The S.T.U.C.K. Method

Five Simple Steps to Emotional Well-Being


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STUCK on YOU were a stranger once, too!

Besides being stuck on frustration with other people’s parenting styles that are different from mine, I found myself being stuck on disappointment with my child this week for not living up to a value that I thought I had instilled in him.

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New_Kid_in_School_photo

A new kid moved into our community about one year ago.

This new kid was the same age as my son.

Practically to the day.

Yet, the new kid did not start at the same school as my kid, so for about one year, they had little interaction.

The truth is, there were plenty of opportunities for interaction, especially on the Sabbath, when many kids are just hanging out at each other’s houses. Yet, my kid made no effort to befriend this other kid.

Why?

Maybe this kid was a little different.

Maybe this kid wasn’t as mature.

Maybe this kid didn’t have so much self-confidence.

I don’t know.

I never really pushed my child to tell me.

And though I invited his family over a few times for Sabbath meals, my child never outwardly invited him to play or hang out.

Ever.

In an entire year.

So, the year passes.

And, everything seems fine on the surface.

And then, the new kid decides to switch schools.

And, now attends the school that my school attends.

And, on the first day of school for the new kid (which was last week), he was introduced to all the kids in the class.

When the introduction landed on my child, apparently something was said.

My child told me, practically in tears, that the new kid said (in front of the entire class), “I HATE that kid!”  (MY kid!)

So, my child came to me.

And questioned, how could this be?

HATE?  What could my child have done (he thought) to possibly cause the new kid to hate him?

My kid was hurt.

My kid was embarrassed in front of his classmates.

My kid was angry.

And, quite frankly, I didn’t care.

“You know, YOU were a stranger in a foreign land, too, once, don’t forget!”  (Biblically, Exodus: 23:9, and Literally, 4 years ago when we moved to Israel.)

I asked my child:

How would YOU have felt if you were the new kid and no one made an effort to hang out with you?

How would YOU have felt if you were the new kid, and there was a clique in the community, and you couldn’t get in?

The point was, I was tough.

I really felt for this new kid and I know that my child emotionally hurt him.

And, my child got it.

But, I was so stuck on making things right.

I demanded that my child speak to the new kid and clear this up.

And, to make a long story short, the conversation was not had, for various reasons (excuses).

And, this was not acceptable to me.

So, I arranged the conversation myself.

With the other parent.

I set a date.

A time.

A place.

For this conversation to be had.

And, it was.

And apparently, on that day of introductions, the new kid said, “He hates ME”, (not “I Hate Him”)… and, apparently, both kids felt good about talking it out and moving forward.

But, I was so stuck on making that conversation happen.

So stuck on making things right.

Instead of just noticing my frustration and disappointment and staying with that for a while.

And, even though I’m happy with the “results”, I question myself whether or not my lack of just being with my child, and listening, and being with his hurt led me to not allowing the situation to continue to unfold on its own…

Which may have allowed my child to take the rights actions on his own.

Which may have enabled the conversation at some point without my interference.

Which may have enabled me to just observe.

I really don’t know.

And, I question this.

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STUCK on “You NEED to APOLOGIZE!”

blog My child got physically injured last week.

By another child.

In our community.

Unintentionally.

(You don’t really need to know, but I’ll tell you anyway: The injury was so bad that my child was rushed to the hospital and got stitches.)

Due to a rock thrown at her head.

Yes, I’m reminding you, it was unintentional.

At least that’s how the story goes.

And, honestly, I believe it.

And so, I didn’t really get upset with the child who threw the rock.

Instead I got stuck on the fact that she never came to apologize to my child.

You see, I am constantly telling me kids: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18).

It’s quite simple, I remind my kids.

“Do you want someone to throw sand in your eyes?  No?  So, don’t throw it at them.”

“Would you want that kid to say sorry for pushing you off the slide? Yes? So next time, you need to apologize for the same thing.”

My kids get it.

Sometimes they forget.

But, with a little reminder, they get it.

Because I teach it to them.

Over and over again.

sorry

So, in the afternoon after the incident, when my child returned from the hospital, and the parents of the child who held the rock came over to our house (without their child) and said, “Our child is really sorry for what he did.  It was an accident.”…

My child and I looked at each dubiously.

The child is sorry?

Really?

How do we know?

Why isn’t she here to tell us?

Something is wrong with this situation!

This is not how it’s supposed to go.

The kid is supposed to apologize.  Not, the parent for the kid!

Boy, was I stuck on frustration.

I thought to myself, perhaps I should have a conversation with the parent and tell her my feelings.

Tell her that my child is waiting for an apology.

Yet, I know that I wouldn’t feel good if another parent approached me and parented me, which is essentially what I would be doing.

Ok, plan B.

Plan B?

Stay stuck on frustration?

I know better than that.

It’s not the way.

Because it never is.

It just leads to suffering.

So, I decided to just notice my frustration for a few days.

Until it dissipated.

Which it did.

And came to the realization, that the best thing to do in this situation, is just to invest my energy in continuing to teach my children the way that I think is right.

And, not necessarily teach them how the other parents are wrong.

They may or may not come to that conclusion themselves anyway.

My only concern at this point is whether the absence of justice (in the child’s eyes) teaches a confusing message.

Your thoughts?


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STUCK on FEAR

I’ve committed to 15 minutes of blogging on Fridays, but I’m stuck today.

On fear.

How timely that my 15-minute-of-blogging-on-Fridays-friend also blogged about fear today.

Living in a small community (under 100 families) has its challenges.

What comes up a lot of times for me is the parenting styles.

Strict.

Loose.

Democratic.

Anthroposorphic.

Religious.

Secular.

Over-protective.

And more.

Somehow, I think, somehow, we have it all here.

And, when my child interacts with another child, who, by chance, was raised with a different parenting style than his own, well, things can get sticky.

At least for me.

As the parent.

Who thinks the way she raises her children is the right way.

Judging?

Perhaps.

But, at what point do I draw the line and say to my child,

“Yes, this is the right way.

And, you need to learn it.

And pass it on.”

I’ll write next week, once I figure out a way to describe the two situations without divulging who the players are.

Until then….

I’ll either see if I can get over my fear of revealing my feelings about my friends’ parenting styles, or learn to just let go.

 

 

 


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STUCK on GETTING RESULTS without really PRACTICING

The purpose of this blog is to help me stay awake in life.

getting away from itTo remind me to watch my thoughts.

To notice the judging I do of myself and others.

And to help me remember to pause, and guide me to perhaps see things in a different light, like giving others the benefit of the doubt.

Knowing that I have an audience (it helps that my audience is more than just me!), I feel obligated to keep up with my writing.

Which is great.

And, I thank you for being that person in my life.

But, it’s not enough.

(Not, you.  Me.)

That is, blogging is not enough.

It certainly helps me process this work that I am doing.

But, it doesn’t give me the opportunity to tangibly experience things in real life.

The only thing that does offer that opportunity is practice itself.

Like, just sitting.

Silently.

Alone.

Intentionally.

Each morning.

For at least 20 minutes.

Have you ever tried it?

It’s hard.

Really hard.

Like exercising (for those of you who don’t like it).

Or, flossing your teeth.

You always find excuses why you don’t really need to do it.

Or, think of other things that are more important to do in that very moment.

Other things you need to do.

Need?

Not really.

But, that’s how we as humans behave.

We are wired to be occupied,

and stay busy,

and rush,

and get things done,

as fast as we can,

with as little effort as possible,

while doing a hundred trillion other things at the same time.

And, not recognize the importance, the value, of stopping.

On purpose.

Sound familiar?

****

This revelation is nothing new to me.

I’m just coming full circle again.

Recognizing that I can’t really become a mindful person, unless I really practice.

And with that, I’m renewing my commitment to sit each morning.

Somewhere.

Anywhere.

And just notice.

Just be.

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And, I’m encouraging my kibbutz community to do the same.

At least on the Sabbath.

This week the synagogue committee just introduced a new aspect to the weekly Sabbath prayer schedule.

From now on, the synagogue will be open a half an hour before the traditional prayers begin, for those who wish to come to sit together.

In quiet.

In peace.

On purpose.

In community.

And, practice together.

****

I will be there.

 

 


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STUCK on BEING INSULTED

IMG_20130816_130232I love to crochet.

It’s my most favorite hobby.

I think what I like most about it, besides the calming nature of the activity, is that it brings out the creative side in me.

I haven’t yet succeeded in reading crocheting patterns.

Instead, I just “feel” the material and make up things as I go along.

Including hot plates (see practical wall on left),

bags,

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pencil holders,

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vases,

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rugs (not sure why I can’t turn this photo, but I won’t get stuck on it) 🙂

telem bedroom

half rugs,IMG_20131007_231517

and many more.

So, what happened?

The other day, a friend of mine came to our new house and suggested something we should add to it.

Unfortunately, I can’t recall what it was.

But, what I do recall is saying, “Oh! I can crochet that!!!”

And, his response?

“I think one or two colorful/crocheted things in a contemporary space is nice… it warms up the space and can make things pop, etc…, but too much can be a bit too cutesy/grandma-like/frilly, and begin to define the space more than off-set or warm up the space.”

So, there!

Hey.

Wait a minute.

Did he really say that?

How dare he say that about my crocheting!

Didn’t he realize how that affected my crocheting ego?

Does he know what I can say about his house?

But, as I mentioned in my last post, I didn’t stay stuck for long.

I saw how I was judging him.

And, I realized, quite quickly, that he had no bad intentions.

He was just offering his opinion.

And, how silly for me to be insulted by it.

I could take his words or leave them.

But, certainly not stay insulted!

That won’t get me anywhere!

So, I laughed.

Because I found it humorous that something so little could have set me off.

And, humorous that I couldn’t even hear the rest of his words:

“Of course – this is just a question of taste – which is obviously in the eye of the beholder – and you should do what you like and makes you happy!”

I’m feeling very blessed today, for many reasons, one of which is for this practice.


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STUCK on 15 minute Fridays

So, I made a commitment to myself to write at least for 15 minutes every Friday.

I have a post in mind, but I don’t have time to write it this morning.

Instead, I have to clean 2 bathrooms, attend the 2nd of 6 day “community garden course” that my husband and I are participating in on our kibbutz.

Fetch the kids from gan.

Prepare lunch.

Prepare for the Sabbath.

And, then my day is over.

So, I will finish this post after the Sabbath, on Sunday morning.

For now, I’ll give you a hint: I was stuck on being insulted.

I’m sure I’m not the first person that this has happened to.

Nor, will I be the last.

But, because of my practice of trying to be more aware of my mind’s quick judgments and my automatic reactions to them, I find myself letting go (rather quickly) of things I get attached to.

For instance, in this case, I didn’t get stuck on being insulted for too long.

In fact, seconds after I got insulted, I laughed.

Out loud.

Because I found it funny that I got insulted in the first place.

And, laughing at myself is something new.

And, I think it’s really healthy.

So, stay tuned for the next post.

But perhaps in the meantime, take a moment and think when was the last time you were insulted.

What happened?

How did you react?

How long did you stay insulted for?

And, if you let go of being insulted, why/how were you able to do that?


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STUCK on “My husband is a *^$#SDD%^!!!

kinneret startFour years ago, after making aliyah to Israel, my family and I began a tradition of traveling to the Sea of Galilee so that I could participate in the annual “Speedo Sea of Galilee swim“.  It is the largest amateur sports event in Israel (this year it celebrated its 60th year) and is among the world’s 100 major open-water swimming events.

My first year, I swam with my good friend who has a physical disability.  I swam at her pace.  It took us 2 1/2 hours to complete (non-stop).

I have to admit, I was proud of myself.

Up until that point, I had never participated in a swimming event of that kind and swimming with approximately 12,000 other individuals was just enthralling.

kinneret endAs we approached the finish line, I saw hundreds of people lined up on the hill of grass, probably awaiting their loved ones to congratulate them.

I was curious if my husband would be waiting for me.

As I swam my last laps. looked all around to find him.

He wasn’t on the hill with the others.

I was disappointed.

Then, I saw him.

He was in the water!

He was approaching me!

As if he wanted to meet me halfway!

Like in our wedding ceremony.

What a guy.

How romantic.

How so simply sweet.

When my feet were able to touch the ground, I started to walk as quickly as I could towards him, even though my legs felt like jelly.

I was sure he’d want to hug me, but his arms were not open to welcome me.

And, his face wasn’t that of pride, but of concern.

“I can’t find Avi Chai,” he said.

Words I will never forget.

“WHAT the F%?$%^$%?

WHAT?

What do you mean you can’t find our son?

Then, I got stuck.

Weren’t you watching him?

Really?  How hard is it watch a few kids for a few hours?

Are you that irresponsible?

What were you doing?

Reading a newspaper?

Talking?

How could you lose a 3 year-old?

Our 3 year old!

And, why are you here in the water and not up on the campground searching for him?”

Until I knew the answer to my question.

Because he had already searched the campground for 1/2 an hour and was unsuccessful in finding our son.  He came to water because he thought he may have come down for a swim on his own.

Perhaps he drowned.

My heart stopped.

I started screaming.

This isn’t a clear pool.  This is the Sea of Galilee.  If someone goes under, you don’t see them.

To make a long story short (and happy), he was found about 20 minutes later (with the help of the Israeli police), watching a performance on stage with one of his friends.

The point is, I was stuck on so many things that I initially paid more attention to my frustration, anger, and disappointment, than I did of taking charge of the situation at hand.

In other words, I had to have my husband hear it from me.

There was no way around that.

And, I admit it.

But, the truth of the matter is, it can happen to all of us.

And, it does.

Just like it happened to me yesterday.

At the annual swim.

Where my “buddy” was not my friend, but my daughter and her friend.

And, the plan was to stick together in the water.

And, at one point, I lost them.

Just like that, within seconds, I couldn’t find them.

I didn’t see them anywhere.

Could they have gone on without me?

How far could they have gotten in the few seconds that I lost them?

Are they worried that they can’t me?

Why didn’t I come up with Plan B for such a scenario?

My heart was pumping so fast (aside from the all the physical exercise I was doing).

My head was racing. I couldn’t think straight.

And, then I heard my daughter cry out, “Hi, Ema! We’re over here!”

Sitting on one of the floating docks, resting.

Like nothing happened.

Everything was fine.

And, it was.

****

A few years ago, my husband and I took a couple’s course.  I remember the facilitator asked each person in the group, “How you do relate to your spouse?”

Relate to each other?

Most people needed assistance with this answer.  They needed clarification.  What does it mean to relate to someone? How do you describe that?

And, what I’ve realized over time that I do (with my husband and others, and even myself for that matter) is that I relate to them first by getting stuck on something they do (or don’t do) and only second do I relate to them by just being with him.

And, it is for this purpose that I am blogging.

To bring more awareness to my life that I do this.

And, to learn to take a breath before getting stuck (or at least after getting stuck so that I don’t get stuck for too long).

Because the truth of the matter is, my husband is:

F*$%$#%$ responsible,

F&&^&% smart,

F%$#$# caring,

F$&^%&%^ beautiful (if you ask me),

and a GREAT F%$^% father.

So, it would be well worth my efforts to wake up to that.

Otherwise, it’ll be me that’s the one who’s irresponsible.