My students often want to know what their purpose is; ancient stories tell us we all have a unique purpose called our “medicine.”
Our best medicine is this original medicine: the spark you brought into this life that is yours and yours alone. When you live from this soul-space, you thrive, even when external circumstances are difficult.
Each of us knows, deep inside, who we are. But this sense of self can get buried beneath who we think we’re supposed to be.
Over a lifetime, you’ll have many manifestations of the same essential self.
Check out this poem I wrote fifteen years ago when I was teaching poetry to kids in Harlem. Can you see my essential self poking her head out?
Can you look back at your life and see the golden thread that runs from then ‘til now and continues on into your future? Click To Tweet
Your thread might be subtle or unusual in design. It may be woven from odd bits that don’t seem to hang together in anyone but you. But that’s the point, isn’t it? Your medicine is part of your unique essence. My medicine is made of mint and lavender, roses and writing and shooting stars.
Dream on yours so you can embrace your own best medicine.
I guarantee it’s there, just waiting to be rediscovered.
Behind my house the yard is cramped
with old foundations and crabgrass.
Laundry hangs limp and stray cats
scowl amongst the mismatched bowls
on the neighbor’s back porch.
I’ve learned to love small scale:
planted mint and lavender,
and trimmed the ancient rose
which used to own all ten
square feet of garden.
You came big
with fields and flowers and stretches of open sky.
Your fingers smelled of persimmons
and when you laughed
and the crisp smell of rain overpowered
the lingering scent of last week’s garbage.
I thought I would know you at sixty…
thought those were the years it would take to explore those fields
and know their wild contours.
In far less time you were gone, slipping
between the morning asters, not understanding why
I chose to stay with laundry lines and pigeon shit.
I thought those fields were yours to take,
thought you’d roll them like a rug
and tuck the sky into your make-up case.
But as days and weeks have passed
I’ve been surprised to find
stretches of open field blowing
between the sheets and blouses
on the line, patches
of turquoise sky tangled
in the rose’s thorns, and
stashed beneath the crabgrass,
a tumble of shooting stars.