Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Countdown to Boston: Resilience




I did a google search for resilience. My favorite definition comes from the Merriam Webster Dictionary the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens.

Psychology Today defines resilience as that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever.

Next Wednesday, on the two year anniversary of 4/15/13, The Massachusetts Resiliency Center has organized One Boston: A Day of Resilience that will be taking place at Old South Church.

There will be health and wellness providers, comfort dogs, and an interfaith service that begins at 1:45 and will encompass the statewide moment of silence at 2:50pm.

I'm honored that I was invited to participate in the day to share my experiences of what it means to be resilient and to "Journey Well." In the spirit of One Boston Day, I will donate all proceeds of sales of Journey Well that day to the Resiliency Center.

From "Journey Well":
Introduction

It was the Thursday before Boston Marathon weekend 2014. Joseph, my therapist at Sollievo Massage and Bodywork knew the events that were coming up for me, for the city of Boston and people watching and waiting around the world. Thursday evening was our annual pre-marathon meeting at L Street Running Club. Saturday was the BAA 5K, the Boston Marathon Expo and many events honoring survivors and their families. On Sunday we took to the field at Fenway Park. We represented the BAA volunteers as a commemoration of April 15, 2013 and to celebrate moving forward. On the third Monday in April, Boston would race again.

As we said goodbye, Joseph said to me, "Journey well."

With those two words I knew that I had to write another book and that the title would be "Journey Well."

Every book begins with a blank page.

I had no idea what was going to fill the pages of “Journey Well.” It's been written in real time woven together with excerpts from my memoir, poems, blog posts, and journal entries.

April 15, 2013 was a defining moment in my life and in the lives of people in Boston and around the world as terror struck the world’s oldest and most beloved marathon. It was a personal wake up call for me to return to my healing path and the sport and community that have been medicine and a lifeline for me throughout my marathon of healing the late effects of paralytic polio and experiencing 9 years of domestic violence as a child and adolescent. My intention in writing “Journey Well” is to capture the essence of Boston Strong through my experience of the 2014 Boston Marathon and as I profile the people who are Boston Stronger. I take an honest look at what led me to stray from my healing path and the running community after my nephew’s suicide in March 2011 in the hopes that others who are vulnerable and hungry for healing will be discerning about who and what they choose to help them heal.

Despite the horrific events I experienced in my life, I always kept the spark of hope, healing and possibility alive in my heart and soul. In “Journey Well,” I rewrite the story I told in my memoir, “Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility.” The facts of what happened to me remain. The pain and terror are healed. I am now able to journey well while living with a spinal cord injury and a history of trauma.

We can always begin again. And no matter what happens to us, we can always find a way to journey well.


No matter how many times life knocks us down, we go one more and get back up again. We are so blessed to be a part of the community that is Boston Stronger. We each lend a hand to each other when we need it to keep fueling the resiliency within our soul. We hug. We laugh. We cry. We listen to one another. And we celebrate strength, success, and the ability to make this world a better place because of what happened to us.

Here's Adriane Haslet-Davis returning to the dance floor as she vowed she would shortly after 4/15/13:



Photos from the Arredondo Foundation Family launch exude resilience, strength and love:

Photos Courtesy Liz Feitelberg Photography

Heather Abbott getting ready to launch the Heather Abbott Foundation the Sunday before Marathon Monday:


And here am I, just 3 years after receiving the diagnosis of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease, coming down Comm. Ave. toward the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon having raised $10,535 for Spaulding Rehab.



and receiving my medal:


It's 1 week, 4 days, 22 hours, 27 minutes and counting until Boston Runs as One again. We are a City and a people that is Boston Stronger bounded by love in a community that resounds with resilience.

And that is how we 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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