Listen. Extend professional respect. Listen some more.
After about two years’ working for my current employer, I received a promotion. The change altered the chain of command in my small department. Before I was promoted, I had been one of two in my position, working under a manager and supervisor. But after moving up to a newly created senior position, I would have some authority over the person who previously shared my position and had even been hired several months before me.
Listen. Value all contributions. Smile. Keep listening.
Though this coworker had not sought the promotion as I did, I was acutely aware of the need for sensitivity in establishing the new lines of authority. I sensed that nothing could be more important in making the transition successful than honoring this coworker and being sensitive to how the shift impacted her. I had experienced a similar challenge at a job about 20 years earlier, and suddenly being the boss of someone who had seniority in my same job required the same sensitivity. The difference was that I didn’t have any experience with Mussar then, and I certainly didn’t appreciate the importance of honor (kavod) in making the transition smooth.
The New Chevrah: Professional Development and Networking for Facilitators
Have you ever led a Mussar course? Do you wish to advance your professional skills in that area? What if there were a way to connect with others who are facilitating Mussar courses, both within The Mussar Institute and elsewhere?
Chevrah is a network for Mussar facilitators that supports you in your spiritual and professional growth as a Mussar practitioner and group leader. The Mussar Institute is launching a new subscription version of Chevrah in response to the needs of facilitators both within our TMI community and outside who are interested in connecting with others who “speak the same Mussar language.”
As a member of Chevrah, you will experience unique and custom-made learning opportunities that advance your professional skills in va’ad leadership and increase your connection with one another. You are invited to participate in monthly online professional development meetings called “Drop-In” sessions, receive a monthly newsletter, and have access to resources. You can read about the benefits of joining Chevrah and see a range of session topics here. Click here for a program description and you can sign up here.
We are pleased that so many have already decided to join and hope that you, too, will do so if you find the opportunity relevant for you. If you have comments or suggestions, please email Ruth Schapira.
Mussar practice retreat: Could your spiritual practice use a charge? Looking for ways to connect to a greater good? Seeking community with other souls on your path? Awakening Hearts and Minds: A Musssar Practice Intensive is a three-day workshop that will boost your spirit and send you home with new practices to sustain your growth for months to come. The dates are May 6–9, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri. Registration is now open.
WEBINAR SERIES: The Mussar Institute kicked off its 2018 webinar series “Calming the Storm: Mussar Practices for the Heart and Soul in Troubling Times” in January with Alan Morinis leading “Meditation as Mussar Practice.” The series continues on February 25 at 1 pm Eastern with “Visualization/Contemplation” led by Chasya-Uriel Steinbauer. All webinars will be recorded, so you can watch them all!
VIDEO BLOG: Think you’ve heard something once and that’s all you need? Think again. Watch Chaim Safren’s short Mussar video, “The Canyon Again!” to learn why.
The Nefesh HaRav program launched January 7 to 10 with a retreat for the rabbis beginning the year-long program. The cohort and teachers (from left): Sharon Mars, Michael Satz, Avi Fertig, Nachshon Carmi, Alan Morinis, Harvey Winokur, Dov Gartenberg, Dan Alexander, and Michelle Pearlman.
The Practice Corner
True listening means hearing more than just what is said — it means hearing the message behind the words — listening with our hearts.
There is another important aspect of attentive listening. The message must be contemplated in light of our personal lives. We must contemplate, not just tear off after what we have heard.
Whom will you meet today who does not have something to teach you? They may be the FedEx driver or the café waitress, but they, too, are neshamas imbued with elements of wisdom of their own. If you listen. If you incline your ear. Inclining your ear to hear teaching with depth and attention is something you can will yourself to do today by being attentive to everyone you meet along your way.
Incline your ear to hear the deeper messages in what people express to you. The more you do this, the better you will get to be at doing it. Finally, contemplate the message in light of your own personal life. Is there something practical from what you heard that can be incorporated into your own experience? As always, journal about your practice.
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