Supporting governments, communities and international organizations to improve their management of disaster, environment and territory issues. This is my passion in over 30 years of continuous work in these fields, since I was a young volunteer in the Costa Rican Red Cross. Simultaneously, for over 20 years, I have been suffering from problems in the spine and joints, at the point of reaching a collection of over 10 herniated discs in the whole spine and needing a series of surgical interventions.
During an assessment mission of housing reconstruction after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, I was in the riverbed of an urban watershed in Port au Prince when a sudden and heavy rain began. I was there was against all medical recommendations prohibiting me any type of physical exercise that could generate a spine crisis. When attempting to flee from the imminent danger I felt deep inside me that something bad was happening. I left Haiti and began a process of accelerated degradation, which ended at the doors of the operating room, with a perennial pain and almost condemned to immobility. That’s when I started to do Taoist Tai Chi.
Daily practice of Taoist Tai Chi not only reversed the problem and brought me back from the threshold of surgery, but also has been slowly reconstituting me physically and mentally. Today, not only have I been able to return to practice my work, but to forgotten practices such as hiking and walking. Today, when I look at the bright colors of yellow barks and jacaranda I do not have to look them from afar. As in my youth, now I can go into the woods to feel in my skin the bark of the trees and the caress of the wind.
After starting the practice of Taoist Tai Chi, between 2011 and 2013, I have provided training for over 150 young professionals in African countries and in West Timor; I have been over 15 times around the world, passing through deserts and perennial streams, between islands, archipelagos, volcanoes and continents, again, supporting communities, organizations and governments. I have renewed my energy, along with wife Melissa and my daughters and son: Elena María, Gabriel, Sofia, and the newcomer Eva, who – with his 10-month-old – is filling our life with peace and happiness.
In this dynamic, every day and every moment offers me with opportunities for Tai Chi, to fill my column, my tendons and my heart with a powerful energy that resides in me. An energy that I put into circulation, in a perennial spiral leading from the foot to the head, filled with peace and healing my body and my mind. Sitting, standing, walking, climbing a step or just waiting in a line, are no longer routine or boring practices, but opportunities to seek balance, stillness filled with movement, or movement full of roundness and calm.
Taoist Tai Chi is health in community, a connection with the movement of the world, which synchronizes the waves of the sea with the cycle of the flowers; it is to breathe and smile as foot and hand find themselves in balance rotating and rising, while shoulders and elbows favour the impulse of gravity, in counterweight; while we look at the winding invitation of the journey of life … of plenitude.
– Luis Rolando Durán Vargas, 2013.