Celebrated my body, creaks, groans and need for a brace
While in my mind I focused on winning a 10K race.
That's an excerpt from Running the Race, the first poem I wrote that opened the door to the possibility for healing my body, mind and Spirit after having been diagnosed with post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease. I had felt joy just for a moment when I wrote those words but I imagined a time of being able to truly experience joy in my life.
I have been going for massage sessions at Sollievo Massage and Bodywork. My therapist incorporates Zero Balancing into the work we do. In one session, I experienced a sense of joy in all that I have lived through as the work helped me to tap into my beauty, my strength and my Spirit. It was the first time I felt a deep appreciation for the beautiful tapestry of my life. I felt an inner smile that manifested in a smile on my face.
In last Thursday's session, I experienced a powerful wave of terror in my body that I wrote about in "A Conversation With My 5 Year Old Self". Intense tremors followed. My therapist continued the work and even though I had experienced the flashback and my body was expressing the terror through my nervous system, I felt this sense of joy to realize that I can live life anew.
The moments of terror pass. My body becomes quiet again. There was one moment in the session when the baseline tremors that I experience completely stopped. I felt this sense of complete relaxation and peace. In a recent meditation I was able to discern how, on a subtle level, I was living my life still fighting for my life. It's safe to let go now. My body is healing; my heart is full of gratitude and joy.
I would often focus on my struggles as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma but now I see them as challenges; challenges that I have the opportunity to experience and move through.
I experience greater compassion and love for myself accepting all that is exactly as it is. I feel a wellspring of joy to realize that every day, every moment really I can live life anew. The fatigue, the waves of anxiety, the heartache and sorrow, the anger, the pain, the nightmares pass. It's not about changing them or stopping them but allowing everything to be as it is in any moment. I'm discovering that what remains is joy to realize that I am fully alive!
This morning in Aquatics Therapy at Spaulding Rehab, I decided to see if I was ready for 5 pound ankle weights. Last week, even though I was in the deeper water, I did not feel challenged with the 3.5 pound ankle weights. As soon as I walked into the deeper water, I realized I needed to work in the shallow water again. I could feel the challenge and the burn. I smiled and felt the joy to realize I can live life anew and see what my body is capable of achieving. Now.
I know probably more than most people, that life can change on a dime. All we have is now. And somehow, through it all there is a river that comes from the wellspring of my Spirit that allows gratitude and joy to flow and I blossom in its wake.
I saw this quote on Twitter this morning; a reminder from the Universe that I/we all have the power to heal. The challenges themselves remain but the healing comes in our ability to bring a healing attitude to those challenges and to be open to possibility - and joy to realize that we can live life anew!
True healers know that wellness is the order of the day, so they do not allow themselves, even for a moment, to see anything other than that. So, the power of the healer is in the power to influence the one who needs to be healed into a vibration that allows the healing that they are summoning. (that they could get, even without the healer, but they can get faster with a healer's influence) -~Abraham
Happy To Be Alive
Face to face with death at knife point
cold darkened eyes stare into mine
unflinching I stare back
afraid to move a muscle
Life force safely tucked away
unknowing the outcome of this untimely encounter with death
at the hands of a madman
reasoning destroyed by gin and vermouth.
he finds peace in death
I am left to put the pieces of my life back together again.
As numbness gives way to pain
pain gives way to gratitude
appreciation for this wondrous wonder filled life
where nothing makes sense and everything makes sense
purpose out of pain
grace in ungodly moments
surrounded by love
happy so happy to be alive
to tell the tale of one who almost died.
My memoir, "Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility" is now available on Amazon.
"Wait, I have one more goal," Mary McManus told her personal trainer in February of 2008 shortly after coming out of her toe up leg brace. "I want to run the Boston Marathon for Spaulding Rehab Hospital." Mary traded in her polio shoes for running shoes and embarked on the journey of a lifetime. Mary McManus was at the height of her career as a VA social worker when she was told by her team at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital’s International Rehab Center for Polio in December of 2006 that she needed to quit her job if she had any hope of preventing the progression of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease. In “Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility” Mary takes you on her seven year healing odyssey as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma from her diagnosis, to taking a leap of faith to leave her award winning career at the VA to heal her life and follow her passion as a poet and writer. You’ll experience her trials, tribulations and triumphs as she trains for and crosses the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and discovers the opportunity for healing in the wake of new trauma: the suicide of her nephew in 2011, and the aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. This is Mary's journey of coming home to her human form free from the influences of the ghastly ghostly invaders who had invaded her sacred earthly home. Her memoir includes journals and blog posts from her seven year healing odyssey. This is her journey of transformation and her message of healing, hope and possibility.
I donate 50% of royalty payments through on line sales to The One Fund to help Boston Marathon survivors and their families. Copies are also available at Brookline Marathon Sports. $5 of each book sold at Marathon Sports is donated to The One Fund.