As I hit the code into the pad my eyes grace the wall in front of me. There are a lot of hearts. People have written messages of love and posted them on the board.
I don’t have a pen.
I smile instead.
I walk into the toilet and lift up the pan. There is a huge shit stain on the toilet. I remove most of it with my pee. It’s fresh. It’s art, but I don’t want to see it. The biggest streak is so high up the bowl, there must be a man walking around Dublin with shit on his shirt. My pee won’t budge it. I run dry.
I contemplate leaving it. I have cleaned my own shit; I have cleaned the shit of my son; I will clean the shit of my wife; and who knows, one day I might have to clean the shit from my dying parents. But this is not my shit. It doesn’t have the same love, heart connection.
Then I think of Gandhi.
For the past few weeks Gandhi has been with me as I run through Cardiff City Centre. I have been listening to his autobiography. He may be dead (sorry if I have spoiled that for any prospective autobiography readers who were not aware of that fact), but his message lives on. I am the changing man. Gandhi seems to have reached down from heaven, found my switch, and he has turned me on.
It’s not about me anymore. It’s about everyone else. Gandhi used to clean other people’s shit, because that’s what other people did. For Gandhi to understand the Indian people, he had to become the Indian people. That meant cleaning shit, traveling third class, and living the life of the thousands of people who didn’t have a pot to piss in.
I take a piece of toilet paper. One sweep of my finger. The shit has gone.
My brain clicks into gear.
How can I help people?
I see homeless people. They are everywhere. Before Gandhi, I didn’t notice them. I just saw rubbish crumpled up beside the numerous umbrellas that had fallen victim to the wind.
Now, I never walk past a homeless person without giving them money.
But is this the best use of my money?
What if the homeless person isn’t really homeless at all? What if he is a drug addict and I am helping to buy the next fix. What if I have just bought this fella his next can of Special Brew?
Why is this so tough?
All I want to do is help people.
Why is it so difficult?
I need a guide. Someone I can trust. I need to realize my higher purpose before it’s too late. I am 40 years old. Blink. It’s gone. I may be feeling as young as I did when I was 18, but that day felt like 20 minutes ago. That’s how quick life rolls by – especially when you are having fun. I have had a lot of fun.
Yesterday, I was hiking through the hills of Glendalough in Dublin when I was asked if I feared death. I do fear death. Not the pain of the bus wheels as they trample over my chest. I fear the loss of time. The worry that I will never be able to figure out what I am supposed to do before I die, let alone do it.
This is where Raising for Effective Giving (REG) comes into my life. When Philipp Gruissem walked into the phone box he was just another German poker player destroying the competition. When he emerged I saw a man who was about to fly around the world and turn back time.
I use Gruissem as my guide.
Why am I writing about poker?
How does this affect the state of the world that we live in?
It’s time to pull up the sleeves.
Show the scars of honesty.
Bare those skinny bones.
I write about poker to make money. It’s for personal gain. That doesn’t sit well for me anymore. Then I think of Gandhi. Then I think of Gruissem. Gandhi used to be a lawyer. For his services he would receive a fee. He would never receive a fee for the work he did for humanity. He saw that as doing God’s work. I’m not sure if God ever wrote him any checks. I know he never cashed any.
Gruissem goes about his business differently. He is working towards a time in his life when he can contribute 100% of what he earns to those that need it more than him. Until that time, a gradual contributory method has been set up. It will grow as he grows.
This world class poker player has turned playing poker into a philanthropic effort. If he wants to save the world, and believes that money will help him achieve that goal quicker, then what is the best way that Gruissem can make money?
It’s by winning poker tournaments.
John Lennon once told us that we would call him a ‘dreamer.’ He told us that, ‘he was not the only one.’ He’s right. We are all the brotherhood of man. We all live in the space sandwiched between heaven and hell. We all have the need to help others boiling in our cells.
Imagine if every time we won a hand of poker we were able to give a child a life-saving injection. Imagine every time we won a poker tournament we were able to put an impoverished person through school.
Imagine if poker was seen as a way of touching people’s hearts; as a device to do well. Imagine that our parents were proud of us for the lives that we saved. Imagine our children want to be like us – want to give like us.
Imagine how this approach could strengthen our community as a whole. Imagine how much money we could raise. Imagine how many people we could save. Imagine how our culture would change; our consciousness would change.
Imagine a game built on love and care, instead of money and greed. To be selfless, instead of self, self, and self. Imagine there were no downswings; that playing was simply enough. That the goal would be achieved over the long run. That we helped removed the bullets, and the gun.
Imagine a business that cares about its people, because it knows it’s helping the world. There is no more anger. A bad beat provides more meat; a one-outer changes the mind of one more doubter.
Now throw that dream out there. Way out in front. Put on those running shoes. The ones that carry the slogan ‘Just Do It’ and reap what you sow. Put on your cans, plug in your phone, turn on the dulcet tones of Gandhi, and run.
Run right into your dream.