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A Euro Trip Preface.... a Journey Into my Spiritual Life

by Amanda Musumeci |  Published: Dec 31, '13

Hey All!

I know it's been a little while, but I can't just skip to current. I must fill you in on what's been going on the past few months!!

As you last read, I took an amazing trip to South Africa, which led to a sporadic trip to Europe! So let's pick up there...
In order to explain what this trip truly meant to me, I have to dig into my past. As many of you know, the past few years have presented to me some of the more challenging situations of my life. I've had to chop off an arm or two... but I'm thankful to be alive.

After a lifetime of allowing myself to feel pain, I came to a point where I needed to find solace within. I was desperate for relief. I was probably 16 the first time I ever read, "The Tao of Pooh," which is a great starter book. Thankfully this book was put on my path, and Taoism found a way into my consciousness. It didn't light a fire under me then, but what I'd read left with me many little aphorisms to calm myself through the stresses of teenage-hood. I appreciated how spirituality seemed much less invasive than your garden variety of organized religions, and so for years, Taoism lingered in the background of my spiritual life.

 Two World Series' ago, in a time of high tension, I fled back to my books, buying some new ones along the way. One that I found quite thoughtfully done was Eckhart Tolle's, "The Power Of Now." I'll admit that I didn't finish many of the books purchased, but had skimmed through several. I suppose I never continued reading because I wasn't ready to move forward. The books had intrigued me, and gave me much to ponder on. Much like when I was 16 and had first read Taoist material, I again found that only a very small amount of reading presented me with some very difficult challenges to work out in my head. Such concepts could take years or a lifetime to live out and learn.

I think it's unfortunate when people think that this is a chore. Like, keeping up with paying attention to your life. Or keeping up with being a good person always... keeping up on just being more aware and always applying yourself to be fair and good. This is not a chore. This is bliss, and peace, and wholeness. I know some people that seem to think it's too much of a hassle to consider such things in their daily on-goings, and I really find that to be a big bummer :/

There were a few major concepts that stuck in my mind through my reading. They varied from influences of, "The Power Of Now," which led me to deeply reflect on how my past has molded my desires for the future which effect the quality of how I live my everyday life... and how for me.. that was kind of a sad story that needed to be rewritten. It led me to acknowledge and created within me a desire to change the amount of ego that I let myself get carried away with feeling. I noticed that "I" battle with "myself" and that I set these expectations that I must meet, and if I don't, my ego cries. Beyond that, I allow it to toy with my emotional life. This beast must be tamed!

The journey I'm on right now is leaning towards, not lowering expectations, but rather, perhaps having none at all. The ego would have nothing to thrive on. Perrrfect. Ahhhh deep breaths! :D I'm curious if I need "expectations" in my life at all. I'm curious about experimenting. Perhaps keeping a log whenever I experience that feeling of entitlement or even a sense of having "achieved" something or some level of "success." If each time I get that high that the ego gives me I just try to shut it down and remain grounded, then I can't fathom I won't be getting closer. I mean, guys, com'mon... isn't this a cool little adventure I'm on?! I'm so excited to just live and feel and move forward and share things with cool people.

My ego is built on the foundation that is my past. I didn't have much growing up. We struggled financially. My friends had many material things, and that gave me some complex that has led me here.... battling to succeed in a world full of seemingly insurmountable pressure. My ego is fed when I succeed, and I get to feel "proud." Well, pride is probably over-rated. I owe it to myself to figure out what my life is supposed to be about, in the rawest form... rather than let it be disguised with all the noise that life provokes us with.

My idea of success, which for most of us, is a monetary freedom thing... well, that has changed over the past year. I'm letting go of ego... I don't need to compete at the highest level. I don't need to be the best poker player in the world. I don't need x amount of dollars in the bank... or achievements to boast of or achievements to sleep with alone at night. Love > trophies ya'lllll. I just need to love what I'm doing with my time as often as possible. Thankfully, for now, poker facilitates me loving my life!

Another really important concept that I've been working with is one that is more spiritual and less psycho-analytical.

The Universe is alive buzzing, living, dying, replacing, supplementing, ever-adjusting. If it is true, and if it's done so well thus far, then I'd assume that it does as our bodies do... which is protect itself as a whole. If we get sick, our body will attack the sickness. Perhaps the Universe is at work for our better good without us even knowing it, much like our own physical bodies. If the Universe created us, then we are a part of it, like a limb. If it wants to self-sustain as any living thing does, then shouldn't we have some level of trust that it will put us on whatever path we really need to be on for the betterment of the Universe as a whole? Even if bad things happen, like someone passes away... shouldn't we trust that the Universe knows when to take someone out? The Universe has successfully existed for a pretty long while... so it knows better than us what is best for us and when it is time to make various changes.

This one has been a bit harder for me. I can read the Eckhart stuff, and that's just like logical/emotional stuff... which in the end to me seems more like simple math. The spiritual has no math. The spiritual can defy logic, so it seems futile to attempt to put what it truly is to me into word form. It's been a process that I've taken on over the past year... trying to convert to this new way of thinking. I read it, I loved the way it sounded, and I wanted badly to live as if that were true. But I did struggle at first. I couldn't just force myself to believe something. It needed to just occur within me... and I suppose it wasn't my time for it yet.

I lived through a tremendous amount of hardship this year, and I just kept repeating these concepts to myself each time a new hurdle would present itself in my life. I trusted the Universe. I'd try to imagine how each seemingly bad thing that happened in my life could possibly turn out to be the best thing that could have ever happened to me. Trusting the Universe is just like that. And so each time I was challenged, I'd write an entire fairytale in my mind about how this scenario was going to for sure turn out to be the best thing ever for me.

Believing that the best possible outcome is feasible for you is a huggggeeee life-changer(not to be confused with "expecting" the best). If every time we were faced with a challenge, we believed that it were the best thing that could happen, then we'd rarely be upset. If we weren't as upset in times of challenge, we could overcome these challenges at a wayy higher level of competency. Functioning at a higher level of competency just means that we are putting ourselves on a track where mathematically we are going to experience a far better outcome a much larger % of the time. In simple terms, we.. .or maybe it's just me ;) ... need to simply be our best, and try our hardest, and we'll experience the best possible outcome that would have ever been possible.

This one has been huge for me. I can't believe I can say this, but this has honestly been the best year of my life. I've taught myself so many invaluable things. I've grown exponentially.

Just in time to soak up my "feeling-like-living-and-letting-go" mood, fellow poker pros, Ana Marquez and Bryn Kenney swept in with the offer of going to Europe. They knew I'd never been there, and everyone in our safari group seemed to agree that it was probably about time that I experience it. This offer brought on some introspection. I suppose in a way I've been scared of going abroad for a long time.

Besides the family that I have here in the states, I've always felt a pull to leave and go elsewhere with my life. Too much noise here, too many agendas, too fast-paced. I had a fear of falling in love with Europe.

 As I described to others, it was like a drug that I was scared to take in fear of becoming addicted. I was scared I'd go and never want to come back! You'll see as you read my upcoming blogs how this trip actually turned out to be penicillin after all. Once I let go of the fear, I was just so simply able to enjoy the things, places, and people that I deserved to enjoy.

After Africa, and some reflection on how to live more the way I want to live... I decided that Bryn and Ana were right.. I should go to Europe!

After a somehow bearable 30 hours of travel, I found myself in Amsterdam.

I'll pick up here next time...

luv ya'll <3
Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of
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