October Greetings from Jonathan Foust: Thirty Days of Practice, Two Techniques to Stay Inspired and More



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  It’s the fall and inevitably this is the time of year when we start to refocus. I’ve been inspired to pay closer attention to how I pay attention.   To that end, I’ve taken on a few new practices and others have as well. Some are recommitting to a meditation practice, some to taking better care through yoga and exercise.   Part of practice is also deciding what you’re not going to do.   Some folks have elected to cut out sugar, others to be more mindful by not talking about someone unless they are present, others are committed to more frequently substituting kindness for self-criticism.    

Thirty Days of Practice: One Observation and One Restraint

My coffee grinder is packed away. My beloved aeropress sits next to it, not to see the light of day for at least thirty days.   One month without coffee.   I'm not looking forward to this, but I know it will be good for me.   In the Year of Living Mindfully and the Monday Night Meditation class we're exploring "Thirty Days of Practice: One Observance and One Restraint." View the program here.  

You are welcome to join us.

  An observance is a practice to which you consciously commit, paying attention to it’s effects. You select a discipline you know will increase your vitality or will help bring you into greater balance.   A restraint is something from which you consciously refrain, paying careful attention to what happens. You might select a habit or activity you know is depleting or distracting.   Restraints are common in spiritual practice. On a meditation retreat you refrain from speaking, eye contact, recreational reading and writing. Holding back on habitual activity you become more aware of what is happening and how you relating to it.   My 'observance?'   I've been struggling with some neck pain and headache issues and decided my practice will be a yoga and exercise routine that lengthens chronic muscles but also builds strength.   I'd fallen out of the habit of these routines. When I started this week I was chagrined at how weak I felt in the wall sits, how hard the pushups were and how creaky I was doing lunges.   I know, though, that within the month the wall sits will feel effortless, the pushups will get me pumped up and the lunges will help me stay aligned through the day.   As for the coffee? You may note that I didn’t say 'no caffeine.' I've discovered matcha tea, which feels more steady and without the jangle. I don't crash like I tend to with a strong cup of coffee and this week I've been inspired to cut back even more on the caffeine, just to see what happens.   One week in and I’m feeling pretty good.   But taking on practice is easy. Keeping your momentum going for thirty days is another challenge.   More on that below.   If you’d like to listen to a talk on this topic. Click the image below.   vid spacer-25 If you’d like to read a post on this topic. Click the image below.   readpost spacer-25 Look below for a handout and calendar you can download.

30 Day Calendar
30 Days Handout    

Upcoming Events

October 4:

Keynote at the US Trager Association Conference Learn More

October 5:

Evening Class at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington Learn More

October 9-16:

IMCW Fall Retreat
Learn More

October 12:

Evening Class at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington Learn More

October 19:

Evening Class at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington Learn More

October 24:

IMCW Half-day Retreat for Meditation Mentors Learn More

October 26:

Evening Class at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington Learn More    

Air and Water and "The Magic Hour"

  I was blessed to spend so much time outside and near the water this month. As you may know the 'magic hour' in photography is the time just before and after sunrise and sunset.   Sunset over the bay, Cape Cod.   1a spacer-25 Sunset fading to dusk. Cape Cod.   2a spacer-25 An exposed sandbar at low tide just after sunset. Cape Cod.   3a spacer-25 Seals hanging and conversing before sunrise. Off Provincetown, MA.   4a spacer-25 A bird zips by with a morning delicacy.   6a spacer-25 The last signs of color. Sunset on Cape Cod.   6a spacer-25 Look closely and you can see clouds of swallows feasting at sunrise. Potomac River, Great Falls.   7a spacer-25 Geese on the early morning move. Potomac River, Great Falls.   8a spacer-25

Five Breaths, Five Scenes


A Meditative Journey: Dynamic Meditation

October 14th, 9:30-4:40 Bethesda, MD   In the early 70's seekers were flocking to Puna, India to study with Bhagwan Sri Rajneesh, a charismatic and somewhat controversial teacher.   He noticed many westerners were unable to quiet their minds enough to experience subtler states of awareness he was describing.   Rajneesh created a process which closely follows the stages of Raja Yoga, but in a dramatically different way.   On this retreat we’ll practice these stages and explore what happens when you move from the gross to the subtle through movement, sounding and finally, surrender into stillness and deep relaxation.   The stages: 1. Energizing, energetic movement 2. Free-flow movement 3. Conscious breathing with sounding 4. Seated meditation 5. Lying down meditation 6. Seated meditation and journaling   The afternoon will offer more traditional practices including mindful movement, a lying down guided body scan and sitting meditation.   I've been practicing and leading Dynamic Meditation for about 30 years and can testify to it's potency. Please do come if you'd like to explore a non-traditional approach to stilling the mind.   No prior experience in yoga or meditation required. Just an open mind and heart.  

To view a short rather silly video introduction:

  (Note this is on my old youtube channel.)   For more information and to register, click here.   IMCW-oct-event spacer-25  

Latest from the Blog


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30 Days of Practice: One Observance / One Restraint

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Insight on the Inside

The Wisdom of Down Time

You are Not the Weather (Retreat Talk)

Remember to Love the Mystery

September Greetings from Jonathan Foust: Awareness Isn't Angry, Late Summer Photos and More


Two Techniques to Stay Inspired and on Track with a New Discipline.

  The Seinfeld Method Jerry Seinfeld, when he was starting out, knew the key to his success was to write his own original material. That meant writing every day. No. Matter. What. He developed a way to keep himself going that is quite genius. No apps required. It’s pure analog.   Get a monthly calendar (you can download one here.) Get a big red marker and when you complete your practice for the day, but a huge "X" on the day. Place the calendar where you see it. Your goal is to keep the visual chain going.   Be Accountable to a Friend Another practice that can dramatically help you when taking on a new discipline is to find a friend who is willing to support you. Here’s what I recommend and have found helpful: Send a daily email and in the subject line, share what you accomplished (or failed to accomplish.)   Your partner is not obligated to respond.   But they will notice and that can make a huge difference.   Download the 30 Day Calendar Here
Download the 30 Days Handout Here spacer-25  

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