Friday, August 26, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Flashback Friday - 9 Years Later

As I saw the "No parking" signs in the North End for the celebration of St. Anthony's Feast, I thought to myself, I'm going to have to pay for parking today. How will I ever find a space but then I reminded myself that when I partner with the Universe, I'm able to manifest a parking space. Sure enough there was a spot right behind the VA Clinic on Causeway St. where I worked for almost 20 years before embarking on this almost 10 year healing odyssey.

"Should I go in?" I wondered.

"Hey I know that face," Big John the shuttle driver yelled out. "Oh my's been like forever." We caught up for a few minutes and he told me he's still driving the shuttle between Causeway St and Jamaica Plain. "Nobody would else wanted it so I keep doin' it," Big John told me.

Next came James who has been at the VA as a clerk for 29 years now! Talk about dedication. We smiled and hugged and he went on his way for a cigarette break.

I decided that Spirit was beckoning me to go in.

This was my first visit back since partnering with Jeffrey Spratt,MT and being back at work. When I left the VA on 5/25/2007 I was still in a leg brace taking those first few tentative steps on my healing journey.

I looked around like a kid who was returning to the house they grew up in seeing how much it had changed yet there was still so much familiar about the Clinic.

I took the trip I'd taken hundreds of thousands of times from the 1st to the 2nd floor via the elevator where I'd escorted veterans in wheelchairs to different appointments.

"Excuse me, is Renee in?" I asked the receptionist on the 2nd floor where my office had been.

Renee is the social worker who initially took my job as primary care social worker and then moved into the position of OEF/OIF Caregiver social worker.

I knocked on her door and there was no answer. I was about to leave a note when the receptionist said, "Oh here she is now."

Renee graciously invited me into the office I occupied for many years. We joked about the ventilation and air conditioner/heating system. It was always too hot or too cold and we chatted for almost an hour. It was a most magical meeting in so many ways and I'm very excited about reconnecting with my VA roots.

But see when I cleared out of the VA 9 years ago I could not have possibly in my wildest imaginings known I'd be sitting in room 255 at 251 Causeway Street talking about the pioneering work of my boss Jeffrey Spratt,MT. We are launching a research study on the efficacy of the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy in trauma recovery.

I am deeply grateful to Renee for taking the time to reconnect with me and for me to be able to connect the dots.

And when I got home today...this is what was waiting for me...

I am a member of the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation and next month we hear about a proposal Jeffrey and I submitted to present at the 14th World Congress, "Reclaiming Life After Trauma: Innovations in Healing." How is that for connecting the dots?

To your health and wellness,

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Feel the Panda Mom's Love - Creation of a New Self

As many of my regular readers know and to those of you new to my blog or just happened to pass by to see what I'm all about, I suffered severe abandonment and neglect by my mother who was addicted to prescription pain medication. She was physically present but emotionally absent which I think is almost worse than if she just would have not been there at all. When I contracted paralytic polio she would smoke a cigarette and just glare at me. She smoked a cigarette and watched when my father would beat me and when I sought refuge from the nightly sexual abuse in her bed, she told me I didn't belong there.

BUT----- the story doesn't end there!

Since partnering with Jeffrey Spratt,MT, pioneer of the life saving/life changing Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy I am healing all the emotional and physical wounds from my past. We know that emotional wounds leave physical scars and through the power of positive touch we can bring these deeply buried and held wounds to the surface and allow for healing to happen mind, body and soul.

I saw a video on Facebook (shared above) of a Panda Bear who had just given birth to cubs tenderly nurturing and caring for her twins. I said to Jeffrey, "It's instinctive. How can a mother not care about her child?" I then felt a rush of chemicals connected with the thought, "There must have been something wrong with me," adding, "okay we need to throw that belief in the trash." Jeffrey agreed with me and said that both my mother and grandmother were depraved women and there was absolutely nothing wrong with me. While he massaged my back (as only Jeffrey can) he said in a quiet voice, "Feel the Panda mom's love."

I cried and let in the warmth of Jeffrey's healing hands feeling the grace crossing what Dr. Joe Dispenza calls, the river of change with fear at my back.

I wrote about the creation of a new self - a self who reclaimed life after the horrors I lived through; a self happy and whole running unencumbered and free through the power of my pen, my divining rod of healing pouring out the yearnings from my soul through my poetry.

And now through the power of positive touch, of Divine Love, the skilled hands and compassionate presence of Jeffrey joining with my intention to move beyond my past, I can feel the love knowing I am worthy creating a new self: the self I was always meant to be!

To your health and wellness!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Feeling the Shift!

In last week's treatment with Jeffrey Spratt,MT he stayed with me breath by breath as my body released the memory of childhood rape. During this week's training cycle as I prepare for the Bermuda Half Marathon in January, I noticed that I've felt lighter. My workouts have a different feel to them. I'm able to manage daily stress with greater ease. Racing that would often happen in response to stressful situations is gone and the only kind of racing I'm doing is when I'm training for the Bermuda Marathon weekend. During my run I noticed that I was running more with my entire body feeling a wholeness.

It takes courage to do this work. But it took even more courage to survive and the work is made possible by Jeffrey's Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy, his compassionate presence and his deep desire and intention to help clients reclaim advantage and reclaim life through the power of positive touch.

I'm feeling the healing shift from needing to use a ton of energy to keep memories at bay to experiencing freedom and a new connection with myself.

To your health and wellness,

Monday, August 22, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance

The rain woke me up at 3:30 this morning. I woke up Tom to make sure that the rain wasn't coming into the house as we left our windows open to enjoy the end of summer breezes and the sounds of the crickets chirping. I was having a hard time falling back to sleep but used the soundtrack of the rain to be my meditation. I fell into a deep sleep and when the alarm went off at 6:15am to signal the start of our day I so wanted to hit the snooze button and skip our morning run. But I know the rule:

unless of course it is a rest day!

We meditated for 15 minutes, did our plank, crunches and knee to elbow core work, had a piece of toast, hydrated and off we went.

We drank in the beauty of the morning and the sweet smell of the air after a soaking rain. The sun sparkling off of the Rt 9 Reservoir water with the backdrop of Boston's skyline was a magnificent way to begin our day.

It's always a wonderful time to unplug and just be together. Running is a sacred time and often times, like this morning, can be a time for inspiration.

"So what do you think about my working book title, Going the Distance: Healing Trauma Through the Power of Positive Touch (and Running)," I asked Tom. "Do you think I should take the parenthesis out of running? should I reverse the order?"

"I think you should think about a different title," Tom suggested.

We played around with different titles...

"But "Going the Distance" has to be in the title," I said. "It's the theme of the book."

"Wait I've got it...'Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance'!"

There were several turning points during my healing journey where I felt as though I could not go another step forward. After several unsuccessful and unsatisfactory experiences with massage therapists and body workers, I was ready to quit and figure out a way to heal on my own as I had done at the beginning of my healing journey discovering the transformative and healing power of running. I'm glad I decided to go the distance and trust once more finding my way to Jeffrey Spratt, MT who pioneered his own method of muscular therapy that will be featured in the book. Thanks to my partnership with Jeffrey, I can go the distance on the roads and in my life no longer having to endure the effects of paralytic polio and unthinkable acts of cruelty against me as a child but I can experience the joy of healing and the power of endurance through the power of positive touch.

After having a new book title and renewed excitement for my finishing the manuscript, Team McManus had a most satisfactory and inspirational morning run:

To your health and wellness!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Seven Sensational Miles - "Hey Bermuda!"

The sea air was pungent with the distinctive briny smell as we began our 7 mile training run from Castle Island to the JFK Library and back.

"I thought I spotted you two from a mile away," Tino, a member of our running club said. We paused for a few minutes and got caught up, fist pumped and went on our way. It felt wonderful to reconnect with Tino who reminded us that our L Street Running Club BBQ is next Sunday. With all of our time consumed with caring for our daughter in recent months, we'd been out of the loop. It was a wonderful reminder that Tom and I need to move forward in our lives now that all the services and help is in place for our daughter.

Despite the warmth and humidity of the day, we were comfortable with the sea breeze. We paused for a moment to acknowledge the spot where I had fallen just about a year ago at this time during our 6.5 mile training run and Tom and I reflected on how far I've come in my healing journey since working with Jeffrey Spratt,MT every week for over a year now. Last year it took so much effort to put in the miles. Tom commented to me today how much lighter I seem and how the miles just seem to fly by. We know our fueling and hydration plan now. I have a new iPhone that has a much longer battery life than my old one that lasts during the training run and a new playlist.

I told him it's definitely lovelier the second time around.

We stopped at Carson Beach bathhouse for a pit stop. When I came out of the bathroom Tom was having a conversation with a woman on crutches. She's recovering from knee surgery. Tom was sharing my journey with her. She gave me a high five and her email address because she wanted to learn more about my healing journey.

Heading back to Castle Island and our starting point, Tom yells out "Hey Bermuda." He spotted a runner wearing a Bermuda 10K race t shirt. We paused to chat for a few moments and Mike and his wife Mary live in South Boston so run the Pleasure Bay loop for training quite often. For the last two years he has run the Bermuda Half Challenge. He is in reinsurance. The trip is part business and a whole lot of pleasure.

"Where do you stay when you're down there?"

"Do you know where the Hamilton Princess is? Well there's this hotel right across the way."

"The Rosedon! Oh my God that's where we stay." We talked about how much we love Muriel Richardson, the hotelier who manages the property and the breakfast and tea and being so close to Front Street.....

Mike got Tom really pumped for the Front Street Mile saying how you feel like a celebrity runner being on Front Street with the flood lights and everyone cheering you on. We talked about the Pickled Onion which coincidentally is where Mike and his wife go on Sunday for post race brunch with a local Bermudian running group. That's where Tom and I went for our post Half Marathon celebratory brunch.

Not a half hour before, I was saying to Tom how proud I am of him doing the Half Challenge this year and how excited I am for his 4 medals. I joked about how he won't get through security at the airport. Mike commented about the medals and that we should bring an extra suitcase!

We were riding high for the last 2 miles of our training run feeling the excitement of returning to Bermuda this year. Jeffrey told me in last week's treatment with him that we can once again count on him taking us to the airport. As I begin to build the miles, I can feel his intention to keep me running long, strong and healthy and I carry that with me on my training runs. We also cleaned out a deep and powerful traumatic memory last week that helped to open my hips and give me greater ease in my run.

We finished our run and were doing a cool down walk to our car. We couldn't quite seem to capture the light for our post run selfie so we decided to take it over by the car.

"Are those the McManuses?" my dear friend Jennifer called out!.....

Meeting up with another runner friend put the icing on the cake for this most magical day! We talked about her training for New York and shared in the beauty of the day. We just had to include her in our post run selfie:

One of my friend's on Facebook shared with me that she was with Anthony and Clarence, the Race Directors from Bermuda at the Falmouth Race Expo. The energy all around was electric and I was in awe of the synchronicity.

One of the things that Jeffrey takes pride in when it comes to massage therapy is that it's about more than what happens while you are on the table; it's how the work that's being done in the treatment room is carried out into the world to help clients reclaim advantage and reclaim life. The positive energy that I am able to generate within me now that I am reclaiming my treasure and leaving the pain and baggage of the past behind creates this beautiful life.

We took 5 minutes off of last week's 7 mile training run and thoroughly enjoyed 7 sensational miles filled with serendipity and synchronicity.

Hey Bermuda - we're coming for you.

To your health and wellness!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Training for Bermuda-Lovelier the Second Time Around

A Facebook memory popped up from a year ago reminding me of last year's blog post, Healing, Hugs and Divine Intelligence.

Last year I was working to reclaim my advantage and reclaim my life partnering with Jeffrey Spratt,MT and garnering the works of Dr. Joe Dispenza, Dr. Candace Pert, What the bleep do we know and of course, my coach/healer/chosen dad of decades, Dr. Bernie Siegel.

This year I am feeling such confidence as I go the distance training for the Bermuda Half Marathon. There is so much that has healed in spite of experiencing a "tonnage" of stress as Jeffrey calls it, with our daughter's struggles with her mental health.

I am posting photos from last year's time in Bermuda. I said to Jeffrey in my last treatment that there are so many wonderful photos I wish I could have more than one cover photo at a time. He suggested I rotate them over the next months of training.

One of my dear friends, Nicole wrote, "You've got this," as I shared this photo

with this quote:
#runbermuda #reclaimadvantage #reclaimlife We've got 7 miles on tap for tomorrow to deposit into the Bank of Bermuda training for the Bermuda Half Marathon. I have so many favorite memories from Bermuda that I will be sharing them as my cover photo as we enjoy our training. Tom McManus is taking on the Bermuda Half Challenge -- Front Street Mile on Friday, 10K can you say hills on Saturday and Sunday running the Half with me. I just keep smiling and feeling deeply grateful for the gift of running, health and wellness in my life and that I can reclaim advantage and reclaim life leaving the effects of trauma and paralytic polio in the dust! Be sure to end your day with a positive thought and something that makes you smile. Here's another great photo from Bermuda....Thank you Ann Kucharski for capturing Team McManus at the start.

The most wonderful feeling came over me before heading out on our 7 miler today that yes I've got this.

I'm in a groove with training now; quite a contrast to the fear I experienced building the miles last year as echoes of that pesky injury from December 2014 loomed in the back of my mind. But each week as I built miles, Jeffrey was helping me to build confidence and tap into my "factory new" leg as he likes to call it.

We had a most magical training run today which I will save for tomorrow's blog post...but for now let me just say that training for the Bermuda Half Marathon is so much lovelier the second time around...

To your health and wellness,

Friday, August 19, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Find your treasure!

The Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy pioneered by Jeffrey Spratt,MT is a phenomenal method for healing trauma. I love the imagery Jeffrey uses to describe the work. He talks about traumatic memories leaving an imprint and then, over time, become fossilized, embedded in the body altering muscle, nerve and biochemical functioning. This is turn alters the mind, perceptions of the world and can fuel the repetitive nature of experiencing the same thoughts and behaviors over and over again. His hands and his fingers are his tools as he channels Indiana Jones searching to help the client reclaim the long lost treasure of themselves after trauma. Cue the music:

His compassionate presence channeling the Force of Divine Love flowing through him is powerful medicine. His strength and his presence allow me to finally unearth all the horrific events from my past restoring healthy functioning mind, body and soul.

Coincidentally, the imagery I used in writing poetry long before I ever met Jeffrey talked about buried treasure and asking the question how would I ever reclaim my life?! (Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life is available on Amazon.)

Born to Run

Born free
born to run
run free
unencumbered untethered unshackled
pouring energy into my running form
liquid gold once fired in the crucible
now my treasure born of my Spirit molded with alchemy
my precious treasure once buried
the map safely tucked away
X marks the spot
a new starting line.

Poised and ready
to go the distance
all out without hesitation
all is healed at last
my pace swift
Mercury and Hermes pace me on winged feet
born to run
running free
joyfully crossing the finish line with ease.

Foot Strike

Each strike struck a chord of fear
How would I ever reclaim my life?
Holding onto hope
waiting for the day
when memories would no longer weigh heavy
free to run my own race.
Stomping in anger
striking back
shadow boxing with the thief
who stole away childhood innocence
a no win.
Each foot strike ignites my soul
fired up to run my best race
taking the lead
breaking finisher’s tape

today I won my race.

The healing is all happening and I am able to relax and enjoy the therapy sessions more than having traumatic memories surface and because of all the digging we have done, I've hit pay dirt.

In my last treatment with Jeffrey I found myself sharing with him positive aspects of my youth. Positive friendships I had, going to NY Jets home games when they went to the Super Bowl, my crush on Joe Willie Namath and yes Barry Manilow, my love of live concerts and remembering the treasured moments of my past that were buried underneath the trauma. I had to use so much energy to seal off the trauma that I couldn't make space for the wonderful memories. In order to keep out the trauma, I had to keep it all out.

Of course it helps that Jeffrey and I share similar tastes in pop culture and Jeffrey loves to entertain during a session. His joy and passion for life, for music and sports help positive energy to flow.

In addition to reclaiming my advantage and coming back after a serious knee injury in December of 2014 that everyone said would sideline me from running, running unencumbered and free now, I reclaim my life - all of it - remembering the treasure of who I am and have always meant to be and recovering treasured memories from my past.

To your health and wellness!