• Pause: Writing Offline

    You wouldn’t get that sense looking at this blog, but my practice has been really solid for the past month or so. I’ve even been writing about it! I just haven’t wanted to do it in little bite-sized chunks every day and put them on the internet. I think, for the moment, the feedback loops of blogging are actually inhibiting my writing.

    I was onto something with my last entry, which was over a month ago, but I don’t think I took it far enough. What’s distracting me from productive work is the very idea of the internet out there, listening, hungry for more Content™.

    I’m chewing on some big ideas right now. It’s producing notes and scraps that I just want to keep collecting and working on and mulling over. I don’t want to be beholden to anyone — even imaginary people — to do anything in particular with them. I want to spend all the time and energy I have for writing working on this. So I’m putting the blog on pause again for a while. As usual, I may surprise myself and pop in from time to time.

    Thanks as always for reading. Stay tuned for the results of this process… sometime.

    — Jon

  • Note: Introducing Link Posts

    I’ve decided to open up the structure of Grind Well a little bit, to make it possible to post more often without always writing a complete mini-essay and recording it to boot. I’m going to start doing link posts, entering the venerable tradition of blogging by sharing, with a brief comment, rather than always by writing new thoughts.

    The titles of link posts will be prefixed with this character: ⤳. The Unicode table calls that a “Wave Arrow Pointing Directly Right.” Isn’t that nice?

    Importantly, link posts will not have an audio component! So if you want to receive the link posts, you’ll need to be subscribed by RSS, Facebook, Twitter, or Micro.blog, instead of (or in addition to) your podcast player.

    I certainly intend to be doing full posts with audio more frequently than I am right now, but link posts will be a nice way to keep things going in between them. It will also expand the palette of my thinking-out-loud about meditation to include other people’s voices, which seems like a good idea.

    Hope you enjoy it,

    — Jon

  • Pause: Having a Baby!

    It’s time to put Grind Well on pause again for the moment, and it’s for the best possible reason. My wife and I are expecting our first child any moment now. When she is ready to come out into the world, we’re going to close up our world around her for a while and make our home into a quiet little nest. We’re both blessed with the freedom to do this for a few weeks. In California, paid parental leave is almost up to scratch with the civilized world! I’m putting most projects on hold for that time so I can be fully present in the baby zone.

    Just like in the last pause, I’m not sure I won’t publish anything, but it certainly won’t be daily-ish for a short while. Given how profound things are about to get, if any of it can be put into words, I probably will, but maybe not for public consumption. Still, I think our daughter — Wow! Our daughter!! — is going to be the greatest spiritual teacher of our lives, and I look forward eagerly to the new lessons about life and the practice that she’s going to teach me. You’ll hear about it here, as soon as it’s time.

    In the meantime, thanks for reading, listening, or both. It’s been a joy to hear from some of you and know you’re finding the site helpful. Feel free to keep getting in touch via any of the means on the About page. I’ll write back while the baby’s sleeping.

    Talk to you on the other side,

    — Jon

  • Pause: Gone to Burning Man

    We’ve reached an interesting juncture here at Grind Well. After a solid first month of posts, that big looming thing I wrote about a couple weeks ago has now arrived. At 6 AM tomorrow morning, I’m leaving for Burning Man.

    Now, I have no intention of letting that disrupt my sitting practice, but I expect it will cause a slowdown in blogging. I’m not saying I’m not going to post from Burning Man — it’s actually my job to be one of the few people out there still on the internet. I don’t want to get into the weeds about whether or not it’s in accordance with the 10 Principles to blog from the playa; let’s just say for now that I’m going to be pretty absorbed in the offline world around me out there.

    I’m always writing at Burning Man, though, so don’t be surprised if I do pop up, and if I don’t, I’ll have good material for when I get back.

    Also, while I’m out there, my mom is going on her first multi-day meditation retreat! Isn’t that awesome? Maybe we’ll do some kind of micro-interview about it here.

    This first month of Grind Well has been really fun and rewarding. Part of me expected I would still be scarred from the dark times of having to blog every day, but I’ve stumbled into a magical formula for this site. I’m actually a little sad my daily-ish blogging routine is getting disrupted at this early point. But it’s been enough time to establish the practice. Grind Well will be one of the things I’m excited to come back to at the end of what is always a rewarding but exhausting adventure.

    Thank you so much for following along this far. It’s been amazing to hear from a few of you, especially to hear this is inspiring your own practice. Please do keep reaching out. Like I said in the first post building an online mindfulness community is one of my reasons for doing this.

    And hey, if you’ll be at Burning Man, let me know. We should sit together! It’ll keep our brains on the rails.

    Talk to you when the next opportunity arises,

    — Jon

  • A Retreat Within a Retreat

    I just got back from retreat. It is to my great benefit that I’ve returned not to Los Angeles but to Brandeis-Bardin, the mountain-bound retreat campus where my future-rabbi wife, Ariel is working this summer. So I got a retreat within a retreat, and I have another week and a half to process and reintegrate (while doing my day job) before the real return happens.

    A great deal came up for me on the retreat — both in intimately personal and more communal or religious areas — and I intend to write up a full report. But right now, it’s the small actions that feel most important to supporting the deep work on which I just spent a week. Thirty minutes of morning sitting practice has felt pretty natural, but I’ve been thinking I need some more social and intellectual support systems to round it out. Hence, this blog.

    Welcome to Grind Well. It’ll be a daily-ish blog about my daily-ish practice of mindfulness meditation, which I’ve learned from a mixture of Jewish and Buddhist sources and teachers, and which I’ve at least tried to maintain for the latter third of my approximately 31 years of life.

    While I’ve written plenty about mindfulness before, I’m launching this project now both to recommit myself to disciplined practice and to explore new dimensions of it.

    Through this blog, I seek community with the wide world of contemplative practitioners out there, as well as to understand my own practice better by thinking aloud. I think this is about as long as the posts will ever get. Talk to you very soon!

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