Greetings from Jonathan Foust: The Year in Review, How to Cultivate Compassion in Difficult Times... and More



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  We certainly live in interesting times.

Many years ago a swami came to the ashram I lived in and said, "The more you've got going on in your life, the more you need to be on retreat."

With all the churning and burning going on in our culture it's more and more important to find calm and clarity in order to chart your path and find your way.

Later this month Tara and I head north to do a silent retreat at the Forest Refuge in Barre, MA.

I'm immensely grateful for this opportunity to pause and I hope you too can find time, whether it be on retreat or in your daily life, to slow down, breathe, reflect and be.    

Upcoming Event


Awakening from the Trance of Fear

  Friday, January 27 to Sunday, January 29, 2017 (commuters welcome)

Tara Brach and Jonathan Foust Garrison Institute, Garrison, NY

For many of us, the greatest challenge each day is managing the anxiety, worries and fear that can so easily take over and run our life. When we are caught in the trance of fear, we are fixated on protecting and defending ourselves. We are living in a prison that separates us from our natural intelligence and our love for the world around us.

This weekend workshop explores a sequence of mindfulness and compassion-based teachings and practices that can help you step out of the trance of fear. In a safe and caring space, you will explore how to release the limiting beliefs that fuel insecurity, judgment and self-doubt; and how to awaken your fearless heart - the heart-space that has room for fear and full aliveness, creativity and limitless love.

The program will include didactic presentations, guided meditations, interpersonal meditations, journaling and time for questions and sharing.

To learn more, click the banner below:


The Year in Review: My Annual Report

  When you head out on a long journey it’s a good idea to have a roadmap.

You’ve got a wide selection of guides available. Each spiritual tradition offers a map that suggests you avoid certain roads and stick to others. It’s important to find one that resonates for you.

Along the way it’s also helpful to pause, look around and make sure you’re still heading toward your destination. You want to check your engine, kick the tires and make sure you’ve got enough in your tank to keep going.

For a few years now I’ve been doing an annual review. Based on a format from James Clear (, this is an opportunity to stop and ask three simple questions:

1. What worked? 2. What didn’t work? 3. What am I focused on now?

If you’d like to take a look at mine you can peruse it here: 2016 Annual Report

A Year of Living Mindfully starts in April.

Much of your success comes from sustaining attention on what is most important in your life.

In March of 2017 I’ll be offering The Year of Living Mindfully again for those living in the DC Metro area.

If you’d like to learn more you can follow this link. You’ll learn about the program, read some Frequently Asked Questions and can download an application.

This is the ninth year of the program. Please follow the link below:

May this year be one of unexpected pleasures for you.      

Fresh Photos From This Month

  There has been a lot of activity on the river as more birds settle in for the winter.   Breaking the ice on a particularly chilly morning.   spacer-25 One in the nest and one on watch. The eagles appear to be settling in and will hopefully lay eggs in February.   spacer-25 Nice beaver. A chance encounter in the middle of the river.   spacer-25 One of a clutch of turkeys roosting on an island.   spacer-25 A Bald Eagle enjoying breakfast sushi.   spacer-25 Full moonset.   spacer-25 If you look in the upper right third quandrant, you’'ll see I was being closely monitored as I paddled by.   spacer-25 There's a comedian in every crowd.   spacer-25 Coot yoga. You'll notice that Coots don't have webbed feet, which makes them look particularly silly when they take off.   spacer-25    

A Year of Living Mindfully, 2017

  Learn more about this year's program.        

How to Cultivate Compassion in Difficult Times

  Like many, I’m troubled by the acrimony and fear in our culture right now.

It’s easy to fall into one of the classic reactive states. For many, it’s a semi-permanent state of anger, judgement and ill will. For others, distractibility, disassociation and not wanting to feel. Others report feeling frozen in fear and anxiety.

How do you break free?

The antidote seems to have something to do with cultivating the heart.

Compassion is a practice. It can help thaw the pain and open to new possibilities.

I recently offered a talk on compassion. It’s full of stories that demonstrate what can happen when you turn directly to suffering with an open heart.

To listen to this talk, Compassion and the Outer Life, follow this link for iTunes and this link for youtube.      

Latest from the Blog

Compassion and the Outer Life

There Is Always One

Compassion and the Inner Life

Happiness and Your True Nature

Meditation: Meditation Retreat Vipassana Instructions


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