Achieving equanimity

How could I ever play poker? I wear my heart on my sleeve. It is rarely difficult for someone to read what I am feeling. I wonder if I could manipulate my feeling, or change its focus: rather than misery or delight at the turn of a particular card, desperation at a particular gamble, I could focus on more long term things. It is good- fascinating, challenging, informative- to be with these people, doing this thing together. I can afford to lose the money I have brought. I might win. I will learn. The evening will be a worthwhile experience whatever happens.

Or (not having played poker) I imagine a lot of the skill is concealing whether I am lying or telling the truth. So, I am not lying. That I choose to bet on this particular hand does not mean that it is a good one, only that I consider I have a reasonable chance of winning. I have as much right to bet on a poor hand as a good one. (I have heard that the straight flushes and full houses we see on TV drama come up considerably less often in actual play.) I am not ashamed. I am not even deceiving you, as what you think is your concern.

Again, I might consider that I am unduly internally focused, on my own feelings, and notice other people. If I pay attention to what is around me, I might be less disturbed by what is within.

These could make me feel better in real life, not just a poker fantasy. To be aware of all the good and beauty surrounding and supporting me, to be aware that the thing distressing me may just be momentary and the thing and my reaction to it will pass.

I have been feeling anguish this morning, and I have written something I find worthwhile. The anguish is existential: I feel discounted, treated as worthless, my needs and feelings as of no account, and it seems I am “cast into the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth”- outside the community, where the social animal cannot survive. I am not, really. This temporary worry will be all sorted, fairly soon. And I will die, and perhaps be expelled from my various communities. That fear may sometimes be more intense and immediate, and sometimes in the background, but has not come to pass yet. It is from childhood, feeling not valued, feeling squashed into a box I did not fit, feeling my natural characteristics were unwelcome. It is old trauma I may never entirely heal.

There is beauty and delight and possibility. I am alright so far. I have survived.

2 thoughts on “Achieving equanimity

  1. It’s OK to wear your heart on your sleeve; just don’t have one under your sleeve! 🙂

    It’s just as important to be able to read the bluffs of others as it is to be able to bluff them. I haven’t played poker for the last thirty years, but I did spend much of that time bluffing my way through life. I’ve now ceased my bluffing, although I am still cognizant of those who may be bluffing me. Such is the game of gender poker, I suppose.


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