Wednesday, November 23, 2011

'Project Maureen'

The last two months have not been very fun for me. My marriage has been rocky at best. My confidence has been shattered and I feel utterly exhausted. The high that I had been riding before this chaos erupted now seems like a distant memory. I can still catch glimpses of that happiness though and I hold those specks of light close to my heart as I prepare to re-launch Project Maureen.

I have had private conversations (online and in person) with many people; regarding this slump in my life. I appreciate all of the virtual and real hugs. I have mulled over the many words of advice. I have also spent many hours feeling numb and not doing much of anything. The house is a mess, my 'diet' is ruined (!), I wear the same clothes over and over (ew!). The kids are left to fend for themselves... which has been 'good' and 'bad',  they've been making their own food but watching waaaay too much tv. 

With so many big decisions looming I have been forced to reconsider many things. I realised recently that I have been pouring a lot of my energy into things that drain me physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually? I have been teaching too many Body Balance classes and not taking the time to warm up beforehand or otherwise exercise for my own benefit. The result is that I feel very tense in my neck and shoulders. I seem to have pulled something deep inside my right shoulder and it has been like that for weeks. I punched a very hard surface several times (not in class! during an argument with Dude) which left bruising and one of my hands is still sore from it (please don't grab me by the left hand atm!). 

I have mystery bruises on my body with no idea where they came from. 

I spend an inordinate amount of time on facebook and find myself easily embroiled in arguments that leave me feeling tired and cranky. I think at the time that I am being very reasonable and calm about each encounter and have been mentally applauding myself for being able to engage in religious debates without getting worked up but it is not until after I have wrenched myself away from the computer that I recognise the ill effects.

I went to a sound healing meditation session the other day and I was so tired that when I laid down I was able to very quickly get into a meditative state. The sounds of the didgeridoo, the crystal bowls and the gongs were incredibly soothing as well as transportative (yes I make up new words. This one really should be added to the dictionary though, can someone get onto that please!). I drove home feeling rejuvenated and incredibly light. For the next hour or so I felt as though life were not so difficult as I had previously felt it to be. The heaviness of the previous weeks melted away. 

Then I got back online. 

Over then next few hours I felt the heaviness return. It was gradual but by the evening the change in my overall mood was significant. And I knew what the problem was... well, problemS. 

Although I really do think that it is important for me to take the time to speak up about the things that I experienced as a Mormon and as a recovering Mormon; I do not think that it serves me very well any longer to spend quite so much energy on it. I want to start living my life with new ways to define myself. I want to start working towards some goals rather than trying to get away from my past. I know that Mormonism will always define me in some way but I want to start adding more things to my life so that when I meet new people they will not so easily see those roots. 

My measuring stick for success will be to ask myself how well do I accept my Mormon friends? Even though Mormonism is not for me I would like to be able to view Mormons almost from an anthropological kind of perspective. A phenomenon worth studying. Worth studying because I love so many of them. The teachings that I believe are harmful will be the ones that I will find some way to address in the wider community. For example, the Mormon religion unfortunately promotes rape culture.  So, I will continue to add my support to endeavours that tackle this problem in the wider society e.g. SLUTwalk and Reclaim the Night. The Mormon religion preaches that homosexuality is a sin. So I will promote LGBTQI rights at every opportunity. 

I will still engage in the ex-Mormon groups that I am a member of on facebook but I think that I will scale back for a little while so that I can turn some of that energy back towards healing and growth for myself. I need to commit to less time on the computer in general. I need to get more active and I need to eat better. I have come to learn that the saying "You are what you eat" is more true than I had thought. Apparently the food we eat has a massive impact upon our mood. 

Goals = Meditate daily. Buy a Thermomix. Learn new healthy recipes. Buy a Tibetan singing bowl. Sing. Move. 7 hours sleep. Minimise computer time. Prioritise my health and well-being. Create a balanced life. Practice love for myself and others. 





Monday, October 31, 2011

Yo! Sickos...

Seriously you guys... I neglect my blog for a few days (weeks) and THIS is what you all get up to!!! Who the hell registered all of those votes for the kissing challenge over there for my new 30-day challenge? Hmmm?

Or did Dude create 22 new blogger profiles!

FINE.

I've been lazy and not started the meditation challenge (how lazy does a person have to be to not LIE DOWN?!!) so I will take my medicine and begin the new challenge you have set for me.

30 days of 10 second minimum kissing.

What if I'm not that fond of Dude on a particular day huh? what then? you didn't think of that now did you...

I'll write a bit of a journal as I go along and report back every now and then (Wednesdays seem to be my main blogging days... Wicked Wednesdays we'll call them).

Rah! Kissing! Seriously, you're all perverts! but that's why I love you.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bonkers


This cartoon aptly describes my current level of insanity. I can't share the details with you but I will report that I am headed off for a 90 minute massage on Thursday; the kids go back to school tomorrow and my fridge is stocked with Strongbow Dry. I will survive.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Figmented Imagination

I've been having a bit of a rotten time lately so I just wanted to check in and share my favourite comic this week ... I am still to begin the next 30-day challenge ... working on sanity levels first. Big LOve.

check out more great comics at Bizarro Blog

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Reincarnation

Do you buy it?

I seriously hope against this one BUT I also seriously doubt that it occurs; so my world is not rocked by the possibility.

I was shocked that Rockstar was all for it though. Was he just being argumentative (his favourite hobby) or did he really mean it when he said that being horribly abused would be an experience of sorts???!!!

I had just stated that I did not care to play Russian roulette with the human/animalian(?) experience... You could come back as a bug or some animal that humans love to eat or as a skeleton child in East Africa or the child of a psychopath or something equally terrifying. This is one of those times where I am the pessimist, the most pessimistic pessimist you ever saw too! I mean, seriously. I think I was pretty damned lucky to be born where and when I was; and in the skin I am in; and with the opportunities I have. Sure, I'd love to have another crack at life if I could don a second privileged bodysuit but I think the odds are ridiculously stacked against us that we would come back in a form/body that would have acceptably desirable opportunities for a happy existence.

What do you think? Am I looking at the world through murky lenses or do I speak truth?

Friday, September 30, 2011

30 days and 2 years



30 Days.

Here we are, 30 straight (not sober) days of blogging! Woot. Thanks for the challenge Daniel... I have gained a lot from it and only cursed your name a few times, swear.

From the looks of things you all want me to chill and meditate for the next month ( I did not in anyway influence this outcome ;) with a dead tie on the 30 day photo thing BUT I did attempt the 365 day photo challenge a few months ago on FB and got about 75 days into it so I think I'll try that one a bit later,  maybe in conjunction with a photogenic 30-day challenge, like the "make something everyday" or "clean something everyday" challenges, for proof.

2 Years.

September is my birth month and it also now happens to mark the years of my life outside of the Mormon religion. I stopped paying a tenth of my income to CoJCoLDS (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) in September of 2009. I had my emotional/mental rift with the church about 6 months before that but the very tangible monetary factor halted in 09/09.

I was going to try and make a break tomorrow and neatly shovel all of my ex-Mormon baggage into a neat little pile and decorate it with flowers etc for you to peruse at your leisure but otherwise ignore it myself. I have decided against this now. I am not healed. I am not new and sparkly and whole and transformed. I have worked through A LOT of shit over the last 2 (and a half) years but there is plenty more to go. I don't think it would be wise to try and hide from it. I have this urge to tuck it under the rug because it would make a bunch of OTHER people a lot more comfortable.

There is also this urge to gloss over the REALLY dark stuff and dress it all up to look presentable to the believing community so that they (if they are still lurking) would see how brilliant it is to be out of the church and may even venture out for themselves. Whilst I am so glad that I am out and I will never ever go back... life goes on and it is not always easy.

My partner (Rockstar) and I have each been on HUGE personal journeys this year and our relationship has scraped through by the skin of its bloody teeth. I mean it. That was fucking rough man.

But here we are on some kind of high again and I can't help but feel very optimistic about the latest hurdles we have overcome because they were sooooooo huge (and they're not all entirely surmounted yet) and there is a very real sense (at least on my part) of victory atop a panoramic mountain; flag in hand; bright sun smiling back at me.

Thanks for coming along for the ride. I think I can safely guarantee you another year of drunken posts and unwanted revelations. 2012 looks set to rock the house! Plenty of 'end of days' action to be sure... Big sloppy Irish kisses to you and yours.

Love and chest bumps,
Bikinimaureen.








Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Top 10


Good Reason - Grounding me post by post.

The Girl Who - When I need to snap out of 'it'. 

Chaos Theory - For angrily baked goods and hairy motivation. 

Erika Lust's Blog - For feeding the burning loins.

LDS (Mormon) Stake Presidents Blog - My authority figure.

*e* - Reminding me that life is ART! (going to my happy place).

a very foodly diary - Nourishing ma' belly.

Facsimilogos - A thinker I'd love to sit down and chat with for hours.

Eliza R. Snitch - She is NOT a nice girl ;P

Our Mother's Keeper - Keeping me informed and alert for our Earth.



Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Be Heard








Keep writing, talking, protesting, walking, demonstrating, lobbying, sharing, posting, reading, thinking, QUESTIONING! caring, loving, living!






Occupy WallStreet

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Right and Wrong

How many things can you squarely put into these two categories?

I am finding that these 2 once very full categories are haemorrhaging badly like there's no tomorrow. (There is a tomorrow).

To the point that I feel very wishy-washy and I'm getting a sore butt from lots of fence sitting. Buuuuuut, what am I supposed to do when my compass for life smashed on the rocks of insanity and I just can't seem to make up from down? My anxiety levels are, well, they are often very high let's just say that (can you all please go over to the poll on the top right hand corner of my blog now and vote for 30-days of meditation. Thank you very much).

Breathe.

However, it would seem that I am not alone in this. I recently joined a Facebook group that is organising an event to "End Animal Cruelty". A worthy cause on the face of it. Then someone posted a link to an ethical farmer and asked if anyone would mind if that farmer were represented at the event. Then things started to get interesting...

"the use of animals is wrong. they are NOT products. they are living beings like you and i. it would be wrong to promote animals as products!"

"Those that buy 'organic meats' may feel better about themselves, but they are doing nothing for the greater picture in the end. Go vegetarian or vegan and be done with it, if you really give a damn."


"Oh and if people who make money from the "production, exploitation and death of other animals are invited to Perth WEEAC, I'm out - how can you tell people that wearing fur is wrong but eating cows is OK?"


"What exactly is humane and NOT abusive about ending an animals' life prematurely (ie cows - killed by 6 years of age, if not sooner, when they can actually live 20 years) by ramming a big bloody steel bolt into their heads?"


"Yes there are people at different stages of their journey, however that does not change the fact that the comments made by ---------- are true. If the truth makes you uncomfortable/defensive; ask yourself why."

Now I am not arguing against these points exactly, what I am interested in is the passion/zeal for the cause. So if I eat meat I am wrong/ a bad person/ a murderer? I am undecided on the matter of vegetarianism/veganism but does that make be a bad person? If cave-men ate only plants would they have been able to survive? Is it because our population is now so huge that meat eating has become a cruel practice and unsustainable? Health-wise if I eat meat and animal products from ethically raised and slaughtered animals will I thrive more than a vegetarian/vegan. Is that arrogant for me to even care more for my own health than for that of the animals I want to consume. Sentience? Am I being a monster?

The debates on this Facebook page also seem to be retarding the planning process for the event. I don't think there will be any food available at the event because the logistics of it all have become too much. Making vegan food can be expensive and a lot of the ready to buy stuff has yucky preservatives in it. There was going to be a coffee van but now there are issues over what type of milk they will use. I will be interested to see how this all pans out. Oh, and the event is in 13 days.

There are so many arguments for and against eating meat. Just as there are with many other hot topics in life. So how do we communicate without shutting each other out, demonising, polarising, fighting, killing, destroying? 


There are so may ways to live life. So many routes to take, so many things to consider. I am all for stating ones opinion on something and even venting/ranting about it in the appropriate places (e.g. blogs) but knowing how dramatically our opinions can change over time I think that it is important to remember not to use the "right" and "wrong" boxes carelessly. I think I can use those boxes for myself, what is "right/good" for ME, what is "wrong/bad" for me. Even this will change over time but I think it can be useful to know what works and what doesn't. BUT for other people, surely only they can make those decisions for themselves. 
  
I take comfort in reminding myself that ... "When we know better we do better" and in the meantime I don't wanted to be paralysed by indecision so I will learn as much as I can; and then sometimes... I am going to go with my gut.


Nom Nom Nom.  







Monday, September 26, 2011

god song

Down.
Up.
Down.
Up.
Down.
Up.

More Energy!

Do you know what the favourite relaxation track is among my Body Balance participants?

It's called One Hundred Thousand Angels. 


... and yeah, it's a nice song but I can't always stomach it.

I've had more than a few mothers ask me the name and artist so that they can download it to play to their kids when they go to sleep. I'm cool with that idea. I think it's nice for kids to imagine lots of angels, fairies or sprites watching over them. I even let myself get carried away with the idea sometimes as I lie there at the end of class. Why not. For me the hundred thousand angels are my loved ones anyway. I imagine their love for me being the 'angels' that are so sweetly sung about in the track.

An atheist's enjoyment of a god song.

Down.
Up.

More Energy!

p.s. vote for my next 30-day challenge idea, top right corner of Black Bikini blog. Ta.




Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sexy Atheists

"Atheists have always argued that this world is all that we have, and that our duty is to one another to make the very most and best of it."


I have been at a Divine One-Day Retreat  all day today and am pooped from all of the relaxation! hence I am going to take krissthesexyatheist's advice and post some other peoples stuff!

There is a Facebook page called 'Sexy Atheists'. Check it out and add your own photo if you're feeling sexy and atheist.

My top picks from the site are... well, obviously my number one is Christopher Hitchens, pictured above.

Then there's the ever lovely and spunky Emma Thompson.

"I'm an atheist; I suppose you can call me a sort of libertarian anarchist. I regard religion with fear and suspicion. It's not enough to say that I don't believe in God. I actually regard the system as distressing: I am offended by some of the things said in the Bible and the Qur'an and I refute them."
And one for Rockstar...Brad Pitt.
"There's peace in understanding that I have only one life, here and now, and I'm responsible."

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I See You

I posted this link on facebook yesterday. 
Bryan Michael Egnew took his life on September 10th 2011. Just weeks before he had come out as a gay man to his family and church (LDS/Mormon). His wife took their 5 children to another state and refused to let Bryan see them. The church excommunicated him.

An LDS friend of mine commenting under the link:
I think there's always more to it than we will ever know."


...and I found myself typing out a pretty decent response. 


We can never know the whole story. The part that we do know (and we know from many other cases of gay members who have committed suicide after revealing their homosexuality whilst still remaining celibate and faithful) is that the lay leaders are not acting in unison. You have an openly gay Bishop (celibate) who is supported by the leadership of the church and is encouraged to tell his story. Then you have Bryan (and many others) who are excommunicated for being honest about their struggle, still living the commandments* but the treatment they receive is really rough. Excommunication is a big deal, especially if Bryan (and others) still believe in the church. 

The main leadership of the church needs to train the lay leadership in how to love and embrace the gay members of their wards. 

This is the very least I would like to see happen. 


My pipe dream is that the church will renounce their homophobic 'doctrines' since all 'revelation' on the matter has been developed through impressions of elderly men discussing the issue together based on how they FEEL bout it. None of them have actually spoken to god and anyone who knows the gospel and the history of the church knows this. 

People can only accept what they themselves perceive to be true. No one can make someone believe something else. We all ought to be free to live our lives the best we know how without any self-professed authorities lording over you. To condemn people to a life of misery based of how some men in power feel about homosexuality is really rotten. The delusions run deep and I understand how real it feels but when people are ending their lives because they have been rejected by their church and because they think they are evil and because they can't find happiness in the church then this is serious business that MUST be addressed by the church leadership and MUST be questioned by believing members as they are the only ones that the leadership will listen to. 

There is always more to any story but we have enough info from Bryans story (and others) to know 

that something needs to change.


*I realised after writing this comment that I had made an assumption that "[...] his Church immediately excommunicated him because he refused to denounce his sexual orientation." meant that he was excommunicated for admitting he was gay only. I made an assumption that he had been living faithfully as a husband and Mormon before that. Which may very well still be the case; I just want to point out that the article isn't very clear on it so my comments about him being faithful are an assumption. It doesn't change my opinions on the matter but it is important that I point out I made an assumption there. 


I noticed something else after writing this comment. The friend who had commented is a believing member who has supported me since the very first day I announced my disaffection from the church. I noticed that I was able to write down my thoughts in response to their comment in a more calm and reasonable way than what I may have done had someone else written the comment. I think that my friend and I have built up a good base of respect and friendship to be able to say what we think to each other and to really hear the other one. Although we believe very different things the lines of communication are open and I really think that we are taking in what the other is saying. I cant say that for so many other interactions that I have with LDS members. Most of those conversations seem like a complete waste of time. 


I am really encouraged by this relationship and the possibilities it in itself holds as well as what it means for me in how I want to speak to everyone I come into contact with.


As it turns out there is more to this story (there always is). My anonymous commenter motivated me to look a little further. The article in PRIDE in Utah is being called a slur. The only source that is named in the article is a friend of Bryan's (Jahn Curran). The article claims that Bryan's facebook page was censored to remove information about his homosexuality. So there are quite a number of questions left unanswered.  

The main reasons I wrote this post were a.) to give voice to Bryan and his struggle that so sadly ended in him taking his life. b.) to talk about how a believing friend and I were trying to see each others POV on it. 


At the end of the day this man was a member of the LDS church. He married and had a family instead of living true to himself as a gay man because he believed that was what god wanted him to do. He struggled through life because there are people who think they know God's mind and they have no qualms lying to people and destroying lives. 


This for me is the crux of the issue. I would like to get the full story but as I said before, we have enough of the story to say:
  
"The Church of Latter-​Day Saints still has no official guidelines for how to respond when someone comes out. "


... and that is making all the difference. 



Friday, September 23, 2011

Moving On



We're at the butt end now of the September 30-day blog challenge and I am really happy with the results so far. I have blogged about all kinds of stuff that I otherwise wouldn't have bothered to. There have been new people commenting. I have discovered new blogs thanks to other people taking on the 30-day blog challenge.

I have also thought a lot about where I would like this blog to go. I think that once September is up I am going to change the look a bit and start blogging about my new 30-day challenge. I'd like to largely leave the ex-Mormon element of my blog behind. I have been blogging about my de-conversion for 2 years now and I would like to refocus. I am going to have links to the old stuff still readily available and I am still going to talk about whatever comes to mind but I would like to try something new.

So, I need your help.

What should I choose for my next 30-day challenge?


  • 30-minute houseclean (not counting dishes, laundry etc i.e. everyday stuff) 
  • A photo a day
  • No chocolate!
  • A letter a day
  • No face-book 
  • Abstain from alcohol
  • 2x 15 min Meditation per day. (Or one 30 min)
  • Make something every day (crafty)
  • Push-up challenge (30 push-ups a day) 
  • Kiss challenge 

I want you to vote! If you have more ideas please let me know. I plan to keep this going; once I've finished one I'll move onto the next. Check out the poll in the top right hand corner of this blog. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Troy Davis


Picture from ColorOfChange.org

To take a life.

This may very well be the only life we will ever have. I cannot make sense of the death of Troy Davis. I thought we lived in a world of innocent until proven guilty; and even then, mistakes get made. Hasn't anyone in Georgia ever watched The Hurricane or listened to Bob Dylan! 



I am so sorry Troy that the people of this world took your life. To Troy's family I send love, virtual hugs and my deepest sympathy. Troy's story has affected me deeply and I will never forget him. Thank you ColorOfChange.org for all that you do.

Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. - Gandalf, in theThe Lord of the RingsThe Fellowship of the Ring, by J. R. R. Tolkien (1954).

Most people approve of capital punishment, but most people wouldn't do the hangman's job.George OrwellThe Road to Wigan Pier, 1937

"To take a life when a life has been lost is revenge, not justice." -Desmond Tutu

"Capital punishment is the most premeditated of murders." -Albert Camus, French philosopher

"What says the law? You will not kill. How does it say it? By killing!" -Victor Hugo, author of Les Miserables




I want to share with you an email I received this morning from ColorOfChange.org  


Dear Maureen,
At 11:08 pm Wednesday, the state of Georgia killed Troy Davis. Just before he was executed, Troy maintained his innocence, urged people to dig deeper into the case to find the truth, and said "For those about to take my life, may God have mercy on your souls, may God bless your souls." It's a tragic day for Troy, for his family, and for equality, fairness, and justice.
It's hard to know what to say at a time like this. In this moment, and in the days and weeks before Troy's execution, we've felt all kinds of things — anger, sadness, inspiration, hope and hopelessness. This is a time to mourn and remember Troy, to contemplate the profound loss we're facing, to send love and support to Troy's family and friends. It's incredibly important to take the time to spiritually and emotionally care for Troy's family and the amazing community that has arisen to support Troy — and it feels hard to muster the energy to do much more than that.
But before he died, Troy told us that this was about more than him — and he called on those of us who have fought against his execution to continue fighting for justice, even if we weren't successful in saving his life. Now is also an important moment to take stock of what's brought us to this point — the criminal justice system that allowed this to happen, and the movement we've built to fight for Troy and others facing injustice and oppression at the hands of that system.
Race, the criminal justice system, and the death penalty
At every stage of the criminal justice system, Black people and other minorities face inequality and discrimination. We all know about people who've been treated unfairly by police or by the courts. When the entire system treats Black people unequally, it means that the death penalty is applied unequally too. Troy Davis' case underscores the way in which this systemic inequality can lead to a tragic miscarriage of justice.
In most cases, people who've been treated unfairly or wrongly convicted have some chance to correct the injustice. People who have been mistreated by the police can sue them. People who are wrongly serving time can be granted new trials, can be released from prison, and are sometimes entitled to compensation. As we all know, the safeguards that can correct abuse by the criminal justice system often fail, and rampant inequality persists. Usually, people can at least keep trying.
But there's no way to correct a death sentence. If Troy Davis were serving a sentence of life in prison without parole, he could continue to press the legal system to grant him a fair trial — but because the death penalty exists, he will not have that opportunity.
Troy Davis' case has sparked a national conversation about the death penalty. In the past, much of the debate around the death penalty has focused on the morality of killing people as a legal punishment — a very important question that brings out a lot of strong opinions. But even if we completely leave aside the question whether or not it can ever be right for the government to punish a murderer by killing them, there's an entirely different debate to be had — whether or not we can have the death penalty and actually avoid the possibility of killing innocent people. In a criminal justice system that routinely misidentifies Black suspects and disproportionately punishes Black people, Black folks are more likely to be wrongfully executed.
There's plenty of evidence to suggest that the death penalty has been used to kill innocent people many times. Since 1973, more than 130 people have been released from death row because of evidence that they were wrongly convicted. Troy Davis is one of many people who were executed despite serious questions about their guilt, and he's called on his supporters to continue working to end the death penalty.
A group of NAACP organizers went to visit Troy in prison yesterday, and NAACP's Robert Rooks said this about the visit:
For someone that was facing death the very next day, he was just full of life and wanted to spend time talking to the younger staff, the interns, giving them direction and hope and asking them to hold onto God. And he challenged them. He challenged them by saying, "You have a choice. You can either fold up your bags after tomorrow and go home, or you can stand and continue this fight." He said it doesn’t—it didn’t begin with Troy Davis, and this won’t end if he is executed today. He just asked us all just to continue to fight to end the death penalty, if in fact he’s executed.
A powerful movement
For years, ColorOfChange members have been an important part of a growing movement to stop Troy Davis' execution. Hundreds of phone calls from ColorOfChange members to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole helped delay Davis' execution twice. Over the past year, there's been a huge outpouring of support for Davis from ColorOfChange members — more than 100,000 of us have signed petitions, and we raised more than $30,000 to run radio ads in Georgia calling for justice for Troy.
And we've been part of an even bigger movement — NAACP, Amnesty International, National Action Network, Change.org, and others have all been a major part of the fight for Troy Davis, and there are now over close to a million petition signatures overall. Prominent people from all across the political spectrum have spoken out: members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Desmond Tutu, former President Jimmy Carter, Pope Benedict XVI, former FBI Director William Sessions, former Georgia Republican congressman Bob Barr, and former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Norman Fletcher.
This movement couldn't stop Davis' execution — but it's a movement that won't die with Troy Davis. There's no better way to honor Troy's memory than to keep fighting for justice.
Thanks and Peace,
-- Rashad, James, Gabriel, William, Dani, Matt, Natasha and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
   September 21st, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Shut the Fuck Up!


I'm talking to myself. 

A friend complimented me recently saying that I have an 'open heart'. I like this description and I do want to keep things that way. However, I feel that I need to build some kind of fortifications as well as learn the art of concealment. I tell people waaaaay too much about myself (having a blog kind of adds to that). I really like being open and honest with people but I think that I am being too trusting and naive in thinking that everyone I speak to will treat me well. 

I think part of the problem is that I hate silences, especially on the phone. Ugh, the phone. If the other person is silent for more than a second then I feel compelled to fill in the space; usually with some kind of idiotic blabbering. So I try and avoid the phone. Texting and emailing are my favourite ways to communicate, that is, if it is not possible to speak to someone in person. I am pretty good in person with people that I know. I still suffer from bouts of verbal diarrhea but not as bad as on the phone and certainly not as often. Plus you've got body language and eye contact etc to help you out. Even better is if you can add a third or fourth person to the conversation... takes the pressure off. 

My underdevelopment in this social area has lead to a few problems lately. I have blabbered out information that, whilst I haven't leaked anyone's secrets, I have said more than was wise and I have seen more than a few people hurt by my big mouth over the last few months. Most recently I stuffed up on facebook. I was trying to help out a new friend but in the process I hurt some other friends. If any of my friends from, well... they'll know who they are, read this then I hope you can forgive me and maybe even welcome me back after some time has passed. I need to learn how to keep peoples information safe before I think of returning to that group. It really woke me up though. I was being careless with other people's information and privacy and I couldn't see the danger. Now that's it's all done I can see all too clearly how I stuffed up and I am really annoyed at myself for being so irresponsible and selfish. 

I've been thinking about it a lot today. I can see where I came undone and it is something that Rockstar has pointed out about me before. I get quite incensed over any injustices that I think have occurred and I think I forge ahead; acting on emotion and being blinded by it. Whilst I admire my own courage to stick up for others; I do recognise that I need to take stock of my emotional responses and hopefully harness the courage and 'open-heartedness' for good. 

Now I've probably gone and said too much again. How about a 30-day challenge of silence! 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Readership

mfranti asks:
I have a question for you. If I smoke pot in a foreign country where pot is legal and take a drug test for work 30 days later while the THC is still in my system,I did nothing illegal. discuss. should I be fired/not hired for drug use?

Well this is easy. The answer is 'NO'. The end.

But since I am not the boss of the world...

My guess is that many workplaces would expect you to take into account the length of time the drug will stay in your system and expect you to refrain even when on holiday in a country where it is legal! (Which I think is B.S.)

If I were the boss then 'No' because firstly I have no beef with pot and secondly I would want to respect your holiday indulgences. Oh, and thirdly the THC that would be left in your system 30 days later surely would have no real effect on your performance at work.

So yeah, I should be the boss of the world.

I'd like to see marijuana decriminalised and eventually legalised. Seriously, how is it any more harmful than cigarettes or alcohol or SUGAR for that matter!


Lastly... next time I expect an invite to said holiday destination with legalised green stuff.




Monday, September 19, 2011

Encounters

I've bumped into just a small handful of Mormons since leaving the church. The Mormon population in Perth, Western Australia is pretty negligible so I can get around without too many unpleasant reminders.

I had one today but I think I will describe another encounter first. It was probably about a year ago. I was late night shopping with a friend when someone grabbed by arm and I was spun around a little by the force of it. I found myself face to face with the Relief Society President (I was one of her counsellors when I left). We each asked and answered those boring greetings and questions "Hello" and "how are you"... quickly followed by "have a nice night" and "good-bye". At the time I had found the encounter to be odd and a little unnecessary. I mean, if she had not grabbed my arm I would have walked right past her and never noticed. The paranoid me thought that maybe she was trying to confront me and make me face her. The more grounded me considered that she had been brave and caring in reaching out. She had seemed a little nervous and I think that I can safely say now that I think this was a positive encounter.

Especially when compared to the next two encounters.

The next one was at the shopping centre again. My daughter was browsing through purses when a member from our old Ward entered the store with a mobile phone to her ear and her face angled away from me. She went straight up to the service counter, took the phone away from her ear and started talking to the sales assistant. Okay, so paranoid me thought this was quite hilarious. It really did look like an elaborate (and woefully unsuccessful) attempt to go unnoticed. We had been browsing there for a while and I figured that this woman had decided she couldn't wait any longer and had to get into the store. Whatever.

Today I arrived at the High School I was going to teach at and the Relief Co-ordinator was showing me around the school. He went up to the ladies at the Library counter to have a little natter and then I realised that one of them was a member from my old Ward. This time I said with a smile "Hey, I know you! Hello _____ ". And she looked at me with expressionless eyes, said nothing and then looked away. LAME!

I'm starting to think that my old Ward really isn't that fond of me. I need a smart remark for next time, anyone got one?


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday Funday

Midnight
grrrrrrreen

We sleep in

We venture out to the windy town of Fremantle





Submarines




The Maritime Museum

Barnacles

Trinkets

The Shipwreck Galleries



Wet and wild

Dinner with a view (and cocktails)





Saturday, September 17, 2011


This was my day. Puzzle and tea. A lovely addiction.

Yesterday I was called in to relief teach some dance classes at a local high school. Yeah I know, when did I become  that person? but there I was supervising the girls with their own dance routines and I offered my yoga/tai chi experience which they actually wanted so we did some yoga etc together. They really dug the meditation. These girls were wired and then they lay still in the dark and I did my trancy voice thing telling them how to breathe and how to 'let go' and they did it. And they loved it. They asked if they could do it during the lunch break!!! these girls needed space to be quiet and to feel the void, the calm.

They wore me out though. By the time I got home I was pretty crook. We ordered pizza for dinner and crashed in front of a movie. Hence, today I needed to recover.

Tonight I went out with one of my besties and got smashed. Yes. So if there are some typos then you'll understand. I've even won an award for posting drunk. I will accept my award later this week in style, with brownies ;)

There's a few things I want to tell you about yesterday. There was a chaplain at the school. He would have been 25, maybe. He was tall, dark and handsome with you know, cool hair and all. The students would have loved him. But he was Christian right. Next time I get called to that school I will ask him some questions but for now all I know is that at lunch time he had organised a motivational rapper to come in and pump up the students. It was pretty cool. Not really my thing but a great effort nonetheless. At the end the rapper gave out free tickets to some gig that he had on that night and he had to specify that it was a Christian thing, some legal requirement that he inform the students of this. I don't have much to say about it atm. I am still gathering my thoughts. The dude was a pretty good advertisement for Christianity though.

There was also a girl in one of the dance classes with a bright pink cross around her neck. I didn't ask her about it. Maybe next time I might, just for research purposes, I won't like try and deconvert her or anything.

Lastly, tonight. Something that came up mid-long island ice teas - was a positive for the LDS church. I realise now that I learned how to speak in public and how to open my heart and give it all. I noticed this when I gave a brief acceptance speech at the end of my final 6-week teaching prac. at a Catholic all-girls school. I simply spoke about how I had loved my time there and how I thought the girls were amazing and that the school was great... and afterwards several teachers came up to me and said that they had really felt something when I spoke. I realised then that I had unknowingly developed a talent for creating emotional responses in others and for opening my heart to people. I like that. I think it is a very good skill and I am grateful to have picked it up. Thanks ol' Joe! you skanky male douche you... you're an animal just like the rest of us and you live somewhere in my bones. You treated some people like crap but you are in my ancestry in some sick way. I'll take what is good from that experience and live my non-Mormon life now, thank you very much.

Look, what can I say... I'm still drunk. If you think you have something to say that can help me I'd love to hear it.
And here come the rain! Ahhhhh, bliss.
Holy crap I am going to press 'publish' now!
can this count as day 16? I'm sick. will write more in the morning. it already is the morning but ... youknow what I mean.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dirty Tree



 
Thank you for all of the love-bombing on facebook. I turned 33 without a hitch ;) I have photos to prove it. 

Love and kisses, M. 











Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Creating Fact? and Choosing Belief?

Someone tweeted this today:
"Belief creates the actual fact." -William James
But just how much do we 'create' reality? and what is truth? fact? I think that if we are talking about god as a 'being' then as much as we believe/wish for it we could never make him materialise. But if we are talking about a belief in happiness or goodness (or the opposite of those) then yes I think we can create 'the fact'.


Maybe a little more clarification from James would help. 
"This life is worth living, we can say, since it is what we make it." 
"Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact." 
Now that sounds like something an atheist like me could tweet. 

I also Wiki-educated myself a little about William James and pulled out a couple of things to talk about here: 
  • James defined true beliefs as those that prove useful to the believer. 
What is your truth? This is something I hear a lot in 'hippie' circles. Finding one's own truth. It's quite a tantalising idea.  
  • James held a world view in line with pragmatism, declaring that the value of any truth was utterly dependent upon its use to the person who held it.
Pragmatism is right down my alley. Feet on the ground, down-to-earth, "let's get this wagon train a-movin'" type of girl. (Not all of the time though, just one part of me).  
  • Through his philosophy of pragmatism William James justifies religious beliefs by using the results of his hypothetical venturing as evidence to support the hypothesis' truth. Therefore, this doctrine allows one to assume belief in God and prove His existence by what the belief brings to one's life.
Now is pragmatism about to bite me on the bum? I still like this eh. If my belief in god, whatever that might entail, improves my experience of life and other people's experience of me then how do I argue with that? I'm thinking I need to have a chat with Nietzsche right about now. 
  • He was, by nature, a pragmatist, and therefore believed that one should use whatever parts of theories make the most sense and can be proven.
A pick-and-mix or potpourri of theory; sounds good and pragmatic to me ;) 


And this quote:
 "I think that yesterday was a crisis in my life. I finished the first part of Renouvier's second Essais and see no reason why his definition of free will — 'the sustaining of a thought because I choose to when I might have other thoughts' — need be the definition of an illusion. At any rate, I will assume for the present — until next year — that it is no illusion. My first act of free will shall be to believe in free will."
I am intrigued but also quite lost by this one. I believe in my free will because I like my free will but... Rockstar thinks it is an illusion. "We are all slaves" he says, as well as "there is no such thing as individuality" and "happiness is highly overrated". Now imagine our date nights after a few glasses of happy juice. 


I will leave you tonight with a quote and a link to an article a friend posted on facebook today titled Disbelief Is Not a Choice
...when we consider theistic beliefs we see different causal environmental factors at work. Early childhood indoctrination by family, for example, is a key environmental factor that promotes such beliefs in many, as is the pro-religion conditioning that one receives from the community and broader society. Even if the overt promotion of religiosity by society is mild (which usually isn't the case in much of America), prevailing social views that disapprove of open disbelief will often discourage serious exploration of secularity.
Creating my reality.
Discovering my disbelief. 
Coming out. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Your Turn

It's late and I am going to be cheeky and whip up a quick post. The other day I wrote about some Mormon facebook pages that I had been commenting on. I got into a discussion with a member who at first seemed pissed off but then started to try and 'fix' me; or (re)convert me, something like that. So, rather than get into it all on the Mormon facebook page I just sent 'my evangelist' a link to the post I wrote and here is the response I got this morning. I'll respond to it later but first I thought I'd see if anyone else wants to take a crack at it?


Evangelist: "Sorry, the blog doesn't exist, at least to me. You're happy? You've left the church, but you couldn't leave the church alone. A happy person has better things to do than returning to a site that makes her mad. However, no matter what you do, or how hard you try, Nothing you do will make you Not a Daughter of God." 


Over to you...


Ok I'm looking for an excuse to enjoy a cup of tea so I think I'll respond now. 


"the blog doesn't exist" aka burying one's head in the sand. Religious beliefs don't hold up very well to investigation or criticism so they're best protected by secrecy and ignorance. 


"You're happy?" - I never said I was happy. I'm happy sometimes, sometimes I'm sad. This week I am just damn tired! I vow to never stay up till 5am ever again when I have to pick the kids up at 10am. Strangely though I am a lot happier this week despite the tiredness. What I'm trying to say (in a very roundabout way) is, that I don't expect religion to make me happy or not. I had mood swings in the church and I have mood swings out of the church. What has changed is that I am in control of my own life and so I am responsible for my own feelings. The liberation is amazing; there is a lot to work through but I AM so happy to be able to make my own mind p about everything in life rather than be told 'how it is'. Huge difference. Big learning curve too. (I'm like a teenager still learning how to be an adult, as someone put it on fb this week). 


Also, the question mark reminds me that Mormons don't believe you can be truly happy outside of the church. Evangelist thinks that my visiting the Mormon fb page is evidence that I am not truly happy. See the next statement...


"You've left the church, but you couldn't leave the church alone" - Ugh! If I could have a dollar for every time I or one of my ex-Mo' friends has had this piece of 'Mormon doctrine' spouted at them then I could probably recoup all the tithing I paid as a Mo' slave. 


First, Mormons never seem to notice their own hypocrisy here. Who sends their youth two by two into the world; knocking on doors, proclaiming 'the truth', condemning the wicked? Not to mention the fb page that evangelist is arguing with me on IS a proselytising tool! LEAVE THE WORLD ALONE EVANGELIST(S)!!!


Secondly, indoctrination and manipulation are not easily undone. AND I was born into the church so they had me in my formative years. I am still (and will be for my whole life) challenging old patterns in my behaviour and thoughts that have been instilled since birth and which I need to challenge and change. The church will be a part of me for my whole life. It raised me and it has a lot to answer for ;)


"A happy person has better things to do than returning to a site that makes her mad." - Evangelist is extrapolating from other commenters on the page. I never said that the facebook page made me mad. In fact I chose to comment there largely because I was pleased to discover how 'over it' I really was. As in, the whole exercise felt like just that, an exercise, in debating with the faithful and formulating my own arguments in a rational and less emotional way than in the past.  


"However, no matter what you do, or how hard you try, Nothing you do will make you Not a Daughter of God."
This reminds me of the commandment to love god. It is not a choice, you are commanded to love him. The whole idea just conjures up images of prison and torture for me. Where is the peace, the love, the freedom? Certainly not with a god who speaks in these terms. Let me go!