As a life coach, I hear that question a lot. A client wants to understand his or her unique gifts in the world or understand how to use them to create a more compassionate and sustainable world. That world could be just for that one person, a family, a community or the whole planet.
Our medicine is like a bear in the woods, crossing your path when you don’t know what it is. You really have to stop and respect the bear’s space; hold peace in your heart and let that beast cross the road.
On my own medicine walk recently, I asked that same question: what is my medicine? I really wanted to know because even a life coach has bears crossing her path from time to time.
So, I asked the more-than-Human members of the forest that question. I looked up at the tree tops and asked, “What is my medicine?” and the tree tops replied, “It’s certainly the sound of the wind as it passes through your leaves.”
I asked the dirt beneath my feet, “What is my medicine?” and the dirt replied, “It’s certainly the decomposition of stones, shells and leaves that hold the history of this island and make up your being.”
I asked the birds in the trees, “What is my medicine?” and the birds replied. “It certainly must be your song piercing through the forest, and the nest you build in the trees.”
I asked the lichen on a maple tree, “What is my medicine?” and the lichen replied, “It’s certainly the relationship between the moss and the algae that creates the lichen.”
At the end of my questioning, every more-than-Human being replied from his or her own perspective. Whatever sustained it, whatever purpose it held, that was the medicine it believed lived in everything: the wind, the decomposition of matter, the song, the nest, the symbiotic relationship of beings.
I was surprised by the simplicity of the answers and my own realization that they were right! My medicine was already fully expressed in my being; not a vocation or an avocation that I needed to search for; my medicine was fully expressed in how I move through the world and what sustains me as a Human; connection, love, compassion and creativity.
What is my medicine? I am a slow, mindful walk through the forest and like the forest, I am all this and more. Connected. Enriched by others. I sing. I build nests. I open doors to possibility.
That’s my medicine. It is something I cannot not do. Imagine a bird that refuses to sing because it believes no one is listening, or moss that withholds moisture from the algae because it fears it won’t have enough for itself. Imagine a leaf that refuses to yield to the wind or matter that is afraid to lose itself in another to become something more fertile.
What is your medicine? Is there a bear crossing your path? What is the thing you cannot not do? Name it and go do it. The world is waiting.
Linda Lombardo is a certified life coach and forest therapy guide. Her work includes life purpose and one-on-one coaching in nature. She writes and podcasts at Voice of Evolution Radio. You may find her at www.thevoiceofevolution.com and www.liforestwalks.com.