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

Five Simple Steps to Emotional Well-Being


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Stuck on Wanting to Give You Some Advice

I’ve got a friend.

Who’s in a challenging life situation.

And he’s working his way through it.

With professionals who know way more than I do on the subject.

give adviceAnd yet, I have a small piece of advice that I’d like to give him.

Something I fear the professionals may be overlooking and remiss in sharing with him.

I really want to pick up the phone and just tell my friend what’s on my mind.

Something that could, without sounding dramatic, help save his life.

Or at least save the situation.

I really, really want to tell him my thoughts.

My perspective.

In fact, I’ve been wanting to say something to him for years.

But, I haven’t.

Because while I’m stuck on wanting to give him advice, I’m also stuck on fear of him getting insulted by it.

My unsolicited advice, that is.

Which may make him feel judged.

Or hurt.

Or leave him to a desire of distancing himself from me.

So, I don’t say a word.

I keep my mouth shut.

But, it doesn’t mean I’m still not stuck on it.

So, I process:

20151026_050542 Stop.  Stop the mind chatter for a moment and take a breath.

TTell.  Tell yourself what you’re feeling. Which emotion? Desire. To share my thoughts.

UUncover.  Anything underneath this?  Yes, a very sensitive friend who doesn’t take advice or anything related to judgement well at all.

CChoose.  Consider choosing another perspective. Well, a) here I am believing that my friend is lacking in some important wisdom, but the truth of the matter is he may already have it. I don’t know because I’m not 100% in the situation with him; b) my friend may not only already have this advice, he may be choosing not to act on it on purpose. In fact, maybe he believes this piece of advice is worthless; c) maybe he is acting on it and I just have no idea; d) while I kind of feel like parenting my friend, I am not his parent. Furthermore, even if I were his parent, he still may not want to be parented by me; e) the truth of the matter is, I really have no idea if my piece of advice would have any impact at all on his life or the situation.

The bottom line is, there’s more to the story here than I know because it’s not my story and I certainly don’t know everything. I’m not G-d.  Maybe if he weren’t seeking professional help, I would be taking another perspective.  But, he is. So there.

And one last thing for myself to consider: If my friend wanted any advice from me, well, he would ask.  And, he hasn’t.

So, as difficult as it is for me to hold myself back, I am consciously doing so and at the same time reminding myself to have compassion for myself (it’s o.K.) for getting stuck on my own desires in the first place.  K


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STUCK on a Baby’s Name

No.  Not mine, thank you very much.

Been there.

Done that.

I’m talking about friends of mine.

Who just had a baby girl.

And, for their baby naming ceremony, I wanted to give them a gift.

A song.

A new tune – specifically with the baby’s name in it.

That could be sung at the ceremony, but also could be kept with them forever and remembered as a gift from our kibbutz community.

You see, this couple is not an ordinary couple.

They are the ones that bring ruach (spirit) to our prayer services.

The husband, Dr. Rabbi James Jacobson-Maisels, is the founder and guiding teacher of Or HaLev – A center for Jewish spirituality and meditation in Israel.

The wife, Debbie, regularly leads our community in prayer filled with joy and song.

And, I am indebted to them for who they are and what they give to our community.

So, I thought it would be perfect to give back something to them.

To let them receive a bit of what they have been giving to all of us for the past six years.

But, there was one problem.

They had no name for the baby.

And they said they may only choose the name the morning of the ceremony.

Which left me with nothing to work with.

Because without a name, how could I possibly create something that could be meaningful enough for such an occasion?

I was stuck on utter disappointment.

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

So, I…

20151026_050542Stopped and took a breath.

TTold myself what I was feeling and acknowledged my disappointment in this opportunity.

U

Checked what may have been Underneath all of this: Perhaps feelings around “no good deed goes unpunished”?  I feel like this theme follows me around my life sometimes.

C

And considered if I could Choose another perspective.  Yes, of course I could. I realized I didn’t have to create a song with the baby’s name in it and instead choose words from one of our traditional prayers and create a tune around that. A tune that could possibly later be introduced into our regular prayer services.  That Debbie or James would lead, of course.

I realized could offer this as my gift rather than the one I had in mind.

The one I was stuck on.

And so, I did.  I created a chant using the words from our morning prayers which speak about G-d’s great love and great compassion that He has for us.

And you know what?

It worked.

I created a beautiful tune.

And the song offering that morning was not only well received, it was fun!

And I felt complete with this gift to them.

K

And, I reminded myself that it was oK that I got stuck on needing a baby’s name to create the perfect gift in the first place.


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STUCK on My Smartphone!

Before I even wake up in the morning, I know that my phone has received messages throughout the night.

E-mails from friends and family in the States (7 hours behind me) and those living on my kibbutz that go to sleep later than I (which is nearly everyone!) and plenty of whatsapp messages from the hundreds tens of groups I must be in.

Guilty as charged, you will find me texting, whatsapping, composing/responding to emails while walking my child to preschool, while I’m supervising my children at the playground, while at work, while in the middle of a meal with my family, while reading a book to my child before he goes to sleep, or while speaking to any one of my family members.

It’s practically taken over my life one could say.

Because, it’s the way of communicating in this day and age.

It’s fast.

It’s convenient.

It’s effective.

It’s wonderful!

And, if you don’t have it, you haven’t a clue as to what’s going in any of your social, educational, or family circles.

But, like I said, it’s taking over my life.

My phone is ringing all the time.

And it’s a complete distraction to say the least.

A true intrusion of my life.

To give you an example, here are some of the whatsapp groups I’m in, just to name a few:

  • My husband’s family group;
  • The sisters-in-law of my husband’s family group;
  • My family’s group;
  • The parents of my children’s youth movement;
  • The parents of my 8th grader’s class;
  • The parents of the girls in my 8th grader’s class;
  • The parents of my toddler’s class;
  • The sub-neighborhood of the kibbutz that I live in group;
  • The “looking for a ride out of/into Hannaton” group;
  • The mindful eating groups I facilitate (there are two of them – that is, two groups, and two whatsapp groups);
  • The parents of the kids who travel on the minibus to school;
  • The parents (and teenagers) of the kids studying dance;
  • The babysitter group (still not sure why I’m on this one since I hardly ever need one);
  • The parents of the kids 7th grade and up on the kibbutz;
  • The parents of the kids in the national gifted program;
  • The parents of the basketball group (1st-3rd graders);
  • The yishuv (community) discussion group (or place to scream/yell/complain);
  • The Kibbutz Hannaton turning 30! group even though it never came to be;
  • The Fabulous October 14th birthday group (there are 4 of us on Hannaton!);
  • And, of course, individual friends who use this forum much more than they use text messaging.

And because my phone is ringing incessantly, I’m absolutely, no doubt about it, 100% stuck on needing to look at it, read my messages, and answer people instantaneously.

I automatically respond to the Pavlovian ding and take my out my phone to see who needs what, what’s going on, what’s the update, who forgot what, who needs a lift somewhere, who needs eggs at the market, where the next family gathering is and at what time, photos people want (need?) to share, and on and on and on.

And, if my hands are in the middle of washing the dishes or driving a car, I may very well ask one of my children to check the dinging phone and ask for their assistance… Who’s calling? Who sent an sms? Can you please respond to them in this way?

It’s quite obvious that I don’t need to be looking at nor answering my phone immediately.

But, I do.

So, knowing I’m S.T.U.C.K., I proceed to process:

  1. Stop and take a breath.
  2. Tell myself what I’m feeling – Perhaps anxious about the need to respond to people instantaneously?
  3. See what may be Underneath all of this: That I expect the same instantaneous response from everyone else?  (Yikes!) That I believe “I am my brother’s keeper?” and that this is what responsibility is all about?  That this is the right way to be? To respond immediately to others.
  4. Consider Choosing another perspective – This realization that I am stuck on needing to respond to my phone came to a head last week in my mindful eating group when we focused on practicing to intentionally pause throughout the day. Pause before eating.  Pause before speaking.  Pause before hitting send in an email. Pause before getting out of bed.  It was during that week that I realized that I was stuck on my phone in an extreme way – because I never pause when I hear it ding! And, it was during that week that I realized I could Choose to pause when I hear the phone ding.  I could Choose to just say, “Hm… there’s that ding again.  I’ll check who that was in a few minutes. Or after lunch.  Or when I get to my driving destination. Or after I put the kids to sleep. It can wait.  If it’s a true emergency, whoever is trying to contact me, will call.  And they’re not now, which means there’s no emergency.”  I can Choose to be a responsible and committed community member, without checking my phone instantaneously.  And, I can Choose not to expect instant responses from my friends, family, and community.

It won’t be easy.  It will take practice.  It won’t be natural for me.  It’ll go against my very own, impulsive nature.  But, I could Choose to try.

And, I did just that.

In fact, not only did I practice pausing, I silenced many of the groups that don’t demand immediate responses.

My phone became much quieter that week.

And I feel as if I gained a tremendous amount because of the concentrated practice: less stress, more time, more recognition of what’s going on in the present moment as opposed to the virtual life.

5. And in realizing all of this, I offered my self a sense of compassion, an oK, for getting stuck on all of this in the first place.