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Welcome to Season 9 of the podcast – also known as “The One with Amy’s Kids.”

In a recent effort to “figure things out,” I was again reminded that talking and laughing with my kids is one of my all-time favorite things to do.  So I decided to indulge myself and make a whole season of podcasts with them.

Today Jonathan (27) Kayla (24) and Nikiah (22) talk about words, truth, deceptions, language, ideologies, communication, facebook and feelings.

And this is just the beginning!

Thanks for spending this inside-out human time with us.  It feels good knowing we’re all in it together.

Reflection Lake

H43 Introduction to Natasha and Season 8


Happy New Year Boys and Girls! Lucky 2013 to you, and welcome to Season 8. Whoot!

We’re bringing in the new year with an all-too-brief introduction to Season 8’s co-host, Natasha Clark – single mom of four, student, feminist, goofball, poet and author of the (currently dormant) blog Men Are Women Too.

I met Natasha during my year of bardo wandering, and later had the so-crazy-it-just-might-work idea of asking her to be my guest for a season of podcasts.  Even though she’s super busy going to school, raising her kids, having an adorable GF and being facebook friends with Mr. Deity – lucky us – she still said yes.

Natasha was a Mormon and now she’s not, and she has the sexy sundress and residual shame to prove it.

Today she tells us a little (way too little) bit about leaving home at 15, becoming a Mormon at 16, getting married at 18 – and somewhere along the way discovering the sweaty annoyance of magical underwear, ahem I’m sorry, I mean, garments.

Also covers (with equally frustrating lack of detail) the phenomena of Mormon happiness, anti-depressants, and whether or not life is meant to be a struggle (like “I think a lot of the things Mormons say have to be hard, don’t have to be hard; and the things they say are easy are actually hard.”)

I know you will be left wanting for more, so try to be patient – but also feel free to nag us relentlessly on the WWA facebook wall with your questions, comments and friendly enthusiasm as well.

And don’t forget to check out Ryan Tennis’s new CD, Pack Light But Bring Everything. Woo!Pack Light but Bring Everything cover art

Happy Thirteen,


C42: Curling Up in a Ball in the Middle of the Floor


So, “for the fun of saying words,” my son Jonathan told me a bit about his “past session of craziness,” his frustration with his own emotional detachment, and wanting to vomit away the nonsense.

But, as you’ll hear, evenBrian Andreas Bittersweet when Jonathan is crazy and curled up in a ball on the floor, he’s still happy – because he’s allowed to curl up in a ball on the floor. (Speaking from my own experience I can say that yes, it really is that simple.)

He also talks about what he’s learned from his cats, about developing an appreciation for everything, about his fiancé’s skepticism of curling up in a ball (and why he’s grateful for that too),  and his new motto (“take your time as it comes”) which he likes for lots of reasons but especially because it doesn’t exactly make sense.

We unveil our new theories about the value of talking (or lack thereof).  Jonathan’s is that he agrees with everything that anyone has ever TRIED to say, it’s just that nobody ever succeeds at saying what they’re trying to say.  Mine is loosely connected to that picture going around of Rick Santorum composed of thousands of tiny pictures of gay porn.

We swoon over Brian Andreas’s art for a while, then get to wondering: What makes us want to curl up in a ball?  In response, Jonathan muses about people exposing their sensitive regions (unlike most animals), suggests that perhaps we slouch in order to hide, and reports some curiosity about the difference between putting palms up or down in meditation.Strange People by Brian Andreas

To top it all off, The Twenty-One Balloons by The World is Not Flat brings us another musical exploration of what it’s like to be a human being.

A pretty fun-filled and exciting bunch of things for a show about curling up in a ball, doncha think?

Whatever whatever.  Amen.





H42: Dan Fincke on Replacing Religion (and all kindsa other stuff)


Freethought blogger and philosophy professor Dan Fincke talks with me today about all kinds of stuff, like…


How attending a very religious college helped him become an atheist (with help from Nietzsche); how his passion to further public discussion keeps him going; his thoughts about happiness and fulfilling human potential; the importance of building community that is based on common rational values, the process of “coming out” as an atheist; religious PTSD; struggle and growth; “A” week (soon!) and the Reason Rally (very very soon!)

(No wonder Dan was worried I wasn’t going to be able to edit this down to a half hour show….)

If you want the longer versions of any of these topics, you’re going to have to pay a visit to Dan’s blog Camels With Hammers, which he updates regularly – and with gusto, I must say.

Our closing musical treat comes to us from Australia – “Saved” by Shelley Segal is the hit single from her latest CD An Atheist Album.  You can go buy her record and/or you can hear her perform at the aforementioned Reason Rally next week.  So what are you waiting for? Tally ho!


P42: Adventures and Opportunities for Unschooling Teens



My guest today is Blake Boles, director of Unschool Adventures and Zero-Tuition College, staff at Not Back to School Camp, author of College Without High School and working on the not-yet-published (you can help with this part!) book Better Than College.

I can tell you this: anyone interested in how small people can turn into happy productive large people, without going to school, will love hearing about what Blake is up to.  (I’m sayin’!)

And anyone who wants to help Blake with the things that he is up to can send a bit of money here – and guarantee an early copy of his new book to boot!

I have to ask: what’s not to love about any of this? That’s right, nothing.

Chris drove us all the way from Austin to Silver City. We like him.

And while we’re on the topic of generous, cheerful and adorable 20-something men, our musical treat of the day comes to us from Chris’s band – The World Is Not Flat.  Chris (and his friend Spencer) helped Nikiah and I cover about 1000 miles of our last adventure, and along the way made a hand-decorated cover for his new CD.  Ah, the joys of craigslist rideshare!

Again… what’s not to love?

Keep up the good work y’all.

P41: Owning up to Your Kids About Who You Are


On Kara Tennis’s website, part of her bio reads: “I also have four fascinating grown children who all trust me (thanks to years of humbling myself gallingly in order to learn from them and heal my patterns of unconscious parenting). ”

I can attest that all of this is true (that her four children are fascinating, that they trust her, and that Kara has had to humble herself gallingly in order for this to be the case).

There is hardly a parent I’ve ever known who wouldn’t be wise to learn from her example.  (I mean, if you want to learn from your kids and heal yourself, that is.  And I know all too well that many don’t.)

Thanks Kara, for being honest and real, as always.  And thanks Devon Sproule for sharing your music with us again, this time with the tune Healthy Parents, Happy Couple.

Among the most agonizing kinds of growth that I’ve had to do, in facing up to who I am and what’s inside of me, is in relation to my kids. There’s such a strong desire to do well by them, such a strong desire for them to love and respect me. But the deep, real, person-to-person kind of love and respect happened only from intense honesty, willingness to look over and over at my words and actions, and willingness to see myself through their eyes and their experience. Almost nothing in my life has been more humbling and difficult and slow and rewarding.
– Kara Tennis

S41: De-Vowification


So after a couple years of celibacy (jeepers, was it only a couple years? Why did it feel like a couple decades?), I woke up one morning with a sudden and clear *ping* in my brain that meant to me that it was time for the ‘vow’ to be over.  Just kinda like that.

As part of my un-vowing process, one thing I wanted to do was to ask Daniel Mackler some questions about celibacy, dating, sex, relationships – and I recorded the conversation so all y’all could eavesdrop.

What a day, what a life, what a world – and whatever, whatever.

little carsie offers her opinion on all this


Oh and have you downloaded Carsie Blanton’s new album yet?

Have you heard that she gives her music away?

So just go listen already!


C41: We're All Confused


In the last Consciousness episode, Jonathan and I made a list of “our basic point of view in a nutshell,” and item number three was “Everyone is confused.”

Today I expand on this idea.  I hope it’s not too confusing.

At the end of the episode you get to hear a song from [drum roll please]… Carsie Blanton’s new CD! This is so exciting and not at all confusing. Yippee!

And happy valentines day too, while I’m at it.




“Don’t want to give the end away, but we’re all gonna die one day.”
-Carsie Blanton

H41: Disillusionment, Not Belonging, and Offsetting Torture


“Contentment is pretty damn lucky.”
-Kara Tennis

The beloved Kara is back with us today talking about her journey toward being disillusioned (“in the good sense”), being aligned with her true being, and being allowed to breathe even if she doesn’t change the world.

We got talking about her new website (sorry I’m not allowed to give you the link until it’s perfect) and the reassurance, support and company that she offers clients as a self-possession specialist.  Good stuff, all real good stuff.

Kara briefly mentions that 1/3 of the income from her business goes directly to the Hunger Project and FeelGood, so I thought I would mention them here too, cause they are awesome and worthy organizations working to end hunger in really empowering and successful ways. Click now and donate today!!

The closing song is sung by Kara’s daughter Anna – ear candy, I tell you.  Enjoy.

So now let’s all hang out and “not-belong” together.

Kara Anna and Magia

P40: Why Do People Have Kids?


In the last of my four recorded conversations with Jonathan this week, today we made an attempt to examine the effects that parenting has had on my emotional growth.  We then stammered our way through topics like why people become parents, whether parenting is similar to or the opposite of being in a coma, and whether it possible to make the transition to independence gracefully.

We aren’t confident that we answered these questions with any success whatsoever.  But if you listen all the way to the end you’ll get to hear a really goofy song by Fred Van Vactor – a reward for your patience.

(Or, you can just skip to the end.)

Better luck next time,