Saturday, July 24, 2010

Celebration as a Spectator


Two years ago Tom, Ruth Anne and I ran the Marathon Sports 5 Miler. It was the toughest road race of all the road races we would compete in as we trained for the Boston Marathon. The course has several hills, the gun goes off at 7 pm and it was steamy. It was also the toughest psychological road race for me. It is a fast and competitive field of runners. It was one of the few times that I cried and wondered what I was doing training for the Boston Marathon. But I never gave up.

This year I had the pleasure of celebrating as a spectator sending my husband off amidst the sea of runners and cheering him on as I saw him enter the track to finish the race. This year the weather was perfect for an evening run. There was a cool breeze and not a cloud in the sky. While waiting for him I sat down on the bleachers and 'just happened' to sit next to parents who were there to cheer on their daughter. We were chit chatting and I noticed that the mother was in an electric wheelchair. She lives with multiple sclerosis. We talked about what it is like living with a neurological disease and focused on how blessed we feel in our lives. She had a smile and a grace that is indescribable in words. You had to be in her presence to understand what I meant. She was genuinely excited to hear of my journey and having run the Boston Marathon. We were both genuinely excited as we waited for our respective family members to come near the finish line.

I'll be honest that when we first arrived at the road race I felt twinges of wanting to be out on the course. I wanted to know what it felt like to run at a fast pace and keep up with the pack. But I know that's not my destiny and I was so grateful for being able to walk on the field and be with my husband. I was so grateful for every step I take and take nothing for granted. And then, what a bonus to be seated next to a family whose love and courage see them through the ups and downs of multiple sclerosis. What a delight to see my new friend cheer on my husband as he crossed the finish line. What a blessing to celebrate my husband's personal best. What a blessing to meet the daughter of these two wonderful parents and to feel the common bonds of love, joy and being grateful for what is.

My husband is going to run the Falmouth Road Race for those who can't - literally. He is running for Ms. Wheelchair Massachusetts Foundation We only have 3 weeks until the race so please get your donations in now. When you make your donation via paypal, put in the instructions for Tom McManus' Road Race Run. We are having a fun(d) raiser on 7/31st from 12 to 5 pm at our home 30 Eliot Street Chestnut Hill, MA 02467. We would love to see you all there.

To read the poetry I wrote on this wondrous healing journey, you can order my books of inspirational poetry. "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" fueled my journey from post polio to Boston Marathon finisher. "Set Sail for a New World:Healing a Life through the Gift of Poetry" takes you on my healing voyage. With God as my anchor and beacon of hope, I transform life's pain and struggles. God's love fills my sails and awaken to my inner beauty and the beauty of the world around me. When you purchase these treasures, you are also supporting the Ms. Wheelchair Massachusetts Foundation I donate 20% of book proceeds to this wonderful grass roots organization whose mission is empowerment, advocacy and opportunity for mobility impaired individuals in Massachusetts.

Enter a whole New World of Greeting Cards and check out the sumptuous samples of original poetry I can create to celebrate and commemorate your special occasions.

Be sure to check out all of the exciting News and Events happenings.

Poetry and photos of my Boston Marathon journey are now available at www.marymcmanus.com

Thanks for joining me on my journey of love

God bless and be well

With love,
Mary

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Velveteen Rabbit



"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand." http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/williams/rabbit/rabbit.html

{If you have not read or do not remember the story of the Velveteen Rabbit, you can read it in full at the above link}

My friend Frankie Picasso posted on my facebook wall that the reason people are inspired by me and my poetry is because I am the REAL deal. Thank you Frankie! I was not always living my authentic life. I was not living from a state of be-ing. I put a wall around my heart and spirit for protection. While I was graced by God when I was paralyzed with polio at the age of 5, there was no one telling me that I am loveable with all of my imperfections. There was no one encouraging me to be real. I thought I had it all figured out. I would concentrate on my studies, work hard, succeed and that would be my life.

But there was an inner knowing, there was the desire to be whole and to be real. The gift of post polio syndrome led me to go inside. Physically I could no longer run around and do and escape from the pain. It was time to heal. It was time to become. It was time to be real. It is a time to unearth the hidden treasure of me. To dust off the layers of trauma and to look at the beliefs I harbored about myself and how the world works is a journey of discovery. The pain and the grief are transformed by God's Love, and the healing comes with forgiveness and gratitude.

When fear or flashbacks try to take hold and beckon me to contract and hide inside, I acknowledge their presence and ask that The Presence help the feelings to melt away. I can harness the power of imagination to create positive thoughts or thoughts of dread and worry. It's the same process so it makes a lot more sense to allow the love and light and joy and optimism to flow through me as God intends it to. I can open my heart to receive God's Love and allow myself to be REAL or I can contract into a state of allowing the beliefs drilled into me and reinforced with a belt to loom over my head. Is there really a choice here? I breathe deeply filling my heart with overflowing gratitude for the love and lovely people now in my life. Just as I was once tossed aside like the Velveteen Rabbit {after the Boy contracted scarlet fever and was sent to be burned to get rid of the germs}, wonderful healing angels came into my life to help me embark on a wonderful journey of transformation.


Poetry and photos of my Boston Marathon journey are now available at www.marymcmanus.com

Thanks for joining me on my journey of love

God bless and be well

With love,
Mary

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thank God Even Crazy Dreams Come True!




It's been a little over three years since I walked away from the 'security' of a 'regular' paycheck and the only career I'd known as a social worker at the Department of Veterans Affairs. When I told my coworkers what I was about to do, they thought I'd lost my mind. "You can't get a book published; you can't just walk away three years before you can retire. What are you going to do for money? What if your husband gets laid off?" What if...what if....what if....

What if I get two books published. What if I run the Boston Marathon with post polio syndrome and become an inspiration to others to bring hope and possibility into their lives. What if my gift of poetry blesses the lives of my readers to uplift them in their dark night of the soul. What if my husband is loved at his job and we have a phenomenal benefits package. What if he takes on consulting work so that I have the opportunity to heal my life. What if I am led to spiritual teachers and healers who help me to awaken to my life's purpose? What if... What if.... What if...

Yesterday in my iPod, on shuffle songs, Carrie Underwood's "Thank God Even Crazy Dreams Come True" came on. I realized how incredibly blessed I am to have the love and support of so many on my journey. And when I get a little off the path of being aligned with my Divine purpose, the Universe sends me a reminder and gently redirects me to where I need to be. I had an AHA moment that I am not an entrepreneur and a business woman. I do have a business, New World Greeting Cards and I can create original poetry just for you. I have been blessed to help heal relationships, pay a tribute to a dad who had died before his daughter's wedding day and we created a poem tribute for her wedding day, helped a dad find the words to say to his daughter on her special day, brought joy on Fathers Day by rewriting the lyrics to a father's favorite song from his daughter and grandchildren and the list goes on. When I began to focus on building the business and veered away from my purpose, it felt wrong and it didn't happen. When I began to focus on who I am, my purpose of sharing my journey, my purpose of Be-ing, and sharing my gift of poetry, wondrous events began to once again unfold.

Now that I am once again aligned with my Divine purpose, I feel God's loving hands upholding and uplifting me. I am excited and exhilarated. I am content and joyful. I am overflowing with gratitude for the opportunities to share my journey of strength, faith and courage. I am delighted I can help to heal childrens' lives half a world away. I am so happy I can bring hope and possibility to others through what has taken place in my life all because I took that leap of faith on May 25, 2007. Thank God even crazy dreams come true.

Hello you long shots
You dark horse runners
Hairbrush singers, dashboard drummers
Hello you wild magnolias
Just waiting to bloom

There's a little bit of all that inside of me and you
Thank God even crazy dreams come true

I stood at the bottom of some walls I thought I couldn't climb
I felt like Cinderella at the ball just running out of time
So I know how it feels to be afraid
Thank God it's all gonna slip away
Hold on, hold on

Here's to you free souls, you firefly chasers
Tree climbers, porch swingers, air guitar players
Here's to you fearless dancers, shaking walls in your bedrooms

There's a lot of wonder left inside of me and you
Thank God even crazy dreams come true

Never let a bad day be enough
To go and talk you in to giving up
Sometimes everybody feels like you
Oh, feels like you, just like you
Yeah

I've met some go-getters
Some difference makers
Small town heroes, and big chance takers
I've met some young hearts with something to prove
Oh, yeah

Here's to you long shots
You dark horse runners
Hairbrush singers, and dashboard drummers
Here's to you wild magnolias
Just waiting to bloom

There's a little bit of all that inside of me and you
Thank God even crazy dreams come true
Thank God even crazy dreams come true
Yeah

You can purchase the books that my dreams are made of through my website

If you'd like to commemorate, celebrate, say Happy Birthday or Happy Anniversary with the words that come from your heart, check out the samples of what I have created for customers of New World Greeting Cards.

Please check out all of the exciting News and Events happening this summer and fall. I hope I'll get to meet you in person.

God bless, be well and here's to dreaming
With love,
Mary

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Everyone Has a Story-Harvard Pilgrim 10K Race Report



No,I am not suddenly delusional thinking I'm Kathie Lee Gifford. I will not break out into song either, I promise. The blessings of running a race in the back of the pack is you get to share stories and meet amazing people. At the starting line, we met a woman three months out from knee surgery. Her doctor gave her the okay to run/walk the race. As we approached the start, a woman asked if this was our first race. She said it was hers and she was concerned that people would wonder why this overweight woman was even in the race. I gave her the Twitter version of my story and a lot of love and support. That gave her the courage to share that she is a 15 year breast cancer survivor. We high five'd each other and said, "See you at the finish line."

Everyone has a story. Mine begins with a little girl 5,6 years old wearing a leg brace wanting to keep up with my brother and classmates. As my husband and I were preparing for our start he called my attention to a T Shirt, "Don't Panic." The Eagles song, "Take It Easy" was playing and the race director was announcing, no PR's (personal records) today. God was speaking to me. "Don't Panic". I was having a flashback to being left behind. What if I couldn't keep up? How will I know where to go? "Don't Panic" all is taken care of. God was reassuring me. "Take it Easy" - for heaven's sake don't push yourself in this heat. Enjoy the day! I found myself relax and release and had an aha moment. It was not up to me to push myself; it was up to others to show compassion and kindness. Of course, this is about me learning to be compassionate and loving towards myself. It is time to release the sense of competition, pushing myself, and coming from a place of unworthiness and less than. It is time to remember that I am a child of God, a chip off the old block and so with all of my 'imperfections' I am perfection.

Tom and I learned from last week's race to warm up and go out slow. Having seen and heard the messages from God, I paid heed. Last week my heart rate began at 157 and pretty much stayed there. I'm delighted my body could accomplish that especially after a running hiatus, but today it was all about finding a comfortable pace and having FUN! We walked through every water station and made sure we were hydrated. I had my trusty gel with me and at one hour, we took a 'hit' to keep our muscles fueled.

What a thrill to run on the Fourth of July. One family had patriotic music playing on their porch. One woman created a sprinkler with her hose and we ran under it. People waved flags and we celebrated freedom.

A father, mother and their daughter were taking turns pushing their son/brother in a wheelchair. He had a birth defect which resulted in multiple physical challenges. They would run and then walk and drop behind us and then go in front of us. We were running next to two sisters who were training for a 30 mile bike ride for Parkinson's Disease; their mother had died from it this past year. The family would tease that 'those four are the ones to beat'. They would delight in passing us and then when we caught up they said, 'oh no, we gotta speed up.' We passed them and were going to slow down to let them pass us again but they had slowed their pace so my husband suggested we push on.

As we got closer to Gillette Stadium (the race finished on the 50 yard line) all of a sudden, the family came out of nowhere and the daughter sprinted by saying, 'See you at the 50 yard line'. We met a woman who said, "I'm 60 years old and I'm not gonna push myself today in this heat." She told us that it was her first 10K. She sent her daughter on her way and told us that her daughter had lost 100 pounds and discovered the joy of running. She had an article written in Redbook about her; her mom told us how proud she was of her daughter who inspired her to lose over 40 pounds and take up running.

As we entered the tunnel to spring the final yards of the 10K, I drank in the joy of this moment. As we approached the 50 yard line, we flashed a huge smile and saw ourselves on the jumbotron. I stood on the field of Gillette Stadium where world champions play football; where world class entertainers perform. I said to my husband, "Wait a minute. I want to savor this moment and wave to my adoring fans." I am blessed beyond words and so grateful to be able to experience today's 10K run. July 4th - independence - freedom - choice.

Everyone has a story. The people I met today chose to now allow circumstances to limit them. Let freedom ring!

I had to make a choice when I was diagnosed with post polio syndrome. I decided to heal my life and the gift of inspirational poetry was a powerful healing force. I would love to share the gift of God's words of healing, joy, gratitude, overcoming struggles and the power of words to imagine and dream with you. You can order my books of inspirational poetry through my website

And speaking of freedom - my husband is running the Falmouth Road Race for those who can't - literally. He is raising money for the Ms. Wheelchair Massachusetts Foundation You can donate through their website and in the instructions write that it is for Tom McManus' Falmouth Run. We are having a "Not Your Average Yard Sale" on 7/31 from noon to 5 pm at our home 30 Eliot Street, Chestnut Hill, MA and would love for you to come and find your treasures. 100% of proceeds to go to Ms. Wheelchair Massachusetts Foundation who help those with mobility impairments in Massachusetts to know freedom through equal access and equal opportunity.

Hope you had a wonderful Fourth!
Let freedom ring
God bless and be well
With love,
Mary
p.s. Not that it matters but we finished the race in 1:38 a 15:54 minute mile.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Magic of Fenway Park



My good friend Rick Leskowitz, MD is the producer of The Joy of Sox Movie. Some of the questions posed in the movie are, "Is Fenway Park a sacred space?" "Can the power of intentional prayer affect the outcome of a ball game?" I encourage you to visit his website and learn more not only about The Joy of Sox but the field of energy medicine.If you are so moved, make a donation to support the release of this wonderful documentary. Last night, my husband and I experienced the Joy of the Boston Red Sox. I'd been to games before at Fenway, but last night I opened my heart to experience the magical experience of going to a ball game at Fenway Park.

During the day I felt the presence of my grandfather. He died many years ago along with so many members of my family. As I thought about preparing for tomorrow's Harvard Pilgrim 10K run and fueling with my husband, I remembered how I would get up early in the morning to have special time with Gramps. He would fix scrambled eggs and we'd have fresh baked rolls from a bakery in the Bronx. He'd also cook sausages and be sure to drain them on paper towel before serving them to us. It was just the two of us. My grandmother and brother were still asleep. I do not recall the words that were said; I only know that time with my grandfather was a wonderful respite from the traumatic events of my childhood. He was a source of love and peace in my life. He had such a gentle spirit. What does this have to do with the Red Sox game last night? Why is she digressing like this? Well, I'm not because during the 'commercial breaks' for the television coverage of Red Sox games, there is entertainment on the Jumbotron. Red Sox legends -- Frank Malzone was featured. Are you sitting down while you read this? Well you probably are since you're reading it on your computer screen. Frank Malzone is from the Bronx. He lived across the street from my grandparents' house on Soundview Avenue. My grandfather had gotten us an autographed Red Sox baseball by Frank Malzone. Unfortunately it was lost in the house fire after my grandparents had moved but had not yet physically moved all of their belongings. Part of the tribute included the statement, Frank is from the Bronx, NY. For those of you who do not follow baseball, there is a rivalry between the boys from the Bronx (The New York Yankees) and the boys from Beantown (our beloved Boston Red Sox). They paid tribute to Frank Malzone and at the end of the tribute they showed Frank Malzone at last night's game. He gave a tip of his cap to the fans; I could feel my grandfather giving me a nod letting me know that neither death nor fire can destroy love.

Spirit is so alive at Fenway Park. How else could you have a group of over 37,000 fans create a wave several times around the stadium? How else would everyone start chanting and clapping in perfect rhythm, "Let's go Red Sox"? Everyone stands and sings Sweet Caroline using the same inflection and oh oh oh's. The crowd spontaneously chants "You" when Kevin Youklis comes to the plate. They stand and cheer when Big Papi comes up to bat. As Jonathan Papelbon came in from the bullpen to close out the game, the crowd spontaneously stands on their feet. The power is palpable. There is magic in the air. Of course the fact that they won made the experience so much sweeter. But even if they would have lost, nothing could change the magic of a summer's night at Fenway Park when everyone moves and feels as one, connected to the Divine.

Do you want to feel connected to the Divine? Well then you must order my books of inspirational poetry. Remember that I donate 20% of book proceeds to Hope Charitable Trust because I believe in paying it forward.

My husband also believes in paying it forward. He is running the Falmouth Road Race for those who can't - literally. Visit the Ms. Wheelchair Massachuestts Foundation website to learn about the cause he is supporting with his run. You can make a donation through paypal and just write in the instructions that it is for Tom McManus' Falmouth Road Race Run. You can join us on 7/31 for "Not Your Average Yard Sale) noon to 5 pm at our home 30 Eliot Street Chestnut Hill, MA. All proceeds benefit Ms. Wheelchair Massachusetts Foundation. We have a $100 gift certificate to Jordan's Furniture, an autographed Teddy Bruschi photograph, DVD's of Friends, CD's, books and lots, lots more!

Celebrate your gift of freedom today and every day.
God bless and be well.
With love,
Mary

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