Hello everyone! Thanks for checking in. This blog entry is being typed from an apartment I'm renting in Prague, Czech Republic. Each of the past four Decembers I've set up shop with friends for 2-3 weeks in this magical Eastern European city to play European Poker Tour and World Poker Tour events. It will have been a 19 night stay when I leave here on Monday morning.
In addition to the high value poker tournaments I've competed in, there is also a perfectly timed music festival called 'Magnetic Fest' that I've attended with friends here each of the last three years when our work concludes. The event was last night, and it was spectacular. There is nothing quite like getting lost dancing to music, reflecting on life, and thinking where I want to go, and what I want to do. I always experience some self-transcendence in times like these. All I can say is get out and attend a festival and watch yourself grow. I had the opportunity to hang with some really amazing people during my time here in Prague.
I find the Czech community so fascinating. Eye contact is all but forbidden when walking the streets of Prague. The majority of locals wear all black or grey clothing and do their very best to blend in. Everyone is free to do his or her own thing without being judged. There is something that I love so much about that. Personally, I have spent way too much of my twenties worried about what other people think. There are times when I am crippled in my development because I'm so in my head about how I'm perceived. The more meditating I do results in me coming to true grips with who I am and my deepest feelings about things. I am a very harsh critic of myself, and as a result I've had some down times over the last few months when I don't get the desired result out of my time. The more consciousness I bring to my daily activities means I'm more aware of my shortcomings. I play high stakes poker tournaments as my main source of income, and as much as I tell myself my self-worth is not derived from the results in these tournaments, I am still at times affected. It is not easy to at times shovel off six-figures in buy-ins consecutively on one's own dime. It makes it that much more kick ass though if you can keep your composure. The tournament binks feel THAT good.
A major point of development for me will be when I can totally accept that I'm a human being and will make mistakes. We all do right? All one should do is learn from his or her experiences and move on. He or she should not dwell on them. I like to think I'm overall a pretty good person. I am now aware that it is unrealistic to think that we humans can always be naturally high. There will be down times. The key to increasing my happiness I've found (but often not exemplified) is spending those down hours productively and healthily.
I last posted in August when my buddies Jesse, Paul and I summitted the world's largest freestanding mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. That was one of the highlights of my life. You can check that post here: http://shannonshorr.com/index.php/blog/38-mount-kilimanjaro-the-battle-and-experience.
Since, I have had some very out-of-this-world times. My friends and I partied for the amazing Michael Katz and Kara Motz wedding in Idaho. I had the best son and mom trip with a jam-packed 11 days in London playing tournaments and seeing all the major sites and sampling all the pubs' beer. Additionally I got to spend a little time in Birmingham catching up with my dad, mom, sisters, two angels of nieces and hometown friends. I attended the Iron Bowl and watched my football team Alabama Crimson Tide defeat our rival Auburn Tigers. I played some major poker tournaments and hung out with friends in Jacksonville, Florida and Montreal, Canada. While in Jacksonville I had the incredible opportunity to play golf at TPC Sawgrass thanks to the kind folks at BestBet poker room. Through most of these experiences I was in a very awesome state of mind. There are so many days through which I felt like I was walking around meditating. Those euphoric moments are the ones for which I strive most. The moments when no thoughts fill my head. The moments where I only experience sensations. Peak experiences, as they are. I have for the most part done a decent job keeping up a healthy mind and body, which I think is essential if I expect these moments to be consistent.
Throughout the latter half of 2014 I've spent a lot of time with my girlfriend Justine. She is an inspiration to me, and I love her. Justine is on a totally different level in the sense that she truly gets life. Kindness makes the world go round. Anyone who has met her would agree with that statement. She brings happiness to me every day that I get to spend with her. I'm really glad that we both swiped right on Tinder when I was doing some work in New Jersey. Awesome, right?
Prior to meeting Justine I'd been behind the idea and practice of polyamory for several years. I felt restricted by the idea of monogamy in the sense that I felt it wouldn't allow me to connect deeply with other females. If I was in a committed relationship I felt I would be shut off from the ability to grow through interactions with half of the world's inhabitants. Additionally my nonstop traveling lifestyle while in my twenties has lended to me having a very free spirit when it comes to things like sex. Digging deeper and looking back though it was never really about the sex. It was much more about the idea that the sex could take place with a chosen girl, that she was attainable. It is possible to connect on a deep level and not have sex in the same way it's possible to do anything to which you set your mind. I am in no way saying that either practice is better. Each person must choose for himself or herself. One thing I have found is that every relationship, no matter what kind, is made easier with honesty. If someone cannot accept you for who you are than they do not deserve your time. Be you.
I'll spend Christmas with family and New Year's Eve in Key West with Justine. From there we'll have the rare opportunity to travel overall north from the US to the Bahamas for the annual Pokerstars Caribbean Adventure event at Atlantis Resort, back to the Keys for a few days, and then later to Jersey for a World Poker Tour event. I'll finish off the month at my lifelong friend Ryan's bachelor party as I visit Asheville, North Carolina for the first time. It should be a pretty insane month. I hope to do some writing again soon. As I type this I feel liberated and on a step in the right direction in my quest to become more self-assertive.