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

Five Simple Steps to Emotional Well-Being


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STUCK on a Police Ticket

Picture 011Yesterday, I got stopped by the police.

For not stopping at the stop sign just at the entrance to the kibbutz.

I mean, I did.

I just didn’t count to 3 one thousand.

I probably only counted to 1 one thousand.

Or, truthfully, I probably didn’t count at all.

I just slowed down.

And looked left and saw NO cars approaching.

None.

Zilch.

So, I turned.

And that’s when the young policeman (I swear he couldn’t have been over 22 years old) appeared out of no where, stuck his finger out into the road (just like all Israeli children do – they raise their fingers – not their hands – in the classroom), and signaled for me to stop.

“Where are you from?” he asked knowing quite well where his question was leading to.

“America?” I replied, in the thickest American accent that would come out of my mouth.

He cocked his head.

“I mean. Here. Hannaton. I live here. But, I’m from America.  I’m a ‘new immigrant’.”

(And I wondered to myself, how much longer I can use that as an excuse for just about every uncomfortable situation that arises in this country.)

“Well, immigrant or not, you didn’t stop at that stop sign.”

“I didn’t?” I played on.

“No.”

Then, he proceeded to walk to the police car that magically appeared, spoke to his colleague, and returned back to me.

To declare my violation.

250 shekels.

Out of instinct, I started to cry.

But, I persisted, on an act, because I’m quite good at that.

And it helps in many situations.

But, not this one.

“What are you crying for?”

So, I told him….

“I just had a surgery, and I’m not working much, and my husband is going to kill me, and I’m such a good driver, and I’m an AMERICAN driver, and I never ever ever had a violation and I don’t deserve a ticket!!!!!!!!”

But, he didn’t care.

He went back to the car to write up the report.

And I got stuck.

Not so much on the fact that I got a ticket.

A rule’s a rule.

And if I had to choose to live in a world where there were rules (and people were supposed to live by them) or live in a world where there were no rules, I’d prefer the former.

And the matter of fact is, I didn’t stop.

And I was supposed to.

So, I deserved a punishment by the authority that caught me in the act.

But, what I was really stuck on was something else entirely.

The unfairness of their sneakiness.

“It’s not fair!” I whined to myself, sounding like one of my children.

PictureHow can they hide inside of a tiny bus stop (parking their car off the road and out of sight), peer out the infinitesimally small window and watch anxiously like hawks for innocent Hannaton drivers to miss stopping at the stop sign?

That’s just downright obnoxious!

Which is what I wanted to say to the policeman when he asked, “Do you have anything else to say for yourself?”

“Don’t you have anything better to do with your time?” I wanted to shout.

“Why don’t you catch the notorious drivers who are either speeding and/or driving recklessly?”

“Don’t you know more people have died in this country from car accidents than all the wars and terrorist activities combined?”  (Not that I know that for a fact, but I’ve heard it enough times to believe it.)

“You should be catching THOSE drivers!”

“Not ME!”

But, I said nothing.

I just dropped my head and in my last defense pathetically whispered, “I really thought I stopped.”

And after a quick email warning to the kibbutz Google group (“Police at entrance! Don’t forget to stop!”), and a good cry to a few kibbutz friends (one of whom is a policeman), I stopped for a moment and thought about what I was hanging on to.

Justice?

Is that what I wanted?

For the police to catch all the “baddies”?

Well, yes.

Of course.

But, actually, justice was done, when I gave it a second thought.

I broke a rule and was punished for it.

No matter how innocent the offense was.

So, justice was exercised.

And instead of being stuck on “It’s not fair!”, I realized I can choose to look at the situation from another perspective.

That perhaps I’ll learn from this experience.

That perhaps this experience will one day save my life.

That perhaps God’s hand played in this scenario without me even knowing it.

And so, I let it go.

I let go of blaming those cops who were just trying to do their job.

Filling their monthly quota after two weeks of endless rain in which they probably lost time in doing so otherwise.

And I accepted my punishment.

Even though, the first thing on my list today was to call up the police authority and ask that my penalty be replaced with a warning.


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STUCK on I Need to WAKE YOU UP!

A few months ago, someone in my community asked if I would be able to offer him English classes.

Honored, I agreed and began to teach him immediately.

Twice a week.

We were meeting regularly for about two months and as far as I was concerned everything was going great until one day…

He didn’t show up.

I called him to find out what happened.

He said life was getting really busy.

Sounded strange to me.

That he didn’t show up to either of the two classes that week.

But, ok.

I get it.

We all get busy.

We all get overloaded.

And sometimes need a break.

But, when he didn’t show up the following week, I knew something was up.

And after phone chasing him, I found out that he chose to study English somewhere else.

Just like that.

And, boy was I pissed.

Not so much (or at all) that he chose to study elsewhere, but that he didn’t have the decency to just tell me.

How could anyone do this to someone?

How could he do this to me?

After all that I’ve done for him?

I considered confronting him.

wake upBecause I was stuck on needing to make him aware.

Stuck on needing to WAKE THIS GUY UP!

And explain to him…

YOU. JUST. DON’T. DO. THIS. TO. PEOPLE.!

But, I doubted myself because I just wasn’t 100% sure that this was the “right way”.

Is it my responsibility to make him, or any person for that matter, aware of anything?

Am I my brother’s keeper?

Or, is my responsibility to sit with patience and compassion and just notice things unfold.

And not judge them, as the Buddhist approach may be.

By confronting him, would I just be feeding my ego?

Or, would he benefit as well?

I didn’t feel certain with my decision, but my gut told me to approach him anyway.

And the abridged conversation went something like, “I wanted to make you aware that I was hurt with your actions.”

And his response went something like “I know.  I was totally wrong. I’ve been meaning to approach you.  But, as time passed it became more and more difficult. I’m really sorry.  I’m so glad you approached me.  This was a great life lesson for me.”

Just like that.

Easy as pie.

It seemed like a win-win situation.

I felt relieved.

He expressed gratitude.

So why was I still stuck on “do people have a responsibility to wake others up”?

Probably because I hadn’t asked myself that very same question.

Would I want others to wake me up?

Would I want my husband to make me aware of standards I’m not living up to?

Would I want a community member to make me aware of an action that I did that may have hurt her or others?

Would I want G-d to make me aware of ways I can become a better human being?

And the bottom line is, as much as the child in me wants to answer:

Just leave me alone!

Live and let live!

I’ve got enough stress in my life!

I don’t need to hear more from you!

The honest answer from deep in my heart would be, “yes”, I would want to know.

(As long as it comes from a place of love and is expressed in a loving way.)

Because I would want to be more aware.

Because by becoming more self-aware, I emotionally and spiritually grow.

And evolve.

To be the best person I can possibly be.

And I can only hope that others in my life would feel the same.

But, I must reiterate…

That the sender of any message must be coming from the heart (and not from a place of parenting or reprimanding) and that his/her words must be chosen carefully and cushioned with love.

It’s imperative that the receiver understands that place you are coming from.

And if you are the receiver, you also must be willing to be open to the fact (even thought it’s not always clear) that the person’s words are coming from the heart.  Or, at least most likely the person wants to be coming from the heart, even though that may be a difficult place for the person to be in at the moment.