I live in Asheville, NC, and it's my favorite U.S. city for a variety of reasons. The scenery is stunning any time of the year and, though we have four distinct seasons, the temperatures remain mild. I also like that it is relatively small. Though millions of people flock here every year to hike, see the beautiful Appalachians, go brewery-hopping, buy art or visit some of our stunning historical destinations, the population is only around 90,000. I can hardly go anywhere without seeing a familiar face. On the other hand, we have the offerings of a much larger city due to tourism...live music, galleries, world-renowned restaurants, a vibrant downtown area, and more. For all these reasons, there is another dynamic that some residents find off-putting.
Because we are a place of transformation and change, what might take decades in another town, or even longer, can happen here within a year. The energies that shift consciousness, construct new buildings, gentrify neighborhoods, shatter dreams, create housing shortages are constantly in motion. It is not a city for those who wish to remain stagnant or hide behind a facade of "good enough." Asheville continually asks us to look within...what am I afraid of? How am I called to be of service or to look deeply at my own shadows? It's easy, when you live in a place that so many covet, to get up on your high horse. When tourists flood our downtown streets and restaurants, we complain. They are easy to spot. They don't dress like us or act like us. They take up parking and form lines in our favorite coffee shop. We find it annoying. Tourism is the double edged sword that has created the city that we love and the city that we don't.
Many of us choose a dynamic of change subconsciously. We put ourselves into jobs or relationships or cities that will not let us sit on our laurels. This is a good thing if we take the reins and make it conscious. It's easy to go into victim mode and give up our power......"If only my partner would act differently or my co-workers were not so short-sighted or my hometown would not attract so many rich people, etc, etc." In truth, this is just whining and there are no solutions to be had in a whine. I often remember Eckhart Tolle's words....“Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.”
If, for example, I choose to live in a city which is pricing out the artists and teachers, city workers and laborers, what is that reflecting back to me? At what cost am I ignoring creative impulse or working the garden with my hands in the dirt? Have I become too busy with more "important" money-making pursuits to take care of the foundation of my health and well-being? This is only one reflection of course. There are always a multitude for every situation. If all of us look at what our world is reflecting and consciously own it, the reflections will change. The problems will solve. Going within should be our first response and finger-pointing should be no response at all. As within, so without. We are all part of the same body and the world continues to hold a mirror up for us to see the good and the bad within.
In Love & Awareness,