Yearly Archives:2016

Vacuuming…Not Just for Hoover Anymore

MGM smaller fileBy Mary Grace Musuneggi

When most women hear the word vacuuming, they initially think of their Hoover or Dyson. Vacuuming brings up visions of removing unwanted stuff off of their floors and carpets. But vacuuming also means emptying a space of everything. There is a natural law that says “nature hates a vacuum.” It simply means if you remove something from a space, nature will fill the space with something else. For instance, pour water out of a glass and as the water flows out, air flows in.

Another natural law that goes with this is “two things cannot fit in the same place at the same time.” You can’t fill the glass with water and fill it with air.

But the importance of these laws relates more to how we fill up our lives. Too many of us have filled our lives with things that are not good or valuable. We have closets full of ill-fitting, outdated clothes. We have uncomfortable home furnishings. Our living space is cluttered and disorganized. We have bad financial situations, bad debts. We are in unhappy or abusive relationships. We work a job that is unsuitable for us or brings us no satisfaction.

So if two things can’t fit in the same place at the same time, how can we bring in better clothes or better home furnishings? A better job? Happy and loving relationships?

We can’t make room for the good until we have vacuumed out the bad. When the space is cleared to make room for something better, nature will fill the void.

We need to ask ourselves, “Does this person, place, thing, outfit, career, situation, fit the design I have for my life?” If you were writing the script for your life, could you say that you have assembled the right characters, scenery, and costumes to make it a smashing success? If not, create vacuums.

Now it certainly may be easy enough to vacuum out a worn pair of shoes or an old sweater. But what about relationships? Friendships?

One of my favorite quotes is by Steve Maraboli as he reminds us:

“Let go of the people who dull your shine, poison your spirit, and bring you drama. Cancel your subscription to their issue.”

So ask yourself if the people who fill up your space actually bring you joy, make you a better you, support your efforts, cheer you on, and allow you to be who you really want to be. If not…get out your Hoover and vacuum.


Taking Responsibility for Where You Are

MGM smaller fileFor the past eight years, I have been reading the Day Book, Simple Abundance, by Sarah Ban Breathnach. Each day of the year there is an inspirational reading that sends women on a journey to finding themselves, to simplifying their lives, and to walking a path of fulfillment and contentment.

As I prepared to start the readings again in 2016, I reflected on how I began this ritual those many years ago. I recalled being told by a friend that this book was a “must read.” And I remember someone else telling me that she read the book every day, every year, but it didn’t mean much to her until she made the decision to understand where she was in life, take responsibility for that life and then choose to do something better. Then reading the book every day gave her encouragement and the desire to live with passion.

At the beginning of this New Year, we should all do the same.

Have you ever heard people say that if they had the money, they would go on a cruise? Or if they had the time they would take an art class. If they had the support they would start a business. If the kids were older? If the weather was better? If the world was safer? If, if, if!

So often on the road of life, excuses for why we don’t accomplish our goals are very much the same. It’s someone else’s fault: your spouse, your employer, your family. It’s the economy, society, the government. Circumstances. Or the popular, “I had an unhappy childhood.” It is always easy to blame someone or something else for where we are. Or why we don’t move on. But the only way to get beyond where we are is to take responsibility for it. Only by doing that do we have a chance of getting what we want. Taking responsibility means we have made the choices and now we can make better ones. Responsibility gives us control and power.

Her journey of thousand miles could never happen, because she was unwilling to take the first step.

Years ago I was introduced to a woman named Jane, the mother of four boys, who had lost her husband to cancer. At the time, she was not working. Her friends were hoping I could give her some guidance through this period and get her life back on track. Although, of course, she was not responsible for her husband’s death, she was responsible for how she was handing it and how it was impacting her life. She said she was running out of money and wanted to know what she should do. She was getting Social Security for her two youngest sons, but she knew that would stop in a few years. She was forty years old, had been trained as a nurse, and was healthy and attractive. She lived in a large, beautiful home, and the mortgage was paid off. Two of her sons had jobs and all four boys still lived at home.

As I knew that nurses were at a premium in my city, I first suggested that she look for a job. I could recommend a career counselor that she could talk to. Her response was that she was hoping not to work, as she hadn’t had to work when her husband was alive. At that point I just decided not to argue with her about how things weren’t the same now that he was dead and that working seemed to be a simple solution to her problem. Instead, I suggested that she consider selling the house and moving to a smaller place. She said that she would never want to sell the house, and that the boys would be really upset if she did. Although I started to recognize that I might be taking to a wall, I suggested that if the boys chose to stay in the house, they should contribute to the bills. Two of them had incomes; she could charge them rent. She told me she could never ask her children for money.

So I said, “Well you don’t want to work, you don’t want to sell the house, and you don’t want the boys to contribute, so what were you thinking?” She replied, “I have no idea. That is why I came to talk to you. I thought you could help me, but obviously you can’t.”

If only I’d had the magic wand to make things “all better.” But if I had, I would have used it on myself long ago. Jane had a goal: to maintain the lifestyle she’d had while her husband was living. But she hadn’t taken a good look around and figured out where she was now. And she wasn’t willing to take responsibility for where she was at that point in her life. Her journey of thousand miles could never happen, because she was unwilling to take the first step.

As I read Simple Abundance once again this year, I realize that where I am today is where I chose somehow to be, and I look to Sarah to once again inspire me to take the steps to keep me walking my chosen path. I long ago took the first step on the journey to where I wanted my life to be.

Sometimes the first step isn’t clear. Sometimes is it very obvious. In any case, it isn’t truly a step until you pick up your foot and move.

In this New Year, my wish for you is insight– insight to where you are and how you got here–as well as a wish that you find whatever you need as inspiration for keeping you on the path to a life of abundance, fulfillment, and contentment.

Happy 2016!

Mary Grace Musuneggi

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