Thursday, August 21, 2014
The New Normal
I live with a spinal cord injury and the effects of 9 years of violence when I was a child in addition to recent adult traumas of my nephew's suicide in 2011 and the events of 4/15/13. I don't let those experiences define me, defy me or limit me. However, I realize that I need to honor how paralytic polio and violence have affected my physicality, and therefore create a new normal for myself.
I am healing and feel more hopeful than ever on my healing journey. Today I will experience riding an adaptive bike outside for the first time in my life. A few weeks ago I scored a huge PR at the Bill Rodgers 5K Run/Walk to Benefit Prostate Cancer. I am training for the Tufts 10K. I do hills and speed work now but I am also mindful of how I expend my energy.
Rest days used to be very challenging for me. I felt a restlessness and was always worried in the back of my mind, "Would I recover? Would I be able to run another day? Would I have enough energy?"
And since implementing my mantra of "I have enough energy to do the things I want and need to do," I can relax and rest and recover on my off days.
I've also learned to let go of perfection of needing to have the house just so or making sure that the laundry was always done. We always seem to have enough clean running clothes and that's what's really important! I schedule when I am going to do what. Like a good trainer, I look at how I am responding to the plan and make adjustments as necessary to create an optimal healing environment for myself.
This is a precious time of healing for me. I've never been able to enjoy the rest and recovery days. I couldn't settle enough in my body to enjoy being at home, writing, reading, meditating and working on different projects.
I am so much more mindful of how I choose to expend my energy now and what is important to me and for me to have a wonderful quality of life.
I know that I am not going to take on a distance beyond a 10K. I want to work on speed and strength at that distance. I want to expand and see what other activities I might enjoy. There is a whole world of possibility out there.
At first it was very scary to embrace the new normal but now I am getting into a flow and a rhythm with my body and with my life. I am putting down responsibility, blame, shame, guilt, and embracing the essence of who I am. I am allowing myself to enjoy my life and I am at long last finding ways to cultivate peace in my body, and in my heart.
This new normal is pretty sweet. It's amazing what happens when you stop fighting what is and go with the flow of what is. In this new normal I realize that I do not have to do more or be more. I am and that is enough.
"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.