Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Choose Happiness - I'm a Cockeyed Optimist

Anna McNuff posted a video on Facebook in which she said, "Welcome to today. It's pouring with rain for the 3rd day in a row. And I've got about 30KM to run. The way I see it - you can do two things you can get miserable or you can get happy and I'm gonna get frickin' happy so I'm smiling and waving and talking to the sheep and singing ... it's only 4 hours of running...come on!"

There is, in each moment, an opportunity to choose happiness. Now please understand that I'm not saying we choose happiness to the exclusion of other emotions. There are times when we need to express sadness, anger, and frustration and allow those feelings to move through us.

What's important is that we not stay stuck in those emotions that weigh us down and that we practice choosing happiness.

When I wake up in the morning, I give thanks that I am alive to greet a new day. I meditate and allow nature's soundtrack to feed my soul; sometimes it's the rain on the window, the birds singing or our cat purring next to me.

This morning as I felt free floating anxiety and old thought patterns wanted to sink their tentacles into me, I had this image of pheresing or dialyzing my beliefs. Pheresis or dialysis is a way to purify the blood. I recognized the old thoughts and after imagining them being whisked away, thought about all the amazing people and things in my life that I am grateful for. I started to percolate a poem about pheresis of beliefs and had fun with word play. When I thought about my latest creative endeavor, Feel the Heal, an Anthology of Poems I felt happiness and joy.

I tapped into the energy of healing, of hope and of possibility as I train for the 2016 Newport Marathon. I thought about how I graduated from Aquatics Therapy at Spaulding Rehab to now do strength training on land (or as I did today, took advantage of a week long free membership at Wave Health Club to do strength training in the pool) and do lap swimming for cross training as I embrace and embody my inner marathoner.

Visualizing and imagining my upcoming races both in the short and long term brings me happiness and joy and supports my body's healing and sense of well being. I read stories, listen to music and choose people to be with in my life who also choose happiness and optimism. I am learning to say yes to me and am mindful of how I expend my energy making sure that what I am choosing supports my sense of well being and happiness. I'm learning how to play and enjoy and feel good in my body.

If I solely looked at appearances of my medical record and psychosocial health history, I would have every reason to be very depressed. If I scrutinized the scars and the shape of my body rather than feeling happy that I am doing everything I can to heal and be in the best shape possible, I would be miserable. But I choose to look beyond appearances because I know everything is in flux, always changing, always improving and I remain committed to the outcomes I want in my life that support happiness, peace, comfort, safety and well being. As Nellie says in "South Pacific":

"I just can't work myself up to getting that low."

"I'm stuck like a dope on a thing called hope."

So some may call me a cockeyed optimist but first, last and always, I choose happiness.

Be blessed! Journey well! To all good things...

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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