When an unexpected event occurs in one’s life and particularly if it is associated with something you like, love, enjoy, and understand, you sit up and take notice. Travel has played a major role in who I have become. It has educated me, it has opened my mind and heart, it has shown me the most beautiful places and people, and most of all, it has taught me gratitude. Having a deep interest also in Spirituality, Mindfulness, Alternative Medicine and Healing, I took myself off to a London Mind Body Spirit Show, an environment that feels familiar having attended many similar events over the years. My story really begins when I am drawn to a stand where the glint of silver and turquoise jewelry speaks to me. Who on earth could have created such beauty using these elements I ask myself? I had never seen anything like it. Upon conversation with the woman selling this source of wonder to me, I ask her where in the world it came from. Taos she says, Taos, New Mexico. Being a well-travelled individual, I was thinking how and why I had missed what was sounding like an interesting and incredible part of the world. New Mexico, The Southwestern Desert State situated between Arizona and Texas. I was also told that the jewelry was made by The Native American Red Willow Tribe of Taos Pueblo. I could hear her words, but my mind was already taking me to this place of the unknown, where wild sage covered the desert landscape and howl of the Coyote could be heard under the dark star filled sky. My journey has started from where I was standing.
Dreams have always fascinated me; I have kept dream journals throughout my life and was continually thrilled when I could associate something happening in my life with a dream or dreams that I had experienced. In the weeks leading up to the introduction to Taos, I had been having very vivid dreams about Buffalo, Eagles, Native American Indians, huge cloudless blue sky, wide open desert landscape. At the time, I felt no deep connection to any of this although there was a sense of power associated with these dreams. New Mexico was already settling into my psyche before I knew of its existence. Without question, I made plans to go and see this mystical place that had stolen my heart from a distance.
Upon landing in Albuquerque, the dreams of wide-open blue sky became a reality, and my senses came alive in a vastly different way to arrival at any other part of the world I had been to. A knowingness that my life was changing before I even got to Taos was evident from my emotions and feelings that this was right. The unknown was leading to me where I was meant to be going. The journey from Albuquerque is about 100 miles going North through Taos Canyon. It was reflective and exciting. I saw the sage covered landscape I had been dreaming about, I almost expected to see Native American Indians on ridges of the hillsides, just like the movies of years gone by, I remember vividly as a young child always wanting The Indians to beat the Cowboys! I would be 7,500 feet above sea level when I got to Taos.
Long known to be one of America’s foremost, bona fide Art Colonies, Taos is also home to a world-class ski resort (Taos Ski Valley), a World Heritage Site (Taos Pueblo), one of the most photographed and iconic churches (St. Francisco de Asis), and a majestic landscape encompassing the Rocky Mountains and the Rio Grande Gorge (and its eponymous bridge). Drawn by clean air and mythical light, visitors come to New Mexico’s Soul of the Southwest to experience rich spiritual traditions, fine art, distinctive cuisine, a thriving music scene and of course, the raw, natural beauty of the landscape. In my communications with the wonderful and interesting locals I met, they were convinced that some people come to Taos to “find” themselves. A hippy philosophy perhaps but considering I was talking to long time hippy residents of Taos; I could not find a reason not to believe them. There is an almost unexplainable energy in this place that I wanted to explore more. These were the obvious reasons why I was there. The less obvious and unexpected reasons were about to unfold. I was longing to visit the source of the silver and turquoise jewelry, Taos Pueblo. Home of The Red Willow Tribe, the word Taos translates to Place of Red Willows. Just two miles North of the city of Taos, stands the centuries old Taos Pueblo, one of the longest continually inhabited communities in The United States. Archeologists have found evidence that the Taos Valley has been inhabited as far back as 3,000 BC and prehistoric ruins dating from 900 AD can be seen throughout the area. The Pueblo is thought to have been built between 1000 1450 AD and appears as much today as it did a millennium ago with adobe dwellings, kiva ovens, and The Blue River which is still a source of water for Tribal Members. There are many talented Painters, Potters, Weavers, Metal Workers, Silversmiths, Wood Workers, and Musicians living on The Pueblo and visitors come from all over the world to learn about the history and witness the way of life of these amazing people. I do not doubt that there will be many homes around the globe with something beautiful, including the incredible silver and turquoise jewelry that I learned the Tribe is renowned for making, keeping the memories of a visit to Taos Pueblo alive.
My memories are more of a personal story. In communications with Tribal Members about who was I? where did I come from? How did I see the world that we live in? Would I ever visit Taos again? life changing exchanges were happening. There was interest in my job as a Mental Health Support Worker back in London. I was asked outright if there was a possibility that I could return and help The Tribe. Feeling honored that I had been asked this momentous question, I politely responded that I did not think it would be possible. Even saying these words at the time, I knew I was not leaving Taos New Mexico never to return. I believe that with an open mind and heart, just about anything is possible. I returned to London knowing that yes, I was going to go back and work for The Tribe and live in the town and land that had made me so welcome. Two years later I was living in Taos and working at The Pueblo. There is a whole other story to be told about the 12 years I lived in this magical, soul enriching place. A book ready to be written. The message to convey is this, do not allow fear to stop you from following your heart and doing what might seem to be the impossible. Whatever your dream is, allow it, let it become part of you, and live it.