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Mentors with Feathers

My feathery love perches proudly on top of our (his) new book!
My feathery love perches proudly on top of our (his) new book!

Approximately three years ago, I went to Cape Cod with my folks for our annual getaway.

While I was gone, I started to miss my parrot, Pearl, very badly.

I was already writing his blog, Love & Feathers, so I started re-reading past posts to see if that would help ease the ache.

It just got worse.

Then I started looking through the photos I’ve taken of him over the years. Right about that point I realized I had several thousand photos of Pearl – more than every other type of photo I’ve ever taken (from the moment I was born or when they first invented the camera, take your pick) combined.

Since reading old blog posts and looking at old pictures wasn’t helping, my next attempt focused on writing.

In years past, I have often journaled – either through physically writing in a journal or (more frequently) writing songs. So I began to journal out some of my favorite stories about my life with Pearl.

This helped.

It helped me not just feel closer to Pearl on the inside while we were so far apart on the outside, but it also helped me feel less anxious about his approaching double-digit  birthday and how I might cope once he and I are separated by more than just geography.

So I kept writing….and writing. 

Approximately two years later, those Cape Cod journaled stories turned into one of the biggest joys of my life to date (other than Pearl himself) – a memoir about our life together and all the ways my sweet bird has mentored and healed me.

The new book is called Love & Feathers: what a palm-sized parrot has taught me about life, love, and healthy self-esteem.

Pearl and I first met in 2000. We share the same birthday month (which just happens to be this month!).

We were both total underdogs from birth – both bullied on the outside, yet strangely resilient on the inside.

We each recognized in the other a lifelong soulmate right from day one.

Meeting Pearl has changed my life for the better in every way – and sometimes in ways no human mentor could ever do.

LFBookCover_borderHe models for me daily what it looks like to respect myself, honor myself and claim my own dignity and space no matter what the day may bring.

He shows me there is a distinct difference between what I do and who I am. The former may change without notice….the latter timelessly endures unchanged.

Pearl has also taught me a lot about the difference between following my head and following my heart. Every single choice I made around publishing our book together – from why to when to how to who to how many – has been made only after my heart weighed in.

To say I am utterly delighted with the finished product just reinforces how much of a difference it can make when I let my heart lead.

It also makes me aware of how much I need my small feathery sidekick, as much or perhaps much more than he needs me.

Today’s TakeawayDo you have a feathery (or furred, or finned, or shelled, or scaly) mentor whom you rely on for love, wisdom and companionship? What have you learned from them? Where would you be without them in your life?

Mentors with Feathers

Shannon Cutts

Parrot, tortoise & box turtle mama. Writer. Author. Songwriter. Champion of all people (and things) recovered and recovering.

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APA Reference
Cutts, S. (2019). Mentors with Feathers. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 14, 2020, from


Last updated: 29 Mar 2019
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