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

Five Simple Steps to Emotional Well-Being


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Stuck on a Revelation in 2015

What triggers you?

C’mon, we all have triggers.

What’s yours?

You know.

triggerThat person or thing that just presses your buttons.

Sets you off.

Makes you want to scream!

Or react in ways that are not the real you.

The calm you.

The nice you.

The perfect you.

 

So.

Nu?

Who or what is your trigger?

I just want to share with you a revelation I had this morning while on my yoga mat.

Frustration began to arise in me as I started thinking about a recent personal conflict that I had with my husband the day before.

I became frustrated not regarding the conflict itself, but rather that I was triggered by the my husband again!

Because it’s not that I get triggered often.

It’s that I get triggered by him regularly.

Like same sh*t, different day.

And it’s not that I don’t love him.

Nor is that I don’t admire or respect him.

And it’s not like I don’t trigger him.

I’m sure I do.

I know I do.

But, I get triggered by him over and over again and that’s really frustrating!

Because, like, why am I allowing myself to get triggered by him?

Why can’t I just learn to stop getting triggered by him?

I was really stumped by this for a few moments.

And then it dawned on me that I could be using my husband as an opportunity to practice.

Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding!

“Ladies and Gentleman, I think we have a winner!”

Wow.

How did I never think of this before?

That my triggers, which I’ve always viewed as a constant obstacles in my life, can actually be viewed as my greatest opportunities.

My GREATEST opportunities.

To practice STOPPING (and then continue on with the S.T.U.C.K. process).

As soon as I get triggered.

Because, in life, we never know when we will get triggered.

It just happens spontaneously.

But, if you know what you get triggered by most, you can acknowledge that trigger as your practice!

Your life practice!

Wow.

What a revelation.

This will be huge in my life.

HUGE.

And the moment all of this came to mind, it brought a huge smile to my face.

Because I realized that I no longer need try to avoid my triggers or be frustrated by them.

Instead, I can be open to them.

In fact, I somehow feel that I’d like to even seek them out.

Invite them into my life.

Like, C’mon triggers.

I’m here!

And ready to practice!

So, give me your best hit!

And while I have your attention, may I say thank you for existing in my life?

You are a gift to me.

And for that I am grateful.

In 2015.


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Stuck on Fahrenheit 451

Our community is growing!

Compared to the 10 or so families that arrived to rejuvenate the kibbutz in 2009, we’re now nearly 80!

That’s a growth of 700%!!

The old dining hall has been renovated into a social hall.

Our synagogue will be expanded imminently to accommodate our growing numbers.

And our preschools are overflowing with children.

Last week, the library committee announced that it was looking for volunteers to help transport its books to the library’s new and expanded location.

Our original library (which formed a few years ago and was about the size of my small kitchen), held the space for about 15 young children (if that) to be able to sit together, squeezed in tightly, during the weekly story hour.

It was not comfortable to say the least.

But, no one complained.

We were happy just to have a library!

But now, with the newly renovated social hall, our library will have a new home.

Two nicely-sized rooms, one for adults and the other for children and youth.

I was so excited to hear about this development!

So my husband and I showed up, along with many other volunteers, to help out that evening.

I thought we were going to be asked to shelve the books.

But, instead we were asked to sift through the books that were sitting in dozens of boxes on the floor and determine which ones should be kept and which ones should be tossed.

Huh?

Tossed?

What was going on here?

Why would the library committee choose to toss books?

Well, apparently our library accumulated over the past few years many book donations to a point that we have way too many books for the (still relatively small) space we have.

And now, books are going to have to be tossed.

Oy!

I stood there for a few minutes with a sense of dismay watching folks toss books into cardboard boxes.

Sure, there were books with ripped covers and books with some scribbles in it, but to toss them away?

I couldn’t watch this.

How could we, the People of the Book, toss books away?

And, as a soon-to-be-author, it was pulling at my heart.

To me, throwing away books is like throwing away lives.

With just a simple and mindless flick of the wrist.

Is this any worse than Fahrenheit 451, I thought to myself?

I couldn’t handle it.

I couldn’t be a part of this.

So, I chose not to be.

I picked up a broom and started sweeping instead.

Just to keep myself busy.

Because that’s why I was there.

To help.

And I wasn’t doing much of anything else anyway.

And, as I was sweeping, I heard one of the rabbis ask, “Anyone want this beautiful Pirkei Avot book in English?”

“Uh, yeah? Me? The library is not keeping this one?”

“No. No holy books.”

“OK, sure.”

Then, my husband came up to me and showed me a collection of books on CDs and a couple of DVDs that were also apparently chosen not to be kept.

“Wanna take these home?”

booksAnd I soon realized that the books that were going to be tossed, weren’t necessarily going to be thrown out to the garbage right away, but rather they were going to be left for people in our community to take as they wish.

After which, they would be dumped.

But, they still had a chance to live.

To survive.

And that was something I could accept.

Free books!

So, I put down the broom and starting sifting through the books with everyone else.

Shelving the still-in-good-condition ones.

Placing the others into the boxes.

By the end of the night, my husband and I had a tall collection of books, CDs and DVDs to take home.

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, I guess.

I initially held a belief that all those tossed books were going to be thoughtlessly thrown to the dump.

But, my belief was wrong.

And the truth was, there was another plan that I hadn’t known.

That the library committee didn’t really have much choice in the matter.

That there really is only a limited amount of space that they can work with.

And they were doing their best to get the library moved into its new location so that the community members could take pleasure in it again.

I got stuck on being judgmental, but it’s OK.

I realized that looks can be deceiving.

And that perhaps one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.


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Stuck on a Double Whammy

Last week was winter vacation from school in Israel.

In the past few years, I filled each day of vacation with some sort of fun family-packed event for my kids such as hikes, museums, and festivals. And, as a member of the Israeli National Park system, I’ve been taking my kids to as many as those historical and archeological sites as possible.

And these vacation days are great times to do just that.

But this year, with the recent rise of terrorism and the near-death accident we were in a few weeks ago, I kind of wanted to keep a low profile for the week.

In fact, I didn’t really want to leave the house at all.

I kind of just wanted to sit home and work on writing my book, to be honest.

So, we didn’t go anywhere.

On the first day of vacation, my boys jumped out of bed at dawn (my teenage daughter sleeps in) and screamed, “No school! Yippee!”

They danced around the living room and did hula hoops in their pajamas.

(Makes me kind of wonder, “Is school really that bad?”)

Anyway, after a few more hurrahs and a quick breakfast, the kids asked, “So, what are we doing today?”

“Uh, nothing?” I responded.

“Why?” they quickly retorted.

“Well, because,” I stammered, “we have no plans for this vacation.”

“So, what are we supposed to do?”

Oy vey!

“I don’t know,” I grumbled.

“Find something to do. Play a game. Clean your room. Practice your guitar. Go for a walk.”

They all looked at me quizzically.

Apparently those were not good ideas.

And they had a better one.

Like wrestling on the floor.

Because what else do three young boys do with their free time?

And, in the meantime, I turned on the computer and started compiling the blog posts that would go under the chapter in my book named “Stuck on Desire”.

But, the wrestling only lasted for about ten minutes because invariably one of the kids got hurt in the head.

“It was his fault!” one said.

“But, he started!” the other griped.

“Now what can we do?” they whined.

“We’re bored!” they moaned.

Starting to lose my patience, I responded, “Go up to the basketball court. And don’t forget to take your ball!”

“But, no one is there!” they continued to whine.

“Everyone is on vacation!  Except for us!”

Guilt trip.

“Can we go on the computer?”

“NO! You cannot go on the computer at 8 AM.  You can go on the computer in the afternoon and you know each of your has a time limit on it anyway. GO. FIND. SOMETHING. TO. DO!”

And as for me, back to writing.

Now, what was I thinking about a minute ago?

Sh*t.

I lost it.

And it was such a good thought!

Agh.

And so went my vacation.

I got frustrated with my kids.

And frustrated that I was stuck home with them.

And stuck on wanting to anything other than be stuck in the house with them.

I just wanted to write.

And in the between my kids’ screaming and hollering and whining, I found myself going to the kitchen.

Mindless EatingFor a handful of this and a handful of that.

A latke here.

A jelly doughnut there.

And somehow, between trying to find something for these kids to do and writing down a fragment in my book, I kept returning to the kitchen.

Apparently, all I wanted to do was eat!

I must have been so hungry!

At one point, I almost ate the entire refrigerator!

It was obvious I was stuck on a desire to eat.

Or was there something more hiding behind that?

Somehow the morning passed and in the afternoon when the kids sat down for computer time, I went to my bedroom, lay on my yoga mat, and focused on my breath.

One inhalation, one exhalation.

Two inhalation, two exhalation.

The thought of, “Get off this mat, Shira, and go down for some hot chocolate,” came to mind a few times.

Three inhalation, three exhalation.

My belly felt full.

Overfull.

Which is when I realized that I wasn’t even hungry at all.

And, I wasn’t even hungry then.

All those times that I kept returning to the kitchen for more food wasn’t out of true hunger.

I was eating out of some other emotion.

And it dawned on me that I was eating out of my unsatisfied desire for wanting to work.

(Yes, the irony.  Most people in this world are seeking vacation and here I am desiring to work.)

Four inhalation, four exhalation.

I did a progressive relaxation exercise throughout my body.

And noticed my furrowed eyebrows.

Which I released.

I thought about the concept of needing to work on this book.

And how my kids are just taking away from that precious time.

Five inhalation, five exhalation.

I considered that I don’t really need to work on this book right now.

It can wait.

But my kids can’t.

They’re growing up before my eyes and now is the time to be with them.

After a few more breaths, I got up from my mat and reunited with my kids.

“Who wants to go wall climbing?” I asked.

“Me! Me! Me! Me!” they cried. (My daughter woke up by then.)

And so, we did.

I was reluctant to get into the car, but I did so anyway because my kids were anxious to wall climb.

And, I wanted to be with them.

I got stuck on desire (twice!), but it’s OK.

I am grateful I was able to see past both of them, save my body from any more harm that I already caused it, and savor the rest of the vacation with my kids.


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STUCK on You Did What To Your New Closet??

Today I woke up with an itch to clean the house.

Maybe it’s because I’ve kind of neglected my house over the past few weeks.

Maybe it’s because today is the first day of winter school break, I have no work and I have no activities planned for the kids today.

So, when I woke up, I straight away started to pick up and clean up.

Call me crazy, but that’s what I was doing at 6 AM.

And my two youngest children who were watching me got excited to join in.

(Because who said kids know how to sleep past 6 AM when it’s vacation? And who said kids don’t like to clean the house during their winter break from school?)

“Can we help?” they screamed.

“Uh, sure,” take these cloths and start dusting.

And off they went.

They dusted my bedroom.

They dusted the dining room.

They washed down the front of the refrigerator and the pantry closet.

“What next?” they asked eagerly.

“Uh, your room?” I suggested.

“Why don’t you check out the status of your room? Pick up the clothes off of the floor. Make your beds. You know, just clean up.”

And, off they went.

Two eager beavers.

It was a wonderful sight to see.

Because it doesn’t happen too often.

Or ever.

As I went to wash the dishes, I sung some morning prayers to myself and reminded myself how blessed I am.

I finished the dishes and called the kids over for breakfast.

When they finished eating, I told them to get dressed and I would take them to the playground.

When I cleaned up the breakfast table and did the dishes again (I do the dishes approximately 15 times a day), one of my children called from his room because he needed some help getting dressed.

“Sure, here I come,” I said with a hop and skip.

I looked at my 4-year-old son who was only half dressed.

“How can I help you?”

And then I looked at the floor to ceiling custom-made closet in their bedroom.

The beige one.

The new one.

Coloring on the ClosetThe one with fresh red crayon drawn all over it.

“What is this?” I screamed.

My youngest pointed to my 3rd child and said blamingly, “He told me to do it.”

“What?” I asked, looking at my 3rd child.

“Why would you tell him to color on your closet?”

“Because the closet was clean,” he responded slowly and innocently.

Clean? What are you talking about?” I was dumbstruck.

“Well,” he continued, “I couldn’t clean the front of the closet because it was already clean.  So, we put crayon on it so that we could clean it up.”

I looked at him incredulously.

Did I just hear what I thought I heard?

Is this kid for real?

Furious, I yelled, “Well, clean it up! We are not leaving this house until all of that red is off!” and stormed out of their room.

The audacity!

The chutzpah!

What was he thinking?

Why would he do that?

And in that moment, I had a flashback.

Going back to about 1980 when I was about seven years old.

When my younger brother and I colored on the white walls of the living room in the house I grew up.

With crayon.

Lots of them.

(Though, I don’t think we did it because the walls were looking too clean.  I think I told him to join me because the walls were looking too plain to me. They needed a bit of decorating for my taste.)

Anyway, I won’t ever forget that.

Because I remember getting yelled at.

And not quite understanding what I did that was so terrible.

And I also remember having to clean it up.

IMMEDIATELY!

Yikes!

Back to here.

Stuck on anger with my son.

And I didn’t want to stay stuck on anger with him.

So, I processed.

*****

S. Stop. I stopped and took a deep breath.

T. Tell. I was stuck on anger. I felt it in my face.

U. Uncover. I believed that my kids should know by this age (4 and 7) that coloring on the walls is not acceptable and it’s not an option.

C. Consider. I considered that my son really had no bad intentions. I considered that, as they were in the process of coloring, my son really believed he would be able to remove it easily with his rag, just as he was successful in cleaning up the rest of the house. I considered that they were just being creative, and creativity is something I honor and encourage in my kids. I considered that my sons felt badly and wrong for what they did. I considered, “What’s really the big deal? It’s just a closet.”

I went back into his room and witnessed the two boys working quite hard at getting that color off.

They were giggling while they worked.

My frown turned into a smile.

I told my sons that I was sorry that I yelled at them.

I told them I just reacted automatically in the moment.

And I reminded them we only color on paper, not furniture.

K. OK. I got stuck on anger and it’s ok.  Processing through it helped me notice how I react automatically sometimes and it created space for an apology that I needed to say and that my kids needed to hear.

It also helped remind me that my kids and I don’t always think alike.


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STUCK on You Call Yourself CUSTOMER SUPPORT?

I work for a research company.

One of my jobs is to program surveys.

If the survey is straight forward, it doesn’t require too much thinking on my end.

But, sometimes it gets complicated.

If respondent answers “Yes” to Q2, then he should skip to Q4.

If respondent answers “Yes” to Q2 and “No” to Q4, then he shouldn’t see Page 5.

If respondent answers to being a “teacher”, he should not see Q25.

But, if respondent answers to bring a “teacher” AND he answers that he works “in a day school”, then he should see Q25.

if-then-else-1The logical person that I am, I actually enjoy and feel challenged by some of these algorithms.

To me, they are fun!

Until they don’t work.

At which point it can turn into one big headache.

Yesterday, I was programming one of those challenging surveys for a conference that was currently taking place and ending on Thursday evening.

I felt under pressure to get my work done and have the survey ready to be sent out.

But, “Q16” wasn’t working.

It was supposed to appear only if in “Q15” the respondent answered anything but “not at all”.

But, it wasn’t working.

I checked my logic 1,000 times.

I had it right.

What was going on?

I wrote an email to Support and within minutes they phoned me back.

Thank G-d for Support.

The man who called sounded genuinely happy to help me resolve the issue.

“Let me just take a look. Give me a minute.”

“Sure,” I responded gratefully.

After a minute, he told me to check his work, but it still wasn’t working.

“Nope. Still not working,” I said.

“Oh. Give me another minute.”

So, I hung on, though I started to feel worried.

I hung on for something like three more minutes.

“Ok. Now try it.”

I did.

Still not working.

What is going on here?

Does he not know what he’s doing?

“Let me call you back, ok?”

Fine.

Call me back.

As for assistance on your end, please and get back to me when it’s fixed, will ye?, I said to myself.

I tried to remain patient, but felt myself getting more upset.

He called back five minutes later.

I checked his work.

Not only was Q16 not working, he screwed up the rest of the logic on that page!

Q14, Q15, Q16 and Q17 were not working as programmed!

AGH!!!!!!!

“WHAT. DID. YOU. DO?????? You. messed. up. all. my. work!!!!!!!!” I said in a not so nice manner.

Oh boy, was I stuck.

On frustration.

It’s now or never to process through it.

20151026_050542Stop. I took a deep, long breath.

T Tell. I am stuck on f.r.u.s.t.r.a.t.i.o.n.!!!!!

UUncover. My beliefs?  That support should SUPPORT! That this guy who called me is probably a rookie.  That this really shouldn’t be so complicated to fix. That he shouldn’t have messed up my work!!!!

CConsider. As I began to recognize that my beliefs weren’t entirely true, I was able to consider that:

  • I should be grateful that there is even such a thing called SUPPORT and that someone was available to help the moment I needed it.
  • This guy is on my side. He’s doing his best to help me, not hurt me.
  • He probably has more experience than I’m giving him credit for.
  • That within five minutes tops, he’ll probably figure it out.

KAs I took all of those new beliefs on, he called back within another two minutes saying he thought it finally fixed it.

I checked.

He did.

I knew he would.  😉

I thanked him for his patience.

He thanked me for mine.

I got stuck on frustration, but it’s not the first time.

It’ll happen again.

It’s OK.

I’m just grateful I didn’t hold onto it for too long.