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:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Endurance - the power to withstand hardship or stress; "the marathon tests a runner's endurance"
Endure - to put up with; tolerate

Do you endure life or do you demonstrate endurance as you go through life? I used to believe that life was something to be endured - to just get through it as best I could. I had my moments of feeling close with God and boy did I pray to God asking God to relieve me of my burdens. But that was before I learned about endurance and before I discovered what and who I am really all about and before I fully entered into a relationship with God. For me, the difference between endure and endurance is love and gratitude. The key word in the definition of endurance is power and oh what power there is in love and gratitude.

So how did I go from enduring life to an endurance athlete (both in running and in life)? For me, it took the crisis of post polio syndrome to be reawakened and discover all the joys that life has to offer - joy, she's talking about joy? Is she nuts? Look at the papers, look at the economy, look at your 401K, look at .... When I was first diagnosed with post polio syndrome I could have bemoaned my fate instead of opening my heart and finding the blessing - turning adversity on its head if you will and to heal my life. With a body being completely shut down, I had to turn inward and I discovered God speaking to me and through me. I discovered the power of being connected to God - and finding God everywhere!

Joy, love, gratitude and happiness are an inside job. To hold onto joy, love, gratitude and happiness regardless of external circumstances comes from my relationship with God. And one of the greatest ways that I experience love and gratitude is to give - to give with an open heart and love and support others as they go on their journey's way. When someone experiences a success, I feel that deep abiding joy as though it had happened to me. I was not always like this - I would feel competition, and that there was not enough to go around and if someone else received attention then it was taking away from me. That came from a place of feeling unworthy and feeling that life was to be endured. I also allowed ego to get the best of me.

That's not to say that I do not experience feelings of fear, anxiety, sadness, anger or frustration - it is to say that I ask God to help me when I experience these feelings and to help me return to a state of peace and Oneness with God. I invite God to enter into any and all situations throughout the day - either through my expression of gratitude and love or to ask for God's help if I find that I am in a situation which is beyond my control and my feelings begin to spiral out of control.

Spring is a wonderful time to be reawakened - I look at the leaves and the flowers and hear the birds' songs that seem to have suddenly, magically reappeared in the world. I feel God's love and power pulsating through nature and I realize that I, as a child of God, have that power pulsating through me. I feel God's love in the green grass, the gentle breeze, the fragrant scent that comes with a New England spring and I realize that as God so loved the world, God loves me.
That power - that love can be found in so many people, in so many places, in so many events and in all seasons - all we have to do is open our hearts and our eyes to experience that glorious, wonderful feeling of love. And with that love, life is no longer something to just be endured, it becomes a wonderful journey blessed by God's grace to provide me with everything I need to go the distance.

Keep Awake from "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World"

Keep awake and you shall see the signs along your way
Stir yourself from a spiritual sleep as you go about your day.
Give thanks, be grateful, remember - “seek and ye shall find”
Focus only on the positive – hold greatness in your mind.
Erase what-if's – instead you'll know that you can hold the key
And tell yourself with utter faith “I deserve a great life for me.”
Ignore the outer world of noise – feel only love inside
Ask God for all the blessings – your soul just open wide.
And once you're filled right to the brim, all worries melt away
You now shine the light of Love, forever shall it stay.

For more of the poems which inspired my body to heal and enabled me to run the Boston Marathon, go to
and purchase a copy of my book of inspirational poetry. I donate 20% of the proceeds to Spaulding Rehab's Polio Fund.

To have a customized poem created by an award winning social worker who has the gift to bring joy and healing through words, visit and place your order today!

Every day is a new starting line - here's to a great run!
With my love and joy,

Sunday, May 17, 2009

What Am I Putting in My Tank?

My husband and I had a fabulous time going twice around the Reservoir yesterday. He was amazed that I could keep up with his 12 minute/mile pace the first time around but I felt that I was running out of fuel and rather than quit, I opted to ask him if we could power walk the second time around. We would still get the benefits of exercise, but I would not totally deplete myself in the process.My average heart rate was 133 and the peak heart rate (trying to keep up with his pace) was 175. We exercised for over 40 minutes.

With every step I took I gave thanks to God remembering that just a short while ago, every step that I took was a major effort and fatigue would overtake me without notice. I remember a little over a year ago when we went for a walk on Wollaston Beach, after twenty minutes, I could not take another step and had to honor my body's limit. I had to learn to love myself when I couldn't walk more than twenty minutes; I had to learn to love my body which I felt had betrayed me so many times with polio and post polio syndrome and having to go through so many surgeries. I had to learn to love all of the scars and to embrace all the challenges which I needed to overcome to achieve integration and wholeness of mind, body and spirit. The love fuels the healing process.

When I feed on doubts, fears, feelings of unworthiness, competition, scarcity,anxiety and worrying about the future, I am depleting my mind and Spirit of what it needs to Thrive! It's as though I am 'eating' junk food for the mind and spirit. And like junk food, it is deceptively tasty but empty of the nutrients which I need to grow. So what am I putting in my tank? Well, I am fueling myself with love - I am fueling myself with self-love, with God's unconditional love and with love from others. This is a new experience for me - and I suspect a new experience for many. Growing up in the 1950's I was told that self praise stinks, that children should be seen and not heard and I fed on those messages (along with a lot of junk food I might add-twinkies anyone?). Eventually, my body just quit but when it did, I was able to finally unearth the true me and you know what? I loved myself in a leg brace, wearing 'polio shoes', using a cane and at times a wheelchair for mobility. I discovered that self worth and self love is an inside out job.
As Victor Frank, concentration camp survivor teaches, the only thing we have control over is our perceptions and our reactions to external circumstances. So I choose to fuel myself with love and forgiveness and gratitude.

Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you love you - just as you are -- yes, just like Mr. Rogers neighborhood. Find a baby picture of yourself - who could not adore that precious little baby - remind yourself of your beauty, your innocence and feel the urge to just hug yourself. Celebrate who you are - know that you are a priceless, precious treasure and be grateful for all of the life experiences that have been woven into the rich tapestry of life that is uniquely you. And whatever you are not pleased with in your life, ask for help - I go to God to fill up my tank and try to keep a full tank connected to God's Love. It's easy to allow the gauge to move toward empty but just as I knew I needed to power walk that second time around the reservoir, I know when I need to stop and ask God for love, for wisdom, for strength, for guidance and for help. I also fill up my tank with gratitude giving thanks to God for the blessings which overflow in my life. I reach out to others for love and support and I am amazed to discover how many people are there for me as together we live, laugh, love, celebrate, cry, vent and experience all that life has to offer. It's all about what I choose to focus on....

Love Yourself
Self-praise stinks a favorite phrase of parents from days gone by
Half-hearted compliments given, 'well okay at least you can try.”

And children should be seen not heard
keep your voice silent, don't say a word.

No opinions should you share, but do each thing by rote
No room to create, you'll play someone else's note.

For years your voice was silenced – it's now your time – breathe free
It's time for you to hug yourself, “I really do love me.”

Replace the constant nagging – find your joy and bliss
And live your dreams, your passions – for life was meant for this.
From “New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World”

So what are you putting in your tank? I hope the answer is love!

It's a new day, a new starting line - here's to a great run

To order a copy of the book which inspired me to heal mind, body and spirit and to connect to God's overflowing love, go to and purchase "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" I donate 20% to Spaulding's Polio Fund.

To explore a new world of greeting cards, listen to: For a unique, personal gift that you can't find anywhere else, let New World Greeting Cards create a customized poem for that special someone.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Three Weeks Later....

So here I am three weeks after I ran yes ran the Boston Marathon. That is an amazing accomplishment for anyone but for me - it is a miracle. I am experiencing my body in a totally new way. I went from intensive outpatient rehab at Spaulding Rehab to personal training and then training for a Marathon. I had no idea that a body could feel good - let me say that again - I had no idea that a body could feel good. I feel so good that I canceled my appointment with my energy healer, Janice yesterday because there was no need. Today, my daughter and I went out for our twice around Jamaica Pond. It was a glorious Spring day and a perfect running day. She kept a really brisk pace and we did about a 13 minute mile. My heart rate went up to 173 during one of the sprints she led and my average heart rate was 150 - for 43:11. Not bad for this 55 year old polio survivor!

What is helping me to keep a healthy body in addition to doing the exercises prescribed by Janice, doing core strengthening and stretching and walking and running is maintaining my spiritual health. In this world overflowing with bad news and events swirling around me, I was so blessed to attend a service at the Lord's Gathering Church in Woburn. Now I am not an evangelical person by nature; I do have a deep faith and practice spirituality every day but I have to tell you - it was like going to a rock concert for God. The energy, the love that flowed, focusing on the Good News, feeling the unconditional love that flows from Jesus and God and the Holy Spirit {and whatever form your God or higher power may take} was indescribable. I was invited on Saturday to share my journey with the Women's Mother's Day Brunch and to do a book signing; the Spirit moved me to return on Sunday where my friend spoke. She talked about God knowing us even before we were born and I just felt God's love flow through her. I feel as though my recovery from post polio syndrome is complete.

Confession time - I have had episodes of being absolutely terrified. When I went out for lunch last week with my beloved trainer, I told her that I was afraid I would go backwards and lose functioning and strength again. She reassured me that we would resume strength training once I made a full recovery from the marathon. I told my husband that I'm afraid about my business continuing to thrive. I bought into the incredible psychology of fear that is happening in the world. And this psychology of fear tapped right into the depths of my soul. What was I really afraid of? I was afraid that just like I dropped to the ground 50 years on June 3, 1959 that my world would once again come to a screeching halt. I was afraid that everything would stop just like it did after my dad suicided when I was 17. But the great thing about fear is that it is false evidence appearing real.

How do I address the fear? I realize that fear is a habit - my thoughts know just what to do to trigger that marvelous solar plexus clutch.(read with sarcasm) I decided that it was time once again to have a real heart to heart chat with God only this time I did so in the presence of my husband asking him for his love and support along with God. And I asked him to pray with me.I wept from the depths of my soul and shared with him the fears I was harboring and had been harboring for so many years.I dared to be vulnerable and open and to ask God and my husband to help me know that I deserve to be pain free, to feel free in mind, body and spirit and to feel safe and secure in the knowledge that I am God's child - perfect in all of my imperfections. I am an expert at coping with pain and challenges and anticipating problems; celebrating and expecting great things to happen is very new for me.

I felt such a sense of peace and love after praying with the women at the Lord's Gathering Church. I also had an incredible epiphany - I would do the work that I do - writing customized poetry for all occasions - for free. I would give my books away for free if I did not have a mortgage and bills to pay. So I need to imagine that I am independently wealthy and that I can do everything for free and really, really feel it and know it and along with this - I thank God for everything I have right now and knowing that every need is being met right now in this present moment. Every time I feel that fear I recognize it - and ask God to please take care of this and release it to God. I replace the habit of fear with the habit of trust. I replace the thoughts of worry with knowing and feeling God's unconditional love for me. When I imagine a negative outcome for some situation, I switch on the light and I reprogram myself to imagine a positive outcome. After all - look at what imagining a positive outcome has created in my life? Healing from a progressive neurological disease, running the Boston Marathon and raising over $10,500 for Spaulding Rehab Hospital, having a book published and creating a business from scratch. Why am I gonna stop now?

To order the book of inspirational poetry which helped me heal mind, body and spirit, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" log onto I donate 20% of the proceeds to Spaulding Rehab's International Rehab Center for Polio to fund much needed education, outreach, advocacy and research to help other polio survivors.

To give a gift from the heart for any occasion, to say thank you to someone special or to promote your business in a new way, check out my samples at

You'll be glad you did!

There's still time to donate to Team McManus go to

It's a new day and a new starting line. Have a great run!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Spiritual Spring Cleaning and Running is Fun!

I have spent the last two weeks recovering from the past fifteen months of training for and running the Boston Marathon. It was a very long winter. And now, as the sun is warming up the air, the birds are singing and everything is in bloom, I feel refreshed and reborn. I have been praying, meditating and visualizing the healing in my body once more - this time for healing blisters, easing the pain of battered quads and hamstrings and to alleviate exhaustion. Remembering to love my body as it recovered was key and to be patient knowing that in time, I would feel better. I had no idea what to expect for in truth, the anxiety was there - would my body rebel and would symptoms of post polio reappear, and what about all the other areas in my life - book sales, the business, relationships with family and friends - for the past 15 months I was consumed with one goal - well two goals because Team McManus needed to raise $9000 for Spaulding Rehab. How would I regain a balance in my life?

The answer came this morning as during my morning meditation I realized it was time for spiritual spring cleaning. As I felt the solar plexus clutch over many 'issues' that were swirling around in my mind, I took a broom and I swept out the thoughts and beliefs which are no longer true. I went through my spiritual closet packing up the thoughts which have stayed in the dark and haunted me for years. First, I turned on the light to see them more clearly and to understand their source. Then, asking God to lend Her Hand, I packed up those beliefs which need to be sent packing. This is not a package I want to give to Goodwill as hand me downs.

I noticed as I walked down the stairs that my hamstrings were no longer screaming at me. I noticed that I felt good and I noticed that I was ready to get out for a run again. It was supposed to rain this morning but there was no rain in sight. It was a little chilly so I layered - I forgot about the 15 degree rule and also to eat breakfast as soon as I first get up so my body has time to digest it before running - oh well - no harm... Team McManus went to Marathon Sports to join the Running Club. Dom, our beloved Team trainer from Spaulding greeted us with heartfelt congratulations and I met other runners who had also run Boston. As they talked about negative splits and times and the next challenge, I listened and smiled and felt so much gratitude that I had finished the Boston Marathon. All feelings of being less than or jealous that they could so much more than I banished for we all were awarded the same medal.

Dom told me that it takes about two weeks for a Marathon recovery - hey what do you know, my body was right on schedule. He agreed that a 3 mile run was the best way to start and told us of a route that was about 3.1 miles. He also suggested that we run on the gravel path to give our joints a chance to continue to recover. There was a woman new to Boston and the running club - Allison is her name (sidebar - God keeps sending these wonderful women named Allison into our lives). She had no idea where she was running to - a perfect solution for Ruth Anne to be able to keep her pace. They took off together and Tom and I walked for 5 minutes and then began to run. As my heart rate went up quickly, I remembered that I had not eaten my breakfast as soon as I woke up - my body was fighting to digest my oatmeal and toast. I relaxed but kept pushing myself to keep a running pace. I also remembered how, a year ago, I could run for only 33 minutes by May 28th (I know this because I had to review the story I submitted last year for the Tufts 10K; my story has been chosen to be featured on the Tufts 10K website this year to inspire other runners). I had to strip down the layers because I was over dressed It was a beautiful sky, the water was calm and I was overflowing with gratitude to be out. After once around the reservoir, I could feel my body falling into a wonderful rhythm and as we crossed Beacon Street, I broke out into a sprint - I would like to believe that my husband had a hard time keeping up with me but in truth, he was very happy to be running at a faster pace. Most importantly, as I picked up the pace and we headed toward Marathon Sports, I was having fun - I wanted to beat the time that I ran the Corrib Pub run last year and I did - by about a minute! This only two weeks after I ran 26.2 miles and trained for 15 months during one of the harshest New England winters.

When I returned to Marathon Sports, Dom greeted me with such a warm welcome. I told him that I had fun and that I am definitely a short distance runner to which he replied, 'there is nothing wrong with that. Dom has such a passion for running and such a respect for runners in all shapes, sizes and categories and wants everyone to just enjoy the sport. So now, I am an official member of a running club and every Saturday morning we get up early and meet up at Marathon Sports where we receive advice and support from Domenick D'Amico - an official BAA trainer for charity runners who donates his time and talent to help others achieve what he has achieved 17 times - "getting to the starting line injury free and getting to the finish line with a smile."

And now I have crossed the threshold of the starting line to what's next - I shall continue my spiritual spring cleaning as needed to free the energy and to feel the flow of God's love in my life. I am so incredibly grateful to all of the people who helped me to achieve my dream-my beautiful family, Janine my trainer, Janice, my energy healer, the hundreds of people who made donations, attended benefit concerts, Ball in the House and the Fenway Quintet for donating their time and talent to play our benefit concerts, the kindness of strangers along the marathon route who gave us moral support and nourishment, everyone at Spaulding Rehab and God from whom all blessings flow. I am gonna have fun running and doing road races and resuming strength training and doing different kinds of exercise. It is such a blessing to feel free in my body and it's never too late to have a happy childhood to quote Tony Robbins.

To order a copy of the book of inspirational poetry which helped me to heal mind, body and spirit to overcome post polio syndrome and cross the finish line of the 113th Boston Marathon, go to and click on Buy Now to order New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World."

Be sure to contact me for all of your customized poetry needs. Log onto and check out my sumptuous samples of poems I have created for the customers of New World Greeting Cards.