If there was one piece of advice I would give to my younger (and not so younger self) it would be to remember that moments are precious and wisely choose how you spend your time.
Trust your gut. Listen to your intuition and to your heart. They will not lead you astray. And then take a deep breath and exhale letting everything go.
As a survivor of paralytic polio, I was a fierce Type A personality who believed that I could push and force my way through anything. It served me well as I learned how to walk again and again - and again after many surgeries; and when channeled into my work at the VA as a champion for veterans, it helped to transform lives.
The down side of this belief is that I had trouble walking away from situations that did not serve me. During my meditation this morning I reflected on what does it mean "does not serve me"? It's a phrase we kick around a lot these days. I thought about the word serve. Are the choices I am making nourish me? Do they make me smile and bring joy into my life? Or conversely, are they choices that are an entanglement from days gone by.
The seeds of not valuing my worth were planted after I contracted paralytic polio and then grew into unwieldy weeds, if you will, with the fertilizer of 9 years of violence. Yes, I am smiling with that image. I weeded that plot of the garden of my life. In its place I put down my roots of self love, compassion, kindness and tenderness.
As I look back on choices I made since retirement, I can understand what drove me to hang in there until the often times bitter end of a situation.
But no more!
If something doesn't feel right and is not going to serve me, I, as gracefully as I can, exit stage left.
I take more time for stillness and meditation these days allowing my body to finally heal...and to listen to the promptings of my heart. The time in stillness gives rise to the flow of creativity. And I no longer worry about having something to do with my time. The Universe is always setting choices before me. I'm also learning how to enjoy Being in my life now without necessarily needing to do anything.
This summer I have been taking note of the warm sun. I make a special mental note of how wonderful it feels to go to Aquatics Therapy in shorts and a t shirt and not needing to dry my hair or the joy of running in one layer of running clothes.
I move my "office" around the yard to soak up the sun and the fresh air knowing that here in New England the Fall and Winter are right around the corner.
I'm taking the advice to my younger and not so younger self to work to stay present and enjoy these precious moments to serve myself well and then serve the world.
"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.