Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Coming Full Circle - Connecting the Dots

Raindrops pounding against my window and roof provided the soundtrack for my afternoon meditation. I got goosebumps everywhere as I reflected on this moment in my life.

I wrote about the pieces of the puzzle finally fitting together in my blog post, "Purpose".

The whole picture of the puzzle is coming into sharper and sharper focus. Because Jeffrey is a member of four CISM Teams and is on the health and wellness staff at On-Site Academy, I find myself in the middle of the circle of caregivers who serve those who serve. Many of the clients who are Emergency Responders are also veterans and we are connecting with each other, sharing our healing journeys to discover many parallels with the work that Jeffrey does being the lynchpin in our healing and recovery. As I hear others talk of how Jeffrey has impacted their lives, they echo my feelings. It becomes more and more clear that Jeffrey is for lack of a better phrase the real deal dedicated and committed to helping people heal; to reclaim their advantage and reclaim life regardless of the challenge or goal.

We are joining together to spread the word about Jeffrey's life saving work. Jeffrey and I are going to write a book about the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy with case studies so that other therapists can become trained in this highly effective method of healing and bringing relief. From the moment I experienced Jeffrey's work I knew there was something radically different and powerful about the way he practices massage and muscular therapy. Friends who I refer to him and clients who are becoming friends through our common bond of healing through the power of positive touch agree with me.

Rather than my writing my next book about my journey of what didn't work and finding my way to Jeffrey to now go the distance, our message is going to be what DOES work and how we can keep healing people through the power of positive touch.

It is at once exhilarating and humbling to be a part of all of this.

Getting a degree in Public Relations and mastering the art of writing, getting a Masters Degree in Social Work and working at the VA for almost 20 years, working with BU COM students as interns to hone my social media skills, becoming a runner - it all comes together now as I work as the Communications and Public Relations Director for Spratt Muscular Therapies, LLC.

I am also working as Jeffrey's Executive Assistant. You see if I wouldn't have lived through the hell of my childhood and used organization along with my intellectual prowess to survive, I would not be able to support Jeffrey with such ease. I can multi-task and organize like nobody's business.

I'm excited about what lies ahead knowing that what went before, as excruciatingly painful as it was, prepared me for now.

Working with Jeffrey and Spratt Muscular Therapies, LLC brings me incredible joy and as Joseph Campbell said:

Everything that happened, every choice I made makes wonderful sense to me as I connect the dots looking backwards to arrive in this magnificent moment of my life.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

My Running Chronicles: Momentum, Results and Rebuilding - It's a Miracle!

I'm astounded by the momentum in my healing journey. I used to have to be incredibly mindful and cautious about my schedule never knowing when fatigue would kick me in the behind. But now I am working and training and feeling energized, whole and vibrant.

The results I experience from my work with Jeffrey Spratt, MT, Owner and Principal of Spratt Muscular Therapies, LLC is miraculous. The power of positive touch with Jeffrey who has healing hands and a compassionate heart has been the game changer in my life. I am blessed. This morning the alarm went off at 6:00am. It was dark and I hesitated for a moment but after meditation, Tom and I hit the floor for a plank, crunches and clams and literally ran out the door for our training run. I am feeling free in my body and love to run. My pace hit a 14:00 minute mile although Nike+ didn't reflect in the overall time because it did not accurately pause.

I was able to put on a running shirt that I couldn't fit into even a week ago.

I felt strong, confident and capable as a runner knowing this time indeed I am going the distance!

After our run I poured sweat and it felt amazing to feel sweat dripping off of my body after a great workout. You see I used to be timid and fearful about my body and what it could and could not do. I was also dragging with the weight of traumatic memories. Until I let go of holding and emotions in last Thursday's treatment, I didn't realize how tightly I was holding onto myself. Until I heard Jeffrey utter the words, "Shhh. You're safe. Let it all go. Yes I know it was horrible," I couldn't relax and begin the process of rebuilding.

As I trained in the pool at WaveHealth yesterday I could feel head tremors intensify ... only they were not tremors of terror -- I could feel my chi - my life force working to build a new neural net. As I watched the reflection of the waves on the wall, I had the awareness that paralytic polio and violence were like bombs that took out bridges in my nervous system. But now - now I have this amazing opportunity to rebuild. The gunk has cleared and new clean energy flows. There are times when the tremors stop completely. There is an ebb and flow to the process and I can feel and see the end point in this process.

We have used so many analogies to capture the experience of healing. I can imagine the new beautiful bridges in my system from my spinal cord to my head and down my arms all the way to my fingers. At last Thursday's launch of Boston Magazine's Best of Boston Chinese Edition, I was able to pick up appetizers with steady hands. I can feel this happening more and more. Momentum. Success breeds success. Results and rebuilding all happening.

Today I saw one of my friend's that I had not seen since last October at the Cape Cod Marathon weekend. She commented how well I looked; how strong and healthy and fit I looked. She knows my journey and has been incredibly supportive of me. I thought back to how I felt a year ago and how I feel today. I never gave up. I kept searching. I held onto hope knowing I could do this and now with Jeffrey I CAN and AM doing this!

After all I lived through and now at the age of 62 years old I am back to work, training for a half marathon, and rebuilding my nervous system creating a brand spanking new mind body - well all I can say is it's a miracle!

Monday, September 28, 2015

My Running Chronicles: Eight Magnificent Miles and Time With My Running Family - L Street Running Club

The last time we had attended the L Street BBQ it was September 14, 2011. I sat and I listened as fellow Club members regaled stories of marathons past, hopes and dreams for future events and remember how Mac, founder and former President of L Street made me feel so wonderful that I was "just" power walking and was not training for any event. He reminded me of the Club motto, "Maintain. Maintain. Maintain." and "No pace too slow. No Distance too short."

Fast forward to Sunday. Tom and I did another magnificent eight mile run as we train for the Bermuda Half Marathon coming up in January. I can feel the excitement build. This year I am embracing the change of seasons knowing that in just a few short months Team McManus will be Bermuda bound. We relish every mile of this wonderful journey. It is so exciting to be working again. I used to dread the winter months as a retired person but now I have energy and momentum to carry me through the cold weather in work and at play.

We ran 5 times around Jamaica Pond and took 4 minutes off of our time from the previous week thanks to 20 degree cooler temperatures. We also took much less time for water stops and were able to fuel on a half a Luna bar for the 8 miles. Tom wore his BAA Half Marathon shirt and I wore my Tufts 10K Start Strong Finish Stronger shirt. It seemed as though everyone was wearing either their BAA shirts or Tufts 10K shirts. We would nod and wave as we passed because that's what runners do.

Here we are after finishing our run:

I pushed hard during the run and I felt wonderful but could feel that even though the temperature outside was cooler, smart money said to take an Epsom Salts Ice Bath to help recover. Tom captured the moment:

After a hot shower, refueling with salad and a smoothie, we went to the Columbia Yacht Club for our end of summer BBQ with our L Street family.

Four years later! I was astounded by my transformation. Four years ago I couldn't run and wasn't training for events. I could feel that I was heading into a downward cycle after my nephew's suicide in March but felt a lot of comfort being surrounded by my L Street Family.

At Sunday's BBQ I was Boston's local empress of enthusiasm. I had so much energy despite having run 8 miles earlier in the day. It was wonderful to be with everyone and to be a part of the conversation about upcoming events. L Streeters are trained for the BAA Half, Chicago Marathon and a few other Fall races and some talked about their recent accomplishments as ultra marathoners. I was delighted to introduce my running family to Jeffrey Spratt, MT, Owner and Principal of Spratt Muscular Therapies, LLC many of whom knew Jeffrey when he was at Massage Works in Quincy andd had done post long run sports massage for the Club. I loved hearing him talk about the importance of sports massage for runners. Several members of the Club are seeing other massage therapists and Jeffrey's message was, "As long as you're getting the work done...that's what is important." He's been the game changer in my life and many knew of how he has helped other Club members through the years to reclaim advantage and reclaim life.

It was a perfect weather day with a slight chill in the air but we could sit on the dock and enjoy the warm sun. The food as always was fabulous and I sampled foods that I ordinarily wouldn't eat. "That's why we run" was a common comment as we ate with gusto and sampled treats from the dessert table.

While the motto of our Club is No pace too slow. No distance too short. we should have another motto. No matter how long it's been since we've seen each other, when we get together it's like coming home and being with family.

Here are more photos that capture the love and Spirit of the day:

And even though Mac and Alma are now in Florida, their presence was palpable and they were able to enjoy the day vicariously through our Facebook photos.

We are running family. The bonds of love are strong. This wonderful Club fuels every step of my journey and we love and support each other to go the distance whatever the goal and whatever the challenge.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Going the Distance: On Healing and Super Heroes

The other morning I posted a photo to my Morning Light album on Facebook:

One of my friend's said "It looks like Batman paid you a visit."

Batman has in fact paid me a visit in the guise of Jeffrey Spratt, MT, Owner and Principal of Spratt Muscular Therapies, LLC.

“Massage Therapy at its finest can be life changing and even life saving, and even at its very basic, massage therapy should be momentum changing.” ~Jeffrey Spratt, MT

For the past 9 years I have been on a quest to heal my mind, body and Spirit from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma.

I could only get so far in the journey...and it wasn't for lack of trying. I hadn't found the right person to partner with me to go the distance and heal everything.

The transformation from a survivor to a woman healthy, whole, strong and transformed has been gaining steady momentum since partnering with Jeffrey.

On Thursday, I had a huge breakthrough during the treatment.

I allowed myself to surrender as Jeffrey manipulated my lumbar and my thoracic spine. He cued me to drop my shoulders and as I dropped my posture of vigilance and waiting for the next blow to hit, the tears began to flow. As Jeffrey moved into my jaw and face, I let the emotional dam from my past break through the wall I had built around myself.

As I sobbed from the depths of my soul, Jeffrey comforted me with words and touch. For the first time I uttered the words, "It was horrible Jeffrey. It was horrible."

"I know it was horrible," he replied and he continued to encourage me to let it all go while providing physical and emotional comfort. I could feel my neurological system rewire with the physical and emotional comfort he provided as I let go of the past.

My body released more memories and then I felt a sense of power surge through ME.

After my appointment I went into the locker room at WaveHealth in the Seaport Boston Hotel to get ready for the launch of Boston Magazine's Best of Boston Chinese Edition and came out transformed:

And was ready to attend the launch of Boston Magazine's Best of Boston Chinese Edition:

Jeffrey commented to me that I looked amazing and had put on my Super Hero outfit. Yes indeed .... I am a Super Hero bringing forth light and love into the world passionate about inspiring others, being vocal about justice and what treatment modalities are based in Truth and letting others know about what is possible. I am invincible and have fought against evil and emerged victorious!

I reflected on what makes the difference in working with Jeffrey from all the other therapists and I use the word loosely I have seen in an effort to heal.

Others I saw were curious about my body and observed what was happening from a distance. Jeffrey has the confidence to dive right in and use all of his knowledge and intuition to facilitate the healing process.

While others were arrogant and let their ego lead the way asserting, "We're going to fix you," Jeffrey is humble and allows Spirit to guide the work. He has a tender, warm heart and hot hands and allows energy to flow through him to bring about healing.

Others used intellect and protocols rather than using their intuition and drawing from the Divine Mind to create a new form of muscular therapy as Jeffrey has done. They either touted themselves as gurus using intimidation and aggression in the work or were the sheep trying to follow them. There was a rigidity and pompousness or timidity in touching rather than being open to process and possibility. They were also sadly predators who preyed on my vulnerability and used head games and manipulation in the relationship. Jeffrey harnesses his compassion and strength to facilitate healing. Honesty, integrity and Truth abound. Sounds like a Super Hero motto to me!

Jeffrey is willing to go down the rabbit hole to see what is possible but first and foremost is keenly aware of do no harm. When Jeffrey introduced CranioSacral therapy into the work, we noticed that it would increase the tremors. But he also knew that it was in the service of healing. He compared it to draining a cyst or draining gunky transmission fluid from a car or squeezing that last little bit out of a toothpaste tube. Patience, trust and faith guide the work we do together. As I said to Jeffrey when he introduced CranioSacral Therapy into my treatment, "I've had CranioSacral Therapy before but I've never really had CrnaioSacral Therapy before." He listens and tunes into what my body needs rather than blindly following the protocol.

The others asserted their control in the treatment room. Jeffrey takes command of the treatment room and is willing to listen and partner with me. During one treatment session I mentioned to Jeffrey that my IT band was feeling tight. "I've got it," he said to me and focused on helping bring relief to that area. He welcomes feedback before, during and after the treatment.

Jeffrey is passionate about the work and loves the work he does. Others are complacent and their complacency, curiosity (the kind of curiosity you have when you see a car wreck) and uncertainty about how to heal comes through their hands.

Jeffrey's motto for Spratt Muscular Therapies, LLC is Reclaim advantage and Reclaim life. He wants clients to reclaim their lives in work, in whatever physical activity/sports they enjoy and in their relationships. Every area of my life has been transformed since I partnered with Jeffrey on my healing journey. I feel free for the first time in my life and know it's only going to keep getting better and better. Jeffrey and I are joining our Super Hero powers to help others claim their Truth, justice, light, love and freedom from fear through the work we do at Spratt Muscular Therapies.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Launch of Boston Magazine's Chinese Edition

"Hi Mary. It's Nell calling from Blue Diamond Athletic Displays. I was wondering if you'd like to attend an event in Boston that we can't make. I think it will be perfect for you. It's the launch of Boston Magazine's Best of Boston Chinese Edition."

Before I became Communications and Public Relations Director for Spratt Muscular Therapies, LLC, I had sent in a nomination to the editors for Best of Boston Best Massage. In between the time that Nell arranged for us to attend the event and the evening of the event, Jeffrey Spratt, Owner and Principal of Spratt Muscular Therapies hired me to be his Communications and Public Relations Director. The synchronicity was stunning!

"Are you Paula?" a gentleman asked me as the Roof Garden began to fill with people to celebrate the launch of Boston Magazine's Best of Boston Chinese edition.

"No. I'm Mary McManus. It's a pleasure to meet you."

What a coincidence that I was speaking with David Garland, advertising account manager who just happened to manage the Blue Diamond Athletic Displays account. We chatted for a bit. Exchanged cards and went about mingling with the guests.

It seemed as though there were magnets attracting me to the people who I was supposed to meet.

I was blessed to meet Joe Li who is the manager of the Cultural, Educational and Business Exchange. As we exchanged cards we found ourselves engaged in a powerful and poignant conversation about the China-US relations and the challenges of Chinese immigrants who come to the U.S. We shared with him that our dear friend and my chiropractor Dr. Ryan Means is in China and experienced this wonderful cultural exchange. Joe told me that I must speak to high school students who are experiencing challenges and a sense of hopelessness as they see their parents working long days at jobs with little promise for advancement. He said that I could certainly inspire them with my journey of overcoming incredible odds to be the woman I am today.

We met several other fascinating and intriguing people while sipping on seltzer water with lemon, a glass of red wine and dining on roasted duck, salmon sushi, vegetables panini, mini lobster rolls and spring rolls. The presentation of the food and the service was impeccable. The music was provided by Yun Huang who had the voice of an angel.

With a room filled to capacity with people I know that I made the exact connections I was meant to make. Everything flowed. Conversation was easy and light and I was able to represent both Blue Diamond Athletic Displays, the work I do with Jeffrey and Spratt Muscular Therapies.

There was magic and mysticism, awe and wonder as the Universe brought me to be exactly where I was meant to be on Thursday evening.

Here are the photos that capture the beauty and magic of the evening:

So grateful to Nell for thinking of me to attend the launch of Boston Magazine's Chinese Edition for Best of Boston. Many seeds were planted and it will be fascinating to see what takes root and blossoms.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Come Aboard: WaveHealth Celebrates on The Odyssey

We almost missed the boat but with the angels to guide us we made our way in time to board WaveHealth's annual cruise aboard The Odyssey. It was my first gig as Communications and Public Relations Director for Spratt Muscular Therapies, LLC and the perfect blend of business and pleasure. I still get goosebumps to realize that I am a part of this amazing team at WaveHealth, The Seaport Boston Hotel and Spratt Muscular Therapies. Mike Anderson, the Director of WaveHealth and Tanya Nelson, Assistant Manager greeted us warmly. Spouses met each other and conversations flowed easily with laughter and joy.

Jeffrey was invited to bring chair massage on board:

There were many passengers eager to experience chair massage and Jeffrey, Ann and Luke were more than happy to provide the service:

After recording the chair massages and securing signed waivers, it was time for Tom and me to enjoy the cruise. We dined. We danced. We went to the upper deck and took in the magnificent sights of our beautiful City:

complete with the moon shining:

The buffet was magnificent and we dined on salmon, chicken, penne pasta with spinach and cheese sauce, succulent string beans and a summer vegetable medley salad.

There was the love of a family gathering together among the colleagues from WaveHealth. Mariama Jordan who is the Director of Fitness took this photo of Tom and me:

Everyone had a blast dancing the night away including Tom and me. I haven't been out dancing in ages.

Yup this is my boss:

Earlier in the day I had a business meeting, came home, worked on projects for Spratt Muscular Therapies, picked up Tom, got lost on the way to the boat, worked, dined, danced....I realized the incredible endurance and stamina I now have since partnering with Jeffrey.

Even 6 months ago I might not have opted to go on the Cruise but if I did it would have meant not scheduling anything else during the day, napping and being ever so mindful of my "energy." Oh and dancing? Forget about it - I might aggravate my knee injury.

But now I have reclaimed my advantage and astoundingly I have reclaimed my life. It was great to be on board with an amazing group of fellow travelers.

Here's to going the distance whatever the challenge, whatever the goal and never ever quitting before the miracle happens!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

When You Can't Get There From Here - Call On The Angels

I'm usually quite diligent and vigilant about getting directions before we go somewhere. As the Communications and Public Relations Director for Spratt Muscular Therapies, LLC we were invited to WaveHealth's annual dinner cruise aboard The Odyssey. My first event as Communications and Public Relations Director that was going to be a wonderful mix of business and pleasure.

I initially thought we departed from Long Wharf where we have gone many times to take a Boston Harbor Cruise which is why I was incredibly confident about leaving at 4:30 and arriving in plenty of time to meet Jeffrey and our Team at 6:15pm. Something told me to check Google Maps however and I realized that we departed from Rowes Wharf.

I kept looking at the map and called Tom at work to get a handle on directions. My gut kept telling me we needed to stay on surface roads but every option was taking us through the tunnel. Tom and I eventually relaxed and trusted that there must have been an exit that would take us to the surface road.

Traffic was flowing and we were doing great until we lost our GPS signal. Tom instinctively knew to get off at Government Center but once we got our GPS back it said to go back on I-93 and through the tunnel. We debated about which way to go and decided to trust Siri.

But I remembered a time when Siri took us on the Mass. Pike and told us our destination was on the right but there was no access to it.

There was heavy traffic and we realized that we needed to get out of the tunnel (which still told us the destination was 5 minutes away and on the right).

I texted Jeffrey:
Stuck in traffic and GPS gave us wrong directions. Send angels please. Took us in tunnel. Said destination was on the right. But we will make it.

Jeffrey texted back:
Speed and ease of traffic
Angels are coming

And as he was texting that I received the inspiration to go to the New England Aquarium and somehow we would be able to walk from there. The only explanation I have for knowing to do this was that angels were guiding us.

We came out of the tunnel at Government Center (for the 2nd time). Siri thankfully let us know that we were 5 minutes away from the Aquarium. I googled walking directions from the Aquarium to Rowes Wharf and guess what? By car Siri wanted to send us back into the tunnel and said it would be another 20 minutes given the traffic conditions. But by walking, we were 3 minutes away.

We pulled into the garage and there was a parking space on the first level.

"Excuse me," we asked a pedestrian no longer trusting Siri to guide us. "Could you tell us where Rowes Wharf is?"

"Right over there at the arch."

I'd been there before. I met a friend at the Boston Harbor Hotel for tea and if only we had googled Boston Harbor Hotel instead of Rowes Wharf we would have avoided those rather horrific moments of panic. But then we wouldn't have been able to experience those moments of panic yield to faith and trust and experience the angels guide us to exactly where we needed to be with 15 minutes to spare.

We had an amazing evening - more on that in tomorrow's post ... but for now ... enjoy these photos: