When Kathrine Switzer told her father she wanted to be a cheerleader, he said, "Life is to participate...not to spectate":
"We can either watch life from the sidelines, or actively participate. Either we let self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy prevent us from realizing our potential, or embrace the fact that when we turn our attention away from ourselves, our potential is limitless." - Christopher Reeve
It's ironic that after receiving the diagnosis of post polio syndrome in December of 2006, I realized that I needed to get off the sidelines of life and get in the game. Yes I had an award winning career as a VA social worker but I was dying inside. All the years of self-loathing and lugging my body around with me finally caught up with me.
I did the best I could and I certainly shower myself with love and compassion for getting through after contracting paralytic polio at the age of 5 and then, three years later, experiencing 9 years of unrelenting violence at the hands of family members.
Until everything broke down mind, body and Spirit, I couldn't turn my life around and begin to heal.
Writing poetry opened the door to my Spirit that lay quietly in hiding until it was safe to come out.
Of all things to visualize and imagine, I imagined myself running a 10K race even though I had never run a day in my life.
After I got a little stronger, I declared that I would run the 2009 Boston Marathon. I trained for over a year and with each run, with each race, with each mile, I found more and more of myself.
“The distance runner is mysteriously reconciling the separations of body and mind, of pain and pleasure, of the conscious and the unconscious. He is repairing the rent, and healing the wound in his divided self. He has found a way to make the ordinary extraordinary; the commonplace unique; the everyday eternal.”
― George Sheehan, Running & Being: The Total Experience
After my nephew's suicide, I lost myself again but I found my way back to running.
Running is my very own divining rod that keeps me connected, grounded and helps me to find my way home. Every time I lace up my running shoes I feel that expansiveness of my Being that takes me off of the sidelines and into the game of my life.
"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.