I first started posting blogs back in 2007, and boy did I post a lot. I'm happy to see that I still have the record for most blog posts on the site, holding strong at 633 (but DustySwedeDude is catching up, so I have to start posting again to hold onto this auspicious achievement).
It used to be so damn busy here, a hustle and bustle of online poker activity. I guess that was the poker boom, and the end of BW, and the arrival of smart phones, and the rise of social media's domination of content... all factors which I'm guessing led to this slightly ghost town vibe.
But that means those of you who are still here, are truly dedicated. I appreciate that, cause out of all the online communities I joined into, this is definitely the one I shared the most with. I was close with my StarCraft teams, but I was generally the manager and focused on running the thing rather than enjoying it. Here at LP I was just focused on poker and me, and it was fun to meet so many of you during those times, to learn poker, to talk shit, to be exposed to all sorts of interesting topics and debates... ahh good memories.
When I quit grinding after my trip to Southeast Asia, I continued on the path of being focused on me, and finally experienced the joy of attending school because of wanting to be there, not because someone is forcing me. I decided to use my time in school as an opportunity to research and learn about everything I'd ever been curious about, and come to my own conclusions. I'd gotten really good at copying other people's statements on controversial topics, and while they worked during interactions out in the world, I didn't actually know the logic or data behind why the statements were true, or even if they were true.
Going back to university and taking it seriously was a big awakening to me, as I first got my mind blown by all the mainstream info about how amazing the universe is, and then got my whole world shattered when I realized the mainstream answers were limited and it was ok to jump off the cliff into the crazy answers, into the world of investigating consciousness and what this reality really is. And when I say shattered, I mean things were falling to pieces all around me, I had no idea how to interact with the world anymore upon realizing that so much of my behavior was wrong or beliefs were not true. I went back to school as a 26 year old in 2010, but halfway through I'd crumbled back to my 12 year old self, as I realized that everything I'd used to build my personality during my teenage years wasn't based on me, just based on copying in an attempt to survive. I had to relearn how to be around people, and new techniques for dealing with the anxiety which had always plagued me. It was a total nervous breakdown, which I soon learned was also my spiritual awakening.
The biggest realization I had was that healing was important. I'd always done my best to be tough and strong and recover quickly and not feel it and numb the pain and don't be a pussy and be a man. My closest friends as a teenager were all going through the same thing, and we'd often become friends because we met by punching each other in the face, and we'd be tough during the day but when we got drunk enough at night tears and bro hugs would arise. Then we'd go destroy some property or beat someone up to feel better, not realizing how the destruction always made us feel worse in the end. We were friends cause we had brief moments of healing together, but we didn't know how to truly heal because everything we'd learned about being a man was getting in the way.
Halfway through my Psychology degree I decided that continuing to get straight A's wasn't as important as diving into the crazy stuff. It started with marijuana. I used the university's resources to do a deep dive into the research, and I found out about the conspiracy theory level shenanigans which had occurred to suppress the scientific truth about cannabis. I realized that the opportunity to legalize was fast approaching and that Colorado could be the first domino tipped to start a process of legalization around the world, so I dedicated myself to the political process and organized my campus. We crushed it and won a huge victory, something I'll be proud of being part of until my dying day <3
Along the way I opened up to alternative healing modalities, and especially the world of meditation and yoga. I'd grown up with exposure to both through my dad, but had always rejected them as woo woo, weirdo, extremely unenjoyable, and a place where crazy people hung out and talked about spiritual mumbo jumbo. But that piece of my personality had fallen of when everything shattered, so I began to tiptoe cautiously into what had always looked like the abyss...
Luckily my childhood exposure to family friends like Richard Davidson, Jon Kabat Zinn, and Daniel Goleman, amongst many other amazing minds of our time, had grounded me in how to scientifically approach the world of meditation. You see, my dad started something called the Mind and Life Institute, which has been bridging science and spiritual practices for over 30 years. It all started by bringing scientists to India for a meeting with the Dalai Lama, and has grown into a vibrant community of scientists and contemplative practitioners who are learning from each other. The meetings inspired loads of research, including the famous studies done by Richard Davidson with Mattieu Ricard. With the data they collected a new mainstream acceptance to the benefits of meditation has developed. I watched that process happen around me as a kid growing up, and it informed so much of how I approached my psychology degree, and my personal dive into the abyss.
As I began to practice yoga and meditation, it became clear that I needed to make it my lifestyle. I became a yoga teacher and began teaching 8 classes a week, of all types and styles. As my practice developed I learned more and more about my body, about my thoughts, about my energy... I began to feel things I'd never felt, see things from new perspectives, and find new ways of interacting with myself. While my personal research into "wtf is going on in this world and who the hell am I" had left me shattered, my practice of meditation and yoga helped to build me back up into a new person, updated to version 2.0.
That started a path of healing for me, which I'm still on right now. I've had a few more upgrades since then, often thanks to the beautiful help given by plant medicines while working with loving shamans, and I know I have many more patches left to come. But I'm finally starting to be ok with that, to be ok with being on this ride, on this journey of growth and evolution.
Resisting what is, resisting the bad feelings, resisting how things are... that has been my habit, that has been my pattern. Meditation has been the great teacher of learning to accept what is, right now, as it is. Learning to allow what is happening, to happen. And to be fully present with myself, my emotions, my stories, my thoughts, my energy, without resisting or forcing anything.
So the journey continues, as I'm just a silly noob who has barely begun upon the path. But I'm happy to see that I'm not alone, as a few of you other long time members are now talking about meditation, Buddhism, addiction, and healing. I guess this site is still about poker, but for those of us who have been using it for over a decade, maybe it's also now about our journey of evolution from the fervent pursuit of money, believing it was what we needed for happiness, to a deep dive into ourselves to find that inner source of happiness which doesn't depend on the transient nature of the external reality.
Or maybe I've just become a woo woo hippie dippy crazy person I guess that's ok too <3
Hello you pokerers who keep pokering things with your pokers.
For those moments where TPB can't fulfill a internet wanderers needs, I am ill equipped. Any help in expanding the boundaries of my movie browsing landscape would be much appreciated.
Oh, as for updates, got the bachelors in psychology this May and am enjoying a "figure your life out" type of summer. Got some fun plans coming together, so maybe I'll write something here about them once they come closer to fruition. Hope all of you fun souls I met at poker tables, or Vegas parties, or Bnet chatrooms, are still living it up