Monthly Archives: November 2010

Stretch Yourself

Stretch Yourself
Stretch Yourself

Today I didn’t feel like really exercising. Not a rare occasion. But – I was willing to do some deep stretching. I haven’t stretched for more than a few minutes in months. So having finally done it again today, I just wanted to suggest that you give yourself the intimate experience of a great stretch!

I’ve only done about 3 “real” yoga sessions in my life.. But I understand the basic philosophy of connecting and being with your body and breath. After today, it seems to me that deep stretching can produce many of the same effects as yoga, without having to go to a class or learn any forms.

You can’t go wrong with stretching.. as they would say with yoga, too, it’s only you facing your own experience, your own limits and how much further you do or do not want to go.

If you have great trouble accepting and feeling your body, as I do, I think stretching is a loving way to come back into your body a bit. Whatever mobility level you have, whatever flexibility, you go at your own pace and you wake your body up as much as you can. Find those places aching to be moved and activated.

Of course, you can take this approach with the rest of your life, too: Gently explore all areas.. give special attention to those that are calling out for movement, for challenge, for healing. There’s no doing it wrong, you are the only one who can feel out which parts of life need to be lived out in a certain way for YOUR life. Your body.

Your senses, your heart; they guide you in your movements if you listen – and if you’re willing to lean into it – it feels SO GOOD afterwards! The reward is inhabiting your body, inhabiting your life. Feeling the flexibility and energy to move as your whole self through whatever comes.

Stretch today! If it’s impossible, tomorrow at the latest! Go for at least 15 minutes.. An hour if you really want to be intimate and talk with your body.

Feel yourself, feel what’s real, feel what’s there for you.

To Make the World a Better Place

To Make the World a Better Place
To Make the World a Better Place

What the world needs is people who are living in a way that makes them happy. More than the world needs you to recycle, join the Peace Corps, or give to the poor, the world needs YOU to live your one life the way you truly want to. When you live life in a way that turns you on, you shine light in more ways than you could if you live trying to “do the right thing” or “succeed” or “be good” in ways that aren’t true to you. It may be the truest thing for you to join the Peace Corps, and if it is, let your heart take you there. It also may be the truest thing for you to decorate cakes. Your joy will awaken equally if what you choose is in accord with what you really want.. and joy naturally leads to compassion – which is actually the core of what’s needed in the world.

Remember the quote about how lighting someone else’s candle takes no light away from your own. It is not selfish to make sure your own candle is lit first – indeed, this is the only way you’ll be enabled to truly give.

Start Right Now

Start Right Now
Start Right Now

The reasons we give for waiting for “the right time” can be utterly convincing. That’s why overcoming the habit of waiting is not a matter of talking your reasons down. For example, say you’ve had the intention to begin meditating each day, but keep feeling that you just do not have the time. You are not going to overcome this by telling yourself, “Yes, I do have the time. I am not really that busy.” Rather, what will change is the value you place on the meditation.

The fact is, our deepest values determine how we spend our time. Each second of it. I always think of how I act when I’m about to cross a street: every single time, I make sure to see that there is no danger before I move. No matter what mood I’m in, no matter how tired, no matter what is going on in my life, I make sure to go through this ritual EVERY time I cross a street. The reason I think of this is that it shows me that I am capable of consistently acting according to my deepest values. In this case, the value is safety.

When it comes to physical survival, yes, there is a built-in, instinctual response. But a 2-year-old still might not look before crossing a street – it’s a learned belief. If someone convinced us that the cars in front of us were holograms, we would be able to move our bodies right in front of the “traffic” despite our conditioning. So while our bodies do have physical responses to danger, our minds are ultimately in control. We are in charge of what we define as reality and how we react to it. We are in charge of uncovering our deepest beliefs and values, understanding who and what installed them inside us, and which to let go, which to support.

What are you valuing when you don’t stick to a commitment?

In myself, I’ve noticed this type of response: “I don’t HAVE to do anything.” “I don’t have to do something just because it’s supposed to be good for me.” “I don’t want to.” “I don’t feel like it.” “It doesn’t prove anything if I don’t keep up with it.”
These responses seem quite defensive.. And they also don’t seem to be in my best interest. They seem to be in a child’s voice, a child who doesn’t want to be told what to do. I certainly had a lifetime’s worth of doing what I was told, doing what was “good for me” all of my growing-up years. It makes sense that I wouldn’t want to be told one more thing. However, the difference now is that I am trying to guide myself. Now, if I were to stick to a commitment such as meditating daily, the message would be: “I do this practice as a way of loving myself, and being my self,” not “I do this practice because I HAVE to, because I’m bad if I don’t.”
As soon as I lose touch with the idea that I am trying to create a healthy way of being for myself, my default belief of “I am being forced to do something” takes over and I rebel.

This is just one example of old beliefs and values that sabotage present progress. If you find yourself setting an intention, and coming up with reason after reason to put it off, try to do some exploration into what you are valuing at the time. What are you believing is truly more important than being yourself? You can’t check your email enough times to eventually feel joy, and you can’t even spend so much time on your family that you make them happy. What you can do is get closer and closer with yourself, which naturally leads to more peace and more fulfilled human potential. This will take care of everything else.

Translate your deepest values into how you spend your time. Whether or not you eat with kindness is equivalent to whether or not you would get yourself to a hospital if you were wounded, in that how you handle both situations is an indication of how much you value yourself. There’s no such division between “everyday life” and “crucial moments.” You’re in control of your actions, and every single action, even how you are holding your body right now, how you are breathing right now, how much attention you are paying to what you are reading right now, each of these reflects the sum of all of your beliefs and values.

Show the world what you’re really made of.

Judy

Waking Up in the Morning

Waking Up in the Morning
Waking Up in the Morning

I’d like to do a bit of inquiry right now, because I just woke up and some of the first images through my mind are bagel with cream cheese and jelly, bowl of cereal, tea. Nothing’s wrong with those foods, of course – it’s just that I’m not hungry at all yet, and I am feeling some pull to make these images a reality for my mouth!

So let’s see, since I lost my job almost 3 weeks ago now, I have not been on a regular schedule – today I woke up around 11:30AM. I think this already bothers me, because it means I will likely be awake late tonight past when everyone goes to sleep, and for me this is a great environment for bingeing. But hey – why am I already thinking about the end of my day? I just woke up! There are never too many times one can remember to stay in the moment. Okay, coming back here. I feel my feet on the floor. It’s slightly cool, which is pleasant to me. I feel my thighs and butt against the seat of the chair.. It’s not the softest, but comfortable enough. I feel the texture of the thin, smooth keyboard protector on my fingers. It’s nice, it almost feels like suede..
Ah, and at this point I am feeling more in this moment.

Okay, how’s the impulse to go eat doing? Well… It’s still an alluring fantasy, in my head. As for how my body would feel afterwards.. I imagine I would feel somewhat sluggish, maybe wanting to plop back into bed.. And emotionally I would be disappointed that I passed by another opportunity to be kind to myself and heal the relationship with food.

I often think about other addictions, other fantasies people might have, and what it would look like for people to overcome them. I imagine someone who’s married and having an affair, for example. This person finds themselves utterly seduced at times, if they go into the fantasy of what it feels like to be with the other person.. And the only way to end it would be to make a true decision, a true commitment to their marriage because they’ve decided THAT is what they truly value.. And then, to recognize the beginnings of the seduction in their mind, and to choose to refocus their attention.
I also like to think of the example of someone who gets high on marijuana every single day, since there is much about this I find similar to my own eating (mostly bingeing every day). Marijuana’s not cocaine, and you can function while high to an extent – and my bingeing isn’t usually physically as severe as some other eating issues, and I can usually function despite it. So basically I see both as somewhat hidden, somewhat underestimated forms of zoning out throughout the day. So I think of this person, and what they would have to do to go from so much marijuana use to giving it up.. And again, I find that they would have to make a commitment to a life that is better, deeper, truer, than the one that’s available with all the zoning out. Then, when they had the craving, they would have to identify it as not what they truly want, as a slippery slope, as a destructive fantasy.. And they would have to refocus their attention from getting lost in the idea of unconsciousness/zoning out/taking a break, to getting back in the moment and finding out what they really need.

One of the reasons I sometimes think about these other addictions is because there’s often a sense of urgency or of “serious stuff at stake” when drug use or affairs are considered – you may crash your car under the influence, you may lose your children in a divorce. Whereas in my case, it’s so easy to get lost in my head, in external standards, and think: I did very good in school. I have such a loving relationship. People who know me think I am friendly. I have a roof over my head. I’m going to be fine – and thus judge that there’s nothing urgent here.
Meanwhile, if I was instead consulting with my heart, I know from the times that I have been willing to listen that I would find a vast landscape of unmet longings. You know what’s at stake if you lose your kids in a divorce because of an affair? Aching longings for everything to go back to normal, for the ability to turn back time and change what you did, to see your children all the time as they grow, REGRET, REGRET. At stake if you crash your car or get arrested while high? The longing to undo the physical injury or death you caused to an innocent person, the longing to be out of jail and to have a chance at your life again, the ache of wishing you pulled yourself out of that downward spiral of substance abuse long ago.. REGRET.

So… what’s at stake for me, eating this way? What’s at stake for you reading this?
Maybe I’m not obese, and I’m not skin and bones.. Maybe I won’t get arrested for bingeing.. Maybe my life looks good compared to many others.. (I will discuss the difference between gratefulness and ignoring your true self in another post)..
But….. Who are we really pulling a fast one on here?
Who do YOU wake up with?
Even if there is physically someone at your side in bed in the morning, you know those moments of being purely in your own mind, in your own skin, in your own heart, before getting lost in thought and getting plugged into the day.
We live with ourselves.
If others praise you for your performance and you hate yourself for being an empty shell, guess which one affects your eating. Guess which reality determines how life feels for you. It’s obvious, and we all know the sayings and stories about those in the most wretched of conditions finding happiness and those with health wealth and fame being miserable. Because it’s about your OWN experience, and your own longings, wants and needs. Your very own once-in-creation truth.

So what’s at stake in allowing yourself to get lost down the path of bingeing, restricting, obsession with food and body.. is that you are losing the connection to what is the very most important to you. You are telling yourself: “The life you truly want does not matter, and it’s not possible. You’re going to deal with living this way instead.” How much different is this than being thrown in prison? Being awake but not being able to live how you want? Feeling trapped, hopeless, degraded?

The luckiness is here – for you, for you and lucky, lucky me… It does NOT have to be this way. We are not deathly poor, we are not in jail, we are not in a country that dictates what we can or cannot do. Freedom is possible for us! Yes, for many reasons we wound up with a food issue – perhaps damaging enough to drive us to wishing for death, perhaps just enough to cause chronic frustration and dissatisfaction. But either way – it’s not something we can’t heal. The invitation is open every single time you eat, each time your body’s hungry – “Come closer, come closer.. Come closer to the life you long to live.”

How many more people do we need to tell us about regret? How many more years, days are we going to let pass by before we close up the gaping wound of I-wasn’t-supposed-to-be-this-way..?

We intuitively know the truth that you find wholeness and peace when you Be Yourself, no matter what the circumstances of life. How to do this? Look at what’s keeping you from being yourself – look at what’s going on when you act out with food, when you cause yourself regret.

At this point, I feel much more aligned with myself and do not feel the need to go and get my fix. I’m going to try to let food do it’s magic – nourish my body, when it’s hungry – and to find out what would nourish Me-Being-Me right now. Writing felt pretty good for Me ;)

Give yourself a chance,
Judy

Geneen Roth’s Eating Guidelines

Geneen Roth’s Eating Guidelines


I will discuss this further in future posts, but for now, I will say that I have been very heavily influenced by Geneen Roth’s work since late 2006. I’d like to share guidelines for eating in tune with your body, really in tune with truth, as Geneen formulates them:

  1. Eat when you are hungry.
  2. Eat sitting down in a calm environment. This does not include the car.
  3. Eat without distractions. Distractions include radio, television, newspapers, books, intense or anxiety-producing conversations, and music.
  4. Eat what your body wants.
  5. Eat until you are satisfied.
  6. Eat (with the intention of being) in full view of others.
  7. Eat with enjoyment, gusto, and pleasure.

Try just one of these guidelines for one day, or one meal… Notice any difference between this experience and your usual eating experience.

Lovely eating,
Judy

Longing

Longing
Longing

Longing is what moves us. Whether it’s the physical longing for food when you are hungry, or the tight-chest shallow-breath longing for the object of your desire to fall for you, longing demands our attention, and can take us over.

And when it does take us over – we may plunge into the depths of the feeling of separation from that which we long for. All of us have felt this, many times in our lives. You may remember a time before you were 5 years old, crying out for your mother when she was not with you. You might recall utter heartbreak as a teenager, after being rejected by someone you dreamed of, loved. You may recall a recent missed opportunity that left you bitter – the gap between what you wished for, and reality: longing.

I believe longing is one of the forces that has the most power over our souls… Nature itself is designed with the longing for survival, the longing for the continuation of life.  So… For something so strong, and so necessary – why does it have to hurt so much??

Well… suffering can move us towards truth when it motivates us to try to end the suffering, or at least to understand it.
I won’t forget a recent session when my therapist said something like, “Maybe you act one way during the day, you act one way with your family, you function well in this or that way… But your eating, now THAT won’t be suppressed, that kind of bingeing is like.. HERE I AM, this is rage, this is hopelessness.”

The point was to understand that what I was describing to her: eating 3 slices of pizza, then movie popcorn-candy-soda, then PB&J sandwich, milk, fruit snack, string cheese, all within a few hours.. that this was SAYING SOMETHING – something, truly, important. Something about –  some longing.

Why would you binge like that when you don’t want to? When you even hate yourself for it? When it causes so very much suffering?

You must be believing that what you truly want, or even need, is not possible for you – and rather than live with the ache of longing for something that may not be possible – you try to get hit after hit of temporary release.

But, here’s the thing with trying to deal with longing by numbing out:
Longing’s with you as long as you live.

And so is food – so there’s a choice here: learn to live with longing, or continue to be tormented by food in an attempt to perpetually numb longing out.

My suffering demands my attention. “WHY, WHY, WHY again, why eating with such resignation, eating with such a vengeance. What would I have felt like, thought about, if I did not eat that way right now…? What am I doing?? What’s going on?! With everything I know and understand, how could I continue to do this…….?” My suffering leads directly to these questions – and the answers to these questions lead directly to my longing. Now.. Where does the longing lead?

A poem, if you will:

Love Dogs
by Rumi

One night a man was crying Allah! Allah!
His lips grew sweet with praising,
until a cynic said, “So!
I’ve heard you calling out, but have you ever
gotten any response?”

The man had no answer to that.
He quit praying and fell into a confused sleep.
He dreamed he saw Khidr, the guide of souls,
in a thick, green foliage.

“Why did you stop praising?”
“Because I’ve never heard anything back.”

“This longing you express
is the return message.”

The grief you cry out from
draws you toward union.

Your pure sadness
that wants help
is the secret cup.

Listen to the moan of a dog for its master.
That whining is the connection.

There are love dogs
no one knows the names of.

Give your life
to be one of them.

I share this poem because Rumi is trying to show us what the longing leads to, if you allow it. It leads you to yourself. But don’t just take that as a “sounds-nice-whatever” statement… Think deeply here. You have a longing. Let’s say it is a very, very old longing, that you eventually learned to mute in some way because living with it all the time was too painful, too overwhelming for a child. Let’s say you lived with the pure longing to make your mother happy, until before you knew it, you were bingeing or restricting each time you felt that you had disappointed her. Now let’s say a decade or 2 or several have passed, and you find yourself still bingeing or restricting in this same way – and you cannot get yourself to stop. Why? There is a part of you that still lives within, because at some point it became forbidden to be expressed. It is a truth about yourself – and you know all the sayings about truth by now, right?

A personal illustration of following the suffering to the longing to the truth/myself:
I wanted to binge on dinner very badly.. to the point that I could not imagine moving on with my night without doing so. I explained this to my boyfriend who laid down with me and tried to talk about it. After some time, I became distraught with the idea that no matter what I do, it doesn’t help – what if I can never fix my relationship to food?? What if I can never feel better… And, I started crying, hard.. Soon, my boyfriend noticed that I was trying to stop crying… And he told me to breathe into it. When I did, I cried harder and harder, and soon I couldn’t believe how long I had sustained crying that hard…
At some point, I had a clear feeling/thought of: no matter what I do, it doesn’t help – What if I can never fix Mom…?? What if I can never feel better…

If there’s a desperation that lives in me now, because by 10 or 11 or 12 I couldn’t stand it anymore and stuffed it down… Then my soul, my psyche, my true self, whatever you think of it as.. will make sure that it gets expressed somehow. If it’s not going to be consciously, met with loving awareness, then it’s going to be unconsciously, meaning acted out, meaning – I will feel the exact extent of desperation I am avoiding, because of what I do in the relationship to food.

For some it’s love relationships: To the extent that there’s feelings of deserving punishment that haven’t been acknowledged, your soul will make sure you find someone to be with who will emotionally punish you to that extent. For some it’s entertainment: to the extent that there’s unacknowledged feelings of never getting to be your childhood-self or to be carefree, your soul will make sure you find no true relaxation no matter how many hours you spend in the false reality of TV, video games, internet. For every way of being in which one causes suffering to oneself, there’s an explanation that involves suppressed self-expression, past or present. It’s you bringing your attention back to yourself through suffering, when healthier modes of communication with yourself have been closed down.

For some, it’s food. Geneen Roth calls the suffering in the relationship to food “the unexpected path, the doorway.” What she means is this: If you have an identifiable issue with food (you can see when you binge, you can see when you have the urge to count calories, you can see when you’re drowned in obsession about food or body), then you’ve got a BLARING SIGNAL that there is something longing to be expressed at that very moment. You have a way to identify the moments in which you are calling out to yourself – the human experience is giving you something true about you, something precious to taste, and it is making you scared and inclined to run.

Rumi’s saying that what we long for is ourselves – our own love, to know ourselves, to know the truth of what we are. Feel your longing, and see the truth that you don’t want to eat more pizza, you wanted your mom to be happy so that you could be happy, and it ripped your heart to shreds. The truth that, ah… I loved her. What happened was I loved her.. I loved.. I, love…
You start with pizza and you end with facing yourself as a loving, vulnerable being.

Imagine the possibility of uncovering your longings each day – who would you be?

Letter to Yourself

Letter to Yourself
Letter to Yourself

Write a letter to yourself as if you were your own dear child. As if you were responsible for your heart as you would be for your sweet child’s heart. Read it in a time of compulsion, a time of despair.

You can use this for now if it serves you:

Dear Me,

What you want is possible.
What you want is to live your deepest truth.
What is that right now?
What do you feel?
No one can take that from you –
It’s already, and always there, your experience – real and true as reality and truth get.
You have support as long as you have your breath.
You don’t need a Love bigger than your own. Your own love is your own deepest truth, deepest reality –
There’s no going deeper than that.

Love,
Me

Take good care of yourself.
– Judy

From the Inside Out

From the Inside Out
From the Inside Out

You cannot simultaneously act out an eating issue and fully trust yourself.

Compulsive overeating will soon fall under the clinical label, “Binge Eating Disorder” (BED), in the next edition of the psychiatric diagnostic manual. I define compulsive eating as eating for reasons other than physical hunger. However, I believe several of the core issues involved can apply to those with anorexia, bulimia, and all other forms of eating problems as well.

In an instance of disordered eating, where exactly does the lack of trust happen? Essentially, the disconnect occurs at the moment when you subconsciously decide you cannot afford to treat yourself with kindness.

Some examples:
I cannot trust that I will eat an amount that is healthy for me, I must count calories.
I cannot wear this shirt, because although I love how it looks and feels on me, others have told me it makes me look fat.
I cannot NOT eat right now even though I am not hungry, or I won’t feel better.
I must eat at mealtimes, and not whenever I am hungry, because then I might eat all day.
I cannot eat a salad, or it means I am dieting.
I cannot eat only what my body wants, I’ll get sick or die on that tiny amount of food.

These examples illustrate some painful underlying logic systems. These are moments in which there is some perceived threat – and the choice is often made to shut off from oneself somehow, as an alternative to dealing with the expected negative outcomes. At times like these, you may use food as a buffer, instead of exploring the fears any further. Falling back on a painful ritual, instead of taking the path you truly want to take (wearing that shirt, eating when hungry, etc.).

Let’s take one of the examples, “I cannot eat only what my body wants, I’ll get sick or die on that tiny amount of food.” Every cell of our bodies has been crafted by evolution to do one thing: survive, and ideally thrive. There is no way, if you were truly sensing in to your body, that your body would let itself starve. The same goes for adequate nutrition. Your body gives clear messages about a lack of protein, vegetables, whatever is necessary. The body is not what’s in the way of natural eating – it’s the distrust of our natural hungers. However, after days, weeks, possibly decades of eating out of sync with the body, you fear the unknown territory of what it will actually feel like to let your body tell you what to eat. You cut yourself off from the body-healing, self-loving possibility before giving yourself a chance to make it through.

You’ve got a Natural Self that’s starving for simple expression, gasping for room to BE. There is nothing defective about you that makes YOU unable to “just eat food and get over it!!” whereas seemingly “normal” eaters can. The only difference between you and them, is that due to many individual and cultural factors, you developed habits around eating that created a system to override your natural hunger/fullness mechanisms.

But the sweet news is that those mechanisms are still there in you, for you! Although it might take practice to slow down and tune in enough to sense them, they are there. This means that you have a physical basis for trust in yourself. This is a monumental discovery and a crucial part of recovery – just knowing that you have what it takes in your body to be a “normal eater.” That you’re not just cursed with boundless hunger, that you’re not out-of-control at the core.

As for the emotional trust it takes to allow the tuning in to your body – it’s similar, but more complicated because this is where thoughts and beliefs come in. Yet the same truth about an intact, wise nature applies: If you are reading and understanding this, you have the equipment inside to feel longing (emotional hunger) and to make an effort to tend to it. Picture this as a mother being at least able to hear her child’s cry and know that this means something is wrong. Without this, the baby would die, because the mother would have no ability to recognize when to take appropriate care of the baby. But with at least the ability to sense when something is wrong, this mother has a chance at soothing her baby. She may need to learn how to discern whether what’s needed is food or a diaper change, she may need to learn how to breastfeed or swaddle the baby – but these are skills that can be learned! She already has that essential mechanism of registering the baby’s pleasure and pain.

So your body can tell you when it’s hungry and what it needs, and your feelings can tell you whether you are stable or need soothing. What could go wrong?

What goes wrong is that beliefs about “how things should be” cause you to doubt yourself so severely that you either rely on an external judgment system (dieting/calorie-counting) or throw “trying” out the window (bingeing). You think, for example: “If I don’t eat whatever I want right now, I will be in a bad mood for the rest of the night and maybe even lash out at someone.” You’ve deemed a “bad mood” as unacceptable; you “should” be pleasant and should keep any negative feelings away from others; and in failing to live up to the “shoulds,” you’re driven to escape.

The alternative to being a slave to your fears is living from the inside out. You put the external expectation of always being happy to the side, you put the external expectation of a relationship always going smoothly to the side. You tune into your self, inside. You make the decision to find a personal, quiet space and sit for a while until you know how you want to take care of yourself. You dedicate yourself to what it would mean to be kind to yourself in each new moment. The kindest thing might be allowing a “bad mood” to inhabit you as much as it wants to, and to inquire into it. Your sensations and feelings are your true self talking to you! What’s not your true self talking to you is: “Oh my god… I can’t believe you ate this way AGAIN. Unbelievable… Tomorrow’s another day.” That’s only the uprooted, survival-mode version of you.

Trust yourself. Trust that whatever is presenting itself to you in your body and in your heart is something true for you in that moment, and that you can respond to it with kindness. That’s what hurts the most about living with disordered eating and body image, after all – the harshness, the constant pressure and disappointment, the feeling of not being your true self.

Your true self is there in every moment, right now as you read this. Always there to tune into, to know, to offer kindness to as only you can. If you can, don’t smother it with food or starve it… Don’t allow anything to override your own truth.

Open to yourself.

Judy

Welcome.

Welcome.
Welcome.

Eating enables us to live.

We take in matter from the “outside world,” and our bodies break it down and reassemble it into our bone, tissue, brain cells. The neurons that are firing off in order for me to convey this meaning to you were created using food.

What has happened when this quintessential form of nourishment, when feeding, sustaining, re-creating the body becomes a source of life-altering conflict? When eating comes to be about something other than providing the body what it needs and stopping at that point?

No one wants to have issues with eating and body image. And yet we cannot escape the fact that we are the ones who do or do not put the food into our mouths. Again, what does it mean when one continues to make eating choices that are damaging to the body and/or psyche?

Every human being seeks happiness, and every action taken represents the best attempt at happiness for that moment, after ALL of a person’s beliefs are taken into account. A person may consciously believe that she deserves to be happy. However, she may also have a stronger, unconscious belief, the result of perhaps early and traumatic experiences, that she cannot tolerate too much pain. If this person eats three pieces of pizza when she is not hungry, it does not mean that she does not want to be happy. It means that there is an overriding belief that the best happiness possible in that moment is to be numbed out (by food), rather than tolerate whatever the moment is bringing.

What happens is that sooner or later, after habitually making the choice to numb out rather than tolerate potential discomfort, we are haunted by the sense that we are missing out on our lives in some way. And we are. The obsession and numbing that come along with eating issues DO take our attention away from the moment, and these moments are what make up our lives.

The taste of pizza is one kind of happiness, winning the lottery is another kind of happiness – but the happiness I believe all human beings seek is the deep kind. The kind that hums sweetly in the background, in one’s core, even when sadness, anger, boredom, or frustration is present. This kind of happiness is cultivated – mainly through being with yourself and others with compassion, instead of acting out or numbing out – regardless of what circumstances life serves up in the particular moment.

In this blog, I reflect on the journey towards a life with more compassionate presence and less suffering around eating and body image. I welcome you to join me in this process of acceptance – relishing and exploring the ability to stay present, and offering forgiveness and compassion for times of obsession and compulsion.

The blog is an extension of the core work that I do: guiding women in healing their relationships to food and body. I welcome you to contact me if you are interested in taking this path with me. I welcome you to simply read the blog, as well, and hope that you may find it useful.

Imagine all of the energy that women lose to suffering around food and body. What would we be capable of if we took it all back…?

– Judy