Why I Still Do Tai Chi Chuan


Today is June 10, 2015.
It’s been 47 years since I left for Vietnam and 46 years to the day, almost to the hour,
when I returned.
This day is very difficult for me.
Tai Chi Chuan has been instrumental in my rehabilitation, but some things are forever.

This day, June 10,
lasts forever.
The horrors seen, experienced, felt, smelled, touched and heard have receded.
This day I reserve to go back and re-experience them. It is the stuff my life is constructed from.
Doing so keeps me in a truthful and honest relationship with myself.
These wounds can heal, are healing, they soften and get metabolized by my psyche.
They fuel among other things,
my creativity.

There is a wound that cannot and will never heal. This is the lasting effect of my experience in
The world is not a safe place; people are monsters and are to be feared.
The dark side of humanity is no abstraction — no theory to me.

It molded my formative adult years and it is frightening.

As much as my heart/mind is attracted to the light, to being social, the dark side is never hidden.
My social isolation will never, try as I do, be healed.
It’s in my brain and my nervous system, this knowledge.

Recently, after working my dogs, I was changing my overalls to prepare for a milonga (tango party).
I was startled by a woman I knew as she walked past me and I turned, stopping my fist. A few weeks later a fellow milongero came from behind to say hi to me; similar reaction from me.

This I cannot explain to them.
This is the world I live in.
It is overwhelming.

I care a great deal how I am perceived.
I don’t like being seen as a frightened, jumpy, and wacked-out Vietnam vet;

but, I am.

That is not all I am.
I am this and always will be.
It’s an intimate part of me.

It is so ugly.

I mean no harm.

Tai Chi Chuan, my dogs, and tango give me a place and time to transmute and express this overwhelming emotional energy without judgment, without trying to make me feel better.
At this level there is no feeling better.

Innocence lost can never be replaced.