The 50/50 Project
To celebrate the gift of 50 years of life, I started the 50/50 Project on my birthday in December. The aim was to inspire and coax out the best in me, to challenge and stretch myself, to connect to others and to my passions, and to seek greater bliss and peace.
With mindfulness, the intentions we set now materialize in a future now moment. There is only ever this moment. We travel through life in a compartment called Now. Now is all there is. What unfolds now is the result of countless decisions, agreements, investments, forces, causes and conditions.
When I set intentions, I set my heading. I want to take good care that my intentions are clear, so that when I arrive in the next Now moment my heart is full, my mind is at peace, I am equanimous. I cannot remain equanimous if I am attached to outcomes. So, I approach this project in a spirit of play- with curiosity, as an experiment.
My intentions are:
To promote life affirming habits
To create and hasten ideas into reality
To experiment and learn
To connect more deeply and lovingly with others
To remain present
To have fun
To transform the inner landscape into a refuge of tranquility, contentment, and love
To relinquish self-will, feelings of separateness, attachments, and negative feelings
To purify the body, thoughts, desires, and motives
To explore potentials and possibilities
To surrender more completely to what is
I came up with 50 projects which I had intended to have completed by the end of my 50th year in 2022. It was ambitious and I extended the project 2 years. They fall into categories and are inspired by one or more of the intentions I listed above.
Creative. Create 50 songs in 50 different genres (https://soundcloud.com/j-felix-408176358/rb-1). This connects me to my passions, brings me joy, and connects me to others through music, language, and culture. I'm halfway there as of this posting.
Physical. Kayak 50 islands. This is an expression of curiosity, a manifestation of confidence, a celebration of life, a willingness to endure suffering. I completed 12 this summer.
Financial. Grow my net income by 50%. This is an expression of prudence, frugality, discipline, and responsibility. I grew it by 42% this year.
Cultural. Prepare 50 nutrient dense, vegetarian meals from 50 different cultures. This promotes life affirming habits. I should complete this by the end of the year.
Philanthropic. Donate 50 hours. This is an act of self-emptying and generosity. I completed 100 on retreat earlier this summer.
Nature. Plant 50 trees. This is a recognition of our interdependence and connection with all that is.
Professional. 50 pages artwork for a children's book (Instagram). This is an expression of joy.
Home. Make $50,000 in home improvements for under $10,000 by doing the work myself. I remodeled a bathroom and office space coming in around 10K. This was an expression of creativity and frugality and promotes financial independence.
Habits. Take the Complaint Free Challenge (Go 50 consecutive days without complaining, criticizing, or gossiping). The intention is to purify thoughts and words.
Spiritual. Divide waking hours (16) into 50. Every 20 minutes practice one discipline for 50 days. Some disciplines include: gratitude, blessing those around me, returning to the present moment.
Via Negativa. Via negativa is a Latin phrase that means "the way of negation." I have a long list of things not to do. I don't consume alcohol, pornography, or processed foods. I don't use drugs or smoke. For this project, I added no news for 50 days. The experience was so positive, I extended it and, except for content on science or economics from specialized journals or outlets, I don't consume media.
Purging lustful thoughts from my mind was another discipline I introduced which I found so affirming, I added it to my regimen.
No sugar (except for fruits) for 50 days is another challenge I will be starting soon. These disciplines align with the intention to purify the body, thoughts, desires, and motives.
I had some fails. Achilles tendinitis delayed my 50 mile hike. And there are many items I have yet to start- like learning 50 dances. But as the my 51st birthday approaches, I am better for having made the attempt.
First published 1/10/2021