Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Greatest Love of All-Recap of a 5 Mile Run

Before I went on a 5 mile run this morning I read a post from Gail Martin who writes Gail Martin's Marathon Tips:
" There's a difference between having expectations to achieve, and setting realistic goals. Some days won't provide the right circumstances to reach certain goals--accept it, and try again. Disappointment accompanies unmet expectations--stealing the joy from what we love to do. It's always a process, but if you want to lessen the lows, let go of your expectations." As I posted to Gail, I felt as though God wanted me to read that before I went on my run.

It was a cold and windy morning. One of the goals I set forth on Daily Mile is to continue running sub 15 minute mile runs but my body is getting acclimated to running in cold weather again and I never know what this body is going to do on any given day. My wonderful running and life partner, Tom and beautiful daughter Ruth Anne, home from college were joining me on this run even though they are doing the Tough Ten Mile Turkey Trot tomorrow. As I started out I could feel my body reeling against the cold and the wind. I heard Gail's words echo and I said, what if I do a 15 min or even a 16 minute mile on this training run? You are beating the odds Mary. Remember what Doug and Ashley said, "every step is a victory". Look at the beautiful blue sky, hear the waves of the reservoir lap against the shore. Give thanks and settle into a rhythm with your body. Let the music in your iPod carry you along.

I let go of my expectations and I used this run to do some soul work. I reminded myself that I don't have to catch up to anyone anymore ever again. I get to run my own race. This feeling of needing to catch up is a feeling that is held not only in the soul but in the body as well.I let myself experience the feelings of laying on the couch and being abandoned and rejected by my mother when I was paralyzed from polio. I celebrated my awesomeness and thought about all the reasons why I am awesome. I released the feelings of abandonment, rejection, of losing love I never had and released the fear that I would lose the love of my wonderful friends and massage therapist. I released the feelings of having my father who once was loving and attentive while I was paralyzed with polio turn on me in such a violent way.

When we were half way around the reservoir on our final lap I talked with Tom about my brother who had called me yesterday. I felt this incredible wave of compassion and love come over me for both of us - for what we had lived through - for what we had survived and with that I broke out. I wasn't pushing myself and I wasn't trying to beat any time. I just wanted to run. I told Tom and Ruth Anne they could continue power walking as they are gonna do their thing tomorrow but I needed to just run.

I embraced the reality that I really am a runner (thanks Doug) but for now I am working on distances I can manage. I'm taking it slow and easy in the miles department and I'm getting used to feeling this new way in my earthly home. I ran a 14:11 minute mile for 5 miles. My average heart rate held steady at 152 with a peak of 175. I know I am getting more fit, stronger and every day in every way I am better and better.

I am experiencing the greatest love of all - right inside of me. I am re-educating the child within who was abandoned, neglected and abused to feel love and joy; to discover the awesomeness and the beauty. I learned to depend on me and have often said that my childhood was a do it yourself job but I was never alone. God was/is always with me. I am blessed and grateful beyond words to all of you - my readers, the running community, and Lady Linda who saw the beauty I possessed inside - thank you to all who have embraced me and my journey.

As the holiday season approaches, we have so many exciting Holiday Gifts which give while you give.

God bless, be well and live like you were dyin'
From my heart to yours with love and gratitude,

Monday, November 22, 2010

When I Get To Heaven I'm Gonna Wear High Heels

Last Saturday I had a delightful visit with Nan Wahle (pictured above). Nan and I 'met' when I was a guest on the Jordan Rich show. We were in the middle of the trivia contest to win a copy of my book of inspirational poetry and Nan called in. JR was told that she is the mother of Scott Wahle, former reporter at WBZ and a dear friend of JR's. Actually I don't know anyone who is not a dear friend of JR. He loves the world and the world loves him. She mentioned that she is a polio survivor dealing with post polio syndrome. Of course we became fast friends and I had to meet her in person.

She lives in an assisted living. Her apartment is filled with dolls. She explained to my husband and me that she was in bed for 6 months after having had corrective surgery on her feet after being stricken with polio. She and her friends would play dolls. I could have really used a friend like Nan when I was dealing with polio but what a blessing that we are now dear friends. We reminisced about our polio experiences and then talked about post polio syndrome. She was in awe that I am able to run and that I ran the Boston Marathon. She asked me how it was possible. She recalled that Dr. Julie Silver, who wrote the book on Post Polio Syndrome told her to not exercise lest she burn out her remaining neurons. She said she was so inspired that I did not take that advice and states that perhaps if she would have done more when she was my age (almost 57) she might have more mobility. She experiences a lot of pain and limited use of her arms and legs yet there she sits with incredible grace and dignity talking of God, faith, spirituality and....reading from my poetry books.

She said that my poetry has blessed her life and that she is planning to take the books with her to the dining room and read to the other residents, many of whom have 'given up'. She read my poem "Growing Old" and I told her that when I come back for my next visit, I am going to bring a tape recorder and have her record my poems. My husband said we'll put them on the website. She was delighted! In the middle of our conversation Nan said, "When I get to heaven, I'm gonna wear high heels". I grabbed her hand and said you know it sister. We talked about always needing corrective footwear and never being able to wear high heels.

She told me that the doctors told her mother that she would never walk again nor regain use of her right arm. With a sparkle in her eye she said but my mother and I wouldn't take no for an answer. Her mother took her for aqua therapy and here she met 'an angel of a physical therapist' who was able to help her regain all of her functioning. She said she used to dance and walk and felt wonderful until post polio took its toll on her body. Despite her limitations, her soul flies free and she is truly an inspiration. We inspired each other on this fall afternoon in Hingham, Massachusetts. Two women though decades apart in age shared a moment in time. Two women who had experienced a part of history now forgotten in the United States. Two women whose bodies were wracked with pain and struggle but whose spirits could never be dampened. One woman who was able to overcome the ravages of post polio syndrome and give hope and possibility to the other woman encouraging her to ask for physical therapy and to also explore massage therapy and other healing arts. When it came time to leave I knew that I would return for another afternoon of being present with each other, enjoying the love, light and laughter and remembering that no matter what happens, the essence of our Be-ing can never be changed.

I am a member of the "Red High Heel Club" with Carolyn Kruse on Country 102.5. It's ladies night out and so much fun. Everyone wears red high heels - except me. But it's fine because like Nan I know that when I get to heaven I'm gonna wear {red} high heels!

If you would like to experience the beauty of my poetry, visit my website and order autographed copies of my books! Just in time for the holidays. And I believe in giving while you give, so I donate 20% to End Polio Now.

For a holiday gift guide that allows you to give while you give, visit my Holiday Gift Ideas.

God bless, be well and live like you were dyin'
From my heart to yours with love,

Monday, November 15, 2010

Every Step is a Victory:Body & Soul Work

This morning after posting the results of my 6 mile run on Daily Mile, my dear friend Doug Welch aka @reallynotarunnr said, "Just remember, every step is a victory." I told him I knew and I am so incredibly grateful for the healing happening in my life. I do not take ANYTHING for granted and I am so incredibly grateful for how the running community celebrates my running a sub 15 minute mile and how my runs have gotten so strong. It's not about the actual time because as Doug said, every step is a victory. It's about feeling free in my body; feeling strong and having the confidence to run and run at a pace I did not think was possible after having run the Boston Marathon when I experienced a relapse of post polio symptoms.

I had a very strange experience Friday night into Saturday morning. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling searing pain in my left leg. I was in one of those twilight states. My knee locked and unlocked and I know I have some cartilage hangin' out in my knee. I visualize growing new cartilage and keeping my knee joints well lubricated. But this pain was different than the pain of a knee locking; this was as I said a searing pain and I felt as though my leg was on fire. I sent loving, healing energy to my leg and I observed the pain. It was in me but I did not allow it or fear to take over.

On the ride to Falmouth on Saturday, I kept sending healing energy to my left leg. I was not alarmed that I might not be able to run. I just kept observing the pain and creating a space around it. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, something magical happens when I cross the Cape Cod Canal and once I felt the warm sunshine and breathed the Cape air, I could feel the pain begin to dissipate. As I said, Tom and I had an amazing 4 mile run. When we got back to the hotel, since the weather was glorious, we decided to forego a swim in the indoor heated pool for being outside. I journaled and I had an AHA moment. I was experiencing phantom pain from polio. I was able to release it through running and by not locking into the pain. The fact that I used the word searing was the tipping point for me. In my first poem, "Running the Race" I talked about how the pain it was so searing, the diagnosis even's polio the doctor said, he was abrupt and terse.

The memory of Miss Holly, my physical therapist when I was 5, working on my left leg returned and once again the intense pain of recovering from the initial polio virus was transformed by the treatment. The Sister Kenny method which physical therapists used to help patients recover from paralytic polio involved "using hot packs to reduce muscle spasms and the pain they caused. (Although a polio patient lost motor nerves, their sensory nerves were not affected, and they were frequently in extreme pain. Imagine having a leg cramp for several weeks.) She also moved the patient's extremities as if guiding them through physical therapy. Although the patient couldn't work the muscles themselves, the motion helped."

So yes, Doug, every step is indeed a victory and I am doing the body and soul work to free myself from the shackles of polio and post polio syndrome and all that went along with it. I am so grateful to have the love and support of so many wonderful friends and I am blessed beyond words to have a life and running partner in my husband. To have found Eric at the Charles River Run 5K is to have found an earth angel whose skill and heart have helped me to do the work I need to do to be free in mind, body and spirit!

God bless, be well and live like you were dyin'
From my heart to yours with love and gratitude,

p.s. For a smile - here is the summary of my Daily Mile workouts last week:

28 Total Miles
6.83 Total Time
1 Lbs Burned
7 Total Workouts
102.30 TVs Powered
1.47 Gas Saved
28.63 Donuts Burned

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happiness is...

I know that I have used this as a blog post title before but after my interview with Ricky Powell last Sunday and so many wonderful things that are happening in my life, I decided it was time to reflect and express my appreciation for happiness is...

...going to Lunafest with @anivs18 and @kissing_frogs. Jessie aka @kissing_frogs had an extra ticket to Lunafest - short films by, for and about women. It was a delight to watch the films and then go to the decadent dessert table at the Liberty Hotel in Boston, meet new people and hang out together.

...reading my friends' blog posts.

...'hearing' @reallynotarunnr say 'strong work' on my runs

...going on a mid week run with my husband. Tom had the day off today for Veterans Day. It was one of those perfect 10 fall days and he paced me for my 3.4 mile run in which I nailed another sub 15 minute mile run.

...feeling the warm sun on my back during a training run.

...being invited to the Brookline Rotary Club by the President Ken Jaffe and seeing old friends, meeting new friends and being a part of the Rotary Family.

...finalizing plans for the Music for Miracles concert and seeing how the stars align to help this make a phenomenal success.

...having my brother make a $100 donation to my husband's Miles for Miracle run and having him sign the email with love from your Big Bro!

...buying the Thanksgiving turkey in anticipation of my daughter coming home after her first time away from home. It will be almost six months since I saw her!

...reconnecting with a dear friend on Facebook, Linda Mitchell, who helped me harness the power of my imagination and unleash the healing power that was inside of me.


How do you to finish the sentence Happiness is....

God bless, be well and live like you were dyin'
With love and gratitude from my heart to yours,

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Exceptional Women

Today was an incredibly special day for me. I can imagine how singers feel when they hear their song played on the radio for the first time. Today I heard my interview air on Exceptional Women. If you missed the 'live' show you can download the podcast. When I went in for my interview, I was a nervous wreck. My now dear friend, Tina Gao, producer of the Exceptional Women show waved and smiled at me during the beginning of the interview with Candy O'Terry. It helped me to relax a little. I was amazed by my poise and how articulate I was because inside my head there was a part of me that struggled to find my voice that day.

I have been so blessed to be interviewed by Jordan Rich several times on WBZ Boston. I have been on Channel 7 News. and numerous blog talk shows. I have been interviewed by Bernie Siegel, MD So what was it about Exceptional Women?
Being interviewed on Exceptional Women and being a part of this amazing community was a vision I had for years. I was drawn to Candy talking about the luncheon. You see growing up I was not part of a sisterhood. I did not experience the power of women. I did not have a circle of friends with whom I giggled and stayed up all night or had long phone calls to share our heart's desire. I was too busy surviving and protecting myself from the world of chaos and trauma around me.

When I went to the Exceptional Women luncheon this past May the energy of the sisterhood was palpable. I met Laurel Labdon who is the founder of Ms. Wheelchair Massachusetts and the executive director of Studio on Slough Road. We have a beautiful friendship that continues to grow.
I met incredible women. Six women who received awards Estelle Parsons, Kate White, Keziah Furth, Sylvia Crawley, Dr. Kathy Magliati and Kip Tiernan, and heard stories of countless others who were featured on the Jordans Furniture couch. From the program: "It's been 17 years since our weekly radio program Exceptional Women was born. .... "Our job is to give the women we interview the opportunity to tell their story so that others might learn from it...aspire to better for having heard it. ... They are humbled by their success and wiser because of their failures. Exceptional Women turn adversity into opportunity. It's as simple as that. ... "This is more than an's an experience."

The luncheon certainly was an experience and hearing my interview was one of the highlights of my life. I was honest, authentic and spoke from my heart. I realized the importance of my life's mission, my passion and my purpose and realize that I will leave a wonderful legacy when I make my transition (after I turn 100 - smile). This afternoon I had another blessed event. Ricky Powell and I 'met' on Daryn Kagan's social community. Ricky was inspired by my story. He is preparing to launch a new website which will include interviews of 'heroes' and authors. He will be leading Mastermind calls and have one on one coaching sessions with members of the community to help them remove the barriers to finding and following their passion and purpose. What a blessing and an honor to be the first person interviewed for the site!

I embrace being a hero. I embrace being an Exceptional Woman. I embrace being in the spotlight. I am so grateful to the countless people who have helped me reach this point in my journey and look forward to the road ahead. May you find your passion and your purpose, live from your heart and feel the incredible sense of triumph when you rise again and again no matter the challenge.

Visit Mary to be inspired, see the samples of original poetry I create through New World Greeting Cards, and order my books of inspirational poetry (I donate 20% of book sales through the holiday season to the End Polio Now campaign)

God bless, be well and live like you were dyin
With love from my heart to yours,