Reflections on Sea Changes

Thoughts on transformation
by Lauralee Alben

The search for love

It's a quicksilver time of year. As the life-giving winter rains finally fall upon Santa Cruz, the land cloaks itself in mist. Monterey Bay is an ever-changing mirage, with silver-shining waters and mysteriously emerging mountains standing sentinel near its shores. In this season of limited light, my thoughts turn toward the sacred. This is a time of soul-searching for all of us.

It’s a quicksilver time of year. As the life-giving winter rains finally fall upon Santa Cruz, the land cloaks itself in mist. Monterey Bay is an ever-changing mirage, with silver-shining waters and mysteriously emerging mountains standing sentinel near its shores. In this season of limited light, my thoughts turn toward the sacred. This is a time of soul-searching for all of us.

Our world is inflamed. We are crazed with grief and fear; held in the grip of conflict, war, and pain. This global scale of unspeakable suffering is reflected in the microcosm of our individual lives. Nearly every person I have coached in Sea Change Design over the past months has been wrestling with some degree of anger in their personal and professional lives.

One client reflected upon it saying, “It’s Paris.” Another said, “It’s climate change.” It’s many events burning together in a bonfire of outrage as it dawns on us that we are in the midst of an overwhelming humanitarian, planetary, and spiritual crisis.

Anger is a vital harbinger of necessary change. But will we use our anger responsibly as a creative catalyst? Or will we use it irresponsibly as a destructive force—ultimately against ourselves and all we hold dear?

The answer lies deep within our collective global soul. To illuminate it, we need to tend to our hearts. One of my favorite quotes is by Joanna Macy: “A heart that breaks open can hold the universe.” When our hearts open, through heartbreak or ecstasy, the portal to our soul—and the miraculous—widens.

The degree to which we are willing to embrace our pain or experience the profound is in direct relationship to our ability to be whole-heartedly present to the divine. Extraordinary power, wisdom, and healing are available to us from the compassionate realms beyond time and space.

Within each of us, the paradox of wonder and wrath exists. Which one will we choose? Will we learn to love as one?

Love trumps trauma. Love sanctifies life.

In this twilight time, I invoke our brilliance. Let us co-design this essential and singular sea change: an open-hearted humanity.

 

The Search

Enchanted by the soft embrace of surf and sand
I made my way along the arc of Santa Barbara’s breastbone
searching for stone hearts.
I scanned the foamy lace waterline, a rustic necklace
of kelp bejeweled with shells, tiny bones, and lost treasures
ceaselessly offered up by the waves for my choosing.
I left the round, smooth, perfect stones,
and the ones with intricate coloring and iridescent veins,
desiring only the honest ones.
What makes a true heart? I wondered,
bending to extricate one from the grip of glittering sand.
Tracing my finger round the curves at the top,
caressing the indentation between them.
Two loving hills and a smitten valley,
melded together into a single point.
I marveled at the variations on the age-old theme,
some hearts chiseled, untamed by turbulent torrents,
slamming onto the strand,
others smoothed by the caress of currents,
rolling effortlessly onto the belly of the beach.
All beautiful, each imperfect,
like the ways we love each other.

Lauralee Alben

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