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

Five Simple Steps to Emotional Well-Being


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Stuck on Thinking Big

I remember learning from an art teacher in elementary school to “Think Big.”

I don’t remember the art teacher’s name and barely remember how she looks.

But, I remember her teaching us to “Think Big”.

Perhaps it was her way of encouraging confidence in her students.

I have no idea.

But, I do wonder if her particular pedagogical approach could have led to my idiosyncratic inclinations to always “think big” about personal and professional initiatives.

I’m certainly not blaming her or anyone else for this tendency of mine.

It doesn’t really matter anyway that I have this tendency.

What’s important is that I’m aware of it.

Or have friends that catch me when I’m not.

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Last week, the 13-week interactive support group that I created and facilitate (E.A.T. -Eating Awareness Together) concluded.

Each of the participants shared words of gratitude for the gift and value of this group in their lives.

So, of course, this got me excited (because this was an improved upon course that I used to offer in the States, and I wasn’t quite sure how it was going to be received).

Which got me to thinking… hmm… maybe I should be taking this group out of my tiny village and out to the world!

I should be taking this to the nearby local communities.

I should be taking this to the nearest cities.

I should be offering this as a co-existence program between Jewish and Arab women.

I should be traveling to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

I should be offering this through the health insurance programs.

I should be branding this program.

think bigI should be THINKING BIG!

Because thinking big will lead to reaching more people!

And reaching more people will lead to more fame!

And more fame will bring more meaning to my life.

And more meaning to my life will bring more happiness.

STOP!

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The moment when an unconscious thought (of believing that something is going to bring me more happiness other than being in this very moment), turns into a conscious thought (that is, that I’m aware that I’m having that thought), a light bulb goes on in my head.

I know I’m stuck.

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So, I Stop and take a breath.

I Tell myself what I’m feeling: Excited and anxious.

And check what may be Underneath this story: Perhaps that I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.  And I should. Because I’m already over 40.

But, then I take a good look at the perspective that I’m holding and Consider if there’s another way:

And yes, I did find another perspective.  In fact, I considered many alternative perspectives, one being: All good things come to those who wait.

And who practice with integrity.

And who gain experience.

And, from that place of humility and modesty, I chose (even though I did send off a few email advertisements during the midst of my impulsivity), to stay on my community and invite more folks to join the group that is currently running.

And be patient.

And witness things unfold one day at a time.

Just as they are meant to.

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STUCK on Thinking I Need to Bring Everyone Gifts

Ever since I moved to Israel, I’ve made a trip back to the States yearly.

And each time, I bring back gifts for my family and friends.

Over the years I’ve brought back:

New Israeli wines,

hand-made jewelry,

soaps and olive oil from the Galilee,

Bedouin tea kettles,

hand-made challah boards,

beautifully painted rocks from Tzfat;

local spices,

local fruits (shh… don’t tell the authorities!),

chocolates,

Halvah,

teas and coffees,

Dead Sea soaps and creams,

and even some Israeli coins for the little ones.

Why do I do this?

Part of me wants to support the local businesses here.

Part of me wants to express my pride in Israel and share that with others.

Part of me wants to be generous.

And part of me thinks that I created a monster – after having brought gifts yearly for the past six years – perhaps now there’s a certain expectation from me to continue doing so!

Oy!

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This year, as I started a new-found hobby of painting, I decided that I would not purchase any gifts this year.

No, I would bring my family and friends beautiful artwork.

That I would create.

At the time that this thought came to mind, I didn’t anticipate it being such a feat.

I took the advice of a my artist friend who suggested I sketch out my ideas before painting them on canvas.

20150805_184354So, I took out the kids’ water coloring set and played around with creating some circles.

A mandala was what I had in mind originally.

And then placing inside of it 13 words that I’ve been using in one of my spirituality groups.

 

20150805_184402Liking the original idea, I played around more with some spirals.

And writing words in Hebrew instead of English.

Then, I felt ready.

I went to the local art store.

Purchased canvases, paintbrushes, and acrylic paints.

And started to plan the backgrounds for these canvases.

I was looking for something simple.

Abstract.

Something on which to put the words.

20150805_184542For fun and for company, I invited a friend over for an evening and we played around with painting backgrounds on six canvases.

And came up with these.

And I was really pleased with the outcomes.

A few nights later, I was ready to paint on the words.

And here was the result.

20150805_184519

What, you can’t see anything?

Well, there’s a reason for that.

I didn’t like how it turned out.

So, I completely painted over everything I did!

I realized this was going to be much more difficult than it appeared!!!

I guess there’s a reason they call artists artists!

Yes, I was stuck on bringing back some beautiful home-made gifts and nothing was gonna stop me.

So, I went back to my artist friend with my dilemma who suggested I purchase a calligraphy brush.

Which I did.

20150805_184414And learn a thing or two about calligraphy in general.

And Hebrew calligraphy specifically.

I watched a movie clip on YouTube and I spent time figuring out how to hold the brush the right way in order to make my letters appear like they just jumped out of a Torah scroll.

Not easy.

But, I was on a mission.

20150804_220050And this is what I came up with.

Part English, part Hebrew.

It’s hanging now in my kitchen.

But, honestly?

It looks like a second grader made it.

Ok, maybe not a second grader.

But certainly not someone from the artist colony from Tzfat (which is what I was striving for).

I’m certain it won’t last hanging on my kitchen wall for too long.

Honestly, just the thought that I could produce something even close to an artist who does this for a living is crazy.

But, what could I do?

I was stuck.

So, I….

Stopped.

Told myself how I was feeling.

Checked to see what may have been Underneath all of this?

And Considered choosing another perspective.

Which led me to believe that yes, I can choose not to bring gifts this time and I can choose to let go of the thought that I need to bring gifts year to year.

Which is what I’ve reconciled.

So, I’ll leave the paints and canvases for the kids.

And get on the plane empty-handed.

But full of heart and full of compassion.