Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Run it like you own it!

We have all mastered the fine art of beating ourselves up, blaming ourselves and hanging in relationships long after it was time to leave and trying to fit in and compromise ourselves because well that's how most of us were trained. We tend to react to our environment rather than realize that we have the power to be co-creators with the Universe.

Recently I am learning how to be tender, loving, joyful and playful with myself as I heal. I realize that trying to recover from paralytic polio in a violent household was no easy feat. I did a very impressive job of getting myself through and now I have this exquisite opportunity to heal everything that went before as the Universe opens doors for people and teachers who support me.

I talk to my body with the tenderness and strength of a mother and father's love. I remind myself that all is healed and that I am a beautiful work in progress. I tenderly support my right hand to steady a glass or put on mascara although some days, everything connects. I relish those moments knowing that eventually those moments will become the norm, especially as I continue to love myself well. I honor how I had once lost use of my right arm due to an infection in the bone that required open joint surgery and severing of muscles and nerves in order to clean out the joint. I am also clearing out fear from my central nervous system and making new connections to heal the effects of polio. I am running my life like I own it because I do!

As I prepare for Friday's race, I have wonderful conversations with myself especially my legs and remind myself that I am strong, well trained and ready to take on the Finish at the 50. I am deeply grateful and truly blessed to now be partnering with Jeff Spratt, principal of Spratt Muscular Therapies, LLC. The work we have done since 4/19 holds me in great stead for my comeback race.

So this begs the question, how did I find my way to Jeff?

There were what I'd call yellow flags when I first started working with my previous therapist. I'd been referred to him by a runner friend so I presumed he was a runner's massage therapist. Yet he only did Zero Balancing on the front of my body. Back then I hadn't found my voice and was still in the wake of the trauma of my nephew's suicide, the events of 4/15/13 and my own trauma. As a good trauma survivor always does, she makes the best of the situation accepting what is being offered rather than asking for what I truly needed in order to heal.

Because my drive to heal was so strong, I took what was being offered and used it to heal. There were times when he was compassionate and joined with me in the field of all possibilities, sharing in my journey but it was not a whole-hearted, I'm all in with you partnering with you to heal kind of partnering with me. He wasn't a runner and couldn't resonate to what I wanted and needed to do as a runner. And after being injured in December, I told him I wasn't going to have any more surgery and was going to heal my left leg. He shrugged when I said this saying, well you just have to surrender to whatever is meant to be.

Um no I don't. I have the power to heal my body and would do it without or without his support because I run the marathon of my life like I own it.

Things began to shift with and rather than saying that he no longer wanted to work with me which hey happens. He even agreed the conversations he was having with me were convoluted. As a social worker, I know sometimes you go as far as you can with a client and then need to refer them on, he became angry and edgy with me telling me that my work was 95% done; that my body was healed and my mind just needed to catch up. God bless him but the mind and body are one and it is through coherence that total healing happens. I did ask him how he knew what I was experiencing in my own body and what I needed; he told me it is his job as a provider to dictate the terms of treatment. He'd continue to work with me but only on an every other week basis. I won't go into more details here but suffice it to say it wasn't pretty and the Universe was telling me it was time to leave.

But I hung in there for about 6 weeks of this behavior. I told him that with the upcoming anniversary, I felt vulnerable and would like to work with him on our regular schedule until after the anniversary of 4/15/13. Yes I was paying for this and it was all part of my soul's journey for which I am ever so grateful. I share it here to both shine the light on the grace (it's coming) as well as to help others realize that you don't have to settle! You own this life of yours!

The Thursday before the anniversary, after a deeply relaxing treatment, the therapist told me that he set aside time to talk with me and he hoped I'd have time to stay and listen to what he had to say. I told him that I really couldn't deal with anything at that moment and so wanted to leave but Spirit held me fast. For a moment I thought maybe he was going to tell me that he was going to retire or had been given a life changing diagnosis that would require him to only work with me every other week.

No - that wasn't the case and for almost 45 minutes, he told me that he needed to lay down boundaries and ground rules for the work we were going to do together from this day forward including no more hugs!

It was a blessed opportunity for me to see myself as an abusee .. sitting there and listening to someone's projections onto me. I went into survival mode and even began considering working with him under these new conditions until clarity came to me in a meditation. It was, however, a process over several days and receiving a strong dose of reality in a very long Skype conversation with my dear friend Christa who told me not in so many words that I needed to run my life like I own it!

I said to the Universe - I need someone new to work with.

So as I was meditating in the early morning hours on April 14th, I decided to see who was going to do chair massage at One Boston Day.

Jeff Spratt.

I googled him and at first thought he was on the Cape because his work as part of the CISM/ERMI came up first on my iPhone. Then I saw he worked at WaveHealth at the Seaport Hotel. Oh no I thought to myself, how could I ever afford to receive massage at the Seaport Hotel? Oh Universe, hmmm, the rates are the same. {And now I am paying less than what I paid with Joseph because gratuities are included and because I am a long term client, Jeff wanted to offer me a package discount!}

So I decided to take a chance and made an appointment for the Sunday before Marathon Monday.

I discovered through Facebook that we had several friends in common from my running club - L Street.

Okay Universe - this is looking better and better.

And so I dashed off an email cancelling my appointments with Joseph.

The person who made my appointment at Wave suggested that I introduce myself to Jeff at One Boston Day and described him to me. Everyone had been raving about their experience with him. I took a break from manning my table selling copies of Journey Well and providing support to survivors and their families and went up to meet him. He could see that I was experiencing a lot of emotions as I took a deep breath and said, "I just need to get through today." He said, "Let me give you a hug."

And with that sign, and feeling held and supported, I knew that the Universe sent me just the right person to partner with me on this next leg of my healing journey. What I thought to be the worst possible timing turned out to be just what the Universe was orchestrating for me.

I would come to find out in my first treatment that back in the day he provided sports massage for members of L Street Running Club after their long runs. He also asked me "What leg are we rehabbing?" He believes as I do of the body's enormous power and capacity for healing. He tells me what an absolute honor and privilege it is to be working with me.

I could have stayed with Joseph jumping through his hoops to maintain the relationship and allow myself to continue to live out the role of someone who does not get her needs met and who had to struggle through to heal, but instead I took a leap of faith believing that I deserved the very best therapist to partner with me to go the distance on my healing journey.

I am poised and ready like a filly at the gate for Friday's race. As fears arise I overtake them with knowing this race and this marathon of life is mine. I run it like I own it!

Cheers! To life! Love yourself well!

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.

I am writing "Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems," and "Going the Distance," chronicling my journey on the road to the Newport Marathon 2016.

Monday, June 29, 2015

My Running Chronicles: Taper Time, Shedding the Past and a Locker Room Encounter

I'm reading Candace Pert's book, "Everything you need to know to feel go(o)d."

I "just happened" to finish reading the section where she talks about how we interpret sensations of pain in our body.
"For example, if I worry about a little buzzing sensation in my knee, and I think, 'Oh no, there's that bum knee again. It's going to give out on me someday!' I'm projecting a negative belief on that experience. I become emotionally involved in a story about my knee, which then influences my molecules to follow my message.

On the other hand, I can respond with interest rather than fear, choosing to feel the buzzing in my knee as a sign that something is obviously moving around in there...." (p. 52)

I had instinctively been doing this with my left knee interpreting signals from my left knee and the incision line from reconstructive leg surgery and hardware removal as healing. Because my left knee called out to me for healing last December, I'd been paying a lot of attention to it.

This morning on my way to a pool session to stay loose for Friday's race, I felt discomfort in my right knee and along my IT band. I've experienced this pain on and off for years now. My initial reaction was fear. Oh no you don't. I am trained and ready for Friday's race. Don't you mess me up. I made a shift and reminded myself that now I am in charge of my mind/body in contrast to decades of reacting to what was happening in my body and not having strength, confidence and trust in health, well-being and wholeness that I now experience.

I immersed myself in the healing waters of the pool at WaveHealth starting off with a gentle breast stroke for 15 minutes.

There was no one else in the pool and I was able to experience a moving meditation. There is wonderful energy at Wave that is a perfect complement to my determination to heal all that went before. I focused on the waves, and was blessed to see the clouds depart and a beautiful blue sky and sunshine moved in. I allowed myself to remember without fear, with interest and observation how my father would repeatedly try to take me down with beatings with a belt buckle in that very spot on my leg. I allowed the waters to bathe me and to allow me to shed the memories of all that went before. I felt Divine Love within and all around me and as I went through different exercises I could feel energy flow through my entire leg rather than bearing down on that one spot. I smiled. After 45 minutes, I almost cried feeling how amazing it is going to be to cross the finish line at the 50 yard line on Gillette and set a PR for myself. My goal is 46:52 or better but I am going to run like hell, walk through water stop. Run like hell, walk through the second water stop and run like hell to the finish. We'll just see what that finisher's clock has to say. I got really excited to show my bling to Jeff when I see him again on July 9th.

I reminded myself how I felt in my last treatment with Jeff; reconnecting my whole body from the disconnections created by paralytic polio and violence. I reminded myself of wholeness and that it's time to feel the heal unbecoming everything I had become to protect myself and survive and become the person and runner I was always meant to be.

I loved strength training and gentle laps in the pool, creating awareness and healing.

I had an epiphany that YES everything is healed. This is not only possible, this is coming into reality right now. I have the power to completely shed the influence of the past and experience this delicious physical form of mine. I felt hips open, strength in my calf and quads and fear wash away. I remembered the scene in What the bleep do we know....Down the rabbit hole in which Amanda, played by Marlee Matlin moves from self-loathing to self-love and a beautiful transformation in the bathtub. I recommend watching the entire movie and I purchased it for download through Beyond Words through the website but it's also available on You Tube. Watch here from 34:05-40:28.

As I moved through my exercises, I allowed the water and sunlight to transform me strengthening and opening every part of me.

Peace, confidence, strength, a trust in my body and a powerful belief that I am healed emerged as I emerged from the pool.

I walked into the locker room, took a wonderful shower and saw this woman frantically trying to open her locker. I lovingly offered to help. She said that she would get the master key from the front desk. She realized she was trying to open the wrong locker, found her locker and then launched into a discussion about Glen Campbell and Alzheimer's Disease. I was supportive and reassuring letting her know that when we don't pay attention we can easily forget things like where we park our car ... how often have you had to set off that annoying alarm to find your car or what locker we used.

I changed the topic to ask if she were a member... no she was from Florida but knew the person in charge of the hotel who gives them a great rate when they visit Boston.

Where are you from - she asked me.

I told her Brookline and she said sarcastically, "Oh so you are a member." I said yes that I use the pool and come here for muscular therapy. I told her how much I love it here and it's a wonderful place to work out.

"Well, I'm a nurse," she told me. "I could tell from the minute I looked at you there was something wrong with you."

Now in the past I would have told her my past and shared my inspirational story as I've done when people ask if I have Parkinson's Disease or inquire about tremors or whatever they may happen to notice ... but I did something very different this time. I looked her right in the eyes and stared at her disbelieving that she had just said that. I said, "I'm a runner and I cross train here."

It was the most liberating moment of my life. I absolutely believed in my transformation and I fully embodied my Being in this moment as an author, a runner, a woman who is healthy and whole blessed by everything that happened to me yet now transcending all that went before.

She went on to talk about the breakfast she had. I wished her a wonderful rest of her stay in Boston and said goodbye.

As they say in What the bleep do we know... It's very mysterious. The question is how far down the rabbit hole do you want to go? The real trick to life is not to be in the know but to be in the mystery...ponder that for awhile...

I sure do as I allow the Universe to work inside of me and around me to support me as I shed the past and emerge as the Being I was always meant to be.

Cheers! To life! Love yourself well!

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.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Love Wins! Every time! #worththewait A Day at Camp Moose and Squirrel

It's amazing how the Universe works. Paul DiLorenzo and Marcie Butler were each dating other people when they met. But soon they became Team DiButzo and filled everyone who knew them with joy as they ran races together, got married at the Falmouth Road Race in 2013

and delivered baby Radley in April of 2014. We were all placing bets to see if he would be a marathon baby.

Marcie became a foster mom almost 7 years ago when she loved Vann as though he were her own son. Then she became foster mom for Gino. I remember the day as though it were yesterday when she filled out the adoption papers and posted a photo on Facebook.

It took incredible patience and dogged determination to not give up on the tedious adoption process knowing that one day love would win and Vann and Gino would legally be recognized as Marcie and Paul's sons.

That day happened in May

A Party of Five
#worththewait May 21, 2015

Moose and Squirrel, a Smoosh, two tenacious parents who refused to quit
celebrate the decree of adoption while Vann and Gino in the judge’s chair would sit.
A peanut gallery, their village, bore witness to a party of five become a family of one
henceforth known as Team DiLorenzo as the marathon of life together they’ll run.
Such patience and perseverance, the deepest love so honest and true
going the distance through 7 long years, at last finisher’s tape they broke through.
What a privilege to share in this journey, what joy to share in this most happy day
every finish line’s a new beginning, we wish you happiness every mile on your way.
Congratulations to this perfect party of 5
– it’s time to celebrate all you are and all you do
Team McManus will track your adventures sending blessings to each one of you.

Happy Adoption Day!

Last night, Marcie posted this on Facebook:
After our long awaited court date back in May, we knew that we would have to have a grand celebration! Our ‪#‎worththewait‬ adoption party was a day at camp for every generation! We ate camp snacks, made s'mores, climbed a rock wall, tried our hand at archery, swam, boated, floated, laughed and had one epic summer day! We renamed our favorite day camp: Camp Moose & Squirrel to celebrate! Vann & Gino soaked up the love and saw that they are not only important to us, but, to our whole village! Let the LOVE soak in!

Moose and Squirrel are the nicknames for Gino and Vann. Marcie hijacked the YMCA Camp Trickland Falls Day Camp and turned it into
Camp Moose and Squirrel.

The perfect party of five had camp t-shirts:

Marcie attended to every camp themed detail including snacks:

and here's Marcie's mom fixing up some good old fashioned camp lemonade:

Over one hundred members of Paul and Marcie's village from biological family members, to friends, to running family members; people of all ages who became kids and fellow campers for the day celebrated that love wins!

We experienced the love of a village playing together - all One - in a beautiful, perfect world.

There was a swimming hole:

and a water slide:

Archery for campers of all ages that transported me back to a very happy camper time in my life when I went to Badger Day Camp 50 years ago:

Tom Licciardello and I had a competition at the archery range. He beat me by one point 21 to 20. Just wait til the next time! Here we are with Tom, Lyn and Donna Manning Phaneuf - members of the Merrimack Valley Striders running family:

There was a rock climbing wall:

I thanked the counselors and lifeguards who staffed the camp for the day. They said that it was such an incredible day that they were delighted to be a part of it. They've known Vann and Gino and the DiLorenzo Family for two summers and the joy, love and sense of celebration came through their happy hearts.

Lunch was catered by Mess Haul, a food truck that served up our choice of a caprese sandwich, hot dogs for the kids, buffalo chicken sandwich, hamburgers or sausage subs. As people waited in line they were thinking out loud, "Should I go healthy with a caprese sandwich or do something else."

No camp day is complete without a camp fire and s'mores and Marcie had pre-made packages of s'mores as well as marshmallows for those who wanted to roast only marshmallows:

Many of us didn't know each other and met for the first time yesterday yet we chatted, played, ate, celebrated as though we had known each other our whole lives. There was an ease and an easiness throughout the day and as Marcie put out on Facebook, happy campers only please. How could be we anything but happy campers! We were brought together by love, joy and celebrating that Truth, justice and love win every time.

Here are more photos from Camp Moose and Squirrel 6-27-15:

Cheers! To life! Love always wins so love yourself well!

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.