Category Archives: Exercises

How You Relate to Your To-Do List

How You Relate to Your To-Do List
How You Relate to Your To-Do List

Perfectionism often goes hand in hand with eating & body issues. And perfectionism often goes hand in hand with never-ending To-Do lists. I certainly have one attempting to tyrannize my mind all throughout the day.

We can’t ignore that it can feel really good to check things off the list. It gives us a sense of confidence, accomplishment, a feeling of clearing away obstacles and making room to breathe. As with so many things, however, the problem arises when we become obsessed.

If you find yourself becoming obsessed with your To-Do list, and/or structuring your entire day around your To-Do list, I recommend the following:

Splurge all the tasks you can think of into a To-Do List From Hell. Set aside at least a good 15 minutes for this – and get it ALL out. I’m talking lengthy Word document, covering all areas – Work, Play, Relationships, Body, Household, Creativity, Family, Organizing… anything and everything that comes to mind. You’ll get exhausted before you could ever list everything, but, keep going until you feel like you got almost as much as you can think of for now out into the list.

Now, look over the list. Read it in its entirety. Notice the length of it. Start to imagine the number of minutes and hours some of the items on the list would take. If you’re really ambitious (or bored) actually add up the amounts of time everything would take altogether.

I’m sure you get the idea here – you’ll see that we would all need numerous lifetimes in order to do alllllllllllll the things we wish to do. And if we got that extra time, we’d think of even more things to do, of course, on into infinity. Concretely realizing this after making your own list, understand that this only grants more meaning to the actions we do choose to take, it doesn’t make them futile.

Your heart knows which “things to-do” are most important. Honor your limited time in this life by being fully present with the actions you do choose to take. Do one thing at a time. Know that your mountain of other things-to-do is recorded, not in danger of being forgotten, and then let it go as you do the one thing that it’s time to do.

Good luck!

Write Thank You Letters

Write Thank You Letters
Write Thank You Letters

This is a great exercise that will quickly open up your heart.
Think of someone you are presently feeling grateful to, or someone you are having fond thoughts of at the moment. If someone doesn’t immediately come to mind, think about earlier today and yesterday and find something that served as a pick-me-up, and who might have been responsible for it.
You can use a friend, relative, stranger, someone alive or dead for this exercise. The purpose is not really to shower someone else with praise, rather it is for you to feel your own loving heart flowing.
Once you’ve chosen the recipient of the letter, write a thank you letter! There’s no real guidelines here, just spend at least 5 minutes on it and see where it goes. Here’s some examples:

  • Writing a short card thanking someone for a specific action
  • Leaving a post-it note with a positive message
  • Write a long letter to the author of a book that deeply affected you
  • Write a letter to the leaders of a favorite organization
  • Write a letter to someone saying how much you admire them
  • Post on someone’s wall or send a Facebook message to give a quick appreciation
  • Make a thank you cake! :D

Obviously get as creative as you’d like, but the point is, to feel the happiness of acknowledging something you’ve been given. Not to mention you will probably cause someone to smile and feel appreciated. But again, even if you don’t send the letter or if the recipient is no longer alive or unidentified (Dear-The-Person-Who-Invented-Glitter), the purpose is for you to acknowledge and feel what you already have, what you love.


Having All Your Shit Together

Having All Your Shit Together
Having All Your Shit Together

We incessantly compare ourselves to others, and to our idealized versions of what we should be.
Thus, I encourage you to do the following exercise as often as possible:

Whether you are home, on the subway, in a store, wherever there is another person in your vicinity, hold your gaze on a person for a few moments. And say to yourself:
“This person does not have all their shit together. They could really use some help.”
Next person:
“This person does not have all their shit together. They could really use some help.”

Because guess what, it’s true of every single human being. The boss at work whose power you might desire. The thin, well-dressed woman whose body you envy. The runner and her athleticism. The government official and her influence. The high school classmate and her circle of followers. A celebrity, your brother, a teacher, an older or younger person.

No matter how Zen-like or powerful or in charge or energetic or approved-by-society a person may seem, there are issues in his life, be they related to housework, relationships, work, you name it, there are issues that are not fully resolved or close to ideal. And that person would benefit from support for those issues.

This exercise is in the name of directing the same understanding and compassion towards yourself. What you compare yourself to does not exist – perfection on all or any counts.
Instead of feeling shame, disappointment, and disgust towards yourself for yet again not measuring up, offer the support you’d offer anyone else if they revealed they were having a painful struggle with something.

A wise man once said: “If someone has all their shit together, it’s because they’re standing in it.”


Rediscovering Hunger

Rediscovering Hunger
Rediscovering Hunger

There are few things more basic to a living being than feeling hunger and then feeding it. It’s built in from Day 1, and without this mechanism we die.

After years of adding emotional drama and mental judgment onto our eating habits, we eventually lose touch with or abandon our natural hunger mechanism. Natural – meaning no conscious effort necessary. We trade in an ease that we’re born with for a constant struggle, for the promise of something supernatural: being thin-loved-accepted-perfect all the time.

The way back to ourselves and the way back to ease-of-eating is to reconnect with natural hunger. This has many implications on the emotional level as well, but for now, try this exercise:

Set aside a day, or half a day, in which you will not be under much pressure and will have the opportunity to be with yourself emotionally. You’re going to use your imagination and pretend that for this time, you do not know that humans need to eat in order to live. The point is that you will go about your time with other tasks, and will re-direct any thoughts about food because food has nothing to do with people at this time. If you can do this much, you will experience the gift of your physical hunger creeping up on you. While this may seem very silly or unnecessary, for someone who is at the point where they don’t believe they can even FEEL hunger anymore, it can be a miracle. Why? You discover that your body WILL talk to you in EXACTLY the way that will guide you toward your best health. It’s truly about letting it be – letting go because you can trust that when something is needed, you will know, and you will even know exactly what to do. First things first – feel your hunger.

Without hunger we cannot know what we truly need.

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.

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,

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.


Take good care of yourself.
– Judy