Friday, June 5, 2009
The mountain laurel is in bloom, blueberry bushes bear fruit on the Blue Ridge Parkway hiking trails, which are abundant for the picking. Bluegrass musicians are playing banjos on street corners and in paid venues. Contra Dance Groups gather at the Warren Wilson College grounds to extend a loving hand to a stranger visiting for the first time. We visited for the first time, recently. A very tall women dress in a purple Velvet costume waled right up to us and said, "Welcome, just jump right in and if you don't feel comfortable with the step I can find a seasoned partner that will make contra dancing comfortable for you." At that moment I heard a clip clop on the road just above us. It was a couple of beautiful Haflinger horses pulling a cart of people. All a stranger has to do is show up in Asheville and they aren't a stranger any more. An abundance of hands reach out to teach the steps to dances, invite you to horseback ride, sit and listen to mountain music, slide down a big rock in a waterfall, drink wine at the Biltmore Estate daily wine tasting. Music is as popular as art. Kids and parents alike meet at the White Horse in Black Mountain, to listen to mountain music singers, cloggers, etc. You will find a variety or unique restaurants with 5 star chef-owners. They have move to the mountain in quantity to find their personal voice and cook unusual creations. I still don't know quite what I have ordered at Salsas in downtown Asheville; this even after I have eaten it. All I know is it is beyond delicious every time. Artists of all levels of accomplishments, young and old have settle in Asheville. They stroll the streets incognito in shorts and flip flops. Vadim Bora is an artist teacher with world renown acclaim. He was my teacher for a few years. As successful as he is you can find him having a cup of coffee at the World Coffee Shop on Battery Park just under his studio in jeans and a plain shirt. Sustainability groups are popping up everywhere. Green Environmentally Friendly people are the norm in the Asheville NC Mountains. Small business like http://www.carolinamountainrental.com/ do their part by making an effort to use green cleaning supplies and planting herb gardens for the tourists to use in the cabins . You will find goats on farms and baby chicks as the local pets. There is a farmers tailgate market in virtually every community where proud members bring organic produce, soap, and goat cheese that they have produced on their land. Communities of loving people find each other. It will bring joy to
your Saturday morning.
Now that I have painted the picture for the visitor and tourist, let's shift to actually living here. It is a very different experience. Many teachers and spiritual people flock to Asheville mountains. Why is this? They say the reason is the opportunity for personal growth and the energy. Black Mountain has lei lines. Places that have this are said to be healing centers. It is true, Black Mountain was originally founded in the 1800's, as a destination for relaxation and a healing retreat. The mountains bring to the surface anything within you that is ready to be transformed. Hold on because there are no exclusions to the rule. Sometimes, this is not know to the person or the person chooses to try to ignore the message. That is when the growth process is painful. Your issues will come up no matter what.
Even the local mountain folk know this truth about the area. They call it something else. Regardless what the name is it will start to happen soon after you move. An elderly man sitting on his porch rocked back and forth as he told me,"These mountains will thrash you around, sometimes smacking you into the stone until what needs to drop from your personality, drops. If you survive that, the mountain will then nurture you like a loving mother's hugging arms for the rest of your life". The key to this saying is, if you survive. Personal growth can be painful if you are attached to worldly things. It can look like health issues, relationship issues, family issues, accidents, you name it. The lesson can be as simple as learning humility. Some other noted worldly things can be recognized in the seven deadly sins; really it is anything that is less than love.
I can say that the thrashing has finally stopped for me. I have learned to be grateful to Asheville because of all the life lessons. I have personally healed my attachment to injustice, racism, selfishness, pride, attachment to owning things, not feeling worthy of a loving relationship, and the list goes on. I just watched Obama's speech to the world. I felt his humble approach and saw value in it.
I represent myself not as a religious person rather a spiritual person. Surrounded at time by religious, not spiritual people, I have reached the point of not judging deeply religious people rather seeing the bright light in them. The same goes for the the folks that are on the new agey or woo woo path rather than a spiritual one. This area attracted a lot of woo woo people in the 90's. Now when I meet these same people after a decade has passed, the woo woo is gone and the spiritual side has emerged.
So now here is the answer to the question. Was it worth it to move to Asheville ten years ago. YES. I am a better person, I have a loving partner, and I appreciate people, now attract beautiful kind people as friends on a daily basis, and I experience grace in the moment. YES. Asheville is the place to move to. I have moved away. As I look back at Asheville, I can say she is a beauty and the mountains have my gratitude.