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

Five Simple Steps to Emotional Well-Being


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STUCK on you STUPID, STUPID DRIVER!

We got into a car accident a few days ago.

On route 784.

Just outside my community.

Minutes after leaving my house to take my kids to their after school classes.

I slowed down when I noticed traffic up ahead and came to a stop.

Apparently the lady behind me, just leaving her house from the village down the road from us, was busy doing something else, because she didn’t take note of the fact that my car was stopped.

Car accident IsraelAnd she rammed right into the back of our car.

Which caused us to go into a 360 spin several times.

Like your worst nightmare that comes true.

Like the scariest spinning-kind-of amusement park ride, but a million times worse.

Because you have no idea when it will end.

Or if you will hit anything during the ride.

I honestly don’t remember how many times we spun.

The truth is, I don’t remember any part of those intense seconds where we went spinning.

Aside from the horrific screams of my three children who were in the car with me.

I don’t remember what I did with my hands.

I don’t remember what I did with my feet.

I don’t remember anything.

Except I do remember being scared to death.

And I do remember screaming.

*********

Our (new, only 3 weeks old) car was totaled.

And so was the car of the other driver.

Car accident IsraelImmediately after our car came to a halt, I rushed to take off my seat belt and checked that my three kids were alive and breathing.

They were.

Thank G-d.

They were hysterical and one was practically hyperventilating, but they were fine.

As I tried to calm them down and call my husband with my shaky hands, passersby came over to help us.

I heard someone say something about the other driver using her phone at the time of the incident.

In seconds, I went from complete shock to complete anger.

What the %”%$%$?

WHY ARE YOU PEOPLE ON YOU FREAKIN’ PHONES WHEN YOU’RE ARE DRIVING A CAR?????

ARE YOU STUPID?

DO YOU THINK YOU ARE IMMUNE TO GETTING INTO ACCIDENTS?

DON’T YOU REALIZE YOU NEED TO HAVE YOUR UNDIVIDED ATTENTION ON THE ROAD AT ALL TIMES?

AGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was so STUCK on ANGER at this STUPID DRIVER!

HOW DARE SHE PUT MY LIFE AND THE LIFE OF MY CHILDREN IN DANGER!!!!

I was beyond angry.

I was enraged.

I stared at her.

At this point, she was sitting on the ground.

Maybe five feet between us.

She, holding her young daughter (3? 4?) bleeding in her arms, I wrapping my arms around my frightened children.

She, in her Arab garb, me in my jeans and a t-shirt.

She didn’t look at me.

She made no motion to come over to me.

Or any hand motions to express sorrow for having caused this accident.

She didn’t give me the light of day.

My annoyance and fury grew and grew.

**********

The ambulances came.

The woman and her daughter got in one.

We went in the other.

Laying on a stretcher next to my daughter, I started to process out loud.

(Now, I realize that after a near-death accident, it may seem strange that I was in a framework to rationally process through what happened using S.T.U.C.K., but it’s the truth. Perhaps it’s because I felt safe in the ambulance? Perhaps it’s because I needed something to do to occupy my mind other than be stuck on anger? Perhaps it’s because I’ve been practicing S.T.U.C.K. so much in my life that it just felt natural to use it then. I don’t know.  All I know is that I did.)

20151026_050542

Stop. Take a breath. A long, deep breath.

T Tell.  I was stuck on furious. And, I felt it in my rapid breath and in my shaking hands.

UUncover.  I told my daughter that I believe that NO ONE (NO ONE!) should be on their phones while driving a car! I told her that this should NOT have happened to us.  We did NOTHING to deserve this! I told my daughter that I believe that this woman should have risen above her religion and above politics and acted like a freakin’ human being! She should have approached us. She should have shown remorse on her face. She should have cared about me! About my children!

C

Consider.  We came up with a lots of these:

  • That the driver was in no condition to be able to approach us and show remorse, even if she wanted to. She was also in shock, just like we were.
  • All the time that I spent waiting for her to approach me, I never even considered approaching her to ask if she and her daughter were ok.
  • That I really don’t know if she was on her phone or not.  (Though, I do believe her attention was not 100% on the road.)
  • That my child sitting in the last row of the car, was sitting on the left hand side and not the right (where we were plowed into). G-d only knows what would have happened if he had been sitting on the right.
  • Had my fourth child be in the car with us (which he usually is, but he was not feeling great and decided not to go to his class), someone would have been sitting in that back seat on the right.  I cringe each time I think of what would have happened.
  • We did several 360s, but cars coming from the other direction stopped in enough time not to hit us.  Had we been hit while we went spinning, our situation would have been much, much more grave.
  • We were all wearing seat belts.
  • We took the “big” car which I hardly ever take.  It was just a fluke that I took the car my husband typically drives, which no doubt about it protected our lives.
  • The accident happened less than a mile from the house; close enough for my husband to be able to get to us quickly;
  • Numerous passersby stopped to help and control the situation; Though, truth be told, they were all Arab and they were all standing near and speaking with the other woman. Aside from one passerby who approached us (who happened to have been a religious Jew), we stood alone. Humanity, people!
  • Our car didn’t fly off the road (like the other car unfortunately did);
  • We met two amazing high school ambulance volunteers on the ride to Rambam hospital – two souls that understand the word humanity;
  • It was an accident and accidents happen.

KI got stuck on anger fury, and it’s ok. I’m still carrying many emotions, but I’m trying to cradle them in other rational thoughts – like the miracle that I am even alive and able to write this blog post. That my children and I got out of this unscathed.

I still can’t help to wonder if, once the other driver heals from this experience, she’ll attempt to find me, reach out to me, make contact in anyway whatsoever. She only lives a five minute walk from my house. Though, people are telling me not to bet on it.

In the meantime, I’m thanking God for having bestowed favor upon me.

And I’m counting my blessings for having survived.

Once again.

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STUCK on Publishing a Book!

I’m stuck on excited!

Bet you never thought that could happen before, eh?

That is, get stuck on something positive, right?

Well, you can.

And, I just went through it.

*********

A little over a month ago, I was put in touch with a book publisher who showed interest in turning my blog into a book.

A book!

And, while I always considered one day turning all of these posts into some sort of something to pass on to my kids, I never really ever considered that this blog would be turned into an actual book.

That people (other than my children twenty years from now) would read.

Wow!

And for me, that was like the most exciting piece of news I think I’ve heard in a long, long time.

Anyway, long story short, I got stuck on excited.

As was I being coached along by this incredible book coach/publisher (anyone need one?), I came to realize that what I created from this blog (the method of S.T.U.C.K.) was something I should be bringing out to the world.

That is, that S.T.U.C.K. should not only take the form of a book, but of lectures, workshops, and coaching.

Talk about opening my eyes to something I never considered before!

And so, in the short amount of time since this revelation was made, I have:

Offered three S.T.U.C.K. workshops,

Coached five S.T.U.C.K. sessions,

Wrote the first half of the book,

and more.

It’s filling me with such excitement that, for the first few weeks, while I had so many thoughts running through my mind, I:

Woke up nearly every day for a week at 3 A.M. to go to the computer and type out my thoughts,

Took naps in the middle of the day because I was exhausted,

Stayed up late because I had napped during the day,

Skipped exercising,

Forgot about eating healthfully,

And woke up the following days at 3 A.M. to go back to the computer to write more.

I wore myself out.

From excitement!

I knew I was stuck on it, but kind of didn’t feel like processing through it.

Because I had this need, this desire, to get everything done as soon as possible.

And new thoughts just kept coming to my head.

A S.T.U.C.K. Workbook companion to go along with the upcoming book,

S.T.U.C.K. Bumper stickers,

S.T.U.C.K. Place mats,

S.T.U.C.K. Board games!

S.T.U.C.K. Kitchen signs.

S.T.U.C.K. Key chains!

S.T.U.C.K. Doormats!

Brilliant!

The ideas kept coming and coming.

Yet, as the first half of the book started to congeal and everything started falling into place, I found myself settling down.

Not consciously.

And certainly not because I was practicing S.T.U.C.K., God forbid!

But, because most of what I “had” to get done, was getting done.

Until, I thought about a website.

A S.T.U.C.K. website!

How did I not think of that yet!?!

If I’m going to try to market myself to the world, I need a website, not just a blog site!

So, I went to the website called, “Wix” which empowers people to create websites in an easy fashion.

I spent about two days creating, if I may say so myself, a beautiful website.

Until I got to the page called, “Blog”.

And then I got stumped.

Because the blog that I’ve been writing for the past three years has been hosted by another company,called WordPress.

And, I couldn’t quite figure out how I could get the blog page to move over to the new website page.

I spent a couple of hours trying to figure it out.

Because I was back on being stuck on excited about this gorgeous website I just created.

Assuming I’d figured it out soon (I mean, how difficult can it be?), I went ahead and made the purchase on Wix (a relatively hefty price) so that I could proceed with publishing my new website. (Did I mention it was gorgeous?)

Then, I went back to transfering all kinds of letters and numbers and gadgets and who knows what, just to be able to tell cyberspace that http://www.stuckinthemuck365.com now has another home, thank you very much.  So, just redirect yourself over there, will you?

But, the blog!

What about the blog?!

Oy vey!

I forgot about the blog!

The blog is still sitting in WordPress, while the rest of S.T.U.C.K. is now over on Wix.

And S.T.U.C.K. is not S.T.U.C.K. without the blog!

And as I searched on the support pages of Wix and WordPress, and watched Youtube videos, and sweated over trying to figure this out, I came to the realization that showing my WordPress blog on my new Wix website in the same format of my WordPress blog is well, impossible.

Shit.

How many hours have I worked lost on this today?

Five?

So, in my state of panic, I went back to Youtube and typed in “WordPress vs. Wix” and after watching three videos learned there was no comparison between the two.

wordpressWordPress won by far.

Yet, because I had no experience with the website side of WordPress (only the blog site of it), I never knew its capabilities.

Rush back to square 1!

Because I realized I had to build a new website on WordPress!!

But, how?

I couldn’t find the themed templates I was looking for and were recommended for the kind of blog I was trying to make.

Stumped and dazed, I went back to Wix in the meantime and canceled the subscription that I purchased just the night before knowing I was moving forward with WordPress.

And, during these hours of futility, I completely neglected to be in touch with those people from the Sunday night “taste of S.T.U.C.K.” workshop in Carmiel who showed interest in a 10-week series and were looking for the details of the upcoming program.

And in my haste in trying to figure all of this out, I almost nearly lost the entire blog.

Or, at least I thought I did.

Because on the home page of http://www.stuckinthemuck365.com, the menu showed only one page, “Home”.

Shit.

Home?

Home?

Where’s the freakin’ blog?????

Aghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

*******

All right.

It took me nearly a month to come and process this, but here I go.

20151026_050542 STOP. STOP. STOP. STOP. STOP. BREATHE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

T TELL. I AM STUCK ON EXCITEMENT!

UUNCOVER.

I believe that:

S.T.U.C.K. (lecturing, workshops, and coaching) is what I’ve been waiting to do all my life.

I’m 42 and don’t have my time left. Time’s a tickin’.

The quicker I do things, the sooner I’ll witness things happening.

Time is of the essence.

If I am not for myself, who will be for me?

S.T.U.C.K. will make me feel worthwhile and with purpose in this world.

S.T.U.C.K. will finally, finally, finally be the thing that will enable me to bring in a decent income to my family.

I’m sure there are many more beliefs hiding underneath my emotion of excitement, but as I start to reflect on them, I can witness that most of them are not entirely true. And, by admitting to that, I can realize that the reality that I’ve been painting for myself for the past month has been a bit clouded.

C CONSIDER.

I can consider that:

Whether this website is done today or next week, won’t really matter in the scheme of things.

I’ve got plenty of time (please, God!) to bring this work to the world.

I need to practice what I preach.

I am with purpose and worth in this world, no matter if I have S.T.U.C.K. or not.

I need to take care of myself, first and foremost.

I have no idea if S.T.U.C.K. is going to be lucrative or not.

So, I am consciously choosing all of the above.

I closed the WordPress window on creating a new website.

I will send a request out to the world if anyone has more familiarity with WordPress websites than I do instead of trying to do this on my own.

And I will take my time and watch the process of S.T.U.C.K. unfold before my eyes, instead of forcing anything too soon.

Everything in its own time.

K

So, I remind myself that it’s OK that I got stuck on excitement.

It’s certainly natural, even though difficult to recognize initially.

Yet, I am grateful that I did get stuck, because it just brought me back home.

To the incredible importance and value of S.T.U.C.K. once again.


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STUCK on I Despise Jogging!

As a kid, I used to exercise a lot.

But, I didn’t call it that.

I called it playing out in the backyard,

or dancing in the basement,

or playing basketball,

or fishing for pennies at the bottom of a pool.

I certainly never called those things exercise.

They weren’t things I had to do.

I did them because they were fun!

Because that’s what kids do!

And no matter what form of so-called exercise I did, I was in heaven when I was in it.

I loved the feeling of sweating.

I loved the high of getting my heart rate up.

I loved the feeling afterwards of being tired and hungry.

*****

I live on a small kibbutz in the middle of nowhere, with no gym nearby (where I would otherwise swim and take yoga classes).  And, I can’t exactly say I feel uninhibited enough to just go outside and play on the playground alongside the other kibbutz kids.

(Which I kind of feel like doing some days.)

Therefore, I feel limited with my exercise options (because yoga, while I’m passionate about it, doesn’t do the same for me as aerobic exercise does – even though I do maintain somewhat of a yoga practice).

exercise shoesSo, I took up jogging a few years ago.

Because I had to choose something to get my heart rate up.

But I hated every minute of it.

I hated putting on running shoes.

I hated being cold when I went outside at 5:30 AM and then having to strip down to a tank top when I got hot and then having to carry my sweatshirt while attempting to failing to jog up and down hills.

And I hated realizing how little time I could actually jog without stopping.

(It was like 8 minutes tops.)

So, I took up walking.

Which, with captivating podcasts to listen to (thank you, On Being and the Israel Hour!), I found enjoyable.

I cherished the stillness at dawn,

the majestic view of the surrounding mountains and water,

and saying good morning to the horses and cows.

But, it wasn’t enough.

I wasn’t getting my heart rate up enough and I wasn’t sweating.

It wasn’t elevating my mood.

I mean, maybe it could’ve been enough, if I had pushed myself.

But, at that point, why not just go back to jogging?

Because I despise jogging!

With a passion!

And I’m frustrated that I have no other options!

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

It dawned on me that I was stuck on all of this while watching my daughter passionately dance around in the living room the other day (she does this several times a week) with her favorite music accompanying her in the background.

It is obvious that when she dances, she’s in heaven.

Just like I was when I was a kid.

Hm…………

20151026_050542

Stop. And take a breath.

T Tell.  I’m feeling frustrated that I don’t have a regular exercise program that I enjoy.

UUncover. Why are my beliefs?  I believe that there is no other effective way to exercise on this kibbutz besides running and jogging. I believe exercising is a necessary part of mental and physical well-being.  I believe exercising should be fun. I believe we are not meant to suffer in this world.  I believe I shouldn’t despise the exercise I am doing. I believe that if I despise the exercise I’m doing, I won’t keep at it. I believe jogging is boring and not very motivating.

C

Consider.  I can challenge myself by considering that there is another way of exercising on this kibbutz; that I can find a way that is actually fun; that dancing could be that way.  I could consider finding a dance class nearby; that dancing in my living room, just like my daughter, could be something I can take on; I could consider dancing with friends and even hold regular dance parties on my roof (though, my neighbors may not agree). I could consider dancing while taking breaks from work. (Don’t worry, I work from home. No one’s looking.) I could consider dancing while cleaning the house, cooking, and more.

So, I chose to dance.

I just put on YouTube one day, searched for Latin music (my favorite), cleared the living room, and started dancing. (I even closed my eyes at one point and pretended I was being led and turned in inconceivable ways by some professional dancer from “Dancing with the Stars”!  Arriba!!!)

And there I was.

Sweating.

And getting my heart rate up.

And enjoying every minute.

Unbelievable.

How did I not think of this before?

And I said to myself that it’s oK that I got stuck on despising jogging.  Look what came of it! K


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Stuck on Fear in the Middle East

I have to admit, I deliberated about writing this post.

It’s been sitting with me for a while.

For lots of reasons.

Fear.

Paranoia.

Concern that by admitting my fear I’d be raising the anxiety of others.

Especially for my family who lives far away.

Or friends that are debating about coming for a visit.

But, here I am.

***********

A couple of weeks ago, I admitted to my closest friend here that I am afraid.

Her response?

“Shira, if you’re afraid, we’re all in trouble.”

I didn’t specify afraid of what exactly.

But, she knew.

Otherwise, she would have asked.

It’s not necessarily the political situation here in Israel – because the political situation is the political situation, and that hasn’t changed since the declaration of this country’s independence 67 years ago.

Antisemitism.

Anti-Zionism.

It’s been in Israel all these years.

Everyone knows that.

But what has changed, at least in the last month, are the methods of terrorism.

Whereas in the past, there have been (and will continue to be suicide bombers) whose aim is to blow up as many innocent civilians in one shot as possible, now it’s become less planned, more random, more heinous.

Using random household tools:

Axes.

Screwdrivers.

Kitchen knives.

You can be anywhere, anywhere – a shopping mall, a bus stop, or just walking down the street, and the worst nightmare that you’ve ever considered could come your way.

And, if that’s not enough to make you afraid, then take a look at the age of some of the recent terrorists.

13.

13!!!!!!!

And if that’s not enough, what about the demonstrations that took place down the street from our kibbutz.

A walk that would take me about two minutes to get to.

Just at the entrance of the local Arab village, whose population is 15 times that of my kibbutz.

And, we’re not talking about peaceful demonstrations.

We’re talking about angry, rock-throwing, loud demonstrators.

Who are throwing rocks at cars passing by.

At my friends who are simply going to work!

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

Paranoia set in.

And, when I considered what exactly it was I was afraid of, I realized (if it’s not obvious), that I was afraid for my own life.

I was afraid that perhaps I would be the next victim of the next random act of terrorism.

I was afraid that perhaps the otherwise nice Arab lady who sells me cheese every week at the supermarket would go crazy and decide to use her knife for other purposes.

20151020_081823I was afraid that the friendly Arab man who frames the houses in my husband’s building business and didn’t show up to work last week because he was striking along with all the other Arabs across the country also may decide, out of the blue, to use his tools for something other than framing homes.

I was afraid what my kid’s Arab bus driver could do.

I don’t even want to think what the Arab orthodontist who is supposed to start treating my daughter next week, could do out of temporary insanity/anger.

I was afraid because I don’t feel prepared for any of these situations.

And, I was afraid because I don’t know who I can consider my friend now anymore.

The person I exchange a friendly hello with most days or offer water and cake to on a regular basis could be part of a terrorist cell plotting to destroy me or my family.

I haven’t taken a self-defense class since middle school – and yes, that class was probably a joke of a class anyway.

And although I did learn to shoot an M-16 when I was a teenager, I haven’t a clue how to use a gun now, even if I were licensed to hold one.

Which I kind of want to be right now.

If I’m being honest.

Licensed to carry a gun.

Because I’m afraid.

Of what?

My own life.

And S.T.U.C.K. on it.

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

20151026_050542Stop and take a breath.

TTell your emotions.  Fear.

UUncover: Thousands of years of antisemitism in my DNA?

CConsider.  See, this is where I got stumped.  Choose another perspective.  What? Not be afraid?  That would be stupid and irresponsible. So, what else is there to consider?  Peace is around the corner?  That would be naive. Perhaps I should consider that ultimately, life is out of my control. I can be as prudent as possible, but in the end, it’s not in my hands.  It’s in Someone else’s.

And, I did. The emotion of fear will not leave me any time soon, though the fear of actually dying from a terrorist attack is fleeting. I am continuing on with my life, perhaps a little more cautious than before, but otherwise more or less the same.

20151104_152720I showed up at my child’s doctor appointment this week.  I only heard one language spoken while we were in the waiting room.  And, it wasn’t Hebrew, nor was it my mother tongue. What to do? Stop living? This is reality here.

KAnd as I hold myself in compassion for getting stuck in fear and acknowledge my bravery in processing through this difficult emotion, I continue on with what my tradition asks me to do: Choose life and keep on living.


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Stuck on My Plan, Not Yours!

Two days ago my family and I set out for a vacation weekend to the Dead Sea.

MasadaAmong many other activities, climbing Masada was on our list of things to do.

The day before we left, I was told (was kindly asked?) to pack us all up and have us ready to go by 2 PM on Thursday afternoon.

Which was fine.

I don’t really mind packing up 5 of the 6 of us. (My husband packs his stuff on his own.)

It was only two nights anyway.

And we weren’t camping.

Which makes things a lot easier.

So, besides the mandatory stuff (clothes, bathroom items, etc.), I made sure to pack one small backpack per family member, one hat, and one bottle of water.

And the reason I did this, which is an important piece of information in this story, is because on our last family hike, we didn’t go prepared.

We didn’t bring enough water.

We got dehydrated.

And, I’ll spare you the rest of the details.

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

Now, I’m one who likes (and strives) to learn from history.

(At least, my personal history).

So, as we were about to leave the youth hostel that we slept at the night before and head to the Masada National Park, I did a quick check.

6 Hats? Check.

6 Bags? Check.

6 Bottles of Water?

Nope.

Only 4.

Where were the other two?

“Who knows?” was the response I got.

Oy.

So, I said to my husband, “Well, we’ll just have to stop and pick up two more bottles on the way.”

He didn’t agree.

Four bottles were enough in his mind.

But, not in my mind.

Among other things, this certainly wasn’t going to teach the kids a lesson on how to be responsible when hiking!

(Yes, even my 4 year old, who hikes with a bottle in his bag that he’s carrying on his back, understands the value of water.)

This was not going as planned.

The plan my husband insisted that I take responsibility for.

And I wasn’t the least bit happy.

I mean, really.

What’s the big deal about picking up two more bottles of water?

Was it a money issue?

Was it a principle issue?

I didn’t get it.

I tried.

I insisted he explain to me why he was being so stubborn about this.

He said if we add up the total number of liters we had it was enough.

But, I couldn’t hear that.

We just bickered.

Back and forth.

In front of the kids.

It was kind of ugly.

And not such a great way to start the morning.

I was stuck on stubborn.

(Well, he was stuck, too, but that’s not my problem.  My problem is dealing with my own stuckiness, not his or anyone else’s.)

And, after one of my kids insisted we go for marriage therapy, I…

20151026_050542

Stopped and took a breath.

T Told myself how I was feeling.  Completely frustrated.

UUncovered what was going on.  The history and trauma of our last family hike.

CConsidered another perspective.  Well, the whole purpose of each person carrying his/her own water bottle was to teach responsibility.  But, the truth of the matter is, what I was really concerned about was having enough water.  And, my husband was right. When we added up the total number of liters we had (we brought some large bottles with us) we had more water than if we had just each brought 6 regular-sized bottles on our own.  And, really the hike wasn’t a big deal.  Only about one hour up.  And, I knew there were water taps at the top to do refills.

KAnd once I was able to see this, I let go.

Fine, we’ll go with four bottles that we have instead of six.  Next time, I’ll try to plan even more efficiently.

And I reminded myself that it’s oK that I got stuck on my plan in the first place.