Greenville, SC…Southern Hospitality

Hello beautiful people and welcome to your weekly dose of Celestial Goodness. As always, thank you for joining me in this space and on this journey. I hope that all of you had a wonderful last week, and that you are enjoying life wherever you are. Last week we wrapped up our conversation about the seven chakras. What a lovely journey that was! I hope that you are able to apply some of the tips to your own life for healthy chakra living.

Speaking of journeys, I recently took a real trip to Greenville, South Carolina. I can honestly say that Greenville, South Carolina—there is also a Greenville, North Carolina, had never been on my radar of top places to visit within the United States. I am glad that I opened my mind to a visit there! See this week’s video here:

I have a list of places that I would like to visit, both domestically and internationally, and at the top it says “This or Better.” I trust that if there is somewhere that I should see, eventually I will end up there. I suggest making such a list for yourself, as you never know when you may get an opportunity to have a little adventure and to cross a place off the list. I also suggest picking a variety of destination types—go somewhere for great food, or for great natural treasures, or for a great cultural experience. All of these different experiences add to the kaleidoscope of your travel experience.

My 2017 list 🙂 …it’s amazing which places I have seen since!

Last fall we went to Asheville, North Carolina for a long weekend. It was cool, but I learned quickly that traveling during a pandemic required a lot of advanced planning, making reservations, and just being as patient as possible.

The Biltmore

As the world, begins to open up bit by bit, and as my travel party and I were all vaccinated, we felt that a weekend trip was in order. One of my best friends grew up pretty close to Greenville, and so that was some of the inspiration about why we went. It is similarly situated to Asheville, so I had something to compare in my mind. I have visited South Carolina before—during the Solar Eclipse of 2017, my family and I drove down to see the end point of the eclipse, which happened in Charleston.

Pineapple Fountain, Charleston, SC

That was an experience. During that trip we also made a stop in a place called Moncks Corner to see the Mepkin Abbey—home to Trappist Monks, and home to the Mepkin Gardens which are both peaceful and stunning.

Monck’s Corner, Mepkin Abbey Gardens

Greenville, SC is approximately a two hour drive from Atlanta, GA, 1.5 hours’ drive south west of Charlotte, NC, and about an hour south of Asheville, NC by car. There is also the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport if you are interested in flying in. For our Greenville trip, we chose to stay at the Aloft Hotel in Downtown Greenville.

Aloft Hotels are part of Marriott Bonvoy, so if you are staying, make sure to connect your Marriott account so that you can get points. The Aloft was perfectly situated for walking almost anywhere we wanted to go. It was clean, organized, and unique.

They also welcomed dogs—we didn’t have a dog, but it seemed like Greenville as a whole was very pet friendly.

Our room offered a great view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Greenville is located at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, so if you are a nature lover, this is a big plus.

Our hotel was located pretty close to Main Street, so once we checked in we were able to go exploring. I found the downtown area to be really beautiful, clean, and filled with fountains and artwork. There are also butterfly exhibits or artwork all over town. The city really promotes art and music.

Downtown off Main Street…

Our stroll took us to Reedy River Falls and to see the Liberty Bridge—a pedestrian suspension bridge that allows you to get a great view of the falls.

Before we went onto the bridge we stopped for a sweet treat. At Spill the Beans, coffee bar and ice-cream shop, we tried a unique ice cream creation. They let you choose a base and then your toppings. After that they blend it all together. I think I had a vanilla base with pineapples, pistachios, mango and Nutella. It was a beautiful day weather wise, and so we enjoyed our ice cream while taking in the natural beauty of the falls.

Later that even, we went to dinner at a place called the Trappe Door, which was conveniently located across the street from our hotel. It had a Belgian pub theme, and reminded me of the Ratskeller in Memorial Union, at the University of Wisconsin where I went to school. The food was excellent, and the service was even better.

After dinner, we strolled along Main Street. You can learn a lot people watching, and also just slowing down to pay attention. I learned about how students from Sterling High School played a role in ending segregation in the area—including at the lunch counters at the Woolworths, and their role in integrating the library and other public spaces.

We also stopped by the Savannah Bee Company to do a honey tasting—we also did this in Asheville, and if you ever get to do a honey tasting at a honey bar, I highly recommend it. One unique flavor was the Black Sage honey, which had a very herbal undertone. We also stopped in a crystal shop—shocker—and got to take in a beautiful sunset.

I am a big fan of including time on trips for some downtime and rest. So we had a little break, and then met up to go to the Swordfish Cocktail Club. You do have to make a reservation by phone in advance, but this place that gives the vibe of a speak easy was super worth it! The club clearly values quality of the drinks they make. Everything was beautifully presented, and the drinks were delicious. Each drink was a work of art—science meets art.

All of the bartenders were great, but Brad, who we garnered was one of the co-owners, wanted to make sure that we had a good experience, and we did. One of the drinks that I had took twenty minutes to make. He placed it in a salt water container, and allowed science to do something fancy.

What resulted was a beautiful frothy beverage (that came with a spoon). When I took my first sip, it felt as though I had been transported to the far East—for an evening under the desert skies. He also taught us about good gin, and after swearing gin off after college, I felt like, I could make a pleasant return.

Probably the best gimlet ever…

We topped the night off with warm milk infused with Brandy, and homemade (at the cocktail club), cookies. Needless to say, I slept really well that night.

The next day we had brunch at Tupelo Honey, literally also right outside of the hotel door. Everything was scrumptious.

One of the trends that emerged during the pandemic that will probably stay is restaurants using QR codes that you can scan to see the menu. I think this will be around even after the pandemic. Of course, everyone does not have a smartphone, so they will always probably have some menus on hand, but this cuts cost, and having to clean down paper/plastic menus.

After brunch we went for a walk/mini hike on the Lake Placid Trail at Paris Mountain State Park. The park was beautiful, lush, and green. I love to be out in nature—there is something peaceful, healing, and soul stirring about seeing greenery, and hearing the natural flow of water. We also drove all the way up the mountain after we walked the trail, but there was limited parking, so we just got the scenic view.

Glammed up for outside…

Afterwards, we explored a bit more of Main Street. This included stopping at one of the many art galleries that are in the city. The one we visited was the artist guild of Greenville. I got two prints, one by a black artist and engineer named John Pendarvis. The other piece was by an artist named Pat Grills. He was actually in the gallery at the time and gave us a tour pointing our pieces by different artist that were really notable. He was a very kind soul, and even signed the print that I bought from him. He taught art and art history for the Greenville County Schools for over 42 years. A few years ago, his students surprised him and his wife with a trip to Europe. He and I talked about some of the travel experiences there, which was super cool. You just never know where you will meet a kind soul.

After our art gallery visit, we stopped at a super cute coffee shop called Coffee Underground. I had an amazing white chocolate beverage and a piece of apple cider pie. We laughed and chatted and then headed back to the hotel for some downtime.

Later we met up with the parents of one of my best friends for a delicious dinner. Nothing beats a good meal and good company! Post dinner we marveled at the beauty of the city at night, went for drinks at a place called Up on the Roof, and laughed and chatted into the night.

On our final day, we had brunch at a place not in the downtown—but worth the drive—called the Fork and Plough.

I really enjoyed my visit to Greenville. I think if you are planning to take a trip during the pandemic—and yes—we are still in it—and even once it ends, it helps to do some research and planning in advance. 

We made reservations at a lot of the places that we went to. This is helpful especially at busy meal hours. 

Also call ahead to make sure that places are actually opened. One of the galleries that we wanted to see seemed like it was open according to Travel Advisor, but Google seemed to indicate that it was closed. When we got there it was permanently closed. 

Also, open your mind to new experiences and sights.

Luggage sculpture in downtown Greenville

These are some of the things that make travel fun—you never know when you might fall in love with a place. Greenville reminded me that Southern Hospitality is a thing. Everyone, everywhere we went were friendly, kind, and helpful. I always felt safe, and I really was pleasantly surprised at how cool the town was. Someone we met at the cocktail club, had grown up in Greenville, and said, “Don’t tell anyone how amazing it is here…” Well, the cat’s out of the bag! Enjoy, and if you ever visit, let me know how you enjoyed it.

Have a beautiful week!

As always, may the stars shine brightly over your week, and if you are enjoying these videos and blog posts, please like, comment, share, and subscribe to my blog and YouTube channel. Have a beautiful and adventurous week!

Blissing out with the Crown Chakra…

Hello beautiful people and welcome to your weekly dose of Celestial Goodness. As always, thank you for joining me in this space and on this journey. After some necessary detours, we have arrived at long last to what would appear to be the final destination on our chakra journey. I say “would appear to be a final destination,” because most people who speak about the crown chakra see the arrival here as a rebirth.

It is in essence as much an ending as it is a beginning. Liz Simpson said, “This is not a destination, but a rebirth, as we prepare for continual unfolding of new experiences.” We will learn a little bit more about why this is in just a bit. See this week’s video here:

In our last conversation on the chakras, we talked about the Ajna, or the Third Eye Chakra. We talked about the type of knowing and wisdom associated with the third eye chakra and how it really comes from having experiences. Embedded in this conversation, was also a conversation about trust and intuition. It makes logical sense for me that after we have gone through learning about ourselves and others, and learning how to open our hearts and minds, and step into our purpose and power, that the next step would be reminiscent of a lesson learned from the comic books. I have often said the quote, “With great power, comes great responsibility.”

Most people attribute it to Uncle Ben from the Spider Man comics, but my trusty friend Wikipedia let me know that, “first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962), in which it is not spoken by any character; instead, it appears in a narrative caption of the comic’s last panel…And a lean, silent figure slowly fades in the gathering darkness, aware at last that in this world, with great power there must also come — great responsibility!”

The original statement was from the 1962 version…

To me, the crown chakra is the enlightenment that comes with knowing that we are powerful beings, but then also being cognizant that we are all connected, and that we are connected, so we should use our power wisely. This is the chakra of enlightenment, consciousness, and connection to the divine. There is a quote that I love that says, “Knowing others is wisdom, but knowing the self is enlightenment.”

Many people in this world believe it or not, are afraid of getting to know themselves deeply. I was like that once, afraid to go deep, afraid of what I might find inside. What I found under some of the stuff that I had to acknowledge that I did not like, were also amazing parts of me waiting to be dusted off. I also don’t know if this is a product of me getting older, but I seem to also care less about certain things that bothered me when I was younger. Call it maturity or growth, I don’t know…but I like it here.

Dust off the treasures within yourself!

If you watched Game of Thrones, you may recall this amazing quote from Tyrion Lannister—one of my favorite characters. He said, “Let me give you some advice. Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like an armor, and it can never be used to hurt you.” I do believe that when you are aware of your whole self—flaws and all, that those things can’t be used to hurt your feelings because you are already aware of them—you have already battled with them, and made peace with them. At any rate, the Crown Chakra is not about battles—it is about the feeling when you have surmounted and transcended all of that. It is about the peace that passes all understanding.

There are some really great quotes about this—enlightenment. Morikei Ueshiba said, “Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow. You are here to realize your inner divinity and manifest your innate enlightenment.”

Eckhart Tolle said, “The word enlightenment conjures up the idea of some superhuman accomplishment, and the ego likes to keep it that way, but it is simply your nature state of felt oneness with being.”

And also, Thich Nhat Hanh said, “Enlightenment is growing all the time. It is not something that happens once and is then complete.” I think this is all important to remember because as humans we complicate a lot of things that could all be very simple. This journey into the crown chakra is one that happens over and over again. Its essence is also something that can be found in the simplest of moments.

The Sanskrit name for the Crown Chakra is “Sahasrara,” and it means “thousandfold.” It is usually pictured as a white lotus with 1000 petals. Each of the other chakras led to this point and to this place. It is said that when we awaken the Crown Chakra, we active Kundalini energy (a conversation for another day). Liz Simpson explains it in this way, “When we awaken the Crown Chakra we are open to the possibilities of infinity of space and time and have the Divine wisdom and understanding with which to reap the benefits. The Sahasrara is elementally linked with cosmic energy and thought-boundless and unrestricted by previous patterns.” Many people have equated this feeling with rapture, bliss, or ecstasy.

When I think about the Crown Chakra, it feels like everything is at peace, and for even a moment, all is right with the world. I sometimes experience this feeling—for example, when taking a walk on the most beautiful of days. The temperature is just right, humidity perfect, breeze just right, and the sunshine, not too hot, but just warm enough to tickle my skin. On these days and in these moments, I feel connected to everything, and yet, I also feel a sense of peace that really passes all understanding.

From a recent walk—perfect weather, breeze, humidity, and sunshine! Bliss

I don’t know what moments for you cause you to feel this, but it is truly worth the work to heal and develop your chakras so that you can feel this. I feel a deep sense of gratitude for these moments especially after a long or stressful day. Life is so cyclical, and we will have a constant stream of experiences. In each of those experiences and in each moment, we can make the decision to utilize the lessons learned from our chakras, and to make decisions that align with the love and desire of our highest selves. I think more of us feel these moments than we even realize. It’s probably that since they aren’t a constant, we don’t always recognize it. In most days we are experiencing the death of something and the rebirth of something else.

Rise from the ashes…

I learned from Mr. Rishi that, the Crown Chakra governs clarity of mind, connection to God, the Divine, and spirit and also to your belief systems. Imbalance causes depression, obsessive and manic thinking, frustration, confusions and you may suffer from dizziness/migraines or brain/nervous disorders. When this chakra is not functioning well you may also feel constant fatigue, no sense of belonging, and you may find it hard to feel connected to others. You may also find it difficult to make decisions. Once balanced you achieve “miracles” in life, experience transcendence, you feel at peace with yourself, you develop a magnetic personality, you experience divine connection and you manifest wealth. The crown chakra resonates with the colors violet, gold, and white.

I believe that when this chakra is in harmony, everything feels blissful and makes sense on a cosmic level. 

So what are some ways to balance the Crown Chakra?

· Meditation to balance the Crown Chakra. Mediation is a super important function of the crown chakra. Spending time in silence is very beneficial to this chakra. Silent meditation is useful, but if you are someone who may need sound, it is useful to remember that each Chakra is also associated with a particular sound. The crown chakra is associated with the sound/mantra AUM. Meditating and chanting to AUM for even a few minutes can be beneficial to helping balance the crown chakra. Listening to 963Hz while meditating is also great—this frequency resonates with the crown chakra. It helps to connect with higher consciousness.

· Crystal Healing. Crystals vibrate with different energies. Helpful crystals crown chakra healing work are crystals that are violet, white, or gold in color. These include: Clear quartz, Herkimer diamond, amethyst, ametrine, selenite, lepidolite, howlite, and tanzanite. Carrying these close to you and placing the gemstones on the area of your crown chakra (top of the head) while lying down can be very beneficial to helping with alignment.

· Colors. Surround yourself with the colors violet, white, and gold. Wear these colors or add some to your décor.

· Foods. The crown chakra focuses more on fasting and detoxing, but also on drinking water. Water is a great detoxifying agent.

· Seek therapy. Therapy really helped me in this area. It helped to have someone neutral to talk to openly and honestly. As always, I will always include this, but I am aware that it can be difficult for some people, whether due to financial barriers or through other forms of access. There are resources available for low cost or virtual therapy. Here is a resource from SAMSHA:

· Aromatherapy is also great. You could use fragrances like lavender and frankincense.

· Practice your affirmations! Here are a few:

I am a unique, radiant, and loving being.

I am open to the abundance and greatness that the universe offers.

I am divine.

I see the divine in others.

I am connected to all that is.

I remove all limiting thoughts and beliefs.

As always, I hope that this information was informative and that you can apply these in a practical manner in your life. Please let me know if anything works well for you!! Also, please feel free to drop more tips/suggestions in the comments. May the stars shine brightly over your week, and may you remember that you are divine and see the divine in others. Thank you.

The divine in me bows to the divine in you ❤