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

Five Simple Steps to Emotional Well-Being


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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 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.


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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.


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STUCK on REJECTION

I’m starting a business.

It’s called “Yoga at Work“.

It goes like this: People who sit hours on end in front of the computer experience pain (repetitive stress injury, head/neck/back pain, headaches, etc.) and stress (both physical and mental) on a regular basis.

Research supports this evidence.

My idea (similar to the business I had in S.F.) is to provide on-site yoga classes during the work day to such employees, educating them and giving them the tools to reduce the pain and stress they experience at work.

The hard part, of course, is to sell the idea.

Even though I’m not 100% ready (still finalizing the website, business cards, flyers, etc.), I started to pitch my ideas to companies last week.

And, voila, one company invited me in to get more information.

I was amazed at how quickly there was a “catch”.

So, I got all dress-up in a business-like way, yoga mat in hand, and drove over to Nazareth to meet with the HR person of this 130 person hi-tech company.

And, how did it go?

Incredulously smoothly.

As if I were preaching to the choir.

In fact, it couldn’t have gone easier.

I said my price.

It was accepted as reasonable.

Would there be space for me to teach such classes at this company?

Yes, in the room that is designated as the “prayer” room that is used several times a day by the employees.

The HR person assured me her bosses would go for it.

And, she would get back to my the following week.

So, I waited.

Patiently.

Though, quite convinced there would be no issues.

But, the call that I received today was not what I expected.

“A no starter”, were her words this morning.

But, she was rushing into a meeting, and I’d only be able to speak to her again at 5 PM.

To say the least, I was quite disappointed.

For the entire day.

How did this happen?

I thought it was a shoe-in!

What went wrong?

Wallowing in self-pity, I thought maybe I’ll just forget this business idea.

And just go back to bed for the day.

Or better yet, have a cookie.  Who needs this “no-sugar” stuff anyway?

Agh.

But, alas, I caught myself.

Stuck on rejection.

And, so I stopped for a moment and took a breath. (S)

And told myself how it feels to be rejected, especially in a new business venture. (T)

And, looking underneath this all, I saw fear.  Fear of failure. (U)

Then, I realized I could change perspective. (C)

Maybe there was a good reason that the company rejected me?

I’ll stay open and calm and friendly when I have this conversation at 5 PM.

And, reminded myself that it’s ok to get stuck.  (K)

So…. I picked up the phone to find out what happened.

Apparently the HR person was still gung-ho on the idea and her bosses were as well.

Yet, when she checked in with her employees, she found no interest.

Her claim is that because the company is 90% Arab, (and about 1/3 of that women), there is much less awareness of things like yoga in their world.

And, even after offering to come in and do a free trial class, she was quite persistent that it wouldn’t come to anything.

So, instead of being upset, I just saw it as an opportunity:

That I had a chance to present myself at a company,

That it pushed me to move other things forward that have been lagging behind,

and for meeting a fantastic HR person, who apparently has friends that she’d be quite happy to share my business idea with.

And with that, I hung up the phone happy and smiling… laughing at the irony of this whole scenario:

While I thought it would be a struggle to convince HR people to give me a chance to come in and show them what I have, here it was the employees that didn’t want to give me the time of day.

Oh well.

Another day of learning.

And, tomorrow’s another day for more.