Friday, July 10, 2015

An Extraordinary Day: Reflections on Healing and Transformation-When the Past is Healed at Last



July 9th - my brother's birthday - 64th birthday to be exact. Our last contact was not a pleasant one. I did hear that he moved from Boston. I wish him well. I wish him healing and peace. I hope that he can experience the kind of extraordinary day I experienced yesterday.

It was going to be an ordinary day or so I thought. The Finish at the 50 Race was behind me and it's time now to build endurance as Team McManus trains for the 2016 Bermuda Half Marathon. It was my first real rest and recovery day for awhile not needing to think about race day and allowing my body to just be.

Summertime is a time that has been rife with triggers. The summer of 1971 was filled with violence. Despite my parents' being separated, in alcoholic rages, my father would stalk us. We became prisoners in our own home. Because my mother was addicted to prescription pain medication she had no judgment and would let him into the house. He threatened to throw my mother down the stairs; I stood between them and said throw me instead. My guardian angel intervened and he stopped for a moment. He held me at knife point and I stared unflinchingly into his eyes. Once again my guardian angel came to the rescue and he dropped the knife.
There were constant death threats but my guardian angel protected me and he would leave returning to my grandmother's house in the Bronx.

The summer of 1971 was the culmination of 9 years of sexual, physical and emotional abuse at his hands and at the hands of my psychotic grandmother.

On July 28th, my father left a suicide note and his last $60 in cash. I instinctively called the police. They took the note and said there was nothing more they could do but if we did see him again in the neighborhood, we could call them and they would try to intervene. He went missing from my grandmother's house. On August 1st we got the call. He jumped from the elevated subway to the street below. By the time my mother arrived at the ER, he was gone.

His note asked for forgiveness and I have forgiven him with my whole heart.

I know that this year August 1st is going to be filled with peace. I know that at last, I am healed. It's over and time to put the past to rest as I joyfully and passionately move forward in my life.

It was going to be an ordinary recovery day for me. I decided to pack a lunch and head into town early enjoying the beautiful Seaport area before my appointment with Jeff.

I had received a message the evening before from Dr. Ryan, my dear friend and chiropractor asking me if we could get together. We worked out logistics for meeting up after my appointment with Jeff and grabbing dinner together. I was so excited that I could introduce Ryan and Jeff.

But all day long I had waves of anxiety. I am reading Candace Pert's book (which Ryan recommended because she spoke when he was training as a chiropractor) Everything you need to know to feel Go(o)d. Coincidentally I was in the portion of the book where she talks about a moment in her own healing journey. As I was taking notes and also journaling along in my healing journal, I took pause and had a powerful memory come to the surface, "You try that again and I'll break that arm."

Oh I have choices now and I have the opportunity to heal EVERYTHING and I mean EVERYTHING that happened to me. It's all okay. I am creating a new, strong, healthy, whole, vibrant body. I became the observer rather than participant.

While I still felt anxiety, the anxiety no longer owned me and I began to experience the anticipation of my treatment with Jeff sharing in the excitement of my race and moving forward in my healing journey.

You have to know Jeff and experience Jeff because words can't adequately capture his essence and Spirit. He greeted me with the warmest hug, one of his greatest commodities as he likes to call it, and congratulated me.

We caught up on my latest plans and I shared with him where I was sore after Camp Moose and Squirrel and the archery challenge.

It's so great to work with a seasoned muscular therapist who knows how to help runners and people with an active lifestyle recover from their activities. He stretched and massaged while we engaged in delightful conversation.

I told him about the right side of my knee. When I was 11 years old I was in a cast from ankle to hip during the summer to try to heal a "trick knee". There were no MRI's at the time so it was guess work that a cast would correct the problem of right knee pain and instability. I used a knitting needle to scratch inside the hot cast and when they removed it there was quite a wound. It was also the sight where my father hit me with a belt buckle on more than one occasion to literally and figuratively bring me to my knees. Jeff went deep and I said "ow" out loud. Now when Jeff and I first started working together he said to always let him know if I wanted a lighter pressure. As he put it, "Before you are going to jump off the table and punch me, please give me fair warning." After saying "ow", I said to him, "This isn't an I'm going to jump off the table and punch you 'ow' - it's just an ow."

It hurt so good and I felt that pain relief and release from when I had to stand there and just take. And it was so healing to be able to say "ow" out loud and have Jeff continue to massage my leg. He told me that my legs have gotten so strong and it's just amazing for him as a therapist to witness the transformation.

As he did energy work on my left knee, I shared with him that during a meditation I felt all the scar tissue melt away and that my left leg was totally healed. "You have the imprint now," he told me, "Now we just bring it into physical manifestation."

As Jeff worked on my head, neck and shoulders, I allowed myself to completely let go. He made a nest for my head and held it. There was total stillness from head to toes and I allowed myself to feel the heal and transformation happen as I create this new body totally free from the poison of the past.

Jeff moved onto craniosacral work with different holds. We both could feel my body triggered and we both surrendered to the process. As he held my lower back and gently massaged my belly, I could hear the voice of Divine Love speak and say let go, let go, let go. Let it all be now. Heal.

He moved up to my thoracic spine and something did in fact let go. Jeff commented out loud about "That was quite a release." It sure was. I could feel the tension from where the polio virus severed connections to my respiratory system release and healing happen. There was also a release of the tug at my solar plexus and I felt relief and peace.

After the treatment, Jeff shared with me how he felt this clean, energy white light on my legs and how it moved through me. Pure was the adjective he used to describe it.

Yes - I am pure - and I am creating a state of Being and Body that reflects purity, strength, confidence, warrior princess as Jeff suggested and affirmed when we talked about my archery competition, wholeness, well being and transformed!

In my mind, I am already there and have been there since I started writing poetry 8 1/2 years ago when I imagined how I would be and how my life would be healed. The image expands as my heart opens and everything heals and extraordinary moments are created.

He also expressed to me how he could feel that I went from stillness to being triggered during the craniosacral work. It is his intention to heal and he used the analogy of draining a cyst.

I told him that, given my experience as a client with him and with previous therapists, I now know that everything is healing. There is a clearing happening rather than a reliving of the experience. This is my body's way of doing what it needs to do to heal. It's not even uncomfortable anymore and I know within every fiber of my being that I am free and unencumbered in my life on and off of the roads and that there are more and more moments of stillness, peace, joy, gratitude, appreciation and well being.

I take what happens in the treatment into my meditations. This morning as I could feel my thoughts turn to worry and the familiar solar plexus clutch take hold, I said, "Feel the release and change the habit." I went into a most delicious state of wonderful imaginings rather than fearing an imagined future event. My heart swelled with joy and appreciation and I wanted to say out loud, "I love my life."

After the treatment, as I shared with Jeff how healing the craniosacral work is and told him about having been held at knife point, he gave me the most life affirming hug I have ever experienced. All that Divine Protection I experienced - all the grace - in those horrific moments of the summer of 1971 - I can feel pouring through Jeff and it heals me now in the present.

I asked Jeff if he had a moment to meet someone. He said, "Absolutely."

There in the waiting room to greet me was Ryan who snatched me from limiting beliefs and set me right back on my healing path after my knee injury in December and who was there to love and support me during a challenging time with my previous massage therapist. Ryan and Jeff were both there at One Boston Day but didn't have a chance to meet...that's because of Divine Timing.

I stood there between these two gentle giants of healing. (They are both over 6' tall). Two amazing men who believe in possibility and who love and care about me in ways that almost take my breath away.



Jeff said he was delighted to meet a member of the team and they exchanged a few professional words together. He wished us a wonderful rest of the day and Ryan and I went off to share a delightful dinner on the waterfront getting caught up on what was happening in each other's lives. We marveled at our journeys and how the Universe brings people together at just the right moment.

I decided to stop by the Chestnut Hill Reservoir where Tom was volunteering for a RaceMenu race. More amazing synchronicity and connections happened. Alain posted on Facebook that he needed more volunteers for the race on Wednesday. I asked Tom if he'd be able to do it since I was meeting Ryan for dinner. See how the Universe creates this beautiful symphony of our lives and weaves this beautiful tapestry of our lives that makes for an extraordinary day!

This was my post on Facebook before I went to sleep last night:
Today was a day overflowing with incredible blessings, chance meetings and meeting up with a dear friend to share in the joy and adventure of life. Today was a day filled with joy, laughter, healing, celebration, compassion and understanding and knowing in every fiber of my Being that love is greater than fear; that the poison from the past can be released and that all that went before is healed. That feelings like anxiety or fear pass when we don't hold onto them and that our natural state is joy, vibrancy, wholeness, peace, contentment, gratitude and Love.

Cheers! To life! Love yourself well!

Royal Flush from the soon to be released "Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life"

One could say I was dealt a hand of crummy cards to play
at first blush I would have to agree
bluffing became my way of life
playing my cards close to my chest
ever vigilant
shifting eyes
wondering
do I continue to play or fold?

The stakes were high
I could no longer up the ante
living on the edge
waiting to find freedom only in death
every day a living death
something had to give
new rules
unconditional love
trust
strength
courage
steadiness
releasing fear by experiencing fear
losing self consciousness
opening my heart.

I bet everything I had
riding on hope, faith and a prayer

“I’m all in”
putting my cards on the table
there it was
a royal flush!




I chronicle the first 7 years of my healing journey after being diagnosed with post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease as a survivor of childhood paralytic polio and 9 years of childhood domestic violence in Coming Home:A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility.


In Journey Well, the journey continues in the wake of my nephew's suicide on 3/4/11 and the events of 4/15/13. Through my journey of healing and transformation, we learn that no matter what life circumstances happen to us, we can always find a way to journey well.






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