Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Power of Imagination - Training for the Harvard Pilgrim 10K

This morning during my morning meditation imagination and freedom kept floating in and out of my heart. There is so much freedom and joy in imagination - in anticipation and we can harness that power to either imagine the worst or imagine the best. My husband often teases me that for somebody who believes in positivity, I can really imagine the worst but it's a habit that I am changing. As my friend and fellow author Karen Linamen says, "only nuns change their habits over night." But I digress....

There are many wonderful quotes about imagination-here are a few of my favs:

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” - Albert Einstein

"Apathy can be overcome by enthusiasm, and enthusiasm can only be aroused by two things: first, an ideal, with takes the imagination by storm, and second, a definite intelligible plan for carrying that ideal into practice." Albert Toynbee

"Imagination disposes of everything; it creates beauty, justice, and happiness, which are everything in this world."-Blaise Pascal

"Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere."-Carl Sagan

"Nothing happens unless first we dream."-Carl Sandburg

As I'm training for the Harvard Pilgrim 10K, I imagine myself running out onto the field of Gillette Stadium. Now some of you may be thinking - what's the big deal about a 10K...didn't she run the Boston Marathon in 2009. Well running any distance is still a big deal for me. Last August, I hit a wall and did not know whether or not I would run again. I was experiencing a lot of pain from cervical spine disease along with fatigue and weakness. Pain and post polio will leave you feeling exhausted and weak. But thanks to my master magician, Dr El Abd (God's hands and heart on earth) and the team at the Newton Wellesley Hospital Spine Center, I was prescribed a whole new health and fitness regimen. I used the winter months to improve cardiovascular conditioning and we revamped my entire upper and lower body strength training regimen to accommodate the cervical spine disease. I had a few trial runs last fall and then this Spring - just like the leaves return to the trees, I am able to run again. I have relinquished my desire to do long distance running - ha for many a 10K race is long distance running so it's all about perspective. I am so grateful that I can feel free and run.

I can let my imagination return to the days when I was taunted and teased and called easy out - when running to first base took tremendous effort if I even kicked the ball in kick ball or I can smile, straighten my pose and imagine myself as I run onto the field at Gillette Stadium. While no moment can ever compare to crossing the finish line of the 113th Boston Marathon, running onto the field at Gillette will be up there in wonderful moments.

Last weekend, my husband and I trained for the run at Castle Island. I've been doing intervals on the recumbent bike and either one 45 minute run or 45 minute bike ride during the week. I do strength training 3 times a week. I decided to try a little trick on Saturday -- although time does not matter at the Harvard Pilgrim 10K (the race director told me he would love to have me at the race and I can start with the 15-20 minute walkers), I wanted to imagine myself running a 15 minute mile. This was our first 4.8 mile run since I'm back to running. My husband set the pace and I kept up with him. During the run I did not look at my watch but did keep an eye on my heart rate which told me we were going at a really good clip. When we were finished, sure enough, we did just a little bit over a 15 minute mile! This was two minutes/mile off of our time a month ago. I knew that I'd been training and knew I was ready to see if I could increase our pace -- but I set the pace IN MY MIND!

So my dear readers - let your imaginations run wild, set your heart free, live from you heart and let your heart prompt your mind and Spirit to soar -- you never know where it might take you --

If you would like to let your imagination Set Sail for a New World and enter a New World purchase my books of Inspirational Poetry. 20% of book proceeds are donated to causes near and dear to my heart - Hope Charitable Trust and The Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

Spring and summer bring not only a blossoming of trees and flowers but so many wonderful celebrations - Mothers Day, Fathers Day, graduations, weddings, anniversaries -- why not let New World Greeting Cards express your sentiments to commemorate and celebrate these special occasions?

God bless, be well and dream big!
Thanks for reading.
With love,

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sailing Free

During this morning's meditation, I felt deep gratitude for the gift of freedom in my life. Freedom is a state of mind. At the tender age of 5 years old, freedom and the ability to trust my body was shaken to the core as I dropped to the ground from paralytic polio. Although I was paralyzed, I had a vision of a healing Being -- I was free to step into a well bucket and was reeled up to meet this Being. I knew that no matter the life challenge, I was being protected, guarded and guided. Victor Frankl, author of Man's Search for Meaning talks about how, when he was in the concentration camp during World War II, although all of his freedoms were stripped away, he always had the freedom to choose how he was going to perceive his situation.

When I worked as a social worker at the VA, I was blessed to meet the courageous men and women who served our country. The POW's and I had a special connection. Although I was not captured during the war, I did have to surrender my physical freedom many times during my younger years. As my regular readers know, my father fell into alcoholism when I was 8 years old - just 3 years after contracting polio. He turned to me in his drunken hours for physical comfort and sexually abused me; and then would turn to beating me. During the summer of 1971, I was held captive by my father's drunken rages. My parents were separated and he moved in with my grandparents in the Bronx. We never knew when he would show up at our door step threatening to kill us. My mother, God rest her soul was so numb from prescription pain killers that she did not have the where with all to protect us. He ended up taking his own life on August 1, 1971. He could not find a way to be free and be in his physical body; his mind was filled with torment.

Although I was physically liberated on the day I learned of his death, it took years for me to find emotional freedom and with it peace and healing. But here I sit today with the gift of a new day. A blank page on which I get to write the script of my life. My thoughts this morning were initially focused on anticipating problems -- why hadn't my book order arrived? did my publisher make the corrections? am I really experiencing financial freedom or is disaster looming around the corner? (I had to declare bankruptcy after my father's death on behalf of my parents - it was a mess but God is always in the messes) am I physically whole or am I going to experience deterioration with symptoms of post polio syndrome? And then the word freedom floated into my heart and I realized I have the freedom to choose my beliefs.I hugged the beautiful child within who is trying to protect me by being prepared for the worst at all times. I told her I loved her and I told her together we would turn to God for Love, Light and Truth.

I choose to believe that past experiences are not the truth of my life. I choose to believe that I am healthy and whole and that I can manage the symptoms of post polio syndrome. I choose to believe that I am enough and I always have enough (to quote Terry Cole Whittaker in Follow Your Bliss). I choose to believe that, to quote Albert Einstein, the Universe is indeed a most wonderfully friendly place despite or maybe because of everything that has happened before. I choose to cry tears of joy and gratitude and relief that I am free - free to choose happiness, free to choose what is true for my life's path; I choose to love me and to quote Terry Cole Whittaker again, what anyone else thinks of me is none of my business. I am free to be courageous to live my path, fulfill my destiny and live my life with passion and purpose feeling overwhelming gratitude that I am free! I choose to believe that with God all things are possible.

I express freedom in the gift of poetry I discovered after being diagnosed with post polio syndrome. Although my body was shut down, my Spirit flew free and wrote poems of gratitude, healing, joy and love. Come with me on my healing journey through my books of inspirational poetry: "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" and "Set Sail for a New World:Healing a Life Through the Gift of Poetry". 20% of book proceeds are donated to Hope Charitable Trust
and The Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

Why settle for a greeting card that comes close to what you want to say. At New World Greeting Cards, we create original poetry which starts with YOU!

What kind of a day will you create today? I hope it is one overflowing with freedom, joy, happiness and peace and that you go forth and be the change you want to see in the world.

Thank you for reading.

With love,

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Boston Marathon 2010

When Channel 7 said they wanted to do a story on my 2009 Boston Marathon run, as so often happens in my life, I could not have possibly imagined what would unfold. Last Monday, Rhett Lewis, sports reporter and anchor & Gregg (the videographer) from Channel 7 interviewed me about my run. The Sports segment of the news lasts for about 3 minutes which meant my story would run for about 1 minute 20 seconds at most. Talk fast, keep it to the point and share the light of God's flame which burns in my soul. I gave them footage from the documentary, "Keeping the Pace" and the CD of Marathon Photos from Johannes Hirn. Having the documentary and photos to share is in and of itself another example of how God prepares the way before me. We were able to upload the Channel 7 news segment to my You Tube channel - -- bring some tissues -- people who are watching it tell me that it is moving them to tears!

The segment was going to air on Monday evening but because of the celebration of Boston College's NCAA Hockey win, the story was bumped. As I have learned along this journey, when something gets bumped or doesn't come to fruition there is always a higher purpose involved. They told me the story would air Friday or Saturday. Whenever a newspaper or TV news writes one's story, there is a great amount of trust that goes into the process. We were taught in public relations class that there is no such thing as 'bad' publicity and this is true. But in the early days of having my story covered,while I am so grateful that it was being shared, there were misquotes and tones with which I was not in agreement. I came to realize that in fact these were often reflections of how I was portraying myself on a subconscious level. But I digress -- as time has gone on I become increasingly aware of the messages I want to convey about my journey.I have learned the importance of going within and asking God for guidance. Channel 7 captured the spirit of Team McManus' Boston Marathon run to perfection.

I was told it would air Friday during the 6 o'clock hour. We patiently waited for the Sports segment to come on. There was breaking news which I thought might result in getting my story bumped (yes there is still that little polio kid within who forgets to remember that she is a child of God and to release the un-beliefs about what others were saying no longer serve me) The sports reporter was reporting live from Fenway Park -- there was a story about the Red Sox, a story about the Celtics and then..."Marathon Monday is just three days away and there is lots of inspiration out there..." cut to the story about Team McManus. The story epitomizes the miracle of transformation and healing that I have experienced; the possibility and hope that inspires others as they face life's challenges.

If the story would have aired on Monday, that would have been that but since it aired on Friday before Marathon Monday, it was aired all weekend long! I received phone calls and emails from friends that they had seen me on the news and they were so inspired again. People were crying tears of joy and their hearts swelled as they experienced God's love and light through me. I heard from people I had not heard from in months. It even boosted pre-sale orders of my 2nd book. It was a feel good story that this weary and cynical world needs.

Since neither Tom nor I were running Boston this year, we opted to cheer on all of our friends who we knew were running. I was inspired to watch from Mile 20 at the corner of Comm. Ave and Center Street. Our team trainer, Domenick D'Amico moved out of state but came back to watch the Marathon. He knew where we would be and lo and behold, comes to our camp out spot complete with canvas chairs and a picnic lunch. He told me that he had to park near someone's driveway who came out of their house to ask him to move his car since she was having guests to watch the Marathon. She said that she could never run - let alone a Marathon. At which point he shared my story with her and he proudly stated that he was my trainer. She said, "oh my goodness I saw that on the news yesterday". So perhaps this woman who does not believe that she can be active or athletic will have second thoughts after seeing a polio and post polio survivor on the news in the Sports segment of the program - a woman who never pursued athletics or believed she could be physically active and she crossed the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon.

For more information about my journey, watch my You Tube channel

To order and pre order copies of my books of inspirational poetry, visit New World Greeting Cards And while you are there, be sure to contact me about creating an original poem for Mothers Day (May 9), graduations and all of those wonderful celebrations that are happening this Spring and Summer.