Yesterday, I was feeling massively ‘stuck’ again. I speak to a few people, and that feeling seems to be fairly widespread at the moment. It doesn’t matter what the external circumstances of our lives are, how many kids, projects, jobs, achievements we’re busy racking up, many of us are still feeling kind of empty and ‘stuck’, wondering if we’re ever going to be the people G-d truly designed us to be.
That is happening to me so much at the moment. No matter how much praying, how much writing, how much learning, how much reading, how much effort I make to ‘do’ something, I still feel pretty empty a lot of the time, like I’m not in the place I’m meant to be, internally.
I don’t know how to solve this problem.
Yesterday, I skipped off to the zoo to do another massive praying session. Usually, I come back feeling much calmer, happier, holier, inspired – even if I’m still actually ‘stuck’.
But that didn’t happen yesterday. Yesterday, I prayed my socks off for hours, and I made a big effort to ask G-d to help me be grateful for all my blessings. I came home, and within seconds I felt the most ungrateful I’d felt for months, about everything.
“Look at my rubbish life! Look at my rubbish circumstances! I’m not earning any money! I’m just spinning my wheels! I’m a rubbish mother! I have no idea what G-d wants from me, or how I’m meant to be giving it to Him! I’m stuck, I’m still completely stuck!”
I was also a bit baffled: why was I having such a negative reaction dafka after such a big praying session? I started to think that maybe now, I was also doing hitbodedut wrong, somehow, on top of all other things I’m apparently failing at.
Then I remembered what Rav Arush recently wrote: I have to be happy, even with my spiritual failures.
Then I remembered what Rav Ofer Erez said: when you’re yetzer drags you to those deep places of despair, continue to talk to G-d about it all, and you’re achieving a massive spiritual rectification, even if it doesn’t look like that at all.
So this is what I decided to do: I decided to thank G-d for my chronic, apparently incurable ingratitude and feelings of stuck-ness.
I tried it out this morning, and I could tell my yetzer was completely stumped. I mean, it’s been beating me up for being incurably ungrateful and stuck for years. Now that I was thanking G-d for giving me those problems, it couldn’t really find a way to land any punches on me.
And you know what? I feel so much better! I’m still stuck, Baruch Hashem. I’m still (apparently…) incurably ungrateful. But at least now I’m feeling pretty good about it.
And that’s got to count for something.