Thursday, July 31, 2014

Find Your Aquatics Strength - Don't Mind If I Do - Jumping for Joy

It's been almost a year since I began Aquatics Therapy community classes at Spaulding Rehab Hospital. It has been a game changer in my healing journey with the late effects of paralytic polio and being a survivor of 9 years of violence as a child.



Last night, our therapist kicked it up a notch for those of us who were ready. We started with a few laps of running to warm up but not just any kind of running. High knees, bum kicks and side shuffle. Those contralateral moves are still a challenge for me but I focus on the strength I AM building rather than the weakness I have yet to overcome. It's all about perspective and mindset.

Lower body strength training was up next. I remember when I'd use therabands and thought to myself how grateful I am for the pool at Spaulding and really tightening and using those muscles per my therapist's cues.



Next up, our therapist having us do a new core strengthening exercise in the deep end. It was a very humbling experience yet a challenge that I thoroughly embraced. After we finished the exercises, I noticed that my running in the pool was so much easier. My therapist smiled when I shared this observation with her.

Did you know you can sweat in a pool? You can when you are doing aqua jogging for 5 minutes non stop while holding down two dumb bells by your side. I asked our therapist how long we were jogging for and she said 5 minutes; I usually have you do 3 1/2. We smiled again.

Time for the circuit where we go from doing 40 to 30 to 20 to 15 to 10 to 5 of a circuit of cardio exercises. Tonight's menu consisted of jumping jacks, jump tucks, scissor switch of legs and arms and side to side jumps. Jump tucks have always been a challenge for me. Last night something clicked and I could feel the spring in my jump and a new neuromuscular connection. I found myself jumping for joy.

Knowing today and tomorrow are rest days, I gave it my all feeling a new fierceness and determination deep within.

Finding my aquatics strength yes please and thank you. Don't mind if I do.




"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.








Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Present-Give Yourself the Gift of Peace

It's still a week and a half away and my chatter and nervousness begins about running the Bill Rodgers 5K Run and 14th Annual Walk for Prostate Cancer. I notice it and then I lovingly tell myself to come back to the present. I love Bill Rodgers who I have had the pleasure of meeting several times at the Hyannis Marathon Race Expo.



I know it's an all ages, all abilities race. I know the Race Director, J. Alain Ferry of RaceMenu from when we worked Bib Pick Up at the Runner's World Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon Festival Weekend. He is the one who invited me to the race.

I have absolutely nothing to worry about as long as I stay in the present moment.

We can all get caught up in the past and worry about the future. We tend to have this mental habit of remembering and sticking with thoughts and perceptions of a negative experience. For me and running a race, there are quiet echoes of when I was in a long leg brace after contracting paralytic polio trying to keep up with my peers and feeling so different and isolated from my friends.

But now I run with the pack; even if I am in the back of the pack. It is an inaugural race so I don't know how fast the field will be and it doesn't matter. I imagine myself dead last watching the pack of runners take off in front of me and I can be totally okay with that. I can allow myself to become excited about the race. The course is practically in my backyard and one that Tom and I have run more times than I can remember. There is nothing like the thrill of crossing a starting line, leaving nothing on the roads and then crossing the finish line.

I love Amby Burfoot's quote about winning:


Coincidentally, Amby and Bill were roommates and it was Amby who helped to train Bill in endurance running.

And another one of my favorite quotes from John "The Penguin" Bingham: "What distinguishes those of us at the starting line from those of us on the couch is that we learn through running to take what the days gives us, what our body will allow us, and what our will can tolerate."

So rather than allow those nervous thoughts to dominate, I breathe and come back to the present. I tap into my own feelings of empowerment knowing that no matter what the finisher's clock may say, I will make the race my personal best. I will celebrate and enjoy what is. I am reprogramming my thoughts even as I write this.

I repeat my new healing mantra, "I have all the energy I need to do whatever it is I need and want to do." I repeat my old healing mantra from Emile Coue of "Every day in every way I'm getting better and better."

I come back to the present and give myself the gift of peace.

Presence

Presents
gifts of awakening and awareness
come in the oddest of boxes
illness
old age
death
presence always presenting
opportunities
for transformation
the physical body
an illusion really
yet necessary
if we are to experience the fullness of life
the journey is the destination
being present
receiving all the gifts that presence presents.




"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.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Lost and Found

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.



Monday, July 28, 2014

Come Out and Play - Summer Rain


There is magic in the rain. Shortly after being diagnosed with post polio syndrome in December of 2006 I had a dream. I took off my brace and went outside and danced barefoot in the rain a la Gene Kelly in Singin' in the Rain. When I awoke, I wrote the poem:


Come Out And Play
Arms flung open wide, dancing in the rain
Pure abiding joy to feel alive again.
Healing tears fall and blend in God's puddle
No time to sit in a corner and huddle.
All the old rules driven by fears
Washed away now by God's loving tears
The imprint Dad left no longer remains
Rain washes away all of the stains.
Baptized with Love, Truth lights my way
The sun shines through on this rainy day.
Splashing and laughing, my heart opens wide
Embracing and flowing, I'm one with the tide.
God takes my hand - release the old way
BATHE IN MY GLORY-COME OUT AND PLAY!




Last night my system worked through and released long held memories in my body. I breathed. I meditated. I reminded myself that they are only feelings and will pass. I affirmed that I am healing. I poured sweat and felt nauseous. I held steady and fell back to sleep but when I woke up at around 6:30 after Tom returned from his run, I felt tired.

I was going to stay in bed but then reminded myself of my new healing mantra, "I have all the energy I need to do what it is I choose and want to do." I meditated a little longer and had breakfast with Tom.

The skies got darker and the rain started to fall. The forecast was for rain all day today so I decided it was better to get out now and get my run in since I was up and had fueled for my run. There was a strong pull to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head but I knew that would not serve me.

One lap around the Reservoir. It was drizzling. Great I thought to myself. I'll be able to get this in no problem.

The sky grew darker, the rains intensified. I picked up my pace.

A bolt of lightning. A clap of thunder. More lightning and thumder boomers.

I was halfway around my 2nd lap. Open water. Trees. Me being soaked from head to feet. Lightning. Not a great combination. However, it was a great pacer.

I took a shortcut up the steep hill and arrived safely home completing about 2.5 miles with a negative 1'1" split for the second mile.

I felt a sense of joy and laughter soaking in the moments of running in the thunderstorm feeling One with all that is. I had on a racer back top and shorts. I was baptized with new life. I felt energized and renewed.

The skies opened and became dark and angry and then just as quickly as the storm moved in, it passed and the sun came out.

I went out and ran one more mile to complete my miles for the day.

Even though my body felt sluggish and hungover from last night's working through of whatever needed to be released, I didn't let that stop me from going out and playing in the summer rain. And now I can bask in the glorious sunshine and crystal clear blue skies being serenaded by the birds who are also celebrating the passing of the storm.






"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.



Sunday, July 27, 2014

Changes in Attitude - Reframing - A New Mantra for Healing

During my pre treatment check in at Sollievo Massage and Bodywork, my therapist asked me how I was doing. I replied with everything's okay because it has to be okay right? He said, "Oh I don't know. Sometimes it's okay to complain." I told him that I have my fair share of a pity party. "Sometimes PPS sucks," I told him. "When did you come to that conclusion?" he asked. "Yesterday." I went on to share how my Spirit feels so frustrated. There's so much more I want to do but I am limited by my physical form that gets fatigued. I need so much time to rest and recover.I was quick to point out that I am so grateful for everything I AM able to do and the abundance and blessings in my life and that's the duality of life's experiences. And yet, it was crucial that I said out loud that PPS sucks and that my Spirit felt frustrated.

I set my intention for the treatment - continued healing, peace, equanimity and, as I brought my hands together in prayer to my third eye, patience.

As he approached the table and had barely begun the work through the blanket, I felt this heat fill my trunk and I had this insight, "Oh my God. It doesn't have to always be this way."

Since increasing my mileage to a 10K distance once a week, I needed to ask for more help with chores. Even though my husband did the chores with an open heart telling me he wanted me to have enough energy to do the things that I enjoy doing, I was sad, frustrated and felt trapped inside my body. Sure I could run and was doing great at building endurance and speed but I couldn't figure out how to get a handle on managing the chores.

Through the treatment, I realized that there are energy breaches in my body from polio, violence and surgeries. I felt a shift in last Thursday's treatment. Hope surged through me and I could experience where energy had been blocked and there were moments when the energy began to flow.

At Walden Pond on Friday, I had a eureka moment during my meditation. I am an endurance runner. I realized that I had been up since 7 am on Thursday and after my treatment, we went to the Marathon Sports 5 Miler. We didn't get home until after 9 and I didn't get to sleep until 10 yet I felt energized realizing that I had energy available to sustain me throughout the long day.

I know how to train to go the distance. Why don't I apply this to the marathon of my life? And a new mantra for healing came to me:

"I have all the energy I need to do the things I need and want to do."


I add this to my healing mantra from Emile Coue, "Everyday in every way I'm getting better and better."

I know about getting a second wind.

It was a light bulb moment for me. I'd been focusing on the lack of energy and frustration which of course drains energy even more. As my therapist explained: "Yes there are areas where energy freely flows in your body and areas where it does not flow freely; your body draws from the places where energy freely flows and diverts it to where there are blocks thereby creating fatigue in both areas." I said "But it will change" and we both almost said at the same time - But it is changing! I realized that I'm not stuck or victimized by what is. During my meditation, I let go of what was weighing me down emotionally and physically.

I made a list of chores and with Tom's help, we figured out a schedule for getting the chores done to allow for rest and recovery yet allow for me to slowly build endurance in sharing in the chores.

We use the language of training to reframe how I need to manage. I take water stop breaks. We use a relay for putting away groceries and I sit on a chair as Tom passes the groceries to me.

I feel empowered. I have a new focus for my meditation with this new awareness of what is happening in my body. When I first began this journey over 7 years ago now, I would imagine God as my master electrician knowing that my body needed to be rewired. I now have the guidance of a wonderful mind/body therapist who uses massage and the practice of Zero Balancing to help me unleash my healing power to create change in my mind/body. Yet even if nothing more were to change I am okay with everything as it is right now.

It's all about changes in attitude, reframing by using the metaphor of running, and harnessing the power of my new mantra for healing.






"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.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The View From the Stadium - Spectating the 39th Annual Marathon Sports 5 Miler

The forecast was for rain. It's either been extremely hot and humid or downpours for the annual Marathon Sports 5 Miler. Instead, it was a picture perfect 75 degrees with little humidity.

One of the many reasons we love this race is because:

100% of the profits this year and in years past go to our friends over at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, in their noble quest to fight blood cancers.


It was my first 5 mile race ever with memories that I will always cherish. You can read about it in #tbt Marathon Sports 5 Miler - Keep Moving Forward.

It's a fast field so I now opt to have Tom run this race solo while I experience the thrill of being a spectator.

The pre race energy is electric as over 850 runners gathered for the event.

There were vendors:




I had this photo op with my Marathon Sports Family, Ellen Gabriel who hosted my Book Release Party at the Brookline Store and Alison Eno-Ballbach who was our mother hen during our 2009 Boston Marathon Training:



Tom took his place at the start and I went to the Stadium. I took this shadow selfie on the way:



You can see what a gorgeous evening it was:



And then they were off to the strains of Chariots of Fire:


The winner of the men's race came in at a sub 5:00 minute/mile pace:



And the first female came in under a 6 minute/mile pace:



Tom said he'd be doing about a 10 minute/mile pace so I settled down on the bleachers. I looked across the stadium at about 40 minutes or so and I see him in his BAA 10K shirt, sunglasses and white hat. I was stunned and wondered if maybe it wasn't him. But after being together for 37 years and spectating many, many races during these past several years, I knew there was no mistake. He was flying and crossed the finish line with a PR 8:29 minute/mile pace. As he crossed the finish line I said, "What the f*** did you do out there?" I could see he had left nothing on the roads and was about to leave nothing in his stomach. He found a bucket of ice, took a handful of it and poured it over his head. He rehydrated. Here he is crossing the finish line and channeling his inner Rocky -- not bad for 62 years old huh?



We walked around to give Tom a chance to cool down and recover. TriJake Fitness was offering photos. Tom insisted that I get in the photo since I am part of support crew:



We were surprised to find Amanda Ravens who ran for Spaulding's Race for Rehab Team this year. Tom and Amanda bonded during the Hyannis Half Marathon. Here is their post race pic:



Colin Peddie, owner of Marathon Sports gave me a huge hug and thanked us for coming out. He said he wanted to thank each and every person for coming out. He opened his arms to the sky saying how blessed we were with the weather tonight and the entire evening. So much healing has happened since 4/15/13 when his store and the city of Boston were shaken to the core.

As I was talking with Holly Kosel of TriJake, this person comes running up to Tom and says, "You were right man. You were so right about running!" I finished my conversation with Holly and we exchanged business cards. Everyone has a story!

Tom told me that the person who hugged him was an auditor when he worked at Dossia. He told this person that he needed to get out there and run and the Marathon Sports 5 Miler was one of his first races.

As the sun set over Weston and we said goodbye to friends - old and new - I felt deeply blessed and grateful to be a part of the Marathon Sports Family for these past 6 years. What a joy to watch Tom crush the race and celebrate with him. It's a beautiful view from the Stadium and what a joy to spectate the 39th annual Marathon Sports 5 Miler.

Here's to all who ran and finished - especially 83 year old Phyllis Mays who finished last with a 17:43 minute/mile pace.





"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.





Friday, July 25, 2014

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Spaulding Rehab Aquatics: A Magical Meeting and Using Your Noodle

Tom and I sat outside on the beautiful patio overlooking Boston Harbor before Spaulding Rehab Aquatics Therapy class. A woman wearing a Falmouth Road Race volunteer t shirt comes wheeling by us announcing, "This is the first day I've been able to do this by myself. God is so good." She opened her arms to the sunlit sky. She shared with us her story of two knee replacements that resulted in severe infections that led to an above the knee amputation. She has been in and out of the hospital and rehab for the past year. She told us she has her pity party time but that she knows how lucky she is. I gave her my business card and hope she gets in touch with me. She is a warrior in every sense of the word. What a magical moment to meet her after writing my blog yesterday about being thankful and taking nothing for granted. We exchanged hugs as she went on her way, the embodiment of faith, gratitude and spreading a message of healing, hope and possibility despite all appearances. She sees a world filled with possibility for competing in hand cycling events and adaptive sports through Spaulding. She is even considering running once she is able to wear a high tech prosthetic leg which is the goal for her. I told her how I lost use of my right arm for 6 months after a staph infection. I told her it's a lot of hard work as she knows but you can regain muscle strength. I told her about my 2009 Boston Marathon run.

What a blessing that Tom and I could share the class together. He was able to get in a good cross training workout in preparation for tomorrow's Marathon Sports 5 Miler. I continued to work to build strength and I dedicated my workout to the woman we met who was wheeling her way around the Spaulding campus celebrating her life and her freedom.

It was a small class. Our therapist led us through an intense cardio workoout. I could feel her energy and intention for each of us to find our strength. I challenged myself by going into the deeper water. Tom told me after class he was amazed at my focus and dedication to building strength.

It's not all work and no play though. Our therapist suggested that, after we balanced and walked on the noodle in the shallow end of the pool



that we attempt standing on the noodle and then, with legs together, pump the noodle up and down.

It was a delightful challenge that resulted in experiencing a sense of play as I'd lose my balance, have my noodle pop up to the surface and I'd go under water.

It's so wonderful to be able to challenge myself in a safe, aquatic environment and to unleash a sense of play and freedom. I was able to find my balance and do 5 leg push ups. Now that's what I call using your noodle! I wanted to keep trying it over and over again but it was time to cool down and stretch.

As I mentioned in yesterday's blog post, there are times that I have a pity party. Sometimes it is so difficult to live with the late effects of paralytic polio and yet it is my path and one I wouldn't (or couldn't) trade for the world. I wouldn't have the opportunity to meet the most amazing, magical, inspiring people that I get to meet on this journey.

Everyday I give thanks that Spaulding Rehab is a part of my journey that takes me to higher and higher ground in my healing.

To read more about my journey after being diagnosed with post polio syndrome in December of 2006 at Spaulding Rehab's International Rehab Center for Polio ----





"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.



Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Be Thankful - Take Nothing for Granted

Shortly after being diagnosed with post polio syndrome, I realized that I was at a crossroads in my life. Would I continue to live my life as a hamster in a wheel, trying to get through each day, feeling betrayed by my body and just waiting for it all to end OR would I begin to see my life, my challenges as gifts and be grateful.

It wasn't easy to make the shift and I still have my days where sadness flows as I realize what happened to me.

Once I shifted to feeling gratitude in my heart and seeing the challenges as blessings, my life began to change; my heart and body began to heal.

Gratitude is a part of my daily meditation. Sometimes I allow myself to have a good old fashioned pity party and then my heart, soul and mind shift to focusing on ALL I have to be grateful for. I am grateful for meditation that keeps bringing me back to the moment, to understand what keeps me from choosing love and move on to practice loving kindness and compassion for myself and sending it out into the world so desperately in need of healing.

One of the things I am especially grateful for is that I take nothing for granted. Something as simple as putting on my shorts or a pair of pants takes mindfulness as I challenge myself to move out of the habitual ways of doing things that result in overuse, injury and imbalance. I feel a sense of joy and gratitude when I am able to accomplish this seemingly simple feat.

This staycation time with my husband has been precious. I enjoy and savor each moment we have together. Sometimes it's time spent in meditation or reading; cleaning up the yard together or even being together as we put out the trash and recycling which is usually a hurried activity the night before trash day. While we are in our early 60's and despite living with PPS, we are in excellent health, I know that life can change on a dime.

I know how lucky I am to be able to run! Every time I get out there I feel gratitude rush through me. Whether the run is a PR kind of run or one that I slog through to get in the miles, I appreciate the freedom, the health and well being that enables me to continue to run. I am blessed by the running community that embraces me and that I have a partner who goes out with me to train for the Tufts 10K.

I am blessed with healing resources. The Aquatics Therapy classes at Spaulding Rehab has been a game changer in my healing journey. It's been almost a year now since I started the program. I am building strength, balance, coordination and confidence. Part of my confidence is that no matter what may happen, I will always be led to exactly what I need when I need it.

On March 20, I walked through the doors of Sollievo Massage and Bodywork. The 90 minutes of weekly massage therapy that incorporates Zero Balancing into the work is supporting my intention to heal and recover from paralytic polio and violence; intentions I first set forth in my poetry.

How amazing that as I sat in a leg brace, using a wheelchair at times for mobility and feeling the worst I have ever felt in my life that the gift of poetry blossomed in my soul. My pen continues to become my divining rod for healing, joy and allowing gratitude to flow.

I have a beautiful, loving, supportive group of friends on Facebook and IRL or in real life as the kids like to say. I scroll through my Facebook feed and see posts about gratitude, the joy of children; inspirational quotes and inspirational stories abound.

I am blessed that I have survived - and now thrive living as full and vibrant a life as I possibly can. I am thankful and I take nothing for granted.

To read more about my journey after being diagnosed with post polio syndrome in December of 2006 ----






"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.




Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Life's a Beach!

I am unplugging today and heading to Nantasket Beach after Aquatics Therapy at Spaulding Rehab.



We are going to dine at The Red Parrot owned by Bea D'Angelo who is a member of my L Street Running Club family.

This will be our view from the dining deck:


My soul settles by the sea. Water heals.



Today will be a day for healing, peace, meditation, surf, sand, sun and spending precious time with my husband.


And if you're looking for an inspirational summer beach read ----

"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.






Monday, July 21, 2014

The Joy of a Staycation: Simple Pleasures

There's something wonderful about feeling the anticipation of a vacation. Packing the bags and heading off for a change of scenery. But for me, there is also something wonderful about creating a vacation from our very own home.

Yesterday, Tom and I spent the day working in the yard. I do have to be mindful about how much and what I do. With him to do the heavy lifting so to speak, I could thoroughly enjoy dirt therapy with him. We worked together as a wonderful team finally having the expanse of time to work in our yard without the pressure of him returning to work today and needing to get other chores done.

This morning we slept in until about 7:30. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast together in our beautiful clean yard and then headed out together for a 3.1 mile run. Tom is going to do more yard work this afternoon. It's so wonderful to feel his energy at home taking care of our home.

We've lived here for 18 years. There was so much work each of us was doing first in raising our children, then in careers, and then in my healing journey that it seems as though this is the first time we can settle into our homestead and thoroughly enjoy a staycation.

It's the simple pleasures of sharing meals together, taking care of the yard and our beautiful greenery, sitting and reading together, relaxing after runs and having time to be.

Tomorrow and Wednesday, Tom is going to join me for Aquatics Therapy classes at Spaulding. It will be great cross training for him and it will be a joy to share in the classes with him as we did before his work schedule changed. We'll pack up the car complete with a good old fashioned picnic lunch and after Aquatics tomorrow we are going to head straight to Nantasket Beach for the day. I cannot remember the last time we went to Nantasket. Bea D'Angelo, a member of L Street Running Club is the owner of The Red Parrot where we will dine at the end of our day long getaway.

On Thursday, Tom runs the Marathon Sports 5 Miler. Even though the forecast isn't looking good, nothing can dampen our spirits when we get together with our Marathon Sports family.

As of now, we have no plans for Friday.

And that's the joy of a staycation. The simple pleasures of being together, feeling contented and celebrating the warmth and love of our home and a time to Be.

Be

Be optimistic
believe
and leave behind the lies of anything that is not love.
Tune out voices of hate
darkness
tune into light
feel light
be light hearted
though at times
sorrow in the world
weighs heavy on the heart.

Choose perspective
undeterred
hold onto hope
believe in miracles

Be fearless in
Being
You



"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.





Sunday, July 20, 2014

Rising to the Challenge

I told Tom that I would like a different 6.2 mile route as I train for the Tufts 10K. During my morning meditation, I had to clear out the memories from last week's training run that I wrote about in "Finding My Second Wind".

I know the race is not until October, but I have a lot of lost training ground to cover from when I took a two year running hiatus. Tom asked me what kind of a course I wanted. I told him that I wanted to run the route from our house to twice around Jamaica Pond and home. I had no idea what he had mapped out for us.

We wound through the narrow back streets of Brookline to Jamaica Pond. It was a little testy navigating with cars but we did it. What a wonderful feeling to have the vista of Jamaica Pond spread before us.



Something happens to me when I run around Jamaica Pond. Perhaps it is feeling the energy of Bill Rodgers. Jamaica Pond is where he trained for Boston. I didn't know that when we trained for the 2009 Boston Marathon. Our trainer would take us to Jamaica Pond for speed work and hills. We would do our long runs around Jamaica Pond because it was one of the few places with a clear path during winter. We have many fond memories of our Jamaica Pond training runs like the day that Tom lost me on our training run.

From my memoir, "Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility":
And who could EVER forget us losing each other around - emphasize the word a-round Jamaica Pond. Tom had stopped at the car to fill up the water bottles and get some snacks. He had his iPod on really loud. I was in the zone and ran by him. I saw him looking for me in the opposite direction and yelled to him that I was over here. I felt so great and the weather was wonderful that I did not want to interrupt my rhythm. Finally, my daughter who had been going at her own pace came running up to me - where were you she asked? (well duh, we're going around in a circle) Dad is worried sick about you. He thought that since you had to go to the bathroom (and the bathrooms were not open yet) that you went off the trail and went to pee in the woods). We finally all caught up with one another and laughed so hard.


There is a beauty and majesty to Jamaica Pond. My soul settles when I am there and my body feels free.

Since we were out for a 6.2 mile run, I knew I had to pace myself. During our second time around, I told Tom that I was going to run up the hill just as we had done with my trainer. I felt a sense of exhilaration that I could rise to the challenge of running up the hill again.

The route home had a trail and steep hills. At first I told Tom that I never wanted to run this route again. It was so challenging.

And then there was a shift inside of me.

I thoroughly embraced the challenge. I experienced the expression, "I eat hills for breakfast." I loved feeling the different textures under my feet and I loved feeling nimble in my body as I navigated the uncertain terrain.

The terrain was uncertain yet I felt a confidence in my body.

A runner's high took on a whole new meaning for me. I paid close attention to my footing and to how I was feeling in my body.

Once back in the familiarity of our neighborhood where we would complete the 6.2 miles, I started running at a steady pace. I was amazed at how much I had left in the tank.

As I reflect on yesterday's training run, I realize that what fueled me was the feeling of rising to the challenge on a very difficult course.

Pushing myself and embracing the challenge holds me in good stead for whatever challenges may come my way in this journey we call life.






Friday, July 18, 2014

A Debt of Gratitude to Marathon Woman K.V. Switzer "A girl can't run the Boston Marathon" - oh yes she can!


I just finished reading Kathrine Switzer's "Marathon Woman", best known as the woman who created quite a stir at the 1967 Boston Marathon wearing bib number 261. Jock Semple, the race director jumped off of the press truck when he realized there was a woman running in 'his race' and tried to physically push her off the course. He ripped off her bib number on her back. Her boyfriend at the time pushed Jock out of the way and she went on to finish the race in 4 hours and 20 minutes.



The moment she crossed the finish line, she knew her life had been changed forever. The experience ignited the fire in her soul. She was only 19 years old and still in college yet she was aware on some level of what she was being called to do.

Today we don't think much about being able to compete in all female races or that there is a women's marathon event in the Olympics. This year marks the 30th year of the inaugural women's marathon event in the Olympics won by New England's very own Joan Benoit Samuelson. It was the tireless efforts of Kathrine Switzer that gives women this opportunity. But for Kathrine, her mission goes beyond women having the right to compete in races. For Kathrine, her mission and passion is all about bringing the transformational power of running to women worldwide. She calls running "The Secret Weapon." She didn't want to keep the secret weapon she discovered while running a mile around her back yard a secret. Here she is describing the life changing moment when her military father responds to her telling him she wanted to be a cheerleader:



Kathrine highlights the culture of what it was like to grow up female in the 1960's. While the women in my family took the cultural stereotypes to the extreme, I realized that their values and myths of what it meant to be female was being reinforced by the sociocultural norms of the time.



Kathrine used her marketing and PR strategies to both work within the framework of the cultural norms to make inroads in the female and societal psyche about women's abilities and to blaze trails through her uncanny ability to build collaborative relationships in the midst of conflict.

Kathrine believes that women have incredible potential if they have the opportunity and belief. Through organizing races on a global scale, she changed women's lives. There is power in crossing a finish line and getting a medal around your neck. You do something you never thought you'd be able to do. For me as a survivor of paralytic polio, and childhood domestic violence and having been diagnosed with post polio syndrome, every training run and every race is a victory for me. Every step empowers me and takes me into the present moment leaving behind all that went before.

Kathrine blazed the trail for all of us to experience the transformational power of running.

My breath catches for a moment when I realize that were it not for Kathrine's courage, passion, ability for community organization and activism on a global scale (often sacrificing her health and her personal life for the cause), that the Boston Marathon would not have been a part of my journey. Nor would I be training for the Tufts 10K in October.

To K.V. Switzer, Marathon Woman and so much more, I owe a debt of gratitude.


"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.







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.









Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What Do You Believe?



It's a miracle that I did not become bitter and filled with hatred after my experiences with paralytic polio followed by 9 years of unrelenting violence at the hands of family members. I chose to go into the field of social work where I could shower love, compassion and kindness onto others even though at the time I had not yet mastered the art of showering myself with love, compassion and kindness. I was a fierce advocate for our nation's veterans. Some would confuse my sweetness, kindness and optimism with being foolish or weak.

Yet I possess a strength of Spirit that is fueled by my belief in healing, hope and possibility even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

My trusting nature would take me to places and people that were not always the best choice for me. File that under soul lessons learned and a reminder to do due diligence.

But my belief in the goodness in people and goodness in the world has brought me to some of the most beautiful people and healers in this world.

I love this quote from Helen Keller:



I had very little training in being soft and tender, kind and compassionate and in being hopeful. But then again when I first started out I had no training in how to run and went on to run the 2009 Boston Marathon.

While life can and does break our heart at times, I put my training efforts in being soft and tender-hearted. It doesn't matter to me whether the glass is half full or half empty; I cultivate an attitude of gratitude that I have the glass. I'm so happy that I can allow the sweetness and generosity in my soul to be, tempered by the wisdom I now have of choosing who I allow into my heart and my life.

And although others may disagree with me, I still believe this world is a beautiful place to be.

What do you believe?

"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.












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