Friday, August 12, 2011


[note: i think the above header probably crosses the line from cute wordplay to utter cheesiness, but i'm leaving it!]

to begin with, i just wanted to thank you all for all of your useful super-easy-dinner tips + ideas in the comments yesterday! i will definitely be putting them to use and hopefully make my way out of my rut [ <-- i feel like i'm in a lot of these lately, hmm?]. 'thrown together with love' will be the culinary theme for the rest of august. i know my credit card statement [and perhaps blood pressure!] will be quite thankful.

i can do better, i swear!

have you ever heard of papancha? i hadn't, until yesterday. i was lucky enough to have 30 minutes to kill mid-day in lab and decided to take a walk around this lake [actually very picturesque + natural] by our campus. during that time, i put on a tara brach podcast [learning to respond, not react]. as always when i listen to tara, i finished my walk feeling like i had gained a new perspective.

for those not familiar, tara brach is a Buddhist whose teachings "blend Western psychology and Eastern spiritual practices, mindful attention to our inner life, and a full, compassionate engagement with our world" [description from her website]. this particular talk focused on the idea of response rather than reaction.

papancha, or proliferation of thoughts, comes into play when one does end up reacting instead of responding.

scenario #1: [straight out of reality!] messing up a real-time PCR plate

my typical papancha reaction: "F@(#&*!@! i can't believe i just did that. it's because i wasn't focusing. and now i've wasted all this money and time. god, i HATE this, and i'm terrible at it. i have no idea how i am going to live having to do this for the next two years." continue ad nauseum

more appropriate response: "huh. i need to either figure out a way to salvage this plate or do another. thankfully, i have plenty of sample left, so it will be okay either way."

mistakes are okay! [source]

scenario #2: huffing and puffing through an 80++-degree run

papancha reaction: ugh, this is awful. i feel like i'm plodding. how can i have gotten this slow?! i feel like i can barely breathe! what's the POINT of this, anyway??

response: the heat really does make it harder to run, doesn't it. perhaps i should try slowing down a bit.

because really, every NC summer run is an achievement to be celebrated

tara says it much [MUCH] more eloquently than i do, but i hope the ideas came across. she also urges us not to worry if even despite being conscious of our own papancha, we still engage in it to some degree. even just being aware that it's happening is progress!

are there scenarios that tend to bring out the papancha in you? for me, the above two are prime examples, but i can think of many more!