In my continuing efforts to clear my mind at the poker table I am always on the lookout for thoughts that float through my mind and cloud my ability to make my best decisions. What is going on in my mind either allows me to consider all of my choices and their consequences and make my best choice, or diverts me to being a victim of stressful feelings that cause me to act prematurely without taking into account all of the information available.
These stressful feelings that are caused by thoughts that don't serve me are my biggest enemy at the poker table and in all other areas of my life.
Stressful feelings do not allow me to focus on all of the pertinent information or dangers and opportunities that are continually arising during a poker tournament.
They cause me to act compulsively at times, and to self-destruct at critical times when every resource at my disposal needs to be utilized to win the tournament.
How can I tune into my vast poker experience from over a lifetime if I am fantasizing about winning the tournament, concerned about my image at the table, or having irrational fear or depression? Few ever bring this subject up because it is baggage that most of us have been carrying all of our lives, and no one ever suggested to us that we could do anything about it. It is assumed that stressful feelings are a permanent fact of our lives that we must put up with and learn to make the best of. No one ever showed me a simple way that I could understand and use to free myself from my stressful feelings. In my experience, stressful feelings have never been identified and considered by anyone as something that can be eliminated forever. The medical profession mostly prescribes pills that only deaden the feelings until they come back another day. In the meantime our deepest hopes, aspirations and dreams are put aside and we are thankful that we are not suffering painful anxieties anymore if we take a pill to feel less stress. We certainly do not win at poker as often as we could.
I have always been a victim of my stressful feelings and I am sharing with you what I have learned to do about them and how I do it. What are stressful feelings? Where do they come from? What damage do they do to us? What can we do about them? If you are not interested in this subject and have made an accommodation with your stressful feelings and have achieved success, money, family, titles, medals, etc. and you don't wish to rock your boat that is fine. But if you really wish to feel better by freeing yourself from your stressful feelings forever, read on.
If Sherlock Holmes was presented with this problem, he might have addressed it much as I will now. Stressful feelings are caused by poisonous memories, ideas, thoughts and beliefs. These have either been implanted in us (mind control), or we have created them in response to being neglected or abused. We can either continue holding onto them or identify them and let go of them. We sustain, harbor, feed, and obey them mindlessly with no thought of the damage they do to us or the possibility of letting go of them.
Since stressful feelings cause most of our mental and physical disease and also block out our creativity, dreams and passionate aspirations. how can you not want to free yourself from them? Freeing myself from stressful feelings has become my #1 priority. I am doing it 24/7 and hopefully even when I am sleeping. It is the most important exercise I can do for myself and my families well being.
Stressful feelings are contagious and are passed onto all we come in contact with. They are pollution of the human spirit. They are the reason we have been killing ourselves and killing each other throughout the ages. Many civilizations have used sacrificial ceremonies. In many cases they threw their dearest possessions into a fire to be free of what they didn't know was their own thoughts and beliefs.
At the poker table stressful feelings defeat me every time. A particular hand I played many years ago comes to mind as a good example. I had made my way through 800 other players and was in a good chip position with 4 tables left. If I was not experiencing stressful feelings I would never have made the choices I did. I looked at two red aces and limped under the gun (first to act after the blinds). Five players looked at a flop of 2,3,5 rainbow. I was second to act and made a fairly large bet of (1-1/2 times the pot) that one player called. I immediately put him on a set (three of a kind) or a small pair and a straight draw. I decided to lay my hand down if he raised my next bet. The turn card was a 6. I made another large bet and he made a substantial raise. Before I realized what I had done, I called him, throwing all caution to the wind by ignoring my first decision.
I did not even consider my position in the tournament, the upside or downside if I called, or any other important considerations. I knew for sure he had a set or had made the straight.
I mindlessly pushed my money into the pot. On the river, as luck would have it, my third ace came. First to bet I went all in. He called me and showed me his two fours for the straight.
All of my planning and experience went out the window at a critical time in this tournament. I was in agony and stress for a month over it. I was furious with myself because I knew better, had done this many times before, and still could not eliminate this compulsive destructive play from my game. I was very unkind to myself. I am not overstating this because I was truly tormented by those self-defiling thoughts.
The flow of my life was disrupted and the stressful feelings I had to endure if continued, would not only hurt my poker game but could cause future destructive behaviors such as poor eating habits, loss of sleep and mental and physical dis-ease.
I very rarely suffer from this kind of mindless compulsive play at the poker table anymore. I methodically walk my roadmap and Ten Commitments to help me notice and let go of any thought that doesn't serve me. I have shifted my life's priorities from working harder and accomplish more to relaxing and noticing the thoughts that appear in my mind that cause any stressful feeling. Cleaning out distractions (memories, ideas, thoughts and beliefs that cause stressful feelings) allows me to act from my most passionate desires, feel better and be happier.
If you wish to make an effort to free yourself from stressful feelings, you can review all my articles in Poker Player Newspaper at www.pokerplayernewspaper. com. Read my book, "No-Limit Life", or visit my website, www.nolimitlife. net. If you wish to share any experiences related to my writings that may benefit others, please e-mail them to me and I will consider printing them in a future article. It would be very helpful to me to receive feedback and I would appreciate any responses. Confidentiality will be maintained if desired.
Future articles will hopefully include reader's Responses, Questions, Requests, Comments and Experiences: charlieshoten@ msn.com