Sunday, December 14, 2014

Joy in Letting Go - Peace in Surrender!

"Your right leg is leading the journey," Joseph, my mind/body therapist at Sollievo Massage and Bodywork suggested to me after my treatment two weeks ago. "I don't really have words for this but I'm waiting for your left leg to tell its story. It's still encased." He verbalized for me what I experienced in my body but had not yet brought fully into my awareness. I realized it was time to delve into healing the experience of paralytic polio.

I'd been experiencing intermittent knee discomfort for months. Sometimes during Aquatics Therapy my left leg would lock. My right IT band , my right knee and right heel would experience pain to different degrees at different times. Running would help mind, body and Spirit to keep everything flowing. Several weeks ago my left knee was hurting after a run. After taking it easy and two treatments with Joseph that incorporated leg traction it felt much better. After our cat Jamie's dental surgery, I was getting up and down off of the floor and I knocked something out of whack on my left knee. Biking and Aquatics Therapy helped but at times, there was swelling and discomfort.

I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to do the Miss Santa Holiday 5K yesterday. I knew that I had to wait and see how I felt when I woke up. We were signed up as walkers so there was no pressure for a pace. We just wanted to be a part of the day and enjoy ourselves which we did!

I felt wonderful doing a race walker pace. It was cold but I loved being a part of the race put on by RaceCancer. {Be sure to check out their website for more information about this amazing organization!} There was a group of walkers that caught up to us and we were all out there to have a good time. There was a longer part of the loop to go to finish the 5K but we all decided to go over the bridge to the finish line. When Alain greeted us with his warm Alain hug, we told him that we took a shortcut. He smiled and said, "Oh you cheated huh?" I told him we were honest cheaters. It turned out to be a blessing that we didn't go the extra half mile or so.

As we walked to the car to head to the after party I could feel my knee swell. It became more and more of a challenge to walk. Despite what was happening in my knee, we enjoyed a delicious Breakfast Club (minus the bacon) sandwich and the festive atmosphere at the Hill Tavern. We were about to leave when the Silent Auction began.

Tom said we should stay and bid on the Boston Strong basket that no one had bid on.

We won our bid on this fabulous basket of Boston Strong activities to do in Copley Square:

Since I was limping, I told Alain about my knee. He told me to go home and ice it and then posted this to my Facebook wall reminding me that laughter is the best medicine:

Tom helped me get into the house and I began a regimen of ice/heat, elevation, advil and meditation. Tom was my crutch in every sense of the word and helped me get to the bathroom and back.

I was amazed at what my left leg was finally able to release after all these decades.

I was letting go of the pain and struggle I held ever since contracting paralytic polio. I allowed fears to come and go and bathed them with compassion and the mantra, "I trust in my body's ability to heal." Trust. Power. Strength. I felt strength returning to my left leg and knew that powerful healing was happening.

I came to a realization. I need to stop running. I choose to stop running. It's a struggle for me to run and while I have had an amazing run these past 9 months, it's time to enjoy activities and sports that will not take such a toll on my joints. Twenty three years ago I had reconstructive leg surgery to avoid a total knee replacement. My surgeon said he'd give me a ten year guarantee. I plan on making it a lifetime guarantee and one of the ways I can do that is to take the stress off of the joints. There are ways for me to get a runner's high without running. I get it on my recumbent bike now and I get a runner's high during Find your Aquatics Strength class at Spaulding. It's been a gradual letting go which began in my blog post, "That's Enough: Finding the Joy in the Journey." I know that there are wonderful articles about the benefits of running as we age and that running can actually be good for the joints. But for me, for now (and we never know how long now is going to last) with the combination of my knee issues and needing to heal the effects of paralytic polio, I choose to stop running.

Tom and I will always be Team McManus and will share in races together. I told him that he has a chance to shine in his age group now. Unlike the last time I stopped running, I am going to be an integral part of the running community. I am going to volunteer at races and be support crew during Boston Marathon training season.

I wrote this in "Journey Well,"

And if the time comes when in my physical form I am no longer able to run, running will always be a part of who I am. All that I have learned and become through running shall remain forever.

I feel incredible joy in letting go of running and racing. I look forward to long leisurely walks on warmer sunny days in winter and walks on the beach or around the reservoir enjoying being in my body - relatively pain and struggle free. I feel peace in being able to surrender to the experience of paralytic polio and look forward to continued healing in mind/body/Spirit. Today my body feels better than it has in a few months giving it this time to rest and heal. My heart and soul are filled with joy and at peace.

I am blessed!


Surrender and heal unpack the bags of the past
surrender, let go, feel free
struggles be gone, there’s too much to do
let energy flow, it’s time to be me.
A woman of strength, courage and fierce
I had to fight my way to get to where I am today
time to take off the gloves, stop working so hard
be soft and gentle, let love light the way.
Nothing to prove, nothing to do
there’s no more time to waste
let fear be gone as ghosts disappear
all the demons have now been faced.
Surrender and heal my new mantra for peace
my body can now heed the call
with help from an earth angel healer
we rewind to that moment when I first took the fall.
Surrender and heal, let joy and possibility flow
everything’s perfect right here and now
let angels surround and be the guides
they’ll lead the way to the how.
To feel whole and balanced in my earthly home
my river of life, my beautiful chi
unceasingly easily flowing
for the first time in my life no more braces I’m free!

Journey well my friends!

"Journey Well" available on Amazon, is a book about resilience, strength, courage and how we are able to journey well no matter what conditions life hands to us. I profile the people who are Boston Stronger and share how 4/15/13 was a wake up call to me to return to my healing path from contracting paralytic polio at age 5 and 9 years of domestic violence as a child and adolescent. I am thrilled that Sollievo Massage and Bodywork is hosting the Book Release Party for "Journey Well" on January 10th from 5:30-7:30pm.

50% of book proceeds are donated to AccesSportAmerica where people of all ages and abilities achieve higher function and fitness through high challenge sports and training.

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful post Mary. I have tears, both happy and sad. Your peace shines through. You will always be a runner. It is in your soul! I am learning this through this injury of mine. I always questioned it. I am slow, I am forever getting injured, I am not built for it, I struggle... How do I call myself a runner? I am discovering it is a "spirit" and I miss it. I am not ready to give up on it yet. Still have all those fantasies that exist in dreamland of me having a perfect run where I am light as a feather and feel like my body was born to do it. These new chapters are glorious. The never ending story! Journey well. Blessings and hugs!