Breath Taking

Breathing in, I am aware that I am breathing in.
Breathing out, I am aware that I am breathing out.
In this way, I train myself.
Breathing in, I am aware that I am sitting at a poker table.
Breathing out, I smile to the poker universe.
Breathing in, I watch the cards being dealt.
Breathing out, I observe the players on my left.
Breathing in, I look at my cards.
Breathing out, I fold.

Breathing in, I watch the hand play out.
Breathing out, I know that I am breathing out.
Breathing in, I am aware that air is entering my body.
Breathing out, I notice my fingers.
Breathing in, I am aware that a player is thinking about his decision on the river.
Breathing out, I watch him call.
Breathing in, I watch the called player turn over the nuts.
Breathing out, I hear the caller curse briefly.
Breathing in, I am aware that I understand the cause of the caller’s discomfort.
Breathing out, I send him some ease.
Breathing in, I erect my spine and I know that I am preparing myself to receive the next hand.
Breathing out, I am perfect and I notice the sounds of poker.

Breathing in, I am aware that I am breathing in a short breath.
Breathing out, I am aware that I am breathing out a short breath.
Breathing in, I know that I am breathing in a long breath.
Breathing out, I know that I am breathing out a long breath.
Breathing in, I calm my mind.
Breathing out, I calm my body.
In this way, I train myself.

Breathing in, I look at my cards.
Breathing out, I know that one is an ace and the other a king.
Breathing in, I move chips from my stack across the betting line.
Breathing out, I await and observe the decisions of my opponents.
Breathing in, I see them folding.
Breathing out, I see the player on my right raise.
Breathing in, I call.
Breathing out, I see the dealer thumbroll an aceless, kingless flop.
Breathing in, I watch the player on my right prepare to bet.
Breathing out, with anticipation, I time it so that at the moment he bets, my lungs are empty, and I dispatch my cards into the muck with the tip of my thumb, expending the least possible energy.

Breathing in, I am completely aware that I am breathing in and that my lungs are inflating.
Breathing out, I know that right now I am breathing out.
In this way, I train myself.

Breathing in, I post a big blind.
Breathing out, I see the player on my left post a straddle.
Breathing in, I hear the cards coming off the deck.
Breathing out, I look at my cards and I determine that I will fold when it is my turn.
Breathing in, I am grateful for this opportunity to relax and be still.
Breathing out, I fold and I notice my own gratefulness.

Breathing in, I see a player bet the flop.
Breathing out, I see the other players in the pot fold.
Breathing in, I hear the winner’s remark and a reply.
Breathing out, I intentionally shape my body as I please.
Breathing in, I post a small blind.
Breathing out, I watch the dealer’s hands deliver the cards.
Breathing in, I look at the big blind as he looks at his cards.
Breathing out, I look at my cards – 9-4 off-suit.
Breathing in, I decide to pay close attention to the action and to not decide yet what I will do at my turn.
Breathing out, I watch a player raise. Breathing in, I decide now not to reraise.
Breathing out, it is my turn, and I fold.

Breathing in, I pay attention to my in-breath at my nose.
Breathing out, I make my out-breath even and long.
In this way, I train myself.
Breathing in, I am aware that I have the button.
Breathing out, I perfect myself, I hear the poker sounds, I look at my cards – 8-6 of clubs – a vulnerable player limps, I look to the left as the action approaches me, I raise, the small blind calls, the big blind folds, the limper calls, the flop comes, they check to me, I bet, the small blind calls, the limper folds, the turn comes, the small blind checks, I check, the river comes, he bets, I call, he says “You got me,” I show my cards, he mucks, I hear someone say “He’s a moron,” the dealer’s eyes smile at mine as I tip, the next hand is dealt, I’m in the cutoff, I look at my cards – A-5 off-suit – the same player limps, I look left, the button indicates that he is folding, I raise, the button folds, the small blind folds, the big blind reraises, the opener folds, I fold, I sit back, and…

Breathing in, I notice that I have not noticed my breathing for a while.
Breathing out, I remind myself to remind myself to do better at reminding myself to remember to remember to remember to, ah, to remember. With each aware breath, I rejoin, I recombine, I become a member again, I re-member.

Breathing in, I know that I am breath taking.
Breathing out, I know that everything is breathtaking.
Until death do I live.