Dear Chana Jenny: I’m Feeling Stuck in the Mud

Dear Chana Jenny: I’m Feeling Stuck in the Mud

Dear Chana Jenny, I’d like to ask your opinion. I can’t think of anyone else who will maybe understand what I mean, so I hope you have time to answer

I was always easygoing and popular in school and opinionated and artistic. I loved seminary and afterwards taught Torah to 10th grade girls for one year (while in college for accounting). Then, thank G-d, I got married 10 years ago. Since then, I’ve been getting used to being married, running a house, cooking, CLEANING (I’m still horrible at this one), working, having and raising our 4 children, etc.

Recently I’ve been feeling, though, like I want to “shine” and I can’t because I’m bogged down with life…do you understand what I mean by that? I feel like I can grow, learn, even discuss, but that I’m not shining.

I don’t mean being the center of attention, I never was that, but I mean feeling like I’m shining from inside.

I try to find myself outlets but they don’t seem to help. Maybe they are in the wrong direction.

Can you understand what I mean? Do you have any advice?

Thanks so much, Devori from Jerusalem
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Dear Devori,

Thanks for your question. And yes, I do know what you mean. I think that what you are feeling is extremely common among mothers. Without noticing, our lives get taken over by the demands of home, children, and work, and we end up feeling dried up, like we aren’t passionate about anything anymore.

I think that the best advice I ever got on this issue came from my teacher Rabbi Aryeh Nivin (click here to sign up for a free 4-week trial of Rabbi Nivin’s life-altering Personal Development Chaburas).

Rabbi Nivin explained that every Jew has a Universal Life’s Purpose to keep the Torah and perform the mitzvot. But in addition, the Arizal taught that every single person has a yeud or a Divinely-mandated PERSONAL purpose in life that is completely unique to him or her. This means that, according to the Slonimer Rebbe, you can keep all the Torah and the Mitzvot, but if you haven’t fulfilled your life’s purpose, then you are missing one of the major reasons why G-d created you in the first place. Knowing your life’s purpose provides tremendous joy and happiness. It can illuminate life’s dark and confused moments and provide much-needed clarity.

In other words, identifying your life’s purpose can enable you to shine.

So how do you figure out what your unique life’s purpose is? Rabbi Nivin provided two tools:

1. Write a list of the ten most powerfully pleasurable experiences of your life. See if there are any patterns in what has brought your pleasure. When doing this exercise, avoid universally pleasurable experiences such as your wedding day or having a new baby. Look for experiences that might be connected to your life purpose.

2. Imagine that you will be given $500,000 a week to spend however your wish. You cannot save the money, and all of your personal needs and the needs of your family have already been taken care of. What would you spend the money on? Your choice of where you would spend the money is usually a good indication of what your life purpose is.

Once you figure out your unique life’s purpose, I think that it would be very helpful for you to incorporate your purpose into your regular weekly schedule. G-d willing, through identifying and fulfilling your unique purpose, you will be able to feel once again like you are shining.

With blessings, Chana Jenny

To learn more about the tools for determining your life’s purpose, watch this video:

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2 comments

  1. This is such good advice. B”H, I’ve been married for three years and have amazingly been fortunate to find musicians where I live that I can play and perform with. It’s been a tremendous source of growth and brachah. IY”H, I hope Devori finds her way to shine!

  2. This is great advice. I’m not yet a mother (iy”H in the right time), but just a new kallah, and I’m already struggling with this. My biggest struggle at the moment is redefining my career plans post-becoming frum, and all the more so now that I’m a wife. My career and identity were once so intertwined as my “life purpose,” as I was once planning to become a rabbi, but now it seems like everything is up in the air!

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