way to the peaceful, playful and purposeful person you choose to be.  Accept that you have the right to take a contrary action for the health and well-being of everyone.

Guffaw

Just laugh all over yourself. Find something to do that breaks the rigid, clenched jaw. Getting into the practice of laughing in the face of your moments of all-importance could be the best habit to bring into a Back Forty of contribution. And a good laugh is always a contribution to everyone.

“Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.”

-William S. Burroughs

We re-did our first broadcast because the first version has poor sound quality since I was out of the office with low bandwidth. If you’re still intrigued, watch the original version below, you’ll be able to handle the sound quality!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ui3VtQuh7dk]

3 Steps to Inviting Radicality

3 Tips for Inviting Radicality (3-29-17)homes

“The days blur into one, and the backs of my eyes hum with the things I’ve never done.”

-Radical Face

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

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.

Die

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?

Revive

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.”

-Unknown

4 Elements in Your Plea for The Uncertainly


4 Elements in Your Plea for The Uncertainly (3-22-17)lightbulb

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.”

-Voltaire

The human condition hungers for certainty.

Yet, nothing new or creative was ever born from it.

It’s a constant dance, in the middle of “Certainly!” and The Uncertainly, “Of course!” and off course, where anything out of the ordinary appears.

Whatever changeup from the way life is currently and/or comfortably going, whatever crazy dream or aspiration your spirit just won’t let you forget, whatever outlandish step all the pointers of your world are directing you to take…none of these can start with certainty.

For example, our initial offering of The Back Forty INFUSE Program was over a two day weekend in 2015.  We had no certainty whatsoever as to how the content would be received, and were basically only putting on our first program as a pilot…to see if the message stood the chance of empowering people.

The response – and testimonials – were surprising, but we had only intentions going in…no certainty or even expectations.

Another example is our Back Forty Broadcasts, happening every Wednesday on our site live stream at 10:30am PST and on Facebook at 12pm. They started out with me in front of my computer sharing a tip or two, with no understanding of the technologies involved (YouTube Live, BeLive.tv) nor even any format.  We just began as an experiment.  It has evolved into an interview format, sharing ideas and great inspiration from leaders in the second half/best half of life mindset…and is both a helluva lot of fun for me as well as contributing to viewers.

No certainty going in, and even seeming certainty of unworkability many times in the midst of trying, but out the other side comes something valuable.

These are just our recent experiences in The Uncertainly.  What are yours?

It pays sometime to remember the FIRST time we tried a new thing, especially if that activity has now become old hat and second nature to us.  It wasn’t that way in the beginning.

Remembering these instances of The Uncertainly can support us to take risks even now, and now, and now, as we move into our greater yet to be.

The bigness of the game we want to play will determine how willing we are to reside in the not knowing.

Robert Burns said “There is no such uncertainty as a sure thing.”

That means, don’t wait for certainty…because it’s a mirage.  If you see it, run away.  If you don’t see it, run toward.

Where can you play bigly, even in the face of off-course-ness and The Uncertainly?

Here’s a few tips to support you to engage in and embrace The Uncertainly:

Pick

Pick an area where you have wanted to make a move, whether it be a dream you’ve wanted to pursue or simply a new habit you’ve wanted to incorporate.  Just pick something to use as your test case of embracing The Uncertainly because, if your success in whatever it is had already been assured, you’d likely already be pursuing it.

Lock

Lock yourself in to some new routine, schedule or commitment to devote time, energy or resources to whatever that thing is for you.

Is it signing up for a 3 month salsa class?  Is it devoting 2 hours per week to research some subject in the library?  Is it committing to send out 5 inquiries a week to ask for meetings with people doing something that you’d like to know more about, possibly a new career direction or hobby?

Whatever it is, lock yourself into engaging in that thing for at least 3 months, and get a buddy to hear your commitment.  Tell them that you want their support to keep pursuing this thing for AT LEAST 3 MONTHS and, if you waver, they are allowed to beat you up to get you back onto your game.

Endure

Whatever it takes, simply do what you said you’d do and keep to your schedule for those 3 months.

And, when the voices come up to say whatever they say that would take you away (and they WILL come up) – “This will never work”, “I look stupid doing this”, “I’m not cut out for this”, etc. – just let them fall upon deaf ears because you have committed to a schedule, and you gave your word.  Plus, your buddy will beat you up if you stop!

Assess

After your 3 month commitment to action and engagement on that thing ends, simply take a sober and loving evaluation of yourself and your interest and expansion into it.

Are you further along than when you started?  Is there any more certainty, facility, or understanding from which you can now operate?  Is it worth your committing yourself to yet another 3 months of experimentation to grow further in this thing?

Get your buddy to assist with this assessment because, if you’re like most people, you’ll discount your own growth and development.  You’re around yourself all the time, so it’s hard for you to see your own expansion.  But someone on the outside can see what you can’t.  A good buddy will beat you into submission to have you realize how much you’ve grown, even in the face of your cynicism.

Notice that you are making a PLEA for your own courage and support to live the life that you think about but usually talk yourself out of even starting.

Just start, move into The Uncertainly, and you’ll build a muscle for more and more certainty around your second half/best half of life to unfold.

Your radical, playful, passionate and purposeful Back Forty is here for you, in The Uncertainly!

“If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties.”

-Francis Bacon

Finding Your Unique Style and More for Midlife

melissa55 final

Today I found a new YouTube vlogger that I have absolutely fallen in love with.

Meet Melissa55.

Melissa is a 60-something wife, mother, and grandmother living in Tennesse. She has been posting on her Youtube channel each week for roughly 3 years with topics surrounding midlife beauty. While I was trying to find out more about Melissa, I stumbled across a quote of hers that I absolutely love:

“I feel like if we stick together in this aging journey, we can lift up each other and grow older gracefully and beautifully.”

– Melissa55

She creates tons of wonderful content surrounding the conversation of aging and how to feel beautiful while doing it. However, my favorite video series of hers is The Aging Woman and in this video series, she covers everything from fashion and exercise to friendships and marriage. Today I am going to share a few of my favorite (initial) videos of hers that I am loving and maybe you will love them too!

The Aging Woman: Finding Your Style

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvH9QSjPSPs]

This is the perfect example of what Melissa is all about. She uses her own experiences from finding her way through midlife to help other women abandon the stigmas surrounding aging and beauty and really embrace themselves. So, if you’ve watched the video, what’s your style and how has it changed as you have moved through midlife?

Craving more Melissa? Here are some of my other instant favorites:

simple

Tips for Inconvenient Leveling UP

Tips for Inconvenient Leveling Up (3-15-17)pink

“Get comfortable being uncomfortable. That’s how you break the plateau and reach that next level.”

-Chalene Johnson

We’ve all heard Albert Einstein’s idea that you can’t solve a problem at the same level at which it was created. His challenge was to rise up, to the next level, so as to see and deal with the problem from a higher perspective.

And yet many of us with dreams and goals ahead (a problem) can be deceived into believing that we can get to that next level easily and effortlessly, or by playing the way we have already been playing at this particular plateau.

Let’s face it: it’s damn inconvenient to take on growth and fulfillment as a lifetime pursuit!

I spent a 4 day weekend with a wise, high-performance leader 14 years my junior. I admired how he had taken on breaking through to the next level for himself as a pattern of life from the age of 19, and was apparently continuing to do so forever.

I noticed a bit of reticence at first to being open to someone who’s been on the planet less time than me telling me about how life really works.  However, I quickly realized that voice was my own Back Forty Blinder, the old mindset that says “I should know all this by now.”

So, I shook it off in true Back Forty Fliers style and again affirmed that we all have our path and we all have the time and place in which we fulfill on what we came here to do…which is, according to our philosophy, always ahead of us, not behind.

I began thinking that, in my growing up and the messages I received from my own shaping cultural influences, there was this idea that you worked really hard until you “made it” to some level and then you enjoyed that “made-it-ness”, got comfortable, and at some point “retired”.

There are lots of folks who are proud to say “I retired at 30” or whatever young age because the idea of having “made it” earlier is seen as a badge of winning.

This is not knocking “made it”, as to get to those points, those individuals had to apply themselves and their wheelhouse of tools and intelligence in wonderful and admirable ways.

Yet, what about the next level after “making it”?

In The Back Forty, we say “you have yet to do what you came here to do”. This is not to knock what has already been accomplished, and yet what’s next?

And, if there hasn’t necessarily been the sense of full accomplishment in our life as lived thus far, this mantra gives us all hope.

What will be required by both parties – those who’ve already “made it” and those who believe they haven’t – is to take on the inconvenience of continual leveling up.

Those inspired to be Back Forty Fliers must adopt a willingness, outside of their amassed “wisdom” of who they are, what they’re capable of, what they can learn, the way the world works, etc., so as to be open, fresh and available to receive new input.

When it comes to midlifers fulfilling on goals and dreams – which may be on the chopping block at this point in life – it’s important to realize that the same sweat, learning processes and jittery uncertain of growth they experienced in younger years can still take them to their next level of fulfillment.

It’s simply a question of willingness to be inconvenienced by growth and fulfillment.

Here are a few tips from my own experience of leveling up.

Expose Yourself

Get outside the box of groupthink mindset you may have surrounded yourself with – same friends, same community, same church, same avenues of exposure – and make yourself available to new people, ideas, and input.

Kids leaving home for college or going out into the world have no choice but to do this, and the process of exposure begins to point them in directions of discovery about themselves, their passions, their interests, and their abilities.

At 40, 50, 60, 70 and beyond, we can learn more about ourselves and our passions, interests, and abilities if we gain more exposure – and let go of all the “wisdom” of the comfort zone we’ve become accustomed to.

Listen

When exposing yourself, be willing to really listen…like a 20-year-old, who is taking in all new information all the time.

The tendency of the “wise” midlifer is to evaluate and assess everything as to whether they agree with it or not, whether they’re capable of it or not, whether it fits their belief system (BS) or not.  Therefore, the groupthink mindset stays in place.

Often, there’s a resistance to engage and consider incorporating new ideas because the inner voice says “Well, if this is right, then I’ve been off my whole life!”…and the ego doesn’t want to consider that possibility.  So, rather than try and engage in something new, it’s far easier to write off the new input as crazy or ludicrous.  Admitting that one doesn’t know it all (yet) can be a big hurdle.

To listen – as opposed to hear – means to truly consider without the slice-and-dice mechanism of cynicism/resignation disguised as discernment shredding every piece of evidence that something beyond who you are now is possible.

Turn off the garbage disposal and listen.

Experiment

Try some of those new ideas, belief systems and practices on.

You have survived very well to this point.  Whatever experiments you choose to engage in won’t kill you for sure.  You’re tried and true “knowing” of how things are might still prevail, even if you experiment.  Just watch that you don’t experiment with the objective being to prove yourself right.  You’ll definitely end up “right”.

Life is too short for knowing too early exactly who we are and what we’re capable of.  And, if there’s something beyond what has come before for you to be and do, then inconveniencing yourself to play around with new toys might be just the shift required to take you to your next level to fulfilling on that.

You have yet to do what you came here to do.

“At the moment when you feel you have reached the point of absolute exhaustion, inspire yourself to take one last step, and that is when you have successfully arrived to the next level.”

-Master Jin Kwon

3 Steps Toward Chaotic Balance

3 Steps Toward Chaotic Balance (3-8-17).jpgyellow-and-black

“Madness is somewhere inbetween chaos and having a dream.”

-R.M. Drake

The urge inside is to take on new things, play in bigger ways, and set free what’s destined for us to express. It invites chaos.

The urge inside is also to find security and predictability and order.  It invites balance.

It’s all about evening out the urges. The tendency is to mitigate the first, and feed the second. Yet, without an invitation to chaos, we stay where we are.

In my own growth toward both opening up to allow The Back Forty message to express through me as well as the friction of frustration in the learning new ways and means to deliver it, I can pretty much claim a resident element of chaos inhabiting my office and life!

First, there’s the giving of freedom to myself to just let the creativity flow.  Then, there’s the jumping into the deep end of new methods and technologies and gadgets for sharing that creative flow.  And it’s ALL NEW, mostly untested, and definitely not a reflection of who I’ve been in the past but, rather, a glimpse of who I’m becoming.

Yet, even while in the midst of that chaos, I find myself seeking ways to tame the new energies and desires by structuring my life in ways to best incorporate them.  Better scheduling, more effective and efficient communication, and even – yes, and I’m realizing as crucial – more downtime, fun and play.

All that – along with the rather oxymoronic phrase “chaotic balance” – is hard to see coming together sometimes.

How does the idea of chaotic balance land for you?

In The Back Forty, we say “you have yet to do what you came here to do.”  In order to do that, we need to face chaos…and even invite it.  Contrary to what the first half of life – and the bumps and bruises that came with it – may have conditioned us to believe about keeping life safe and predictable, we need to make room for and incorporate the chaos…in as orderly a way as we can.

Here are a few ideas for incorporating Chaotic Balance:

1. Free the Artist!

If you’re up to something big, creating something beyond what you’ve been or done before, you are releasing an artist from within you.  That includes starting a new business, writing a book, embarking on a new career, jumping into dating or a new relationship, or even re-inventing the relationship you’re in!  It’s anything new and creative that you’re taking on.

A couple great books to support Back Forty Fliers in distinguishing and freeing that inner artist are The Artist’s Way and The War of Art, both which press you beyond the resistance to staying in the comfort zone of the known.

Take steps to express in whatever your area of artistic and creative growth is.  Go take a class, hire a coach, join an action or support group, or in any other way set aside specific time to engage in that wild dream or crazy idea.

2. Expect Discombobulation

Know that the new ideas, the beta-test technologies, the expanded perspectives and the stretch of your capacities to incorporate these new endeavors – mentally, physically, emotionally, and even spiritually – WILL discombobulate you and you’re life, if you’re really playing big.

Expect it.  The discombobulation is your friend.

3. Wrangle the Wild Stallions Into Pens

Establish structures, time commitments, and new ways of running and managing your life to incorporate the wild new frontiers.

Balance your need for routine and order with carefully and strategically organized elements that allow those ideas to take root.  Keep or even build new ways to include it ALL.  Meditation, time-blocking and action buddies are just a few methods to bring the chaos you want into the balance you need.

Every now and then, I simply compile too many quotes that demonstrate what I could only attempt to say in my own words.  This is one of those days.

I leave you with these quotes to support and empower your own finding of Chaotic Balance.

“Our real discoveries come from chaos, from going to the place that looks wrong and stupid and foolish.”

-Chuck Palahniuk

“The worst thing you could do is tame the chaos in you. It’s like being told not to feel when you’re thrown in the fire.”

-R.M. Drake

“Chaos is inherent in all compounded things. Strive on with diligence.”

-Buddha

“In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.”

-Carl Jung

“You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star.”

-Friedrich Nietzsche

“All great changes are preceded by chaos.”

-Deepak Chopra

“Chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit.”

-Henry Adams

“Introduce a little anarchy, upset the established order and everything becomes…chaos”

-The Joker

“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.”

-Deepak Chopra

“Chaos was the law of nature; Order was the dream of man.”

-Henry Adams

“Chaos is a friend of mine.”

-Bob Dylan

“Fall in love or fall in hate. Get inspired or be depressed. Ace a test or flunk a class. Make babies or make art. Speak the truth or lie and cheat. Dance on tables or sit in the corner. Life is Divine Chaos. Embrace it. Forgive yourself. Breath. And enjoy the ride.”

-Unknown

“Balance is the ability to be happy in the midst of the most chaotic…circumstance.”

-Friederick Lenz

Do You Know How to Shop for Your Wife? A Midlife Perspective

Shopping forYour Wife

Today, while searching through midlife videos on YouTube, I found a new channel that intrigued me. The channel is called RedGreenTV and “Red Green” is the star. “Red” is played by Steve Smith. He was the handyman from The Red Green Show which was a Canadian TV comedy that aired from 1991 to 2006. Even though the comedy has been off the air for over 10 years, Steve still posts videos to his YouTube channel regularly and performs live a few times a year.

If you’re looking for a laugh, take a minute to watch Red as he shares his midlife “wisdom” with the world. His video about shopping for your wife is below:
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4K42n5HW5JI]

So remember, even if you’ve been “buying her gifts for 25 or 30 years and you think you’re getting pretty good at it, well you’re not.”

Let me know what you think. Regardless of if you are a husband or wife, do you think your gifts have gotten better or worse over the years?

eclectic

Tips for Embracing Edginess

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“The Edge… There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.”

-Hunter S. Thompson

Going to the edge is not how we’re wired. Our internal, anti-vertigo systems tells us to stay back.

Especially in The Back Forty, our tendency to play safe and keep things manageable is at a premium…because we have bruises and scars from when we didn’t.

Look at how we can sometimes be in an intimate relationship: either get used to the one we’re with and there’s no mystery left – because we wrangled either them or ourselves into a comfortable knowing (instead of growing?)…

OR…

we pursue and intend to attract that final, perfect partner while peering out at them and the world from deep inside our protective armor.

Look at how we can sometimes be in business or career growth: either we stay doing what we’ve always done because it meets our current thermostat (the amount of heat we can stand)…

OR…

we attempt to create a new venture or try a new path inside of our old mindsets of needing to do things “right” and have it all figured out.

None of these Play Safe ways of operating call for progress.

I see my own resistance to edginess when I’m called upon to create business plans and set up systems that are required to go to the next level of growth and contribution-ability. “I’ve just never been good at that!” or “I haven’t gotten that skill down yet”. All thoughts pulling for the center rather than the edge.

Kurt Vonnegut says “I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.”

Want to grow? Envision a new possibility or future? Step into your own promised land?

You have to go to the edge to accomplish it.

Here are a few tips to help embrace edginess:

1. Hear the Center Speaking

Try to notice when you feel that your pressing into uncharted (and thus perceived as rough) waters…and listen to what the Voice is saying.

If it’s the same standard line you’ve heard a thousand times, simply step aside from it. Realize it’s an old friend, with an emphasis on old. If you’re wanting new, then pay your respects to the old friend by saying “Thanks for that.  I know you’re wanting the best for me.”

And then go do what you WANT to do, like you did as a teen when your parent told you what THEY wanted you to do.

2. Take a Risk

Look, whatever you do in this moment is not life altering, either way.

If you take the risk of sharing something very personal with your spouse or a date that your Play Safe Voice would be shocked by, you really never know what may come of it.  You may open a door to intimacy you never thought possible.

If you don’t know how to do a perfect business plan or how to make the career change, try anyhow or get a coach.  Taking a risk will get you further than sitting paralyzed by the Play Safe Voice.

At a minimum, you’ll learn something.  In the best of all worlds, you’ll expand.  For sure, you won’t die.

3. Repeat

Return to tip 1.

Perhaps all progress depends on consistent edginess.

What areas of your life are you willing to walk out on the brink of so as to see another future?

“Come to the edge, he said. They said: We are afraid. Come to the edge, he said. They came. He pushed them and they flew.”

-Guillaume Apollinaire

3 Opportunities to KISS Happy

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“If you want to be happy, be.”

-Leo Tolstoy

If we wanted, we could just keep-it-simple-stupid (KISS) the quote above and that would be that.

But sometimes the simplest of truths call forth our complication-making machinery.

We entertain this reason or that, compelling “evidence” that it’s just not possible. The more legitimate the reason, the more we negate the simple truth.

For example, I woke up this morning with that nagging feeling that something just wasn’t right.

First, I looked to see if there was some hold-over issue from yesterday that I may have carried into my today.

Then, I looked to see if I could remember my dreams: was there something that went through my mind during the night still in my head?

Or – and here’s an even deeper cut to take: since our dreams access our most subconscious thoughts and feelings, IF I DID HAVE A BAD DREAM which left its remnants, what does that mean? Should I be worried about what’s going on in my subconscious?

It’s truly amazing how far down the rabbit hole one can go!

Harvard Business Review described a study in which folks were monitored for how their morning mood impacted the rest of their day.

And there’s some evidence that one of many external factors can play a part in the setting up of one’s mood at the outset of the day.

Yet, outside of any external factors, the real value is in the development of internal happiness control.

Aside from a healthy self-awareness and any good life-skills techniques we employ to embrace living, maybe it’s as simple as the choice to be happy.

At least 3 Points to KISS Happy daily are (feel free to add more):

1. Morning – Choosing to Be Happy Anyway

Despite the rabbit hole of quandary as to what could be the culprit behind the questionable mood, exercise the power of your will and choose to be in a good mood today anyway.

Some therapists suggest anchoring the thought with 5 deep breaths…and then finding times throughout the day to take those 5 deep breaths again and remember that choice.

2. Daily Reason Points – Choosing to Be Happy Anyway

The day will no doubt present as many viable reasons as possible to choose to go to the dark side.  In the face of the reasons, it adds so much to our inner confidence and sense of power over our life every time we can choose to choose a happy thought anyway.

What technique can you employ to pivot? Step away from the machine for a moment and do your 5 breaths? Play a mind game of counting of your blessings?

Here’s a little mind trick I like: Envision the Negative!

Think back to one of the best things that ever happened to you – a fortunate break, an unexpected gift, a chance meeting, a wonderful opportunity, an amazing relationship – and then imagine for a moment that it HADN’T happened…and where you’d be now.  Sounds like it’s pointing toward the negative, but it’s a great way to jettison yourself into humongous gratitude and happiness in short order!

3. Evening – Choosing to Be Happy Anyway

When it’s all said and done for the day, if you worked your KISS Happy muscle, a lot of “evidence” might already be in place to justify going to bed happy.  However, if any slip-ups occurred, you might engage in a late-night, rest-prep workout.

What were the BEST things that DID happen today? How did they make you feel?

How DID you grow and expand today, and what are your intentions for doing so tomorrow?

I like the thought that the way to be happy is to choose every morning that I’m in a good mood, and to keep choosing that choice throughout the day.

I also like the thought that sometimes happiness is a feeling, and sometimes it’s a choice.

All feelings aside, what’s the biggest choice you can make today?

Choose KISS Happy.

“Happiness is a choice, not a result. Nothing will make you happy until you choose to be happy. No person will make you happy unless you decide to be happy. Your happiness will not come to you. It can only come from you.”

-Ralph Marston