Thursday, July 17, 2014
Purpose - On Poetry, Passion and Hope
From my memoir, "Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility":
I had never felt a connection to my body before. It was a strange experience yet one that I hungered for. I wanted to find my way home and Allison was my first tour guide providing the map I needed to reconnect with myself.
The first day I walked into the outpatient gym and saw all of the equipment and machines I thought to myself, I’m going to be able to do this. I can get stronger. I can reconnect with my body. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I knew it was going to take time and I had to be extremely patient with myself. Allison’s passion for the work and belief in the process was infectious. I wanted to feel better. I wanted to live in my body. I wanted to feel whole. Three times a week we worked together using what I now know was Pilates, isometrics, weight training and cardiovascular exercise to begin to bring my body out of its withered state.
I sat at my dining room table on a freezing cold dark February evening. No one else was at home. I had printouts from ‘new age’ teachers spread out all over the table. Dr. Bernie Siegel, Wayne Dyer, Tony Robbins, teachers from “The Secret” which was very popular back in the day were beckoning me. The theme was gratitude and a call to create.
“I am so happy and grateful that I can create,” was an affirmation from a Lisa Nichols newsletter.
Create? Create? I asked myself over and over again. What am I going to create? I had twins and my childbearing years were over. My career was quickly coming to an end.
And then I felt a stirring in my second chakra (only then I didn’t know it was my second chakra – I thought it might have been something I ate). I went over to my laptop in the corner of the living room and I wrote the poem, "Running the Race."
Poems about wholeness, gratitude, feeling free in my body and healing began flowing out of me. My pen became my diving rod for healing. I continue to write poetry and as Spirit moves me will post them on Facebook. My most recent poems will be incorporated into my next book, "Journey Well." It seems that there is at least one person who thanks me for my poem saying it was exactly what they needed to hear. Purpose ....
I used to try to find my purpose after leaving my award winning career at the VA with a very heavy heart. I realized that I can't find my purpose. The Universe presents me with wonderful opportunities to use my passion and talents for the higher good. I am better able to discern these opportunities and to seize the ones that bring me joy and make my heart sing. Purpose....
Last night after Aquatics Therapy at Spaulding Rehab, one of the women mentioned in the locker room that she felt very frustrated in the class. "You seemed to know what you are doing and you do it with such ease," she said to me. I smiled. I told her that appearances are very deceiving and while some of the exercises are easier for me than others, I have to work hard in the water to create new neuromuscular conditions and build strength. I shared my journey with her. Her eyes welled with tears. "Well ... you gave me hope. You have no idea how much I needed to hear your story today. I'll be back next week." Purpose....
When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I asked my father why we are here. It was a rare moment with him when he was sober. He said that he didn't have an answer but he liked to believe that if we touch the life of at least one other person while we are here, then we can say our life is a success. Purpose ....
"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.