Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls wrote this song. She told Songfacts: "I was talking with my friend about reincarnation, what we believe. Does it mean that you come back as a dog or a tree or whatever, another human being, and the exchange of souls and all that stuff. And that just got me thinking about it. I wanted to write a song that was upbeat, that sort of took the whole subject sort of in a lighthearted way, even though I was thinking about it very seriously. There's this one point in the song where, as I understood reincarnation, you know it's a regeneration of souls for the betterment of all creatures and things over time. And I was thinking, you know, I'm so far from being the perfect soul that at least the world isn't going to experience nuclear holocaust while I'm alive, because I have to have my soul be regenerated at least once. So it was kind of like taking a heavy subject and sort of having fun with it.
I don't know if I believe in the exchange of souls, but I'm not a firm believer in reincarnation, and that I'm going to come back and be a dog, or another creature. I have a different belief system now, but back then, my friend really believed that we come back as something else, and it is a regeneration of souls until we reach Nirvana." (Here's the full Emily Saliers interview