The First Step is Embracing


“The cure to polarization is to embrace our own complexity.” Tyler Elliot Bettilyon

This is the heart of the BiCurean belief. The belief and understanding that our external experiences are motivated by our internal world. I wanted to start the podcast as a way of showing this in a more tangible. Sometimes I feel like we get it spot on. Other times, not so much. The idea of embracing ourselves as full humans can be watered down into a catchphrase or a used as a weapon or an excuse.

I am reminded of a friend of mine in college. He was born with, in his words, the body of a football player. Short and broad, he built muscle easily, and he loved sports. He was actively recruited for his high school football team. However, he really wanted to play basketball. He accepted himself as he was. Physically he had a lot more work to do to become a good basketball player than if he had been interested in playing football. And he set himself to the task of developing those skills. He worked on dexterity, speed, and accuracy. Practicing long hours after school and doing extra training drills, to get himself to a point where he was able to make the team and become first string.

Accepting our complexities without judgement or reaction is the first step. It can be uncomfortable. In my friend’s case, it was tinged with the possibility of disappointment. He could have accepted that as his end point. He took a different path. One that required more of him to create his desired future.

I am inspired by the people like my friend, who can see the challenges before them and still take that first step. In the midst of the confusion and the chaos of our modern world, these are the lighthouses I look to for hope.

Nutritious News

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Erik and Aicila had the pleasure of talking to Vanessa Otero Founder of Adfontes Media. Otero created the media bias chart to give consumers an objective way to evaluate the quality of the news they read. Listen to our podcast to get more understanding of her methods, what inspired her, and her next steps.

Transcript here:

Further reading:

Junk Food and Junk News_ The Case for “Information Fitness” - ad fontes media:

Deep Fake_ Videos Created By AI Just Got Even More Terrifying _ IFLScience, Jun 7, 2018:

BiCurean Moment:

Read Senator-elect Kyrsten Sinema's victory speech, Nov 12, 2018:

Unite and Conquer:

What Happens When You Shop Local - Independent We Stand _ Independent We Stand:

Honesty Compels Me


Honesty compels me to acknowledge that I knew what I was getting into. Honesty demands I say that's totally hogwash. As if anyone can know the future. That's for the science fiction writers and philosophers to figure out. So I didn't know. I did choose. This was no accidental action. I embraced the consequences with 100% ignorance and leaped into my life.

And from the first moment, I was fully committed. I changed my daily routine, my work schedule, my diet... Everything was impacted. Everything was changed. I was serene. I knew I'd chosen well. You captivated my heart, my mind, my soul. I would do anything to care for you. I remember feeling rage overcome me, like the slow relentless flow of lava from the mouth of the volcano. I'd realized the world would hound you for your gentle heart, cause you to question your worth, never fully appreciate you. I wanted to protect you with my lava rage, surround you with it, make you an island, safe. I resisted. My rage poured through me, carving paths of sorrow and regret, melting me.

So when you say, don't worry mom, you don't understand. How can I explain it isn't worry that drives me. Or not mostly worry. Yes. I worry. I don't usually share those started-awake-scared-you-are-in-pain-or-lost-and-I'm-not-there moments. You both had nightmares, I don't have to imagine your screams. I don't worry about you. Any more than I worry about my breathing. I care for you, from the first moment you were conceived until my consciousness is no longer capable of perceiving you.

The process of mom-ing is a constant hold and release. And sometimes I was too slow to hold, others I was too quick to release. And there were those rare jewels when it all came together and it shone with the working out. With the sparkle in your eyes when you did it. I was so proud.

The best way to hold you now is to release you.  

I believe in you. And I believe that you will always do your best and that you will remember to do so with grace and compassion.

I know I have to accept that you will be ... everything. And that part of everything is pain. And suffering. I've seen what happens to people who are sheltered from the painful realities. I chose never to cripple you that way. And I had to resist the urge, like Satan's offer of water in the wilderness, so tempting the desire to make it easier for you.

I succumbed. Too often I am sure. Less often than I wanted to. I protect my tea cup collection because I value it. How much more do I value you? And I showed it by not protecting you.

Freedom to Commit


Polyamory is a balance of commitment and freedom. We spoke with Magenta, a polyamory coach, on her approach to supporting people in this type of relationship.


Non traditional relationships are becoming more common and yet are at odds with a lot of societal norms. We asked Magenta, as someone who hosts workshops and coaches people, what do they say makes it worth it?

Transcript here:

Articles and items we referenced:

Magenta's Coaching Site

Magenta on Facebook

Is Serial Monogamy Worth Pursuing, Psychology Today, Oct 31, 2008

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Ethical Slut

Hidden Brain: When Did Marriage Become So Hard?

Polyamory_ When three isn't a crowd - CNN, Oct 26, 2013

BiCurean Moment:

Elizabeth Warren's DNA Test Fact Check, Independenct, Oct 22, 2018

On Feeling Safe

 Heading to a church service in college

Heading to a church service in college

Feb, 1993. I was 18 years old, sitting with my best friend at a ‘Fireside Chat’, a talk on spiritual or religious topics, by one of the leaders of my faith. We sang a hymn together and then bowed our heads for the prayer. As the speaker, one of the church leaders, started to talk, an audience member strode up to the dais. He was carrying a suitcase, shouting, and waving something with his hand.


The word was shouted. I didn’t actually understand it when I heard it. I was waiting to hear inspired words of faith. Instead, the man rushed the podium, ordered everyone off, and handed the speaker a paper.


I suddenly understood the word. I felt my heart race as I sat, watching from my seat. Scared and uncertain, I gripped the hand of my companion. Was I about to watch our leader and several classmates be blown to bits? The helplessness of being only able to watch was indescribably awful. Someone started singing a hymn and I gratefully joined in.


Singing and watching, we poured our fear into our faith. For ten minutes, we watched the terrorist angrily argue with the church leader. We watched the leader indicate no, shaking his head.


Something happened to embolden the two body guards for the speaker. They moved with purpose and disarmed the terrorist, with young audience members joining them. It was over. The man was escorted out. We breathed a collective sigh of relief. The leader stood up to continue his spiritual talk and we moved on.

That wasn’t the first time I experienced the possibility of violence in my life. It was the first time I felt it as a result of something wholly unrelated to the idea of violence. To worship, to pray, to follow your faith, is most usually about connection- the opposite of violence and terrorist threats. Fall of 2018 we have seen pipe bombs delivered to political officials and reporters and faithful people gunned down in their place of worship.

Domestic terrorism.

Twice this year I have attended conferences that were threatened with violence. I run in the mornings and in the back of my mind, I usually remember the women who have been killed, attacked, assaulted while running. I go to the movie theater and wonder if there is another Batman shooter at my fun action-movie premiere. I attend open air concerts and occasionally feel a twitch and wonder if this is the concert someone will copy cat the Vegas shooter and open up on a concert in Colorado. The last open air concert I attended, two of the band members were survivors of a massacre at a concert in Paris.

The politics of fear.

I have evidence that my politics and my interests put me in danger of being shot and killed. And I am a white girl. I don’t have the additional layer of race to increase the odds of violence I might experience.

I won’t let it stop me from going out or supporting the causes I believe in. And, for those of you that wonder why people make ‘a big deal’ about the rhetoric of violence, this is why. Because, for some of us, the reality that we may be killed in a house of worship, attending a movie, doing our job, or attending a conference is very real. It matters when leaders speak in ways that imply or outright state violence is acceptable. Or violence is a solution. Or violence is inevitable. Or that some people are more valuable than others. We have become the countries we used to look down on. The countries with bomb threats in coffee houses, where people terrorize each other on the streets. America’s beacon of light is tarnished with the blood of the innocent and the fear of the privileged. And it is time to wake up and notice if you are part of the problem.

Civil Discourse Over Dinner


If you have people in your life that have vastly different political beliefs or ideologies, how do you keep your relationship honest and also keep the relationship strong and connective?


Using the power of the internet and our own experiences, we attempted to come up with some ideas for you to take on the task of keeping your family gatherings more about connection. If that is your goal, of course.

Transcript here:

Articles and items we referenced:

How to talk politics at your family holiday meal - CNN, Nov 22, 2017

How the night before Thanksgiving became the 'biggest drinking day of year' -, Nov 22, 2017

Why Families Fight During Holidays - The Atlantic, Dec 23, 2013

Non Violent Communication

Christians and the Pagans

Romeo and Juliet in Kigali


Hannah Gadsby: Nannette

As a Black Woman Everything I Love is Problematic, Huffpost, Jan 25, 2018

Not exercising worse for your health than smoking, diabetes and heart disease - CNN, Oct 28, 2018

There are Always More Dishes


I recently attended a concert with some friends up at Red Rocks. The performer, who sings some fairly aggressive and angry songs, spoke out towards the end of his performance. “We live in interesting and difficult times,” he declared. “And I don’t know that I have the answers. I’m a romantic. And I think we need to listen to each other.” It was a somewhat surprising and appreciated sentiment to hear from the stage.

Riding home, I found myself reflecting on the belief that things in America are really extra super bad these days. The twists and turns of the car on the mountain road provided a comforting and peaceful environment to consider this viewpoint. I remember in 2008 when the country rippled with state after state passing the Defense of Marriage Act. When I was young, I watched the LA riots over the beating of Rodney King. I’ve studied the history of AIDS and how it was first called GRID- Gay Related Immune Deficiency. How gay men who were diagnosed were abandoned by even medical professions and left to suffer and die. I watched city after city in our country issue camping bans (even Boulder, bastion of all that is liberal) to shut down the Occupy movement and inhibit our right to assembly and free speech. I’ve read first hand accounts of our wars in Vietnam and Korea. I’ve absorbed histories and stories about the creation and use of nuclear weapons. And the impact of nuclear weapons and accidents on people and environments. I lived near 3 Mile Island as young person. Difficult times and human suffering are not new to our country.

When W. was elected, there were folks in my social circle who were pleased to have something happen to address the complacency of the progressive community. I admit my own frustration at getting people to engage and participate. We had achieved just enough to feel comfortable, without having actually and genuinely made change. Similar to what happened in the Obama years. It is an unfortunate fact that many of us need to be scared or uncomfortable to get motivated. And there is a form of fatigue from doing this work, repeatedly, for years, and still feeling a sense of being where we started. The ancient story of Sisyphus, condemned to an eternity of rolling a boulder uphill then watching it roll back down again, highlights the essentially hellish nature of doing a task with no real sense of progress.

This feeling of discouragement is something I faced when I first took on the primary work of my household when my kids were young. No matter how many times I did the dishes, there were always more dishes. And as long as I thought of them as a task to complete, I found myself wrestling Sisyphian feelings of being in a hell of in-completion. After some time, it might honestly have been a few years, I had a moment of experiencing it differently. Instead of trying to complete the overall task of dishes so it could be done, perhaps I would simply do the dishes in front of me and feel a moment of satisfaction in the experience of the empty sink. And not really expect it to remain empty. It worked. Even when my well-meaning youngster dropped his cup into the pristine porcelain sink, it didn’t diminish my feeling of satisfaction. There will always be more dishes. Sometimes even the same dishes.

There will always be more injustice. Sometimes the same injustice. Vulnerable people will be targeted and hurt by the chess moves of the powerful. Policies will have intended and unintended consequences that are harmful and damaging. The poor will be left out and left behind. Those who are different will be overlooked or intentionally silenced. And those of us who are committed to justice will be tireless in our efforts to address these things. In the world. In ourselves. In our families. And some days, we will tire. And some days, we will fail. And some days, we will succeed. And every morning, we will start again. Because there is always more to clean up and the only way we can make a difference, is to keep cleaning.

Voting Your Hopes

We spoke with Linda Templin, Executive Director of RCV for Colorado about Ranked Choice Voting and how it could make voting more inspiring for all.

RCV Handbill Image.png


Is there a way to make elections more fair and get voters excited? Can we create a system that encourages us to talk about the issues?

Find RCV for Colorado on social media at or at their website below to learn more.

Transcript here

Articles and items we referenced:

Ranked Choice Voting for Colorado:

A Brief History of Voting from Fair Vote:

Don't Throw Away Your Vote, May 29, 2018:

Why 5% for the Green Party is a win for America, CNBC, Oct 27, 2016:

Could Maine's new ranked-choice voting change American elections?, Boston Globe, Oct 17, 2017:

The fastest growing voting bloc in America isn't what you think it is, Apr 28, 2016:

Center for Civic Design:

BiCurean Moment:

Mike Foote_ Amendment 74 threatens legal free-for-all - Boulder Daily, Sep 15, 2018

Guilty as Charged


Even as a young person, I was aware of the challenges of race and ethnicity, despite my suburban shelter.  I was born with an insatiable curiosity as well. My curiosity led  to conversations with a variety of students at different times about their experiences in our high school. I recall a conversation with a classmate who was Jewish. He shared the struggles he faced as many of our classmates would threaten him, using anti-Semitic language as part of their bullying. I believed him to be telling the truth. And I also couldn’t believe people would behave that way. It seemed like a lesson the world had paid a painful price to learn so very long ago. I recall a conversation with an African American boy in one of my classes. He played down the challenges of being in a primarily white school, far from his home. As part of a busing program, he rode over an hour each way to attend our school. I understand now there were likely things I couldn’t understand. Maybe he was trying to express them. Maybe by then he was tired of trying to communicate his experience. Perhaps my well meaning curiosity was a painful experience for him. I just remember trying to understand if it was lonely or hard to be in our school- so white. So suburban. So far from his home. The conversation was brief and returned to complaints about the lunch menu after a short silence. And I really never stopped wondering what his experience was like.

The recent rise in awareness of white privilege and institutional racism has recalled for me these and other conversations. I feel a heightened awareness of my whiteness. White skin. White privilege. White suburban history. Whiteness. And a new social awareness of the challenges we face if we truly want to express our American ideals and values. If we want to live up to our own standards, we have to acknowledge where we are falling short on doing so. Acknowledging what has happened and how we have been complicit is an important part of moving forward. And yet it is often diminished to guilt, rather than accountability.

White guilt. Like any other useless experience, it has a seductive lilt to its presentation. It feels like accountability and it acts like seeking reassurance. It acts like avoiding conflict. It acts like not participating. White guilt is a distraction, at least for me, from taking the risk to be vulnerable enough to be responsible or to be wrong. And in being wrong, learn something and be part of the changes to which I am committed.

I have come to accept I will be uncomfortable, often, as I seek to be part of building a world I actually want to live in. And I will have to learn how to accept my guilt as part of me. I am grateful for the teachers in my life who have helped me to see there is more than my experience. More to the world than my view of what is. More to this moment than my discomfort. I hope I can use those lessons effectively to keep us moving towards a world that embraces all our voices.

The Pragmatic Progressive

We talked with gubernatorial candidate Jared Schutz Polis about the challenges and opportunities of serving in public office.


How does one balance ones ideals against the need to move forward towards a better future? Politicians are people doing a job and yet the modern approach to politics creates 2 dimensional versions of these people.

Transcript here:

Articles and items we referenced:

Polis for Colorado

Out Boulder

Register to Vote

Traffic congestion is making it harder for Denver’s paramedics to get around. Here’s how they are coping. – The Denver Post, Dec 1, 2017

F.D.A. Targets Vaping, Alarmed by Teenage Use - The New York Times, Sep 12, 2018