Healing Balm

By Lauralee Alben


Offering prayer amid the stone spirits,
I walk the pathway they attend
and open myself to their teachings.
Each exquisite shape marks the circuit,
stone stories placed shoulder to shoulder.
Rounding a turn, I pause abruptly,
my gaze locking onto a gnarled lump of root
spiraled and etched with time.
In its arms, it holds close to its heart
two sharp, jagged-edged rocks,
not grasped lightly, no, but fiercely embraced.
Soft flesh pressed against glinting hardness
held so long, the root grew ‘round the rocks
locking them in a timeless union.
This, I muse, is how best to love
the painful, hard edges of life—
hold them close, until we weep with wonder
and grow together in grace.

Grief Cry

Cast your grief cry over
the ragged cliff edge
as rough as the tear in you.
Fling it far out and watch it
wing through the air—
and pierce the water below.
Falling deep deeper down
where the whales dive for krill.
Down where no light reaches
and bioluminescence pulses
in bejeweled life forms
signaling marine Morse code.
Down here in the dark silence
your soul can find peace
where the whale falls rest
on the ocean floor.
The slow, mesmerizing
movement of the watery womb
will rock you, rock you
as you weep salt tears
by the bone graveyard.
In whatever time it takes
you will relinquish your grief
and long for the living.
Launch yourself up into light.
Let your soul breach the surface
as humpback whales do.
Send your heart-shaped plume
of blessed breath out into the world.

Lauralee Alben serves as a wisdom-keeper, healer, and writer. Her essays and articles have appeared primarily in design publications. She is concurrently working on two books, ”50/50: Poems arising from a half-century of living” and ”Turtle Sightings: Wisdom teachings, healing truths, and tales of wonder.” 

Lauralee is also Founder and CEO of the Sea Change Design Institute, a growing nexus of change agents committed to evolving a conscious, creative, and compassionate world. 

To read more of Lauralee’s writings, please visit https://medium.com/@LauraleeAlben

Very early one morning, I entered the labyrinth at Westerbeke Ranch in Sonoma, CA. I was in search of wisdom and a way to heal my pain over my son’s illness. I was blessed by the stone beings who offered me an exquisite insight. Afterwards, as I sat on nearby bench, scribbling down this poem, a majestic stag leapt across the labyrinth and disappeared into the forest. Perhaps Labyrinth will hold potent medicine for you and those enduring the hard and painful experiences of life. 

The inspiration for Grief Cry welled up within me as I witnessed the deep mourning of a dear friend. I trust my words will provide some healing balm for you, and for those around the world who are suffering. Grief is the liminal space of transformation. To read more about the poem, please visit Grief Cry on Medium, which includes my reflections on sorrow, COVID-19, and the story of my sister Denise’s early death.

Grief Cry
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Mary Male
Mary Male
1 year ago

These poems tug at my heart, and hearing you read them aloud heightens their impact, along with the photos. Each word, chosen as carefully as the stones in the labyrinth, stays in my mind, as it tries to make sense of the incomprehensible. I feel your presence and imagine a time when we can walk together in real life.

Lauralee Alben
1 year ago
Reply to  Mary Male

Thank you, Mary. You too walk in the liminal space where imagination and incomprehension emerge into wisdom.

Lauralee Alben
1 year ago

I’m so honored to participate in Poetry and Covid! I hope you do find some healing balm in my poems from reading them or watching the videos. I welcome your thoughts or feelings about how these have affected you. Be safe. Stay connected.

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