Monday, March 23, 2015

A charmed life ... Musings on Cinderella and My Life

A few weeks ago I wrote the poem The Enchanted Forest:

Thatched canopy of tangled branches virgin snow blankets forest’s floor
dreamily listening to crackling fire warmth spreading fills every pore.
Owl alights on fragile ice-laden limb bending under its weight
invisible hand holds him fast to Divine Love he trusts his fate.
Releasing grip of his talons One with Earth and winter’s gray sky
faith and hope and freedom knowing he has wings to fly.

Hidden deep among all creatures ear cocked signs of Spring she hears
sounds of stirring and thawing she knows change of season now nears.
Heart beats with eager anticipation cabin door creaks open she peeks
heralding rebirth renewal she awakens to their calls and shrieks.
What wonder awaits her beyond her door once bare branches burst with green
in awe to see life in all of its splendor her breath catches beholding this scene.

Heralding end of her slumber soul freed from darkness of night
trees dancing in jubilation twirling her round she smiles with delight.
A gossamer gown adorns her she’s crowned with a tiara of grace
princess ballerina poised on point joyful movements playful chase.
Everything she ever hoped for everything she’ll ever need
dwelling in this magical land charmed life is hers now to lead.

During this morning's meditation I reflected on what it means to live a charmed life.

My experiences of paralytic polio and living in a family rife with substance abuse, suicide and domestic violence have not been easy yet through it all, there was grace at every turn and as I look back on it, I led and lead a charmed life.

Last weekend we saw the movie, "Cinderella."

It's not a spoiler to share that Cinderella and the Prince end up together. As Cinderella is walking down the stairs to meet the Prince after the glass slipper fits, her fairy godmother as the narrator said, "And now it is up to Cinderella to meet the Prince without magic."

She slowly descends the stairs.

As she reaches the bottom of the stairs before going in to meet the Prince, she turns to look up at her evil stepmother played brilliantly by Cate Blanchett and says, "I forgive you."

Once I learned to forgive my family, I was free to create the magic in my own life.

She presents herself to the Prince and asks if he will accept her as she is; as Cinderella, a commoner with no dowry and no family. The Prince in turns asks if she will accept him as he is - an apprentice of the palace.

They are honest and authentic with each other. The Prince has all of the trappings of a Castle, servants and wealth but Cinderella is able to teach him about what it truly means to live a charmed life. He even quotes her to his father, the King.

I can honestly say that I live a charmed life.

As Cinderella is locked in the attic by her stepmother, her fairy godmother narrates that her spirit could not be broken. She held onto the memories of when she danced with the Prince. It was her singing and her ability to hold onto happiness and keep goodness and kindness in her heart in the midst of her circumstances that brought about a change in her circumstances.

I never gave up hope and held onto goodness, generosity, kindness and a sweet disposition. I'm surrounded with beautiful, loving, kind people and we celebrate life and the journey together.

I've had healers appear at just the right moment in my life to help me carry myself to a place of living a healthy, happy and wonderful life.

Because of all I have lived through, I savor simple pleasures and live with an attitude of appreciation and gratitude. I have learned how to make the most out of everything I have. Just like Cinderella there were times when I had only crumbs and scraps of food, clothing and money having had to declare bankruptcy for my mother at the tender age of 18. I came to Boston and Boston University and never returned home to live in the apartment where my great aunt was paying my mother's rent. I did however commute back and forth to New York to help place my grandparents in a nursing home when they suffered from dementia and helped my mother move from one apartment to a less expensive apartment at the request of my great aunt. I have known evil and vile women in the guise of the women in my family and somehow found the strength to turn away from them and not allow violence and grief to harden my heart.

When we forgive, when we hold onto goodness and kindness and allow the magic to happen in our lives; when we allow ourselves to be raw and vulnerable and true we are able to live a charmed life....

and journey well!

My latest book, "Journey Well" is now available on Amazon along with all of my inspirational books. 50% of book proceeds are donated to the Massachusetts Resiliency Center, a safe, welcoming space for survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing to heal and stay in touch with one another; a virtual hub for a widely dispersed community whose lives have been impacted by the tragic events of April 15th and the events that followed.

When terror struck the world's oldest and most beloved marathon on April 15, 2013, it was a defining moment in Mary McManus’ life and the lives of all those in Boston and around the world. It was her wake up call to return to the sport and community that have been medicine and a lifeline for her throughout her marathon of healing the late effects of paralytic polio and experiencing 9 years of domestic violence as a child and adolescent. Mary captures the essence of Boston Strong through her experience of the 2014 Boston Marathon and as she profiles the people who are Boston Stronger. Through her blog posts, poems and journal entries woven together with excerpts from her memoir, “Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility,” you will experience, through one woman’s journey of transformation and healing, that no matter what happens to us, we can all learn to journey well.

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