Monday, August 31, 2015

Going the Distance: Dragonflies and Butterflies

During Saturday's training run along the beaches of South Boston heading to UMass Boston, we had a swarm of dragonflies accompany us for part of our run.



Dragonflies start to grow in water and then move into the air and fly. When this spirit animal shows up in your life you may be called to transform and evolve. Symbol of metamorphosis and transformation, it inspires those who have it as a totem to bring about the changes needed in their lives in order to go to reach their full potential.

When this spirit animal shows up in your life, it’s an indication that it’s time for change. Just like the dragonfly changes colors as it matures, you may be called to live and experience yourself differently. Stay open to the enfoldment of your personal journey.


Along with the dragonflies we saw white butterflies:


The butterfly is one of the most emblematic totem animals symbolizing personal transformation. If you see the butterfly as your totem or spirit animal, pay attention to the areas in your life or personality that are in need of profound change or transformation. Perhaps, this animal totem guides you to be sensitive to your personal cycles of expansion and growth, as well as the beauty of life’s continuous unfolding. An important message carried by the spirit of the butterfly is about the ability to go through important changes with grace and lightness.


Clearly the Universe is inviting me to embrace my journey and transformation with lightness, ease and grace.

This is the first time that I am running long in 6 years. It's a little overwhelming and a whole lot exhilarating as I take it mile by mile learning and enjoying all of my soul lessons along the way.

There are other exciting events happening in my life that I will soon share with you dear readers and these symbols coming into my life were a sign from the Universe to allow all these magnificent events to unfold dancing free letting Spirit guide me.

This time I am going the distance on and off of the roads with dragonflies and butterflies to lead the way.




I chronicle the first 7 years of my healing odyssey in "Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility" and continue the journey in "Journey Well." These two inspirational books that will motivate you and move you to tears along with my books of inspirational poetry are available on Amazon.




Thursday, August 27, 2015

My Running Chronicles: The Hills Are Alive!



6:00 am on Tuesday the alarm goes off. We meditated for twenty minutes and did our plank, crunches and clams with weights. We fueled with a banana and one piece of toast. We hydrated. After Saturday's training runs with hills, we planned to do a relatively flat course but somehow all of that changed once we got out on the roads. It was humid but the sun wasn't out. As we ran down Eliot Street, I suggested to Tom that we run up the hill that we used to run for hill repeats when we trained for the 2009 Boston Marathon. I hadn't run it in 6 years. Something inside of me broke free and I charged the hill remembering our personal trainer standing at the bottom of the hill with her stopwatch seeing if we could improve our time with each hill repeat. I was breathing hard and we stopped for a moment to catch our breath. As we took a right onto Reservoir Road we had another hill only this one not nearly as steep as the one on Cleveland Road. We could have gone around the Reservoir which would have been flat but instead we went out Beacon Street. It has subtle elevation.

We turned around at our halfway point. There were a few more hills; a downhill and then an uphill to our finishing line back at our house. As we came down Eliot Street my quads were on fire and my breathing was heavy. I haven't felt the burn like that in 6 years. I wanted to run the last 1.1 miles without stopping. I am training not only my body but also my mind to go the distance. I connected to something greater than myself and reminded myself that I am a woman transformed! I was running without any of the physical or emotional pain from my past. I only felt the pain that every runner feels when they are pushing themselves and pushing hard.

When Nike+ said Congratulations! I was pouring sweat and feeling this incredible sense of accomplishment. I noticed that I wasn't wheezing! My breaths were deep and full. I felt wonderfully nauseous and hungry at the same time. I iced my legs, had a glass of orange juice with ice, oatmeal, another piece of toast and a half of a banana. I allowed myself to bask in the glory of what I had just done. I pushed myself beyond what I thought I was capable of. I went beyond what my mind was telling me and transcended what I was feeling in my body. This is the mental toughness that is crucial for marathon training.

I'm ready to incorporate hill repeats into my training again. On Saturday, however, we are going to run a flat course for our 7 miles. Easy runs are just as important as the hard runs; rest and recovery days are just as important as training days. It's all about balance!

But yesterday it was all about hills and being a hill seeker because life happens on the hills. The hills are alive!







Tuesday, August 25, 2015

How Do You Banza?

What? What is she talking about? She blogs about running and inspiration and her health and wellness journey...what is up with that for a blog title?

It has everything to do with running and inspiration and my health and wellness journey.

It all started in a humble kitchen in Detroit Michigan. Pasta was one of Brian's favorite foods. He always thought of it as a guilty pleasure as many of us do or as a necessity for fueling before a long run or race day.

Here is what inspired Brian to look for an alternative to pasta:
Pasta has a problem. It is one of the worst offenders when it comes to overeating. In fact, the average pasta portion size is nearly five times what it should be.

Pasta is the second worst offender on the list, only to be ousted by chocolate chip cookies.

At a time when two in three Americans are overweight, and large portion sizes are attributed as the leading cause, it's not unreasonable to look at pasta with skepticism.

...I know I did.

But pasta is one of my favorite foods. I kept thinking to myself, "How can I eat this stuff every day without feeling guilty about it?" Frustrated by a lack of options, I started making chickpea pasta in my kitchen in Detroit. At first it wasn't very good, but I knew I was onto something when I tricked my roommate into thinking it was regular pasta.


A selfie of Brian with his pasta:


A year ago, Brian shared this in an interview:

“I moved to Detroit through a program called Venture for America. VFA places recent college graduates in cities with negative job growth, with hopes that we will create jobs in those cities through entrepreneurship. I previously worked in a growth marketing role at a startup called Quikly in downtown Detroit. My goal has always been to start a company, mostly because I truly believe that there is no better way to create value.”


Even though I do not have an issue with gluten, I noticed that when I ate regular pasta, my joints would feel achy the next day. In fact, I stopped eating pasta and would fuel with chicken, salad, whole grain rolls and a smoothie made from a banana, organic coconut, milk, ice, organic cocoa, a tad of organic sugar and unsweetened baker's chocolate.

When my friend Lee Woodruff introduced me via email to her daughter Cathryn Woodruff (also a Boston College Eagle I might add) and asked me if I would be interested in trying Banza, I jumped at the opportunity!

Here is Cathryn at the Eastern Farmer's Market in Detroit selling Banza:


Within a week after exchanging emails this arrived on my doorstep:



We love to take advantage of every moment we can barbeque here in New England but on Sunday it was raining. A perfect time to sample our new pasta product.



I sauteed fresh mushrooms in olive oil and added in Trader Joe's Organic Marinara Pasta Sauce. We had a fresh salad made with organic veggies and sparkling water with organic lemon slices.

It tasted absolutely delicious!!

My husband Tom agreed that there was no way to tell the difference between Banza and regular pasta in terms of texture and taste and Banza tasted better than pasta. It was lighter in texture and taste and when I woke up Monday morning, rather than feeling that achy feeling I would feel after eating pasta, I felt energized.

Here's the 411 about Banza's nutritional facts:

One serving of Banza has double the protein as regular pasta. You're getting more protein than a protein bar in your pasta. Protein helps speed recovery after exercise, and will help keep you fuller for longer.

It's all about balance. Regular pasta is mostly carbohydrates. Because Banza has more protein and more fiber, it has nearly half the net carbs as regular pasta.

Banza has more than four times as much fiber as regular pasta per serving. Eight grams is more fiber than a bowl of bran cereal.

Banza is free from gluten, grain, and soy ingredients. No wheat or rice in this baby!

And speaking of rice pasta ... well actually I'd prefer not to ...

Banza is an all natural product. Not a single genetically modified ingredient in sight!

No animals were harmed in the making of Banza. In fact, they weren't even involved!

Chickpeas work hard to keep your blood sugar levels stable, which helps control your appetite. Thanks, Chickpeas!

I often joke that training for a marathon is like being pregnant. Your body goes through these incredible changes and you get cravings. I've been craving macaroni salad but as my husband so poignantly pointed out to me...it has no nutritional value especially if you get it in the store. Imagine how delighted I was to find a recipe for macaroni salad right on their website along with incredible recipes that tell us how to Banza! Fortunately a box of elbow macaroni was included in my shipment.



Join the movement from pasta to chickpea pasta -- high protein pasta with all the flavor, none of the guilt and none of the "side effects" of eating regular pasta!

Less than a year after Banza's humble beginnings in Brian's Detroit kitchen, Banza is in over 1300 stores and has helped create twenty five manufacturing jobs in their home state of Michigan. If they can maintain their momentum, it won't be long before everyone is eating Banza instead of pasta. How's that for inspiration?

Visit their website and order your Banza shipment today or buy it at your local store. Then be sure to share on social media #howdoyoubanza @eatbanza on Twitter and show their Facebook page some love!



I chronicle the first 7 years of my healing odyssey in "Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility" and continue the journey in "Journey Well." These two inspirational books that will motivate you and move you to tears along with my books of inspirational poetry are available on Amazon.









Sunday, August 23, 2015

Do you know who that was? Yeah they're a runner!



When the words, "And I want to run the Boston Marathon" bypassed my brain and went from my soul to my mouth, I had no idea about the amazing community that awaited me. I was 53 years old, just coming out of a leg brace and had never run a day in my life. I started by running 30 seconds and then an hour; 1 mile became 3 became 6 became a half marathon and then a full marathon! What a journey!

Many times I've been on a run and people will call out to me. I know I have a strong presence on social media and in the running community as someone who inspires people and I am blessed, humbled and grateful to be able to bring that energy to the community. Often times I will know the person. Other times I won't have my glasses on or I just can't place who the person is and I smile and we run by. Sometimes Tom and I will look at each other and say, "Who was that?" And often the answer was, "I don't know."

But yesterday during our magnificent 7 mile run Tom and I had a different response to that question.

There were many runners out yesterday morning and we were all smiles and waves as we passed each other. There was one group of runners who seemed to know us as they shouted out, "Hey good morning," and I asked Tom, "Do you know who they are?" He said, "No." I was moved to say, "Yeah we do. They're a runner."

Being a runner is a great club to be a part of. There is a feeling of collective energy among the running community as we all train in our own way, at our own pace for whatever distance is right for us. There is an acceptance among the running community that says, "You are awesome because you are out here running."

So if you are a runner, and you happen to pass me on the roads, I'll know who you are just as you'll know who I am.

Yeah! We're runners!


I chronicle the first 7 years of my healing odyssey in "Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility" and continue the journey in "Journey Well." These two inspirational books that will motivate you and move you to tears along with my books of inspirational poetry are available on Amazon.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

My Running Chronicles: Seven Sweet and Sweaty Miles - Team McManus on the Road to the Bermuda Half Marathon



What makes the hard runs so great is that it makes the easier runs so much sweeter! Not that today's 7 miles was an easy run by any stretch of the imagination. Tom planned out our course which is one of his all time favorite 7 mile runs. Until today I hadn't been able to run this course with him! We'd been packing up the car and heading out to South Boston for our long runs and today decided to change it up. What an amazing feeling to walk out of our front door and go on a run. Yes we've done it a lot of times before but today's run felt like my first real long run ever.

There's been a profound shift in me mind, body and Spirit. With the help of Jeffrey Spratt, LMT, I am able to leave my past behind. He is the first muscular therapist that I have worked with who knows what runners and people who have experienced trauma need in a treatment to reclaim their lives and reclaim their advantage.

Ever since I began to run in March of 2008, I fell in love with the sport. It was a huge struggle for me to run but as I built up my miles on the road to the Boston Marathon, I knew that running was and is my therapy, my medicine, my life saver.

"I want you to run unencumbered," Jeffrey said to me at the end of our first treatment. Even though I'd written poems - many poems - about running unencumbered as well as reclaiming my life, I had no idea how to get from where I was to there.

While I have had some wonderful runs, I must say today was my best run ever-hands down...perhaps it was because the weather was cooler than we have run in the past few weeks. Perhaps I felt so much better in my body after Thursday's treatment with Jeffrey and having recovered from last week's fall. I also suspect it had a lot to do with the running affirmations I wrote and am reading and re-reading to reprogram myself away from believing that I deserve pain and punishment and having untoward things happen to me to knowing in every fiber of my being that I deserve to feel good in my body and to run unencumbered.

The course that Tom planned out for us took us from our home in Brookline to Jamaica Pond and through this beautiful path by the Muddy River. Being among trees, water, birds, geese and having my beloved tour guide share his joy that he felt while he ran it which was now multiplied because I was running unencumbered by his side.

There were moments when I was overcome by emotion feeling so deeply grateful for my life and our life together. As we came into the finish of our run, we once again imagined how it is going to feel on Front Street coming into the finish chute. I get goosebumps as I write this.

The miles seemed to literally fly by even though our overall time and pace was slower than last week because of the hills and more hills and oh did I mention there were hills on this run?

Part of the course was a loop around Jamaica Pond; my happy place where we spent many many many miles training for Boston in the fall and winter of 2008. I always think of Bill Rodgers when we run there because that is where he trained for Boston.

When we got home we refueled with an orange, I had my ice bath and then we thoroughly enjoyed burritos from Boloco. I opted for the chicken teriyaki with steamed carrots, brown rice and broccoli. I took a shower and was going to write my blog but I hit the wall and realized I needed a power nap. I stated my mantra, "My body recovers from long runs and workouts with ease." With a little help from a nap of course...

Our first sweet and sweaty miles (because of the humidity) since 2009....it all feels the same yet entirely different. That delicious feeling of being One with all that is on a run and feeling the sense of satisfaction after completing a long run remains. Now Jeffrey's intention that I run unencumbered is manifesting in reality. I know it's only going to get better and better as Team McManus travels on the road to the Bermuda Half Marathon.





Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Come Out And Play: Singing In The Rain




One night shortly after being diagnosed with post polio syndrome, I had a dream that I came out of my leg brace and was splashing around in the rain much like Gene Kelly did in Singing in the Rain.



When I woke up, I penned this poem:

Come Out and Play

Arms flung open wide dancing in the rain
pure abiding joy to feel alive again
healing tears fall and blend in God’s puddle
no time to sit in a corner and huddle
all the old rules driven by fears
washed away now by God’s loving tears
the imprint dad left no longer remains
rain washes away all of the stains
baptized with love, Truth lights my way
the sun shines through on this rainy day
splashing and laughing my heart opens wide
embracing and flowing I’m one with the tide
God takes my hand release the old way
bathe in my glory come out and play!


Yesterday I had a lunch date with my friend. I thought she was coming to my house; she thought we were meeting downtown. No matter...we decided that I'd go in town to meet her. As we prepared to say goodbye we saw the sky get dark. I didn't even know there was a chance of showers so did not bring my umbrella which I usually carry with me especially during summertime in Boston. She asked me if I had an umbrella as the rain started to come down.

"Nope. I'm gonna go run in the rain." We hugged goodbye and off I went.

Because I contracted paralytic polio at the age of 5, I never experienced the normal childhood pleasure of splashing in puddles. Throw in an abusive and alcoholic father that I reference in my poem, and my life was constricted and restricted.

But...as the saying goes:


Within the first 5 minutes, I was soaked to the skin. There was thunder and lightning. I ran under the awning of the buildings as best as I could and made a few stops but nothing was going to cramp my style yesterday!

I stopped in one doorway and a woman said that if she didn't have to be at work, she'd be out there with me. We were laughing together at the elements and enjoying this splendid display of the Divine. There was a mailman who was concerned about me. He wanted to give me a ride to my car which was still a block or so away but I knew from my work at the VA that he could get fired for doing so. We had a wonderful conversation and he offered me an empty plastic bucket from the post office to put over my head:



He told me to make sure that I tucked my phone away someplace safe and wished me well on my journey to my car.

I splashed through the deep puddles and felt my clothes stick to my skin as thunder and lightning crashed above me. I felt totally safe and protected feeling a profound connection to God.

I laughed out loud when I got to my car and turned on the defroster because the combination of the hot car with the downpours of rain caused the windows to completely fog up. My hair was soaked as was my pocket book and the backpack I was carrying. One of my journal notebooks that I brought with me in case I had to wait for my friend got ruined. I knew it was a sign that it was time to start a new one and leave everything that I had written in that one behind!

Within minutes the skies cleared.

I could have waited for the storm to pass but life isn't about waiting for the storms to pass but about singing and dancing in the rain.

That was the first time that I'd ever done anything like that in my life...somehow I have a feeling that it won't be the last!


"Come Out and Play" is included in my latest book of inspirational poetry, "Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life," available along with all of my books on Amazon.




Monday, August 17, 2015

My Running Chonicles:Freedom



I have experienced phantom leg pains in my left leg for as long as I could remember as a result of paralytic polio followed by repeated child sexual assault and then 5 major orthopedic surgeries.. I had learned to not focus on them and to certainly not turn up the volume when they happened.

During Saturday's training run, my mind was working through a lot of what came to the surface. Interestingly enough, when I hit the ground, something broke free within me and in my left leg. My first thought was, "Okay Universe do we really need to make it this dramatic and intense?" But then I knew in an instant the energetic connection to my past was severed!

I have had to work so hard to overcome all the challenges of the experiences of my past and my therapy, my medicine and my path to feeling free has been and continues to be through running. Yet I had repeatedly hit a wall in my running that I finally have been able to move beyond since being blessed by Dr. Ryan J. Means, a healer chiropractor who gave me so many tools to use to experience freedom, ease, strength and confidence in my body.

After a few days of wrestling with unfinished business from the past, taking a tumble on the pavement, getting up and running another 1.5 miles to complete our 6.5 mile training run for the Bermuda Half Marathon, I feel unbridled freedom and now know in every fiber of my being that I am ready to go the distance this time!

The Thoroughbred

A dark horse
dark past
finishing last
ready to quit
battered and bruised
a foal fouled
yet Spirit unbroken
a thoroughbred deep inside
despite appearances
all she needed was a chance
someone to believe in her
a horse whisperer
in the mist
amidst fog and foliage
she runs
breaking free
transformed
into the champion she was always meant to be.


From "Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life" available along with all of my books on Amazon.




Saturday, August 15, 2015

My Running Chronicles: Superpowers - I Ran a Quarter of a Marathon Today!



I sure needed superhero powers to get my run on today. It was a hot and humid 86 degrees out at 8:30 in the morning. I suggested to Tom that we park at the beach and I bring my bathing suit this time so we can go for a nice swim and ice bath after our run.

We packed up the provisions and off we went after doing our planks, crunches and clams with weights.

When we turned onto East Broadway heading to the beach emotions overwhelmed me as they had last week. "Geez what is it about turning on East Broadway that you go into a meltdown?" Tom said with such love and tenderness. Last week I had the realization that in December when I turn 62 I will no longer be on social security disability but receive straight social security. "It was so hard," I said to Tom and started sobbing and then laughing all at the same time. It was like a sun shower when it pours rain but the sun is shining.

This week I asked him if he minded the fact that he could get in a 6.5 mile run in an hour but instead he has to be out there a lot longer with me. Uncontrollable tears and laughter bubbled up inside of me again.

"Are you serious? It's not about the time or the distance. It's about us being together."

More sobs and laughter ... okay I gotta pull myself together. We've got a run to do.

It was hot and humid so we started out nice and easy. We enjoyed the water views and just being out running together.



I reminded myself that I am free now. During a meditation I realized that I am not responsible for what happened to me and I certainly did not deserve what happened to me.

During the run I could feel a lot of thoughts and fears bubble to the surface. I felt my left leg tighten and swell and I flashed back to when I was injured last December; the admonitions and warnings from my former massage therapist, the physical therapists and the doctor played in my mind. I was going out on my longest run since the Tufts 10K last October and AM going to run the Bermuda Half Marathon in January and the Newport Full Marathon next October.



Despite all of my mental training through meditation, I could not shake those thoughts and feelings. I talked with Tom for a bit doing affirmations and then each of us got into our running zones. All of a sudden, like a bolt out of the blue the intention that my previous massage therapist set for me by saying, "I don't quite know how to say this but your left leg is still encased. I'm waiting for it to speak to me," roared in my head. Rather than letting it be and letting it drift away, I engaged in battle. "Oh no. None of you were right. I AM going the distance this time.

The next thing I know I am flying through the air. It was like a slow motion kind of experience.

And landed on the ground ....

I instinctively knew I was fine. Tom tried to pick me up and I said, "I'm fine. Just let me get up."

I could feel how strong I was and how I was able to use my upper body strength to ease the fall. Yes I was bleeding but it was only superficial scratches and scrapes. Passers by were aghast. "Oh my God. Are you okay?"

"Yes I'm fine."

There were a few lifeguards inside the pool at Harbor Point and Tom asked if I could get into the sprinkler and wash off. They said I'd have to walk all the way around the complex but they were kind enough to give me an ice pack.

"Is that where you tripped?" and they pointed to an uneven surface on the sidewalk. They commented that many people have fallen there.

I cleaned off using Tom's t shirt. Drank water and said I wanted and needed to finish the 1.5 miles for our run.

I felt something shift within me. I felt my guardian angel ease my fall along with my strength. It was an absolute miracle that I didn't chip my tooth or break anything. I have "road rash" and scrapes but that's it! And I knew the Universe was giving me a gift.

Ever since I was 5 years old, I harbored this fear about not being able to trust in my body. One day I was a healthy 5 year old and the next minute I dropped to the ground paralyzed. Three years later I experienced horrific acts of violence against my mind and body which needless to say did not do much for me developing a loving relationship with my body. No - I dissociated and developed my intellectual prowess.

When I hit the ground, something loosened up within me. My left leg felt open and free. I realized that the very thing I feared the most happened and not only did I survive it but I went on to finish my run. I have superpowers within me. We all do ... it's by calling upon and totally trusting in the love of the Divine that we harness these superpowers. Even though I fell, I felt invincible and knew that I needed to tell and show my body that we are fine. I felt my strength and resilience! We completed our 6.5 miles and took our runfie:


We went into the ocean for a cleansing ice bath:



The cold salt water brought instant healing to my body. Tom and I dove in and went for a swim.

We hydrated and refueled with our snacks, went in for another swim and stopped on the way home for a delicious post run lunch at the Kukoo Cafe in Brookline Village.

I came home and took another ice bath with epsom salts and a hot shower. We bought band aids to protect the scrapes and I am using vaseline to promote the healing of the scrapes on my nose and upper lip. I use the affirmation that I use every week after our runs, "I trust in my body's capacity to recover from runs and workouts."

These past few weeks have been filled with synchronicity and incredible events. Today's training run was a continuation of my feeling a deep connection to God and the angels that have been there to help me create the miracle of my life.

I ran 6.5 miles today! A quarter of a marathon and half the distance for January....

I believe with my whole Being and deep in my heart that I am going the distance. I learned today that it's time to take off the boxing gloves and stop shadow boxing with the demons from my past. I can settle down and settle into the person I have become...whole, healthy, transformed, runnergirl...I deserve to claim the superhero within me...and with today's fall I can honestly say and feel, "Holy Crap! I'm Batman."





Be sure to visit my Author's Page on Amazon to purchase my books that will uplift,inspire and motivate you to move confidently in the direction of your dreams!





Friday, August 14, 2015

Boston's Local Empress of Enthusiasm

Walter Dunbar, a Boston first responder created Soul Action Alliance, a Facebook community whose description is:
SOUL is the attribute of spirit, ACTION is an act of will, ALLIANCE is a group joining forces for a common goal.
Inspiration->motivation->activation.


As Spirit moves me, I share different blog posts on the page that I feel will resonate and invigorate the community.

After sharing, "Going the Distance: My Recipe for Success," Walter shared the link with this comment:

Mary has become Boston's local empress of enthusiasm. She has transformed her life and runs each step with mind, soul and body. Thanks for showing us what's possible. Anything we choose.


Boston's local empress of enthusiasm! I like it ...

I have rebranded myself with that title. I found these wonderful quotes about enthusiasm that embody the Spirit of my journey:



How do you fan the embers of enthusiasm to create a spark and then set your soul on fire?

My intention is that I've added fuel to your flame. May we all shine brightly with enthusiasm flowing to claim our most Divine and royal selves.




Be sure to visit my Author's Page on Amazon to purchase my books that will uplift,inspire and motivate you to move confidently in the direction of your dreams!




Thursday, August 13, 2015

Book Review: Everything You Need to Know to Feel Go(o)d

Amazon tells me I purchased this item on March 21, 2015.



I ordered it along with Dr. Joe Dispenza's book, "You Are the Placebo."

I started to read Candace's book but then something inside of me gave me pause and I read Dr. Joe's book first. They both appeared in "What the bleep do we know..." which Tom and I watched on 5/24 of this year.

Rewind to the book release party for Journey Well.

Did you ever have the experience where you watch yourself doing something that you know doesn't feel right but you know you're supposed to go ahead and do it anyway? Well that's the feeling I had with my book release party. Something didn't feel right from the start and then the Patriots had their playoff game at the exact time of the book release party. There was a lot of stress and discomfort around the party which was such a contrast to the book release party for my memoir at Marathon Sports the year before. But out of that uncomfortable evening, I found myself standing with a man who would change my life forever!

I found myself standing face to face with Ryan Means, DC - doctor of chiropractic medicine over 6' tall with the most warm, inviting, kind, loving and passionate blue eyes I had seen in a very long time.

We talked about chiropractic care and how it is not just for spinal adjustments. After the party, he reached out to me on Facebook. We met for coffee so he could learn more about my journey and I interviewed him for my blog. Journey Well with Chiropractic Care from Dr. Ryan Means.

I had my first appointment on March 2 and Dr. Ryan recommended the two books by Candace and Dr. Joe and the movies, I <3 Huckabees and What the bleep do we know....

These are the kinds of events that Candace shares in her book, 'Everything You Need to Know to Feel Go(o)d. She shares the science behind the molecules of emotions which was her first groundbreaking book and the process of writing the book which is written in real time; the style that I used to write Journey Well and that I am using to write my next book, 'Going the Distance.' Through the process of her writing the book, she was creating her life and as she created her life, the book "wrote itself."

There is a balance of love, light, laughter, and a sense of curiosity, wonder and play with the pain and struggle that is a part of the human condition. As I read her book and she shared her healing journey, I would experience breakthroughs in my healing journey. She explains the importance of partnering with healers who know and understand the mind/body connection.

Although Candace left her physical body in September of 2013 her Spirit is alive and breathes through every page of the book. She shows us how God is ever present in our lives and uses scientific research to explain the mystery and wonder of the Divine. It may seem counterintuitive I know but you have to read the book to understand how she is able to do this!

Oh and how perchance did Dr. Ryan know about Candace Pert and her work? He studied at the Palmer College of Chiropractic Medicine before transferring to a school in California. She spoke to his class and made the kind of energetic imprint with him that I experienced in reading her book.

At the end of the book, Candace writes, "Trust. Breathe. Let go. God is in control."

In her Epilogue, she reflects on fear.

"The root of fear, I concluded, is more about being alone, feeling unconnected to others and not realizing that we're all one. As my long-term massage therapist Adam Helfer poetically put it, 'If you're connected to the divine, you'll always feel fine.' Adam had also told me he thought the best universal advice to 'feel good' is to remain in the present moment as much is possible.'"

Dr. Ryan practices in China which came about through an amazing series of events in his life. We stay in touch via Facebook and email and I get goosebumps following his journey and adventures. I give thanks every day that he came into my life and recommended Candace's book to me. I now need to pay it forward and recommend it to you!

Discover the truth for yourself that all we need to know to feel good is to feel the presence of God in our every breath.

Thank you Dr. Ryan and thank you Candace!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

My Running Chronicles: "From that day on if I was going somewhere, I was running!"

After writing the poem, "Running the Race," I knew that I wanted and needed to run ....

Running the Race
Early summer 1959 my kindergarten year
Everyone around me filled with nervous fear
Despite the Salk vaccine hope polio would disappear
The polio virus crept right up and knocked me in the rear.
Dancing all around the gym feeling free just like a bird
I dropped to the ground just like a stone
and no one said a word.
The pain it was so searing-the diagnosis even worse
"It's polio" the doctor said...he was abrupt and terse.
Called one of the 'lucky ones' I had a 'mild case'
But with the other athletes I could never keep their pace.
Miss Holly physical therapist,
curly hair and a warm, broad smile
It tempered the pain of being apart - to walk I'd take awhile.
I always wore those 'special' shoes
the kids they poked and teased
With no support and much abuse
with childhood I wasn't pleased.
But put nose to the grindstone and learned all that I could
I couldn't kick a ball but my grades were always good.
Years went by and no more thought to polio did I give
I accepted the limp and everything else
and decided my life I would live.
But symptoms of weakness and muscle pain did grow
I kept a stoic face hoping no one else would know.
Life no longer was my own I struggled through each day
Suffered in silence, isolated from friends-
trying to keep depression at bay.
And with the grace of glorious God my world it opened wide
I discovered there was a Post Polio team
and they were on my side.
Using wheelchair to travel, set limits on what I could do,
Resulted in joy to realize I could live life anew.
Celebrated my body- creaks, groans and need for a brace
While in my mind I focused on winning a 10K race.
Sought out paths for healing and my spirit flew free
For the first time in life, I could truly be me.
The chains are gone and possibilities abound
I'm a tree with my roots planted firmly in ground.
I'm now off the sidelines, no need to sit and whine
So much gratitude fills my heart and love and beauty shine.
After all these years I can join the loving human race
I exceed all expectations and now I set the pace.


but I was in a short leg brace, using a wheelchair at times for mobility and was told by a Western medicine rehabilitation doctor that I faced an uncertain future; one which at best would stabilize the symptoms where they were in February of 2007 when I wrote this poem; at worse, I would need to adapt our Cape house and be prepared for a life in a wheelchair.

I had other ideas as expressed in that first poem and in the poems that came flowing out of me imagining myself as healthy, whole, running free with the wind....

I decided to watch the Run Forrest Run scene from Forrest Gump over and over and over again:


It sure helped to inspire me to get running. I ran the 2009 Boston Marathon and then took a break from running. I started running again in June 2010 and had a great run of races and PR's and feeling at the top of my game. March 2011 with my nephew's suicide, I ran right off of my healing path.

I returned to the roads after 4/15/13 ... I had a great run of 9 races in 9 months with two PR's but was an injury waiting to happen without cross training and without listening to my body from the inside out.

It wasn't until I came to the work of Dr. Ryan J. Means, a healer chiropractor that I was able to get traction on my healing journey from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma.

This morning Tom and I did our plank, crunches and clams and our morning meditation. In my meditation I observed the anxiety and discomfort and terror I felt growing up. I used to project those feelings onto some present day issue but this morning I was able to put those feelings right where they belonged: in the past. I breathed. I felt Tom's breathing next to me and felt the joy - the absolute joy of being alive and having survived paralytic polio and 9 years of violence and terror. I stated my gratitudes and affirmations.

We headed out for our run and it was a very Forrest Gump type of run. I'd been writing in my training journal: long range goal of a 12:00 minute mile with an intermediate goal of a 14:00 minute mile for speed work.

There was a person walking at a very fast pace far in front of us. I sped up my pace to try to pass him. Tom checked my pace - 12:32 ... he sped up and got away but not before I felt the thrill of running fast again! I felt free, determined, courageous and unlimited in what I am capable of doing. I felt invincible. My overall pace and time was 43 seconds off of my 5K PR one year ago yesterday with an average pace of 14:26 including a huge hill at the end of our run.

The other day my wonderful friends at Blue Diamond Athletic Displays posted a display for Triathletes. I tagged one of my dear FB friends, Nicole and she posted this picture of a medal display her nephew made for her:


And then my friends at Blue Diamond Athletic Displays posted this:



A must have for our 2nd display!

And I plan on filling it to the brim with our medals...because from this day on...if I am going somewhere...I am running!



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.


"Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems," my latest collection of inspirational poetry is now available soon on Amazon



Monday, August 10, 2015

The question is, how far down the rabbit hole do you want to go?



A few months ago, we watched, "What the bleep do we know..." and "Down the rabbit hole..."



It was recommended to us by my beloved chiropractor, Dr. Ryan who is now practicing in China! It was May 24th to be exact which was one day shy of the 8 year anniversary of when I left my award winning VA social work career to heal my life.

Since reading Dr. Joe Dispenza's book You Are the Placebo, and watching his videos, Candace Pert's book, Everything you need to know to feel Go(o)d there has been a major shift in my life. There is a flow and a momentum in my life and in my training to run the Bermuda Half Marathon with my sights set on the Newport Marathon in 2016. The spark was lit when I stood face to face with Dr. Ryan at the book release party for "Journey Well" at the place where I used to go for massage. He came into my life to balance the naysayers who were telling me I shouldn't, wouldn't, couldn't run anymore or if I did to limit my distance. Dr. Ryan posed the question, Why set limits and I decided to only take yes for an answer!

I bought "The Little Book of Bleeps: Ponder these for awhile!" which contain quotations from the movie and information about the "talking heads" who share their views of quantum physics.

One of the quotes is, "When we think of 'things', then we make the Reality more concrete than it is. That's why we become stuck." ~Amit Goswami, Ph.D.

I have chosen to jump into the rabbit hole and see how much healing and transformation I am able to create in my life.

According to "reality" for a polio survivor, I should at the very least be in a leg brace and using a wheelchair to conserve energy. I should experience chronic pain and fatigue and according to Western Medicine there is no way that I can sprout new neuromuscular connections.

I am, as Einstein would say, changing the facts.

I harness the power of my mind through meditation, visualization and writing poetry to see myself as whole and healthy.

I used to be fearful, well terrified that my body would not stand up (interesting choice of words) to the challenges I gave it. Now I believe with my whole heart that I AM an endurance runner and I run unencumbered. My workout schedule is healthy and right for me even as and maybe especially as we increase miles. I do modify effort in the pool since we are adding miles to our long runs but maintain the level of strength training. I recover so much more quickly from runs and workouts and have so much confidence in my body now. With every meditation, with every run and workout, I am erasing the past and creating this magnificent mind/body as I was always meant to be connected to the Source of Divine Love and Intelligence.

My outer world has been filled with synchronicity and wonder and awe and mystery.

So I choose to not live in the know making reality concrete and reacting to it. I choose to live in the mystery and allow everything to flow and create.

The answer is, I am pretty far down the rabbit hole and it's a beautiful space in which to live!

How far down the rabbit hole do you want to go?


I went pretty far down the rabbit hole when I quit my award winning career as a VA social worker to heal my life...My books are available on Amazon and share the mystery and wonder of my journey. It just keeps getting better and better and I'll be bringing you these next magical and wonder-filled miles in my next book, 'Going the Distance.'




Sunday, August 9, 2015

The stranger on the bench at the bus stop - Feeling God

Early on in my work with the amazing chiropractor Dr. Ryan, he suggested I read Candace Pert's book:



She came to the Palmer School of Chiropractic Medicine where he was training to become a chiropractor.

Dr. Ryan also recommended, "You Are the Placebo," by Dr. Joe Dispenza. As I read Dr. Joe's book, I felt shifts and changes and healing happening mind, body and Spirit.

As I read Candace's book, I've experienced insights and aha moments in my own healing journey and most recently have been experiencing synchronicity, coherence and harmony which is a consistent theme throughout her book. Even though she died in 2013, her Spirit lives and breathes in the pages of her book.

Candace and her co-author Nancy have an ongoing struggle throughout the book about what should be in the book and how to meet the publisher’s deadline. They complement each other in being the task master and opening up to the Universe and letting the Universe write the book. At one point Nancy said that they can allow the Universe to write the book but the Universe isn’t going to publish the book. It was Nancy’s turn to go with the flow when she saw two of her friends sitting on a park bench. Candace berates her for wanting to take an even longer break from their writing but Nancy is unrelenting in taking her over to her friends. The synchronicity was astounding. The two friends had been turned away from Candace’s lecture the night before because it was sold out. He was going to ask her a question and take issue with the fact that in “What the bleep do we know…” there was not a strong enough emphasis on God. I just happened to read this passage last week.

“And if we wouldn’t have been turned away from the lecture, I would have asked you right then and there whether or not you believe in God.”

I burst out laughing and jumped for joy…

“Let me answer you right now!” I exclaimed. “First I want you to know that as a scientist, I believe in God with all my heart. God is everywhere in the matrix that unites us all. Our meeting today, the sheer synchronicity of you talking about me and then me showing up, is due to the vibration of our molecules organizing at the highest levels to achieve coherence and harmony. This is the demonstration of what I know as God.”


Tom and I drove to the Seaport District to have lunch at 75 on Liberty, one of our favorite go to places. We drove once around the block and there was a parking space waiting for us almost across the street from the restaurant. I thanked God/the Universe for the space and smiled. There was a man sitting on the bench at the bus stop wearing a blue shirt, arms opened wide placed on the back of the bench and legs outstretched in front of him.

"That's a really great parking space," this stranger said to us as we got out of the car.

"They are very rare around here. I was very lucky to get one down the street."

His affect reminded me of the person who appears to Marlee Matlin in the water scene from What the bleep do we know....:


"Well my wife imagines a parking space is available every time she comes down here," Tom said to him.

"Your wife has a very powerful imagination," he said to us.

"Yes...I do ... I imagined myself out of a wheelchair 8 years ago," I replied.

"Good for you," he said.

Here was this person who chose to comment on us getting a really great parking space noticing that the parking spaces are rare in this area. Tom and I were drawn into this vortex of conversation with this complete stranger who affirmed everything I believed and have been working on for these past 8+ years. Time stood still and we both experienced a powerful connection to something beyond us in those magical moments. Tom and I were together having run the longest distance I have run since last year's Tufts 10K and training for the Bermuda Half Marathon. There were so many ways the conversation could or could not have gone yet it was this perfect encounter.

I felt God!

There was no mistaking this encounter as having been orchestrated by a Divine Loving Intelligence.

It was an affirmation from the Divine to continue on my path that yes I do have a powerful imagination and I am a mighty manifester. I need to continue to believe without seeing and to know, to trust that my heart's desire for complete healing is here. now. I can live and breathe as the person I imagined myself to be running free and unencumbered and having every experience from the past healed mind, body and Spirit because I am now that person!

Amazing what happens when you open yourself up and allow yourself to have a chance encounter..for us it was with the stranger at the bus stop who was lucky enough to get a parking space down the street from the Seaport Hotel. It's an opportunity to feel God!



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.


"Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems," my latest collection of inspirational poetry is now available soon on Amazon











Saturday, August 8, 2015

My Running Chronicles: I Am Runner Girl - Feel the Shift!



We were out last night celebrating our daughter's 28th birthday. We ate later than usual, got to bed later than usual and didn't sleep well thanks to a cat and mouse hunt by our beloved four foot Jamie. The commotion woke us up in the middle of the night. I looked downstairs and saw a medium size brown mouse charge across the floor with Jamie in hot pursuit. The mouse went into my brand new running shoes to hide. Jamie stood guard trying to figure out how she could get the mouse in my shoe. Finally Tom went downstairs to set the mouse free.

When it was time to rise 'n shine and get our run on, I wanted to just turn over and go back to sleep. But a part of me was also very excited to get my longest run on since last October's Tufts 10K.

Tom and I meditated, did our plank, crunches and clams, had our breakfast and packed up our essentials to head to South Boston and run the route we ran last week only this time going the 10K distance.

I had butterflies. Was I really going to be able to go the distance? Would my knee "hold up"? And then I remembered...my mind creates my body so what do I choose to create. During my meditation I affirmed, " I am happy, healthy and whole. My body is my sacred vessel and my home."

As we pulled into our parking space the craziest thing happened to me.

"I'm going to be 62 in a few months and I'm off of disability and receive straight social security."

Tom was so loving and affirming as I made that observation.

I started sobbing. "It's been so hard." And then I started laughing this deep deep belly laugh - so deep that my stomach muscles hurt. Sobbing and laughing at the same time. Tom said it was like a sun shower where there's pouring rain yet the sun is out.

Something broke free within me and all my doubts washed away.

It was a perfect weather day for a run!

I reminded Tom and myself that it takes awhile to get warmed up - especially after a night out and little sleep. We looked at the clear blue skies, the ocean, the beach and lost ourselves in the moment. We were so grateful for the perfect running weather especially compared to last week's 85 degrees and humidity. For today's run it was 74 degrees and no humidity. We also found more shade along the route.

After four miles Tom turned to me and said, "You could run the half today couldn't you?"

I was definitely in the head space of running a half marathon taking it mile by mile and enjoying every step of the way.

I told Tom that I knew that my pace would come; that for now I just want to enjoy the runs and experience building miles again...only this time I'm building miles not as a mobility impaired runner but as a runner.period. As it turned out, we ran 3 miles at a 15:00 minute/mile pace and change and our overall pace was 24 seconds/mile off of last week's pace. The cooler weather and speed work certainly helped our pace.

As we neared the end of our run, my iPhone said we were on low battery. I realized that as our runs get longer, I have to make sure that my phone is fully charged and to bring a charger in the car because Nike+ uses a lot of battery. I picked up the pace. No way was I going to get my phone die before we documented my 6.2 mile run. I was amazed at how much I had left in the tank. Once again we visualized coming down Front Street and hearing our names called out by the Bermudian race announcers. Tom said, "Team McManus is on pace for a personal best." When Nike+ congratulated us on completing our 6.21 miles, we hugged and kissed and quickly made sure that we could get our post training run runfie and sync the run on Nike+.



I changed into flip flops and we went into the ocean for our nature's very own ice bath. I could feel my legs flush.

Last week, I ended up with a purple and painful toenail after our run. After Tuesday's run, I was in a lot of pain. I went to Marathon Sports, our go to store for every endurance running need and was fitted with the same shoe, a half size larger. During my meditation I repeated, "My new running shoes are a perfect fit and are going to carry me swiftly through my run today." I ran with no pain from my toenail and even though it is still purple, it feels great! The salt water is also a wonderful healing agent.

After a rest on the beach, as we walked to our car, I felt my knee buckle and briefly lock. You have a strong and healthy leg....And so it is, I thought to myself. I felt a shift in my leg's energy and felt the strength and health of my left leg.

Tom and I drove to the Seaport District to have lunch at 75 on Liberty, one of our favorite go to places. We drove once around the block and there was a parking space waiting for us almost across the street from the restaurant. There was a man sitting on the bench at the bus stop.

"That's a really great parking space," this stranger said to us.

"They are very rare around here. I was very lucky to get one down the street."

His affect reminded me of the person who appears to Marlee Matlin in the water scene from What the bleep do we know....



"Well my wife imagines a parking space is available every time she comes down here," Tom said to him.

"Your wife has a very powerful imagination," he said to us.

"Yes...I do ... I imagined myself out of a wheelchair 8 years ago," I replied.

"Good for you," he said.

We went on our way, had an amazing lunch and when I got home I took an epsom salts ice bath followed by a hot shower to flush lactic acid out of my system.

I am sore but feel absolutely amazing. I am healed. And I reactivated my twitter account with a new handle: @runnergirl1953.

Makes sense doesn't it? I am a runner girl in addition to feeling the heal, I feel the shift and know in every fiber of my being...I.am.healed.





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.


"Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems," my latest collection of inspirational poetry is now available soon on Amazon