Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Brain as Grand Central Station

I can remember how mesmerized I felt the first time I took the train to New York and walked the squeaky floors of Grand Central Station. Head tilted back, my eyes struggled to register all the sights fast enough. The rushing crowds—that’s what left the greatest impression on my young soul.

Yesterday I read a National Geographic article (because I sit down to casually read those all the time) that stated Grand Central Terminal “attracts some 21 million tourists annually.” The article also revealed that 750,000 thousand people pass through Grand Central daily with that number rising to one million during the holiday season.

The idea that our brains act as receptors of information much like Grand Central does for traveling people isn’t an original thought, I realize. However, as we’re bombarded with cognitive input I began to wonder if there’s not a greater takeaway rooted in this metaphor.

What if we all have one core belief that runs the train schedule?

One predominate belief that influences every individual notion that passes in and out of the station?

Every single thought enters in, coalescing with this core belief, bumping against it, then exits coated with this core belief.

It’s easy to spend our days caught up in the crowds, the rush of thoughts, instead of taking a moment to focus on the squeaky floor where we’re standing.

I’m going to be brave and share some core beliefs that have served as my Grand Central during different years of my life…

I’m not good enough.
Pain (befitting of my maiden name).
I need you to like me.
There’s a reason for this.
I might never know the reason for this.
Thirst for the creative.
“For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Cor. 13:9
Much to learn.
Lyrics filtered through thought channels, “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up.”
Fear not + Risk.
The best is yet to come.

Pessimists may naturally find their core beliefs gravitate toward the negative. While the optimist likely walks around with an “I will grow from this” attitude no matter the circumstances they’re facing.
This isn’t a post about positive thinking or a ten step how-to. I happen to simply believe in the benefit of knowing where you are in order to help you get to where you want to go.

Where are you? In other words, what is your present core belief at the intersection of all your thoughts?

*photos by stock.XCHNG
**Can’t you just hear Cat Stevens singing, “Ride on the peace train…hoo ah ee ah hoo ah…”?


  1. This is a great post! It reminds me that some parts of my Grand Central Station need remodeling. Here are some of the things I have right, and some that I have wrong.

    I become deeply sad at heartbreaking news in the world around me. I know things are not the way they were meant to be.

    I can/can't do this or that because of what people will think (because everyone is watching me all the time and judging me . . . really Meg?)

    I am never doing good enough.

    God has blessed me so richly.

    I can see God working in the lives and circumstances around me, which comforts me and strengthens my faith.

    Friendship is a necessity to me and a wonderful gift.

    I am not good at walking in other people's shoes

    I have hope.

    I love to celebrate anything and find joy in the little things.

    I should be a good steward of everything I have like friendships, time, creativity, etc.

    1. I can relate to so many that you listed. And as I was thinking about it some that I listed aren't so much "beliefs" as they are messages. Main messages that bleed into beliefs.

      Thanks for being brave & sharing yours. I enjoyed reading them!

  2. I love this post! Lately the predominant thought in my mind is "I have to do more!!" More marketing, more writing, more finding new material. More, more, more. The stress is killing me. Last night, while working with the manager of my website, I almost broke down in tears. They tell you there is a small window when your book releases, and that you must use that time to market. And so I stress. Never feel like I am doing enough.

    The problem is, in some ways, I am believing a lie. I am believing it is all up to me. That if I don't do "enough" (as if "enough" is within my grasp or ability!!)the book won't sell. And all the work I put into it would be for naught. It pushes God right out of the equation. Any time I take a burden on my shoulders, I am heading in the wrong direction. He wants to shoulder our burdens, make them light. I keep forgetting it is God's book, not mine. His truth in its pages, not mine. And he will use it for his purposes as he sees fit, not according to my expectations or standards.

    In short, I have to rein in my anxiety and put the burden back on him. Because his yoke is easy and his burden is light.

    I'm glad to have been reminded this morning of what I need to think. Thanks for posting this!

    1. I'm so glad it got through. It's something I remind myself of often as I try to instill it in my children. So much of how our days play out can be traced back to our perspective--the perspective we choose to have. This is one thing I love about the movie Life is Beautiful.

      Thanks for being candid. It's so easy to believe the lies and for some reason harder to believe and trust in truth.

      I thought of another recent core belief for me--walk by faith, not by sight. Guess a lot of mine come from the Bible.

  3. I'm a day late, but oh, I love this. Probably one of the core negatives I've struggled with the most off and on is "I'm not as good as..." In writing, in faith, in whatever, comparison is the train that likes to run me over. And yet...God has been amazingly faithful in plopping wonderful "voices of truth" in my life over and over who remind me of much better core beliefs: That I can trust God to finish what He started in me...and what He started in me might look different than this person or that person, but that's okay. More than okay, really.

  4. I remember months ago Jody Hedlund wrote a post about how we all have our own routes on this publication journey. I teased that I often felt like dear friends were driving along, cycling along and here I was darting in and out of the woods, meeting them roadside to wave hello every so often. Every day I learn more about finding peace with where I am and with the "run" itself. I've learned so much from those who've gone before. Trust God--this seems to be a recurring theme in my life. ;-)

  5. Very interesting, and good timing for me. I've read about core beliefs before, but it's been a while since I thought about it. My core belief right now is "overwhelmed!" I think I'll change it to "doable." We often get overwhelmed b/c we don't break a large amount of work down into smaller bits.

    I haven't visited here in a while. How is your book coming along?

    1. Hi Warren!
      Glad to have you swing by again!
      I like that--doable. I like the sound of possible too.Breaking it down helps so much, no matter the task, doesn't it?

      Pretty sure I've written a few more books since we last connected. I love writing more than ever. Thanks for asking! What's the latest with you?

  6. Hmm...I've been going through what Julie experienced with stress and writing. I was feeling like I was dropped off the train station with some money and couldn't decide what ticket to buy. That's when you just have to let go and give it to God.

    1. I have no idea why everything is reminding me of songs this morning, but I can't get "she's got a ticket to ride" out of my head. Yep, God rules the tracks.

  7. I'm precious to God even though I've made lots of mistakes over the years.

    I'm REALLY a writer.

  8. Oh, this is wisdom indeed, Wendy! I love the analogy. My husband reads N
    G casually, too. I enjoy the wildlife photos.

    My core beliefs, shifted and moved from decades of storms and starry skies:

    I am precious to God.
    He will never leave me, no matter what I do that breaks his heart.
    I like myself.
    Obedience leads to joy.
    "Help me, Jesus" is the best prayer.
    I'm stronger than I thought, and smarter than I believed.
    Laughter can be a choice.

    1. Oh those are so cool! The last two really struck me.

      And I'm so glad your core beliefs shifted.


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