It was a stressful time for me, perhaps one of the most stressful times since I left the corporate world six years ago. I was trying to raise money for a Mussar app called the Pocket Mensch, and we were falling short. I was overwhelmed, felt alone, and felt cut off from my Mussar practice. I asked myself, “What is going on? Isn’t Mussar supposed to help me here?” The Evil Inclination had the upper hand, and was feeding me messages that Mussar was useless. Glad to say that there is Mussar solution to stress.
Mussar helped, but, I had to fight to get myself back on track. Here are three soul traits that were impacted by my stress. By focusing on them, I found balance and healing.
Order as a Mussar solution to stress
Order is the Soul Trait that governs planning, how we structure our lives, as well as the very organization of our thoughts. Stress makes me miss appointments, ignore my to do list and lose things. Then I get frustrated and embarrassed. For me, Order is the canary in a coal mine. When Order breaks down, it is a signal to slow down. I started looking for simple ways to bring just a bit more order to my life, like putting things away immediately. And, I focused on slowing down and planning my day. Finally, I tried to get back to meditating. Just a few days of short meditations helped a lot.
Humility as a Mussar solution to stress
Humility out of balance leads to an excessive focus on the self. In my mind, it was all about me. No one would help me. It was unfair; I was sunk and doomed. Sound familiar? (Hope so, I’d hate to think I am the only one who gets this way.) I made a conscious effort to stop complaining, and to start asking for help. My family helped at home, and I others helped with the work-related stuff. The reality is that we are not alone. We all have people there to help us. (Not sure who to ask? Send me an email and I’ll try to help you.)
Trust as a Mussar solution to stress
Trust is short for Trust in God. If you are unsure of the Divinity, think of it as Trusting the Universe. Most things work out far better than our fear says they will. Something that seems awful today may have a kernel of good that will to something awesome.
Normally Trust is a source of strength for me, but when I was overwhelmed, it seemed like an alien concept. I don’t think the Trust was gone, it was simply blocked by the Evil Inclination.
Fighting and willing myself to Trust did no good, and just led to more frustration. Finally, I just let go, and decided to stop worrying about the outcome of the crowdfunding campaign. At 3 in the morning, I bolted awake with a sense of peace and Trust. And, I had a fully formed plan in my head to create the app for far less money. I took a few notes, went back to sleep, and then woke to find a text from a supporter waiting for me. It was a sign from the Universe.
Gratitude as a Mussar solution to stress
Gratitude is a bonus. Mussar teaches to be grateful for the good and the bad. It was hard for me to do either. Then, I read what I wrote in the 15 minutes of gratitude challenge earlier in the year. I realized that I have so much in my life, which helped immensely.
Today I feel so Grateful that almost 100 people contributed to the crowdfunding campaign, for my family, and for my cats. And I am grateful to my Mussar practice and community that helped me get back on track.
Want to start your own Mussar journey? Take the Soul Trait Profile Quiz now.