In an attempt to get outside of my reclusiveness I went to a nice restaurant and an orchestral concert on Sunday. I ate a $17 pancake. I would have been happier just making blueberry pancakes at home by myself. I was wearing my favorite boots. They strike me aesthetically. They are pretty shit for walking around a city though. It is like wearing heeled casts. I pretty much only wear minimal running shoes or barefoot shoes and the contrast with the boots was uncomfortable. There is a book called "End of Illness" by David Agus that I read years ago that pretty much sums up the profound relationship between heeled footwear and inflammation. Being at that concert I was in a sea of brown leather shoes. I don't want any part in it. It was 99% white. The other 1% was filled in with Asians and Indians. There was a black guy that helped move the piano on stage. It was similar to a The Who concert I went to in Western, MA. The only black people at the concert were part of security. A lot of suits and collared shirts and ties and brown leather shoes. One thing I've realized is that I didn't have to go to this event. These events are not what I'm striving for. Why am I hung up on going to some cocktail lounge with some gorgeous woman covered in expensive makeup, a small designer cocktail dress, and stilletos? I think the answer is I am not really caught up on that anymore but I still get seduced by Kate Upton. But, just talking to co-workers especially ones who buy vegan slices of pizza they are so much more interesting than the woman in the Mercedes Benz commercial.
I didn't really feel like being in my last therapy session. I mostly just stared at the corner of the door expressionless until prompted to say something. She called me out on it. She also said I didn't have a sense of self and started going into Freud. I think she was relating it to the whole Buddhism thing and that I lost my identity or my ego was punctured or something like that but I don't really agree with that. I didn't really care to bring up Otto Rank or immortality projects at the time. We talked about my depression. She asked if I wanted meds. I said definitely not. I explained that I thought I was just situationally depressed. I am not happy with the state of things in the world. I don't remember how grandiosity was brought up but we talked about it for a while. I mentioned that I have streaks of grandiosity especially in mania. I told her the story about how I wanted to be a progamer and then became a poker player. She said that that isolated story wasn't an example of grandiosity. I told her that when I am manic I want to kill all the billionaires in the world and actually I think about that when I am not manic. Somewhere in this timeline she asks to see me every week. I say no. She asks if I actually planned it out and I say no, I never get further than the fact I don't have the training for something like that. It's not really the right way to go about things I don't think. Then I talked about activism and getting more educated and more involved. Then I started talking about capitalism and corporations and all of the movements I feel strongly about and structural determinism and class conflict and class struggle versus race struggle and I think I was probably talking for a long time. She asked me if I think I am smarter than most people? I said I don't know. She asked me if I think I know more than most people? I said in subjects that I've read a lot about, yes. Oh, I think she also wanted to see me more because I said I had thoughts that either this activism thing would be worthwhile or I'd probably just kill myself. Kind of seems like a lot of the makings of a suicide bomber. I'd rather be a part of a large movement affecting change than just dumbass me blowing up an Exxon building or whatever. I wouldn't even want to do that as it might kill a security guard or something. I don't actually want to murder anyone. We are all human beings with our own determinism. Rehabilitation is a complex subject.
I finally finished "Infinite Jest." I thought it would free up all this time to educate myself on other topics but I've mostly been living in r/infinitejest and re-reading it. I think on most days I'm pretty lonely and "Infinite Jest" soothes that loneliness. It just seems like I am drawn to it over these other options that I have.
I read a lot of disturbing and distressing stuff yesterday.
China's Selfie Obsession was probably in the lead until Loco posted about the French protests. Why in the fuck would someone shoot flash bangs and stun grenades at peoples' faces who are non-violent? I swear these guys have dreams of doing stuff like this and their adrenalin gets pumped up and they are enjoying it. I also noticed that after the first person fired a shot it was always accompanied by a handful more. What the fuck? Also, I think the French people are just more aware due to their history and culture.
Damn addicted to her streams, they are somehow very relaxing.
She has an acute tourettes, but has a great life philosophy, it's pretty inspirational actually.
And yes it is a disability but hilarious at the same time, she seems to be okay with people laughing at it
I just love to hear unique's people's stories and she's definitely one of them
She suggested we meet at a movie trivia event at a bar. I drove 45min to see her. A friend told me to back out and to re-schedule. He said it would be too difficult to not only entertain her, but to socialize and be 'on' for everyone else there as well. And my date texted me the morning before that she wants to go as friends first, then see how it goes. I sent her a cocky reply and chose to go anyways, because I need the practice.
I get there and she greets me with a big hug, so far it's already going better than my last date. We have a drink at the bar before registering for the movie trivia. The organizer paired us in a group with two others. The trivia was boring as hell, and I don't think I contributed one answer. I know movies, but not the kind of movies that they based the questions on. So her and I are chatting between the questions and she's very touchy, touching my arm and shoulder a lot when talking. But she's also doing it do the guy next to me when talking to him! Things weren't going good. The trivia was so boring and I couldn't make much a move.
When the trivia ended the organizer DJ'd music and there was a dimly lit dance floor with disco lights. Only then we realize that it's a singles event-- she and I had no idea until then. I decide I that I need to make a bold move quick or else it's GG NO RE like my last date (Lemon's and Drone's advice enter my mind). I ask her to dance. I never dance in public, only in my kitchen. She agrees, but also the other girl with us decides to tag along.
So I'm there on the dance floor with my date in my left hand, and this other girl in my right hand; dancing with two beautiful women to 80s music. I don't know what the fuck I'm doing, but it seems all those years of practice of dancing the kitchen payed off! I only have 2 beers in me, but I'm letting loose, moving my legs and arms, swaying side to side and spinning these two women in my arms.
After a while the three of us walk back to the table area to meet up with our 4th group member (a nice guy who didn't want to dance). And everyone's lost as what to do next. I suggest we play pool, but all the tables are busy. I take lead and walk around at every pool table asking if anyone's on their last game, and end up finding a table for us. Wow. I don't know what got into me tonight, usually I'm quite passive, but tonight I'm Captain fucking Picard.
During our 2 v 2 game of pool my date ends up setting up the lone guy in our group with a nearby single girl. So now it's the three of us. My date asked the girl who was with us if there were any nearby men that she found attractive. She pointed to someone who ends up approaching her anyways. I whispered to the guy's friend that this girl was interested in his friend, which ensured another set up. My date and I look at each other with a grin on our faces. I call her cupid, and she makes a joke that these single events should be hiring us to set people up!
I pull her hand and walk her to the dance floor. The music is getting better and we're dancing our asses off for hours, and taking water breaks in between (she doesn't drink). We're dancing hand in hand, then I'm holding her hips. And I go for the kiss. She has the biggest smile on her face all throughout dancing with me. A kiss turns into making out. In an effort in continuing to be bold I whisper in her ear and suggest we go to her place. She tells me that she wants it to happen when I'm completely sober. I state that my ex never wanted to dance, and she whispers in my ear that "we can do all the things that my ex never wanted to do".
At this point my calves and back are aching and we're both sweaty. I walk her to the back of the bar. We finally have the chance to talk. Conversation about everything, childhood, work, stories etc. I learn that she lives a very cool and active life of playing sports, doing krav maga, skiing, traveling, talks at business events, does business coaching. She's a business coach and public speaker, a very successful one at that. Very impressive woman. She's significantly older than me, but gorgeous and has the body of a 20 year old, judging by the photos of her that she showed me on her phone. She talks to me about what she wants from a relationship and I do the same. I asked her if she wants friends with benefits, and she responded "I'm looking for friends with lots and lots of benefits, but also something that lasts and with exclusivity".
We walk out together and into her car. She drives me across the street to mine. We kiss and kiss some more and our hands wander. I suggested a nightcap at her place once again. She tells me she wants to, she really wants to, but that she wants to make sure this lasts and doesn't want to risk it ending at a one night stand. She tells me next time. She tells me that it was her best first date ever and that it was like a dream. We talked about the things we want to do next time, then parted ways.
I didn't get laid, but I had a ton of fun and will be seeing her again next weekend. It's morning and my calves and back are so sore from dancing. Best night for me in a long time and it's all because I decided to show up and asked her to dance.
I just watched that video and feel like it really sums up humanities current predicament, and the choice available to us moving forward. I really like the work that Sustainable Human does, their videos taught me a lot and helped me see the brighter future which is possible.
Last night I did something I would never normally do. I went to an event entitled "Bretheren, A New Moon Ritual For Men". The title alone still triggers all my anti spiritual, anti woo woo programming. It's deep in my bones.
But I know the organizer and he's a good friend, so I trusted it and went.
For me, hanging out with men had always meant trying to outdo each others toxic masculinity, which was fun in my youth (even while it scarred me, funny how often I've enjoyed something in the moment and then it hurts me in the long run), but has lost it's appeal since my breakdown/awakening during school. I haven't had many guy friends that I feel close with since that shift in my perspective, as I was left in a middle ground of not interested in hanging with old friends and not comfortable going to woo woo stuff.
So I decided to go, to take the step out into hanging with a different crowd of bros, not a party crowd, not a gamer crowd, not a poker crowd, not a sports crowd, but a crowd that gathers on new moons to do rituals.
The theme was actually three kings, which is funny to me now because I've had the above video on my "to watch" radar for a few days, sitting open in a tab that I could never quite get to. After participating last night the energetic block was cleared and I finally watched it.
At the meeting I was reminded of all the ways men are struggling in our society. It's hard to be struggling when you're in the privileged position. When asked to talk about what masculinity meant, most everyone had a variation on the theme of emotional repression (including myself).
What I never learned growing up was that that shit kills ya, the emotional energy needs to be flowing otherwise the physical body gets damaged. Not to mention the way the blocked emotional energy effects your behavior, your thought process, your minds clarity, and so much more. We definitely need more spaces for men to heal this shit, cause no one is enjoying the consequences of it.
My wife got me a book called "Man Up: Imagining Modern Manhood" by Carlos Andres Gomez. Looks good, gonna give it a go.
No New Year's resolutions here. Absolutely not. I ate a whole pint of pistachio gelato the other day just to spite the idea. I remember also feeling quite depressed, lonely, and bored and that that Italian iced cream could somehow fill in The Void.
I started watching movies again. Junk food and movies is my new thing. I'll cook up some rice and beans which is really a perfect meal besides the arsenic in the white basmati rice. Then I'll start in on popcorn and chocolate covered pretzels. I watched "Isle of Dogs" the other day by Wes Anderson. Really enjoyable film. Then I watched "First Reformed" by Paul Schrader. Fuckin' great film. I enjoy stories. I think much of the human population enjoys stories. I typically like it best in the form of a novel but cinema can be quite enchanting in its own right.
I am completely cruelty free in the soap, shampoo, deodorant department. I got some Tom's deodorant. I didn't realize their home base is Kennebunk, ME. That's about 15 min. away from York, ME and is within the diameter of one of my favorite areas of the earth. Biddeford, ME is also within this diameter. Home of milo and Soulfax record store. I may go up and visit my sister and brother-in-law in Northhampton, MA and take a trip to the coast this summer. Being in the South it is like a breath of fresh air going up in that direction. I did better in regards to Tinder in regards to attractive matches and stimulating conversation. It would appear I am more attracted to the Tinder women collective of Western, MA and Coastal, ME than I am Charleston, SC. If I were to generalize I'd say there seems to be a lot of blonde sorority types here in Charleston and a bit more of an unusual, intellectual vibe coming out of those parts of New England. I like black women too but not the ones immersed in popular rap culture. Some Asians are great.
I have been watching a lot of Angelica White porn lately. I like her personality. I like her breasts too and her degree of thickness but in reality those mammary glands are quite large. It just all seems to work out in the world of pornography. In reality, for me, when dating a woman breast size is not really a conscious thing. I remember one woman I dated had rather large breasts and she would wear these blouses showing off blood rushing to the head inducing cleavage. I just wanted to free them up. But, even so they are just mammary glands. I had to want to have a conversation with the woman. A smart, funny, atheist, anti-natalist, with large breasts who is sexually adventurous. Not sure how many of those I'll find.
This blog kind of took a turn for the it seems clear that I at least partially want to start dating again.
If you think I’m a shitty person, you’re right. Honestly, I’m the shittiest person I know.
Why? Cause I know every detail about my every transgression. Every comment behind someone's back, everything I stole without getting caught, every nasty thought that never crossed my lips.
Sure, I’ve hung out with some scumbags and there are some really famous shitty people, but I only know a fraction of the horrible shit they’ve done. I know every single fucked up thing I’ve ever done, which is a way longer list than I have about anyone else.
And I’m not some teachers pet church boy raised in a sheltered home who never had a chance to do bad things. Au contraire, I’ve done pretty much every shitty thing there is to do, other than murder (but I have attacked people with a deep desire to kill them, and no intention to stop… luckily there was always someone around to pull me off in those moments).
I also planned to continue being a shitty person to my dying day. I was ready for that journey.
Don’t get me wrong, I also was always a good person. I treated both friends and strangers with kindness, love and respect. I helped people without seeking any sort of reward for my generosity. I listened to those who needed an ear and a gave support to those who needed a shoulder to cry on. I was just a shitty person too, ya know, at the same time as I was a good one.
Kind gentle soul by day, a vicious ghost rider by night.
It felt like the best way to build a life that balanced the two was to become an assassin working for the good guys, a James Bond or Agent of Shield, someone who channeled this hatred and anger inside towards protecting the innocent from the villainous. I was ready to be a shitty person till my dying day if I could just use that shittiness for the greater good.
That all changed when I started to see through myself, past my personality, past my ego, past the false “sense of I” upon which everyone is built. I began to see through the societal structures and systems which had always seemed obvious and inevitable, and became aware of their inherent flaws and corruption.
Suddenly it was hard to believe in the good guy bad guy dichotomy, hard to hold onto my anger and hatred, and impossible to continue pretending that I was actually this character who had been developed through an intricate dance of stimulus, response, and assignment of meaning.
At first this left me floundering - lost and confused, scared and nervous. Every internal habit and belief I’d developed in order to successfully navigate the world was revealed for the damage it was causing to my soul, but I didn’t have a new way to orient myself. It was a difficult place to be, astray without a rudder.
That’s when my yoga path started. It came to me first through a book my wife had given me 5 years earlier and I’d refused to read.
I was coming to the end of my psychology degree and realizing that science didn’t have all the answers which I’d always assumed they would. I began pushing the edge of what was acceptable thought, diving into the study of consciousness and the nature of reality with an open mind because my investigation with a skeptical mind had hit a wall. That’s when I suddenly felt called to begin reading the book my wife had gifted me, “Autobiography of a Yogi”.
I’d been attending yoga classes and treating them the same way I’d treated football practice - a competitive workout focused fully on my physical development, but even so, I’d still gotten little moments of meditative experience as a side benefit. Reading the life story of Yogananada and his deeper understanding of the science of yoga, I realized how much more I could be getting from my yoga classes.
My practice changed from a physical workout to a spiritual exploration of myself through the use of an ancient scientific process. In it I found a system with which I could rebuild myself into the person I wanted to be, not the one which genetics, social pressures, and happenstance had shaped me into.
And now I sit here today, still a shitty person, but a less shitty one. The good person inside me has grown now that I know how to cultivate it, while the shitty side of me still lingers, arising when I’m triggered in my weak areas, reminding me that I still have work to do.
But I’m a happier shitty person now, and I’ve got a new mission. Instead of serving the greater good by killing the villains, I’m just gonna slay the demons inside of me and be here to help anyone else who wants to do the same.
Thanks to everyone who has inspired me onto this path, with a special shoutout to Sustainable Human and Charles Eisenstein! If you don’t know them then checkout the insightful video below.
moved and got a new job
+finally broke six figures
-six figures doesn't mean shit in OC
-culture of new job is terrible, can't see myself lasting more than 1.5 years, can't see the company lasting another five (it's a pretty well known startup in it's niche)
+lots of established companies in the area so i don't think it'd be too bad to find a new gig
-miss my friends, lol
broke lifting PRs
+actually benching decent numbers now
+>300 front squat
-hurt my back maxing out on DL then back squatting right after so haven't DL'd in over two months
picked up piano again
putting close to 2k/month in savings
-also got to watch my money wither away over the last couple of months
started BJJ (cassio werneck in the sacramento area)
-moved two months later so had to quit, but had a lot of fun doing it despite getting my ass kicked every time
anyways, new years goals...
-break 1200 for bench/squat/diddly (hoping for 275 bench, 425 squat, 495 DL, current is 205/355/385, being pretty conservative on squat and DL post injury)
*donate $1/lb to a good charity. a couple of years ago when i first broke 1000 i donated to ALS.net, hoping to do something similar
-cut back down to 175 around june/july (current 195)
-add 30k to taxable investments - currently putting 0 in 401k because i don't see myself staying long enough to get any vested amount (100% after 3 years). right now i'm currently putting in 900/check, this will have to be increased to 1250/check
-play these at a decent level:
I'm survivin', man, I'm survivin'. Just did my bills and it looks ok. Car insurance and doctor visits and blood work are expensive though. I was getting over depression and caught a really bad cold I'm still fending off and I'm still depressed but things are looking up. I don't know why. Maybe, that is just my personality. I love the springtime and we are getting closer to that but I am getting older so what do we do with that?
I love my barber because she is a friend of mine and we talk about really dark shit while everyone else is talking about Christmas and the NFL games over the weekend.
There is something about Christmas though. It threw me into new ways of living. My sister came into town and we were always doing stuff. Making pancakes, eating brunch, going to oyster roasts. It was nice to have someone to talk to and joke around with that weren't my parents. I go back to work yesterday and it is like, "oh yeah, back to the grind," but I don't want it to be that way and I don't think it necessarily has to be that way. There is a sort of hollowness that I experience in relation to Christmas but then an even more pronounced hollowness following Christmas. Maybe I just feel hollow a lot. Maybe that's just the way things are going to go.
One of the dumbest decisions anyone could do is to start smoking, yet so many of us fall for that trap. I've been basically sick for 2 out of the past 4 months, turns out I have pharyngitis, it's been a long time coming I guess, considering I was already noticing some signs of health issue due to cigarettes past years. As every other smoker, I decided to ignore it and try to push through them by going to the gym or playing soccer, perfect idea amirite?
I've been smoking for 11 years and I've never NOT smoked in my adult life. I don't know how social interactions look like without having cigarettes, I havent gone to a cafe, had dinner or went for a walk without knowing nicotine is there. It's quite disturbing and pretty sure non-smokers wouldn't think this is big of a deal, but just imagine having something to fill every gap in your everyday routine. Got 5 minutes to bust? Smoke a cig. Your friend is late? Smoke a cig. You're in a situation where you feel weird? Smoke a cig to calm down. You could literally use lighting a cigarette as a reaction to pretty much anything. You could fill every second of boredom, while in fact, you're just thinking that way, but not really doing anything other than killing yourself.
I've previously actually have gone through statistics of smokers and the percentage of diseases they get compared to non smokers, in order to convince myself that the pros/cons is kind of worth it as long as I get to enjoy more cigarettes. Have you heard of anyone else trying to prove to himself with hard data that its a risk worth taking doing something that brings you no benefits, but could potentially end you? Pretty hilarious when I look back.
Kinda dumb that I'm making the decision due to health issues, I've always said to myself that the moment I hit 30 I'd stop smoking, but its possibly just another one of the lies every smoker tells to themselves. The truth is nicotine is poison, and because it's a poison its so easy to fall for it and never acknowledge the power it has over you. Cigarettes are rarely enjoyable and even when they are enjoyable they its just for a few puffs, there's literally no advantage to them.
Anyway it has been 4 days - yeah not really any milestone. The physical cravings are pretty intense sometimes, but mentally I don't feel like nicotine can push me towards it. I feel like I've slowly but surely been shifting my view of tobacco for the past year even while smoking up to the point where I wouldn't feel the mental need to smoke, as long as the physical cravings to away. I keep a pack on my desk and in my car. They're almost always within the reach of my hand, but far away from a smoking place, thus I'd have time to think about what I'm doing if I fall through. I need to make sure that I'm mentally prepared for that and knowing that I won't fall for the trap i set myself seems like a good plan.
Just wanted to post this here, have it written down somewhere to work as a remainder, in case I need it.
P.S. If you're a smoker - you're an addict, just the same thing as an alcoholic or a drug-abuser, you're lying to yourself otherwise.
I'm going to try this. I'm going to write whatever comes to my mind and not think about writing what is the right thing to say or to please anyone. This is what my therapist instructed me to do. She is also a psychiatrist and practiced psycho-analyst. She also believes in God and made it sound like she was a Catholic but then was kind of ambiguous on whether she still is a Catholic. I know more about her than that but that is just what came to mind first. In our last session she talked about not knowing me at all. I think we've had 3 or 4 sessions and the fact she knew so little about me she said was abnormal. Ok? She correctly posited that since my goal was to reduce suffering I must be suffering. That wasn't even an official goal or anything. I think I mentioned it in the first session sometime in relation to partaking in Buddhism. I think the session I was supposed to have goals I opened with that I was depressed so we explored that. I like Loco's idea of being ok in my own skin in a society that doesn't suck but I'm not convinced there is a society that doesn't suck so we'll just have to go with whatever Loco said about getting the benefits of society without having to conform to it. My therapist believes I am avoiding something with these neuroscience lectures and complex systems courses and in the past with all the Buddhism and meditation. To be honest, I don't really have any goals. I'd like to go to Thailand, I'd like to go to Japan, I'd like to go to Paris again. I do what I can to make my days reasonable. I have strategies and plans that I employ at work to make the day go better. It's some mix of making my life easier and improving the company's profits. Sometimes they coincide, sometimes they don't. She is continually interested in what I do for joy. It is sometimes for me hard to decipher this. Reading a certain chapter of Infinite Jest brings me joy. I went to a new place for brunch today that turned out to be really cool. That's just in the moment off the top of my head. Buying my toddler nephew's really awesome books brought me joy. Buying my brother-in-law slippers. But, it seems a lot of times it takes me a while to produce instances of joy or sometimes I just don't experience that much joy. I say things like running a model that showed how ants find their food brings me joy and I feel like I am getting judged. Whereas telling her going out to lunch with my friend and going for a walk brings me joy is like a normal answer. I'm really just judging myself.
We'll take a space so this doesn't turn into one big block of text. Someone criticized me for that in another blog and it is a fair criticism. So, I talked about general stuff about myself. It's mostly normal besides the fact I am bipolar I, and a substance addict. Then she steered the conversation to dating/sex/relationships/etc and I would say my dating life throughout my life has been very abnormal. I talked about being willingly celibate but at this point not being sure about that decision. That I get urges and attracted to women and some times varying levels of fantasies. I talked about poker and my life as a refractory salesmen. I think the feelings that are sitting with me are that I am abnormal and what exactly I am avoiding if anything. She also mentioned as I was walking out that she hopes I can find joy in whatever it is that brings me joy. I will continue seeing her. I like that she is challenging and blunt. I really don't know where this is going. I know that I look forward to therapy and then don't really enjoy it while I am there. It is quite intense. That's probably a good thing. I don't know. I just felt like trying a therapy session on my therapy even though probably 0 of you are qualified therapists.
When in your poker routine is a gym if you could go any time and it were 5 minutes from your place.
my thoughts; + Show Spoiler +
I do poker 8am to 6-7pm
And then have either social activities or workout in the evening, often both
But am considering switching gym to mornings
It'd mean waking up an hour early
Drawback would be that I'd be like a fucking cinderella when dancing, socialising, dating etc. as I'd hit a massive tired wall around 9-10pm and my mood turn into a pumpkin, when I do gym=>social stuff after grind I always get a few hours of energy from the pump
Positive is gym energy carries over into poker, but I've never been able to maintain morning gym for longer than a few months, half a year max
I guess I could alternate and on off gym days wake up later
But I find a rigid schedule way easier to turn into autopilot
Just wondering for you experienced guys - when the best time it's been for you to put work out in your routine to max energy for poker and life ev alike that you've been consistently able to sustain long term without burnouts?
Back when I was a mid-stakes grinder, I spent hours and hours everyday trying to plug the leaks in my game. Part of that meant upping my strategic understanding by working with my coaches (<3 SakiSaki & Midian, y'all taught me so much). As my understanding grew, the other part took on a larger role.
What was that other part you ask?
The emotional part. How many times did I know what to do, but not end up doing it because I was tilted, I was bored, I wasn't paying enough attention, I was scared, I was impatient...
I started paying much more attention to my role model's mental and emotional state, rather than just the way they'd play each hand. During a week in Korea I stayed at Midian's place, which gave me the opportunity to observe his energy, not just while playing, but also in his daily life.
I noticed a calm, grounded, and mindful presence. Even when we were all out at the bar working on a bottle of whiskey, and the rest of us would be loud and rambuncious and excited, he'd be pretty chill. Smiling more, yes, but centered. It was hard to get a big reaction out of him, in either direction, towards exuberance or depression. Good things happen, he's chill, bad things happen, he's chill.
Along with the equanimity, he was also naturally aware of what was happening around him. It seemed like he didn't get lost into his internal dialogue as easily as the rest of us, and he was able to have a sort of meta sense about the flow of the situation because of it.
I noticed the way this translated into his poker game when he allowed me to observe him play his regular 4 tables of high stakes on Stars. His sense of how the game was flowing and how each person at the table played allowed him to do many perfectly timed bluffs to take down pots I'd never even try for.
On the flop he'd tell me his feel on a player and the approach he'd take to capitalize on their playing style's weakness, and I'd be thinking "your HUD only has like 25 hands on the guy, how can you have such a read?" He wasn't very interested in the HUD as he was processing info on another level, on the computer in his head.
I could see the gap between myself and the players I admired, and it wasn't the strategic understanding as much as it was the mental and emotional muscle.
This led me to 2 conclusions. First, I wasn't going to break through the wall between me and the high stakes until I evolved my whole being. Second, that I'd had the tool right in front of me the whole time, due to growing up in a family that was very involved with the world of meditation. From leading scientists researching meditation to embodied masters teaching it, I had been surrounded by the solution since my childhood, but I'd never taken advantage of it.
That's when I quit poker and went back to school. I realized that the field of science studying meditation and body language was psychology, so I set out to learn the science and get a degree. As I'd always resisted meditation, most of my energy went towards the intellectual pursuit of knowledge about the tool rather than applying the tool to my daily life, but I did begin daily mindfulness meditation.
By the end of my degree that balance had flipped, as I'd jumped into a life of yoga, meditation, shamanic healing, and psychedelics... all the hippie shit I'd resisted my entire youth (except for the occasional shrooms on the party scene). I also started playing poker again, but only live, no more online grinding. I applied everything I'd learned, meditating as I sat at the table, remembering yogic philosophy when taking a bad beat, feeling the magic of all these souls coming together to create this poker game.
I found that the poker table was one of the best places to test whether I was really embodying what I'd learnt, as it triggered up all my old patterns and pushed me to live my new beliefs. Can I be unattached to the result of my actions, only concerned with taking the right action in the moment? Can I be content with everything that is happening, even if I've been dealt nothing but rags and bad beats for the last 30 minutes? Can I be compassionate and kind to the people around me, even if they just took all my money?
After graduating with my psych degree and completing my yoga teacher training I was teaching 8 classes a week, working with a wide range of people, from senior citizens to teenage athletes, and everything in between. I was reminded of my days coaching low-stakes poker players here on LP, and the joy of helping people learn a new skill. I realized how much these yoga & meditation practices had improved both my poker and StarCraft game, which inspired the idea to offer meditation training to the gamer community. I recently signed up with GamerSensei as a coach to do just that for StarCraft players. I'm very excited to merge my old world and new world like this
I recently came back to LP to see whether meditation was a topic being discussed here, and was happy to see that not only was it a topic, but there are already several experienced and passionate people sharing their knowledge.
I have to say, for any new poker players, take advantage of the fact that people like RiKD, Tutz, and Loco are sharing their knowledge about meditation. Loco is especially good at conveying the science behind the practices, what they're achieving, and why they work. While the internet provides us with a wealth of resources for learning meditation, having people to talk with is also an important part of the journey, so we're all lucky to be part of a community with knowledgeable people who are willing to share what what they've learned.
I'd like to offer my gift into the mix as well. If you're looking to add meditation or yoga to your life, I'd love to support ya, so please feel free to hit me up. From chatting here on LP to regular 1-on-1 coaching while you build the skills to level up your game, I'm available to help
Despite being exposed to meditation all my life, I never took it seriously till I began making my living as a poker player and realized I needed a tool to help me level up. Upon finding that tool I went on a path away from poker into a life I never imagined before.
It's fun to be coming back full circle and reconnecting with the gamer community to share the greatest gift I ever received from my time gaming. It's a gift which has improved my entire life, not just my gaming skill, and I'm happy to see so many of you adding it to your lives as well <3
EDIT: I had no idea, just having my grind session, movie soundtracks like Oblivion are awesome, but can get a tad distracting.
So here, I got the idea! I used to listen to Thrillseekers while studying for my degree, why not slap their podcast on!
So download it blindly I put it on during a sesh
and go like
"uuhmmm yeah I like this
"hang on this sounds familiar"
"All trance sounds the same that's probably it dude, keep grindin'"
"No hang on I've definitely heard THIS one before"
check the website
"15 Years of trance, best of set"
and started dancing around my room, felt nostalgic as fuck when I paid attention to the set
The very second song is the one from Human Traffic soundtrack from the kiss for example
incremental vs. epiphanic improvementby Santafairy, December 09
What's something you got good at little by little over time? And what's something you worked on over a long period of time but had delayed improvement? And then after a while everything seemed to come together at once? Explain what the process was like. Was it constant effort or did your commitment fluctuate? Was it spread out over years or short and intense? When you were going through it did you ever doubt what you were doing?
I think you can scroll through and look at them with this link but not listen unless you sign up for a Spotify account.
They also have a cool playlist called "Tastebreakers" where they took the songs from the Top 100 list and then compiled a different list. "Start 2019 by broadening your horizons. We've made you a playlist of songs from genres and artists you don't normally explore - and we think you'll like it." The playlist is pretty f'n awesome. Anyways, this blog is sounding like an advertisement for Spotify.
2018 isn't over yet but all of this had me reflecting. 2018 was a strange year. I was kind of all over the place. I think a lot of it tied into my struggle to get a date as a poor person living with my parents or even beyond those "excuses": How do I date and be ok in my own skin? Or, at least this is seemingly what My Interpreter is piecing together (Michael Gazzaniga, Gifford Lectures, "The Interpretor" Youtube it - fascinating stuff). Or, more simply how do I get ok in my own skin?
I remember back to my days of waking up at 5am to train. I got pretty nicely pumped up there. I still think bodybuilding is based in vanity and narcissism. Byung-Chul Han posits that depression is based in narcissism as well. I think my unaltered state is to be pretty narcissistic. Now part of this is AA brainwashing. I really can't answer the question if I am more self-centered or narcissistic than the average person. I really don't know. But, my immediate response to being self-centered and narcissistic is to go help someone else. That I must help someone else or I am going to end up drinking or doing drugs again. I am in conflict with these fellowships. I can never feel ok in my own skin if I am a part of them and it seems to be difficult to be ok in my own skin without them.
There was my experiences with Tinder which spurned the dissatisfaction to look further into Buddhism. I pretty much went tunnel vision in one to tunnel vision in another. I am not sure how I moderate that behavior. It seems to cause a lot of suffering.
There was that amazing 2 month period of being unemployed. I learned a lot.
Tonight I thought about going to an AA meeting just to get out of the house and socialize with some people. Even if those people are going to tell me I need to pray and I need to turn my will and my life over to God. I made myself dinner and signed up for a complex science course instead. Seeing the two options written out there is really no competition.
So, what are some things I am trending towards as we move into 2019?
I would like to get back into Buddhism. Start exploring Samatha (Calm) meditation. I am holding off on scriptures. Currently, really enjoying "Infinite Jest" by DFW. Overall, it is just enjoyable but also I think it helps me with AA. Here is a guy poking fun at the whole situation and it's great.
How am I going to be ok in my own skin and find a society to be a part of with out having to conform?
That is a tricky one but I think learning more about relevant sciences and Buddhism is a part of that. I suppose I also may just have to accept that I will spend my Saturday nights making myself dinner, watching science lectures and posting on LP. I will take my dinner tonight though. I cooked up some rice at like 35c per serving, fried 2 eggs my dad had in the fridge that were going to go bad before he comes home from his trip, mixed in some chili paste my Thai aunt gave me, and added a little bit of Sriracha. This is something else I will be working on. Working on meals over the course of the week that are varied, vegan, nutritious, nourishing. Using the produce that is local, in season, and organic if possible.
I think this Tastebreakers playlist is an atopic Other bringing me out of my depression. Who knows?