• Susan McCormick Winslow

My Journey with the Birds


My Journey with the Birds


I had never been a fan of birds and did not understand why people would have them as pets. They seemed two dimensional to me, not like a three-dimensional dog or cat at least! They couldn’t cuddle or go on walks. Years ago, I encountered a perfect storm that led to years of chronic illness and eventually found the Dynamic Neural Retraining System (DNRS), which would change my life. During my healing journey, I discovered the beauty and healing qualities of my new avian friends.


I have a beautiful backyard with bright, vibrant colored flowers and a view of the mountains. I moved my “office” to my backyard when I began working from home. I was outdoors in the fresh air—what can be better than that? I soon became used to the soothing bird songs from the finches and crows that frequented my yard, and I noticed the love between the doves that would come in pairs and land on my fence. Red-tailed hawks would fly overhead and even land in my yard—once when my cat was lying there sunning himself! Neither seemed affected, a true testament to the connection in nature. Soon, I bought a bird feeder and my backyard became a happy hour throughout the day for beautiful birds in every color: bright green, red, and yellow finches happily argued over who was going to dominate the perch of the feeder. I found myself referee for their squabbles and realized that they had become family to me.


I like to do my DNRS practice rounds in the morning right when I get out of bed. I open the blinds and have a view of the top of a Magnolia tree. Often, there will be birds waiting there to greet me with their alluring songs, a great way for me to begin the day. My son now even participates with my newfound love by adding food to the birdfeeder when it’s low. My husband has noticed a red bird that tries to get into our house from an upper window every morning. Our birds have become a family affair. They are there every day to greet me and cheer me on as I work. Even now, there is a bird watching me from the fence, telling me to stop and notice him for a moment, to take a breath and relish the wonder that surrounds me.

My birds have helped me slow down from my busy work day and just watch—just “be.” They have given me a freedom as I imagine myself flying unhinged with them. They lift my spirit, as I know that even when I am by myself, I am never alone; my friends are there every day to cheer me on and brighten my day. J.M Barrie stated, “The reason birds can fly and we can't is simply because they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings.” My birds are helping me find my wings.



I am an English professor who teaches composition, research writing, and literature. I have a bachelor’s in theater, a master’s in English literature, and a doctorate in educational leadership and management. My perfect storm led me to DNRS, which I credit to jump starting my life again. My learning about neuroplasticity has greatly impacted my students as well, as they do their final research paper on neuroplasticity and how it can create happier, calmer, and more successful students. Luckily, my students love this topic! In addition to their research papers, I have them keep weekly gratitude journals, which many have said have created immense happiness. Through my journey I discovered the power of positive thinking, laughter, gratitude, meditation, and the healing energy of nature. I have started a children’s book series based on a bird that I created in visualizations; he has become my constant companion and friend! I am in incredibly grateful for my journey and being able to help others realize their full potential. I also lead the DNRS Literary Book Club.


You may reach me at litlady@hotmail.com

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