We have been conflicted among each other, and often within ourselves, about how to respond to Taos as it continues to evolve in some disturbing ways. The Strong At Heart project, which is addressing the town’s development, observes that “Too often, our discussions about development erupt into polarizing, unproductive debates that divide us rather than unite us.”
We could respond from a sadness evoked by fond memories of what Taos used to be; or from a fear that we will suffer or be forced to leave because the town cannot support us; or a frustration which desperately needs to find something or someone to blame for the town’s troubles; or a sense of victimization by the harshness of a world in which Taos finds itself; or by steeling ourselves with determination as we fight the current rushing Taos toward a bleak fate; or a resignation that Taos’ fortunes are determined by forces far beyond our control. These responses are in the turbulent realm of emotions, where we lurch in all directions and try to gain our balance. We could respond from a conviction that our befuddlement is an intellectual puzzle solvable through methodical data collection and analysis. This is the realm of the thinking mind. The mind relies on reason and logic in an attempt to guarantee a valid solution to the puzzle.
We could respond from a gnawing feeling that Taos’ circumstances are an insistent message about something crucial we have been ignoring or have forgotten. This is the realm of the heart. Only the heart can hear and understand what that message may be.
We had been trying to respond in the realm of emotions. This is the place where words of sadness, judgement, blame, anger, struggle, frustration and resignation characterize our speech. Expressing these emotions has not appreciably, if at all, diminished what is worrisome, much less made Taos into the the town we desire.
This year we are exploring the realm of the thinking mind, collecting facts, figures, statistics, opinions and ideas about Taos from as many different sources as possible. Within this vast body of information, we hope to discern a desirable direction for future changes and to find clues to the actions that will channel the changes in that direction. We are placing our faith in logical analysis to arrive at a sensible array of actions.
Perhaps next year we will enter the realm of the heart, prompted by the feeling that something is missing from our awareness of what is happening to Taos. This is the realm where imagination produces more than information can, where intuition is more reliable than calculation, emotional intelligence more valuable than IQ, where ceremonies convey more than conversations, and where we regard Taos as a work of art to create instead of an object to manage.
“When the future hinges on the next words that are said, don’t let logic interfere, believe your heart instead.” – Philip Robinson
– Magaziner is a Taos-area resident.