Monday, December 11, 2017

Going the Distance: Reflections on Appearances



During our last long run training for Bermuda Half Marathon 2018, Tom took this video:


When I first saw the replay of it I was intensely critical of what I saw. Tremors, wrinkles, a slow runner....

Whoa!



I'm going to respond to my criticism and to anyone who might judge the woman in the video.

Every wrinkle on my face indicates a challenge that God blessed me with to discover my strength, my courage, my fortitude, determination and to bring me closer to the Divine within me and around me. I can trace every line to an event that reminds me how my heart broke and then healed!

Every wrinkle represents wisdom garnered from those events.

During Saturday's 6 mile training run, one of our neighbors shouted out, "Hey how is the training going? Are you running Boston this year?"

I smiled and I heard God speak to me through him... "Be the creation you are meant to be."

As for the tremors well they are healing as is my entire neurological system from the effects of paralytic polio that I contracted at age 5 and severe childhood trauma. They are the reminder that the Divine within and around me is so much greater than those who tried to kill me.

Beneath the surface of gray hair and wrinkles lies a woman with an indomitable Spirit. When I was diagnosed with Post-Polio Syndrome 11 years ago and told to prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair I refused to take the diagnosis sitting down. Instead I got still and asked for Divine Guidance.

Three years ago this month I suffered a serious knee injury and was told that I should never have started running in the first place, that I needed to cap the distance I was going to run if I was going to continue to run. I should return to the Post-Polio clinic for evaluation and intervention because, after all, it was only a matter of time before the disease did progress and to expect that I would need a total knee replacement within a few years.

Yes I am a slow runner but slow is relative. I love how Tom told me "For someone who is supposed to be in a wheelchair, you run pretty fast."

Ever since I was a little girl, I was always able to see beyond appearances and was blessed to be touched by grace after contracting paralytic polio at the age of 5. I was neglected by my drug addicted mother and minimally cared for by my father and grandfather. Three years later, and for nine years until his suicide my father abused me sexually, physically and emotionally and my grandmother subjected me to torture rituals. BUT I could always see beyond appearances. I had a wonderful imagination. I felt God's presence with me every step of the way and with every trial and tribulation I faced, my faith and connection to Source has grown stronger and stronger.

It's fun to see beyond appearances; to trust, to believe and to create healing and the circumstances of my life.

One of my favorite healing stories, and one I cherish and remember whenever I begin to doubt or fear anything about my physicality and my ability to create healing in my life by turning to the Divine has to do with a lesion I had on my nose. It began in 2013. It started out as a boil of sorts and then for the next 3 years it would break open, bleed, scab over but never completely heal. Some would say I should have gone to the doctor and had it "taken care of." But something deep inside of me told me that if I got out of the way, it would heal. I'd meditate and send healing light to the lesion on my nose while bringing compassion and love to the site that had suffered so much abuse when I was a child. One day I looked in the mirror and it was completely healed! There is only a scar that remains.

On appearance I had a tumor in my left breast shortly after being diagnosed with Post-Polio Syndrome. I meditated and visualized feeling that I had only healthy breast tissue. When I returned for a repeat mammogram, the tumor was gone.

When I reflect on the appearance of myself in the video, I know there is a Truth that lies far beneath the surface.

I continue to play in the field of infinite possibilities while embracing and cherishing how I am in the present. When I reflect on appearances the only thing I need to see and feel is the Divine. When we practice self-love and see the Truth and Beauty of our Being we can our bodies and our lives.



To going the distance with strength and courage
From my heart to yours,
Mary

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life


Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:


And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):








Saturday, December 9, 2017

Countdown to Bermuda: Six Snowy Joyful Miles



Given the weather forecast of snow with a possibility of 3-5 inches, Team McManus was preparing to head to the gym for today's run on the road to Bermuda Marathon Weekend. When we woke up without the alarm at 7:30 and there was not a snowflake in sight, we said a prayer of thanks that we were going to be able to continue our streak of running every training run on the road to Bermuda Half Marathon outdoors.

By the time we had our breakfast and were ready to head out the front door, a mixture of snow and rain started. Hmmm what to do....we made the commitment to get outdoors for our 6 miles and so we would stick to the plan.

The roads were dry and we were warm and toasty in our layers.

We were so happy to be outdoors, feeling the fresh cold air knowing that we had run through colder and much wetter weather for longer distances.

When we got to the Reservoir we saw some of our friends out on a run. There was a contagious joy as the mixture of rain and snow turned to all snow. Ruth Anne was catching snowflakes on her tongue. It's vital that we always keep our sense of joy and wonder that we had as children especially when it comes to playing in the snow.

Only I never experienced that childhood wonder and awe playing in the snow. After contracting paralytic polio at age 5, I struggled through even the most perfect of weather days needing to use a long metal leg brace to walk. Even when the leg brace came off, I walked with a limp and never felt a sense of freedom and joy in my body especially after suffering violence at the hands of family members.

And then, 11 years ago, I was given a cautionary tale after having been diagnosed with Post Polio Syndrome which, by Western Medicine Standards, is a progressive neuromuscular disease. I had osteoporosis and so a fall would certainly result in a fractured hip. Be sure to use your cane and use an ice gripper. Only go out if you absolutely have to. They put the fear of God in me (although that's an oxymoron because God is only Love and healing) and scared the life out of me.

But shortly after the diagnosis, I started writing poetry imagining myself healthy, whole and free, splashing in puddles and running unencumbered and free.

When I trained for the 2009 Boston Marathon, I was inspired to write this poem after a training run around Jamaica Pond:
Courage

The fear of ice and snow and slush embedded in my soul
a training run in winter - the path to Being whole.
A winter scene - Jamaica Pond - a feast for eyes' delight
to witness nature's splendor and behold this glorious sight.

A leaf - a tiny dancer - skating free without a sound
God's breath directs her movements as She guides her twirling 'round.
Families of ducks decide to walk or take a dip
a comedy of errors into icy water slip.

Branches now bejeweled though bare bend with loving Grace
sparkling diamonds' anchor water's surface hold in place.
God's hand a glove of glistening snow hugs rocks along the wall
their heads peek out reminding me I'm answering God's call.

A scene I'd never witness if I let my fear take hold
courage triumphed, steppin' out with footsteps sure and bold.
Knowing that the pain subsides and Spirit can prevail
the Marathon is beckoning - through those miles I shall sail.


As the snow got heavier and heavier we embraced the weather and felt incredibly grateful that we had gotten in our 12 mile run last week.

As we countdown to Bermuda Marathon Weekend - 33 days as of the writing of this blog post - we know we are well trained to go the distance and now experience the unbridled joy of running - especially our six snowy joyful miles!

To going the distance with strength and courage
From my heart to yours,
Mary

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life


Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:


And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):


Friday, December 8, 2017

Going the Distance: Making Peace With My Past - Creating the Path to my Future



The other day I wrote a blog about what I imagine and feel in my dreams as I move forward in my healing journey; healing the effects from paralytic polio and severe childhood trauma. Daily meditations provide the time for me to quiet my mind, get clarity on my life and connect with the Divine Intelligence that is within me and that surrounds me.

During my meditation this morning the thought "Make peace with your past. Make peace with your body. Clear the way for the future. Forgive." came to me! I've been seeing stories about the power of forgiveness and know about the power of forgiveness and gratitude for healing in my own life. There was a but in my journey of forgiveness as I experienced self-righteous indignation and anger that was hard for me to release. The anger and frustration manifested of course in my body and thus a loop was created. The more I experienced the anger and frustration, the more I felt stuck and heavy in my body and the more I felt stuck and heavy in my body, the more I felt anger and frustration.

This morning in my meditation, it was as though a boil had come to a head with those thoughts about making peace and forgiveness. I follow Dr. Joe Dispenza on Facebook. The last several testimonials have been stunning synchronicity with what I am healing in my life.

This morning's testimonial was a gift from God as Henry shared his experience during Dr. Joe's workshop about forgiveness. Here is my comment on the Facebook video:

"Bless you for sharing Henry. I too grew up in an alcoholic home and experienced the same cycle of violence followed by apologies and asking for forgiveness and then having it happen all over again. The first line of my father's suicide note was please forgive me for what I am about to do. You are so right when you say forgiveness is for us and when we open our heart and allow the Divine to bless and heal our wounds, we are free. Recently I was in a "business" relationship with someone who would blow up at me and then ask me to forgive him and then tell me how wonderful I was. By doing the work and practicing my meditation I was able to walk away and just leave it behind but then had to work on releasing the anger and feeling forgiveness and compassion in my heart - feeling compassion that I was drawn to and stayed in that relationship and replace the rage and self righteous indignation with forgiveness. I think of Nelson Mandela's quote. Bless you for creating the environment for healing and wholeness to Dr. Joe and your team whether "in the room" of the workshop or through sharing these testimonials via the quantum field and collective consciousness. I am manifesting a trip to the Advanced Workshop in Toronto in August of 2018. Bless you again Henry and to you and your beautiful family--health, wholeness and healing!


Another friend shared this on Facebook this morning:

Be healed. I love those two mystical words. So simple and yet with so much spiritual authority. Be healed of all that harms you. Be healed of sorrow and grief, of anger and guilt, of envy and pride. Be healed in your mind, body and spirit. Be healed of illness, of fatigue, of pain. Be healed of worry and of fear. Be healed of broken relationships, doubts and suspicions, betrayal and separation. Be healed by being made whole, by acceptance, understanding, release and forgiveness. Be healed from deep within your soul. Be healed by the Spirit who loves you. Be healed.


It is time for me to make peace with my past. To heal and to make new to create the path to my future free from the shackles of the past. It is time for me to go the distance on my healing journey.

To going the distance with strength and courage
From my heart to yours,
Mary

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life


Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:


And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Countdown to Bermuda: Why There Will Be No Madness in Taper Time This Year



When I trained for the 2016 Bermuda Half Marathon, I experienced serious taper madness. I had not run an endurance event in 7 years. I knew I was well trained and that I would and could go the distance but there was a lot of baggage from the past that I brought with me before I crossed the starting line that reared its head during taper time especially a few days before race day.

Last year I put so much pressure on myself about finishing in under 4 hours that I couldn't enjoy the victory lap of all the hard work I'd put into training for 2017. I had not allowed for enough taper time nor did I take advantage of my cross training and strength training days once we started building miles. I focused more on my miles and less on all that I needed to do mind, body and soul to prepare to go the distance. My taper madness went into cheering on Tom and our friends at the Front Street Mile and the 10K. I was not well rested heading to the started line. My head and heart were not in the right space and I ended up cramping at mile 10. I was still able to finish and learned a lot in those last 3 miles. I was blessed to meet an earth angel at mile 12 who helped me get to the finish line and that was the start of a beautiful friendship.



This year I am ready to taper.

We had a dress rehearsal for race day during last Saturday's 12 miler.

Training for Bermuda Half Marathon 2018 has gone way beyond training for an event.

When we went from Team McManus party of two to Team McManus party of 3 we added a whole new dimension to our training. Ruth Anne had just gotten out of St. Elizabeth's Hospital. It was her 6th hospitalization in a year. As Ruth Anne often says, "Mental illness is no joke." It's not! Severe depression and psychotic thinking brought on by severe trauma is hell. But we know that our past doesn't dictate our future and know the therapeutic power of running and running together and so we trusted that training for the Bermuda Half Marathon was going to work for all of us!

We weathered freezing cold days, rain, heat and humidity while Ruth Anne weathered the ups and downs that go with any recovery and healing journey.

All 3 of us knew that last week was the last double digit long run we would need.

I am going to relish having extra time on weekends especially as we head into the holiday season. Thank you Bermuda Race Weekend for the timing of your race.

I am looking forward to the flexibility of whether or not we train outdoors. We have been so blessed to get in every training run outdoors during these past 7+ months. Last year we took to the treadmill and bike to get in the miles on several occasions. Being able to get outdoors for every long run builds a sense of confidence, physical strength and mental toughness.

My body is ready for a rest. There was a restlessness on my rest days as we built miles anticipating the weekend's long run. I had to make sure we had everything we needed for long run days heading into the weekend. Thursdays and Fridays are my rest days and today I feel relaxed knowing that we are either going to do 6 miles outdoors depending on the weather or head to the gym and do a treadmill run perhaps topping off the tank with a 6 mile bike ride. I do love those indoor bikes at our gym. I am leisurely doing the laundry, doing the grocery list rather than heading to the grocery store which we can now do on Saturday afternoons again and letting my body let go and heal from the grueling training I've put myself through since May.

I've had hip and back issues that haven't interfered with my running but made for uncomfortable times. I'm looking forward to experiencing my weekly chiropractic care without "undoing" some of it on the weekend long runs. My body can relax and integrate the work getting me in top shape for January 14th.

This training cycle has been a beautiful spiritual journey of healing, of hope and recovery. These past 3 years have been a marathon of their own. Ruth Anne will be the first to tell you that there were times she wasn't sure she was going to make it through. We weren't either. There is no worse feeling for a parent than to feel helpless over their adult child's situation; to know that all we could do was turn to prayer and allow Ruth Anne to find her path - wherever it may lead.

It leads to the starting line of the Bermuda Half Marathon and to a new beginning for all of us as a family and as individuals having crossed the finish line of the past 3 years.

One month from Monday we board Delta Flight 561 for Bermuda. I am using my extra time and energy to imagine how incredible this trip is going to feel and to attend to travel and packing details while enjoying the anticipation of Christmas and my birthday.

As we count down the days to Bermuda and taper our training, there will be no madness in taper time - only joy, gratitude, anticipation and excitement for our runcation. There is a sense of overwhelming appreciation for what we've already accomplished during these past 7+ months of going the distance.

It's time to taper!

To going the distance with strength and courage
From my heart to yours,
Mary

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life


Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:


And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):











Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Countdown to Bermuda: In My Dreams



During this morning's training run with Ruth Anne (Tom was at a conference and couldn't join us for our Wednesday morning 5K), Ruth Anne said to me, "Wow Ma. You're really setting the pace this morning. One of these days you're gonna just take off!"

She knew about the dreams I've had these past couple of weeks in which I am at a Dr. Joe workshop and I run a 12 minute and 9 minute mile. She shared with me that she had a dream one night that I was running at a 10 minute mile pace.

"Do you remember that dream I had before we ran the 2008 Tufts 10K?" I asked her.

"Sort of," she replied. I went on to tell her about having this dream that I was in a bubble. My polio self and the woman I am today were running side by side. As I ran, the distance lengthened between me and the me who had polio until finally the bubble burst and I broke free.

During today's run I recalled the words of Dr. Joe about reconditioning my body to a new mind. It's a phrase that I've used over and over again during the past 3 years on my 11 year healing journey; healing from the effects of paralytic polio and childhood trauma and then after a serious knee injury in December of 2014. Every day I bless Ryan J. Means, DC for the work we did to get me back on my healing path and for introducing me to the work of Dr. Joe.

I'm reading Becoming Supernatural: How Common People Are Doing the Uncommon and I'm beginning to experience and feel what these words mean. As I ran today I ran in my mind's eye; in my dreams. I felt free and fast. I felt Spirit say to me, "Don't worry about your pace. Imagine and experience how you want to feel as you embrace your future self totally healed."

I let go of thoughts about my body and about heaviness in my body that come from the polio/trauma self and instead focused on being in the present moment experiencing the miracle of healing for both Ruth Anne and me.

During my workout on the Arc Trainer yesterday I let myself imagine what it's going to feel like going the distance - mile by mile feeling free and unencumbered - as I had written about for years in my poems in beautiful Bermuda - in my dreams!

As my imagination and my dreams become so real, my body transforms to conform to what is happening in my mind.

There is an abundance of joy and gratitude to have found my healing path; to believe in the power of my dreams despite any outward appearances to the contrary.

What a blessed and wonderful journey of transformation...and it all began in my dreams as I imagined myself to health, wholeness and wellness through writing poetry.

The dream lives on....



To going the distance with strength and courage
From my heart to yours,
Mary

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life


Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:


And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):








Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Countdown to Bermuda: The Next Time I Run Double Digits....

it will be on January 14th, 2018!



Team McManus deposited 12 miles in the Bank of Bermuda last Saturday.

While it may seem to some too early to begin a taper for our Bermuda Half Marathon, I know in every fiber of my being that it's time to cut back on miles and focus on our mental training for our goal race.

I planned out an accelerated increase of miles for training this year to ensure that we would get in the miles before colder (and possibly slippery and sloppy) weather set in.

I am so glad we did!

I can feel how my body is ready to retreat from the weekly long runs and recover from the grueling training regimen in preparation to go the distance on January 14th.

During my cardio workout at the gym on the Bike and Arc Trainer, I had to remind myself that it's time to balance getting in a solid work out but not pushing myself as I had since we embarked on this training adventure in May. When I trained for the 2017 Bermuda Half Marathon, I scaled back on the cross training once we increased miles. This year I pushed myself to build strength and cardiovascular conditioning using the equipment at the gym. I did end up doing more miles this week than last week but I was mindful to exert less effort. I am going to need that mindfulness when the starting gun goes off to ensure that I do not go out too fast as I did last year and then tanked at mile 10 with muscle spasms. However, I did push through and finished the race.

I have the course map printed out:


and in our training journal.

While I was on the Arc Trainer today I began to imagine the course mile by mile erasing the memory from last year and seeing and feeling the joy of sharing the course this year with Ruth Anne.

I reminded myself that I am trained. I am ready and I am also ready to take time to taper physically and amp up the mental training. The work of Dr. Joe Dispenza inspires me every day. I can place total confidence in the work I have done and how the mental work will influence the outcome on race day.

Coincidentally, this post from 2015 was one of my Facebook memories today. "I AM the Placebo: An 11 Mile Run - I Am Ready for Bermuda."

I am ready... Team McManus is ready...These next several weeks will be spent enjoying the holidays, going through my checklist of preparation for travel and race day and to let the excitement build while we taper.

The next time we run double digits will be on January 14th 2018...what an awesome way to ring in a new year.

To going the distance with strength and courage
From my heart to yours,
Mary

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life


Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:


And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):

Monday, December 4, 2017

Countdown to Bermuda: Love Actually Is All Around



And just like that - well not exactly just like that - Team McManus has been training since May for our Bermuda Half Marathon 2018 our last double digit run is in the Bank of Bermuda!

We had another 12 and 12.5 on the training schedule but during Saturday's run and with the weather forecast of cold temperatures with the chance of snow coming our way and with the way Saturday's training run went, we knew that it was the peak of our training.

I had planned out our mileage knowing we'd have the flexibility to go indoors or begin to taper miles as we moved into December with Mother Nature's unpredictable whims.

We initially planned out Saturday's training run as driving to the Cleveland Circle Reservoir, run once around the Rezzie as we like to call it, head down Beacon Street (along the Boston Marathon route) to Coolidge Corner and back, to the "small" Reservoir on Route 9, 3 times around the small Reservoir and back to Cleveland Circle. When I came out of Saturday's morning meditation, I knew that I needed to make it a dress rehearsal for January 14th.

We packed our gear with hydration and fueling as if it were race day. Of course our attire could not be what it was going to be on race day since it was 37 degrees outside. Race day should be in the high 60's and low 70's with a mixture of sun and clouds. We were blessed with a dry day without any wind. There was a mixture of sun and clouds as we headed out for a 5 mile out and back run into Boston.

Tom and Ruth Anne wholeheartedly agreed with me on the change of route as Tom said, "I think we've gone around the Reservoirs one time too many for our long runs."

I was amazed with how easily we negotiated the hills along Beacon Street; especially the last steep hill as we headed into Kenmore Square. We needed a pit stop and decided to go into Hotel Commonwealth. Such a festive atmosphere as the holiday was decked out for the holidays. As Ruth Anne and I waited for Tom to finish his pit stop, Ruth Anne struck up a conversation with the concierge letting him know we were out on a long run and needed a pit stop. I chimed in with how lovely the hotel looked for the holidays. "We're not quite finished yet," the concierge let us know, "but it will be by the time the holidays arrive." It looked finished to me!

We went on our way and took a right on Hereford and left on Boylston reminiscing about our 2009 Boston Marathon run.

Boylston Street was busy with pedestrians so we decided to get back onto Commonwealth Avenue. Ruth Anne and I remembered our 2008 Tufts 10K run that I wrote about in this article, "Running with God."

As we reminisced about previous training runs and races, we were creating new memories on the road to Bermuda. Tom was moved to capture part of our run on video.



We couldn't have scripted it better.

As Tom pointed out, in all of our training runs through the years, we never experienced the kind of spontaneity, joy and love we experienced on Saturday's run. We paced ourselves well and used the hydration and fueling plan we are going to use on January 14th. I can't call it race day because we are not racing the Bermuda Half Marathon. We are going to savor every moment of our victory lap. But I digress...

As we headed back to Cleveland Circle, the clouds moved in and the day got chilly but our Spirits were high. After all, love actually is all around and we were wrapping up our double digit training runs.

I had to make another pit stop (cold weather does that you know) and I thought I could wait until we got to Marathon Sports. As we approached the Holiday Inn on Beacon Street I realized that I wasn't going to make it to Marathon Sports. I'd gone to Rotary Club meetings at the Hotel and remembered that the restrooms were down the stairs off of an entrance on Beacon Street. "Restrooms are for hotel guests only" the sign said as we entered. Tom ran down the stairs and did a quick surveillance. Then, singing the Mission Impossible theme song, gave us the all clear.

While I'm in the ladies room I hear Tom say to Ruth Anne, "Get over here." The two of them start laughing. As I leave the stall the diaper changing table came crashing down out of nowhere. I started laughing so hard I thought I'd have to go to the bathroom again between Tom and Ruth Anne's laughter and the crashing of the diaper changing table. Ruth Anne came in to make sure I was okay and put the changing table back up.

Ruth Anne spotted a tray out of eye shot from Tom with a juice pitcher and cups on it. She poured herself a glass of juice when Tom told her to get back over here. "It takes good," she said and offered a cup to Tom. She said she needed an energy boost and considered it serendipity that it was there. There will be oranges at the water stops in Bermuda so it was indeed serendipity that the tray just happened to be there. As we were leaving Ruth Anne asked me if I wanted a roll? We laughed so hard as we resumed our run.

On the way back to Cleveland Circle we navigated the hills with surprising ease. I stopped only once after a steep hill at mile 8.

We returned to the car to calculate the home stretch of our 12 mile run.

Once around the Rezzie and a short down and back from the car and we'd be done!



We hugged and high fived realizing that 1. Love actually is all around and 2. The official countdown to Bermuda Marathon Weekend is on!

38 days and counting!

To going the distance with strength and courage
From my heart to yours,
Mary

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life


Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:


And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):