I meditated for an hour this morning reflecting on different feelings in my body and in my heart. The pelting rain and winds were the soundtrack for my meditation. Part of me wondered how we were ever going to get in our training run today. I couldn't believe that given the current weather conditions, the skies could clear. The forecast was for clearing by 10 am though. I imagined that the forecasters were going to say that Hurricane Arthur stalled over New England and we would not get the clearing as previously forecasted.
I planned out a route that would keep us close to home and then went back to listening to my body.
I attended to feelings and thoughts from the past as they arose and then receded much like the waves of the ocean.
I remembered when I was a sweet ballerina with long shiny hair. I could feel the one, two, three punch of contracting paralytic polio. I was paralyzed. My mother and grandmother's cruelty is best symbolized by them carting me off to the hairdresser to have my hair cut into a pixie hair cut once I was able to leave the house, Three years later, and for the next 9 years I became the target of family violence.
After being diagnosed with post polio syndrome, I have been on a 7 and a half year healing odyssey. Through writing poetry, I imagined feeling beautiful, free and whole in my body. I visualized running a race. I had dreams of coming out of my leg brace and dancing in the rain. I held onto hope and never gave up.
On March 20th, I was blessed to find my way to a massage therapist at Sollievo Massage and Bodywork. The rhythm of his hands create new muscle memory; the intention of his heart joins my intention to heal and Zero Balancing, a mind/body therapy has been helping me to transform the energy of violence and trauma that was in my bones.
But in my recent session, I realized that the energy of violence and trauma did not originate with me. I don't have a cruel bone in my body yet I lived under the weight of their projections onto me believing what they said.
And just as somewhere I held onto faith that the skies would in fact clear today (which they did and it turned into one of our most glorious New England Summer days), I have held onto hope that I would find peace and acceptance with all that is and all that happened to me.
After I finished my meditation, I wrote this poem:
The Art of Being Present
Each moment is a blank canvas
smudges and splotches only in mind's eye
raindrops from the heart
wash away the past.
Each moment is an opportunity
overflowing with possibility.
How shall I paint this moment?
My portrait once a still life
life force leaps
lover of life
a geyser of joy
a river of happiness
fragrant flowers sweetness
lit with softness of sun's tender embrace
back from the edge
the ledge between life and death
creating the masterpiece of my life
one breath at a time.
Grandma Moses started painting at age 70. At 60, I am painting the masterpiece of my life.
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.