Lee Davy talks about the power of forgiveness in the hope that more members of the poker community can learn to embrace the power that it holds.
What is your secret?
We all have one, hiding in the back of our mind like a lonely cross on a whitewashed wall. We all have our Gargoyles, our imperfections – the drum beat rolls and yet we never hear the great big crash of the cymbals.
The reason your secret is wrapped in duct tape is because you are frightened. That’s why you prefer to wear the cloak of anonymity. You are scared. You tremble. You worry. You are immersed in anguish. And it’s all because you don’t think you will be forgiven.
We hurt people all of the time. It’s the nature of the beast. Unless you are a sociopath your modus operandi is to steer clear of inflicting pain on others. It’s the last thing that we want to do, but we do it – regularly. We are imperfect you and I. There are even times when the non-sociopathic amongst us intentionally hurt others. I know I have.
When someone has hurt us, trodden on one of our values and beliefs, or done likewise to someone we care about we have two choices. We can retaliate or find resolution. We apply energy to one or the other. We don’t divert the energy equally, that’s not the way it works. Blood will leak from a scab if you pick it. That’s the way it is.
My levels of energy are finite. If I want to live the most wonderful life that I can live then it’s important that I collect as much of that energy as possible. Mary Johnson said, ‘unforgiveness is like a cancer. It will eat you from the inside out.’ A few years later she went to Stillwater state prison to meet the young man who had murdered her son. He now lives next door to her.
“It’s not about the other person, me forgiving him does not diminish what he’s done. Yes, he murdered my son – but the forgiveness is for me.” Said Ms. Johnson.
Martin Luther King once said that, ‘forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude.’ I believe that. There is nobody walking this earth that I hold a grudge against. Like most people I have good reason to hate. There are plenty of people who have deliberately set out to inflict the most grievous harm on me. But I am a naturally forgiving person. It happens almost instantly for me, like it’s a natural part of who I am.
I think one of the reasons I am like this is because I have been fortunate to be on the end of forgiveness countless times. I am a gambling addict. At one point in my life I lost complete control of the value of money. I lied to the one person in the world who relied on my honesty more than anyone. At that time that person was my first wife.
One day, whilst taking a bath, I felt this incredible urge to come clean about the money I had lost. I was frightened. I started to cry just thinking about what I would say to her. She was in front of the mirror, brushing her hair, completely unaware that I was about to ruin her life.
It wasn’t the money. It was the lies, the deceit; the cheating. I was the one person in the world that she could trust. I abused that trust. I was frightened because I thought she would leave me. That is selfish. I was also very ashamed, and as long as I kept that to myself, that shame couldn’t hurt me. That was selfish.
Eventually, as the whorls on my fingers and thumb started to blister, I told her what I had done. She never once asked me how much I had lost. She had forgiven me without saying a word. I could feel it. The relief that I felt is indescribable. It was as if I had been given a new life. That’s what second chances are all about. We all need them. If you haven’t needed it yet, one day you will.
Gandhi once said, ‘an eye for an eye makes the world go blind.’ In his book The Story of My Experiments With Truth he talks about his fathers death. Moments before Gandhi’s father had died Gandhi was massaging his feet. He left him because he had lustful thoughts for his wife. He was not with him when the last breath was released into the air. Gandhi couldn’t seek forgiveness from his father. He was dead. He had to forgive himself. Even Gandhi searched for forgiveness.
Vengeance, retaliation and anger. These are natural feelings when someone has wronged us, but they all create a suffocating negativity in our own lives. When this happens we should search deep within ourselves to understand why we feel the need to behave in this way?
Sociopaths aside there is always a reason behind people’s actions. I find it’s good practice to search for that reason, to find understanding, acceptance and forgiveness before moving on. The heaviness of the act never takes up space in my body. Don’t let it take place in yours.
The poker industry is sugar coated in temptation, like the dust from a piece of Turkish Delight. If we want to be professional poker players then we must accept that lies, treachery and deceit is a part of the world we live in. It’s not pretty. It’s life.
There is a huge difference between forgiveness and trust. Forgiveness is immediate. Like Martin Luther King said, ‘it is a permanent attitude.’ We need to learn to forgive and move on otherwise it slows us down, affects our mood and therefore our game.
Trust is something that is built up over time. That is earned. Forgiveness is now, trust is the future. Just because you forgive someone does not mean you have to trust them. Neither does it mean you have to hold their hand and chew the fat the next time you see them. Just nod your head and use that vital energy to play the next hand.