It seems I have lost a large degree of the protection and grace of God but I fear to make future commitments to improve myself -- because past commitments I have not kept. And even when I do make some commitment to improve in some area of sin or personal character flaw, I find it never seems to work.
The whole idea really comes from Musar: אין יסורים בלי עוון. ''There are no problems without sin.'' [This brought by Rabbainu Yona in the Shaari Tehuva from the Gemara in tractate Shabat.]
Of course, that does not mean sins are the causes of the problems as Job, and King David and Schopenhauer noticed. But rather it means that when one is truly keeping the holy Torah like Rav Yaakov Abuchatzaira or the Gra there is a special level of Divine protection.
I actually believe sincerely that I had this Divine protection and light for all the years I was in Safed but now it is quite lost.