Traveling solo, I recently spent 24 hours in Asheville, NC. Not sure what to do alone, I contemplated several options, but then came across, “Asheville Wellness Tours”, and thought that would be an interesting way to spend an afternoon.
Asheville Wellness Tours provided several alternative experiences including the art of tea drinking, essential oil and herb making, meditation in a beautiful salt cave, sound therapy with gongs and Tibetan bowls, and honey tasting at a local specialized shop.
The tour began with a 45-minute session at Asheville Salt Cave, a golden womb-like cave filled with beautiful pure pink salt crystals. We were lead into meditation as we rested on pillows and bolsters on the salt covered floor, listening to sounds of the waterfall, breathing in negatively charged ions, turning inward and away from the chaos of the external world around us.
Following the salt cave, we walked to Skinny Beats Sound Shop and was lead into a sound healing session with gongs and Tibetan bowls that took us on a vibrational journey that was beyond words to describe. I was given a “taster” of sound healing that I knew I would have to return to.
Next, we were given an introductory explanation of herbs and essential oils at herbiary, which offers natural remedies for every kind of alignment imaginable, including emotional and psychological disorders.
From the herbiary, we walked to Asheville Bee Charmer, for honey tasting, where I was given several different types of honey to try, including sage honey, a favorite of mine.
Lastly, we ended the tour at Dobra Tea, where we shared in Japanese style, “Clear Communication Tea.” This tea was reported to promote clear communication with our inner self, exactly what I needed! The Wellness Guide explained that the tea ceremony involved inhaling the aroma, before tasting the tea, and encouraged us to share an authentic wellness intention that we wanted to incorporate into our daily lives.
The tea ceremony was a perfect ending to an adventurous day in self-exploration and holistic wellness. My guide was an inspirational and enthusiastic yoga instructor who did a wonderful job guiding me through the city and sharing all that Asheville has to offer.
When the tour finished, we parted ways, and I decided to explore the streets of Asheville on my own. Quite unexpectedly, I came across an interesting young man sitting on the street writing poetry.
Ben was plucking away on his vintage typewriter. A sign, “NAME A WORD or TOPIC. GET A POEM”, hung from his table. Being a creative writer myself, I couldn’t resist. I contemplated what word to select, and finally decided on the word “therapy.”
Ben sat in silence for a few moments, and then inserted a piece of paper into his old typewriter and began typing. Once in awhile, he would stop to ponder, rubbing his head in contemplation. Ben was oblivious to the ongoing foot traffic of people that were walking past him as he pounded away on his typewriter, lost in a world of words. After about 10 minutes, Ben completed my poem and asked if he could read, “Therapy” to me.
I was amazed at how insightful and creative the poem was, especially considering that it had been written on the spot. Ben’s poem touched upon the heaviness we can carry in life, referring to our emotional pains, and “to unpack the boxes long locked-up.” (poem below)
After reading my poem, Ben told me that he had been in San Francisco years ago, and had traded a book for a Lynn Gentry poem. Ben was busking for his upcoming wedding, which explained another sign he had, “Wedding Funds”. I thanked Ben for his creative, insightful poem, and thought how clever he was, using his gifts and talents in a way that inspired other people.
Asheville has a lot to offer in terms of the unique, alternative, or creative. If you’re looking to explore Asheville, check out Asheville Wellness Tours, who offers several options including hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains, followed by Yoga, and if you have a love for words or poetry, don’t forget to look for Ben, who can be found in front of Woolworths, on Haywood Street.
Asheville Wellness Tours
Ben is starting his own upcoming blog:
Strangers Poems Project
T H E R A P Y
Sit within a circle
& spin a thread of narrative–
we are here to help you
with the heavy lifting—
to unpack boxes long locked-up,
to turn & turn each artifact
over in our hands, to examine
without judgment each dog-earned page
within the books that weigh
so much. trust is a rope ladder
which we are still building,
you hold it from the top & choose
when it’s to be lowered. but human
help comes with limitations. take
the next train west & sit among
the redwoods. five hundred years
of listening unmarred by loose lips.
we wait & learn the craft of patience