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. 


  1. Thanks TGIAA!

    When the hearts don't get to make their intended heart shape they remind me instead of ice creams! Thanks for ruining my diet again! I am off to the freezer ... on this balmy night.

  2. I was going just put the little hearts, but I don't want to mess up your diet again. :)


  3. Does it help that I find you incredibly sexy? Maybe not, but it's true just the same.

  4. I get that all the time on my blog, BTW.

  5. Thanks Jen, luckily there was no ice-cream in the freezer, only icy poles... and they're like eating air basically, aren't they?

    Anonymous sexy comments always help!

    One of the perks of the 'job' eh Daniel ;)

  6. I think mother Theresa said to never pit yourself against something, for by doing that you lend it power in your life and the world.rather know what you are FOR and promote that at every opportunity.

    This summer I am all for swimming at bold park and riding my bike, so if you are. Not working some weekday and want company, yell out.
    Ps your shoulder sounds dodgy. See a doc!
    X max

  7. Thinking of you and understanding some of this. i notice when I'm on the downhill run to my period my online reading takes a turn toward paranoia. I also hear you re being a fitness instructor and needing to do your own practice to avoid burn out and injuries. I have made a pact with myself to do more yoga hours per week than I teach and it's working well physically and all the rest. You've also inspired my blog Wellatanysize but i used wordpress. Love to you and yours

  8. I'll take myself to the doctor then Max! And I'll see you at the pool :)

    Thanks Chandrika, that sounds like great advice re: practice.
    I'll be checking out your blog right now xo

  9. You'll love your singing bowl. Try also getting some crystals--I'd recommend rose quartz, amethyst, unakite (protection, release anger, courage), rhodonite (self worth, balance, peace), aquamarine (courage, calming, control), and turquoise-lepidolite (rejuvenation, courage, wisdom). Even if you don't particularly believe in their healing powers, they're beautiful to look at. Sending you love!! (aintnomonomo(dot)blogger(dot)com

  10. Maureen, I've been reading for a while and just wanted to share that I have been in a similar place. I have been sucked into the Internet black hole, I have been depressed and angry and unable to practice for myself, I have wanted to let go of my Mormon past instead of continuing to define myself by it. Eventually I had to pull away from the Internet almost entirely. I have no connection at home and may only be online a few minutes a day. I play on Facebook perhaps ten minutes a day, no groups, just communication with friends. I really had to quit cold turkey and the difference it has made in my life has been profound, not only on the religious front but so many topics I used to debate online (politics, equal rights, feminism, diet, etc.).

    I have some peace now, but I think it would have been impossible had I continued to frequent the groups and sites that kept me locked in that place of frustration and attachment. I hope you can find some peace, too... you deserve it! <3

  11. Virtual hugs Maureen! Even though I don't know you, I feel like I know you and want you to know I love you and extend any support I can offer your way! Take care of yourself, listen to your heart, it knows a lot about you.

  12. Thanks aintnomo! I love crystals. The kids have picked up quite a few of them over the years. They go to a hippy-ish kind of school. I don't know what I think about the properties in the crystals but at this point I am happy to surround myself with them anyway, hell I'll even rub one for good luck ;)

    Hi Chandelle, I thought I was going to have to go cold turkey with the internet too but I seem to have managed to tone it down by limiting the the time I spend on there as well as getting more involved in making goals/plans for my life. Plus, it's summer here so I'm outdoors more now :) I is so great to hear about other people finding their happy place too. Big love to you!

    Thank you so much Facsimilogos, I love you too! I so hope we get to meet in person some day. I am making so many friends in America. I am just going to have to come over and take up residence on all of your couches as I span the country :)

  13. Hi Maureen,
    Just catching up on some blog reading after a very busy November. As usual your blog is beautiful to read and prods me to reflect on where I am at too.
    I love your goals at the end of the post - all good things. But do you sometimes find that your goal setting just leads to more guilt? It certainly does for me! But I guess that {setting goals + meeting some + guilt for those you don't meet} is still better than {not setting any goals and then finding yourself still in the same murky rut months later}.
    I think the 7 hours sleep goal is a real key. Nothing in my life ever works efficiently, smoothly or satisfyingly when I am sleep deprived.
    Hope you are feeling better and that the rest of the year is relaxing and rejuvenating for you, and filled with lots of nights of 7+ hours sleep. xxx

  14. Thank you Mandy!

    Huh, that is very interesting about goals and guilt. Yes, I think you are right about that. I do get discouraged by my failures but I am finding that more and more these days I am able to shrug them off and say that "today is a new day". A few things have happened recently that have made me very aware of my own strength and of the reality that I am the one in control of my life and feelings.

    I think that the murky rut can only be avoided by really bold moves. Well, what do I know.... hmmm, what I mean is, my experience lately has been that if I keep living every day with as much heart as I can then I find myself doing things that I never believed I could before and I am quite regularly taking stock of where I am at and liking what I see.

    (so excited about Survivor finale!!!!!!!!! see you on the 19th!)

  15. Good luck with everything you've got going on. Hopefully not too many posts here means you're being great off-line. I believe it was the New Zealandish Seventy (Ian somebody?) whose talk last conference suggested that facebook, among other trivial pursuits, gave us only the illusion of productivity.

    My experience of Mormonism has been that it challenges the privileged douche in all of us, rather than encouraging that tendency, but your mileage may vary, as they say.

    Anyway, good luck spending time on the important things and energy on the things that will energize you.


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  17. Promotes rape??? What a load of crud

  18. Ohhhhh it has been a long time since I checked in here!

    Retief!!!! so good to see you :) I think that my reduced online time has come about more from an increased workload than a steely resolve to disengage. I have been enjoying the new pace of life (and the extra money) but I am still chasing that seemingly elusive dream of 'balance'. I have a lot more to say about that so I will have to put that notebook next to my bed (like I keep telling myself to) and pen a post for blackbikini soon. Thanks for the well wishes. I hope life (and the people in it) are treating you well too.

    Anonymous Mar 11, 2012 11:39 PM (just so I don't confuse you with all of the other nameless commenters on blacbikini).
    I actually agree with you that 'promote' was an unfortunate choice of words. I think I should have used something along the lines of 'contribute', 'foster', 'further', 'cultivate' ... hmmm. Even then, what needs to be explained is that the Mormon church clearly does not tell people to rape. It does however engage in the very negative activity of telling women not to get raped. If you require further explanation on this topic I will write a full post about it but if you are an active Mormon you should already be familiar with the endless talks and lessons about how women should not dress in a way that causes men to lust after and possibly rape them. Utterly sickening and irresponsible to the goddamNed core!