Soul DNA

What is your Soul DNA?

Like your body’s DNA, your Soul DNA contains strands of information that become you—and only you.

On your Soul DNA are strands of:

  • your soul’s sacred longing
  • your soul’s divine purpose
  • all your gifts and talents
  • sacred purpose of your shadows
  • your ancestry in, and beyond, history
  • your invisible divine teacher
  • memory of who you really are
  • memory of consciously choosing life
  • deepest memory of being pure light
  • ability to see as the divine sees
  • memory of being one with The One

Just like human DNA, your Soul DNA is a thing of complex beauty and grace. And, just like human DNA, it unfolds in a spiral.

Ah! The Spiral!

I explored this sacred geometric form in depth for Find Your Soul’s Purpose. It is the mystical form that generates all life forms on earth. Francene Hart, the great artist of Sacred Geometry, describes the spiral as the “accelerator of consciousness.”

So what happens when you walk that accelerator back in time to birth and beyond to remember your essence, your core, your foundation–your Soul’s DNA?

You’ll find out for yourself as you walk the sacred spiral, but here are a few things you can look forward to:

  • feel more awake, alert, alive
  • heightened awareness that everything is alive, conscious, and sacred
  • heightened ability to focus on what is yours to do and relinquish the rest
  • constantly see connections, everything fits
  • synchronicities abound
  • intimate relationship with the Mystery
  • subtle changes as life opens spaces for your soul’s full expression
  • long forgotten talents and gifts come to life
  • shadows morph from problems to invitations
  • see our wounded world through eyes of love
  • life overflows with meaning, purpose, joy
  • your heart overflows with love

In the end, all those delicious strands weave together into one braid, and it’s name is LOVE.

That‘s who you are.
That‘s what you’re here to remember.
That‘s your soul’s essential DNA.


Janet Conner is a writer, speaker, teacher, retreat guide, and radio show host of The Soul-Directed Life radio show for Unity Online Radio. Each year she teaches five global telecourses in her trademark series Your Soul Wants Five Things, which offers spiritual tools and practices that help people meet their soul’s primary needs. She lives and writes in Ozona, Florida. Visit her online at www.janetconner.com.

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Happiness Purpose

by Janet Conner

Happiness was the hot spiritual topic for years. A daily tsunami of blogs and books and coaches offered path after path, each guaranteed to carry us to that elusive magical golden ring called Happiness.

Then came the American election. And overnight, the call to happiness disappeared.

This makes sense because happiness is weak medicine for the chaos and fear swirling around us. Happiness doesn’t help with sleepless nights. It isn’t an antidote to blowups with family, friends, and workmates. It doesn’t make a dent it racial, gender, or religious fear or persecution. Worried about spying and hacking? Happiness won’t help you.

Happiness even disappeared on Facebook! All those cute pictures of cats morphed into a barrage of memes to contact your representatives.

It’s wild out there.                               
It’s wild out there because it’s wild in here.

So, is there an antidote to chaos? To fear? Is there medicine for anger? Is there a medicine stranger than the pursuit of happiness? Yes, there is.

And it’s also the word of the hour. PURPOSE.

Everybody is talking purpose. Creativity teachers. Writing teachers. Women’s empowerment leaders. Retreat centers. Yoga gurus. Spiritual teachers. Not a day goes by that I don’t get an email with a course or blog or book on purpose.

And, surprise-of-surprises, I’m one of them.

This is a new experience for me!

  • When the world was tumbling into the meltdown of 2009, I was introducing deep soul writing.
  • When the world was obsessing over the law of attraction in 2012, I was teaching the radically different teachings of Jesus and Buddha.
  • While the world was enthralled with happiness in 2015, I was talking about gathering the living presence of the divine in your soul vows.

I’ve never been a hot topic before.

Mind you, my crystal ball did not tell me that the hot subject in 2017 would be purpose.

I knew my next book in Your Soul Wants Five Things would be on soul purpose, but I expected to write it this year and see it published in 2019.

When I got the call from Conari Press in March 2015 to write Find Your Soul’s Purpose for a 2017 pub date, I was so startled, I turned to the angels for guidance.

At the time, I didn’t understand their answer:

Dear one, your world is in a crisis now, and each that does their purpose will shift the alignment of what is happening, and so, you have been brought to this place of writing again faster than you expected, but in divine timing.

In early 2015, did you think our world was in crisis? Sure, there were problems aplenty, but crisis?

Now, there are so many crises, you can’t respond fast enough. You can’t focus, you can’t think, you can’t prioritize. We are distracted and we are exhausted.

So, what’s the antidote to crisis?

It clearly isn’t the pursuit of happiness.

But nor is it purpose in the standard-issue, self-help sense of life purpose or mission statement or goal setting. This is not figuring out how to be more focused and successful at work or in your relationships.

Soul purpose is more sacred than that.

The angels were right. We are feeling a call—a visceral call—to help shift the alignment of our world. Not just our lives. Our families. Our jobs. Our neighborhoods.

There’s a collective call to make a bigger difference. A call to heal. To serve. To support. And to sow love.

The global shift is possible. It has to be, because we are so hungry for it. And it begins with you. With me. With each one of us.

As we remember who we really are–one of the most astonishing discoveries on the sacred spiral, and begin to embody the unique divine purpose only we can serve, we literally infuse our earth with purpose, Divine Purpose. 


Janet Conner is a writer, speaker, teacher, retreat guide, and radio show host of The Soul-Directed Life radio show for Unity Online Radio. Each year she teaches five global telecourses in her trademark series Your Soul Wants Five Things, which offers spiritual tools and practices that help people meet their soul’s primary needs. She lives and writes in Ozona, Florida. Visit her online at www.janetconner.com.

The Waiting Game

By Debra Landwehr Engle

Recently, I’ve been mentoring a woman who is writing a book about healing from a traumatic injury. Over the past few months, we’ve been focused on writing techniques, and she’s made steady progress.

Then she sent me two chapters she’d written recently, and they blew everything else she’d written out of the park. Why?

Because they were inspired writing.

She had opened up to her guidance and written with the voice of Spirit, and it came out seamlessly. Intimate, powerful, compelling. This writing soared.

All because she got out of the way.

We talked about why this happened now rather than three months ago. And I told her that, with writing, just like so many things in life, we practice to get better. We need to get to a place of readiness, and that’s what she’d been doing.

Once she had the storytelling skills, Spirit could speak through her and trust that she would tell her story with depth and heart. And that’s exactly what she did. She had to do the work and then get out of the way. She had to wait for it.

Waiting.

This kind of waiting is not sitting and doing nothing. It’s using your time creatively, with intention, to get to know your guides and yourself.

For instance, after my book The Only Little Prayer You Need was published, I felt like I was supposed to be doing things. Setting up workshops, sending emails, doing, doing, doing.

But when I talked with my guides one day about my impatience, they showed me an image of a rabbit digging up seeds in a garden.

“This is you,” they said. “You’re the rabbit. If you keep going into the garden and digging up what you’ve planted, it can’t grow. This is a time for waiting. Let those seeds take root, and we’ll let you know when it’s time for action.”

A few weeks later, they did. But in the meantime, I had opportunities to trust, to ask for what I wanted and then detach with love, and to listen to my guides more closely.

Waiting seems hard because it’s not how our ego minds are wired. They’re like the rabbit, constantly taking action, digging, planning, fixing, controlling. And waiting, by definition, is none of those things.

So how do you make better use of your waiting time?

Think of something you’re waiting for—something significant, like having the right buyer make an offer on your house or getting the job you’ve dreamed of.

Now start a journal and call it While I Wait. Every day, sit down and talk to your guides about where you are, and let them guide you through the process. Ask them questions like these:

  • How can I grow during this time of waiting?
  • What can I focus on today?
  • What is getting stronger in me?
  • What do I need to practice?
  • How is everything contributing to my good?

Write about these questions daily. Spend at least 10 minutes so you can truly enter into a conversation and give it your full attention. Remember, this is transformation in action, so it deserves some time and focus.

Do this for a week and see what you learn. Then do it for another week, and then another. Gradually, you’ll see that what seems like waiting is actually active growth happening under the surface, the place where real change starts.

In time, you will be ready to receive exactly what you’re waiting for. And with the help of your guides, it will arrive at exactly the right time.

Debra Engle is the author of the award-winning Let You Spirit Guides Speak and The Only Little Prayer You Need.

Getting Creative with Your Spirit Guides

by Debra Landwehr Engle

Have you ever wondered what creativity truly is?

What if we defined it as the art of living rather than the art of painting a portrait or writing a novel?

What if creativity isn’t an attribute that only certain people have, but a birthright of being human?

What if creativity isn’t something you do, but it’s who you are?

And what if your spirit guides are your creative partners every moment of your life?

When I was writing Let Your Spirit Guides Speak, my writing guide told me this:

“Creativity is not just a talent some people have. It is the intentional partnership between our world and yours, brought into human form by your willingness to listen.”

In other words, the more you listen, and the more you focus on spiritual guidance and act on it, the more you’ll be able to express your creativity in everything you do.

So when are you creative?

  • Any time there’s a problem and you manifest a solution, you’re creative.
  • Any time you help a friend see things a different way, you’re creative.
  • Every time you turn one thing into something else, you’re creative. (Case in point: transforming eggs, flour and sugar into a cake. It’s the alchemy of creation.)

Essentially, every time you breathe, you’re creative, since creativity is part of your DNA. So the question isn’t, “Am I creative?” Instead it’s, “How can I build an intentional partnership with my guides?”

There are endless ways to do that, but here’s one simple one to supersize your communication with your guides:

Do a vision board with your guides’ help. You may have created a vision board before, but it’s a more powerful exercise when you do it intentionally with your guides.

Get out a large piece of paper, several magazines, a pair of scissors and a glue stick. Now ask your guides what they’d suggest as a focus for your vision board.

Typically, a vision board is a way of visualizing what you’d like to manifest. But it could also be used to answer a question, help resolve an issue or point you in a clear direction.

So close your eyes, sit quietly for a few moments, take in three deep breaths, and ask your guides: “What is the focus of this vision board?” Pay attention to any sensations, images, words or feelings you receive, and trust their guidance for you.

Once you’re clear about the purpose of the vision board, set all expectations aside and ask your guides to lead you to the pictures and words you need most right now. Then simply start flipping through magazines.

Every time you see an image or a word that speaks to you, cut it out and set it aside. Do this for a set period of time—for instance, 10 minutes. Then spend another 10 minutes gluing the pieces at random to your sheet of paper.

Now it’s time to interpret your vision board. Ask your guides for help with this step, too, so you can understand the deeper meaning of the words and images you chose. It’s important not to judge or dismiss anything you put on your vision board. Instead, listen for the meaning.

For instance, if you’re married and you put a picture of a bride on your vision board, ask why. Maybe you’re going to feel newly married again. Maybe someone in your life is getting married and you don’t know it yet.

Ask other questions, too. For instance…

  • “Why did this particular image speak so strongly to me?”
  • “I have lots of white space on my vision board. What does that mean?” Or, in contrast, “My vision board is packed full. What does that mean?”
  • “What’s the connecting thread of the words and images?”
  • “What’s the one thing you want me to know right now?”

This is the beauty of the intentional partnership with your guides. It will reveal to you information and perspectives that you could not have thought of on your own.

So the next time you question your whether you’re a creative being, remember that partnership. Then let your creativity, and your spirit guides, speak.


Debra Engle is the author of the award-winning Let You Spirit Guides Speak and The Only Little Prayer You Need.

Spiritual Bandwidth

by Janet Conner

Have you noticed that the next big idea that sends your life into a whole new orbit always drops out of nowhere? You’re not looking for it, not asking for it, not expecting anything, when suddenly, wham, it lands in your heart. And the top of your head pops off like a champagne cork.

I had one of those moments recently.

I had just finished a delightful conversation with Kathleen Deignan on The Soul-Directed Life talking about Thomas Merton, prayer, and finding the natural rhythm of your life. We even sang to one another.

As we were saying goodbye, Kathleen blurte17d, “You are an ecstatic!”

This got my attention because it was the second time ecstasy came calling. The first time, a friend in book group interrupted me as I was describing the intense experience of writing Find Your Soul’s Purpose. She said, “You need more balance in your life.” Without thinking, I blurted, “I don’t want balance. I want ecstasy.”

Hmm. Ecstasy. Blurted. Twice. Time to investigate.

First stop. The dictionary:

  • rapturous delight
  • overpowering emotion or exaltation
  • state of sudden intense feeling
  • frenzy of poetic inspiration
  • mental transport of rapture from the contemplation of divine things

Well, now. These are what I like, what I want, what excites me.

But what is an ecstatic? 

I wrote to Kathleen. You might want to read her answer slowly:

“By ecstatic I mean vibrating at a very high and insightful frequency as a way of being in this world. Most of us do not use hardly ANY of the spiritual band-width we have as gift, never really let ourselves move into these more spacious, expansive realms.

You feel like a woman who lives in the power-state of joy and surprise and wonder and gratitude—all of that.

That is what I meant when I said you are an ecstatic being.”

I was tickled by how she described me, but it was Spiritual Band-width that sent my champagne cork flying.

In all my interspiritual reading (over 100 books a year), I’ve never seen anyone use that term.

So what is this?
In a word: Transparent.
Spiritual band-width is the measure of your transparency to the Transcendent.

Every tradition points to becoming so transparent that you merge into the divine in sacred union.

  • Jesus is transparent when he says, “The Father and I are One.”
  • The ultimate Vedic truth is, “You are That.”
  • Li Po in 8th century China wrote, “We sit together the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains.”

The spiritual band-width of these souls is so vast it encompasses the width and depth of the cosmos.

Which is great for them, but what about you and me?
We’re not there yet.

But, as we explore the fields of the soul, embodying the living presence of the Divine in our mystical prayer practices, we become a wee bit more transparent.

Bit by bit, prayer by prayer, silence by silence, our spiritual band-width expands and expands and expands.

Thanks to Kathleen Deignan, I see that I have been slowly expanding my spiritual band-width for years. And everything I write and every course I lead helps you expand your band-width, too.

I’m in awe. I’m in wonder. I’m in love.

And it’s only taken me 10 years, 7 books, 220 radio shows, countless hours of deep soul writing, deep soul reading, and deep soul mystical prayer practice to see what is happening when we explore the fields of the soul: we are expanding our spiritual band-width!

So the question that’s probably bubbling up right now is “How do I expand my spiritual band-width?

I took this inquiry into soul writing. This surfaced:

  • Sacred Desire
    Acknowledge and express your sacred desire to become more transparent to the Transcendent
  • Big Questions
    Ask big questions, quest-inducing questions, and follow where they lead
  • Mystical Prayer
    Develop mystical prayers that you love with your whole being
  • Show Up
    Live your prayer practices and your prayer practices will transform your life
  • White Space
    Give yourself silence and emptiness in which to hear the voice of the Transcendent
  • Big Ideas
    Spend time with the mystics; chew over ideas that astonish you
  • Soul Community
    Explore the fields of the soul in community. Spend time with real soul friends
  • Serve the Divine
    Be the presence of the divine in and through and as you–this is the essence of transparency
  • Unknowing
    Open to what you don’t know, don’t understand, can’t figure out
  • Trust
    Release the need for safety. Pursue love. In perfect paradox, you’ll find true safety

Looking at my list, I realized we do all that and more in my deep soul exploration books and courses. And the result, as Kathleen recognized, is gratitude, wonder, and joy–even ecstasy!


Janet Conner is a writer, speaker, teacher, retreat guide, and radio show host of The Soul-Directed Life radio show for Unity Online Radio. Each year she teaches five global telecourses in her trademark series Your Soul Wants Five Things, which offers spiritual tools and practices that help people meet their soul’s primary needs. She lives and writes in Ozona, Florida. Visit her online at www.janetconner.com.

The Egyptian Pendant That is Not Egyptian

By Steven & Evan Strong

In one of our most recent articles posted, we comprehensively dismissed the credentials of the six mainstream reasons as to why the Kariong Hieroglyphs are a recently constructed prank/hoax. The three sandstone walls, found deep in the bush at a very remote post, contain close to three hundred hieroglyphs and do look, at first glance, decidedly Egyptian. Officially decreed fake, with at least four different sets of people or one individual deemed responsible, no motive is given, profit suggested, in fact any and all of these pretenders only share one common feature: anonymity. No name, address, court charge, photograph, statuary declaration or video is produced as evidence, it is all down to what just doesn’t fit into current models of the human past in ancient times.

Photo by Evan Strong

It is a flimsy charade easily dispensed with, all that is needed is to look away from the pros and cons involved in assessing whether the glyphs on the walls are authentic, pause for a second and look down to the earth, as one wise Original woman did some thirty years ago when standing beside those same engravings.

Another Original Truth

The pendant found by highly respected Original Elder, Aunty Minnie Mace, lying in the earth floor between the Kariong hieroglyphs, was originally thought to be an Egyptian product. Aunty Minnie was accompanying the first non-Original person to record the glyphs and liaise with Egyptian experts, Ray Johnson, at a time when very few people knew they existed. While on site she felt drawn to what appeared to be a solid clump of hard earth, even though it had no right to be given special privileges, she told us she intuitively knew there was more to this object than what met the eye.

It took her half an hour to clean away the thick coat of dirt. Beneath the protective coat was a metal object with a complete circular clasp which presumably held a chain that was strung around the neck. Unfortunately, a younger member of the family wore a necklace displaying this ancient treasure at a dance and through misfortune or a poor sense of rhythm, contact was made and the upper edge of the clasp broke away. Understandably, as it was found beside what is acknowledged through cat-scan analysis to be an extremely ancient piece of human bone, and was positioned less than five metres from hieroglyphs that make reference to unexpected death and nearby interment of Nefer-Ti-Ru (son of Khufu), there was no reason not to expect that it was also of Egyptian origin.

We held to the belief it was Egyptian and saw no alternative on any horizon, until it was scientifically analysed about six months ago. The results have made it clear that this metal object was never made in Egypt. However, it doesn’t end there, as it doesn’t belong to anywhere else on this planet. This artefact was found to have two identifiable elements that make up 76% of the compound, Aluminium is the major element and accounts for 73% of the object and the other 3% is Copper. What is left over cannot be determined, the laboratory found 24% of what lay within is unknown. Because of this analysis there are two problems in attributing any Earthy origin, there is no Aluminium alloy manufactured anywhere on this planet, before or since, that has less than 85% Aluminium, and this is 12% below the minimum standard. This metal only came into common usage after World War 2 and there is no alloy yet made on this planet that has one quarter of the content unidentifiable and is much harder than any present combination.

Photo by Samarah Wood

Moreover, with no deposit of Bauxite in ancient or modern Egypt to mine, this piece of jewellery cannot be Egyptian and is most likely well ahead of its time. Is it evidence of earlier advanced technology spoken of in civilisations like Atlantis and Lemuria? Or, what if this compound contains material that came from other planets and constellations? That’s it, there is nothing left on the table if relying on conventional accounts explaining how humans evolved and spread their ‘seed.’ There are no other logical possibilities, it can’t be Egyptian and has no known precedent or composition which leaves us with one of two answers, looking way back into the ancient past or up into the night-time skies. From that station it is a simple matter of one of these locations has to be right. Either one makes no difference, that still means so much of what is assured to be factual about our gradual evolution from ‘cave-man’ ignorance by degrees leading on to the present day pinnacle in all the facets of humanity we see today, is fundamentally wrong.


Steven Strong is a secondary school teacher with a background in Aboriginal archaeology and education. He co-wrote two units of the Master of Aboriginal Studies program for Sydney University and the New South Wales Department of Education. Evan Strong has bachelor of social science degree with majors in psychology/archaeology-anthropology/sociology and counseling.

Luck – A Bird’s Eye View

by Jessica Lourey

Something bizarre happened to me recently. It was so strange that I haven’t been able to fully process it even 24 hours later. It involved an impossible feat of physics, coincidence, and a brutal exercise in perspective. See this picture of my car’s grill, noting the 2″ x 4″ openings in it? Hang onto that image because it is pivotal to this story.

But first, I need to tell you that it’s been a difficult few weeks. The end of March, my sister announced that she and her partner of 17+ years are divorcing. He’s a good guy. We love him, and of course we love her. My nieces are grown, but this still affects them. These sorts of lifequakes stir up unresolved family issues and arguments, too, at least they do in mine.

On top of that, my writing retreat business folded before it even got started. After five months of working like mad dogs with only a handful of sign-ups, in early April my partner Allison and I decided this is not the business for us. It was good to step away, but the whole experience is failure-scented.

Finally, my first and probably only nonfiction book releases in two short weeks. In it, I step out from behind the cloak of fiction to share how I turn my life into stories. I LIKE THE CLOAK OF FICTION. That’s why I write novels and not memoirs, for the love of Pete. But the fact-to-fiction process has been so transformative for me, so healing and so much the seeds of great writing, that I can’t keep it to myself. Sharing it is the right thing to do, just like TEDx Talk was the right thing to do, but I’ve still felt like a naked freeway turtle for weeks now, that sensation growing stronger as my May 1 release date approaches.

So yeah. I’ve been on edge lately, pessimistic, overwhelmed, looking forward to something just around the corner that’ll make me happy, promising myself life’ll get better soon. (That’s what’s referred to as Minnesota optimism. You can put up with really cold winters if you spend your time thinking about summer.)

That’s a recap of my recent life up until yesterday, which is where the weirdness begins. I was traveling the 3.5 hours south from my in-laws to my parents. I was driving fast, but not too fast. My mind wandered as I drove. I unraveled the guilt I felt for not spending the previous day with my kids, with Z only home from college for three days and X stressed from all the family changes. I worked through plot holes in Mercy’s Chase, the next thriller in my Witch Hunt series. I daydreamed about the honeymoon Tony and I would finally take when we saved enough money and carved out enough time.

I was mostly feeling relaxed when I crested that hill and discovered…a flock of pheasants sitting on the road, in my path. I gasped. A car was coming toward me and the ditch to my right was steep. I had to stay in my lane.  I slammed on my brakes, but it was too late.

THUNK.

Wikimedia Commons open source

Have you ever hit an animal with your car? It’s one of the top five worst sounds in the world. It’s visceral. It’s hollow and solid and feathers and bone. It’s pain and you created it. I sucked in my breath and my eyes shot to my rearview mirror. I grew up in the country and knew the rules: you didn’t leave an animal to suffer. Please be dead please be dead please be dead. Except…I didn’t see a carcass in the rearview mirror. My stomach dropped. The pheasant must be hung up somewhere on my vehicle. I drove a few hundred feet and parked on the shoulder, scanning the ditch for sticks. I was almost in tears because if I had to remove that poor creature from my car and then put it out of its misery with my bare hands…well, I couldn’t think about that.

And for one sweet minute, I didn’t have to. When I stepped out of my car and walked on trembly legs around to the front, I saw no bird. No feathers. No sign of an accident. I dropped to all fours. The pheasant wasn’t under my car, either. I stood, glancing all around. I felt a little dizzy. No way way had I imagined this. I leaned against my car to catch my balance.

That’s when the flapping began. The pheasant was trapped behind my grill.

Like some rural David Copperfield, that bird had squeezed his chicken-sized body through one of my grill’s 4″ x 2″ openings while the car was traveling at 60 mph. Not possible. (Let me share the photo again here so you can see how impossible this was.) There was no way a pheasant was trapped inside of my car looking at me through my grill like my own personal zoo creature. Except that it *was happening*. I popped my hood, felt the seams along every inch of that grill, scoured the tire wheels and underbody, looked for any other possible explanation, but there wasn’t one. The speed and angle must have been freakishly perfect.

Here’s something they don’t cover in driver’s ed: what do you do when you find yourself on a lonely country road with a huge wild bird magically trapped in an inaccessible part of your vehicle? You get in the car and start driving, that’s what. And then you call your husband who is 40 miles behind and to the east of you and has no suggestions off the top of his head but to be fair this was new territory for both of us. We agreed to meet 25 miles south where his road and mine converged. It seemed like a solid plan until I’d driven all of two miles and started crying. That poor bird. It must be terrified. I couldn’t drive slower because then he’d be there longer, but I couldn’t drive faster because the radiator would heat up faster. I was torturing this creature.

When I smelled burning feathers, I thought, *That is the unluckiest bird in the world. *

I couldn’t keep driving for another 23 miles, not with that poor animal suffering. There was a closer town straight east. Going there meant I’d miss Easter dinner for sure, but I couldn’t keep this up. Ten minutes later, I found myself pulling into a gas station, wondering if I should park with my pheasant facing or away from the store. I decided on facing. He flapped when I walked by.

Inside the gas station, I spotted a couple farmers talking. “Hey,” I said, “I’ve got an odd situation and I’m hoping you can help?”

They gamely followed me outside, and in true Midwestern fashion, did not lose one ounce of their cool. “Well I’ll be damned. That’s a full-grown rooster you’ve got in there.” They chuckled. They told me maybe I’d have pheasant for dinner. They looked every which on my car and came to the same conclusion as me: the only way in was through the grill, and the only way out was by dismantling the front bumper. I didn’t have the tools. They didn’t either. They pointed me toward the police department. The situation could’ve only grown more surreal if one of them took to the air himself.

At the police station, Officer Jeff didn’t bat an eye when I told him I had something weird to show him–you guys, you really do need to visit Minnesota–and as soon as he laid eyes on the pheasant, he jogged back inside to grab a pair of gloves, some tools, and spent the next 20 minutes wordlessly removing my bumper. The longest sentence he strung together came after I asked him what we’d do when we got that poor bird out. I was not looking forward to seeing the shape he’s in. He was surely broken every which way but Wednesday.

I wanted the officer to tell me that he’d take care of the bird. Instead he said, “Hopefully, it’ll fly away.”

Officer Jeff, for all of his quiet capability, was clearly a dreamer.

The top seal of the bumper was finally off. Jeff directed me to pull the lip of it forward and down, keeping out of sight because if that pheasant had one ounce of sanity left, he was going to hide from humans. I was still 99% sure that bird was never coming out and that I’d have to sell my car when a big pile of pheasant poop dropped near my feet, I heard a glorious mad fluttering, and that bird took off. Like, IT FLEW, low and wide, that graceful path that only a male pheasant can fly, most of his gorgeous tail feathers still intact. He disappeared over a hill into the nearby woods. I let the bumper slam back, ignoring the deep indents its left in my fingers. Jeff and I were standing side by side, watching the pheasant fly.

“It’s an Easter miracle,” I finally said. We both laughed.

He reassembled my bumper. Just another day at work for him. I thanked him profusely. Tony pulled up four minutes later and hugged me. There were a couple of those soft poofy underfeathers up by my engine, but no other evidence. We slid into our cars and drpve to my mom and dad’s, where everyone had waited to eat until we arrived. The food was cold, the company good, and I couldn’t stop thinking about that bird. He’d survived a collision with a car at 60 mph, had broken no bones as he slid through the tiniest of holes, and avoided being cooked alive on the radiator as we’d driven another 13 miles.

He was the luckiest bird in the world.

I’d thought the exact opposite when I’d hit him. I know life is about perspective, but it’s a hard truth to remember. Thanks to the pheasant, though, there was no missing it yesterday, and I began to realign my own perspectives accordingly. My family shake-up sucks right now. It really does, but it’s an opportunity for my family to clean out some calcified garbage. I lost $5000 and hundreds of hours trying to start that retreat business, but in the process, I remembered that I’m on this earth to be writing, not travel-agenting and marketing. More importantly? I realized that I’ve been living my life in the future for years now, waiting for the money and the time to finally enjoy myself. The time is now, always, and it was worth $5000 and hundreds of hours to learn that (I hope it’s cheaper next time I have to re-learn that, which’ll probably be in a few weeks). Also, thanks to that damn pheasant, I booked two trips yesterday, one of them my honeymoon, a year after my wedding. Yay! And finally, my book, Rewrite Your Life: Discover Your Truth Through the Healing Power of Fiction, my super-personal how-to guide that comes out May 1? Well, as my friend Aimee wisely said, for good or bad it’s no longer my book. It now belongs to whoever reads it. I hope it brings them what they’re looking for.

I’m smiling as I type this. I’m the luckiest bird in the world.


Jessica Lourey is best known for her critically-acclaimed Murder-by-Month mysteries. Her latest book, Salem’s Cipher, earned starred reviews from Library Journal and Booklist. She is a tenured professor of creative writing and sociology and a sought after workshop leader and keynote speaker. Visit her at http://www.jessicalourey.com.