Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Process Not Perfection

I never used to think this, but unfortunately, whoever said, "It's about the process" was right.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Real vs. Perceived Time

In her guest appearance on the podcast On Being, mindfulness researcher Ellen Langer makes a startling assertion:
What matters, real or perceived time? To me, it would be perceived time.
She proceeds to use an example about sleep, that is, when a subject believes that he or she has gotten enough sleep, that belief can influence the way the person's day will proceed.

I've tried it, and she's right: what we believe about time and how we use it is a lot more flexible than we tend to imagine. Here are a few other examples (from my life, because that's what's accessible to me):
  1. When I think about a task and it taking a certain amount of time, it will expand or contract to fill the time that I have decided it will take. This phenomenon explains how, senior year of college, I managed to write a philosophy paper in an hour and get an A on it.
  2. This morning, as I was running on a treadmill, I decided that I could run for a mile at a certain pace--well, as I got past the 3/4 mile mark, I felt like I was barely going to make it. However, I'm pretty certain that if I had made myself run 2 miles at that pace I could probably have done it; my mind was convinced that the 1 mile was all I had in me. I'm going to test the 2-mile hypothesis out on Friday.
  3. What about the well-documented experience of calling an old friend and it feeling like no time has passed since you last saw her? Or (as I did this year) going to your college homecoming and just picking up with friends seamlessly. Thinking long and hard, no pun intended, about exactly how long it has been since you've seen someone can make it feel a bit daunting to reconnect, while leaving the question of time aside can make the experience easy and natural.
You can probably think of more applications to this principle (the flexibility of perceived time). The point is, you're in control of how you perceive time and how you internalize your beliefs about the speed that something is occurring or the length of time it may take. You can make it easier on yourself by shifting your mindset about time and how it affects you.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

New Year's Resolutions I'm Making for You


  • Eat 1 or more green vegetables . . . a year
  • Travel more and take fewer selfies
  • Drink 200% more water than you currently do (32 oz water bottle is your friend)
  • Make banana bread

Physical Appearance

  • Buy new clothes that actually fit you
  • Smile more
  • Get rid of that awful facial hair (men)
    • OR
  • Grow out your too-short hair (women)

Social Media

  • Post fewer photographs of your children on social media
  • Stop posting YouTube videos longer than 5 minutes on social media
  • Stop stalking your ex on social media


  • Stop running
    • AND/OR
  • Stop holding on


  • Pray 1 or more prayers for my soul . . . a day
  • Write to your friend who is in religious life
  • Start listening to the Catholic Stuff You Should Know podcast

Friday, December 15, 2017

Thoughts on Highway Driving

Note: This post may contain strong pro-Texas statements; if for some reason you cannot stomach these, you may not want to read further.

Having completed a full week (five business days) of the longest commute of my life, I am now ready to give you my thoughts on highway driving in general, as well as on I-25 between Denver and Fort Collins specifically. I can't promise my thoughts are in any way fully formed or well-organized, but I definitely have them. I also have prayers, prayers to my guardian angel to keep me safe out there!

First, let me address by far the most frustrating occurrence on any highway in any place: slow drivers in the left lane. I have had to come to terms with this phenomenon and to start to look at root causes and possible solutions. Unfortunately, the root cause is the most dangerous facet of my commute and what makes me take it deathly seriously: lackadaisical driving or lack of awareness of what you are doing when you are on the road.

I was raised to be very aware of what I'm doing on the road, especially when I'm going 60, 70, or 80+ mph on the highway, and in fact for Texan drivers this is the norm. You know where you are and where other drivers are on the road. You see cars approaching in your rearview mirror and, crucially, you move over to let them pass you since their speed exceeds your own. This may be why native Texan drivers are among the most courteous, because we know we're all trying to get somewhere and have different vehicular abilities with which to do so (I'm thinking the old beaten down pickups and tractors common on two-lane highways in Texas and elsewhere).

good traffic conditions on I-25 N approaching FoCo

So how does it happen so often that someone can be completely obstructing the flow of traffic in the left lane, actually going slower than folks in the right lane? I think either the person doesn't know--I have, to my shock, met people who have no idea that the left lane is meant to be a passing lane, a huge failure of driving education from whatever state they're from (clearly not Texas)--or has allowed himself to become complacent and lose his awareness as to the fact that he is driving and is not the only one on the road.

I'll be honest, I have actually been guilty of this within the past week: I got in the left lane to pass, the speed of the traffic changed so that both lanes were going slow, and then all of a sudden I found myself getting passed by people in the right lane. At that point, I did notice and move back over to the right lane, but I should have been more proactive about it.

And that gets to another great point about highway driving: anticipation. If you have any significant commute, or indeed are driving at all, you need to learn the skill of anticipation. What this means is being able to predict traffic conditions in front of you as they are developing or emerging. I find myself scoping out brake lights far ahead of me on I-25, examining the type of vehicles ahead of me in each lane and their respective speeds (yes, big trucks typically are slower than the traffic but not always!), noticing cars entering the highway, etc. This skill allows me to remain safe and to stay at a constant speed as much as possible.

Oh, a constant speed. If only. Another key component of my driver's education in Texas was how to use cruise control effectively and safely. Is cruise control a foreign concept in the Denver metro area? Traffic would go so much more smoothly if, cruise control or not, people were able to maintain a constant speed. To do this, drivers would have to move over if their speed was slower than the cruising speed of those behind them, temporarily slowing their own cruising speed, but in turn to pass others going more slowly. They would have to anticipate and to be courteous. I don't know why this is so difficult here, but it is. I can rarely if ever maintain the speed I want, so I usually just settle for going as fast as I can to bring my overall average up.

Maybe I'll do a follow-up post, this is probably enough for now, because I'm still sifting and processing the driving habits here as I experience a hundred miles a day. I will say it gets better the closer I get to Fort Collins; maybe people up there learned the highway driving techniques I learned in Texas, since it is more rural. Snow or other weather is a whole other issue I will have to address.

For now, if you take anything away from this post, let it be this: if you are in the left lane on the highway and people are passing you in the right lane, please move over as soon as is safely possible. Also, it's the law. Drive safely, friends!

Friday, September 22, 2017


Do you approach a relationship situation the same way you do a hemorrhage? If so, please note: the solution here is not to apply constant pressure.

Sunday, September 10, 2017


I haven't posted in quite a while, but recently I've been having these thoughts (inspirations?) which have proven valuable for me. Basically, they are simple phrases that come into my mind and lend my life focus and direction for a time. I want to chronicle these in the hopes they may be useful to others too.

Here are the phrases I have received so far:

I have everything I need.

This statement counteracts not only my tendency to online shop (documented elsewhere in this blog) but also my tendency to dissatisfaction and discontentedness. Really, I am one blessed girl and I have never known want. I continue to want for nothing; everything I need is provided to me.

Purposely give up control.

This one cuts rather to the core of my long-standing habits. After all, who doesn't want control? To purposely give it up implies that there is good in not having control, good in releasing it to another. In any case where I must give up control, I must give it to God--otherwise, it doesn't make sense.

Relax and just be yourself.

I'm still unpacking this one. So far, it seems to tie in to discovering who I am, not just at the moment, but who I am at my core, my best self. To relax and just be is no easy directive.

Monday, August 29, 2016


I have this uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. Anxiety, I'm told it's called. I guess one thing is learning to live with this feeling. Just sitting with it, not doing anything.

Another thing is sticking up for myself. I'm a good person and I matter! What I think matters too. Rewind till I find the thing that bothered me in the first place and address that. Get angry if I need to.

The third thing is to pray. If I don't believe that I will receive what I pray for, what's the point? Prayer and belief go hand in hand. "Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?" I don't necessarily have a stone, though it may look like one.

Bonus thing: writing helps. I have my notebooks, my pens. In my room is a treasure chest full of writing implements, in fact.