The Brain Train

Early in my career, a boss of mine described our brain as a train.  It is an analogy that has stuck with me even 15 years later.

Just for a second, think of a train.  It runs on coal.  When the coal runs out, the train stops.  There is only so much that fits on each bin on the train.  If there is too much on the train and it leans one way, it will can derail.  A single train can hold all different types of freight.

Now as you sit reading this, imagine a train going round and round in your head.  As it goes past your eyes, you see things on the train.  Oh hey…there is your grocery list…and a few cars down is that one thing you have no control over but cannot help but spend time worrying about.  Oh and look…there is that one thing you keep forgetting to do for work, your spouse or child and you beg the train to speed up so you don’t have to look at that too long and feel bad about forgetting it.

Without the “coal” needed to keep your brain running smoothly, you can derail and lose all of those important things you have on it.  Whatever your “coal” is, make sure you get enough of it, OK?  My “coal” is time for reflection.  During this time, I let the train go round the track once.  During this time, I put to paper those things I keep forgetting to do and then guess what I do…I TAKE CARE OF THEM.  I also take the time to look at those things I have no control over and those things that do not really matter.  I tag those items as  things that can get off at the next train stop.  If a certain car feels loop sided, I take the time to rearrange it a little bit better.

Our brains are a VERY important part of our makeup.   We make decisions DAILY on how we are going to live our lives.  It is where we keep everything we have learned.  If this is not operating efficiently, how can we expect it to keep learning and making decision that will direct us where we really want to be.

Be good to your brain train, you will not regret it.


Tonight I was going through my Google Drive.  I am about to max out on space and I know I need to start moving some of the pictures I have on there to an external drive.

It was fun at first because it was videos of Aaron from a couple years ago.  If you do not take video of your child, start.  I took some time to listen to a few of the videos and I am SO glad I have them.  To hear his laugh and how much that has not changed, warmed my heart.   Despite everything, his laugh is still the same.

I knew there were pictures that would make me sad, or cause me to reflect more then I want right now.

I found pictures of my baby shower.  I looked at the picture of my mom and me and the first thought that came to my mind may surprise you.  It wasn’t…”Wow…that is me pregnant” or “My mom and I look so nice.”  No the first thing that crossed my mind was “Boy have I changed since then.”  I am no longer pregnant but that  is not what I meant.

The woman in that picture and the one typing today are two completely different people.  The things that scared me on that day, no longer scare me.  The woman in the picture would never have spoken to a group of people about such a personal tragedy in her life.  That woman in the picture would tell you she didn’t understand why organ donation was important or that she didn’t understand the fuss and urgency of getting life insurance.  She would also tell  you she was lucky to find love once in life because there is no way you can find it twice.  She would tell you there is no way she would survive losing her husband with a baby at the age of 6 months.  The woman in the picture would tell you that her life in that moment was perfect.

I have many more to go through before Google stops screaming at me but for tonight I am done and for tonight I reflect on that picture.

Things about me #2

I recently purchased a book called “642 things to write about me” by the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto.  It isn’t a book that you read…it is a book you answer questions.  This has already proven to be giving me PLENTY of content for this blog.  Here is to hoping it gets me through my writers block.

I won’t be going in any particular order but here is the first question I am going to answer from the book.

“Describe an accident you’ve been in.  Were you at fault?  Who was?  What excuses were made?  What were the lasting consequences?”

This was an easy question for me.  You see in March of 2013 I was in an accident.  Tt wasn’t my fault.  I honestly I have no idea why it happened (I have only guesses) other then I was turning left at a busy corner in the metro.  When I got through the corner I was slowing to a stop at a new stop light that had just been installed.  I looked in my rearview mirror and saw a car coming right at me and not slowing down.  I turned my steering wheel left and as the vehicle hit me it sent me across the one lane of traffic then through a small hill grass median and then 3 other lanes of traffic on the other side of the 4 lane divided road.  I had just picked Aaron up from daycare.  He was rear facing so he had little injury to him but with how hard we were hit, he was a very scared little boy.  This happened at 4:30PM in the afternoon.  This time of day on this particular intersection usually has lots of traffic.  On this particular day, there was no oncoming traffic coming when I went across the road.  Had there been, the outcome would have been much worse I imagine.

I remember getting out of my vehicle one I came to a stop facing the wrong way on the road.  The driver that hit me as well as the driver from the car that was in front of me were walking down to see if I was OK.  I grabbed Aaron from his carseat knowing Jay would have told me to keep him in there until the paramedics got there.   In that moment, all I wanted was to hold my baby and in calming him, hopefully calm all the emotion I felt in that moment.   We walked to the back of my vehicle and I said “It doesn’t look like there is much damage to my vehicle.”  The driver of the car that was in front of me said “Your spare wheel is still up there” and pointed to their vehicles up the hill.  In the end, I think he was thankful it dislodged my spare tire because the driver who hit me didn’t hit her breaks until after I “left the lane” so my tire slowed the impact to his vehicle.

I remember calling a friend of mine in panic since they were on their way to our house for dinner and saying “We won’t be there for awhile, we got into an accident.”  When they got to the store on the corner and were looking for us, she called me and said, “I don’t see you…where are you?”  My response still makes me laugh, “I am on the other side of the road facing the other way.”   Their response was even funnier when I think of it now.  “Well…what are you doing over there silly?   That is the wrong way.”

The last consequence I guess would be first that I am always super careful at that intersection and second that I believe in the angels that watch over us.  There is usually lots of traffic in what would have been oncoming traffic for us that day.  I had just thought about when to turn Aaron to be front facing and because I was procrastinating it, it saved him so much pain…maybe even his life.  Now, my chiropractor is no longer allowed to tell me my back is the best he has seen it, because he said this 2 weeks or so before the accident and it just makes me laugh thinking he jinxed me.  Although that statement made my whiplash heal faster, so there is that.  🙂

In a way, I believe this accident was a way to wake me up to a few things going on in my life.   It was a lesson in many ways and the lesson was heard, understood and acknowledged…if not in that exact moment, within the next year.