Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Envisioning a Better World

Hey friends! Quite a bit has happened since my last entry, and after returning from my most recent adventure, I am feeling inspired to share some of the things bouncing around my brain box.

Right after getting back from Holy Ship, I went to Playa Del Carmen Mexico for the BPM music festival. I had been feeling long overdue for a visit there, as quite a few friends have made it their new home over the last couple years. After being there only a couple of days I quickly realized why so many people had decided to live there full time. Playa is a vibrant city with so much cultural diversity that it hardly even feels like Mexico. Between the beautiful beaches and the huge night life scene, there is always something to do, and though I tend to have fairly high standards for restaurant food, almost everywhere I ate impressed me a great deal, while also being cheaper than the American counterparts. As if these aren't ample reasons for spending time there, the BPM festival had parties going round the clock at a variety of venues. From beach clubs to discotheques to my personal favorite; a bonafide treehouse in the middle of the jungle, there was something for anyone looking to dance the night away. If you've considered making a trip to Playa, get down there, I'm sure you won't regret it!

Between Holy Ship and BPM, I had taken what was the longest break from poker in my entire career. As a full time grinder, it's rare to find even a couple days of downtime without at least logging a few hands here or there or talking strategy with friends. If you want to stay with or ahead of the curve, its pretty crucial to stay sharp, and time off can mean losing touch with the current metagame, which can be a major deficit. That said, I've found that its vital to have balance in life, allowing time for play or to focus on other passions. When I spend time away from the game, the excitement builds, and I am more able to be present and stay focused the next time I sit down at the table. So, needless to say, I was really excited for the tournaments that followed this break, and was fortunate enough to string together a couple of deep runs, including my first major live victory in the WSOPC main event in West Palm Beach. Having played the live tournament circuit for many years, this was a monkey off the back, not to mention a major confidence and bankroll booster. While it may not have been quite the massive massive victory I've been thrilled to witness some of my friends have over the last couple of years and that I am still in pursuit of, it felt relatively massive after having experienced a major low point just months earlier, and gave me a sense of both relief and motivation that is hard to describe.

Before any of this happened, I was already planning on taking a trip to Costa Rica for Envision Festival. This event is unique from other festivals I've attended in a few ways. While music is definitely a big part of the event, there are also a variety of classes(yoga, meditation, tai chi), workshops and presentations by accomplished authors, artists and visionaries. Also, rather than staying in hotels or apartments, the vast majority of the attendees set up tents and camped on site, creating a very intimate atmosphere and encouraging the cultivation of new friendships with your neighbors. Certainly not least of all, it is held in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Between the dense plant and animal life, the lack of industrialization, and the laid back attitude of it's inhabitants, Costa Rica is an amazing country and it's hard to imagine a better environment for connecting with both nature and people.
   
Now, imagine a place where if you smile at someone they smile back and say hello rather than simply looking the other way, where strangers hug simply because it feels good, where the food is all made from locally sourced organic ingredients, where people are eager to let you ahead of them in line, where women can walk around topless without feeling like a thousand sex-starved men are staring at them like pieces of meat and where there is a sense of respect, empathy and compassion shared by the thousands of people around you. Sounds pretty amazing, right? That is the setting at Envision, and after what I witnessed this past weekend, it is also what I believe can some day be the setting of life on Earth if we as a species can wake up, un-learn all the destructive behaviors we've developed since the dawn of modern civilization and learn how to truly respect each other as well as the other life forms we share this planet with.
   
One of the days, Charles Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economics and The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible did a presentation that really resonated with me. He talked about how life is based on stories, and that in order to create a better world we need to abandon certain stories. Stories we've become very comfortable with even though they are leading to our downfall. There is more to life than the cookie cutter story of "go to school (to pass tests), go to work (to support the system that's destroying us and make money to buy material goods), get married (to attach to a single family unit and detach from the collective)" which tends to ignore the importance of creative expression, play, and selflessness. Stories of religion, politics, and nationalism are all ones which divide us when our true potential lies in unity. Moreover, our blatant disregard for plants and animals is creating a story that certainly does not end well for humanity.
   
Of course, it can be quite overwhelming to think of the problems of the world and how we as individuals can make a difference. I've often thought to myself "what can I do to make a difference, I'm only one person and the world and it's problems are so big". Imagine if every raindrop thought this way, there would be no rain would there? Well we are like the raindrops, and if we all do a little bit every day; be it supporting an eco-friendly organization, volunteering time for a good cause, helping out a friend in need, forgiving someone who angered us, making mindful decisions, telling someone we love them, or simply smiling at a stranger, I believe we can eventually create enough rain to wash away the evil in our world and clear the sky for a brighter tomorrow.

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