Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Night of Magic

"When polio is finally wiped from the face of the earth, it will be only the second disease - the first was smallpox - ever eradicated due to human intervention. It will be a global health accomplishment of monumental proportion. Tonight's audience, and the great performers whose work they came to enjoy, will always be able to say that they played a role in this historic achievement." - from the NY Philharmonic Playbill on Dec. 2, 2009

I am so blessed to have been a part of the audience for the Concert to Benefit End Polio Now sponsored by Rotary International at Lincoln Center on December 2nd. Itzhak Perlman was stricken with polio at the age of 4. Despite his limitations in mobility, his spirit could not be contained and the gift of music would blossom bringing joy to audiences for decades. He has received critical acclaim and Grammy and Emmy awards. He is a world ambassador with his violin as his instrument.

Growing up I would watch Itzhak Perlman on the Ed Sullivan show. As a fellow polio survivor, I felt a special connection to him. I had no idea that one day I would be seated in the 3rd row of the orchestra at Lincoln Center hearing him play with the NY Philharmonic in a night of magic and music. Before the concert began, Rotary showed a slide show about the End Polio Now Campaign. To quote Desmond Tutu, as he held his forefinger and thumb an inch apart "we are this close to eradicating polio." As the lights dimmed, Rotary International showed a movie about polio eradication; vaccinating children in the areas where polio still exists. And the film showed one mother whose child with atrophied limbs is shown; she tearfully chokes out that her child was not able to be vaccinated. But there is incredible hope that with the End Polio Now effort and the tireless work of the Rotary volunteers that we will create a polio free world.

After the first piece performed by the Philharmonic, Mr. Perlman entered the stage of Avery Fischer Hall. Although he has a motorized wheelchair, he used his canadian crutches to walk on stage. His mobility was labored as he inched his way toward his seat in the violin section of the stage. His legs, despite braces, do not have the strength to support him and he plopped into his seat. Once he placed the violin under his chin, he closed his eyes and the magic began....

With each stroke of the bow across the strings, the music wafted into the soul of every audience member. It was as though he had released a flock of butterflies who carried the notes on their wings and kissed each person in attendance. The music filled his soul; there was no need for sheet music. The music flowed and he and the NY Philharmonic were one channelling the music of the masters. He insisted on standing after each piece played despite the obvious physical effort involved. He was honouring the audience and the audience was honouring him. It was a mutual love affair!

After the last note was sounded and Mr. Perlman left the stage for the final time after returning for a rousing standing ovation, my husband and I began to exit the theater. I had talked before the performance to the Rotarian seated next to me sharing my journey with polio and post polio syndrome. We could not walk more than a few steps at a time as he introduced me to other Rotarians snapping photos. I met Ann Hussey. has this to say in the concert recap:

"Rotarians, many of whom traveled from great distances to attend the historic event, deemed the concert a success. Ann Lee Hussey, Murphy's friend and a district governor-elect, said the event really helped raise awareness about polio.

Hussey, a member of the Rotary Club of Casco Bay-Sunrise (Portland Area), Maine, is chair of the Rotarian Action Group for Polio Survivors and Associates.

A polio survivor herself, she remembers when people with the disease were shunned, and survivors didn’t want to talk about it for fear of standing out. But Hussey says she encourages polio survivors to share their story with Rotary clubs and others, because it helps motivate Rotarians to continue the push to end the disease. “It will be such a relief when polio is gone,” she said.

As the ushers guided us toward the doors I was stopped by a striking woman who said, "Mary?" When I said yes, she said, "I'm Mary Jane Salk". I 'met' Mary Jane on and she is going to be one of the guests on the January 10, 2010 Jordan Rich Show, Polio:Forgotten But Not Gone. I had email'ed her where our seats were located but with a sold out crowd at Lincoln Center never dreamed that we would be able to meet up! Mary Jane was married to Lee Salk, brother of Jonas Salk who is responsible for saving millions of lives with his vaccine.

It was indeed a night of magic. The magic continued the next day when, as my husband were looking for the deli we had eaten at the day before, were 'lost'. We stopped an individual in jogging pants and knew this was a native New Yorker asking him if he knew where Lansky's Delicatessen was located. It was a strange feeling knowing it was right around the block from our hotel and not being able to find it - but as I said, the magic continued. He did not know where the deli was located and asked two policeman if they could help. They didn't know; as my husband and I walked on, we spotted the Deli when our stranger came running up to us to tell us he asked another passer by if they knew where it was and he gave us the address. We stopped to chat for a few minutes. His father was a pediatrician who went to college with Jonas Salk. They had an opportunity to meet him. His father also worked with Sister Kenney who pioneered the rehabilitation treatment for polio survivors:
"In 1911, when she encountered her first case of polio, Sister Kenny was unaware of conventional polio treatment -- immobilizing the affected muscles with splints. Instead, she used common sense and her understanding of anatomy to treat the symptoms of the disease. Sister Kenny applied moist hotpacks to help loosen muscles, relieve pain, and enable limbs to be moved, stretched, and strengthened. The theory of her treatment was muscle "re-education" -- the retraining of muscles so that they could function again. Sister Kenny's pioneering principles of muscle rehabilitation became the foundation of physical therapy." (

I am so grateful for having the opportunity to transform one of the greatest challenges of my life into a blessing and be a part of the movement to create a polio free world. I am so grateful to the staff at the Spaulding Rehab International Rehab Center for Polio for all they do to help polio and post polio survivors worldwide. And I am so grateful to you, my readers, for coming along on this amazing journey!

If you would like to join the movement, you can make a donation at: End Polio Now

With the purchase of my book of inspirational poetry, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World", you support the Spaulding Rehab's International Rehab Center for Polio. If you are a Rotarian, I will donate the 20% of the proceeds of your book sales to the End Polio Now campaign.

Be sure to light up your holidays this year with an original poem from New World Greeting Cards.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Shoes - shoes is the title for a blog post? Yes it is when you are a polio and post polio survivor who is going to Lincoln Center tomorrow night for the End Polio Now benefit concert. In the world I grew up in - Westchester County, NY, a suburb of New York City, appearances were very important. I received that message through the media and through the women in my family. My mother's outer appearance was always impeccable. She modeled for the clubs my father belonged to in their annual shows. She wore spiked heels. My grandmother and aunt always wanted me to wear starched white blouses and focused on outer appearances. They tried to stuff me into outfits which were clearly not me and left me feeling less than with my special shoes with cookies in them. Since the doctor told my parents I had to wear these shoes, I was not allowed to wear the Mary Jane 'party' shoes except on special occasions like a school play. It was as though the inner self did not matter as long as make up, hair and nails were sprayed perfectly in place. Of course, now I know better but I digress...

Back to shoes -- three years ago, almost to the day, after being diagnosed with post polio syndrome (PPS) it was recommended that I go back into a leg brace. It's called an AFO - ankle foot orthosis and it compensates for the lack of flexion in my left foot. In order to use an AFO, I had to go back into 'polio shoes' - referring to those less than elegant tie shoes. My initial poems after being diagnosed with PPS focused on healing the Spirit from the taunting and abuse because of my outward appearance and embracing (no pun intended) the beauty within regardless of what I wear on my feet. In our soon to be released documentary, Keeping the Pace, The Mary McManus Story, there is a poignant scene in which I express my feelings about the equipment I need to use versus the inner beauty which is untarnished by any outward appearances. When I trained for the Boston Marathon and did a lot of strength training, I was able to relinquish the AFO - as if the AFO was something to be relinquished. I realize now that I probably would have been a lot more comfortable running the Marathon in the AFO but old habits die hard. The 'polio' mentality was one of coming out of braces and orthotics as soon as possible and to lose any outward signs of having been affected by the polio virus. As Katherine Ott said in a video about "Polio:Forgotten But Not Gone" it was the AIDS of its day.

I am now wearing my AFO in my walking and running shoes, but can I wear running shoes to the Symphony -- to Lincoln Center in New York City? Well I could if I chose to but instead, I am choosing to wear my black polio shoes with the AFO. We are going to be walking from our hotel to Lincoln Center and yes, I could put on a pair of elegant boots or I could wear a pair of dress shoes - and I did wrestle with what shoes I should wear when common sense and comfort prevailed. I shall feel wonderfully elegant as I stroll into Lincoln Center knowing that I am there to contribute to creating a polio free world. Is the music which comes out of the Stradivarius violin which Itzhak Perlman will play tomorrow night be any less magnificent because he comes out on stage using two Canadian crutches and leg braces? I think not!

If you are unable to attend the End Polio Now benefit concert, you can make a donation on line.

Give while you give this holiday season. With each purchase of my book of inspirational poetry,"New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" I donate 20% of proceeds to Spaulding Rehab's International Rehab Center for Polio. If you are a Rotarian, I will make a donation to the End Polio Now campaign.

Light up your holidays with an original poem from New World Greeting Cards the company borne out of the diagnosis of post polio syndrome.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

It All Started With a Tweet

On 9/7 a tweet from Lissa Rankin caught my eye. I follow almost 1,000 people on Twitter. I am amazed and in awe of how I see just what I'm supposed to see. I clicked on the link that Lissa had put in her tweet and felt this overwhelming urge to do as she suggested - write my obituary. I wrote a first draft, let it sit overnight and then wrote my final draft in the morning. Here it is:

Mary (Alper) McManus died on 12/26/2053 the day after she celebrated her 100th birthday surrounded by her husband of 76 years, Tom, her twins Ruth Anne and Tom,Jr, her grandchildren, great grandchildren and adoring friends and fans of her poetry. She made her transition peacefully in her sleep.
Mary will best be remembered for her gentle, loving spirit and radiant smile. She experienced the gift of grace at the early age of 5 when she contracted paralytic polio. She saw a vision of God which sustained her through endless hours of painful physical therapy and childhood abuse. Mary faced life’s challenges with courage and determination. All who knew her felt blessed by her presence. Her award winning career at the Department of Veterans Affairs ended after she was diagnosed with post polio syndrome. She touched the hearts and lives of countless veterans and their families. She provided them with counseling and was a fierce advocate to ensure they received the benefits to which they were entitled.
Although her body was initially immobilized by the symptoms of post polio syndrome, she found her poetic voice and her spirit soared. She healed her life and went on to run the 2009 Boston Marathon at the age of 55. “Keeping the Pace: The Mary McManus Story” about Mary’s journey with post polio syndrome and her Boston Marathon run won an Academy Award. Mary helped to change the face of post polio syndrome and inspired researchers to examine the positive effects of exercise and strength training in post polio survivors. The teachings of Science of Mind became a part of the protocol for treating post polio survivors. Mary was passionate about raising funds and awareness for polio and post polio syndrome. Her work with the Rotary Club helped to eradicate polio worldwide.
Mary’s messages of hope, gratitude, possibility, faith, healing, and releasing thoughts of lack and limitation were expressed in her many books of inspirational poetry. Karen Campbell, freelance reporter for the Boston Globe had this to say about Mary’s first book of inspirational poetry, “New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World” :Although never formally trained in poetry, McManus’ work is not the sophisticated poetry of journals. It is unashamedly sentimental and sincere with simple rhyme schemes reflecting early indoctrination in Dr. Seuss – he was the childhood favorite she would read prior to painful polio treatments. But the directness of McManus’ poetry,anchored in spiritual faith and positive energy, has brought her enthusiastic fans around the world.” Mary’s blog “Welcome to a New World” was followed by her fans from around the world. She inspired others through her positivity, honesty and connection with her own Divinity. She brought healing, joy, love, laughter and celebration with the original poetry she created as the owner of New World Greeting Cards. Her love and light live on in her poetry and the hearts of her family and friends.

I had known about The Gates Foundation contribution to Rotary International in January 2009 and Rotary's Polio Plus Program. Until I wrote that obituary, the passion for this cause and the role I was to play in it lay dormant.

Since writing the obituary, I found myself at the podium of the Topsfield Rotary Club ,The Peabody Rotary Club and being Jordan Rich's associate producer for his WBZ Radio Show on 1/10/10 entitled Polio:Forgotten But Not Gone. As I spoke to the Rotary Clubs, I shared my journey and diverted from the talk I had prepared as I felt a deep connection to the children in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Nigeria where polio still exists. I found myself become emotional and passionate about creating a Polio Free World.

On Polio Today , I 'met' Joanne Brooks . Please take a minute (or 8) to watch her inspiring story. I called her and we instantly connected. She shared with me that about 35 years ago she watched a story on 60 Minutes about a woman with no arms who learned how to drive and do things a 'normal' person would. She lost use of her arms as a result of polio. She said that she now wants to inspire others as that story inspired her! She will be a guest on the Jordan Rich show along with a Rotarian I met in the Peabody Rotary, Fred diNapoli, also a polio survivor. And this is only the beginning....

I had no idea that writing my obituary would ignite a spark within me and set a cascade of wonderful events in motion as my path for a passionate cause opened before me.

This Saturday, October 24th is World Polio Day. Find out what is happening in your community by contacting your local Rotary Club and make a donation to the End Polio Now Campaign.

Let New World Greeting Cards light up any occasion with light, love and joy as I create original poems for you and your loved ones.

My book of inspirational poetry, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" is available for sale through my website and remember I donate 20% to Spaulding Rehab's International Rehab Center for Polio. I will donate 20% of all sales to Rotarians to the End Polio Now campaign.

Be sure to check out my News and Events page for interviews, and upcoming events about my incredible journey from post polio survivor to a whole new world!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

2009 Tufts 10K

I had the incredible pleasure of watching my daughter at the start and the finish of the 2009 Tufts 10K. She had been training for this day; she did hill training and tempo runs with her dad. She was focused on running the race in under 1:10. It wasn't about the time - it was about setting a goal and exceeding her expectation of what she could do. She started in the mid to back of the pack of runners wanting to go out slow - start strong and finish stronger which is the race mantra. I saw her determined step as she crossed the mat to activate her chip. There were over 8,000 runners at the start yet I could see her among the runners with that spring in her step and the eye of the tiger.

Once all the runners were off, I found a spot right along the corridor of the finish line on Charles Street. We could not have asked for a more beautiful day. Temperatures were in the low 50's - cool for Columbus Day but a brilliant sun warmed the day. There was no wind and no humidity.As I sat enjoying this beautiful fall day in Boston, I focused my thoughts and energy on my daughter having a great run. Since we had run the race together last year, I visualized her along the course sending her my love. She was running by herself but she was not alone.

The front runners began to come down the stretch and then the elite runners followed by throngs of runners. The race announcer kept congratulating various runners and would say over and over again, "Don't let anyone tell you you can't do something." As I looked at my watch and the race clock I knew my daughter would soon be heading down the stretch. I thought to myself, how will I ever find her among all these people. I had friends who were also running and thought I could not concentrate on finding them - I wanted to focus on seeing my daughter come down Charles Street. It was as though the pack of runners had spread to each side so I could see my daughter proudly approaching the finish line. The time when she crossed? 1:09 - she ran an 11:13 minute mile. This was 2 minutes plus off of our pace last year.

She looked exhilarated and energized and told me that the entire race was like an out of body experience. She walked through every water station and made sure she stayed hydrated. She ran a smart race, a fun race and as she said when I met her at the finish, she felt empowered and wonderful. She was amazed at how her time had dramatically improved. She told me that there is no way she could have run that pace a year ago.

When we checked her results on line I noticed the name of a woman who I met through my Marathon Run last year. She saw me cross the finish line of the Boston Marathon and told me that I had inspired her to get into a health and fitness routine. I felt so proud and honored that she ran the Tufts 10K this year because I inspired her with my own courage and determination.

I had thought that I was through with running because of the cervical spine disease and the toll that training for and running the Boston Marathon had taken on my body. After hearing yesterday's race announcer and seeing so many women in all shapes, sizes and with many different challenges I decided that once again I will not let anyone tell me I can't do something. I will take this winter to heal and to get stronger and next October I will proudly take my start next to my daughter for the running of the 34th Annual Tufts 10K.

Let New World Greeting Cards light up any occasion with light, love and joy as I create original poems for you and your loved ones.

My book of inspirational poetry, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" is available for sale through my website and remember I donate 20% to Spaulding Rehab's International Rehab Center for Polio.

Be sure to check out my News and Events page for interviews, and upcoming events about my incredible journey from post polio survivor to a whole new world!

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Imagination - the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality

"Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions." – Albert Einstein

My friends have often told me that I have a wild imagination -- I can conjure up images of problems and even feel that solar plexus clutch as though the situation were happening right now. In being loving and compassionate to myself, I realize that having grown up in a household overflowing with trauma and challenges I developed this habit as a form of protection. Observing this habit of mine I came to the realization that it is time to truly harness this power of imagination to create visions of positive outcomes and to use my imagination to hold the intentions of what I want to experience. It's easy to use my imagination to react with fear, waiting for the other shoe to drop so to speak but harnessing my imagination to see positivity, love and light is a much better use of this gift.

This morning during my meditation I had the image of Mickey the Magician from Fantasia. I had the image of the broom sweeping away the cobwebs of imagining negative images and having the water that overflowed from the buckets as new life, new thoughts, refreshment. If I can use the mind to experience fear and worry and have the physical reaction to these thoughts, then how about if I focus my thoughts and imagination on joyous events and outcomes and celebrate all the amazing things in my life which have already come to pass.

The Waterfall
Waterfall of gratitude cascading joyous tears
new life, new thoughts, renewal
bathe away the taunts and jeers.
Imagine - let my thoughts run free
to hope, to wish, to dream
One with You unlimited
life not as it may seem.
Transcend all earthly barriers
I live the life Divine
Heaven can be here on Earth
I let my Spirit shine.
Challenges - life's crises
are a blessing inside out
strength comes with faith and prayer
outcome never is in doubt.
Listen to the Voice Divine
to know which way to go
relax into the rhythm
of life's waters steady flow.

Having contracted paralytic polio at the age of 5 left me with little time to dream and imagine as I had to harness all of my physical and mental energies into learning how to walk again. Just as I have had to learn how to walk again many times in my life, I have to learn how to flex my imagination muscles on a regular basis. After all, I was fantastic at imagining myself running the Boston Marathon; I was wonderful at imagining exceeding our fund raising goal. Now it's time for me to have fun and use my imagination to fuel feeling love, joy, happiness and peace. It's time for me to use my vision to join with the Vision and Voice of God and move forward with confidence and determination as I live my highest purpose. There are many exciting events scheduled with incredible opportunities to share my journey and my gift of poetry. Shoulders squared, head held high I step out with joy remembering the words of Michael Jordan, "I missed 100% of the shots I never took," and the words of Michael Bernard Beckwith, "Energy flows where attention goes."

Be sure to check out the wonderful piece done by 7 News Health Cast which aired on 8/6 and the piece produced by BU Today

To purchase a copy of my book, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" overflowing with love, healing, grace and whimsy and which helps me and others to experience healing and inspiration, visit I generously donate 20% of the proceeds to Spaulding Rehab's Polio Fund.

Be sure to check out the News and Events tab to see where I will share my journey and gift of poetry this fall!

And while you're there, visit my sumptuous samples of customized poetry. Enter a new world of greeting cards and celebrate, commemorate and allow me to create an original poem for that special someone and that special occasion.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The First Day of School

Today is September 1st and fall is in the air. It's ironic that fall is a time of new beginnings - the start of a new school year, the start of a new season, the start of a New Year in the Jewish tradition. I was reflecting --

What if I lived every day as though it were the first day of school?
Eager anticipation, trepidation, confident I can meet the challenge.
The sound of the bell drowns out the voices from the past.
I'm part of the cool crowd now - a Divine Child of God.
Blank pages, unopened texts - so much to learn and explore
Wonderful opportunities and adventures
I am student and teacher.
I create my day -
stillness, raucous recess, time to study, time to work
time alone, time with friends, reading, writing.
I choose where to focus my attention
Disciplined and free
Hearing the Voice of the Divine Teacher.

I received the results of the MRI of my cervical spine. I am so grateful that there is 'nothing serious' (in the words of my master magician physician) going on and we are going to do another trigger injection along with a course of physical therapy. There are degenerative changes, arthritis, and other incidental findings which may need an additional work up for the swallowing issues I experience. I am hopeful that with the trigger injection and reducing the inflammation, the swallowing symptoms will improve. I am also eager to have another course of physical therapy to relieve the muscle spasms and pain. It is new for me to reach out and ask for support and love when I am not able to satisfy what I believe is the expectation of another person. It is new for me to be authentic, honest, open and vulnerable and true to myself. I email'ed my personal trainer, Janine Hightower of to let her know we have to cancel our appointment for a reassessment of my fitness and develop the next phase of my fitness plan. She responded with a marvelous quote: "Fitness is not about being 100% all the time and the people who have lifelong fitness are those who can maintain a program through the changes our bodies inevitably go through...we'll get through this too!"

Every day can be like the beginning of a new school year. What am I going to write on that first page of my blank composition book? How am I going to create my day? How will I choose to respond to life's tests? I am reminded how training for the Boston Marathon is like running the marathon in life. There can be pain, needing to push a little farther than I thought I ever could and the need to know when it is time to rest, refuel and recoup. There are days I don't know how I'm ever gonna make it through that training run and there are days when I feel I could run forever. I can choose to be in the victim role or I can choose to harness all of my strength, faith, grit and determination and loving support of people around me to meet the challenges with grace and faith. I can retreat and contract into a state of fear, immobilization and isolation or I can choose to focus on gratitude and affirmations expanding my heart and spirit into a state of joy, trust and love. I can feel the love of God evident in the physical world around me and through the love of people in my life embrace and surround me. The love of God provides me with healing and renewal of mind, body and spirit. So I am putting on my new first day of school outfit, sharpening my pencils, feeling all the excitement and joy that new beginnings bring and approaching each day with hope, eager anticipation, desire to grow and learn and with the sure knowledge that with God I have the confidence to live as my divine, authentic self moving confidently in the direction of my dreams.

Be sure to check out the wonderful piece done by 7 News Health Cast which aired on 8/6 and the piece produced by BU Today

To purchase a copy of my book, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" overflowing with love, healing, grace and whimsy and which helps me and others to experience healing and inspiration, visit I generously donate 20% of the proceeds to Spaulding Rehab's Polio Fund.

And while you're there, visit my sumptuous samples of customized poetry. Enter a new world of greeting cards and celebrate, commemorate and allow me to create an original poem for that special someone and that special occasion.

Be sure to check out the News and Events tab to see where I will share my journey and gift of poetry this fall!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Wouldn't it be nice if changing thoughts were as easy as changing our clothes?

I don't know about you but when I put on an outfit that doesn't feel right for the day, I take it off and put another outfit. I always express my gratitude for the clothes that I have and always manage to find something in my closet that feels right for the occasion. For those of you who know me personally, you know that I am far from a fashionista but I do pride myself on making a good appearance. So what about if, when our thoughts go down that dark and dreary path of fear, doubt, worry, anger, jealousy, or just feeling down in the dumps, we took a good long hard look in the mirror to see what we are wearing. Rather than tearing down those thoughts with a sense of disgust, what about if we just gently and lovingly examined those feelings and then, when we are ready, change those thoughts to gratitude, joy, appreciation, love, sense of wonder and feeling wonderful about who we are--as easily as changing the clothes which do not feel right.

Yesterday I was blessed to hear Mike Robbins on
Its All About You The topic was authenticity and the title of Mike's book is "Be Yourself, Everybody Else is Already Taken". Mike talked about how important it is to allow ourselves to live fully and to experience every human emotion - the good, the bad and the ugly only he emphasized the fact that it is important to not judge our emotions and label some emotions good and some emotions bad. Fear is one of those emotions that we tend to label as bad. I love many teachings that The Secret has to offer and believe in the law of attraction but I realized that I was torturing myself when I felt fear. Never mind that it was uncomfortable to feel the fear but then I would become afraid of the fear, fearing I would manifest what I was fearing.

Mike reframed fear and if you listen to the show's archive you can hear how he talked not only about fear but the entire range of human emotions and what it means to be our authentic selves. I had an incredible aha moment during the show as I realized that I need to embrace and examine and understand my fears. It is counter intuitive to embrace fear for it seems that I am embracing the very dangers that fear represents but I realized how important it is to separate the feeling of fear which is an internal reaction from the external events which may trigger the fear. Bernie Siegel, MD in his new book Faith Hope and Healing talks about facing the monsters in our closet so they can no longer have power over us.

I had a dream the other night in which I was in a church with candles lit everywhere. I had to climb this huge ladder which was made out of pine wood. In my waking life I am terrified to climb stairs where you can see through to the ground - you know the kind - with open slats. In this dream the rungs of the ladder were thin and when I reached the pinnacle there was only a thin triangle at the top which I had to climb over. I thought to myself that there is no way this structure can support me and everything is going to collapse. But I decided that I had no choice but to climb down and trust. And so step by step, creaky pine by creaky pine rung I made it to the ground. And when I did there was a group of people there to celebrate communion with me. The communion 'wafer' was a piece of a chocolate brownie that just melted in my mouth. Last night I had a dream that I went into a sports shop where they also sold the lottery. I asked the clerk if he were going to auction off any of the sports memorabilia. He said no and I was going to buy a scratch ticket when one of the sales people shook his head no. I then turned to the lead store clerk and said, 'my prayers are always answered even if the answer is not what I expected. Hail Mary full of grace.'

Scripture talks about putting on new clothes in Christ. Life is going to test us, challenge us, present us with events which evoke fear and uncertainty. When we wrap ourselves in the cloak of faith and know deep in our souls that no matter what happens, the Power within us from the Source of the Ever Living God is far greater than any events in the outer world. Wouldn't it be nice if changing thoughts from fear, doubt, worry, anger, jealousy were as easy as changing our clothes -- it can be if we embrace our thoughts, respond with love and compassion and put on new clothes in Christ.

Transform Fear

When things don't 'go your way' and you feel a sense of lack
You might get the feeling God stabbed me in the back.

Your nose pressed to a pane of glass, afraid to live your life
Feeling overwhelmed by guilt, and frightened by your strife.

You look to God and shake your first, "Why do You do this to me?"
"I live in fear and do what's right, why can't You let me be?"

But this is not the way it is - our Creator's filled with love
And God lives deep within you-not a being from above.
God wants you to be filled with joy-your life to be so free
Release the shackles of your past, discover who to be.

The veil of life is drawn away with angels' loving dance
Inviting you to join them, why don't you take a chance?
Believe you are so wonderful - a creative work of art
Chiseled in God's likeness - you're a gift straight from God's heart.
From "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World"

Be sure to check out the wonderful piece done by 7 News Health Cast which aired on 8/6 and the piece produced by BU Today

To purchase a copy of my book, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" overflowing with love, healing, grace and whimsy and which helps me and others to experience healing and inspiration, visit I generously donate 20% of the proceeds to Spaulding Rehab's Polio Fund.

And while you're there, visit my sumptuous samples of customized poetry. Enter a new world of greeting cards and celebrate, commemorate and allow me to create an original poem for that special someone and that special occasion.

Be sure to check out the News and Events tab to see where I will share my journey and gift of poetry this fall!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Vampire Struck Again!

There is a marvelous phrase in the post polio community coined by Dr. Richard Bruno about vampire bait no more. As polio survivors we learned to become people pleasers in an attempt to feel whole and worthy. It is difficult to say no and a challenge to not take on other people's problems believing in our own omnipotence and need to control. We can, in fact, become vampire bait and allow others to suck on our life's energy derailing us from our own hopes, dreams, desires and ability to take good care of ourselves.

As I was reflecting on the dream I had (see "Dancing with Faith" post) I realized that not only was it about being injected with the venomous beliefs of the past, but allowing people in the present to bite me just as a vampire does. The exact spot on my neck where I am experiencing pain is where a vampire would bite. The image of me walking half alive and half dead is what happens when a vampire takes over - all power is surrendered and the only way to survive is to then drain others of their life's energy. However, my dream ends with me seeking the anti-venom and once I am centered in God, no one can have power over me. I create my own fabulous life centered in God's love and the belief in light, love, joy, abundance, wholeness, healing, prosperity, fulfillment and living my highest purpose.

Today I went for an MRI to find out if the cervical spine condition has worsened or if it is stable and I just need another injection to bring down the inflammation. I realize that I need to work with Western medicine to bring about the best possible outcome. I also need to be incredibly kind to myself understanding why this area is vulnerable, using visualization, meditation and prayer to bring healing to this spot and to allow my 'master magician' (God and Dr. ElAbd) to help me with healing. I also realize there are steps I need to take to put distance between myself and others' drama. I can be loving and supportive but it is crucial that I protect myself from being bitten by the fangs of the drama vampire. While I cannot rescue another, I can surround them with loving prayers. If I am feeling resentment about what 'they are doing to me' (and in fact it is not they who are doing something but how I allow their behaviors to affect me) then I am not free to love them and to express my gratitude that they are giving me the opportunity to grow. I am grateful for the challenge they present in my life because it allows me to shed the beliefs which no longer serve me and to choose a higher path for myself. It is a blessing to move from vampire victim to fullness of life.


Pounding, clanging lying still
Eyes closed and shallow breath
A time to move toward light with God
or fear impending death?
Ego wants to win the flight
Spirit knows let go, let God
Release all fear and doubt.
Transcend the tube all limits gone
The Spirit flying free
Beyond all wild imaginings, the best is yet to be.

Be sure to check out the wonderful piece done by 7 News Health Cast which aired on 8/6 and the piece produced by BU Today

To purchase a copy of my book, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" overflowing with love, healing, grace and whimsy and which helps me and others to experience healing and inspiration, visit I generously donate 20% of the proceeds to Spaulding Rehab's Polio Fund.

Be sure to check out the News and Events tab to see where I will share my journey and gift of poetry this fall!

And while you're there, visit my sumptuous samples of customized poetry. Enter a new world of greeting cards and celebrate, commemorate and allow me to create an original poem for that special someone and that special occasion.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dancing with Faith!

Last night I had a dream. There was a fish that was on my neck and before I knew what happened it turned slimy and black. When I pulled it away there was a huge welt and I knew that it had injected me with a poison. I walked around looking for the anti-venom serum and while I did I felt myself feeling half alive and half dead but I was completely at peace with myself.

I know that our dreams can hold the key to unlock what we struggle with that is not quite clear during the day. I came to the realization that I still allow the beliefs and the actions of my family to poison me with fear, doubt, and feelings of unworthiness. When I allow these beliefs to dominate and live in 'reaction' to the mistreatment I experienced at their hands, I am only half alive. The anti-venom serum is as close as my beating heart - it comes from God's love and is the most powerful healing force in the world. By immersing myself in God's love I am able to transform the cellular memories embedded in my body to live a life of joy and freedom and to dance with the Spirit rather than dance with fear. By allowing my heart to forgive them for they knew not what they did and for knowing that God's love flows through me, I heal on a deeper level.

The fact that the fish was on my neck also told me that it is time to take care of my cervical spine again. During the work up for post polio syndrome, I had an MRI which revealed a narrowing of one part of my cervical spine. The disc presses on a nerve. I have had several trigger injections by a 'master magician' as I like to call him and have gone for over a year without needing an injection. These past few months I have been experiencing the pain and a resurgence of symptoms. My energy healer noticed a tightness in my back and yesterday, my personal trainer noticed that I was compensating for the pain. It was time to call for another appointment. The first available appointment was 9/4 but within an hour, the office called me with an appointment for today at 4:30. There was a cancellation. While I am all for healing the mind and healing the body, there are times when it's time to call on Western medicine to take care of the body. I am excited that I had this dream which confirms that I need to get intervention to heal my cervical spine while I continue to look at why this part of my body is so vulnerable and also use every modality available to alleviate pain and maximize functioning.

Today is my day for interval training on the recumbent bike. When I woke up this morning I was feeling fatigued and in pain and wondering how I was ever going to do this. After processing the dream in my journal, reading the Daily Word and allowing God's energy to flow through me, on the bike I went and during the intense intervals I felt myself releasing the toxins from the past. I told myself how much I loved myself and how working out is wonderful for my heart. I managed to do 9 intervals and was drenched with sweat when it was all over. I felt a feeling of well being which follows a good work out.

Today on Twitter, God spoke to me through two tweets. One was about Superman and the tweet said "a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength 2 persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles". I am Superman! The other tweet came from Channel 5 News in Boston about research that shows that exercise/strength training actually helps cancer survivors whereas medical advice was to 'baby' the arm affected by swelling and pain. That got me thinking....someone needs to do research about the effects of exercise on post polio syndrome. There's a lot of research that needs to be done on post polio syndrome -- so much we don't understand and need to learn but one thing I do know is this - the power of belief and faith can carry me through!

Dancing with Faith

Dancing in the shadows, my partner's name was fear
With phone calls and with mail calls
Disaster looming near.
Shackled to my partner somber music droning on
Expecting only problems belief and faith were gone.
The sliver of a light beam pierced the once dark room
Beckoned me to follow - release the doom and gloom.
The beam of light on shackles, melted every lock away
Fear stood stunned, immobile - not knowing what to say.
Cascade of sun now bathed me - new partner dressed in white
Hand outstretched to join Her - with Love and light in sight.
Dance from deep within my Spirit - joyous movements gliding free
With God now as my partner - grace of God enfolding me.

Be sure to check out the wonderful piece done by 7 News Health Cast which aired on 8/6.

To purchase a copy of my book, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" overflowing with love, healing, grace and whimsy and which helps me and others to experience healing and inspiration, visit I generously donate 20% of the proceeds to Spaulding Rehab's Polio Fund.

And while you're there, visit my sumptuous samples of customized poetry. Enter a new world of greeting cards and celebrate, commemorate and allow me to create a customized poem for that special someone and that special occasion.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Confessions of a Type A Personality

My name is Mary McManus and I am a Type A personality. It was 'sobering' to hear Dr. Darren Rosenberg of the Spaulding Rehab International Rehab Center for Polio comment on polio survivors as Type A personalities in the BU Today feature on my Boston Marathon Run. It was time for me to take another look at how I was still driving myself. I was not giving myself permission to be retired from full time work; I wasn't allowing myself time to be in the ebb and flow and be in a state of grace and gratitude. I had slipped back into a pattern of fear, and the need to control. I was fighting post polio syndrome and I know that when I fight any disease, I can't win.

As I reflected on articles written about my Boston Marathon run, words such as defiant run, fighting back were used. In truth, I was running as a mobility impaired runner to raise awareness and money for post polio syndrome and Spaulding Rehab Hospital. I'm sure that on some level I was sending a vibrational signal about fighting back. I was 'going against medical advice' but I was not going against what my Spirit and body was telling me to do.

So what led me to put back on my boxing gloves and shadow box with myself again? What demons were I fighting and what voices were leading me down the path of unworthiness again? And how did I return to a place of letting go and surrender?

For 25 year I was a social worker. I worked since I was 14 years old - how dare a disease rob me of my ability to work full time. I 'failed' at eliminating the disease from my body. Voices played as I waited to hear about when a Channel 7 Healthcast piece was going to air "we don't want to air your story - it's crap." And I realized that the origins of that voice came from "We don't want you on our team"; "I don't want you as my child" - the message - you are deformed and worthless. And so, enter the Type A personality of feeling the need to prove myself, my worth, my significance.

But the power of God's love mutes those voices -- God says, "You are my beloved; You have chosen a courageous path. Look at how you chose to face the crisis of post polio syndrome in your life. Your worthiness is not dependent on when or if anything happens and is not dependent on 'being' anything other than the magnificent person you are. Follow your heart and live your life being who you truly are and celebrating your wonderfulness. Share your gifts of poetry, love, joy, inspiration and light with the world and let your candle shining brightly be a beacon to light the way for others."

And as I cried healing tears dissolving my ego into a puddle, the tears water the garden of my soul to help me grow.

Post Polio Syndrome
Post polio you robbed me of everything I knew
But not living an authentic life to mine own self so untrue.
Post polio you frightened me - not knowing what was wrong
The days were wracked with pain, short breath
The nights dragged on so long.
Post polio the beckoning walk through the open door
Despite a brace and wheelchair, self hatred lives no more.
Post polio the blessing - my true self I now find
Unearth the buried treasure - release the ties that bind.
Post polio it's time to heal the wounds deep in my soul
Post polio the gift, the grace, the path to being whole.
Post polio I'm peaceful as I live my life with you
No matter what the challenges, love always sees me through.

Be sure to check out the wonderful piece done by Channel 7 Health Cast which aired on 8/6.

To purchase a copy of my book, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" overflowing with love, healing, grace and whimsy and which helps me and others to experience healing and inspiration, visit I generously donate 20% of the proceeds to Spaulding Rehab's Polio Fund.

And while you're there, visit my sumptuous samples of customized poetry. Enter a new world of greeting cards and celebrate, commemorate and allow me to create a customized poem for that special someone and that special occasion.

To enter a chance to win a copy of my book of inspirational poetry, make a donation to www.runovertoellen's for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

There is No Problem Too Big for God!

Growing up in a home with an alcoholic father and a mother addicted to prescription painkillers, I lived in a climate of fear, and mistrust. I became an outstanding detective, developed incredible skills of self reliance and was a control freak. While these traits and behaviors got me through 18+ years of living in and being involved with a chaotic environment, these traits no longer serve me. Today as I was buying tickets on line for an event, my credit card was declined. My instant reaction - fear -- solar plexus clutch -- somehow there were unexplained charges on my card and I went over my credit limit or someone had gotten a hold of my card and wreaked havoc with 'my credit'. I chose another card to make the purchase and then called customer service.

Do you know what happened? I entered the wrong expiration date for the card and that's the reason it got declined. I began to reflect on my instantaneous fear reaction and assuming that something is wrong that I need to fix or worse - there is impending doom. A miraculous shift began to occur as I realized - there is no problem too big for God. No matter what may be 'wrong', with God there is always a solution to be found and a blessing wrapped in the challenge. I waste so much energy in my fear reaction and imagining the worst; I do love and honor myself knowing that these shackles I put on myself come from living in an environment where there was incredible chaos. These shackles weigh me down and no longer serve a purpose and so it is time to...

Shake off shackles let Spirit shine
Release my self let in Divine.
There's no harm and there's no doubt
God turns troubles inside out.
On the edge pull back from fear
God's protection always near.
Call for help feel love surround
Let gratitude and joy abound.

To purchase a copy of my book, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" overflowing with love, healing, grace and whimsy and which helps me and others to experience healing and inspiration, visit I generously donate 20% of the proceeds to Spaulding Rehab's Polio Fund.

And while you're there, visit my sumptuous samples of customized poetry. Enter a new world of greeting cards and celebrate, commemorate and allow me to create a customized poem for that special someone and that special occasion.

To enter a chance to win a copy of my book of inspirational poetry, make a donation to www.runovertoellen's for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

On Being a Champion

"I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'" Muhammed Ali

As a polio survivor I learned shame and embarrassment about what I could not physically accomplish. I am amazed that I found the strength and dignity to stand in gym class every day facing the taunts and jeers of my peers. Having had a vision of God when I was 5, somewhere deep inside I felt God's presence and knew the Truth that they could not touch my soul. But needless to say, this disrupted my relationship with my body. Running the Marathon was an incredibly healing journey and now, in the quiet of my home, I continue the healing journey deepening my relationship with my body which of course is deepening my spiritual awareness.

When once I surrounded myself with random photos or pictures on the wall, I noticed that I now surround myself with reminders of champions. I have an autographed photo from Johnny Kelly Boston Marathon champion, and Tedy Bruschi,a Patriots defensive lineman who overcame heart surgery and stroke to return to the football field, a signed poster from Team Hoyt, incredible champions, Red Sox and Celtics memorabilia and a reminder of my own champion status - my Hyannis Half and Boston Marathon medals. Despite or maybe because of the diagnosis of post polio syndrome, I have emerged as a champion or more aptly put, I discovered the champion that was inside of me all along.

As I live my life as a champion, I notice a transformation in the way people respond to me. Last year when I attended the Health and Fitness Expo sponsored by Channel 7 in Boston, I wanted to meet Tedy Bruschi and be a part of the 'inner circle'. I did meet Hoda Kotb and gave her my press kit; she said she would be in touch with me. How I visualized sitting on the set of the Today Show the morning after I ran the marathon. But it was not meant to be because I had not yet internalized my feeling as a champion. I was seeking the validation from the outside rather than being able to claim my championship status. When I detached from needing to be recognized from the outside as a champion and began to celebrate myself as a champion; when I decided to let go and have fun at this year's Health and Fitness Expo, I found myself in the midst of amazing adventures.

I met former Red Sox pitcher Bill "Spaceman" Lee and his lovely wife Diane through my friend who is producing The Joy of Sox Movie, Rick Leskowitz, M.D. It is along story of synchronicity as Rick and I trained at the VA together over 25 years ago. I had written a poem at the suggestion of my husband to help bring David Ortiz 'Big Papi' out of his hitting slump. For some reason, I slipped a copy of the poem into my pocketbook before heading out the expo along with several of my books. While I was writing my poem about Big Papi, Bill Lee was meeting with Larry Ledoux to discuss Big Papi's slump. They worked together to make his bat heavier near the handle. Both events occurred simultaneously and since June 6th, Big Papi's slump ended. Bill Lee 'just happens' to know Big Papi and said he would be delighted to give him a copy of my poem along with my business card. We celebrated joy and synchronicity and were amazed at the Universe had brought us all together. Bill Lee and I did a book trade - he is now the proud owner of "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" along with feeling inspired by my journey. I am the proud owner of the Little Red (Sox) Book which is humorous, informative, creative and the year after he wrote the book, the Red Sox won their first penant in 86 years!

On Sunday, I had not planned to return to the Health and Fitness Expo. I was exhausted from Saturday's adventures and being on my feet all day and was going to just sit out in the sunshine and relax. When I woke up, the day was overcast and then I had this overwhelming feeling I should go back to the Expo - just to have fun, meet the stars from the Biggest Loser TV show and hang out. I had no idea that I would be meeting Tedy Bruschi and giving him a signed copy of my book. I had no idea that I would be reconnecting with Channel 7 anchors and that on Monday I would receive a phone call from Channel 7 telling me they want to do my story for their Health Cast segment. I had no idea that I would be meeting with two therapists from Spaulding Rehab who would want me to come into their class of graduate students in Speech and Language and Physical Therapy to help teach the students through sharing my journey with post polio syndrome. I had no idea I would meet the marketing executives for Partners Health Care who want to share my story shining the spotlight on the International Rehab Center for Polio. All these things I had imagined and once I let go, stopped forcing outcomes and felt wonderful about myself, the Universe responded to my song of "I am a champion". I will confess that the unfolding of events is even more magical and mystical than I could ever have imagined.

The funniest part in all of this is that I didn't have to run the Boston Marathon to become a champion - I already was one. I am reading Tori Murden McClure's book, "A Pearl in the Storm". There are no accidents and no coincidences. I would not even know about this book had Jordan Rich of WBZ radio not scheduled us both to be on the show at the same time because there just happened to be a Bruins playoff game that night and he was pressed for time. When I first found out I had to share the time with someone else, my ego was bruised - hey I need the time to share my story and the story of Team McManus. But as always, God knew exactly what She was doing. Little did I know that we are two kindred spirits - both pushing ourselves to the edge of our limits (and Tori almost died in the midst of her quest) to find what was True all along - what is True for all of us - no matter how we may be buffeted by life's storms, our essence remains pure and perfect. We are all champions!

To purchase a copy of my book, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" overflowing with love, healing, grace and whimsy and which helps me and others to experience healing and inspiration, visit I generously donate 20% of the proceeds to Spaulding Rehab's Polio Fund.

And while you're there, visit my sumptuous samples of customized poetry. Enter a new world of greeting cards and celebrate, commemorate and allow me to create a customized poem for that special someone and that special occasion.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Denial is not just a River in Egypt

I decided that it's time to acknowledge how beat up my body was through marathon training and running the Boston Marathon and to take some time to heal and recover. I will not bore you with the list of tender areas of my body nor the sense of fatigue that I experience as I ponder going out for another intensive training run. Instead, I will share with you the importance of honoring my body not just as a polio/post polio survivor but as a woman who is learning to connect and love her body in a whole new way.

I am overjoyed that I was able to overcome the symptoms of post polio syndrome to embark on an incredible journey on the road to the Boston Marathon. It truly was about the journey, not the destination although I will admit -- what a beautiful sight coming down Boylston Street with the floodlights looming in the distance and putting one foot in front of the other to inch ever closer to the finish line. What a blessing to have my beloved family surround me along with my personal trainer, Janine Hightower. Just as I learned to push my body beyond its limits during marathon training, I am now learning to acknowledge what I need to do to create a balanced health and fitness program. Once again I am embarking in new territory and am so blessed to have the guidance of Janine Hightower of

Janine reminded me that after I crossed the finish line, I revealed to her all the pain I endured during marathon training as well as areas that were injured. She continues to remind me that she is amazed that I never shared anything with her of what I was going through. We both agreed I was not going to stop any way and I needed to keep those thoughts and feelings at bay to accomplish what I was called to do. But now, I no longer need to deny and worked with Janine to design a program which will enable me to achieve cardiovascular and strength training benefits without burning out and allowing my body to heal.

I don't know what the future holds in terms of returning to running and road races; I do know that my future holds a health and fitness program and a lifestyle which will prevent further disability from post polio syndrome. I do know that I will continue to be a part of the running community. The future holds a time for healing and strengthening and for now I am getting reacquainted with my body. I am so blessed and overjoyed with this body and I am falling in love with my body all over again. The present holds peace, joy, happiness, gratitude, feeling incredibly blessed with the knowledge that I can let go of denial because denial is not just a river in Egypt.

To purchase a copy of my book, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" overflowing with love, healing, grace and whimsy and which helps me and others to experience healing and inspiration, visit I generously donate 20% of the proceeds to Spaulding Rehab's Polio Fund.

And while you're there, visit my sumptuous samples of customized poetry. Enter a new world of greeting cards and celebrate, commemorate and allow me to create a customized poem for that special someone and that special occasion.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Happiness is....

Do you remember that song from You're a Good Man Charlie Brown - "Happiness is..." - it speaks to all the simple pleasures in life and the final lines to the song are: "FOR HAPPINESS IS ANYONE AND ANYTHING AT ALL THAT'S LOVED BY YOU." I will confess that after running the Boston Marathon, I had expectations that I would go on to be competing in road races, beating my personal records, getting up early to attend breakfast meetings... I had the expectation that I had beaten post polio syndrome as if post polio syndrome or any disease is something to be beaten. I believed that I had eliminated post polio syndrome from my body and this was the message I was to share with the world. It's funny how I have come full circle but always spiraling upward. I went from rejecting and hating my body, to loving it in its state of total immobility to then denying all that I had been through and a belief that I had eliminated disease from my body. I didn't need to see a primary care provider for a physical; I didn't need to have my annual mammogram because after all, I am all powerful, all knowing - the mighty and magnificent Oz (and what a magnificent allegory for our ego). Oh how a part of me wanted to believe that but God sent me some wonderful loving friends who did not challenge me but wondered if perhaps I had gone a little off the deep end. And truth be told I had-and that's okay because it is all a part of the human part of human Being. God's plan for me was not to demonstrate my invincibility but rather to share my being human. I had to ask God, well if my purpose was not to show how I could eliminate post polio from my body, then what was the purpose in all of this? During yesterday's "Its All About You" Blog Talk Radio Show God had me hear this phrase during the affirmation portion of the show, "What is my highest purpose? God speaks to my heart in language I understand." I am smiling, feeling overjoyed with my life and my purpose.

I ran the Boston Marathon as a mobility impaired runner. That's the story - that's the purpose. I conquered the symptoms of post polio syndrome in order to run the Boston Marathon to raise money for Spaulding Rehab Hospital and to also be a beacon of hope and inspiration to others. I live with the challenge of post polio syndrome every day. We all live with challenges every day and I am so happy and blessed. I am so grateful because every challenge that I face be it with my health or my business or book promotions or relationships or money puts another notch in my spiritual belt of faith, hope, courage, determination and gratitude.

Gratitude the flaming torch that lights my journey way
The lessons and the blessings woven into every day.
Grateful for just who I am, each precious part of me
A happiness perspective is the key to feeling free.
Love who I see and who I am erase the shoulds and must
Adversity helped pave the path and now with faith I trust.
If I swerve and lose my way, God helps to set things right
Head of my construction crew, from heart She sheds the light.
My ego can be stubborn, shrieking look at what I did
But there's a higher purpose not post polio should we rid.
For those who are complaining, and lose sight of their own gifts
I help them count their blessings, they find their spirit lifts.
For those in midst of challenge, I'm a voice of strength and hope
Someone who has been there and found a way to cope.
I'm grateful for this wondrous life each scar and bump and bruise
I'm grateful for the Power my perspective I can choose.

I can laugh and love myself for my beautiful vulnerabilities and missteps, for going off the deep end at times and for always coming back to Center, anchored in God's amazing Love and Light. I am so blessed to share it with all of you because happiness is indeed "Anyone and anything that's loved by you."

To purchase a copy of my book of inspirational poetry, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" which helped inspire me to heal my life, mind, body and spirit, and become a Boston Marathon finisher, go to

And while you're there check out my sumptuous samples of customized poetry. Communicate, commemorate, create a beautiful keepsake and enter a whole New World of Greeting Cards.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Yesterday I was blessed to be able to attend the Eighth Annual Shelby Cullom Davis Award for Caregiving Excellence at Spaulding Rehab Hospital. I was there to share my patient story and honor the caregivers at Spaulding Rehab. Imagine my surprise and delight when my beloved energy healer, Janice Wesley was a nominee. In my book, she should have won the award for all the love and care she provided during my journey on the Road to the Boston Marathon and beyond. I know Janice though and for her, being nominated was truly an honor. She does not do her work for honors or awards; she finds the reward in her watching her patients heal.

I decided to write a poem for this special occasion and after Ashley Bronson, special events coordinator handed me the mike, I noticed my hand tremor decided it was time to make itself known. Whenever I have to tightly grip something, it can reappear. There was a podium in the corner but I could not stand behind it so I had to hold the mike and read my poem. I tried to put my poem on the podium but had difficulty reading it because of the angle it was at. So I bravely took the poem, held the mike and worked the room reading my poem. Everyone loved the poem and I had wonderful conversations after the formal program and luncheon with a board member of Spaulding and Diana Spencer who created this award and luncheon to honor her late husband who died from complications of MS.

In the past, I would have been apologetic about the tremor and been self conscious asking if anyone noticed it, making excuses but instead I felt God's Presence and also thought about Katherine Hepburn - she was so classy with her tremors and what have I learned on this journey about being authentic and not needing to apologize for who I am - perfect in all of my imperfections.

Divine – extremely pleasant, delightful; supremely good or beautiful, magnificent, heavenly perfect

We've all been battered by life's tempestuous times both in the past and in the present. We can either perish in the wake of the storm or discover that we have strength, courage, determination and a capacity to weather any of life's storms when we are anchored to the Divine and our divinity within ourselves. We all experience times when we are frightened, feeling doubtful, anxious or worried, especially as we take risks to step out of our comfort zone. It is easy to listen to the noise in the world around us and let that static interfere with the frequency of what we know to be true about ourselves. As we grow and transform, expand and grab the brass ring of life, we leave behind old beliefs and allow ourselves to be....

Awaken to hear God's Voice so clear,
the compass to guide who you are
Look up to the heavens, the dazzling lights,
you can outshine any star.
The brilliance within a source of great love –
pure, untainted and true
In no one's shadow shall you walk behind,
step into the spotlight of you.

The old self so frightened needs compassion and care
as she's tenderly laid now to rest
The blame, shame and guilt, the armor she wore –
she did her absolute best.
The price that she paid to sacrifice true self –
to give until she just gave out
Trying to please, fueling all others' needs,
of her own power she had such doubt.

She's now awake and healing tears shed,
polish this diamond so rare
The light cannot hide, it can't be contained
on center stage with the world she must share.
The success of her life is found deep inside,
the courage to step out and shine
Unveiling True Self perfection and flawed –
a woman who's simply Divine!

To purchase a copy of my book of inspirational poetry, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" which helped me to heal mind, body and spirit, visit my website at

And while you're there, be sure to check out the sumptuous samples of customized poetry I create just for you to bring joy to all of your special occasions.

If you are in the Boston area on 6/24 be sure to come and celebrate Poetry in Motion - an evening of inspiration and cheer at Marathon Sports Brookline 1638 Beacon Street Brookline, MA

Monday, June 8, 2009

Corrib Pub Run 5K - One Year Later - Still Running Outside of the Comfort Zone

Yesterday my husband, daughter and I ran the Corrib Pub Run 5K. It was 81 degrees with the noon sun smiling on over 2000 runners. All proceeds go to benefit Boston neighborhoods. The mood was festive and I felt a sense of triumph returning to the first road race I had ever run. My daughter decided she was gonna take off and run her own race - how apropros for our almost 22 year old daughter who is finding her way in the world. My husband said he would stay with me but he wanted me to push myself out of my comfort zone. I noticed a dramatic shift in the way I was feeling - I felt so grateful to him for running a little ahead and encouraging me forward; I did, however, monitor my heart rate and used that as a guide for moderating my tempo. Our first mile was a little over 12 minutes and we finished in 45:48. That is 7 minutes off of our pace last year and a personal best.

Stepping out of my comfort zone in life means that I release beliefs which are no longer true in my life. By clinging to old beliefs and continuing behavior and thought patterns based on those beliefs, I am fueling the sense of unworthiness which comes from the voices of parents, peers and sprung up from life experiences. I separate from God and disconnect from the Truth about being God's child. And so, to move outside of this comfort zone of fear, doubt, worry, anxiety and the solar plexus clutch as I refer to it, I had a beautiful image while meditating this morning.

I visualized that there was a pile of dirt in my solar plexus. I sifted through the dirt and I began releasing its contents and then I had a brilliant image flash through - I can transform the dirt. It is fertile soil for new growth and so I planted a beautiful garden where once there was only darkness and a feeling of being soiled. My healing tears water this garden. It is a place of beauty and a reflection of God's great healing power to transform.

Back to the Corrib Pub road race - I wasn't the fastest runner by any means and when someone would say, go ahead, you're still in the hunt or commented on us being toward the back of the pack I would put my arms up a la Rocky and pronounce, "I'm a polio survivor and so happy to be out here." Toward the end of the race we met a wonderful woman whose name is April and she said, after hearing my story that she feels so inspired. I have heard from so many people that when they hear my story and what I have overcome that they realize how grateful they feel. They say that I give them perspective on their problems and challenges.

I'm so grateful for the gift of polio, post polio and all of the challenges that have been a part of my life's tapestry. I can be a gift and a blessing to others as they see how I triumphed over incredible challenges and they can be inspired to create the best life they can for themselves. I become a mirror for the best that is inside of them. I am so blessed that through the gift of poetry I bring joy and healing to myself and to others. It is a powerful way to express what is in my heart and it also makes my heart sing. I lose track of time when I write poetry and feel such joy when people tell me how my poetry has affected them. I live my Truth whether I am running a 5K road race or running my life. I celebrate who I am, I embrace the beautiful person I am; I celebrate my gifts. I feel such gratitude for the strength, health, confidence, love and joy that God has given to me. I am so grateful for the gift of Grace showers which helps my garden to grow.

To order a copy of "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" - the book of inspirational poetry which inspired me to heal mind, body and spirit and go on to run the 113th Boston Marathon, go to

To celebrate all of life's special occasions, check out the sumptuous samples on my website and contact me to create a customized poem. At New World Greeting Cards - It's more than a card, it's a gift from the heart.

If you are in the Boston area on June 24th, please join us for "Poetry in Motion" at Marathon Sports Brookline, 1638 Beacon Street at 7 pm for a celebration of my Boston Marathon run and a book signing! I am so grateful to Marathon Sports, Mizuno, The Fireplace Restaurant and Trader Joe's for their incredibly generous donations.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Chocolate Covered Grand Canyon Quarter Peaceful Coexistence with Post Polio

Okay so you think, huh? Has this woman lost her mind? Why is she writing about a chocolate covered Grand Canyon quarter and furthermore what is a chocolate covered Grand Canyon Quarter. Well those of you who have followed my blog know that God has been sending me signs on this amazing journey. After my husband Tom and I did our 3.6 mile run,as I was about to get into our car, I noticed a quarter on the sidewalk. When I picked it up it was slimy and brown but the scent of chocolate let me know right away that God was not sending me poop. I was holding a cup of water which was almost finished so I plopped the quarter into the water. When I got home I scrubbed it clean and it revealed that it was a quarter from Arizona and it had a beautiful rendering of the Grand Canyon.

God was definitely sending me a message - life is meant to be sweet, abundant and expansive. It is so easy to retreat and contract into a world of fear and to be deceived by appearances. God was saying to me that I must move forward and that any appearance of limitation or lack must be replaced with a breathtaking expansive view of God's wonders.

Yesterday, a reporter who is interested in doing a story about polio and post polio syndrome email'ed me to ask me if I still had symptoms of post polio. I had to think about it because I feel that I have been victorious over post polio and feel that I have made a full recovery. But yes, I do have symptoms of post polio syndrome. I experience cold intolerance, muscle spasms, tremors, fatigue and difficulty swallowing. I have to take exquisite care of myself and lead a balanced life. I know when I am out of balance because my symptoms will worsen. I also have an imbalance of muscle strength which becomes readily apparent when I am doing strength training exercises. But the symptoms are mild, transient and manageable because I have learned how to peacefully co-exist with the symptoms.

I had done 3 very intense 'challenge' runs and the day after the 3rd one I felt awful. I was dizzy, nauseous, felt weak, tired and had a feeling of general malaise. I realized that I had pushed myself too hard. When I met with my personal trainer, Janine, we talked about balance and we talked about a definition of health and fitness. Do I even want to increase my speed in running? Am I still trying to prove that I am just like everyone else and can do what everyone else does? Well - I am not like everyone else and I am not like anyone else. I am unique. I really love and cherish myself just as God created me and just as life forces have shaped me. I am so grateful for how well I feel - and I know that this feeling of well being is a result of allowing myself to transform from feeling less than, feeling out of step with everyone else, listening to the voices of taunting and teasing and a distorted body image. I had labeled my quirky body with its tremors and imbalances as bad; something I needed to overcome and change or hide and be embarrassed about. But that first poem that poured out of me in February 2007 taught me otherwise.

So now, after running the Boston Marathon, I have come full circle and I am getting reacquainted with my body - hello body, it's nice to meet you again. You are so special and I love you. You are the sacred temple which holds my sacred self. I love you with all of the scars from all of the surgeries; I love you with your tremors; I love you when you can't adjust to the temperature outside and I either sweat a lot or I shiver; I love the challenge of strength training because there is an imbalance in muscle strength; I love you and I am going to keep you as healthy and safe as I can on this journey. We are going to have fun together and I am going to honor and respect when you tell me we've been challenged but not go beyond that point. We're gonna have fun next Sunday at the Corrib Pub Run.

It's been a year since that first road race. I remember the exhilaration of crossing the finish line. After 40 minutes I stopped to walk because I had not yet run over 40 minutes continuously and then resumed running crossing the finish line holding hands with my husband. I am so excited to run the race again - to relax and enjoy and to know that just showing up, running with heart, feeling God's joy and blessing and giving thanks for the blessings in my life is a personal best. Ah yes - life is meant to be sweet, abundant and expansive taking in God's breathtaking view of Love, Joy, Faith, Healing, Freedom, Space and to fill that space with God's Love for myself and the world.

To purchase a copy of my book of inspirational poetry which helped me to heal mind, body and spirit and go on to cross the finish line of he 113th Boston Marathon, go to

Father's Day, weddings, graduations and more - Come to New world Greeting Cards for a poem you can't find in the store.

For those of you in the Boston area, be sure to join us on June 24th at 7 pm at Marathon Sports Brookline (Mile 23 of the Boston Marathon) for Poetry in Motion.;Poetry_In_Motion

Thursday, May 28, 2009

From Panic to Peace -- Patience & Trust

Today was my first assessment since last October with my beloved personal trainer, Janine Hightower. My cardiovascular health and fitness is outstanding; everything about my health and fitness is outstanding. I need to resume upper body strength training which was abandoned during my long training runs. I have a whole new program now; one which will enable me to maintain and improve my health and fitness. Janine is a remarkable teacher - she is patient and knowledgeable and attends to the whole person - not just the exercise regimen. As we were finishing up our session, my cell phone rang - it was my son calling. I turned off the ringer and felt that solar plexus clutch. Will there ever come a time when I see his number flash on my phone and I won't go into panic mode? I ask God for help with this. He was fine; just wanted me to know he had gotten mail I sent to him about two weeks ago and thanked me for the letter I had written to him. He is busy, thriving, helping others and taking as good care of himself as any 21 year old man does. Time to let go and let God.

But the panic feeling remained. I felt lost and terribly out of sorts. I was trying to figure out what was going on. I prayed and also decided I needed to channel the panic so I took out all the trash and recycling, fixed some lunch and realized that my brain had not yet wrapped itself around the fact that I ran the Boston Marathon and now, I get to just enjoy health and fitness. There is no more struggle. Sure there is challenging myself but I have always had to fight to overcome physical challenges - and went from intensive rehab to intensive training for a Marathon and now....

My new training program is awesome - Saturday is a challenging run; Sunday is a rest day; Monday is upper body strength training; Tuesday is gentle run; Wednesday is lower body strength training; Thursday is intense biking (which I love) and Friday is pilates. It took me awhile to get this plan organized and to get out my old strength training sheets and remind myself of the exercises. Today for the assessment I did 21 push ups. I had done 27 at the last assessment but that was before training for a Marathon took hold. I re instituted upper body strength training and did 30 minutes on the bike.

So I began to feel a sense of peace overtake me and then the phone rang - it was a blinded veteran who had commissioned me to write a poem for the 40th Anniversary of the Blind Rehab Center at West Haven. In an email, I had mentioned that I was considering going down for the anniversary; he told me that I would be going down for the anniversary and he was paying for my hotel room. Now all of you out there who may be reading this - please get your minds out of the gutter - he was paying for the hotel room for my husband and me. He wanted me to be the one to read the poem I had written because, even though he could make it into large text, he would still struggle with being able to read the poem. He said that nobody would be able to do the poem justice except for me.

In my blog, I have not written much about my work as a social worker at the VA. I shared how I was burned out but I did not share with you the utter joy I felt when I first went to work as the Visual Impairment Services Team Coordinator in 1988. I could combine my social work skills with my PR and marketing skills and I was in heaven. My twins were well cared for at the day care center near my office and through outreach and marketing efforts, I had built up the roster of blinded veterans from 60 to well over 600. There were political issues that resulted in the position being taken away from me but it was all part of God's plan. It is the total grace that I return to the Blind Center on this incredible occasion to share my gift of poetry. And my husband and I are gonna get to play at an outdoor convention center, Mountain Ridge, in Wallingford, Connecticut after the morning festivities. It will be a mini retreat without computers, cell phones, email and it will also be a way to celebrate a place that does so much to help restore the dignity and independence of our nation's veterans.

So with patience and trust that all is well and in Divine Order I step forward in faith to take these next steps on life's journey. Fund raising for Team McManus officially closes on May 31st. There's no new event to train for - I'll be doing some 5K's and the Tufts 10K but that's about it. I never know where the road will lead and that's the excitement and wonder and thrill of it all. I know that God is my safety net and everything is unfolding just as it should. I can be impatient at times - and I can look at what has not yet happened rather than experience the exhilaration, joy and gratitude for all that HAS happened. It's time now to have a mind set of miracles and grace and peace and love and joy overflowing in my life. And with God, whatever challenges or struggles that may present themselves, they are but a blip on the radar screen of life or as Carrie Underwood says, that mountain you've been climbing is just a grain of sand....

It's a new day, a new starting line - have a great run
With my love and joy,

To read the poem I wrote for the celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Blind Rehabilitation Center at the West Haven VA, go to:

Father's Day is June 21st and that's right around the bend
Visit to see a one of a kind poem you can send~!

To order a copy of my book of inspirational poetry, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" which helped me to heal mind,body and spirit and go on to finish the 113th Boston Marathon go to I donate 20% to Spaulding Rehab's Polio Fund.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


I was awakened at 6 am to the sound of thunder claps and streaks of lightning. Our dear cat Alex who had been asleep on the bed began to meow - and I began to think, 'oh no - today is the day that my beloved trainer, Janine and dear friend, Laura are running in Boston's Run To Remember - what is going to happen?' And then a sense of calm came over me - I prayed and I told God that we needed to have this storm pass quickly. Janine and Laura had trained so hard for this day. Laura had never run more than four miles in her life and with that it was a struggle; Janine had trained by my side as we trained for the marathon preparing for this day. For one moment, a part of me thought, well if the storm doesn't subside then I'll get to sleep in but that quickly passed as I wanted my friends to feel that incredible sense of victory that I experienced after having crossed the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

By 6:30 there were only distant thunder claps and as my alarm went off I said a prayer of thanksgiving to God. The sky had cleared and there was a patch of sun on the street in front of our house. I got up, prepared the bags to take with us, rallied the other members of Team McManus, had our sign in tow and Tom had a cup of coffee to go and off we went. We were going to take the T but we trusted that we would find a parking spot and be able to get around on foot. Sure enough, even though the exit was closed which would have brought us closest to where we were planning to watch the race, we drove on and sure enough, found a parking space.

We walked over to the Longfellow Bridge and our plan had been to watch from the Bridge because we would see them coming and going but we couldn't get to the Bridge. We stood and waited just ahead of the two mile mark and held up our sign. Tom spotted Janine and by her side was Laura. We cheered and screamed. Then we were guided to walk to the finish line at the Seaport Hotel. It was an incredibly festive atmosphere as streets were closed to traffic, the late spring/early summer sun was high in the sky and there were runners for both the 5 mile and the half marathon running through the streets of Boston.

Janine came down the stretch and we screamed and held up our sign. After she had gone through the finish line she came back to see us. She told us that we were in the perfect spot after the 2 mile mark because she and Laura had planned that after they got onto the bridge, Janine would do her pace. Janine set a personal record and proudly wore her medal. I helped her to stretch as she had done for me after the Marathon by allowing her to lean on me. We waited for Laura and saw her finishing strong. We screamed and jumped up and down and then we all celebrated our accomplishments. Tom took pictures and we all felt such joy!

I had such certainty that the thunderstorm would pass and I realized something very important about me. When it comes to giving to others and doing things for others, I am a masterful manifester - I manifested a marathon run, $10,535 in donations for Spaulding Rehab, weather for Janine and Laura, finding parking spaces and creating a perfect day. When it comes to receiving for me, I still find that there are pockets of fear - will everyone show up for my book signing and to celebrate the marathon run? (I donate 20% of the proceeds of the sale of my book to Spaulding's Polio Fund so I am still giving) And how about my financial situation - do I truly deserve to experience abundance and joy and to know and trust that every need is provided for - to release all fear and trust with the trust of a child...and that God is directing me at every turn to fund this special mission of my journey with inspired action and wonderful surprises? The answer is a resounding YES! It is a joy to give and I have an open and giving heart and now it is time to celebrate and to open my heart to receive as well as to give - to express my heart's desire to God and to know that always, in every way, I shall be directed to my best and highest good. And to always, everywhere be grateful for the blessings which overflow in my life. God's love, like the rain which poured out of the skies today douses the pockets of fear and allows me to celebrate and to shine and to be a part of this wonderful human race. God's love also douses competition for when one shines and celebrates - we all shine and give glory to God and share in the power of the Spirit that drives us to be the best we can be.

To purchase a copy of my book of inspirational poetry, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" which helped to inspire my body, mind and spirit to heal and go on to cross the finish line of the 113th Boston Marathon, go to

For Father's Day, weddings, graduations and more, order a poem from New World Greetings a gift you can't buy in a store!

If you're in the Boston area, please join us on 6/24 at 7 pm at Marathon Sports, Mile 23 on the Boston Marathon route 1638 Beacon Street for an evening of inspiration and cheer & a book signing. We'll have refreshments from Trader Joe's, a free raffle for Mizuno apparel and gear and a slide show of Team McManus' Boston Marathon run.

Be sure to check out my You Tube channel:

Saturday, May 23, 2009

An Exercise in Trust and Believing in the Unseen

In he middle of the Team Hoyt 5K road race as I struggled in the 90 degree heat to find a good pace, as my daughter and I were growing hot and cranky, I vowed to never run another road race except maybe the Tufts 10K. My daughter and I exchanged words that we knew we didn't mean as we were tired, hot and hungry (it was an evening race which always makes pre race fueling a challenge). And then there was a woman a little way in front of us and she asked if we could stay together. She had done the road race years before pushing her daughter who is in a wheelchair but did not know the way. She also thought she was going to only run/walk for one mile; her husband told her the place would be marked for her to turn around and return to the finish after one mile. There was no marking. So there we were, 3 souls whom God brought together for a purpose.

I shared my story with this mother whose daughter was struggling with her physical challenge of being a double amputee and also having a traumatic brain injury. She is 24 years old and had received care at Spaulding Rehab. I asked her if she had participated in the Weingarten Adaptive Sports Program; she had all of the paperwork but her daughter wanted no part of it. I gave her my card (I always keep them handy in my fuel belt) and asked her daughter to call me. We had no idea where we were going, how far we had traveled since there were no mile markers but saw some runners ahead of us so we knew we were on the right path. Our fellow traveler recognized a landmark; she lived in the area and knew we were heading the right way. In the near distance I spotted a friend of mine, Tim Doiron (who also blogs and whom I met through with his son Alex. They met us and ran us into the finish line providing the three of us with a lot of cheer and support. My daughter and I had managed a 14:36 minute/mile pace - that was ten minutes off of my first 5K run on June 1, 2008. It always feels so good to make progress but the greatest progress I made last Thursday was in the area of Trust.

When we got off of Rte 128 to go to the race, there were no signs pointing us toward where we needed to go. I drove seeking to find the 3 lights which were our landmark and my gut told me to turn around nd go back the other way since I did not see a 3rd light. We drove the full length of the road in the other direction, passing a police man and then again, my gut told me I needed to turn around. I rolled down my window yelling out to a woman whose window was open and indeed I needed to turn around. So when we got the police man, I told him I was lost. He told me I needed to go straight for about 3 miles. Had I been patient the first time, I would have reached my destination. Had I become still rather than feeling a knot of fear, and had a knee jerk reaction, I would have known I was going the right way and would have reached the intersection. And just as, in the middle of the run, I was wondering what I was doing out here competing yet again in another road race feeling lost and alone with the pack way ahead of me, God sent me my answer.

I have a purpose and I need to be still and patient and to allow God's light and Voice to enter to reveal to me the path I am supposed to be on. When I try to control a situation, it usually does not turn out well. When I release the reins of control and go in the flow, life is so much easier. And when I allow love and gratitude to flow through me and wash away those feelings of unworthiness and doubt and fear, I can shine and be vibrant and truly enjoy life.

Today my husband and I got up at 7:00 am to join the Marathon Sports running club. Domenick our beloved trainer from Spaulding greeted us with a warm hug and smile (well he hugged me - he shook my husband's hand). Domenick is so cool as a trainer - he gave us a route and told us it's about 3 miles (this was after the Boston Marathon run). Well, as my husband and I took off on this '3 mile' run I felt we were doing a really good pace. On the way back, my husband really pushed me and I felt I was flying; my watch said it was 45 minutes and then 48 minutes and I'm thinkin' - hey wait a minute, this is a slower pace than when I ran on Thursday night in the heat so I really poured it on and when we finished, I asked Dom, 'how long a run did we just do?' And he told me it was 1 mile to the reservoir; 1.6 miles around the reservoir and then 1 mile back - 3.6 miles! See - all I had to was trust that I was doing an incredibly fast pace and in fact, it was a 14:30 minute/mile. But you know, as I have said so often in this blog, it is not about the time per se - it is about a feeling. It's a feeling of being able to challenge myself and overcome my limiting beliefs. It is a feeling of doing better than the last time out but it's also a feeling of loving myself no matter what pace I have done. It's a matter of knowing that I am a shining example of what is possible with God and every time I go out there and run it is a reminder to everyone that I am couragous and strong and true to my faith. When we started out on the run, I could feel my solar plexus clutch as those thoughts which can so easily hunt me, creep into my mind. By run's end, I felt so free and so gloriously in touch with God's grace in my life. Some might call those endorphins - well yes they are - but they help me to release all of the doubts and fears and feelings of unworthiness and feel the power of God's love surge through me.

We cannot always see what is going to work out for the best and highest good. My son has moved out of our house and has his own apartment. He is working at a local restaurant to pay his bills while pursuing his dream - to create a sustainable, profitable vegan collective restaurant. A friend of ours is the manager at Trader Joe's and I thought - ooh that would be a great job for him - stable company, great benefits and told him he could contact her and would be a shoe in. He did not because the job at the local restaurant is working out well for him and he loves doing deliveries because he has his independence, gets tips and is getting a lot of shifts which helps him to meet his financial obligations. When I told my friend about his deciding to not pursue the opening at Trader Joe's she said to me - well you're not gonna believe this - our downstairs neighbor just got laid off and he is the sole breadwinner for his family so I will be able to hire him for the slot - you never know.

Right before I ran the Marathon, I attended an event hosted by Spaulding Rehab about treating traumatic brain injury in returning veterans. Why was I going there I wondered since I left my work at the VA far behind me...I met Lee Woodruff, wife of Bob Woodruff, ABC correspondent who had been critically injured while covering the war in Iraq. I gave her my card and shared my journey with her. I had not given it a second thought. As I sat reading my Brookline Booksmith newsletter last week I see that she is doing a book signing at our local bookstore. So I go and there is one seat left in the front row. She made eye contact with me during her talk and after, as I went to have my book signed by her, she told me it was wonderful to see me again. I told her that I ran the Marathon and raised $10,535 for Spaulding. She high five'd me and then the words just fell out of my mouth, "I want to be on GMA to share my story." She told me to send her pitch to her blog and she promised me that she reads every comment. It would take awhile because she hd to finish her book tour - oh and I must add Perfectly, Imperfect to my favorite reads - and was going to be very busy with her campaign this Memorial Day weekend. I gave her a hug and told her I felt like she was an old friend.

As I turned to leave, a woman stopped me to say that she was also at the Spaulding Event - she just happens to overhear my conversation with Lee and we began talking about my journey. She has worked with polio survivors dealing with post polio syndrome and is also friends with my friend, Suzanne who ran on the Race for Rehab team and who I had met when I was still using a cane. She would love to come to our event at Marathon Sports on 6/24 and plans to let others know about my journey.

As I was tweeting about the campaign feeling the love that I have in my heart for our nation's veterans, I decided to let Daryn Kagan know about what they were doing. Later that day she had done an interview with Lee Woodruff and posted a blog about it on her website and is now part of the campaign. We are all deeply connected if we just trust and believe in the unseen and how God is working with us to create love and caring and compassion once we let go of control, doubt and fear. I will confess that when God called me to this new path of poet and Boston Marathon finisher, I did not understand why I had worked at the VA for all those years - why had I taken the path of a social worker? Did I make a mistake? And of course, there are no mistakes. I can see now how working at the VA was all a part of my perfect life plan. My MSW skills not only help me in my customized poetry business to bring out what people want to say to others, but is a gift that I continue to use to help others who are experiencing life changing physical challenges. I am being called to use these gifts but in a way which enables me to live a more balanced life. And I received a call from one of my veterans whose life I had saved through a phone intervention and then getting him hospitalized as I was leaving the VA. He is one of my greatest supporters in so many ways in my new life. So there are no accidents, and part of this wonderful magical mystery tour is to see how the tapestry of my life is being woven with God's amazing love and grace.

I could go on for days about recent events involving synchronicity but that's good for now .. you get the idea - when we live in Trust and what we cannot see, it is the place where magic and miracles happen and where we move toward a New World!

To purchase a copy of my book of inspirational poetry, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" which helped me to heal mind, body and spirit, go to www.newworldgreetings.comF Remember, 20% of the proceeds are donated to Spaulding Rehab Hospital's polio fund.

For Father's Day, graduations, weddings and more, come find the cards you won't find in a store: