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How To Keep Your Wits Amid Relentless Waves of Legislative Horror

Season 3, Episode 3

by Ashia R.
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In this episode:

How to keep political horrors from breaking us: Reorienting ourselves toward core values to self-regulate before we get back in the fray.
Today’s episode runs steadily off the rails as I fall into heat delirium, but luckily it all tracks with my brand of slime & giggles, with our ‘Enthusiastic Crappy Podcast Where We Get Sweaty and Laugh Real Hard At Terrible Things”


This week, we’re talking about:

  • Collecting ourselves amidst the unrelenting shit-storm of current events
  • Why we don’t do shame & empty motivational speeches
  • Centering our core values to self-regulate before jumping back into the fray
  • Also: Good Ideas To Avoid: Heat Index Science Drama, the TV series
Ashia Ray
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When your kids are at their worst – how do you remind them of who they really are?

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Capacity is limited to 6 members. Enrollment closes when we hit capacity.

Additional resources from this episode

Episode Transcript

Hello friends!

Oh gosh, where are we? [laughter]

This is okay, back to it. Welcome to our enthusiastically crappy podcast with Raising Luminaries. I’m Ashia Ray and this is Season Three summer is for action!

So last time was episode, we shared a trick to work through despair, inertia and apathy when faced with overwhelming injustice, which I feel is… timely. [laughter]

And you know, we’re talking about transforming our helplessness into change making. So to follow along with that route, the next logical sequence of events is we just – we just keep going, keep moving.

So in this episode, we’re going to collect ourselves amidst the unrelenting shitstorm of current events, particularly for parents who are freaking the fuck out about targeted genders and uterus havers, losing our right to health care and bodily autonomy, while still gasping for air amid the pandemic, rising living expenses, mass shootings, unnatural disasters driven by climate change, continued systemic racism, ableism, and all kinds of all of those isms. [laughter]

And what’s going to be different about this, as opposed to? I don’t know, the flood of ‘What should we do now?’ articles is that – I have no interest in shaming you into not doing something earlier.

Yeah, that that, like “You shouldda, you shouldda joined before!” Yes, I feel that. I do feel frustrated, frequently. But this is a choice, this work is a choice.

So we’re not doing that – we’re not shaming people who didn’t get up and do enough earlier. And most of that is because this idea that it’s on individuals, to get up and sustain and survive in a society that’s designed to kill us and use us and weaponize power against us. Suggesting that we didn’t do enough, that’s just gonna fall really hard on the people who are already doing everything they can, and it’s just gonna fly right through the ears of the people who really could have been doing something the whole time and just didn’t.

That’s what I got for you. Okay. So we’re just going to, we’re going to equip ourselves with the tools we need to get through today, to gather our wits and to keep going so we can secure rights for our children and grandchildren.

And I know, the Supreme Court decision to completely revoke our access to our freedom and rights to reproductive health care agents and choice. We knew this was coming. We knew that this is a fight that is not something that is one and done. It just – it sucks, and yet still

And yet still it kind of it’s hard to drag yourself through the day, right? Because wave after wave of legislation preventing us from caring for our trans and non binary kids and providing them with the health care they need, the education they need. Inadequate, frankly, inadequate and kind of tokenized legislation that’s barely chipping away at the problem of mass shootings and the glory of gun culture in the US.

All of that feels like you know, like when you get hit by a wave and it knocks you down. And then just as you’re starting to get up or even before you can even think about getting up another wave hits you and it just it feels like drowning.

But luckily, we’ve been doing this long enough. We’ve been in this kind of situation before where we can hold space for the generations for whom this is completely new and terrifying. And we can be the people who guide them on to the next thing and the next thing and help them keep fighting.

So today it’s just me you know in our winter incubator, I think that was season one. We focused on retreat, reorienting restructuring, repair and then recommitting and what’s lovely is Bellamy’s doing that right now. So unfortunately, she can’t join us for the podcast, but Bellamy has moved to a safe place where she can finally start that process of retreat and reorientation, restructuring, repair, and so on. So she’s going radio silence for the time being.

But at the same time, the heat waves caused by climate change, personal and community tragedy, relapse from chronic illness, single parenting in an ongoing pandemic while supporting kids against anti black racism and school shootings. And the retraumatization that just lurks around every corner means that sometimes, if we’re going to be doing this work, we need to take breaks.

And unfortunately, taking breaks in a capitalist economy that is designed to keep you at the bare minimum or below a living wage in the first place means you just can’t afford to do that. So I encourage everyone to go to Join the when we gather monthly membership, or if you just don’t have the bandwidth, you cannot take any more emails, go to and then hit that tip jar and just donate a little bit $2 $5 $1,000. Just so Bellamy can keep sustaining throughout all of these issues and more.

So that way they can get back to baseline, provide what they need for their community, provide what they need for their kids, and then, you know, survive.

Anyway. So it is with joy and hope that we encourage Bellamy’s radio silence while they work on when we gather and just, you know, recentering, but also, let’s support that with dollars. [laughter]

Okay. And meanwhile, so there’s just me on the podcast this season. And if you want to laugh real hard at terrible things with me and just be goofy, hit me up at 781-342-0486. And tell me what you’re panicking about.

And maybe we can find a way to laugh at it. I don’t know without being mean, I don’t want to be mean about it. I won’t be mean, I promise not to be mean. [laughter]

Okay, we can laugh about the problem without laughing at the victims of the problem. Okay.

So in this season, we are DIYing our own summer parent activist accelerator. And the goal of this is to integrate your parenting and activism initiatives, right. So instead of doing two separate things, and then more on top of it, we’re just tweaking what we do already.

And in order to do that, we need to maintain focus, despite feeling a scattered sense of constant panic, because it’s gonna be really hard to just get through the day when we’re like [desperate gasping], you know. [laughter]

So the summer parent activist accelerator is six weeks, the way that I’ve designed it, if you’re DIYing it, I’m going to give you a few things that we cover, although unfortunately, I cannot cover an entire week’s worth of work, resources and guides and collective action [laughter] in a one hour podcast

But in week one, we get radically honest about our motivation, that’s a central core idea that we kick things off with.

And what’s really good to know before we move forward, is that our rights are never guaranteed. So this is not and never will be over. So if you want to DIY things, so that it’s one and done, you never have to worry about it again. You want simple problems, simple answers to very complex problems. So you never have to deal with this again – this is not the place for you.

Because the way that these accelerators are designed is that we come back to these questions and we check in with ourselves to make sure that we’re working with integrity every single year, gets faster, it gets easier. Just like riding a bike? I’m losing metaphors. It’s very hot right now. [laughter]

But it’s not something that you can be like, “Oh, I did what I can to solve ableism. I did what I can to assure our reproductive rights.”

Nope, it’s just – even when we have a majority in whatever lawmaking space that we are working towards, even when we have the legislation we need passed. It is something that we have to maintain.

And I like to think that this week’s awful gross news is a good reminder of that to kick us into gear. So let’s spin this in a way that instead of sending us into a panic of futility and hopelessness, let’s just remember “Oh, right.”

Instead of doing big bursts of energy, we’ll just go with the pace we can and trust that those who work with us and alongside us will also go at the pace they can. We will leave space for our friends to retreat and go radio silent when they need to take care of themselves and their families and then we will trust that they will be there for us when we need to take some retreat.

Meanwhile, for those of us who have the time and the energy to, I don’t know, push gently forward? Or run screaming forward [laughter] that’s what we’re doing. That’s what we’re doing this summer.

So yesterday, R2 celebrated his eighth birthday. It was the day after school ended for the summer. And yesterday came with a whole bunch of big transition changes.

In the winter accelerator We talk about ritual and the importance of pomp and circumstance for the beginning and endings of things. And we talk about how there’s grief with, you know, as our seasons are changing, we let go of something and R2 talking about how he’s like,

I will never be a second grader again,” like “that’s over. that period of my life is over.”

He’s now entering the upper elementary grades. he’s leaving behind – this is his first birthday party where he didn’t invite all of his friends from preschool. And he’s noticing his body is changing, the way he thinks is changing. the stuff he likes is changing. who he interacts with, and what he does, in the time he has with the people he cares about. It’s all changing.

And there’s a little bit of sadness and grief there. Which is important because [laughter] it was important – his life before now, and it deserves to be grieved, and it deserves some reminiscing.

But with that, any kind of transition, especially in an autistic family, even if you’re not autistic yourself, there’s going to be some stress with the transition. So my kids are super wound up, they’re bickering over the most petty bullshit. [laughter]

And I spent at least four hours yesterday, just mitigating fights, facilitating things, and not telling my kids what to do, but making space to help my kids regulate and then say, “Hey, I know you’re upset about this.”

And you know, like, when you’re upset about something, you keep repeating it over and over and over, because you want to be heard, and you want people to understand why you’re upset. And I can do that I can repeat back to them, that I understand why they’re upset. But try and get your sibling to do it, that’s going to be hard, because they’re also dysregulated. And their goal is just to win! to win the petty bullshit! [laughter]

So sometimes we have to separate them, or sometimes we just have to, to break through that to kind of in that cycle of being completely outside of your window of tolerance. One of the things I do is I remind them, “Hey, who are you? Because I know that we we are the Ray family. we are rays. we are courageous and kind. And that’s what we sent her our entire lives are around.”

“Now what you just did, hitting your brother breaking his cup, whatever? Is this who you want to be?”

“We know who you are. We know that you’re constantly in the process of becoming.”

“Who do you want to be? And what behavior does this person do? “

“Now you can’t unbreak that cup, you can’t unpunch your brother. But the person you want to be? What action did they take after they’ve made a mistake? What core values Are you centering your actions around and keeping an eye on?”

While also completely overwhelmed? Like what is what is your Northstar? Right? How are you orienting yourself – next to the transition of ending school, the transition of becoming a year older, abruptly through a birthday, the transition of having a whole new set of friends in the house, the transition of going from completely isolated, wearing a mask and never leaving the house to having people in our house.

That’s just a lot, especially for those little itty bitty brains. So I keep reminding myself that I don’t I don’t control my kids, I tell them, “I don’t control you. I don’t control what you’re about to do. But I do want to remind you of who you are and who you want to be. and who you said you want it to be.”

Because we confirm that as we’re walking home from school, and the last day said, you know, “This is going to come with some identity changes, you no longer identify as a second grader, as a fourth grader, you’re going to identify as someone older”

You’re going to identify as someone who’s, you know, not new to school, is not not someone who’s completely defined by certain things – defined by new things. [laughter]

And this is why it’s really important that I have the kids state and restate and reassess frequently. What are the core values that we return to? what are our shared family values? And what are you as, as individuals, what are the values that you’re going for?

So last summer, when we did this exercise, I asked the kids “Okay, what is your goal?”

And Q was like, “I want to be happy and helpful.” And that’s delightful because there’s always some fear when you give your kids freedom to make their own direction that it’s going to be an asshole move. It’s going to be “I just want to be happy. I just want me to be okay. I want all the candy.”

But he chose happy he chose happy and helpful and I’m very proud of that.

And then R2 of course, his goal for the for the year. I had “Ice cream.”

His goal was ice cream. I don’t know if it was obtaining ice cream? I don’t know if it was becoming ice cream? His goal was ice cream. [laughter]

And we actually hooked into and remember add that [laughter] that goal for the entire year. Whether we were learning math, whether he was learning how to read. whether he was focusing on his relationship with his brother on learning, basic, basic grooming and table manners, we would return to his core value of ice cream. [laughter]

And for what, because it came from him, it always motivated him to do whatever he needed to do in a way that he felt true to himself. And like he was working from a sense of integrity, even if it wasn’t necessarily what I wanted him to do.

He did not have to worry about being a hypocrite, he did not have to worry about getting distracted by too much petty bullshit, because he kept those eyes [laughter] kept those eyes on that ice cream. Okay.

[laughter] Okay, before we get into that, I did want to give a quick shout out to our community, part of working on the summer parent activist accelerator is it has to be responsive to the season to the members in it to our community, because we are working through a transformative lens.

So even those who can’t participate with us because they’re busy, because they just don’t have the spoons, the time the resources right now. We’ve got a lot of great feedback on how to make it more accessible for them next year, or how to make it more accessible for people like them.

So thank you so much to Shannon and Linda and Rachel and Alison and Kerry, for sharing feedback and advice and hesitations and concerns which led to direct updates on the policies, even mid enrollment because we’re still in the enrolling period. Right now, I think we have three spots left.

And we went from having year long access to the resources and the the whole digital portal and all of the videos, recordings, whatever we’re going to have, I was going to have that so you have access to it all year long. And then that would end in summer, and people can re sign up next year. But we decided that that might be too much stress. And it would be more accessible to people if people had lifetime access for as long as I can keep that portal up whether it’s 20 years from now or whenever I go bankrupt and can no longer afford the hosting fees.

But the idea is that people have lifetime access so that way the registration fee for this year. They can be get access next year and keep coming back to this stuff in the summer. That’s more in keeping with the seasonal cyclical nature of what we’re doing.

[sound of fiddling with phone pausing & unpausing]

Oh, I don’t know if you can hear the noises but in keeping with the fact that yesterday was a birthday party, we have kids sleeping over and there’s a gaggle of rambunctious children swinging, bouncing balls around slamming open doors and just doing that, like, I don’t know the sound of geese?

That’s just coming and going in slamming doors and in and out of the house, followed by my partner being like, “Where’s the cat did the cat get out?” [laughter]

So noises – It’s an enthusiastically crappy podcast. And that is what you are here for right?! [laughter]

Mid shout out, I was in mid shout out. Sorry. [laughter]

Oh, and we’re also doing. Hold on, let me reticulate my splines. We were also doing – in the winter. In the winter incubator, we really focused on live hangouts, it was really important because so many of us were feeling so isolated, particularly those with younger children who weren’t vaccinated yet.

So many of us just needed a chance to connect with other people during a very dark, dreary, cold, freezing time. So when I was gathering feedback for the winter incubator, everyone’s like “The live hangouts were impactful, they were wonderful. That’s the one thing you should definitely keep for next for the next time.”

And I took that advice. And I was like, Great, awesome, forever. And forever, we will have live hangouts every single season plus all that other stuff to make it seasonal.

And then I realized that I’m doing the exact opposite than what I said we’re supposed to be doing, which is tailoring what we do and what we provide and how we show up for each other to be accessible for the season of life that we’re in right now.

And the season of summer involves people traveling, people having spotty Wi Fi, people having kind of mixed up schedules, because we don’t know if kids are going to be at camp, if kids are at home, whether or not people still have their jobs.

So for the summer accelerator, thank you so much for all the feedback instead of really focusing on live hangouts and making sure that that is the mandatory place where we show up for each other, we’re going to focus on asynchronous Hangouts, mostly using the video chat app, Marco Polo, which is awesome and fun. And that’s how I develop my best friendships.

So as a person who when someone tries to teach me a new board game, and they read the instructions or tells me to download a new app, I’m like, “Heck, no, I do not have the bandwidth for that.” – If you join the accelerator, I will teach you how to go through the app, it is very, very simple, is quite enjoyable, and fun. And then you will just know how to do that. And you can keep in touch with everyone asynchronously at your own time, whether it’s 2am, or 7am, or some other ungodly time when people should not be awake.

And even, I’m mostly going to consume and be recording these out on walks, you know, keep that cardio up. Anyway.

So those are some adjustments. And we are still open to concerns hesitations and other policy ideas to make it accessible for everybody, particularly in keeping with the summer.

Cat sent in this really great newsletter feedback about how she listens to the podcast in five minute chunks and has to pause. So I’m wondering, I listen to podcasts in five minute chunks, and I pause and that’s not a problem for me. But for anyone who finds that frustrating and really wants to be able to listen to entire podcasts in one go. Let me know. Because I’m happy to break this up into a series of five to 15 minute podcasts each week.

I don’t know how I would do it. I would figure it out. But if that seems more accessible, I’m interested in hearing.

Okay. And then just sending love in difficulty to members of our luminary brain trust – Anne and Bellamy and April and Jillian, we are here for you. We see you we’re holding space not trying to solve your problems, but trust that you will be able to like get through hard times and remain awesome, I guess. Yes.

So shout out to everybody [deep breath] who shows up.

Okay. So what is the problem?

What is the problem? What were we talking about? What is today’s episode about? I’m not sure? [laughter]

I guess the Alright, the tragedies! [laughter] Oh, right, those [laughter]

There’s there’s just children screaming there’s so many doors slamming it is so distracting. I.. aiya.

Okay. The problem with these unrelenting crashing waves of tragedy is that they do realize and distract us. We were already doing the best we could, right. We were already working towards our own initiatives that theoretically, if we can keep pushing out them, they would make a rippling deep impact. farther out, even if we’re not directly on the frontlines of abortion rights and reproductive health care – if we work on freedom and accessibility and getting people what they need so that way, they can work on that or they can ripple out and do their good work. It will make an impact.

But when you’re getting this relentless feed of news, and hot takes, and “oh gosh, what do we do!” and these link lists of resources and petitions and places to donate – Not saying we shouldn’t do those things. But at some point, we get so many that we end up in this this inertia spiral.

We end up, you know, if you’re doing the fear, and freeze and flight and fawn response to just overwhelming input.

I don’t know for me, some of it gets – I get slower, I get tired. And it just the idea of moving forward seems impossible.

So here’s how I’ve gotten through this, when I find myself derailed and scattered by too much tragedy, when I find myself outside of my window of tolerance, where I’m starting to panic. When I find myself, not doing what I need to do to fight for revolution, even just basic stuff that has nothing to do with the tragedies at hand.

What I try and remind myself is that I don’t have to be derailed, I don’t have to become complicit in the kyriarchy. And I also don’t have to feel bad about having a very human reaction to what is really, really freaking horrible and scary.

For me, I’ve been having flashbacks and kind of in a loop. Thinking about the many times when I have luckily had the choice for reproductive health care, have the choice to have an abortion or not have an abortion.

For me, having – I’ve been pregnant times. [laughter] And I have I have and people advise me to end pregnancies that were not going to end well regardless.

But they didn’t force me. I had a choice they gave me… for my second pregnancy with my daughter Thisbe, they gave me misoprostol, which is a drug that lets you induce an abortion. So that way you can end the pregnancy, get back on your whatever next infertility cycle, because YOU’RE RUNNING OUT OF EGGS, and YOU’RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME!”

And also it kind of clears things out. It’s like an eviction notice for a fetus. [laughter] I had the choice not to take it. It was an option for me, it would be would have been safer if I had taken it. But it was ultimately my choice. And when I ended up in the emergency room, losing over half my body’s blood through a natural, spontaneous miscarriage – with people monitoring my organs to make sure that they didn’t fail.

And just sorry, this is getting a little graphic, but it was it was graphic. gushing everywhere in labor, I had the choice as to whether or not I had a D&C, which is the traditional mechanical methods of abortion, where they dilate your cervix, open it up and then scrape everything out.

And that would have been safer for me. It would have set me in a healthier path before we got pregnant with my first surviving child. But what was important is that I had the choice and it would have been – it was already traumatic, it was still it was already really hard to lose Thisbe.

But to have the choice to be able to say no, I don’t want to risk scarring, or I don’t want to – I don’t want to let her go just yet. I want a couple more weeks.

That’s what made it different. That’s what made it something I could survive through. And that’s what made me a better mom today with less trauma, and less pain.

So when I think about the fact that people don’t have choices over their bodies, that’s what’s going on in my brain. Even though it’s on the complete opposite side, people should have the right to end a pregnancy. period. it is your body. And people should also have a right not to – not to be pressured into an abortion, right?

So what what are we doing when a small screaming minority believes that they are chosen by God or whatever sky daddy is up there. And they have the right to police our bodies and control whether or not we survive and whether or not our children survive and whether or not we get to stay alive, to keep our existing children alive or stay alive long enough to have children in the future and a place where we can actually provide them with what they need to become who they need to be and contribute to society.

It is terrifying and panic inducing on top of the trauma of having to choose for your future family, right.

So we have to think about how do we derail ourselves and become complicit in the kyriarchy? [laughter]

And how do we become just swept up in those waves? How do we simultaneously stop fighting enough that we can just start floating along and find a place of safety. but also how do we keep fighting in a way that we’re not just swept out to sea?

This is too much metaphor? I think it might be too much. whatever, go with it.

So that scattered response that I’m having at least that panic – has been weaponized to feed on my outrage and fuel because the first thing I want to do is I want to go to Google and I want to Google all the things and I want to donate money. [laughter] And I want to panic. And also I want to hide and eat a lot of carbs.

But what I’m looking for is not – I’m not looking for how do I dedicate the rest of my life to medical rights and justice [laughter] Right,

What I’m looking for is quick fixes, because I want to quick relief from the sense of panic, and loss of control.

And those are the people, the people who are offering the quick fixes the people who are offering, “if you elect me, I will drain the swamp,” that kind of stuff. Those are the people who are profiting off of this outrage, off of this panic.

So we got to take a deep breath, center our core values – who are we? Who do we want to be? What does that look like? What actions do we take today? And tomorrow and the day after that?

What small actions are we tweaking so that we can work towards that long term plan.

But the idea is when we have that knee jerk reaction of googling really quick fixes, which is – we need responsive people to do quick, fast action. But for those of us who we just can’t do that, we need to remember that idea that systemic failure falls on the individual – in that we should just be panicked and guilty and overwhelmed, because we didn’t do enough before. Is, is what keeps us from taking action.

So how do we get past that and just get back into it and keep taking action, whether it’s small action, whether it’s just talking to our children, whether it’s advocating, whether it’s funding, you know, whisper network abortions, whatever you need to do?

What keeps us reading and scrolling and searching for escape in the form of purchases, entertainment, and, you know, whatever the the ‘self-care industry,’ the commercialization of self care, how do we resist that and go down into the deeper slower work that actually we can sustain long term?

So how are we refusing to get derailed?

How are we identifying? How are you identifying stuff like Facebook or Meta or whatever the people who who are refusing to – they’re not letting their employees talk about abortion? Right? How are we? Deinvesting from these spaces?

And it’s really hard. We have like the luminary braintrust is on Facebook. How do de-invest from that space? De-invest? That’s there’s a better word, I can’t remember what it is. [laughter]

While also knowing, that’s the only space I can go right now to hold the luminary brain trust because I don’t have time to build an entire online portal. So what is the long term plan? What small actions Am I taking? So a year from now six months from now we can get off of Facebook, we can get off of that place that spreads misinformation and facilitates it.

What are we doing to fund journalists who are actually looking at how this works? What are we doing to protect healthcare workers and scientists and people with uteruses and trans kids? In the meanwhile?

So as we DIY, our summer parent activist accelerator, we have to remember how are we doing things differently here, where the process is different than the process that led us to this point.

So one of the things we do is we’re not focused on goals, we cannot be focused on the results because the results clearly are horrifying. And if today, and this week’s news made or broke us, make or break us? whatever, if we’re going to let the results make or break us, we’re just not going to survive, because the results now and into the future will frequently be horrific.

But if we focus on the process, and how are we getting there, then that is something we can control.

We’re not ignoring our daily responsibilities. We’re not pretending that because we need to mobilize and get into the streets and we need to pass legislation and we need to donate money. And we need to take more house seats or goodness gracious, at least trying to protect some of the ones that we have…

We can’t pretend that we don’t still have to get dinner on the table for the kids. And we can’t pretend that we don’t still have to struggle for childcare and time to work.

So what we need to focus on is not more action, but different action and just integrating into what we already do.

So what if we create a process to recenter our core values to get us back to baseline when we’re panicking. And so that we as we go Throughout the day, those small little choices that we do have control over are centered towards bending that long arm of justice towards the direction that we want to go.

[laughter] But then also, what if we refuse to take ourselves too seriously? What if we refuse to say just because I teared up a little bit talking about my dead daughter – this has to be a serious podcast and I can no longer – I refuse to stop laughing about the human experience.

I refuse to stop laughing about the somewhat goofy ridiculous experience of being 11 weeks pregnant. Just like I refused to stop laughing as I was giving birth… death? What is it called stillbirth? to her?

Like, on that table, blood pulling on the floor, and I was still laughing. And that’s how we survive, right?

[laughter] emergency room doctors were very happy, surprised? impressed? Delighted? Slash shocked? at how much fun I was having ub so much pain and so much trauma and tragedy.

So what if we refuse to stop laughing about this? Okay, and then what if we equip parents ourselves with simple accessible tools to take action.

Because when someone says, “Go do this huge thing that you cannot possibly do,” instead of shutting down. Or if we say “I can’t do that, hopefully someone else can, but I can do this.”

[deep breath] Okay. So as we said, it’s the end of school, there are birthdays or children zipping around my house smashing into the walls. My kids are upset about getting rejected by friends who don’t show up to the parties – who don’t want to come to the birthday parties.

And this – part of the thing that makes this so heavy part of the thing that makes horrible things in the news and bad legislation and bad judicial decisions, hold so much weight is because we have usually because we’re kind of checked out for the rest of the time.

Like unless something big is happening, unless there’s a presidential election. Unless there’s a pipeline threatening to burst oil all over indigenous lands. We’re just kind of checked out.

How we get dinner on the table. What time we put the laundry into the machine. When we make it to the laundromat – that stuff seems to be the profane.

Whereas the sacred – that activism, the social work, the politics is, is almost removed.

So what are we doing to integrate those two spheres where there is no sacred and profane there is everything that we are doing is a part of the human experience.

And a lot of it is ridiculous and goofy. And a lot of it is arguing with kids to clip their toenails and wash their hands. Gross, gross, and they’re starting to smell bad, good. Gosh, okay. [laughter]

But what if instead of the end of school and birthdays, being the pinnacle of our kids lives, every day had a little bit of the sacred built into it? brushing their teeth, clipping their toenails had the sacred, and they understood the importance of how the little decisions that they make are tied in to the way that they connect with society, right?

Maybe it will be a little bit easier to deal with these, what we call the bigger transitions, because that’s not the be all end all.

If you think about, you know, that concept of a bridezillah someone going just just a lot – who is being a lot – being very demanding because they have a wedding, everything is riding on this, this is the biggest day of their life. And they’re only like, in the first quarter of their life most of the time?

And no wonder why you would get so upset over tiny things like flowers and party favors and where the chairs are. If everyone up to this moment has been telling you this is the biggest day of your life. And after this is just a long march into death.

So [laughter] if specific parts of our lives feel like high stakes, if specific decisions by the Supreme Court by politicians make or break our rights, and we’re not doing little things every day to secure rights for ourselves and those we care about, then, of course this is going to induce panic.

I don’t know if I wrapped that up nicely. I hope I do. But the point is, if we can integrate activism into every day into every parenting decision, we will be able to weather this harder stuff, this bigger seeming stuff that the media pays attention to because we already have a plan on how we’re still fighting for justice.

And it’s really easy to forget that this is a process and the reason that we do this is to be in the process.

We’re not doing this so we can arrive at a utopia. we’re doing this because the process of fighting for justice and freedom and mitigating suffering is the process of being alive. [laughter] right?

Otherwise Do you want to be involved active part of the human Colossus? Do you want to be activated? Or do you just want to slide by and ride on the coattails of your ancestors? I don’t know that sounds that sounds like a sad life to me. I’d rather be in the fray.

So instead of forgetting who we are, and who we want to be, and getting pushed and pulled by these big waves and these little setbacks, that completely floored us so we ended up lashing out and bickering over the tiny little details – instead of getting caught up in all that, what if we constantly constantly recentered our core values and thought, “Okay, I don’t control what the Supreme Court Justice thinks. But I do control what decisions I make today. And if I make those decisions today, the next Supreme Court will hopefully be able to undo some of that work,” right.

Okay. So as we’re orchestrating birthdays, and supporting my kids through transition, I too, am getting caught up in these things. And I too, am being petty. So this isn’t a before and after, it’s just a constant, constant decision that we go through every single day, through our lives. [laughter]

I don’t know I’m getting a little lost. It’s hot. and there are children screaming, and laughing and murmuring. It’s wonderful, and also very distracting. [laughter]

So what we focus on right now, whenever you read, parenting books, articles, all of these things are about results, right?

When we’re doing activism in our modern culture, everything seems to be focused on results – pass this legislation, so we can get this. raise kids who identify as resilient. raise kids who know how to play basketball, I don’t know, I’m not paying enough attention. [laughter] I don’t know how to parent. [laughter]

But raising leaders without knowing why we want to raise leaders, leaves us vulnerable to focusing on the results.

It also leaves us vulnerable to getting distracted with busy work, and overworking and spreading ourselves too thin.

And even if we’re we decided we’re only going to work on climate justice. And we’re going to make sure that climate justice incorporates health care rights. It’s very easy – if we forget why we’re doing it to be like, ‘let’s put the climate justice work on hold, let’s put the anti racism and anti ableism anti sexism on hold. And let’s just focus on reproductive healthcare right now.’

But we’re not experts on that, we haven’t been working towards that. And it’s good to understand it, it’s good to incorporate the concerns in the long distance goal, to make sure it’s accessible in what we’re doing. But if we keep switching our focus, we’re not going to get anything done.

So when we’re focusing on results based parenting, instead of process based parenting, we’re focusing on goals like goal setting is great, it’s fine. We’re going to talk about it in week three of the accelerator when we talk about futures work and having an idea of where we’re heading. So that way, we can create a path to get there.

But we can’t confuse goals and values. If we focus on, on goals like that, that ‘Eyes on the Prize’

‘Eyes on the ice cream’ [laughter] then there are so many different paths to get to a goal that we’re going to end up backtracking, switching lanes moving back and forth. And we’re going to forget that we chose a certain process, we’re choosing a values based process to get there.

Because you can pass any law through values of supremacy, “these people are smarter than those people, these people should make the laws, I will work on these people, they will make the law I want.”

Or you can focus on a value – instead of supremacy, on kindness on inclusion, right. And you can still get to that same law. But you get to in a way that you get to behave with integrity, and you get to model for your kids how you want the world to look and how you want people to behave in relationship with each other moving forward.

So if our core values take into account who we are and who we want to remain throughout the journey to get there. When we don’t get the results we want, it’s not going to knock us down.

When our kids don’t get the results they want. It’s not going to knock them down. [laughter] And that’s what I mean by resilient. Raising somewhat resilient kids, I hope? I don’t know Is that Is that what that means? [laughter]

Because goals are always going to be a fantasy. Even if we achieve them, they’re still they’re still they’re murky around the edges.

So we want to raise kids to focus on the process, not results because it’s really hard to get an eight year old to focus on like “when you grow up,” you can’t even comprehend what it is like to be a grown up. But when you grow up, “you want to be someone who doesn’t hit who stays cool. When someone’s being a jerk to them.” Who ends injustice everywhere. Whatever you want to do.

That is so hard to wrap their brain around, that they’re, they’re going to choose ice cream. Right? [laughter]

Unless the goal is small and finite, it’s going to be hard. But if you can point out that “We are Rays, we move with integrity through courageous kindness, curiosity.”

When we’re deciding what to do next, we think “what is the most courageous path, what is the most kind path,” and then it’s a little bit easier to just to keep going in that same general direction.

And that way, success in reaching our goals … it’s not irrelevant. It’s definitely helpful. It feels great, it feels great. But if we have success, and we’re not focused on the values, we’ll just be like, “Great, we won that, and then we’ll get back up. And we’ll, we’ll just pick a new goal,” right.

We don’t ever arrive. But what we are doing is raising leaders to care for those they have power over, right? We want them to strengthen relationships, we want to make sure that they don’t see leadership is just getting the most out of people. making the most money getting the most productivity.

We want them to collaborate with people and model a better way of being.

Now unfortunately, instead of focusing on goals, which are nice and tangible, you can make a gorgeous vision board, you can make a Pinterest thing, I don’t know.

But when you say you focus on values, it gets a little bit less tangible somehow? which makes it harder to motivate you.

Because results are the things that people see. And we give a shit about what other people think of us. And we think about like “when I achieve this goal, everyone will think I’m cool.” [laughter]

“When I achieve this goal, everyone will think I’m a good parent, it will feel amazing.” [laughter]

That’s just nonsense, though. What other people think of us is none of our business. [laughter]

But trying to achieve to achieve results is just going to end up with us scattered and overwhelmed and exhausted and ineffective.

[laughter]And you know what? I think I think it’s too hot. And I think I need to be responsive to the weather and the amount of noise that’s going on.

And I think this needs to be the first part of a two part podcast. So I’m gonna, I’m gonna throw up I’m not gonna throw up!


Podcasting is hard! Saying words. [laughter]

I’m not going to throw up. I’m going to throw in – I guess our section on good ideas to avoid and then hopefully next week it won’t be 95 degrees [laughter] and I’ll be able to finish up the tools and the resources and the end of the linear structure on how to start focusing on our values and reminding your kids to operate and decide based on values over goals.

But for now, let’s get into good ideas to avoid and then I’ll just end this. and I don’t know go sit down in a tub full of ice [laughter]

I’m probably just going to eat I’m just gonna eat a lot ice cream. Okay.

Boo do boo! Oh, OH! I did find a song. I did find some music, hold on.

[Short hip-hoppy beats]

I found [laughter] a little thing on Anchor app that lets me add in… interludes.

[laughter] So there’s, there’s a little interlude of music, which means it’s ‘de de de de DEH DEH!’ Good Ideas to avoid [laughter]

Oh, what is this – I put in the title…. I’m getting delirious – heat index science drama, good ideas to avoid.

Okay. So Bellamy was pointing out that down south, it was 80 degrees outside. But supposedly, according to the weather experts, it feels like 100.

Which makes me wonder – who decides who decides that it feels like 100 degrees.

And then I got a little delirious as I am now – I barely understand what I’m talking about. But I was like, “what if?…Who” [laughter]

Because it has to be hyperlocal. Right? Someone in Boston cannot decide that [laughter] in Greensboro, that it feels like 100.

You have to be there, because you have to feel it. And you can’t have a robot do that, because only humans can do the feeling right? [laughter]

And don’t tell me – I know that there’s probably some scientific algorithms and a whole bunch of machines that figure this out for you. But I do not want to know. do not ruin the mystery For me!

What I’m imagining is that every 15 miles, [laughter] every square 15 miles or so, there’s one human who is in charge of the heat index.

And they they just step outside of their office, or maybe they have an outdoor office, they lick their finger, hold it up to the wind. They may be like, they put like a paper bag underneath their armpits to test you know, [laughter] what is the dampness factor there?

And then they decide after a rigorous, rigorous training a PhD in training on what the weather FEELS LIKE – these hyper local, elected? appointed? experts on weather they tell everyone [laughter]

“It feels like 100 degrees.”

I like that. I want it to happen. I know. That’s not how it happens. Please do not correct me because it is just it is feeding my soul right now.

Now with this imaginary network of science experts who feel the weather subjectively, they’re like “88? Does not feel like 88, You know what this feels like? 100. 100.3 Fahrenheit degrees.” [laughter]

But what if – now that we know that these people, these imaginary people who do not exist now that we’re pretending they exist? Let me set the stage.

It’s 30 years ago, no one has ever heard of a CSI style, drama, crime mystery. And if you told someone “Hey, what if? What if we had an hour long TV show with a bunch of middle aged people? And they are scientists and there’s crime scientists and they collect fingerprints to beating music like like Bonobo and [laughter] And they dust for things!”

“And they have test tubes. And there are montages and they do things like ‘enhance that video,’ and then they enhance the video! And then they run like fingerprint database searches that only take 10 seconds, even though that’s not – none of this is how science actually works. And they spray things and chemicals glow!”

Right? If someone had said that back in the 80s, they’d be like, “Tthat sounds like a really boring, ridiculous idea for a TV show. No, thank you.”

But then we hit what is it the 2000s? early 2000, late 90s.?And they’re like, “You know, what’s a great TV show CSI. This is so great. We need [laughter] we need multiple shows about science nerds doing science and solving crimes.”

“We need one for Miami. We need one for…” honestly, I don’t even know but I know that they had more of them.

Okay, so what I’m saying is, while it sounds a little bit out of there to have HEAT INDEX DRAMA TV show – like that sounds out of this world? nonsense? Consider it.

Consider that this may be the next big thing, right? Because [laughter] I’m not going to spell it out for you. People have Netflix, Hulu, whatever. You can make the shows. Screenwriters can figure out the details.

But what I’m saying is this is a fantastic idea for a TV show. [laughter] But also… a very good idea to avoid. [laughter]

Because imagine it. Okay, so you have like they zoom in and enhance. And then they’re like “This person, I can tell that they died based on evaporation!” [laughter]

Based on who’s sweating right now. “I can tell that my hair is damp. And it is not working for me today. And therefore, based on this humidity, I don’t know whatever whatever the things the windchill?

I don’t know. I don’t know why it always comes back to murder, but that’s what people care about. So like they’ll have psychometrics and dew points, and there’ll be like montages and fancy music in the background and everyone will be very dressed up and scientists will wear high heels to their jobs, even though it’s very uncomfortable and they have to walk a lot and get on their feet.

And there’ll be merchandising – like kids will want – you know, we have those like CSI detective forensic lab kits that that people sell in those fancy science stores for smart children? [laughter]

We’ll have toy hydrometers and wet bulb thermometers!

See it even know that those existed a little bit ago. But then I just Wikipedia’d it real quick [laughter]

merchandising is what I’m saying you can make bank off of this.

And then it turns out that there’s corruption in the heat indexing industry! And oh, no.

(And again, are these people appointed or they elected? I don’t know?)

But either way it could make for a fantastic – like a whole season story arc, right.

And then of course, there’s going to be the spin off like there’ll be heat index Boston – the wind chill killed this Freedom Trail tour guide, [laughter] which it sounds boring, I get it, I get that it sounds boring, but it could be awesome.

And then they’ll solve the mystery of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist by measuring the humidity rings and like I don’t know the chairs? [laughter]

And then, of course, I want credit for this. If not money, then I will be the star scientist because I feel like I’m hitting that age where I can be the wizened aged mentor scientist?

And I will like stand in front of that muddy kind of sluggish Charles River right in front of the harbor and I’ll rip my sunglasses off. They’ll be wraparound sunglasses, like the ones with the colors.

And then I’ll be like, oh, what does that? What does that guy with the orange hair on CSI Miami say? He always says something. And it’s embarrassing. I feel secondhand embarrassment for himevery single time.

But I’ll whip off my glasses like him and I’ll say my catchphrase, it will be like “It was the wind chill that killed this guy. We’re gonna have to measure the humidity! Grab my hygrometer!”

[laughter] This is falling apart. [laughter] It’s falling apart. [laughter]

All I’m saying is I really want to rip off my sunglasses and say something not dramatic in a dramatic way.

But then! I have solved this for you. This is really worth picking up. Please. Please call your friends at Netflix to make this show happen. Because at the end season, spoiler alert, – end this podcast now if you don’t want it.

AI comes for our jobs, takes over the heat index. And once AI can FEEL the weather for us? Like sure, technology can measure the weather, but it can’t measure how it FEELS.

That’s my argument. That’s my argument for humanity. [laughter] But once AI figures it out, our jobs are gone. And then it’s like three days until the singularity and then everyone dies.

The world crumbles. This is my optimistic nihilism speaking – the world crumbles. Nothing matters and there’s something very soothing about that. [laughter]

I’m so sorry. [laughter]

I’m so sorry I wasted seven minutes of your life on this. [laughter]

Oh, okay. Until next time, when I guess I’ll finish the thought about the actual tools and how we how we examine our core values. It’s actually kind of fun = using something called anti- values. [laughter]

Until next time, when I do talk about that, please stay safe. Stay hydrated. [laughter] Get all the fucking abortions you want.


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When your kids are at their worst – how do you remind them of who they really are?

Ashia Ray
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