Kevin Kraft recommended both Dayna and her husband, Mike, to participate here. They both accepted and I actually scheduled an interview with Mike first, but we ended up talking for five hours without ever getting around to the more formal recorded portion. Then, later that evening, my partner and I joined Mike and Dayna and another couple for the evening and spent another six hours together. So, several days later, and after much thought, I met with Dayna, but not exactly as strangers. The conversation I had with Mike prompted some new material, so this interview with Dayna has a slightly different angle to it. And our conversation was rich despite it being significantly shorter than the marathon chat with her husband. I am happy to introduce you to Dayna here.
DT: My name's Dayna Taus. I'm a female. I'm a mom. And I'm a friend, a wife, a daughter, a community member. And I have a lot of passion for different activities. I like to create connection and be with people. Yeah, that's who I am.
ACT: What concerns you about the state of the world and humanity? And what inspires you or motivates you to improve the situation?
DT: My main concern is disconnection, separatism - people seeing differences, people seeing reasons why they shouldn't be together or why they need to be separate instead of seeing connection and why people are all the same. And so, I see a lot of similarities when I meet people, things, animals, plants - everything. I see it as all one. And the idea that people see it as all different and disconnected and places where some people go and some people don't go and bridging the gap... so that's the beginning of what I see as the problem. Then I think that spreads out from communities to cities to countries and so much disconnect, whether it's government and its people to just individuals - so vast in terms of people not being able to get along. But I think the main beginnings of it is the disconnection.
With our next generation, I see it so much in terms of their social media attachments and not connecting through voice and not connecting through eyes - like our senses that we might have learned. And I worry about so much of that disconnect. It's becoming common, whether it's in the workplace or in school or anywhere else. I just worry for people who don't find ways back to each other and find ways to go their own. And I think it causes fights and problems and bigger issues. That's the community piece that I see. Of course, I have other concerns about the world, too, but that would be environmental.
ACT: Is there something in that does inspire or motivate you?
DT: Yeah, I am motivated by it. I am motivated to make connection. I'm motivated to see people on the street and look them in the eye and smile and bring forth the things that I think are going to connect us - conversation, not texting and having relationships that don't fuel getting together and being in the same arena and sharing and listening and being present.
ACT: What do people mean to you?
DT: I mean, a lot. Almost everything. Outside of animals and plants, people mean everything. I personally feel super connected to people. I think that's the one thing I can't live without. If I had to go with my core value, it would be connection. That's all about people and understanding people. And, of course, my passion is understanding why people do what they do. And why I do what I do. So, all of it is very passionate for me. How I do it, I'm not so certain. I still am trying to figure that part out. I do a lot of that in my regular life. I'm a therapist so I do that individually or within a family unit in hopes that each individual and each family brings that out into the world and can smile and can face people and to find connection and build more of that in community.
ACT: If we could agree that community is our relationships with each other and the world we live in, what does it mean to you that we have this seeming inability to consider all needs, equality, equity? What do we do with that? How do we raise awareness without detrimental judgment and how do we encourage people to consider growing community and coming together?
DT: There's a lot in there. The raising awareness was the last piece I gathered. And I feel like I'm still working on it. I don't have an easy answer for that. I think it starts with an individual and sort of spreads as people feel it. I don't know that everyone does that. Which leads me to the everyone's doing the best they can at any given time and I want to believe it, too. But I think I struggle like you do to say that that's a definite. I think it's a great intention. And I want to believe it especially when I'm feeling discouraged with the people around me or if I'm seeing things that aren't going well in society. Then that comes up for me. I think I need to hold onto that intention in order to move through this uncomfortable feeling that I have.
I had a boss at one point - who's also a friend - who shared with me that if I was ever feeling like I was challenged by working with a coworker to take three minutes to write down all the positive things about that person before I approached that person to talk about what was going on. And I think it just reframed my mindset. If I have that discouragement, then I know what I need to do in order to change my mindset, to not go down that spiral of feeling so discouraged and now to the point of anger and then blame. I think that's why I choose that path. Can't say that I always do it, but it is a choice that I make in the moment.
ACT: There's a lot of activism going on - fighting for or standing up for various underprivileged or deliberately downtrodden people groups. How do you be active and be an example and have that essential passion and fire without judgment?
DT: It goes back to you only know what you know. So, judgment and doubt and all of those feelings are developed with you. We only all have the capacity that we have. What we do with it is a totally different thing. I think some people choose to use it and some people choose not to.
Activism is such a wide gamut. I feel like in certain times of my life I've been way more active and sometimes in my life a little bit more passive. I think fear gets in the way of activism sometimes. I always come back to it because I like to model or demonstrate what I believe in. And I'm not afraid to tell people that. But I also think it can show up to other people as something totally different. It gets really muddled and confusing when you go out into activism, though. Sometimes you're in people's face and you're in their way and then it changes the whole dynamic. And I think it's really similar to creating connection versus fueling disconnection. And I'm trying to create connection so I'd way rather sit down with one person and explain my feelings and listen to theirs and try to find a middle ground, so I choose those paths usually.
ACT: Do you have a sense of purpose?
DT: Yes, I do. But it also feels like a bigger question because I don't think that it has an ending on it. So, there's still a lot of searching in that. I think that I've had stages of purposes. My most recent stage would have been being a mother. That purpose is pretty grand. I never would have imagined how grand that would be. And [it] was totally way more mind-blowing and expanding than I ever thought. So, lately, that is what I've been pondering as my purpose as I'm launching two kids out into the world. And realizing that my world did revolve around making sure they were safe, giving them opportunities, and playing that role. That's pretty huge.
But outside of that purpose, my main purpose probably would be being a member of my family and society and learning about myself - what I like and don't like - learning about people around me and knowing that what I was taught as a child is not necessarily the way it should be. Being really open to lots of different ideas about how people live their lives and deciding how I want to live mine. That might be kind of a selfish way to talk about purpose, but I think that just resonates.
One thing I don't like is material things; I like experiences. So, I'll spend money on experiences rather than material objects. I want that to be passed on to my kids and to be passed on elsewhere. I don't think we all need to be such a buying culture, but without judgment I know some people really enjoy that and they find value and success in that. I don't want to judge it, but at the same time I kind of wish we weren't such consumers of things. I battle with that part of my purpose. And I'm still seeking a lot of purpose right now and how I want to continue on and what that means. It's an everyday challenge.