shot dead

Love, pretty things, soulfood, your body

In the eighth grade, I wrote this boy a note.
It said, “I don’t like you Brandon. Leave me alone.”

That came back to me today as I loaded the washer. I imagine now, that little boy just learning to stand in this world. Just letting the taste of love land on the tip of his tongue. Like all of us young and old no fucking idea about how to handle ourselves or to measure reciprocity when it comes to matters of the heart. Sitting there at the lunch table, breathing dreams of my adulation into the well pressed seams of my notebook paper. And there in jelly roll pen, my cold hard rejection.


That’s just who I am.

I learned that men turn their head and scan your body when you cross the street at the age of nine. I learned how to shut down a cat call with one side glance by the time I was ten. I learned that if you let them, boys and men will be so confused by the delicacy of your physiology, the charm of pheromones that silently radiate beyond your awareness and the safety of your smile, that they will think that they love you. And you them.

I let that boy walk me home from school. I let him drink my kool-aid. Hell I even let him think that I was his friend.

But when I don’t. I don’t. If that hurts well I’m sorry. I’m not the home for your bleeding heart. And I’m not the girl of your dreams.

Unless I am.

When I’m real sure, you’ll want to hold on. Maybe I’ll write it to you in a note. Or maybe I’ll spill my soul onto your lips. Drip respect over your collar bone. Curl amazement into your pelvis. Steadily showing you what it looks like when I love you back. Trust, you’ll know.

Spotify’s Got Me All F**ked Up

silly goose, your body

As many of you know this weekend was a very special weekend. I realized that I had a free Spotify premium membership just waiting for me out in the ethers. I promptly, filled out the necessary information and like the resurrection of Christ himself, the sweet nectar that is my old Spotify playlist has RISEN! Can I get an amen!

[If this is all some foreign tech babble that you don’t understand. You’re life has no meaning. I mean okay, so it probably has meaning but you are barely living. At the very least you need to get the free version of Spotify, which is the Limewire of this decade. I have been trudging though the perils of the free version for the past six months. Six long terrible months. No, I’m not being dramatic.]

Here’s what I wasn’t ready for. The onslaught of songs that have now become so terribly sad because my life circumstances have dramatically changed.

Music that you continually listen to through life changes and expanses of time evolve with you. That smooth love song that you and what’s his face used to grove to in the living room, well now that’s the song that you shake your fine single behind to when making dinner. All is well.

But those songs that you haven’t touched in you don’t know how long, those will jump right out of your ear buds and sucker punch you in the gut. Damn. I would like to send a personal f-you to Damien Rice, Citizen Cope, Bill Withers, Fiest, Paolo Nutini, and Joss Stone herself. You can shove Super Duper Love up your arse.

This isn’t news to any of you who have weathered the storm of heart break or what you thought was heart break in your teenage years, Coldplay knew just how to say it didn’t they. Our brains are hard-wired to connect music with our longterm memory, speaking of being able to recite every Will Smith album ever from heart… adding that to my resume right meow.

The hippocampus (that little bitch) is likely the culprit here. It mediates both memory formation and emotions. So here we are sobbing between Amos Lee songs. I’ve got bad news for those recovering from crushed dreams and the promise of forever love even patients with very advanced Alzheimer’s can go into deep emotional recall at the drop of one Ludacris song. Okay, so What’s Your Fantasy probably isn’t bumpin’ on the dementia wing, but ya know.



Hey Fatty Read This!

social awareness, soulfood, Uncategorized, your body

Yes I’m talking to you:

It has been brought to my attention over and over again since ummmm about puberty that this needs to be said. It needs to be screamed from a mountain top. So here goes.

If you’ve recently gained 10+ pounds read here: 

IT IS 1-0 MOTHER FUCKING POUNDS. I CAN GAIN TEN POUNDS IN ONE WEEK. STOP!!! Not to say that I haven’t been there 18000 times because I have. For some reason when you’re losing weight for any reason (adderall, exercise, stress, poverty) life is good. It’s like the one thing that is there in the clutch, at least I can tie my shoes in these jeans. Something good is at work.

But, when the tables are turned and everyday you notice more and more dimples on your ass and your fat clothes get rotated to the front of the closet (and suddenly nothing can be dried because “Damn it babe, you keep shrinking my clothes….”), there’s a cloud over your head. All of the justifications (I’m bloated, I’m stressed, the scale FUCKING lies!!) are perfectly fine. If they help, good, use them, blindly follow them. You do not need to spend one more second of your life feeling like crap because of __ amount of pounds you gained. It’s not helping.

In a prefect world  we would be able to look in the mirror and say I’m a human and this is what humans look like. But we’ve been conditioned to look in the mirror with various shades of horror. Put down Shape magazine right now.

Here’s a little story: No one ever said a dog was ugly or unworthy because she has a sweet tooth *cough Meena*. But I do look at her round behind waddle in front of me every day when I walk her and I take stock of how up or down the scale she is. Dang, Meena’s getting really fat, I should probably stop using her as the garbage disposal. Damn, Meena’s lost a lot of weight, probably because our house is COVERED IN URINE and she’s too disgusted to eat off the floor. (Wanna come visit???). But that’s it. I don’t think of her any more or any less, though I am still quite angry about the spite shit.

That beautiful parable was to say that yes you are going to notice when you gain weight and so is everyone else (see below). And that’s okay. If any one of those people (your/myself included) think less of you as a person because of it then they are an asshole. Remind yourself of that often. Hey *insert your name here* stop being such a fucking asshole to me. 

If you’ve recently lost any amount of weight, yes 3 pounds counts, read here: 

Let me tell you about a time that I lost a solid 25 pounds last year. I weighed 138 pounds at one point, which is basically Reagon as Kate Moss. A few random women commented. J said nothing. Literally nothing. Until Christmas after I’d gained at least 10 of it back. He says, “Have you lost weight or something?” Pretty sure a fuck you for never noticing, I’m getting fat again, pass the kringle blurted out of my mouth. And I meant it. I bared my belly in public and you didn’t even notice. And now I’m on the one way train to fatty-dom. WONDERFUL!

The meaning of that story boys and girls, is that life is unfair. No one ever threw anyone a parade for losing 10 pounds. BECAUSE IT’S JUST 10 POUNDS. Legit one of my ass cheeks weighs at least 25 pounds. And not in some sexy Kim Kardashian way… well actually, yes in a sexy Kim Kardashian way because fuck it. Celebrate what yo mama gave you girl. You may have noticed that we are getting old as fuck. I have an angry furrow wrinkle between my eyebrows, it’s only going to get worse. And I’m probably going to need to eat my emotions one of these days, on the first of the month to be exact…. fuck a monthly pay cycle p.s., and I will gain weight again. This is life. You’re rich and you’re poor. Your fat and your skinny. You’re in love and your lost. You’re navigating life. It’s not easy.

If you’re a human being read here: 


Don’t make life harder by launching a one man war on yourself. Please. There’s a good chance that I personally (hi Mom and my two best friends that read this religiously) love every single ounce of you. And if you don’t know me personally (shout out to that one dude in Amman that reads my blog) there is someone in your life that adores every single thing about you (even if it’s your mom). They/I always  will, regardless of the size pants you fit into this week. Meet us there won’t you.

Redemption Weighed Eight Pounds Nine Ounces

soulfood, your body

You would be turning eight years old today- yesterday- I’ve lost count.
Honestly, I never counted.
Twenty-eight days. Calendar tracking, it never felt important.

Do you know how improbable that it is to make a baby?
I had no idea.
—— I chose not to know.
To know you.
Over and over again.

We spent eight weeks together. And I never even began to know you.

That is until you were gone,
And all of life crumbled in my hands.

I ushered you out of me and a world that never said got to say good morning
One excruciating cramp and contraction after another
I bled that whole fall,
in silence.

It’s inexplicable.

Like clock work, just as you were to be born
I patched the gape in my soul and body with your sister,
or are you two in the same?

It took nine months to rebuild all that I lost with you.

Stripped of a defense
raw and gaping
here I am.

The Fear of Change

create, science says, social awareness, your body

Good golly. I really can’t say this in a brief way.

In a nutshell: I’ve been studying Existential Therapy and Carl Jung before that and have essentially called to question every single aspect of my reality in the past three weeks. (Which is not separate from LIFE that keeps happening to me…. that I keep attracting/creating). Part of this process has been creating art work that explains the concepts. What a beautiful challenge.

So yesterday I realized that social media is a giant crutch/addiction/detriment to my self-actualization so I’m on a indefinite Facebook hiatus. And then I started looking at the WHYs behind my use of Instagram because I don’t want to give that up aka I’m extremely resistant to that change and wasn’t sure if it was even something that I wanted to potentially ever put on the cutting block.

Long story short my response was to create a new Instagram called @reallifereg that only has pictures from my trash bins. This was a huge wakeup call about my own lingering body image issues and self depreciating beliefs about my own appearance plus called into question the WHY was that picture not good enough. I explain in each caption why I chose to delete the photo.

I created a one image representation of all of this :


Here’s the more polished explanation with references if you wanna geek out:

My piece is the most succinct visual representation of a rather convoluted but powerful experience that I had considering James Bugental’s contribution to existential psychotherapy. In Corey’s explanation of Bugental’s approach to resistance on page 144 he shares that, “Forms of resistance include intellectualizing, being argumentative, always seeking to please, and any other life-limiting pattern.” I have been processing that one line for over a week because of my constant employment of those tactics that I had never viewed as self-limiting before.

After researching Bugental’s explanation of resistance which included reading a powerful article entitled, A Fate Worst Than Death: The Fear of Changing (1984) I sat with why I am resistant to a career change. That boiled down to perfectionism and always seeking to please. From there I explored all of the myriad of ways that I am a perfectionist and what that means to my self actualization as well as my short and long term goals. This lead to re-evaluating my use of social media, specifically the visual perfection that I have curated on Instagram that serves my public persona but does absolutely nothing for my internal self.

After deleting my Facebook account I created a new public Instagram feed that has only has pictures that I had previously deleted found in my trash bin on my phone. In each caption I wrote the reason why I chose not to post the photo and delete it. In this very revealing exercise I realized that so many of my deleted pictures were “selfies” and how intertwined those deletions were with my ego, being self-conscious, old patterns of body dysmorphia and a general malaise with the changes in my face as the result of aging. The large piece that I printed encapsulates that entire process of self-exploration in one image. Referencing a time in my life where I was extensively studying anatomy and had a very different relationship to all bodies, mine included. My piece is an ode to a real, non-resistant, surrendered acceptance of my self entirely and the necessity to be honest about that process.

Things That Live In My Womb

create, soulfood, your body

I inherited the blood, cells, DNA, tears and sweat
of thousands of women.
Four of us have shared a table,
broke bread and called ourselves mother.


My great-grandmother
an elusive and frigid woman.
Not the first in the chain of insecurity I’m sure,
but my first reference point.
I have never understood how my own mother loved her so.


My grandmother,
well she’s had two lives. Is of two worlds.
Children were a textbook endeavor.
Philosophy and materials were much more suitable.


My mother, sensitive and callused.
The product of confusion and regret
Gilded in an oily slick of redemption.
The child to make up for the one given away.


The child of confusion.
She has stumbled through life
trying to fill holes of inconceivable depth.


To fill them with:
flora and fauna.
Tucking herself into a flower bed of lonely each night.


Born redemption,
grew to be shame.
Mouth covered and the last morsels raped away.


One- two- three
We never healed you.


One- gone six years too soon.
Two-gone six years too late.
Three – forever at your heals.


Here’s four mama. Born redemption.
Hold her with me.

and they all fall down

social awareness, your body

In the last two days two men that were once friends in Lawrence have died. With a void of any information as to why and how they passed I’m left to assume that they went the way of far too many of my other young male friends from home. An overdose. An inebriated freak accident. Something that will never make the obituary. Something that will always weigh heavy on their loved ones chests. Something that didn’t have to be.

I wrote this yesterday. I add another tick today with a very heavy heart.


How surreal
to watch the boys you call home
drop dead one-by-one

How surreal
to lament a life that you haven’t
touched in ten years.

To lament
a life that could have been theirs.
There would have been
recovery -relapse-recovery

But there you are
blue, cold, dead.

Another tick on the
countdown to
everyone you know will die.

I don’t know who to be mad at
you ?
the place?

The town that nurtured us
into fearless adventurers .
The same town that spoon feed  it’s children
ruckus, party and drugs.

The town who forgot to teach
resilience, family and self-care.

Boy- you inherited your priorities
upside down and inside out.
Man- you are a vessel.
Not a party.






your body

Yes, that’s how you make yourself feel cool when you’re down right addicted to essential oilsz.  

So let’s start at the beginning shall we. I’ve dabbled in the consumption of essential oils for a few years now. We’re mostly talking what ever I find at TJ Maxx for less than 7.99 and pining a whole bunch of when I’m rich I’m going to buy all of these. I literally remember spending the better part of a Saturday researching Frankinscene and deciding that it could cure everything under the sun and that I desperately needed it if only it didn’t cost 115.00. Yup. Real life. Try not to shiz your pants. (The good news is that I have a bottle in my medicine cabinet right meow that cost me a fraction of that and it does cure blemishes have yet to try on SARS or Cancer but I wouldn’t put it past it).

Two years ago I discovered DoTerra’s On Guard beads I seriously did not get sick a single time that year. It was magic (note to self buy some more). That was the first taste of how God Damned magical that high quality essential oils are. Then a little over a year ago I started seriously but SLOWLY, I’m just one woman with a pretty shitty salary, collecting essential oils ergo falling head over heals in love stalker status with Young Living oils.

For all of you on the fence about which brand to buy. I personally really love Young Living and believe in their products 10000%. But DoTerra seems real legit too, I’ve used some of their products with no complaints. Here’s the biggest deal please do not use cheap bought in stores essential oils. The main reason is that when oils are ingested or applied to the skin they absorb into your body and effect you on a cellular level in lightening speed (they are fat soluble so for me maybe faster than you 🙂 ) . Yes I know that we’re all constantly subjecting ourselves to chemicals through our skin all of the time, I’m guilty of using some shitty hand lotion upon occasion. But in doing so with “Now” essential oils or other store brands is completely counterproductive to using essential oils. Who knows what you are really getting in them or if they are even doing any good. Young Living has a whole seed to seal mambo jambo that is their slogan but honestly it is a legit process that assures you that you are getting what you pay for and that you can trust that you are buying pure essential plant oils.

So what are essential oils? Medicine and smell goods from plants (that’s my short answer). 
The long answer you ask? Well, officially the pure essence of health-promoting botanicals that can be diffused, inhaled, applied topically, incorporated into massage, or taken internally to improve your mood, make your home (any area) smell amazing, boost your immune system, cook with, clean with, relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety. Really there are a jillion ways that you can use them.

It’s so overwhelming where do I start? This was literally me a year ago. I say start with what you know that you really want and will really use.
Maybe there’s something specific that you’re looking for a solution for. I’d pinterest it (or for you sad sad people without pinterest you can google I guess), see what the recommendations are and then figure out what you’re willing to spend.

My first three purchases were Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) for blemishes plus I love the smell, Purification because puppy Lucy would not stop peeing all over my house and I was DESPERATE for some kind of scent savior and Thieves oil because the internet and everyone I know kept saying ohhh you’re sick take some Thieves.

My reviews: every single one of them did what they were intended for and then some. I’ve since gone through multiple bottles or each because I’m addicted.
Just tonight I was cleaning Ev’s room and noticed a profound funk coming from God knows where. The first step, diffuse some Purification and then empty all of her “potions” and “craft projects” into the nearest dumpster. Check. My house smells amazing on a daily basis even despite two dogs, a child and a man.
And Thieves. Well where to start. This has literally saved me from getting sick so many times. I’m trying to be better about using it more preventatively and cleaning with it but I’m not there yet. Instead it is my go to for all of those lovely ohhh shit I don’t feel good this isn’t going to be good. It doesn’t cure you but it honestly has honestly stopped so many illnesses in their track for me which is no small feet considering that I work in a doctors office, have a seven year old and am a full time student aka am in constant close contact with contagious hacking people all of the time.

If I know what I know now what would I buy first ?  

Honestly the whole starter kit. Because I’ve had it for one month and have religiously used almost every single bottle in it plus it’s a SUPER amazing deal.
But realistically for those of you not trying to drop a buck fifty on some woo woo hippy shit (I hear you, that was once me too. Now I’m like well we’re just going to have to make it happen because I can’t live with out them) I would buy the following first.

-Stress Away: it smells AMAZING. Apparently it’s made of Copiabia (whatever that is), vanilla, lime and some other things. I think that it smells like heaven. I sprayed it all over my tent that I made for my school project and had no less than five people ask me why it smelled so good. Surprisingly I don’t use it for the smell but because it helps relieve anxiety and day to day stress. Before I go into a meeting, give a presentation or when I just feel like I’m about to lose it I apply it to my wrists and the back of my neck and inhale. It seriously takes the edge off and if it’s placebo effect than it fooled me and I smell like rainbows.

-Joy: another essential oil blend. This smells a little peppery but still good. It really does lift my mood. I love diffusing this and applying it before I am doing something that I want to enjoy but am having a hard time being present for (i.e. anything with my family or a day at work). I honestly feel it working.

-R.C.: not only is it my initials but it’s also worked all kinds of voodoo magic on my lungs in the past few weeks. I had a thing that tried to turn into an upper respiratory infection that didn’t (I really think because of this oil) and now is doing a dance with a serious bout of seasonal allergies. The main ingredient in this one is eucalyptus. It smells so pure and clean. I love diffusing it at bed time and inhaling it from the bottle in between. It gives me a physical response. J and I both get a really productive cough just when we need it with this oil. If you have any kind of respiratory issues this is the one.

Thieves because you need this like you need advil or bandaids.

-Purification because no funk is too powerful. I recommend it for everything including stinky shoes, laundry, diffusing, animal anything, post gumbo shrimp stench. Seriously everything.

All things citrus and lavender, even though as it turns out I’ve got a lavender allergy and should not diffuse this any where near myself. Lesson learned. But I’m sure for the rest of you that the heavenly scent will be magical.

In conclusion. If you have the money to try these they will not disappoint. If you’re fed up with over the counter pharmaceuticals, beauty products and air fresheners that are actually just toxins there’s a better way. If there are some things in you or your family’s personal well being that needs improved and you’re looking for alternative methods please look into how essential oils can help you.

I’m happy to help you navigate this wild world- there’s a million kinds of oils and products which is awesome but overwhelming at first. I honestly will never stop using these even if we lived in a cardboard box (well a box next to an outlet because I must diffuse myself to sleep every night now) and no I’m not a princess just awakened.

If you’re interested in buying any of these please consider getting them through me. It’s a very straight forward process I’ll put the link and instructions below. If you’re still in the I’m thinking about it stage that’s cool let me know if you have any questions, I’m resourceful.
Without being the most obnoxious person in the world there will be more to come on my oils journey because I truly believe in them.

For those so inclined (I know some of you have been looking for a dealer… jeeze I’m out of girl scout cookies okay):

  1. Go to the Young Living Order page (you have to set up a profile to order just like any other site). If that link doesn’t work then copy and paste this:
  2. Enter my number for both Sponser ID AND Enroller ID: 3632507
    [that part is confusing enter my # 3632507 for both spaces, click next]
  3. You’ve now created your profile that you can log back into at your leisure.
  4. Scroll to the top of the page and hover over products. Go exploring.
    Note that the oils are sold in 5 ml or 15 ml. Make sure that you check before ordering so you’re not surprised.

It’s really pretty straight forward. If you’re confused or scared (that’s fair) feel free to text, call, email otherwise message me. My classy email founded in the 7th grade: .

-Love Reg


DISCLAIMER: The information on my personal use of Young Living essential oils. The statements made and the products mentioned on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.







Making Peace With The Fact That You Look Like A Video ..Girl..

silly goose, your body

My back side came to be in the 8th grade. Not that it wasn’t disproportionate before hand, Ev is going to be blessed in all of the same ways I can see it now, but puberty did not spare me. I remember walking up the stairs in junior high and a boy gasping out loud ohh my God who is that?! I turned around and he was shocked little ol’ Reggy from the block looked like JLo from the waist down. None of us were ready. 

I’ve had a love hate relationship with my body as a whole and my whole ass for the better part of my life. By the grace of God and the help of  my friends I have largely stopped waging war against my body in the past four-ish years. I’m still working on fully embracing it. Yet still times pop up when I surprise myself, shall I share…

Yesterday, on the international holiday of woman stuffing them selves into strappy contraptions, lace and satin, I abided.  A few days prior J and I had perused through the negligee department of our local Dillards. He pointed at all things minuscule and see through while I held up floor length opaque frocks suitable for Grandma. At one point a passer-by laughed out loud at us. I reminded often, “Jesus Christ, Julius I’m somebody’s mother”. Truth. But the truth is also that millions of mothers on this planet are workin’ it. Being a mother in no way diminishes your sexuality if you don’t let it. My reality is it just seems so silly to dress like a stripper (yes, this is subjective) regardless of the holiday, company, or sobriety.

In defense of pubic hair, cotton granny panties, sweat pants and extra large t-shirts. 
-Google gynecological health. Hair is for a reason.
-Silks, satins, Lycra and all things wedged up your butt crack do not breath and vaginas need to breathe.
-No body wants to sleep with under wires jabbing, panties creeping, garters and thigh highs. And let’s be real after the fun I’m going to pass out like a brown bear going down for winter hibernation.
-The realest of the real reasons, the pomp and circumstance lasts about 5 seconds. Then we get stripped naked any way. Let’s do the math: 15 minuets exfoliating, shaving and plucking. 20 minutes figuring out how the G-damn hookey contraptions work, 5 minutes getting your winged eyeliner just right- we know how every man loses his shit over that perfect angled tip… 5 more minutes tucking and sucking and doing 360s in the mirror, fuck gotta readjust at least one of the straps and bobbles. That’s a total of 45 minutes for 5 seconds of glory. I’m no mathematician but God damn.

So yesterday because I’m a selfless person and sympathetic to the cries of, “You just don’t understand what men want” (I may have asserted the aforementioned arguments a time or two) I strapped my self in. It took just as long as I thought. And then I turned a round. HOLY FLIPPING LORD I literally looked like a centerfold for some B rated nearly-porn magazine. I’ve got booty for days. Not news. But still somehow shocking in the right rig.

There’s some bizarre disconnect in seeing your business casual, mom hair cut self so sexualized (for me,  if this isn’t your struggle then good for you sister let’s hear your raawwwrrrr). I don’t know if it’s easier to walk into a room where the spectator is the love of your life and one of the silliest people you know or if I would prefer a total stranger. It’s hard to embody a persona to fit your body. I did a good job of not taking myself remotely seriously. Because I just, couldn’t.

So, who won? No one and both of us. J learned that the impossible was a possibility. And I learned that I have to go through this entire ritual more. Not for him or any one else but for me. Because I’m so damn used to looking at my self covered in dog fur, tussled hair and ratty pajamas that my body in… well fitting… attire looks utterly foreign. Last night I literally looked in the mirror and didn’t remotely recognize the girl woman before me. Even if I look like one of those rap guy’s girl friends and that’s not who I am in my heart of hearts I need to make friends with that reality. All of me is mine. 

This morning I woke up trying to make heads or tails of all of this. So I put on leggings and I wore them as pants. Not because I love that look, but because I have to get used to seeing alllllllll of my ass in it’s full glory instead of tucking it into something in hopes that it won’t look so obscene. Hi my name is Reagon, and I have a ginormous beautiful full derriere and I’m not apologizing for it anymore. If it shocks you, entices you or repulses you well that’s your business not mine. I’m doing ALL of me from here on out.

Rawwrrrrrr, and love.



Energy. To Be A Teen Again

science says, soulfood, your body

I accidentally stopped writing here and started ranting to my professors.
I’ll leave this here for when I need reminded that overdrive is not a fulfilling existence.

Response: Brainstorm, The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain

I am just three years out side of adolescence and I’ve launched a search party to find my true self- my ESSENCE. This has looked like spiritual exploration, ravaging self-help books, therapy and meditation. All of these efforts to tap back into the ‘me’ that I was when I was sixteen years old. Before this book I had mostly felt like the exception to the “tortured emotional floundering” of adolescence. I loved my early years of adolescence. (The later ones looked an awful lot like adulthood in my opinion.) I had a robust social network, I had a very sure sense of myself, I was confident, filled with hope and aspirations, I was in love, I was a practicing artist and I was free. I have always held those years close as a magical time and a place that I would like to get back to.

It turns out not to be magic but instead to be biology and evolution. Funny how at the root of all psychology, especially human development, are the adaptations that we cemented in place over millions of years of evolving. According to Siegel’s acronym I was deeply fulfilled by each letter: emotional spark, social engagement, novelty and creative exploration. It turns out I was living the upside of this formula.

Depending on the season of your life each reader will take something out of the book, which is pretty wonderful. For me at this juncture in time I’m piecing together how to make many of his skills and information serve me as an adult. There’s some solace in knowing that my dopamine levels are more regular than they once were, that the appeal of statistically life threatening risk is waning. Mostly, because I escaped those years with out any real devastation or addictions. I did walk away witch a wealth of knowledge and a few reminders that bless me in new ways each year.

I did appreciate that he develops the practice of Mindsight over the chapters. Mindsight is a set of skills that help you integrate your brain. Adolescence is all about increasing your neural integration, which is how one coordinates and balances the internal world of others and ourselves (Siegel, p. 54). This is possible when the individual parties comprising a relationship are allowed to be, “Unique and specialized yet linked” (Siegel p.53). Essentially this is how on both an individual and global scale we can foster flourishing social connection and meaningful relationships from the intimate to the casual. Integration brings harmony.

The term harmony keeps popping up everywhere for me like a big flag screaming THIS! HERE!. Each time I stop and think yes, that’s the goal figure out how to get that. The embodiment of harmony has felt really distant and elusive as of late. I feel that Siegel’s take on integration is a good framework that I can fill in with personal practices in to help me grow highly functioning, supportive, challenging, social bonds and networks. Later in the book he explains how belonging to a bonded peer group has literally meant life or death over the millennium of human existence. At the end of the day we can’t lose sight of the fact that we are animals straddling the constructions of modern society. I will add Mindsight to my mystical toolbox of resources as I seek peace and contentment in this wild Western world.

The most striking part of this book was something so simple, “All thoughts and feelings are energy” (Siegel, p. 46). It’s so obvious but so abstract during the course of a normal day. In a modern Western context I think that we have confused the term energy. We associate it with being tired, with needing to eat; we’ve simplified it to something purely physiological. We often miss that the laws of physics apply to all energy including that of our own production. Energy can never be created or destroyed, just transformed. I often find physics the most esoteric experience.

Siegel explains that at its core the mind regulates the body’s energy. Duh. But, we commonly get bogged down in the functions of each structure and don’t heed the big picture. That our brains are working on a macro and micro scale to keep not only keep us alive but to very complexly conduct a higher level of thought and function not the least of which is emotional.

I have personally been expending way too much energy in the anecdotal sense since the first of the year. I’ve been stressed, consumed in rumination over ultimately trivial interactions. This past weekend with the help of this book I really had to take some time to evaluate how carelessly that I was expending my energy. Seigel’s explanation of attention as how we direct the flow of information and a relationship as sharing energy and information flow couldn’t have been better timed (Siegel, p.45-53). I think that like people, information comes into your life with some destiny. This text on the teenage experience was incredibly applicable to my current adult existence. I agree with Siegel that there is good reason for us communally and as individual adults to strive to get back to this highly experiential exciting sense of life, ESSENCE is a very powerful model.