FLIP365 Newsletter (3). A Week in the Life of a Contrarian Psychiatrist

On Monday 23rd July, I drove to Pretoria to speak to a full house of medical students eager to learn about brain Health. It was part scientific, part personal journey, part lessons learnt along the way.

The interest hook was that I was in their exact positions, over forty years ago. 1977, to be precise.

No death by PowerPoint; no notes; just speaking for an hour from the heart of medical experience and current views on well-being; providing a life map to improve quality of life; of making better decisions; about mitigating risk; and possible strategies to reflect upon.

Med school teaches you how to heal patients; and assumes you will look after yourself. That is a very, weak assumption.

Overall, most medics self-care is meeting basic needs, not optimal health.

Physician, heal thyself, daily, in many ways, throughout your career, so you can best treat your patients.

It was a week that began the big clean up of the seven ponds, and surrounds at Huddle Park; and all the tensions that a project manager endures.

I fell and bumped a couple of times; a double parallel gash to my forehead, and abrasions to wrists and shins. It looks great (that is is the ponds) and is a world class site, ready for launching my shinrin yoku (“forest bathing”) project.

In over thirty years in psychiatry I have never felt so excited, my belief in its value add never deeper, its potential to heal relationships in all four directions, profound and intuitive.

I sourced a major review article published in an international accepted scientific journal about shinrin-yoku.

Confirmation of my reading and experience of how nature calms and restores.

Longitudinal studies are still required as in all decent research – about lifestyle interventions: exercise, food, sleep, relationships, stress reduction, brain challenges.

But the evidence is clear! Go for it! Powerful healing mechanisms released when you deliberately front the natural; consistently, continually. Letting be. Letting go. Letting in.

It is time to launch the Mindfulness-In-Nature project.

When I reflect back on my life, precipitated by so many good questions asked by the varied audience of people I meet at talks, or places I visit (internal and external), there are three interconnected personal themes that combine to make a formidable three ply cord:

– my intense curiosity about the brain, nature and teaching.

Over sixty years worth of contemplation clearly inform my passion, skills, and solving problems. Trying to make the world a better place.

For there is so much negative stress, burnout, suffering, disconnection; all around.

It is time to launch shinrin-yoku (forest bathing), locally. It is about healing relationships through a slow deliberate reconnection with nature: the breath of air; the warmth of the sun; the firmness of the soil; the texture of water.

Nature is just above your lips; fragrance on the tip of your tongue; a smorgasbord of smells in front of your nose; birdsong in your earlobes; the wind touching your skin; your feet standing firmly on the earth.

It is about activating all your senses in hundreds of ways, tech-free. It is about stimulating your embedded DNA resilient genes. It is about you being in control of your destiny. It is about personal responsibility.

It is, seriously, about linking your inner forest to the outer one. It is all concerns relationships. Inwards. Outwards. Upwards. Downwards.

Let me help get you started on the most adventurous journey of yourself!

Dr Jonathan D Moch
Contrarian Psychiatrist
Special Expertise In Optimizing Brain Health

Mindfulness in the Park. Sundays 90 minutes before dusk (July 4:15pm)

Book of the week






FLIP365 Newsletter (2) A Week in the Life of a Contrarian Psychiatrist.

A busy week, no doubt the exploration and discovery of another pond at Huddle Park, being the central highlight. Completely overgrown with bush, trees, reeds, grass. This week is going to be a massive cleanup. Then I will begin to unfold walking-talk therapy at this beautiful site  – for both individuals and small groups.

Monday 16th July

Book of the week.

Resilient (Find your inner strength). By Rick Hanson.

Rick Hanson, author of Hardwiring Happiness, writes about how to build a strong foundation by harnessing the power of positive experiences to create a solid core. Twelve practical strategies.


Tuesday 17th July
Talk of the week.

A brilliant lecture that covers geopolitical tensions, current events, and a will to do good.

WATCH: Barack Obama delivers the annual Nelson Mandela lecture in Johann…

Wednesday 18th July
Science of the week.

The kind of science that talks to me. How immersion in nature changes specific brain regions, spotted by functional magnetic resonant imaging (fMRI).


Thursday 19th July
Idea of the week

A series of ted.com talks that will help  give permission to yourself to unplug from the technological grid, and connect to all things natural.

Copy and paste for more.



Friday 20th July
Connection of the week

Met with Jeffrey, a professional tree feller, who will help clear the seven ponds at Huddle Park. It will become a world class site for teaching and training Mindfulness in the Park events.

Volunteers always welcome.

Mindfully yours,

Dr Jonathan D Moch
Contrarian Psychiatrist
Special Expertise In Optimizing Brain Health

Mindfulness in the Park. Sundays 90 minutes before dusk (July 4:15pm)



(23). Want to improve creativity. Go walk like a caveman!

Continuing our series of the health influence of nature on mind and body (ecotherapy) is this brilliant overview of getting out, and moving into natural surroundings.

That is to deliberately unplug from technology, let go all screen devices, and connect (passively) to the natural world.

Profound brain and body effects. Perfect for improving judgement and decision-making.

Mindfulness in the Park events are based on these ideas.

Steve Taylor Ph.D.
Out of the Darkness
The Power of Nature: Ecotherapy and Awakening
Why is contact with nature so good for us?


(20). In praise of wasting time!

I thought this essay maybe of interest to you. The argument is clear: we all need time out from the noisy outside world and turn inward, briefly, attentively and mindfully. Who knows what riches lie within?

Your comments (via email) are welcome.



Why we owe it to ourselves to spend quiet time alone every day

(19). What’s App Group – Mindfulness in the Park

Jan Coetzer has kindly taken on the admin of a Whats App group for the Mindfulness in the Park events. The idea is to remind people of times, news, special classes, formation of a  community of like minded people ….

The long term objective of FLIP365 is to roll out Mindfulness in the Park classes throughout the country. Similar to the Park Run phenomena where runners/walkers cover 5kms. Every Saturday morning at 8am. It is free, and organized by volunteers. Over 80,000 runners/walkers so far. (Can google, Park Run.)

Remember that, currently, Mindfulness in the Park sessions are held on Sundays 4:15pm at Huddle Park, Linksfield, Johanessburg. Please forward this blog to your data base. You never know who will benefit deeply from connecting mindfully to nature.

So please send me your full name and what’s app number. I will forward the info to Jan. Go to Contact Dr Moch in main menu. Or



… Sunday session was AWESOME…..

… beautiful, safe, quiet, natural settings. Did not know it existed in Johannesburg…

…. I loved it. Count me in for every Sunday …

… earth, wind, fire, water! Enjoyed every minute …

…. a MultiSensory delight…..



(17). Join Mindfulness in the Park events.

Please send me your full name and what’s app number so we can send you direct messages about Mindfulness in the Park events. (Go to contact Dr Moch, in website menu.)

My long term aim is weekly (Sunday afternoons, ninety minutes before dusk) Mindfulness in the Park sessions across the nation. Watch this space.

Volunteers most welcome to help roll out the dream.

Photo Shoot

1) Park at Acro Branch, Huddle Park

2). Begin start up walk at start of Trail Run Sign

3). Follow Blue Arrow Signage (about 300 meters)

4). Stop at this signpost.

5). You now can see the Mindfulness Nature site.

6). Follow short path and take your seat.

7). Your greatest gift to yourself. 90 minutes of full immersion in nature.

Sundays 90 minutes before dusk. July times 4:15pm until 5:45pm

(16). Mindfulness in the Park


This Sunday, 1st July, 4:15 pm sharp, at Huddle Park, Club Street, Linksfield, Johannesburg, until dusk. And Sundays thereafter.

Starting point.

Meet at Dog trails parking, by AcroBranch. Can safely park there.

Park at main gate at Huddle Park, at and pay daily walking rate at Golf Shop. About R30. They will give you a ticket or wrist band.
Then drive to meeting point (AcroBranch. Well signed). No extra costs. Ie free from thereon.

Please note that this is a most wonderful way to switch off all screens and experience Stillness, Silence and Mindfulness.

So no cellphones allowed. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a jersey, as it gets chilly towards dusk.

Bring along a small back pack that you can wear, then arms are free. To keep safely a small sitting cushion, keys, phone, jersey, bottle of water, …

NB. No talking will be allowed from beginning to end.

We do a mixup of slow walking, standing, sitting, listening, looking, being.

You can arrive earlier and do a walking warmup on the blue or green trail.

Ps its sounds easy, but can be very challenging if you are dependent on screens for noise or other distractions. Silence is priceless.

Your guide,

Dr Jonathan D Moch

(15). The Power of Silence

{Direct from the work of Graham Turner, Power of Silence,  the riches that lie within, pages 62,63.}

… the influential Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung wrote in a letter to a man planning to start a campaign against noise.

… people, Jung wrote, become as habituated to noise as they were to over-indulgence in alcohol, and just as you pay for this with cirrhosis of the liver, so you pay for nervous stress with a primitive depletion of a vital substance.

… with children, so much is fed into them from the outside that they no longer think of something from they could do from inside themselves.

… there is a widespread, though not conscious fear, which loved noise because it stopped that fear from being heard.

… noise is welcome because it drowns the inner instinctive warning. Fear seeks noisy company and pandemonium to scare away the demons.

… noise like crowds, gives a feeling of security, therefore people love it.

… noise protects us from painful reflection, it scatters our anxious dreams; it assures us that we are all in the same boat.

… we would not have noise if we did not secretly want it.

…. if there were silence, the real fear is what might come up from its depths; all the things that have been held at bay by noise.

… the more you attack noise, the more you come to the taboo territory of Silence, which is most dreaded.

… there are far more people than one supposes who are not disturbed by noise, for they have nothing in them that could be disturbed.

… noise is an integral component of modern civilization.

… it is an evil with deep roots.

… it all goes with the spiritual disorientation of our time.

Dr Jonathan D Moch
Contrarian Psychiatrist
Special Expertise In Optimizing Brain Health



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(14). Books that I am reading this month. You?

Combining long winter nights in Johannesburg and a public sale at Exclusives, is an ideal excuse to collect a number of books to occupy my mind-space for a few weeks.

The following are my recent purchases, and a précis of each as I understand the motives of the authors to write about the topics. (And why I am reading them.)

The Wisest Man in the Room – How to harness psychology’s most powerful insights.
Thomas Gilovich and Lee Ross

Understanding about knowledge, insights and wisdom, – how our thinking process are packed with biases, mostly unconscious, that results in poor judgement, and all it’s consequences (intended and unintended).

(Improves my insights into brain health, determinants of quality of life and optimizing decision-making. Love picking out the biases of others, but not even noticing my own.)

The Power of Silence – The riches that lie within.
Graham Turner

A world wide search for and documentation of individuals, societies, or corporations that deeply value times of silence, – a committed breakaway (minutes, hours, days, months, or years) from the nonstop noise of modern life. The sounds of silence are indeed golden. Sorry Simon and Garfunkle.

(Fits in with my seventh adventures in wellness: Digital Detox and the Art of Stillness/Silence.)

Unbound – How eight technologies made us human, transformed society, and brought our world to the brink.
Richard Currier

A concise longitudinal review of major changes in technology – from tools, spears, fire, wheels, clothing, huts to music, art, language, ethnicity, and more recent accomplishments of ships, writing, clocks, machines. And of course, now the Digital Age of the World Wide Web. Does this understanding give a positive or negative future trajectory? There will be a number of blogs about these insights.

(Informs my digital online teaching platforms.)

The Story of Food – An illustrated history of everything we eat.
DK – Penguin Random House.

A Cooks Tour (!) with illustrations, through the origins, nutritional values, and cultural uses of the ten major food groups: nuts and seeds; fruits; grains and cereals; vegetables; herbs and spices; oils and condiments; (processed) sugar; meat; fish; and dairy (milk, cheese and eggs).

(Fits in with my view on the primacy of superfoods versus junk-foods. Another of the seven adventures in wellness)

Your book(s) you are reading, now?

Dr Jonathan D Moch
Contrarian Psychiatrist
Special Expertise In Optimizing Brain Health