It was my annual visit to Santa Fe, New Mexico and I had just finished a week long Kundalini yoga retreat which included 3 days of intense all day meditation. My energy was high, intuition was strong and I felt a deep sense of peace. This allowed me to be able to experience more flow and connect to people and nature on a deeper level. I was staying with one of my Bhakti Yoga friends Aaron, who had just bought and renovated a house in the hills of Santa Fe. He was also feeling chill and happy to have a relaxing weekend where we make plans as we go.
After visiting the spectacular site of the Rio Grande Gorge, we made our way to the enchanting town of Taos. Nestled in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, this small town is sight of luscious green hills and adobe style homes scattered everywhere. Known for being a spiritual hub, we started our visit at the Neem Karoli Baba Ashram also known as the Hanuman Temple. We drank the best chai tea I’ve had since leaving India and sat down and silently spoke to Hanuman, the Hindu diety which presents Kirtan (devotional chanting of mantras). After receiving some words of encouragement to visualize what I want then leap into it, just as in the Ramayan Hunuman lept from India to Sri Lanka to save Sita, we left and make our way to downtown Taos.
Introducing Simone – the cactus man of Taos
Rather than just do the usual tourist things of visiting the shops full of arts and crafts and eat delicious New Mexican cuisine, we received an invitation to connect with a special local. While walking through a paved back street to make our way to the main road we saw 4 people sitting on benches playing music. One of the young men greeted us and asked where we were from. He then invited us to listen to one of his original songs no pressure. I felt into the energy of his invitation and rather than react in the common way of saying no because you know someone only wants money, my intuition told me to accept his offer. So Aaron and I stood back and watched this amazing local native boy called Simone play a heartfelt and emotion original song about the pain of losing one of his best friends. At the end of the song we stood there emotional and deeply impressed by his talent. After giving him money because we wanted to, we attracted a family of 4 who stopped to watch as Simone went on to play another original song.
While standing there watching him play I not only felt honored to be witnessing the talent of a young man, I also felt very present, relaxed and connected to Simone. All of which I would not have felt just browsing local shops. I was truly given an insight into the life and emotions of a young native boy and all the struggles, happiness and dreams he experiences. Given the high state I was in energetically after my meditation retreat, I also recognized that although Simone was only 21, broke and living in a tent on native land in the local Peublo, he was very connected to his ancestors and the land. He was also connected to his soul, this showed through in his voice, eyes and wise words that were coming through in his song called cactus man, which was describing peyote ceremonies. His strong connection was also magnified by the fact that the two American boys playing music beside him were totally in a drug altered state so no talent or connection was being displayed by them, it was more just stumbling actions.
This experience not only gave me hope that not all young people in his socio-economic situation are disconnected from their roots, but also of the power of connecting with a local and witnessing their unique life. Simone spoke a lot of about his life and while he was talking I was initially calculating how I could help him. Help him financially, help the world see his true talent, help him live a better life etc. I soon realized I was not there to necessarily help him financially or get his big break but to just be present and fully witness his true talent. Then through that witnessing and connection mirror back to him his truth and his full potential. After all how can someone’s true talent be expressed fully without someone there holding space and fully witnessing them as they are.