I used to beat myself up for feeling fearful or anxious feeling as though that is a feeling I need to get rid of - fear means I am not trusting God; fear means that I'm weak or a coward; fear means I am giving into a negative emotion. Feeling fear or anxiety is a part of life - it is a signal just like hunger or thirst and it's what I do with this fear that matters - not that I feel the fear or anxiety.
When I awoke this morning and still felt that soreness in my right leg, I realized I needed to first and foremost acknowledge the fear I felt and then find a way to transcend it. I have never trained for any athletic endeavor in my life so of course as I experience new feelings in my body or see the healing process of a blister or darkened toe nails, my first reaction is going to be - 'What is going on? This is scary!' It's scary because it's new; it's scary because I am paddling out into uncharted waters; it's scary because I am finding the courage to go where I have never gone before and that it is okay to feel anxiety and fear. I have never experienced being an athlete; I have never experienced living in joy and peace and safety and confidence and strength; I have never experienced such a sense of unwavering faith that whatever life experiences there are, God is with me and in me and before me and behind me and in front of me and together we live each moment in the here and now. I also understood how to manage pain - once a part of the body hurts, it is easy to have that imprinted and to brace against it expecting and fearing that it is going to continue to hurt. I released it knowing and trusting that it is subsiding and I'm gonna work it out through stretching and visualizing and prayer. I am also so incredibly grateful to my team of healers - God, Janine and Janice!
I took deep breaths and slowly stretched and loved my sore muscles. I also realized that the body has an incredible capacity to be loved and to heal. I realized that my dream to run the Boston Marathon for Spaulding Rehab is happening and I will work through each and every challenge along the way; I will work through each grueling training run and I will overcome every psychological hurdle that I experience. On every step of this journey, I continue to blossom and here's a mixed metaphor - I unfurl my wings as a beautiful butterfly to fly freely and bring Light and Love out of myself and into the world. I am both the flower that has roots firmly planted in earth and I am the butterfly emerging from the cocoon and awakening to the freedom of flight. Transforming fear into power fuels my journey.
Does a part of me want to retreat and find an obstacle that is insurmountable so my dream will crash and burn and I return to being a victim? Absolutely - after all - living so many years as a victim and being trapped in my body through fear and external circumstances does not go away over night. But this part of me shrinks away much like the melting when water was poured on the Wicked Witch of the West. I stand strong and powerful on the surf board, finding my balance and riding this wave of fear. I can no longer be swallowed up by the waves of fear; God's love and light and power within me give me strength and confidence.
The joy of being last - this thought came to me this morning on the heels of what I shared in my previous blog post - I choose to stop focusing on using arbitrary measures of success and I choose to focus on my grit, courage, determination and faith in going where I have never gone before. What cheers I experience when I finish a race dead last. And you know what? Somebody always has to finish last - so why not me? I choose to pace myself during training so as to not crash and burn. Save it up for race days - not test myself during the training but prepare mentally and physically. YES I CAN and I LOVE ME are the two mantras that will best serve me. Dismissing beliefs of being too slow and the chants from a taunting childhood which I erroneously internalized are crucial to my success.
I was afraid that I would miss the Marathon post race party because I would be too slow or that no one would wait for Team McManus to cross the finish line because we took too long and so on and so on ... I would continue to be a victim and to be left out... SO NOT TRUE!!!!.. but what a joy to expose the fears and the worries and then to ride them like a wave on a surfboard and to know that I have the power to create the outcome of my desires. The outcome of my desire is to cross that finish line and exceed our fund raising goal of $9,000; to be a source of strength and courage and inspiration to others of how one polio survivor defied the diagnosis of post polio syndrome to challenge herself and exceed all expectations; to transform the fear and worries into a power house of Truth which keeps me balanced and secure and strong and confident. The outcome of my desires is to have an ocean of loving arms waiting for us on Boylston Street no matter what time we get there. I embrace the child who believed that she was not worthy of being celebrated for who she was with her braces and limp and pixie hair cut and braces on her teeth; who felt tainted by the mistreatment of family members and I love her and teach her that it is never too late to have a happy childhood!It is never too late to ride the wave of fear and feel the triumphant joy of overcoming so many challenges.