Living America's Destiny

From To Show Another Way: How to Learn, Heal, and Serve at a Time of Crisis 
on Planet Earth by Susan S. Trout

America will never be destroyed from the outside. 
If we falter and lose our freedoms, 
it will be because we destroyed ourselves. 

~ Abraham Lincoln ~

When I was on the young side of life, I wanted to be a poet and a writer. As time passed, I did become a writer, largely because acquiring left-brain skills were essential if I were to obtain a PhD and teach at a university. My poet self never fully emerged beyond the occasional poetic phrasing in some of my academic and personal writing. That is, it didn’t manifest until I was introduced to “medicine poetry.”

Medicine Poetry

Get a printable copy of this teaching HERE

Stephen Levine, in his book Becoming Kuan Yin: The Evolution of Compassion, writes that the Chinese goddess of compassion, Kuan Yin, urges her students to write medicine poetry, telling them, “The right word at the right time is strong medicine.” She explains that medicine poetry is intuitive and comes from the heart, not the head: “How quiet one must be—a single thought can muffle it.” Medicine poetry heals us, whether we write it or read it.

Kuan Yin’s teachings about medicine poetry showed me another way to awaken my poet self. I mustered the courage and self-confidence to put pen to paper and began writing poems. To write medicine poetry, one must abandon all thoughts and merge with feelings, not knowing in advance what the poem will say or how it will evolve. The intent is to allow the poem to flow from the heart, expressing authentic feelings, whether of pain or glory. Once the poem is completed, the poet experiences the peacefulness and balm of the “medicine.” The genuine truth of one’s feelings releases the pain. One’s truth has been spoken; one’s truth has been heard.

One of the first poems I wrote was about Abraham Lincoln. In it, I expressed the intense pain I felt for our country—the pain of self-forgetting, the pain of polarization, the pain of focusing on the self at the expense of the greater good of humanity and the planet.

America's Pain—America's Choice

I wrote that poem about Lincoln and about my feelings. Later, another poem emerged written from the perspective of Lincoln himself, the great wayshower, responding to our nation’s collective pain. Although already significant at the time I wrote the first poem, our national grief had continued to increase dramatically. In the poem, Lincoln identifies the core dilemma our country now faces and conveys the SAME message—showing another way for our country to heal—that he proposed during the Civil War over 150 years ago. He answers our nation’s call for help with a call of his own, showing us we have a choice—a challenging choice, yet a healing one. As citizens of this conflicted country, it is a choice we must make if we are to move through and beyond our current state of chaos and strife.


I sit in my marble chair
Living inward— gazing outward
To all who come to visit me:
I see your magnificent souls
I hear your appreciation
I know your pain

Remembering my time in history
I remain with you in spirit
Witnessing history repeat itself
The greater truth
The Civil war never ended
The cause unhealed
Unity unattained
The true cause

Now crises
Of epidemic proportions
Blanket our country
Few imagined
The manifold events
That now shatter
Our reality

Even so
Consciously forewarned
And prepared or not
No one is exempt from
Life-altering truths
Our country now faces

we entered into the darkness
Of bewildering inner
And outer chaos
Of psyches
How the world functions
Ways we operate within it
We have dimmed
Into a barren blend
Of mist and smoke

Much of what once was
Cannot be reconstructed
Cannot be revised
Yet tucked among
The ashes of the past
Are durable remnants
And cherished seeds
Still vibrating with life

I promise you:
A door of sacred fortune
WILL open before you
We WILL cross a threshold

What our ears once silenced
We will soon hear
The irrepressible
Clarion call of life
A call sounded
At the beginning of time
When we forgot

Who we were
Why we had come
Hearing the clarion blast
We awaken
To our injured world

We disconnected
From the Sacred Source
From one another
Now we know
Our connection
Always remained
That it was
Our awareness of connection
That called to be returned

I invite you
To move into inner silence
Write medicine poetry
Acknowledge your personal pain
Focus on what really matters
Smooth the eagle’s feathers
Celebrate the learned lessons
Of equality
Of greater good
Of unity within diversity
God doesn’t care
If we make mistakes
God only cares
If we learn from them

I, Abraham Lincoln,
Remind you
Of an unwavering Truth
I upheld
For our country’s wholeness
Proposed during the Civil war:
We may ACT separated
And divided
But we ARE not
We remain
Destined to answer
A clarion call
Of life and action

Called by our Sacred Source
To attain our True Destiny
Live with unconditional
Love and compassion
A global family
In a world
Of One

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 To Show Another Way: Applications

Respond to one or both of the following suggestions:

  1. Place your awareness in your heart. Write a medicine poem that expresses your truth about healing our country.

    Remember, writing medicine poetry requires that we allow the words to flow, abandoning all thoughts and merging with feelings, not knowing in advance what the poem will say or how it will evolve. In other words, we allow our inner poet to show us another way to express our authentic feelings. When thoughts distract us or words cease, we return to the silence of our heart’s awareness. Once the poem is written, we breathe in the “medicine” of calm and peace.

  2. Select an issue or topic in your life that you would like to heal using medicine poetry. Write the name of your topic at the top of a blank sheet of paper or on a blank page in your journal. Keep your pen and paper or journal nearby. Meditate for several minutes.

    Place your awareness in your heart. When thoughts distract you, return to the silence of your heart’s awareness. Allow the words to flow. If the words cease, return to the silence within.

Trout, Susan. To Show Another Way: How to Learn, Heal, and Serve at a Time of Crisis on Planet Earth. Alexandria, VA: Institute for the Advancement of Service, 2020.

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