Sunday, September 15, 2013

Five Months Later - Reflections on the Healing Process

Our day began with Lisa Hughes and CBS' coverage of the 2013 Boston Marathon. I became very emotional when they showed the start for the mobility impaired runners remembering what a special day it was for us on April 20, 2009 when we took our start at the 113th Boston Marathon.

This year's Marathon Monday weather was chilly but the sun was shining. I was so excited to be reclaiming and celebrating my 2009 Boston Marathon run with the Race for Rehab Spaulding Team at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. I've written a few blogs about Marathon Weekend, Marathon Monday and the days following the bombings which you can find by clicking on the archives for April.

That's how Tom and I found ourselves in the suite of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel above Boylston Street excited to cheer on our friends and former team mates from Spaulding and waiting for other friends to come down Boylston Street to the finish. We remembered what it felt like to walk into the suite after being out on the course for 7 hours and 49 minutes and how we were regaled by everyone in the suite. David Storto, the President of Spaulding, asked me to give a speech that day saying that I exemplified what Spaulding Rehab Hospital was all about.

As we dined on delicious food and reconnected with Greg Gordon our beloved team mate from 2009, and watching the runner tracking board, Tom and I kept debating about whether or not to go down to the street to see one of our friends who we knew was nearing the finish line but we never got the text that he crossed the 40K mark although he had. We were protected and shielded from the impact of the 2nd blast and miraculously were not at the window when the 2nd bomb exploded. Our dear friend Greg was courageous enough to go to the window and come back to tell us what happened. I can still see the look of shock, grief and horror in his eyes.

We were so fortunate to make it out safely and walking a few miles back to our car was both a blessing and traumatic. While we could release the energy of terror and panic because we had to walk quickly, we could smell the bombs and were bombarded by the sirens and shrieks of sharp turns of emergency vehicles, police cars and the SWAT teams. We also did not know whether or not we were walking toward safety.

But we were and we did and I know how incredibly blessed we are that we only have emotional wounds to heal.

So how did the bombings affect me and how am I healing?

The bombings awakened me to realize the preciousness and fragility of life. I examined where I had been and where I wanted to go. I had to get off of my yoga mat and get back to running. I needed to be a vital part of my community in my town and the running community. I needed to revise my books of poetry to ensure that they were only in my voice and I needed to strip down the trappings of my identity as a yogi and as a yoga teacher to reveal my authentic self. I started writing original poetry for every occasion for friends and family but plan to reopen my paypal account and start up this business again. I awakened to the truth in relationships and now I let go of relationships that do not nourish and support me and nourish those that do. I am so blessed that the running community has welcomed me back with open arms.

I decided to team up with Greg who is the race director for the Brookline Symphony Orchestra 5K Fun Run & Walk happening on 9/29th at the Cleveland Circle Reservoir. I've worked with Greg and Laura and Sylvain Bouix to help market and plan the event. Training for the event has been incredibly healing for me. Training with Tom by my side has helped us both with healing from the events of Marathon Monday. I know he is thrilled that I am finding balance in my health and fitness routine. We also go to Spaulding's Aquatic Therapy Community classes together. He takes time to train for the BAA Half happening in a few weeks.

I have crying jags where sadness overwhelms me but so do joy and gratitude. As Larry Rosenberg, founder of the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center says, "Where is peace to be found? In the same place as sorrow - how convenient." And I recently saw this quote from Thich Nhat Hahn, "The seed of suffering in you may be strong, but don't wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy.”

Tom and I were blessed to go to A Midsummer Night's Dream on Carson Beach and bought tickets to see Tribes in a few weeks. Today we volunteered at the Grand Opening of the Brookline Teen Center. Tom said he wanted to spend the day with me and agreed to volunteer.

We saw many friends from the Brookline community whom we had not seen in awhile. There were at least 1,000 people in attendance. I had been involved with the Teen Center a couple of years ago. When I saw they needed volunteers for the Grand Opening, I immediately signed up. The most heartwarming moment came for me when we said goodbye to Paul Epstein who had the vision for the Teen Center eight years ago. I congratulated him and he thanked us for volunteering today and for my support during the past few years. He then asked me to come back and visit when it is filled with teens because that's when the place will really shine.

I feel stronger than ever in mind, body and Spirit despite the physical and emotional pain that waxes and wanes in the months following the Boston Marathon bombings. I know that I will continue to heal. My life along with the lives of so many has been forever changed since April 15th. My hope and prayer is that we can all heal together, find our strength together, and move forward with a new awareness and appreciation for each moment that we can take a breath, honoring our pain and the pain of those around us. May we allow the tincture of time and love to heal greeting all with compassion and loving kindness.

The Flower of Compassion from the soon to be released, "A Celebration of Life." My books of inspirational poetry are available on Amazon

She takes root
this fragile flower
at heart center
tendrils travel
outstretched arms
a hand to hold
a gentle sigh
petals glisten with gentle tears
a warm knowing smile
beauty to behold
holding space
for the flower of compassion to bloom.

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