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

Five Simple Steps to Emotional Well-Being


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Stuck on We Need a Little Orange in Our House

On Sunday night, I facilitated a S.T.U.C.K. workshop.

We met in a friend’s home on the kibbutz and convened in her living room around the wood-burning stove.

20160120_172722I happen to love meeting in this person’s house.

The environment is cozy, welcoming, and warm.

When the workshop ended and the participants left, I found myself lingering.

As the host and I chit-chatted, I mentioned how much I enjoy sitting in her living room.

Comparing her house to mine, I mentioned that there’s something about my home that just feels cold.

I mean, I know, it’s winter. It’s cold.

But, I mean the overall ambience of our house, specifically our living room feels cold having nothing to do with the temperature outside.

20160119_200943She responded, “Well, sure, you’re house is mostly in the blues. You need some more earthy colors to warm it up.  You need to add some orange.”

Yet, of course, orange. That’s what I need.

So, the next day I measured our windows and while out food shopping, I stopped at a home decor store and picked up some peachy colored curtains for our living room.

I thought it would be perfect for our house and that it would really warm up the living room and make it feel more cozy.

Tonight after dinner, I took the package of curtains and walked into the living room.

My husband asked me what was in the package.

“Well, you know, I was thinking. Our living room feels a little off-balanced color-wise. I think we need some orange and…”

“What about the red yoga mat on the floor?” he interrupted sarcastically.

Huh?

What the heck is he talking about?

What does a yoga mat have to do with anything?

Is my husband for real?

He had no idea what was in the package in my arms.

It could have been artwork.

It could have been a tablecloth.

It could have been a lampshades.

And yet he was being so negative!

He had no idea what I was going to say, but he did know that we didn’t need it.

God I hate when he does that.

But, I stopped.

I took a deep breath.

He’s triggering me again.

And I’m not gonna get triggered.

I think I can. I think I can.

I ignored my husband’s comic remark and went on with checking if these curtains would look good in the living room.

I took them out of the package and held them up to the windows.

But, he continued. “We don’t need curtains. Why are you being so stubborn? They’ll cover up the sun and light that comes through from the southern windows which we really enjoy. And curtains don’t even fit on bay windows. How do you think people are going to be able to sit there if curtains will be hanging on top of the seat?”

Hmph.

I was so stuck on frustration.

And my daughter noticed my frustrated face.

She came up to me and acknowledged my efforts. She told me she loved the curtains and she thanked me for caring about what our house looks like.

I love my daughter.

But, stuck, I knew I needed to “stop” again.

I left the scene.

I took out my S.T.U.C.K. workbook and walked into one of my kid’s rooms.

I sat down on the bed and started to process.

I wrote down my beliefs about this story and came up with new considerations.

But the time I reached “K”, I already felt the situation was resolved and that I was ready to move on.

And then, my husband walked into the room and sat down next to me.

He put his arm around me and apologized for speaking to me the way he did.

Thank God for my daughter. 

At least he listens to her!

Then, he looked over at my pad and paper and said, “What’s this?”

And he read out loud:

20160119_200654“Emotion – Frustration.”

“Is this about me?” he asked.

“He never listens,” he continued to read.

Which brought a smile to his face.

“He always interrupts.”

He started to giggle.

“He’s cheap.”

“Why am I cheap? I’m not cheap!” he said emphatically.

“He doesn’t care about, about… what does this say? I can’t read your handwriting. Oh, aesthetics.”

He let out a guffaw.

Which made me laugh in return.

And together, we couldn’t stop laughing.

It was really a funny moment.

Probably one of the funniest moments we’ve had together in a long time.

He tried to read my chicken scratch of considerations, but he couldn’t make them out.

It didn’t matter that I wrote that maybe he was right that the curtains wouldn’t fit on a bay window, or that orange curtains won’t necessarily make me happier, or that I just caught him by surprise (which made him stuck!) and that we could actually move on with my curtain idea as long as we discussed it together – like a partnership.

I chose one of those considerations and got out of the muck.

And for me, the cherry on top was, he apologized!

There is a God!

I got stuck on desire.

It happens.

I often times get stuck on believing that my desires will lead to happiness, but after processing through them I’m able to see the broader picture.

That desires are impermanent and that they cannot bring me to happier place than I already am.

Because happiness is something that comes from within.

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S.T.U.C.K. in the Torah (Shemot)

S.T.U.C.K. is not a chidush.

The ideas behind it can be found in psychology and in Eastern philosophy.

S.T.U.C.K. is just another way, (a useful, effective, and reliable way, albeit), to provide a person tools to cope with and move on from challenging life situations.

Apparently, it can also be found in the Bible.

I realized this for the first time when my 10-year-old son was giving a d’var Torah at our dinner table on Friday night.

In the portion, a new king rose over Egypt who got stuck on fear by the growth of Israel.

The Jews were becoming too numerous and too strong and Pharaoh enslaved them with crushing harshness.

(Pharaoh did not get know about S.T.U.C.K. apparently.)

Having failed to stop Jewish growth through backbreaking work and slavery, Pharaoh proposed a more blatant form of destruction.

To kill all Jewish male babies.

“Every son that will be born – into the River shall you throw him! And every daughter shall you keep alive!” (Exodus, 1:22).

(Boy, was Pharaoh stuck!!!)

In one midrash, (P’sekta Rabbatai, 40:3), Amram, then the father of Miriam and Aaron, said he didn’t want to have any more children because of the horrible decree, and therefore expelled his wife, Yocheved, from the house.

Because Amram was so well-respected among the Hebrews, the nation of Israel followed suit.

In fact, the Nation of Israel divided into two camps: Men and Women.

Now, little Miriam, wise beyond her years, is watching all of this and believes it is not right.

And my S.T.U.C.K. midrash would go something like this:

“But what should I do?”

“I’m afraid to open my mouth and tell my father my thoughts.”

“I’m just a little kid who doesn’t understand much about life.”

“I’m only 6 years old!”

“Maybe I should keep my mouth closed and not say a word.”

“I don’t deserve to have an opinion on this.”

But, Miriam recognized she was stuck on fear and reflected on her beliefs.

She recognized that she did have a right to think and form opinions.

She also acknowledged that when she witnesses wrongful actions, she should not remain quiet.

She considered that the worst thing that could happen by opening her mouth is that her father would get upset.

And the best thing that could happen is that she saves this nation.

So, she spoke up.

“Dad, can I speak to you about the Pharaoh’s recent decree?” she asked gently and respectfully.

“As far as I understand, the decree only regards the baby boys, and not baby girls.”

“If we stay separated into two camps,  our nation and future generations will be doomed!”

“Please, will you reconsider?”

Amram listened mindfully and accepted her words.

And the two camps came back together.

miriam-with-mosesAnd because of Miriam’s courage, her brother, Moses, was born and ultimately saves the Jewish People from slavery.

Miriam got stuck on fear.

But, it’s ok.

By processing through it, she recognized that even a little child can help bring Redemption.

And for that, she and the entire Jewish people, are grateful.

And I, to my son, who brought S.T.U.C.K. in the Torah to my attention.

Glossary:

chidush – a new concept.

d’var Torah – a talk relating to a section of the Torah

midrash – stories taught by rabbinic sages that provide intrinsic analysis to passages in the Torah,