My Shameful Foe

For the past few months, I have been participating in Dr. Caroline Leaf’s 21-Day Brain Detox online program. I’ve had some amazing successes in replacing harmful internal messages I’ve been believing for years with truthful thoughts. The standard of truth, for me personally, is the Word of God. Do my thoughts agree with what God’s thoughts are about me?

One of these internal messages regarded shame, which led to a deep-seated belief that I was unworthy: Unworthy to be loved; unworthy to be treated well; and unworthy of respect. I am confident that I am not alone in this and many people face this exact battle.

Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly, defines shame (I am paraphrasing) as the belief we are flawed and unworthy of love and belonging, due to something we have done, failed to do, or experienced which would make us feel unworthy of connection.

I will be giving an example of how I have been working on defeating this shameful foe, but I want to explain a few things first.

Although Dr. Leaf initially claims 21 days are all one needs to begin dissolving toxic thoughts, but this is only a beginning. In order for the new healthy thought to become your default mode – and into the subconscious – it takes three cycles of 21 days, for a total of 42 days.

This daily process involves introspection and some journaling. It it designed to take only 7-10 minutes a day, but I often spend much more time than this. At the conclusion of the session you design what she refers to as an active reach. This active reach should not be time consuming and be meaningful to you. Determine an image to visualize and say the new thought out loud simultaneously. At least 7 times throughout the day repeat this active reach. The goal is to displace the unhealthy thought, placing the healthy thought in its place.

I have almost always paired my visual image with a scripture from the Bible. It is completely personal and it is important to find what works for you. There were times I sang a few lyrics from a song that meant something to me with a scripture. One very critical element to this process is to include God. Dr. Leaf begins each day with three minutes of thanking, worshipping, and praising God.

The following is an excerpt from my journal and an example of the process:

Shame- my whole life has been wrapped around shame. Like a pig-in-a-blanket – shame, shame, shame, more shame. People who “love” me were not there for me – therefore, I must have done something to deserve that. This is so engrained within me that the shame is inherent in my thoughts and subconscious. My therapist said that the definition of shame is the same as saying who we are. Guilt and shame lead to thoughts of un-deservedness and has been the driving force behind my entire life.

Active Reach: Today I choose to believe that I have value. I visualize I am center stage in the spotlight. God spotlights me because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. God does not spotlight quilt and shame. “Grace, mixed with faith and love, poured over me and into me – and all because of Jesus . . . now he shows me off . . .” I Timothy 1:14-16 MSG

Here’s a Thought . . .

Modern science is revealing that the power of our mind (our thoughts) has the ability to change the physical landscape of our brain; our brains are malleable. This is in contrast to previous theories just a few decades ago, when scientists considered our brains to be hard-wired and fixed.

Breakthroughs in neuroscience are confirming that what we are thinking brings real, physical changes within our brains, changes that can affect our mental and physical health. It is more than positive thinking. Our thoughts collect to form our attitude – our state of mind.

Our state of mind is a real, physical, electromagnetic, and chemical flow within the brain that switches genes on or off – positively or negatively – based on our choice of thought. The brain responds to the mind by sending neurological signals into and throughout the body: Thoughts are turned into physiological effects, the physiological transforms into varying states of emotional and mental health.

It is astonishing to know that something so seemingly trivial as a thought can create real, physical change within the body’s cells.

I am focused on changing the way I think for one simple reason. I seriously need to!

Living to Learn

Happy Birthday Angela!
IMG_5900Living to Learn

I’ve always had a hunger to learn. These days I’m going into debt over it. And it’s a debt large enough to buy a very expensive vehicle. I plan on living long enough to pay it off.
If not – sorry kids – there goes your inheritance.

This is an investment in my future, right? Not just my future but my entire family’s future. Yes, I’m the one doing the work, but my family has had to give up my availability to them. It’s tough sometimes because I know my grandkids will never be this age again. Childhood comes only once. I can never get this time with them again. The trade-off is the prospect of leaving a very large inheritance and finding purpose in my life.

It’s at this time in the semester I really begin to question, why? Midterms. Lengthy essays. Why, oh why, am I putting myself through this? Yes,this is me,playing my violin.

I think it’s a system that really has it backwards. I am paying my professors to educate me, not torture me and stress me out to the point I want to give up. There must be a better way. But millions of people have done it and I will too.

Advice to my 18-year-old self? Don’t take that one-year break after high school you think you deserve. Keep your nose to the grindstone.

I am putting the violin down to give a big shout out to Angela, who graced my life (insert mumble) years ago on November 3, ???? One of my favorite memories of her childhood is watching her walk out of the library at eight years old with a stack of books so high she could barely see over them. Every book in the stack was about animals, mostly dogs. She continues to love animals to this day.

I would love to be with you on your birthday, or at least tuck you in the night before and kiss my thirty something goodnight one final time. But – well, you know – I’ve got my nose to a grindstone.

The Cheddar


I’ve been on a quest. Sometimes it is two steps forward, one step back. The important thing is to keep moving: Giving up is not a viable option for me.

I have a goal; a prize; the cheddar, waiting for me at the end of my trek. Actually, only one ultimate goal, but a myriad of smaller prizes here and there along the way. Any goal takes hard work and commitment to grab the prize. Finishing college. Getting my weight down. Getting tonight’s goal of finishing homework submitted before midnight.

One goal I have managed to complete is 3 cycles of the 21-Day Brain Detox, authored by Dr. Caroline Leaf. That was major for me.

Round one (the first 21-day cycle) the issue I dealt with was allowing other people to determine my value. Round two; I didn’t deserve to be loved AND I must have done something to deserve to be burned. Round three; I forgive myself.

Replacing harmful thoughts is not an easy task, but the prize is worth it. Keep at it. I want to stress how important it is to involve the Holy Spirit in this process. God is the creator of your soul, and knows exactly what it is you need to address and why. Chances are that deep down inside in your subconscious, you know too. Sometimes we need help to bring it into our conscious awareness. In my next post, I hope to share exact steps how I work on this.

Friday, you didn’t get here soon enough . . .

Friday, you didn’t get here soon enough!

This has been a tough week. Sickness. Legal stuff. Computer problems. Internet out. Disagreements. Oh, what a week! Friday, you didn’t come soon enough.

How did I keep my thoughts, and mind from sinking into despair? I nearly didn’t. Ok, I may have slipped momentarily into self-pity.

Thankfully, I didn’t stay there long. Thankfully, I have been placing tools in my toolbox to “fix” things. I am referring to following a protocol that scientists are proving more and more everyday to be extremely effective in combatting depression.

It’s the power of a thought. It is that simple. Change your thoughts, change your emotions and mental state. But the key is to find a proper thought to replace the negative thought. This takes an active participation.. A conscious choice.

There is a critical element in this process; that is the act of letting the Holy Spirit lead you. Who else knows you better than you know yourself?

A few weeks ago, I was really hurting: my back, my neck, and a killer headache. Plus, I was super tired from lack of sleep and keeping with the demands of the day. I just couldn’t find a way out of my misery. I wondered as I wandered around the aisles in Target: How on earth can I possibly find good and get out of this slump? I realized, “Hey, at least I don’t have a toothache!”

I began to focus on this and out loud (not to loud, I was in Target, after all) I thanked God I didn’t have a toothache and went about my business. As I left the store, I realized that I was feeling much better, that mist of depression that had tried to engulf me had lifted. My pain was easier to deal with.

This is not an isolated incident since I started this program called the 21-Day Brain Detox, in February of this year. I will continue because I believe I am a better, happier person because of it.

Detoxing your body? Don’t forget to detox the brain!

Since discovering Caroline Leaf’s research in 2014, I have been so intrigued that I did two semester projects about her findings. She is a Christian cognitive neuroscientist that has been exploring the mysteries of the brain, the mind, and how much our thoughts affect our mental, emotional, and even our physical health for more than 30 years.

The first day I participated in her 21-day brain detox program, I was enlightened about a priceless truth. As a member of the new-30-something age bracket, finally, after all these years something clicked.Yes, it’s true – better late than never.

I have been plagued by abandonment issues most of my life. I mean no disrespect to my parents by saying this – they were there physically for me, but emotionally? They were completely off base and ill equipped. Throw in a couple divorces, and other series of events (like being left behind in a fire by one who had pledged their undying love) and there you have it.

My internal dialogue went something like this: I must have done something to deserve to be abandoned. What is wrong with me? There must be something seriously wrong with me.

The first day of my journey with Dr. Leaf, I realized that this was a choice these people had made due to their own inadequacies and failures.  It does not determine my value as a person. I had been letting these thoughts and people determine my value!

I know, I know, after all these years I am finally getting it right. Dr. Leaf’s philosophy is that if you have wired in toxic thoughts, then you can wire them out. She teaches you how to do just that. Visit her at

the Raging Spoon

A Little Info About Me: 

My name is Janet Spoon. I am a full-time college student at Simpson University, located in Northern California. The twist? I am one of the oldest students here. I am Mom, Gram, and Great-Gram. Some of my oldest grandchildren are of college age.

 I have started theRagingSpoon as a course requirement, but I have always wanted to start a blog in the proverbial some day. From the time I was eight years old, I have wanted to be a journalist. Like the elderly couple in the popular children’s movie Up, life got in the way. I don’t know if I will ever be a journalist, but I believe the most important thing is that I am finally taking steps to be able to say, “I am following my dream.”

 TheRagingSpoon may be a bit of a misnomer, for I have learned that it ridiculously harmful to hold onto rage. Use it to your advantage, then let go. Believe me when I say I have had plenty to rage about. I am a survivor: a burn survivor, a cancer survivor and amongst other hazards thrown my way, I have survived three complete semesters now!

 This is not a “Christian” blog per se, yet I do believe in God. I believe he is active in every detail of my life. If I ask Him for help, He is there. I am living proof of His willingness to rescue those who trust and lean on Him.  

 This is a blog in which I hope will be filled with humor, observations, a few rants, a little poetry, and an occasional sprinkling of sage wisdom. Thanks for reading!