FLIP365 Newsletter (4). A week in the life of a contrarian psychiatrist

What a week in the life of a contrarian psychiatrist!

Now, hop-skipping to work.


1). Began on Sunday by  meeting outdoors with good friends, Mientjie and Morne Van Der Merwe at the Mindfulness Area (Huddle).

Both are senior professionals in Johannesburg and own properties at Walkersons Estate, outside Dullstroom.

Also, blessed with their beautiful adjacent game farm, full of healthy, fertile animals, a river running through, trees, magnificent views of the Low-veld, and walking trails.

Mientjie and Morne dream to build an executive Retreat on the estate; for adventures in wellness.

My role is to implement a scientific based outdoor curriculum, emerging out of my life long stress/burnout research and brain health interventions.

We have settled on initial weekend retreats from Friday afternoon to mid-morning Monday. The first begins on Friday 12th October.

Maximum 12 participants per group, with opportunities for long silent strolls/walks up to four hours at a stretch.

Opening all your senses (read: multipotential brain neuronal networks) to nature.


2). Then this Monday the Discovery Group appointed me their Brain Health Consultant.

The first project is the Young Doctors Program, aimed at improving the lives (in multi-dimensions) and Resilience from first years and Doctors until age 35.

It is a wonderful entry point to introduce the online teaching program about Building Resilience.

This program is a first in the world!

I am honored, and admittedly a bit nervous, but that low edge anxiety is the essence of all adventures.

Looking forward to the challenge, the effort required to stretch to the edge of my comfort zone, lessons to be learnt, and open to feedback.

Dr Sule Burger is the dynamic driver of this needed project.

Discovery are brilliant at incentivizing the desired behavior.


3). Huddle Park is looking better and better.

All of the seven ponds can now be circumvented by walking around each of its perimeter.

Next to Huddle Bridge, we have installed a deck, where you can stand sit or recline and watch the weavers weave, or the wind in the willows, or the sun setting.

Early spring is here as new growth of leaves are clearly evident.

Huddle is my place of refuge, but also a training ground for future guides of the Mindfulness in the Park events.

The pond at Huddle Bridge will be called Walden Pond, made famous by the works of Henry David Thoreau, who took years off from his life to live in a simple hut, a simple. His writings are profound on the magnificence of Nature on the human psyche.

Jason Bagg is the overall groundskeeper at Huddle, starting to have long chats under forest canopy, and we share a sensitivity to natural ecosystems.

A healthy sustainable green lung in an urban setting available to the public is our strategic vision.


4). On Tuesday evening, Shirra and I attended the annual Albertina Sisulu lecture at Wits Faculty of Health Sciences.

The speaker, Thuli Madonsela, was inspiring and insightful.

My overall feeling was here in front of us, a few meters away, speaking for 90 minutes, was a woman representing the very best that South Africa can offer.

Her moral compass is so clearly pointing in the right direction, where so many of the leaders in government and business have lost their own moral compass (presumably that they ever had one).

My take home message: always ask oneself: what is the right thing to in this situation.

That what (personal) leadership is all about. Management is doing things right.

Keep thinking whether the Thuli’s of the world are born or bred?

Dr Jonathan D Moch

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

Chief Operating Officer, Samantha Bole.

Online teaching platform.
Building Resilience in the Digital Age

Website www.flip365.co.za
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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 Weekly Newsletter (1). A week in the life of a contrarian psychiatrist.

Another exciting, reflective week in the life of a contrarian psychiatrist.

Sunday 15th I was invited to address a large audience of semi-retirees, known as Second Innings. My talk centered around the Seven Adventures in Wellness. My ad was to invite volunteers to help develop parts of Huddle Park into world class natural settings to Detox from screens and plugin into the healing powers of silence, stillness, and mindfulness. Well organized event. A number over age 90 years, asking good questions. Also the entire talk was filmed so soon will be available on YouTube.

On the morning of Friday 13th July, Sandra and her father, Wendell Bole hosted me at Thaba Trails in Mulbarton on the southern border of Johannesburg. There are beautiful well-maintained walking paths and forests to explore. Another site for Mindfulness in the Park events. Wendell is a keen designer and builder of walking and cycling tracks. My role is to find sites; his is to build the necessary tracks; and Samantha will drive the operating side of the venture. Already Samantha has created a website domain. www.mindfulnessinthe park.co.za Go check out the trails – walk or cycle.

Thursday 12th July was spent cleaning out more of the Mindfulness area at Huddle Park. I have decided to sponsor a private firm to remove trees that have fallen into the main pond (full permission by Huddle Park management). This will allow for better aesthetics and flow of the water as it cascades down through the seven ponds; and attract different bird species. Although the weather last Sunday was cold, blustery and a bit wet, it was a magnificent setting for walking silently and sitting under the forest canopy, and listening, with eyes closed, to at least six different bird songs. Join us on Sundays 90 minutes  before dusk. (Jan Coetzer is driving the Whats App Mindfulness in the Park group.)

Wednesday 11th July was a day filled with searching for articles, links, books or videos about two key writers about nature and health: the contemplative Henry David Thoreau of Walden Pond fame, and the Scot, John Muir, who was instrumental in finding and protecting wilderness areas in the USA. My takeaway message is that Nature asks for nothing, but gives everything.

Tuesday 10th July, after morning groups, allowed me free-time to spend walking, slowly and silently, and pausing often along the green and blue trails at Huddle Park. From 3:30pm to dusk, with a few dog walkers and cyclists dotting the landscape. The paths are in good shape, as are the bridges and signage. Special treats are the paths through forests, where the light dims considerably, but the leaves underfoot squel with delight as you trample through their winter ground cover population.

Monday 11th July allowed me to digest my dream of creating free Mindfulness in the Park events throughout the nation. Similar to the popular weekly Park Run concept. Inspired by the idea that what you aim at, determines what opportunities you see. A one pager is available as a PDF. Send me an email if would like a copy.


1) Video About Henry Thoreau

(24). On Walden Pond video. Henry David Thoreau

2). Video Interview of Tim Noakes

(21). Update on Low Carb Healthy Fat dietary options

3). Wiki Link about John Muir

Search Wikipedia John Muir

4). Book details about The Nature Fix by Florence Williams

5). This weeks posts on www.flip365.co.za

Click on link LATEST FROM FLIP365

6). Recommended book of the week.

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape our Decisions.

7). Picture of the week.