Pick of the Week: A Little Bit of Everything

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“Maybe you should stop reading those books…maybe you think too much?”

That was my mother talking at the end of an exhausting week, both physically and mentally. In terms of a review, the week has been a great microcosm of life. A life that, this week, has left me tired, angry, upset, happy, thoughtful and focused.

The week started with an ending. It was my 31st working day at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas and it would prove to be my last. I was watching a Spanish poker player called Jordi Martinez try to win $8.5 million. He was tired, nervous and yet excited about his adventure. He was already guaranteed the biggest payday of his professional poker career after securing just under $200,000 with 45 players still remaining in the $10,000 WSOP Main Event, but he so badly wanted more. It wasn’t about the money. Jordi Martinez was doing something that he loved. He loved playing poker and he had turned it into his day job. To the right of me there were three Spanish media representatives also watching Martinez play. They too were excited, inspired and happy in their work. They wanted Martinez to win just as badly as Martinez himself. Then there was me, tired, bored and fed up. I just wanted Martinez to lose as quickly as possible so I could wrap up and go home to my son.

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I realised something during my time in Vegas. Some people think that I am a lucky man and that I have a great job. I get to travel all over the world and write about poker. What I learned in Las Vegas is this. My job is much more interesting and liberating that the one I used to possess on the Railway, but it still not me. This is not who I am. If you can’t wait for the day to end then you are in the wrong job. Period…as my friends in the U.S would have me say.

Monday was a sad day. It was the last day that I would spend with my Liza for another 18 days. I live in this continual cycle of mixed emotion. I feel sadness to leave Liza and yet joy to see my son Jude. I feel like I am cheating on them both.

 

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Tuesday was a much more positive day in unusual circumstances. During my last few days in Las Vegas Liza had told me that she had started to notice that I complain a lot, and that it was affecting her mood. I am a very miserable person by nature, almost programmed from birth to complain about everything. In the past few years I have tried really hard to change this behaviour and had made great strides. My plane was 40-minutes late meaning I was almost certain to miss my connecting-flight. I decided to smile about the situation before giving myself a gentle reminder that there was nothing I could do about it. I looked at the movie selection on the plane and there was nothing that I wanted to see. I decided to finish reading my book; I decided to look at the mess as an opportunity instead of a reason to complain. I chose to smile instead of moan.

When I finally got to London the airline told me they had lost my luggage. I smiled at them and thanked them for letting me know. I went to the ATM to withdraw some cash (I had none) and the ATM would not give me any money and I smiled at it. Then I tried to use my phone and it wouldn’t work so I smiled at that too. I was stuck in London over 3-hours from home with no luggage and no money and I didn’t complain one little bit. I was smiling so much people must have thought I was nuts.

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Eventually I managed to get back to Wales and I headed straight to my sons school to give him a surprise. He wasn’t surprised. After nearly eight weeks he looked at me and I noticed disappointment etched in his face. I walked him home and decided to speak to his mother about giving her some money towards his new school uniform. It was his last day in junior school and it was next stop Comprehensive. I had no idea it was his last day at school. I have no idea about anything my son does anymore. I arrived at his house and his mother refused to speak to me so I kissed him goodbye and headed on down the valley. As I lay alone in my room my son turned up and said he wanted to spend some time with me. It was an amazing feeling for me, and one I didn’t feel I had deserved. I tried to explain to him why I have behaved the way I have since the separation from his mother. He told me that he didn’t want to talk about it. He said I talk too much about complicated things and he just wanted to have fun. I didn’t handle the whole thing very well. I asked him what I needed to do to be the best father in the world? What did he value the most from a father?

“I just want you to be here Dad. I don’t care about money, your job, gifts or holidays. I just want you to be here.”

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On Thursday I woke up with an overwhelming urge to place £100 on Tiger Woods to win The Open at odds of 10/1. It was the first time I had felt such an urge since quitting sports betting. In the evening I arranged a game of poker with my friends and lost £380. I was jet-lagged tired and angry that I had lost. I meditated whilst listening to Hale Dwoskin from the Sedona Method. I was practicing his method of releasing and realised that I was scared at not being able to provide. I was fearful of leaving my job to be with my son because I felt I needed the money. I was also fearful of leaving my little room and purchasing a home with Liza, and again it was because I was worried about being able to support her. I realised that I had come full circle. I was working in a job that was not in line with my true purpose in life and it was making me miserable. I needed to quit and yet I was worried about losing the money. In my desperation I turned to gambling as the quick fix mentality set in.

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Today I had three hours sleep because of the jet lag. I went for a run, exercised and meditated before reading 85-pages of Brad Blanton’s Radical Parenting. Blanton believes if you are handing your child to someone else for more than six hours per week then you need to quit what you are doing immediately. Blanton believes that the world has gone mad. We ditch our children into the arms of others just so we can earn money. Money has become more important than spending time with our children. Blanton believes we have missed the point. Our lives should be spent with our children and not in the way we think either. Our scripts say that we should order them around and tell them what they should do; mould them into what we perceive to be right. Don’t do this, do that, learn this, ditch that, don’t wear this, wear that, eat this, go to sleep, wake up, do as your told and for god sake shut up and go to sleep!

I spoke to my mother for over an hour today. I told her every little thing that I have resented about her my whole life. After spilling my guts all over her new patio floor, I told her that I respected her, loved her and forgave her. I then asked for forgiveness, we both cried and had a great big hug and kiss. After we had finished talking I realised that I needed to be with my son. I need to listen to what he wants and then provide for him. I need to stop trying to mould him into something and instead sit back and watch him grow. I am grateful for having the upbringing that I have had because I can now learn from it and hopefully it is not to late to be the best dad in the world.

Liza told me that I needed to stop giving myself a hard time. She told me that I needed to forgive myself for my failings and move on. I believe she is right and so here it goes.

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I forgive myself for trying to control everybody and every situation I have encountered in my life. I forgive myself for treating my parents so poorly and showing them such a lack of respect. I forgive myself for being self-centred and selfish. I forgive myself for always needing to be right and always wanting to find the right justification, I forgive myself for lying and not telling the truth. I forgive myself was controlling my ex-wife and forcing her to end our marriage out of sheer despair. I forgive myself for being a selfish father and for not being there for my son. I forgive myself for trying to treat Liza in exactly the same way I treated my ex-wife. I forgive myself for being an alcoholic and gambling addict.

No Mum, I don’t think I read too many books. In fact, I wish I had the time to read even more. Without books I would never be afforded the chance to change, to learn from my mistakes, forgive myself and to be a better person. Do I think too much? Yes I probably do and if I didn’t act as well as think then I think my thinking would become a problem. I cannot be the only person in this world who has screwed up so royally, and I just wish more people also had a good old fashioned think every once in a while.

Comments

  1. Lee, I’m glad you have forgiven yourself for these things. It will make a difference. Now sit back a little and let yourself love your loved ones and let them love you. May I suggest, far above the Eldredge books that I recommended previously, a book called “Ragamuffin Gospel” by Brennan Manning, also an alcoholic. You can read about his life on his FB page. Keep it up, Lee.

    • Lee Davy says:

      Hi Linnea,

      I have added your recommendations to my ever growing list. Thanks for the advice, encouragement and ear.

      Lee

  2. I find that a few blogs are also like reading a good book. They make me think.

    • Lee Davy says:

      Hi Russel,

      If you are saying that my blog is like reading a good book then I thank you. If you are not saying that then I still thank you for making me laugh at being wrong :)

  3. Can’t be a writer without being a thinker – and you’re definitely a writer.
    Can’t be a writer without loving books either.
    You are just who you are supposed to be, Lee. And getting better all the time. :)

    PS Love your pictures – especially the first one – LOL.

    • Lee Davy says:

      Hi Peggi,

      It was when I read The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle that I really started thinking more deeply about my ability to write and realised it comes from thinking, talking and reading.

  4. YOU’RE AMAZING XXXX

  5. Hi,
    I like that last sentence in the first part of your blog, “if you can’t wait for the day to end, then you are in the wrong job.” So true.
    Ciao,
    Patricia

  6. Hi mate

    I enjoy reading your blog, we have a few similarities as I’ve mentioned previously. FWIW, I think your far to hard on yourself about stuff. I’m glad your boy said that to you too as you also need to stop asking him what he wants etc and just go with the flow. Starting doing enjoyable things and see if he likes it. I’m not claiming to be a hero dad etc, but with my boys, we’ve just had the most fab weekend (which incidentally started with me up the hospital with youngest as he had tummy pains again, which it seems is down to worrying to much). What did we do ? did we spend fortunes on a day out ? no. We just had old fashoined fun. Went for a swim, played footy, had a bonfire, had a nice dinner together, had a friends christening and then went to the pub after where they had some friends thay don’t see often. Just saying, stop asking your boy to many questions, just let him know your always available if he wants to talk then get outside and do stuff. You know what he likes obviously !! Climbing, swimming, ride a bike, see a movie, go for a walk and a chat, go for a kick about and just join in with him. felt like I had a semi realisation this weekend myself so just passing on what I felt I learnt. You may already do this stuff anyway, but as a thinker and analytical person, maybe you over analise what your son wants to much instead of just going out and having some fun with him.

    (FWIW, I get grief about not doing homework with my boys a bit, but given the limited time I have with them each week, I persoanlly think the having fun and learning life stuff is more valuable).

    oh, got Radical Honesty due today, so that will be some early nights and reading for me this week then

    Cheers
    Coggy

    • Lee Davy says:

      Hi Coggy,

      Some great advice so thanks.

      I have learned a lot about parenting in the past year and continue to do so. I am confident in my ability to be a great Dad as I am confident about most things in life. I show people the more vulnerable side of me, on this blog, because I am invariably writing about things that other people can learn from and these generally focus on my mistakes. I don’t thing I am too hard on myself but thanks for thinking about me :)

      Take care and enjoy Radical Honesty, I am sure you will love it.

      Regards

      Lee

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