Tuesday, February 3, 2009

After Dashing Through the Snow - a Time for Honest Reflection

After my brother told me that he would be unable to attend the Boston Marathon, I was not a happy camper.I admit that the conflict between playing small and staying safe and continuing to expand and grow raged within. I allowed his actions to trigger feelings of unworthiness After all, I had visualized crossing the finish line to the cheers of he and his girlfriend. I visualized telling him, 'your little sister just ran the Boston Marathon'. And God, as always, knows what is for my best and highest good and this scene was not to be. It's been over a week now since he called to tell me the news and it's been a week blessed with opportunities for me to grow.

Running the Marathon is not about ego-it is about being driven by the Spirit and it is about answering God's call. It is about fulfilling my life's purpose. I was blessed with the gifts of polio and post polio syndrome for while my body was ravaged by disease, I discovered my relationship and connection with God - an everlasting, ever loving, overflowing Source of Divine Love, Divine Energy, Divine Wisdom and unlimited possibilities. Now, I am blessed with miraculous physical healing. I watched the PBS special, "The Polio Crusade" which Janine (my personal trainer) had email'ed me about. I realize how blessed I am for the gift of health and healing; I also honor myself for the tremendous courage I demonstrate with the undertaking of this journey to the Boston Marathon. Without the love and support of my family and friends, this would not be possible. I am so blessed to have found forums like Just Finish and Runner Insight to find people to support and bless my journey as I inspire them.

Yesterday on the blog talk radio show, It's All About You, Dr. Jonathan Ellerby talked about his book "Return to the Sacred". He talked about how my soul/our souls are growing and evolving but our labels are not. So it's important to keep what's worth keeping and with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away. He also talked about how we each have different spiritual personalities needing different sources of nourishment to grow. One person's book or way to achieve their connection to the Divine is no better or worse than other person's path. It's all about honoring the variety. They talked about The Secret - now when I first set out on this healing journey in January of 2007, it brought so much light and love and wisdom into my life. Since then, there have been a lot of critics (me being one of them) and Dr. Ellerby so eloquently reframed the criticism - let us be happy about what is said, what was helpful rather than focus on what's wrong and what's not said. Along these lines, he talks about making a choice - to live a life that is based on being scared - blame, regret, shame, fear, divisiveness, judgment or a life that is sacred - being thankful for what is there in a book, a relationship, a sermon, an experience - being thankful for what is being brought forward and again, with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away. He also talked about the importance of inner intention - living the message of love and healing rather than focusing on the external world both in terms of what is happening with outer events and with other people. The message I took away was - clean up your own act and live your life in love and healing and the rest will take care of itself. I think of the saying in the Gospel - remove the plank from my own eye before trying to take out the splinter from someone else's eye. I also am so incredibly grateful to Margaret Bullitt Jonas for a sermon she preached last Sunday. She sends out an email copy of the sermon and she preached about Jesus casting out the 'unclean spirit' from the man in the Synagogue. The unclean spirit did not come out quietly and she talked about how sometimes we hold on so tightly to those thoughts and behaviors which come from an unclean spirit.

Just as the snow is making everything pristene white, I feel cleansed and refreshed by the events of this past week. I had an opportunity to examine my choices and my reactions and God sent me so many beautiful teachers - Darien and Darius of Its All About You, Jonathan Ellerby and Margaret just to name a few to support my choice to expand and grow regardless of any external events. Today, Tuesday, is training day and the flakes had just started falling when I ventured out to do my hill training. The hills still had black ice on them so God, once again, sent me another training plan - run up Dean Road, down to Cleveland Circle and then down Beacon Street - go for a half an hour, turn around and come back. I still had to negotiate through patches of ice and slush and zig zag across the streets to find the best route. The outbound side of Beacon Street was clear and I smiled as I passed other runners and listened to my iPod. I tried to keep a good pace with the snow and wind in my face, and then started wondering about my time and distance. As soon as I started focusing on those thoughts, I could feel my energy drain and I realized I needed to celebrate the fact that I, Mary McManus, polio and post polio survivor was out there running at a good pace in the SNOW!!!!! I was fearless - I was in running shoes and running gear and nothing was going to prevent me from doing my training run - nothing else mattered and besides, God had developed the plan for the training run - who am I to question God's plan?

So, I told myself to relax and enjoy the run and let go of time or distance or anything else because it is about the joy of exercise; the joy of being outdoors on a cold snowy day, the joy of being free, the joy of health, the joy of solitude and peace, the joy of seeing smiles on people's faces as they saw me run by and magically, I felt the energy flow through me. I thought about the snowflakes as angels doing a dance of celebration for the healing which I have experienced and they were dancing with jubilation for all the joy and light and love that is coming forth in the world. When it came time to run up Chestnut Hill Ave, I surged forward and used it as a hill training opportunity (as I had when I first set out on Dean Road after realizing that to run up and down the hills would be perilous given the black ice). As the snow fell harder and my glasses were steamed up, I felt angels surround me with their dance and they guided me safely back to my warm home. And by the way, just for the record, the total distance with a warm up and a cool down was 4.54 miles so I did keep a 15 minute/mile pace for the 4 miles of running - but it truly matters not for when I get out there on our 16 mile long run, our half marathon, our 21 mile long run and then 26.2 miles on Marathon Monday, there is only one thing that matters - that I run with God, for God to show the world that with God, all things are possible.

Be sure to go to our firstgiving website at www.firstgiving.com/teammcmanus

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