One of the things I'm noticing is that, because I am so disciplined most of the time, if I pull back and give myself and others a little slack now and then, it can actually lighten things up really quickly without making everything lose focus completely.
I've also been opening up my ears (as I remain centered in my awareness) and am overhearing a number of faculty expressing discontent about changes that are going on in my university.
There are also a few things that felt particularly good in the last day or so. One was taking a break, even though I may not have completely finished whatever task I had been working on. Yesterday that included taking a walk on the trail. There was practically no one there, which was great.
Another was reading some poetry by Dane Rudhyar. I'm finding that his words bring back awareness to my heart that other types of reading rarely do.
Along those lines, too, is my practice of salat and my memories of reading the Qur'an (which I'm not currently reading). I appreciate the experiences I had while reading Vaishnavite, Shakta, and Shaivite scriptures (Bhagavad Gita, Devi Mahatmya, and Rudri), but there is something about the Qur'an that keeps drawing me back. One of the things that is helping me approach Islam again with greater confidence is the notion of failed ideologies as discussed by Badiou and Žižek. They typically focus on Communism and other political ideologies, but their example somehow makes it easier to approach pre-modern ideologies as well. There is something about the funkiness of the clash between pre-modern and post-modern ideologies, especially within a progressive Muslim context, that I find particlarly stimulating. I would contrast this with the more typically liberal mystical approach that used to be my main focus. As my confidence in the benign and necessary nature of liberalism (as I had previously known it) continues to wear thin, it begins to look more and more as if the groups I was associated with offered a kind of apologetics for the status quo that I now find confining, self-deluding, and uninspiring.
Finally, another factor that helped today was dealing with young people--some of whom I clearly like more than others.
OK, now to bed. Tomorrow I need to have some more meetings and then hit the road for another conference. Best part of that is having some time in a hotel room to myself.