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

Five Simple Steps to Emotional Well-Being


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STUCK on Feeling Guilty

Yesterday, I went food shopping.

I had meant to arrive at the store around 4:30 in the afternoon and be home in enough time to prepare dinner, but I made a few other stops on the way and got delayed.

As I walked into the market around 6 pm, I started to feel my stomach growl.

Uh-oh.

I was hungry.

What to do?

At first, I thought to myself, “Just finish your shopping quickly and go home to eat.”

But, after a moment of considering that, I knew it wouldn’t be a quick turnaround and that I would be home at least a good 45 minutes later.

And famished for sure.

So, I went over to the cheese counter and asked to sample a piece of hard cheese.

I ate it.

I enjoyed it.

I thought it would hold me over.

But, it didn’t.

Guilty Potato ChipsAnd, as I was contemplating what survival mechanism I’d consider next, I turned to see the next person on line at the cheese counter, holding an open bag of potato chips.

I think I started salivating.

I wanted those chips.

And I could already picture in my mind the most direct route to get them.

Yet, I got stuck on feeling guilty.

“You don’t really want to eat potato chips, Shira, do you?”

“Potato chips? Of all things in the supermarket?”

“That’s processed food, which you try to avoid.”

“Well, ok, maybe these chips are kind of ok, because apparently they have a base from sweet potatoes and beets.”

“Come on, Shira, that’s just good advertising.  You know as well as I do that they’re pretty much little-to-no-nutritional-value-good-old potato chips.”

“Go for the rice crackers.”

“But, they’re bland! And I want those chips!”

And there I was.

Stuck in the supermarket.

Having a ridiculous conversation with myself.

On whether I should buy a freakin’ bag of potato chips or not.

Oh, Lord, tell me I’m not alone!

****************

So what did I do?………

I Stopped and took a nice long breath.

And Told myself how I’m feeling: Guilty as charged for wanting to eat something I consider not such a healthy choice.

And checked in to see what may have been Underneath it all: a fear of gaining weight???

So, I Considered if there was another perspective: I could choose to feel proud for respecting my body in this moment – which was hungry and wanted to be fed.  I could choose to respect myself for identifying exactly what my body craved for in that moment. And, I could choose to enjoy the chips instead of feeling guilty over them.

And, as I picked the bag off the shelf, opened it, and tasted my first beet chip that I’ve had in years, I delighted in the moment.

And forgave myself for getting stuck on feeling guilty in the first place.


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Stuck on Caring What YOU Think

This past week, as I facilitated a weekly self-development group in my community, I found myself stuck on what others were thinking of me.

The group reached the point of the evening for the “formal practice” which is dedicated to five minutes of mindful eating.

During that time, each participant chooses to either a) eat mindfully of the food of which one participant brings each week or b) sit in silence while others eat mindfully.

Sometimes I eat and sometimes I don’t.

It depends.

But this past week, as I was trying to honor my body (which was telling me it wasn’t at all hungry), I chose not to eat.

Which is when I noticed the monkey circus going on in my head:

mindful eating“If you don’t take some of the food and put it in front of you, everyone is going to wonder why you are not eating.”

“Maybe they’ll think you’re on some diet, and hiding that little piece of important information from them.”

“Maybe best if you just take one piece of both cakes and just set it in front you.”

“But still people are going to look at you and wonder – Why did she take food, if she’s not eating it?”

“So, maybe you should just pick at the food.”

“But, if you start picking, you may eat more than you want.”

“Yet you didn’t even want to eat anything in the first place!”

“So, maybe you should just close your eyes and try to make these thoughts escape.”

“Are five minutes up yet?”

“How about now?”

*************

Yes, all of this was going on in my mind.

Crazy, huh?

And, so I sat, emotionally uncomfortable until I heard the bell to cease the meditation.

I didn’t end up eating anything.

(Choosing instead to take the food I put in front of me and save it for breakfast the next day… when I’d be hungry again!)

****************

But, I went to bed last night reviewing what had happened and realized the ridiculousness of it all!

So, I Stopped and took a breath.

Told myself (reminded myself) how I was feeling: Sensitive.

And checked to see what was Underneath it all: The desire for people to accept me (and my beliefs, my behaviors, etc.)

And sought to choose another perspective: That I don’t have to live my life seeking out others’ acceptance of me.  That as long as I’m living a respectable life and doing my utmost to be the best human being I can be (and certainly not harming anyone), I don’t need (most) people to approve of my behavior, decisions in life, and surely not whether I am choosing to eat or not. (Geez!)

And finally, I gave myself Compassion for getting stuck in that place in the first place.

And went to sleep with all of this lifted off of me.

Thank G-d!


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Stuck on WHY? WHY?????

Last night I went out with several friends.

And when I left the house last night at 8 pm – just as my husband was walking in from work, my children were not yet asleep and I was already late to meet up with my friends – I was a little frazzled.

All I knew is that I was showered and dressed and had my phone with me.

The necessities.

**********

The evening (a musical benefit raising money for a resident of a local community in need of assistance for alternative cancer treatments) was magical.

It really left me on a high and with a deep sense of gratitude – for my health, for the opportunity to go out, and for my friends.

And then I got home.

And tried to open the front door.

But, couldn’t.

Because it was locked.

And I looked into my hands and noticed I had no keys.

why“WHY?” I thought to myself.

“WHY would you lock the house knowing I wasn’t in it????” I whined to myself, directing my thoughts towards my husband.

In a state of blaming, I called his phone.

Ready to rant and rage.

But, couldn’t hear his phone ring from the other side.

It must have been turned off.

So, I called the house phone, which rang loud and clear.

But, he didn’t get up to answer it.

So, I started banging on the door.

BBBB-OOOOOOOOO-AAAAAAAAA-ZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!!!!!!

To no avail.

But, lucky for me, I didn’t get stuck in this place of judgment.

I Stopped.

Took a breath and told myself how I was feeling.

Besides frustrated, I found myself feeling totally sorry that I had to wake up my husband who was too exhausted from a long and hard work week to be able to go out with me tonight.

And, so my perspective changed.

Oy, I have to wake him up.

Agh.

So, I continued to call the house phone and continued to bang on the front door and continued to call out his name, until I heard him coming to the door.

And instead of “WHY would you lock the house when you knew I wasn’t home?” coming out of my mouth….

“Sorry” did.

What? he responded.

“I’m sorry.”

And that was the end of it.

No fight.

No arguments.

No in the future lecturing.

And I returned to a place of gratitude.

For judgment that turned into compassion.


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Stuck on Frozen

frozenNo, not the Disney movie.

Stuck on me being frozen.

Yikes!

Has it really been three months since my last post????

How (after easily blogging weekly for the past year or so) did I suddenly stop?

Have I acquired a sense of writer’s block?

Have I been cured from the stumbling blocks that lead one to get stuck?

Have I evolved into enlightenment?

No.

No.

And no.

*************

If you read my blog, you know that the content of each post contains accounts of interactions I have with others.

If I write about an incident that happened in my community, I do my best to conceal the particulars of the event, by changing the gender and sometimes part of the story, enough to keep the main idea but also enough to not disclose the person’s identity.

The same with my family members, though it’s more difficult.

**********

In the past few months, I’ve encountered several stuck incidents, and yet no matter how hard I tried to put the incidents into words without revealing what happened and who was part of the story, I couldn’t.

So, I was stuck frozen.

And frustrated by it.

Because for the past year, I’ve felt that processing these stuck moments in writing has transformed me and my relationships with others.

The blogging has helped me to pause, reflect, open up to new perspectives, and get unstuck from sticky situations that could have otherwise lasted a lifetime.

So, you could imagine that not being able to process things was disheartening to me!

************

And so, what to do?

I went back to S.T.U.C.K.

I Stopped and took a breath.

And Told myself how frustrated I was feeling.

Wasn’t sure there was anything Underneath any of this.

And when I Chose to Consider another perspective, I realized to myself, “hey, you can still process all this stuff in writing. Just don’t publish it!”

And that’s exactly what I did.

And what I’ve been doing for the past three months.

And so, I’m writing this, just to let you know.

In case you were stuck being worried about me.

😉