Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Finding My Own Strength and Reflections on Solitude

I was so blessed to discover the Spaulding Rehab Aquatics Therapy Program in August of 2013. I went faithfully on Tuesdays and Wednesdays finding my strength in the healing waters of the heated pool. I met some wonderful, inspiring people during classes and I know that I inspired many with whom I crossed paths. My husband Tom started work in Charlestown at MGH in January of 2014. We'd commute together on Tuesday morning and Wednesday afternoon. We are so fortunate that he is now working at Boston College, a mere 40 minute commute from coat on to coat off, as Tom timed it.

Last week I commuted alone to and from my classes at Spaulding. I was exhausted. I also realized that the conversations happening during class and the energy of the class were no longer inspiring me. The people who attend the class are lovely and each on their own journey but I knew there was a change happening within me and I needed to make a change.

Interestingly enough, yesterday's morning class was cancelled.

I had done my research about the Brookline Town Pool and yesterday I went during open swim.

I did the exercises that we had been doing in class and then I got still and listened to what my body wanted and needed to do. I was all alone in the lesson pool which is heated to 80-85 degrees using a noodle and a kick board building quad and core strength and thoroughly enjoying the freedom and the solitude figuring out what would best serve ME. Without the distraction of talking with other people, I could use the time in the pool as a moving meditation. I realize what a huge shift it is for me to not put out energy to take care of others; to try to bring them over to the "light" and experience the power of infinite possibilities but rather live by example sharing my journey in my blog.

It was definitely time for me to find my own strength, building on the base that Spaulding gave me. While I love running with others and enjoy the camarderie of a group workout, there is a lot to be said for the benefits of solitude. I'm never alone. There are angels all around me and I embrace the joy of what I discover when I experience solitude.

I'm doing more on land workouts under the guidance of Dr. Ryan at Elevate Health Cambridge.

I'm feeling strong and today, under the guidance of Dr. Joseph Stetz an angel who I know is watching over me, I am going to do laps.

My hope is to return to running 3 days/week. I visualize the healing of my knees. This morning I did 3, 40/20 intervals of holding plank and then doing crunches followed by upper body strength training, icing and stretching. For right now, I'll stick to two days of running, two days of pool cross training, and one day of circuit strength training on land.

The Town pool is a 10 minute car drive away and I pay $45 as a senior for 16 swims. As I get older, I realize how important it is for me to discern how I spend my time, talent and treasures.

I am deeply grateful for the time I spent and all I learned at Spaulding.

I no longer embody being a survivor of paralytic polio. I contracted polio at the age of 5 and had my fair share of challenges but that's all it was and is. I no longer believe that I live with the late effects of paralytic polio. My laser focus is on finding my own strength and living as well as I possibly can for as long as I am meant to be in this form.

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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