Saturday, September 27, 2014

Channeling my Inner Wilma Rudolph and Reflections on the Healing Power of Touch

When Wilma Rudolph was four years old, she contracted paralytic polio and went into a leg brace.

Doctors told her mother she'd never walk again. With the fierceness of a mother and family's love, they combined regular physical therapy sessions with leg massage. While massaging her daughter's legs, her mother set the powerful intention that her daughter would come out of the leg brace and walk again. Her 20 brothers and sisters took turns massaging her legs four times a day.

Not only did she come out of the leg brace and walk again but she went on to win 3 Gold Medals at the 1960 Summer Olympics.

Before each treatment with Joseph at Sollievo Massage and Bodywork, I set an intention. Last week, knowing that I have the Spectacle Island Run tomorrow and the Tufts 10K coming up in two weeks, I set my intention on running. I told Joseph that I shifted my imagery for healing from electrical wiring to plumbing. Joseph reminded me that just a few weeks ago I mentioned to him that I felt as though he were bleeding a radiator on my right knee allowing the murky water to be released and warmth to flow. We work together to heal the injury from a belt buckle beating that literally brought me to my knees. It's an old injury that is healing and one, that interestingly enough, feels better when I get out for a run. There is also a "clog" in the flow of energy from when I was in a leg to ankle cast for 6 weeks when I was 11 years old.

With each treatment, I feel wounds healing and energy flowing. My Spirit becomes stronger no longer cowering in fear from violence and death threats. Joseph empties himself to allow the power of unconditional love to flow through him and to allow Spirit to guide the work. I know how blessed I am to have found my way to Joseph and Sollievo; I know that it was my intention and fierce determination to heal no matter what that led me to him. It was an after thought for my running friend Gail Martin who is also a licensed massage therapist to refer me to Joseph. We know that she "got out of the way" so that Spirit could work through her.

As I take my place tomorrow at the start of the Spectacle Island Run, I am going to channel my inner Wilma Rudolph. I will carry the love, the care and compassion of my physiatrist, Dr. Moskowitz and Miss Holly, my physical therapist, who worked with me for 8 years to help me come out of my leg brace and walk again, and Joseph with me. I will be running on trails on an unfamiliar course but knowing I have the incredible support of the race director and will be running with Tom by my side, I know that I am going to have a great race. I'm not concerned at all about the distance, just the terrain and being unfamiliar with the course. I've trained up to 7 miles and two weeks ago ran a 5 mile race with a stiff headwind on Ogunquit Beach. The race director Alain told me that he can't wait to see me rock Spectacle Island and that I am going to crush it. I've been meditating on ease, lightness, Truth and freedom releasing the shackles from the past.

Every race presents its own challenge and triumph for me. Every starting line is an opportunity for me to begin again to rise to meet the challenge. With each challenge met, I feel more confidence, and more strength to meet the next challenge surrounded by so much love and support and healed through the power of touch.

The first 7 years of my healing odyssey are chronicled in Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility available on Amazon. I donate 50% of royalty payments to The One Fund Boston to help survivors and their families who were affected by the tragic events of 4/15/13.

I'm working on my 2nd book, "Journey Well," due out later this year:

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