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

Five Simple Steps to Emotional Well-Being


Leave a comment

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.

Advertisements


Leave a comment

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.


13 Comments

Stuck on SHARE MY STRESS!

Mornings are often difficult in my household.

There’s so much to do to get 4 kids out of bed, ready for school, and out the door on time.

And this is a never relaxing experience.

******

06:45.

T-minus 40 minutes and counting.

Wake up the kids.

(Except for the two younger ones who are up when the rooster crows.)

My daughter gets up without any problems, which I am oh, so forever grateful for.

My older son?

I just turn on the lights on his room with a cheery, “Good morning!”, then strip the bed of all his covers at which point, he screams at me.

“NO!!!!!!!!!!”

“LET. ME. SLEEP!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Why, oh why, is this such a struggle every morning?

Perhaps I should be putting them all to bed by six in the evening.

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

06:50.

T-minus 35 minutes and counting.

Get kids dressed.

Which 3 of the 4 can do quite well now on their own.

Picture 024

But, one child claims he doesn’t know how to.

Which, of course, he can.

He just doesn’t want to.

And, he’d rather bury his face in the sofa chair and cry about it rather than unzipping his sleeper to get the process going.

And while this hysterical scene is going on, another kid cries he can’t find matching socks.

And another one can’t find one shoe.

“Well, shouldn’t it be where it belongs?”I half whine.

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

07:00.

T-minus 25 minutes and counting.

And, I’m already feeling like I need some help around here.

Picture 019“Husband, where are you?” I call from the kitchen.

No answer.

None.

So, I try to stay on track without losing it.

I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.

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

Time for make the doughnuts breakfast.

And time to pray that the children arrive to the table without their pajamas on.

Picture 036

One child wants this bowl.

Another child wants that spoon.

This one wants this cereal, this one wants that one.

I do not like green eggs and ham.  I do not like them, Sam I Am.

Picture 034

And this one just complains, “There’s nothing ever to eat for breakfast in this house!”

So, naturally, he goes to the refrigerator, opens it, and stands there.

Looking.

Staring.

What dear G-d is going on in his mind?

Invariably, he shuts the refrigerator door and returns to the table empty handed with a droopy face.

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

07:10

T-minus 15 minutes and counting.

As I continue with the morning routine, pouring second helpings of cereal, picking up dropped spoons, cleaning up spilled milk, filling up cups of water, I turn to look at the empty lunch boxes that need to be filled.

Picture 040But, wait!

One child is calling to get his butt wiped.

Why, I don’t know.

He’s 4.

But, he still asks, and I still acquiesce.

But, yikes!

The lunches need to be made!!!

And I’m running out of time!

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

07:15.

T-minus 10 minutes and counting.

Picture 023

3 elementary school lunches!  (Or, as it were in Israel, the 10 o’clock meals).

Which consist of a sandwich and a fruit/vegetable on the side.

And, of course, this one wants a pita and this one wants a roll.

This one wants tahini and this one hates tahini.

This one prefers peanut butter and this one only wants jelly.

And I’m about to tear my hair out.

I look up again calling out to my husband.

Picture 019 Hello?????

Anybody there????

I’m going a little crazy down here.

And would love some help.

I’m running out of time.

They’re going to miss the bus!!

Hello?????

No answer.

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

07:20.

T-minus 5 minutes and counting.

As I frantically put the lunches in each school bag, and notice some of the kids are still half dressed and some have dried milk all over their mouths and one can’t find his kippah, and the other still can’t find his lost shoe, and, and…

And I’m literally feeling like I’m going to lose it…

Guess who shows up?

Picture 037Striding right in.

Cool as a cat.

All calm.

And refreshed.

Showered, dressed, and having undisturbed bathroom time.

With not an ounce of stress in his body.

Smiling ear to ear.

And, instead of hearing “Good morning, honey.  What can I do to help?”

I hear, “I just put a load of laundry in.”

Which in other words means, “Soon after you get the kids off to school, you’ll have to hang the laundry (since we don’t have a drying machine) before you start your work.” (I work from home.)

WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

I couldn’t handle hearing that.

I didn’t want to hear that.

I started to cry.

And he started at me as if I were crazy.

“Are you ok? I just said I turned the laundry machine on.”

And, I started to attack.

“Laundry? How can I think of laundry? I’ve got 3 kids needing to get to the bus, another kid needing to get to gan, lunches half made, bags not ready, a kitchen full of dishes…

And you’re talking about laundry?????”

SHARE MY STRESS WON’T YOU??!?

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

Yes, I got stuck.

Naturally.

But, only for a few minutes.

Because once the kids left and I calmed down (read: once I stopped ranting and raving), and I took a deep breath, I was able to acknowledge what was underneath all of this.

My frustration that my husband is not sharing in my stress.

And, at the time, I really felt I wanted him to be participating in my stress.

Because, as my kids remind me, it’s not fair!!!!

Why should I be carrying all the morning stress alone?

Whoever claimed this was my role?

But, I came to another perspective.

I don’t really want my husband to share my stress.

He’s got enough of it of his own, with his business, and with supporting a family of six.

And he certainly wouldn’t want me to share the stress that he has in his life.

And so instead, I asked him to help me figure out a way to lower the morning stress that’s in our household every morning.

To which we brainstormed together:

Wake the kids up earlier.

Picture 035Teach them prepare their own lunches in the morning (or even perhaps the night before).

Pick out their clothes (and socks and shoes) before they go to bed and make sure their bags are ready to go the night before.

Remind them that the chalkboard hanging in the kitchen is there for a reason.  If there’s a food they want in the house and we don’t have it, take responsibility and write it down.  Most likely, we’ll pick it up (as long as it’s not some utterly bad for your health processed food with 1,000 ingredients in it).

Encourage self-care (and remind them that if they know how to wipe their butt in their own in kindgergarten, they can certainly wipe their butt at home).

***********

Which is what I did.

And after this processing experience, life became a lot less stressful in the mornings.

And now I’m able to respond to the “I just put a load of laundry in” with a half chuckle, smile, and a hug.

and And I love you right up to the moon.  AND BACK.


7 Comments

Stuck in the Middle East

I’m stuck in the Middle East.

By choice, that is.

By choosing to make aliyah (immigrate) to Israel 5 years ago.

Over the past few weeks I have found myself stuck on so many things, that I don’t even know where to begin going about resolving them:

Stuck on utter sadness when 3 innocent, young Israeli boys were kidnapped by the terrorist organization, Hamas;

Stuck on hope that that situation would end in a fairy tale kind of way.

Stuck on pure grief when the news unfolded otherwise;

Stuck on sick when the mother of one of the suspected murderers praised her son for his actions;

Stuck on disbelief when some people concluded that if the Jewish people weren’t in the West Bank to begin with, none of this would have ever happened;

Stuck on complete disgust and embarrassment by the burning alive of an innocent Palestinian boy by an Israeli Jew;

Stuck on anger and enrage for Hamas firing hundreds of rockets on Israel;

Stuck on concern for all innocent Israelis (the children are mostly in my mind) who, during their summer vacations, are running to bomb shelters innumerable times a day instead of running around free and wild like children should be doing on these hot, summer days;

Stuck on incredulity with the astonishingly high number of everyday citizens (doctors, lawyers, teachers, hi-tech employees, etc.) who are being called up to the reserves;

neomi and family

Stuck on amazement that I even personally know some of these men – like my kibbutz friend, who in his regular life is the CFO of an educational center, but when he’s called up to service is a battalion commander – now serving on the border with Gaza – and for all I know is inside Gaza at this very moment;

And stuck on overwhelm, gratitude, and pride for his (and their) undying service and commitment to this country;

Stuck on sorrow with how many kibbutz girlfriends have instantly turned into single mothers over the past few weeks;

And stuck on total amazement with how quickly grandparents revert back into parenting once again while they replace their beloved sons/sons-in-law who are fighting for this country;

Stuck on disbelief when I hear radio broadcasters interrupting songs to announce when and where a siren is being blasted in the country (to prepare citizens for the falling of a rocket) and to remind people of what to do in those circumstances (i.e. like what to do if a siren sounds and you are driving in a car).

Stuck on heartache for all the innocent deaths (on both sides);

Stuck on despair because Hamas is more powerful in trying to bring down Israel than the non-Hamas Palestinians are on trying to creating a flourishing community – so many years after Israel left Gaza;

Stuck on bleakness for all the life cycle events, like weddings and funerals, that are disturbed because of rockets aimed at killing them;

Stuck on inspiration and hope by the Beersheva couple who named their newborn baby (Tzuk Eitan) after the name of the current operation (in English: Operation Protection Edge).

And stuck on synchronicity that the first soldier to die in this battle was also named Eitan.

And stuck on never wanting to let go of hugging my own son.

Aitan.

Stuck on worry about the new Gaza ground operation.

Stuck on startled when another and yet another and yet another fighter jet zooms over my head.

Stuck on despair for the thousands of wandering Israeli Bedouins who live in tents and have no siren system nor protection from incoming rockets from Gaza.

Stuck on anguish when I hear my Tel Aviv friends having to wake up their children in the middle of the night in order to escape to the “safe room” (and hence, losing sleep night after night).

Stuck on “Thank G-d” for the Iron Dome.  (More accurately, Stuck on Thank G-d for giving the Israelis the wisdom and ability to create the Iron Dome.)

Stuck on sadness that we, on this kibbutz in the north, are preparing our “safe rooms” – just in case.

Stuck on frustrated that these seem to be the only topics of conversations that are spoken and being heard of over and over and over again.

Stuck on disgust that my children have to experience all of this.

And yet stuck on the opportunity to remind them what we are fighting for.

Stuck on guilty for even considering to enjoy myself at my weekly singing group or supporting the chosen word “happiness” as the focus for my Friday morning yoga class today.

Stuck on helpless.

Stuck on wanting to help.

(By the way, anyone from the South want to come up North? We have a spare room for you.)

Stuck on concern that I’m not the only one in this country living this emotional roller coaster.

And stuck on what impact living under so much stress can have on individuals, families, and a national as a whole.

Stuck on steadfast that this is where my home is.

And stuck on having no plans on leaving anytime soon.

Stuck on worry – will this ever end?

Stuck on skepticism that it won’t.

Stuck on wanting “S.T.U.C.K.” to “work” on the macro-level just like it seems to work for me on the micro-level so that “S.T.U.C.K.” can resolve this conflict.

Yet, “S.T.U.C.K.” is very one-sided.

It’s about working on my side.

Not yours.

Because I want to relate better with you (or another person or experience).

But, that’s problematic when the other side’s vision is to see your death.

So, obviously, “S.T.U.C.K.” isn’t really appropriate here.

And then I get stuck again.


2 Comments

STUCK on DESPAIR

This week, I went from being “stuck on rejection” to being “stuck on despair”.

With my business.

Yoga at Work.

After many, many rejections and a handful of potential clients that fell through, this past week I just lost it.

“Really, Shira, wouldn’t it just be so much easier to get a ‘regular’ paying job?”

“What’s all this effort for anyway?”

“Do you really think you’re going to make something out of this business idea?”

“You’re in Israel, don’t forget.  Not America.  It’s a different culture.  Different lifestyle.”

“How long can you emotionally last pursuing this business idea?”

“How long can you afford to do this without seeing a single shekel week after week?”

Until I realized that I was just stuck.

On despair.

despair

And so, I just “S” – STOPPED.

And did nothing.

Didn’t react.

Didn’t anticipate.

Didn’t prepare.

Didn’t plan.

Didn’t make any phone calls.

Just paused.

On purpose.

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

And just sitting there brought me back to myself.

To a place of quiet and a feeling of complete presence.

To a reduction of my temporary stress.

To a feeling of gratitude for this mindfulness practice.

To a realization of “doing exactly just this… sitting… breathing… de-stressing… is exactly what I want to be doing with my life and bringing to others… just like I did in the States.”

And, acknowledging that it will just take some more time, plenty of patience, and an open mind.

And, it will take mindfully listening to the reasons of rejections and seeing them as opportunities to improve my marketing strategy and business plan.

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

Funny, how time and time again, I forget to stop.

I rush to find solutions or try to change my perspective on things way before I even give myself a second to just pause.

And, why do I do that?

Probably because I don’t practice enough “intentionally sitting/meditation” on a regular basis which would otherwise create that “well” of experience and wisdom within me.

And so, when I need to pause, I don’t even consider looking for it.

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

And so that is my aspiration for this upcoming Sabbath.

To make dedicated and holy time to just pause.

On purpose.

And do nothing else.

Except be.