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.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Going the Distance: Peace & Quiet

Out of our deepest wounds we find our greatest strength, our most beautiful treasures and the knowledge that love is far greater and more powerful than any experience we endure.
~Mary McManus

"Here you go Mary. Here's your receipt," said Roy, the front desk person at WaveHealth in Boston's elegant Seaport Hotel, as he has said every week to me since April before I start my treatment with Jeffrey Spratt, MT, Owner and Principal of Spratt Muscular Therapies LLC. There is always a moment of pause as my trembling hands would sign the receipt. But on Thursday something very different happened.

I signed the receipt with complete ease. Perfect penmanship. My 3rd grade teacher would have been proud of me. Well not exactly because I don't write in traditional cursive handwriting but it was legible and it felt absolutely amazing to experience the neuromuscular connection from my brain, down my arm and to my hand.

I was explaining to Roy that this was the first time I was able to sign the receipt with comfort and ease. He said he didn't even notice! Funny how we get so self conscious about ourselves and nobody even notices! I explained to him that the combination of polio, the staph infection I had in my arm that resulted in open shoulder joint surgery and the violence I experienced as a child compromised the neuromuscular connections for fine motor skills. As he so often does before my treatment, Jeffrey seems to appear out of nowhere right in my peripheral vision blind spot and overhears the conversation I am having with Roy. I'm getting better at sensing his presence though and I turned to see him. He smiled and I repeated my excitement that I was able to sign the receipt with comfort and ease. He gave me his signature hug and led me into the treatment room.

We talked about how important my treatments are now that I am adding miles to my training runs. I shared with him where I was feeling stress and strain in my body. As soon as I lay down on the heated table, I took a deep breath and let everything go.

"How does the face cradle feel?"


And Jeffrey briefly connected with me with a quick scan through the sheet before he washed his hands.

Jeffrey gave me the "runner's flush" on my legs and worked to massage, stretch and flush out the lactic acid and fluid build up from my 5 days of consecutive training. As he stretched my right leg I said, "These legs are going to go 26.2 miles again Jeffrey." As he worked on my leg he said, "And may you run light and swift." It is a blessing to have my legs blessed by him.

As Jeffrey worked on my back he hit a spot that he's hit before that is very tender. As he said when he hit in the past, "I'm sorry," I felt something very different inside of me; a shift. I was aware of the scar tissue that was a result of how I was brutalized on my left side by my father. "Damn," I said. "No it's a good damn." I could feel Jeffrey using his hands, his fingers and his heart to bring relief to the area. I felt an inner strength and I also experienced peace with my past.

"Did you sent an intention for peace with my left leg," I asked Jeffrey after I turned over and he had worked on my left leg pausing for energy healing."

"Not consciously. Why," he asked me.

"I felt this most profound intention to experience peace in my left leg," I replied.

"I can tell you that I was thinking about having this conference on a beautiful tropical Island with the leaders of the consciousness movement and was thinking about Bernie Siegel." He went on to tell me about his vision for this conference. I could feel Bernie's presence.

Bernie had posted on Facebook that his 2nd dog died and I was feeling a powerful energetic connection to him all day. I could feel Bernie's presence and how Bernie would want me to make peace with my past and to send peace to the parts of my body that still need healing.

During the CranioSacral Therapy, I allowed myself to be completely supported by Jeffrey's hands as he moved from my sacrum to my thoracic spine to my cervical spine. I used his touch to allow energy to flow and bring new life to areas that had been hurt.

"You are getting so quiet on the table," Jeffrey said to me after my treatment.

"I know. There were only a few moments of tremors."

"We just have to get that last little bit out of the toothpaste tube and everything is going to flow smoothly."

We had used the image of gunky transmission fluid being flushed out and that's the image I'd been using during my meditation to facilitate the healing process. As Jeffrey used energy healing around my throat, I could feel the toxins clearing out from the trauma of my past.

I had this phenomenal realization that I shared with Jeffrey:
I am the woman I am today because of all that I lived through and just as the scrapes and scratches healed from the tumble I took a couple of weeks ago leaving only a scar - so too is my past finally healed...and while there are scars and we'll continue to bring healing now only beauty remains ... and out of the most horrific experiences comes a beauty unsurpassed because that is the beauty of Divine Love and Light.

"You're feeling the beauty in your scars," Jeffrey said.

"Yes. He brutalized this area with nightly beatings and throwing me up against the wall. It's healing to be able to share snippets about the past with you that facilitate healing. And it's all healing now."

Jeffrey looked at me with compassion in his eyes and gave me a warm hug to seal the healing that happened during the treatment.

It's a miracle and a blessing - the total grace that I have made peace with my past and can experience peace and quiet in mind, body and soul.

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 29, 2015

My Running Chronicles: A Run, An Ice Bath and a ShakeOut Oh My! A Recap of a Magical Day

Did you ever have one of those perfect 10 days filled with magic and wonder; when you just pause and throw your head back and laugh at the sky and your heart overflows with gratitude and tears flow?

Today was that kind of day.

Tom was supposed to have his massage with Jeffrey Spratt, MT Principal and Owner of Spratt Muscular Therapies, LLC tomorrow but Jeffrey had a scheduling conflict. He apologized for the inconvenience and me being the empress of enthusiasm said that it was no inconvenience and everything would turn out exactly as it was meant to turn out. I've been wanting to experience a ShakeOut Massage with Jeffrey now that I'm adding miles to my long runs and instituting a rigorous training plan that is new for me. He said we could certainly schedule a ShakeOut after Tom's appointment. Tom and I were planning to go to Wollaston Beach in Quincy for our long run but since we had the appointments with Jeffrey, decided to stay in town and run around Castle Island and Pleasure Bay.

It was a beautiful day on Castle Island with the sun sparkling off of the water. We started off at an easy pace and it always takes a mile or two to warm up. I was fully present and aware of habits in my body that come from past experiences. I was mindful to change them. I thought about the blessing that Jeffrey gave me in our last treatment as he worked on my right leg, "May you run light and swift."

As we ran from Castle Island for 3.5 miles, we realized that we were going to be very close to the point where I tripped and fell a few weeks ago. I wanted to make sure we made it to that point so I could go back and thank the Lifeguard for his kindness. Sure enough at 3.5 miles we were at just that spot! We started to walk over to the pool and the same Lifeguard was on duty. "Be careful," he called out! We paused our run and went over to see him. He told us that he has seen several people trip and fall in that very spot and that he is going to ask the building management to do something about it. I showed him how I had healed up and expressed my heartfelt gratitude for his kindness that day. He is leaving to return to his home country in Bulgaria. He was here as a student for the summer. Had we not done our run today, we would not have had the opportunity to see him again and thank him for his kindness.

There were many moments during my run when I experienced being in the zone running free and unencumbered. Tom was so loving when he said to me, "I want you to know that your running is absolutely perfect just the way it is." I was getting hung up on my pace and he said to just let go of it. Once I did I felt that I was running swift and with ease and most importantly thoroughly enjoying being in the moment, fully present in my body and enjoying a glorious late summer day in my City!

When we finished the run we went into the ocean for an ice bath. Oooh it felt so amazing as energy flowed and I could feel my body begin to recover from the run.

We had our post run oranges and multi grain gluten free seed and nut crackers and headed over to the Seaport area for lunch.

Joe Pace's has an amazing array of sandwiches and Tom and I decided to grab something to go and sit outside. I was absolutely stunned that the man behind the counter was the same man who always took care of me and my dear friend Herb Simmons (the one who introduced me to Bermuda) at the North End Joe Pace's! He greeted us with the same Bon Giorno that he'd greet me with when we went into the store near the VA and I reintroduced myself to him. He asked about the gentleman who used to come in with me and I said he passed. We both said at the same time, "The circle of life." He prepared our sandwiches with such love and care. You could taste it in every bite. I told him that I'm down in the area a lot and that I often stop in for something to go. He said he'd look forward to seeing me again.

Time for treatments! Tom went first and had his 60 minute treatment with Jeffrey and they strategized the best way to get Tom ready for the BAA Half. Then it was my turn for a ShakeOut. While Tom had his treatment I sat in my happy place in the Seaport Plaza Garden. I was exhausted and felt as though I couldn't do another thing. So I just closed my eyes and meditated. I kept reminding myself that my body recovers from long runs with ease. It was a hard sell based on how I was feeling.

"So how did you come up with the ShakeOut?" I asked Jeffrey as his hands breathed new life back into my body.

He explained to me that he was trading with another healer who said that he only wanted Jeffrey to use his compression and that he wanted him to work through his clothes. Jeffrey explained to me how he palpates using deep compression to find out where the "trouble spots" are and to discern the compensatory patterns in the body that are causing the pain and strain. He knows how to work to bring the body back into balance using techniques from Eastern and Western modalities. He developed the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy which works with the body's energy meridians and incorporates the best of the modalities he has been trained in. As they say on American Idol, Jeffrey made the art and science of muscular therapy his own.

The deep compression on my back facilitated the recovery of my respiratory system and the stretching and massage of my legs and feet brought a feeling of lightness and energy flowing. He had me compare my left and right sides after he completed the circuit on my left side and I could feel a noticeable difference in such a short time on the table. He worked on my right side, had me turn over and flushed out my quads and worked the front of my legs finishing with a yummy foot and calf stretch holding both legs at the same time. He moved to my head, did some quick CranioSacral Therapy and a pass of energy healing and in less than 25 minutes, I was energized and renewed feeling as though I had not had a 7 mile run just a few hours before my treatment.

As Tom and I walked back to our car - and yes we got a parking space as soon as we arrived in the Seaport area, another magical moment, I saw a gentleman on crutches with an immobilizer on his leg who I had passed last week on Northern Avenue. As I passed him last week I said, "I wish you fast healing." He replied, "Thank you that is so kind of you." Well there he was standing right in front of us. Tom and I paused and we introduced ourselves. Jack fractured the top of his tibia and had 7 more weeks out of 12 weeks of, in his words, "being in prison." I showed him my scar from reconstructive leg surgery and told him how I got back to running after last December's knee injury. We told him about Jeffrey and suggested that he see him as part of his rehab once he comes out of the immobilizer. He thanked us for our kindness and our suggestion.

It was indeed a most magical day for Team McManus and especially for me to know that my affirmation and intention that I can recover from workouts and long runs with ease can be manifested through my partnering with Jeffrey and incorporating the ShakeOut Massage into my training plan.

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.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Flashback Friday: Where I was this time last year!

Where was I this time last year?

On August 10th, I had accomplished a stunning PR at the Bill Rodgers 5K Run and Walk to Benefit Prostate Cancer

and I remember sitting across from the massage therapist I was working with who could not comprehend the enormity of what I had done. He went ahead and gave me his usual protocol of a treatment that involved primarily massage with oil on my back and legs and a Zero Balancing protocol on the front of my body. Two weeks after my stunning PR, his office closed for their 3 week summer vacation.

Me being me back then did not think to look for another massage therapist to get treatments during those 3 weeks as I was trainning for more races. Instead, I decided to sign up for AccesSportAmerica's adaptive sports program at Spaulding Rehab. One of the things that I was really good at was making the best of every situation. I did not realize that I was settling for less than what I deserved. While the team at AccesSportAmerica had good intentions and the teacher I worked with had a beautiful heart, I did not need to put myself through the rigors of riding a recumbent bike out on the roads.

I can remember how stiff and painful my joints were and how uncomfortable I felt in my body.

I was trapped; a prisoner of my past and ironically enough the person I turned to for help was reinforcing all of my old patterns.

I was an injury waiting to happen because I was not doing proper cross training for a runner and I was not partnering with a therapist who knew what they were doing and how to work with a runner.

Fortunately the Universe had me connect with Dr. Ryan, a chiropractor a few months after my knee injury to get me back on my healing path. And then the Universe hit me with a 2 x 4 to end the relationship with my previous therapist and led me to Jeffrey Spratt, MT, Principal and Owner of Spratt Muscular Therapies LLC.

What an incredible experience to train hard for 5 days and to know that no matter what aches or pains, stresses and strains my body experiences, they will be gone after my Thursday treatments with Jeffrey. He also prescribes stretches and on Wednesday I used the hip stretches he prescribed for Tom to help with the tightness in my right hip. I actually got a two-fer because the four square hip stretch also stretched my left knee without stressing it out! I have total trust in my body's ability to recover from long runs and workouts and partnering with Jeffrey instills that confidence in me. Each treatment is unique as Jeffrey listens with his hands and heart to provide me with what I need. Each treatment has its own vibe.

One year ago I was struggling and still a prisoner in my body. I went to a massage therapist in Porter Square where if I arrived early I would either sit in my car on Mass. Ave. or receive snarky comments from the receptionist about arriving early for my appointment. And true to my old self, I would try to make her feel better! There was a narrow sliver of sunlight in the reception area that was usually blocked out by the receptionist when it interfered with her ability to see the computer screen. Their entire front window is painted. I realize that I felt that was all that I deserved and so that's what the Universe delivered to me. I learned wonderful soul lessons.

But I set powerful intentions through my poetry and journaling shortly after being diagnosed with post polio syndrome that set the Universe in motion for me.

Now I go to the Seaport Hotel

and can sit in my happy place in their Plaza Garden or sit on wonderful chairs or sofas in their lush interior when I arrive early for my treatment. When I arrive to WaveHealth I am always greeted warmly and with a smile by the staff at the reception desk. My previous massage therapist had a 'no hug' policy. Jeffrey comes out and greets me with a huge smile and his signature bear hug and warmly welcomes me into this treatment room where the table is heated year round:

One year later I run unencumbered and free. I am so blessed to partner with Jeffrey who says on the home page of his website,

“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.”

One year later I have reclaimed my life and reclaimed my advantage and I'm ready to take on 7 sweet miles again tomorrow!

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. The intention that Jeffrey Spratt, MT, Principal and Owner of Spratt Muscular Therapies LLC set for me after my first treatment came into full physical manifestation. 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!

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.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Soul Lessons Learned in a Crowded Pool

I am so lucky, blessed and grateful to be able to cross train in the pool at WaveHealth.

Many times I am all alone in the pool or there is one or two other people. Sometimes there is a family on the other side of the lap lane. The pool is shared by guests of the Seaport Hotel and members of the health club. We always work everything out.

Last week the pool was crowded as school vacation winds down and more families are traveling now that summer is almost over. The lap lane was free and I'd been swimming outside of the lap lane. When a family arrived, I crossed over into the lap lane. A woman at the other end of the pool said, "Excuse me. I was going to get into the lap lane." Now most places you need to share a lap lane and we are so blessed that most times we don't need to share a lane; even so there is enough space to share a lane. I told her that it was no big deal and I would go on the other side. She made some other snarky comments and I remembered this phrase:

There are often two lap lanes but with the high volume of families and children, there has been only one lap lane in the last month. Today I had the pool all to myself for the first 20 minutes or so. Little by little families - huge families and children of all ages descended into the pool. There was a 12 year old who wanted to share the lane with me. He was doing dolphin dives and not really swimming laps but I had the sense he needed his space from the hectic activity on the other side of the lap lane. An older woman was watching him swim. He stopped a ball from hitting me and also got a kickboard out of our lane. I thanked him for sharing the lane with me and told the older woman who was with him what a wonderful young man he is. They both smiled.

I learned that there is always enough - enough room, enough space and enough time. I focused on my work out and doing what I needed to do as I train for the Bermuda Half Marathon.

I learned that everything is temporary. I could have focused on the noise and the commotion around me feeling that it would go on forever but I knew they wouldn't stay in the pool for the entire time I was there and even if they did I could still take care of my own training needs.

As families left, the pool got quiet. One gentleman took up the noodle I'd been using and asked, "Is this yours?" I said, "Well nothing here is mine. It's here for everyone so please go ahead and use it. I can get another one when I need it." I use the noodle to work on upper body strength with laps and give my legs a rest and use it for planks and pushups in the pool after I do laps.

He thanked me and told me that he has had back pain for the past several weeks. He saw how I was swimming with the noodle and thought it might be good for his back. He ran the Boston Marathon back in 2002 and shared his story with me. He prefers the half marathon distance now. I made some suggestions about how he could use it. He has a doctor's appointment to find out what is going on, but hopes to find a good chiropractor to help. Of course I took the opportunity to share with him my experience with Jeffrey Spratt, MT, Owner and Principal of Spratt Muscular Therapies LLC whose practice is right there in WaveHealth. He asked me a lot of questions about how Jeffrey works, what his training is, how I found my way to him and he said that he was absolutely sold.

One of my pool buddies Greg looked in. The crowds had pretty much dispersed but there were 3 kids in the pool and I was in the lap lane. Greg poked his head in to see if there was room for him to swim. I motioned for him to come in. After he changed he asked me if I was sure that I'd go into the other side of the pool. "Absolutely," I said. I just need to do my static strength training and stretches. Shortly after he got in, my friend Stephanie arrived. We chatted about our training over the weekend and she celebrated my 7 mile milestone with me. Greg asked her if she'd like to share his lane and she said she was fine making a lane where the kids weren't playing. She said that Roy who is at the front desk at WaveHealth and also calls the pool his baby, said that he can always come in and talk to the kids but we agreed that there was no need! We all knew there was enough....

I often see Jeffrey on my way out from my training session but didn't see him today. I had my lunch and sat in the beautiful Plaza garden at the Seaport enjoying the flowers, the trees and the peace after my workout. I went to go to the ladies room on the plaza level and it was locked! Hmmm I thought to myself. That's interesting. I knew I could go to the first floor restrooms but Spirit nudged me to go back into WaveHealth.

Staff there welcome me so warmly whenever I am there and when I explained to them that the restrooms were locked, they said of course I could use the locker room bathroom. Just as I turned to walk down the hall, Jeffrey opened the door to the treatment room.

"Well, well, well," he said. "Speak of the devil."

He gave me one of his signature hugs and told me that he had my referral on his table and was so glad he saw me to thank me today!

When we open our hearts and do not allow whatever is happening around us to disturb us, we are open to the wonder and magic in the Universe knowing and trusting that everything is in Divine Order no matter how chaotic things may appear at times.

As Dr. Joe Dispenza said in What the bleep do we know....
"When I create my day, and out of nowhere, little things happen that are so unexplainable, I know that they are the process or the result of my creation. And the more I do that, the more I build a neural net in my brain and I accept that that's possible. It gives me the power and incentive to do it the next day."

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.

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 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.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Falling in love with my life: I won the lottery!

When I was 19 years old I sat in a small windowless room in a courthouse in the Bronx, New York. My father left a financial mess in the wake of his mental illness and alcoholism. We had to declare bankruptcy - well not me per se but my mother - and since she was incapable of going through this process alone, I was the one who represented the family. I was grilled by an attorney who represented the people he owed the largest amount of money to. I was accused of somehow hiding money to not meet his financial obligations. Um no people that's not exactly my style. We had an attorney who eventually stepped in and facilitated the declaration of bankruptcy against my mother and his estate.

But you know what? I have always had enough.

When I was in college, the check from the VA since my father was a deceased veteran always arrived on time.

I had to go on bed rest 8 weeks before our twins were due in 1987. We used our savings and were charging diapers and formula on credit cards that back then were at ridiculously high rates.

Needless to say funds were tight. It did not make sense for me to go back to work and pay for day care with twins so we made do with what we had. One day I decided to get all dressed up and go to Bloomingdale's in Chestnut Hill. As I walked through the doors with my side by side double twin stroller, the feelings of anxiety, depression and feeling overwhelmed melted away as I allowed the luxury of the displays delight my soul. After walking through several departments and miraculously both twins slept peacefully while I was in the store, I decided I was okay and I had enough. I could certainly afford anything I needed. As I looked down, there was a $20.00 bill! I felt as though I had won the lottery.

When I took a leap of faith to leave the VA, I had no idea what our financial future would hold once I gave up the security of a regular paycheck. At first we had my retirement in a savings account but that dwindled and I noticed that the more anxious I became about money, the more things happened that made our finances tighter and tighter. I finally did what had been suggested to me several years before ... to apply for social security disability. Once I let go of my worry, abundance began to flow again.

I kept hitting a wall in my healing journey. I couldn't get beyond my past no matter how hard I tried. I know that each and every step brought me closer and closer to where I am today. I won the lottery the day I began to partner with Jeffrey Spratt, MT, Owner and Principal of Spratt Muscular Therapies LLC. He has hands and a heart that heal. His business tag line is Reclaim Life. Reclaim Advantage. and he brings that intention to the table every treatment I have with him. I am training for another marathon. First up is the Bermuda Half Marathon!

When I went to book our trip, flights were affordable and were departing at the perfect time. The Rosedon Hotel, our beloved hotel on the Island was offering a special rate for Bermuda Marathon International Weekend.

And then there is my husband Tom and my twins Ruth Anne and about hitting the jackpot.

When it comes to friends, I've won the lottery many times over.

You'll find lottery tickets under the magnet on my refrigerator along with a what to do when you win the lottery article.

You'll find directions from our house to lottery headquarters in our car.

But in truth I am so in love with my life and all of my blessings that I know I've already won the lottery!

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, Owner and Principal of Spratt Muscular Therapies LLC, 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? It was great training for Falmouth in the Fall coming up on November 1st.

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 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.

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.

Friday, August 21, 2015

My Running Chronicles: Affirmations for Running

"There's only me in here," I said to Jeffrey Spratt, Owner and Principal of Spratt Muscular Therapies LLC after my treatment yesterday. During the week I'd been getting so much clarity, through meditation and also as a result of the work we do together, about how the experiences of my past were impacting my thoughts and beliefs. I know what fires together wires together so I decided to create a list of Affirmations for Running inspired by what Geoff Smith posted on Facebook.

Running successfully is all about adopting a clear plan that includes easy, hard, and rest days. They are all important. Listen to your body. #RunHappy Geoff Smith

Coincidentally, I met Geoff when he spoke at one of L Street's pre-marathon meetings and then reconnected with him on Facebook after Tom and Geoff became friends. Geoff is going to be running in Bermuda!

Here are my running affirmations:
I run unencumbered swift with ease and free.
I allow Jeff's touch to erase and heal everything that went before.
I live in a new mind body living only in the present moment.
My body is healthy, whole, and strong, and I am stronger in the places where they tried to break me.
I allow my beautiful pure chi to flow freely and easily.
I may remember things from the past to integrate them into my consciousness; I only believe truth, love, light, and that I am a whole healthy vibrant woman and runner.
I am grateful for this opportunity to run long and run strong again.
I trust in my body's ability to meet the challenge of every experience that I present.
I run with courage, strength, fierceness, and determination.
There is going to be soreness and new sensations as I train in a way I've never trained before. I trust in my body's ability to recover from long runs, speed work, hills, and strength training workouts with ease.
I am so happy and grateful that Tom and Jeffrey are my partners on and off the roads.
I am so happy and grateful for the abundance of health and healing that is now mine to claim.
I love myself and consider only those thoughts that are going to propel me toward the finish line.
I am strong and I am determined and I am healthy and I am protected by divine love and angels and I am so grateful for their presence in my life.
I allow thoughts and fears to come and go and I greet them with kindness and compassion.
I am so happy and grateful for the amazing support of my running community and my village. And I know with their love, with their cheers, and with their support, Team McManus is going the distance.
I fall in love with the process and the results will come.
The universe has orchestrated everything that I need to be who I am truly meant to be which is a long distance runner.
Everything is healed. Everything is rewired. I see myself through the eyes of the person I've become.
I am filled with life and vibrancy and joy and gratitude and happiness so much happiness to be living this beautiful life that I live.
I grieve the past and I feel the sadness for what happened to me and then I feel a wellspring of joy bubbling up from deep within me knowing that spirit, Light, and love always win.

I told Jeffrey that I was feeling congestion in my left hip and pelvis before the treatment; as he began the work I told him about the significance of the fall I had last week. I shared with him how I realized I was protecting my left leg which had been most affected by the polio when my father raped me but the fall broke the energetic connection to those experiences. It was so healing for me to share this with Jeffrey and feel the power of his touch to erase and heal and enable me to move beyond those experiences. I could feel his compassion and intention as he worked. I allowed myself to completely trust Jeffrey and worked with him to move everything out creating new habits in mind, body and Spirit. Jeffrey has a strong and powerful touch and an intention to help every client that comes to his table or chair reclaim life and reclaim advantage.

At the end of my treatment, I felt as though yesterday was the first day of the rest of my life. And so it is! And tomorrow, Team McManus will be running 7 sweet miles on the road to the Bermuda Half Marathon. Nothing can stop me now!

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 20, 2015

Going the Distance: On Healing, Hugs and Divine Intelligence

Since I tripped and fell on my training run last Saturday, I have been blessed to witness physical healing and the Divine Intelligence within me that allows that physical healing to happen. The road rash is gone. The scrapes on my knees and right hand, on my nose and lip are completely healed and the deeper scrapes on my left hand are almost healed.

The first thing we did after completing our 6.5 mile run because there was nothing that was going to stop me from going the distance that day as we train for the Bermuda Half Marathon was to go into the ocean:

I could feel the healing happening from the moment I walked into the water. I dove in and swam with Tom. As we sat on the beach and watched the waves, I could feel so much of the past that needed to be cleared out come to the surface of my mind.

On Monday, I covered the wounds with waterproof band-aids and went for my workout at the WaveHealth pool. I knew that being in water would continue to calm my mind after the fall and promote healing as I let my body kmow we were totally fine!

During my meditations this week I was reflecting on why I was feeling so anxious about training for another marathon. I'm in much better shape than I was 6 years ago and I'm partnering with Jeffrey, Principal and Owner of Spratt Muscular Therapies LLC, the best muscular therapist in Boston each week. And then the realization hit me...

It's where I hit the wall every time in my recovery .... that is ... until now!

I was carrying the burden of guilt for first my dad's suicide and most recently in 2011 the suicide of my nephew. Until I started playing around in my meditation with becoming aware of the messages hardwired into my brain from the violence, from my dad's suicide and then not only my nephew's suicide but how my brother shunned me at the funeral after I gave my heartwarming, truthful and tender eulogy, I could not move beyond what happened to me. I could not allow myself to fully embrace the beautiful intention that Jeffrey set for me after my first treatment with him, "I want you to run unencumbered."

One of Jeffrey's greatest commodities, as he calls it, are his hugs. He is 6'3" (my brother's height) and overflows with Divine Love and Energy that comes through him both when he works on my body and when he hugs me.

On Monday, as I was leaving WaveHealth, I just happened to bump into him in the hallway. He gave me one of his signature hugs.

I often say that Jeffrey's hands are like erasers that erase all that went before and allow me to create a new way of Being and a new body. Well his hug was a powerful eraser to heal the effects of when I went to hug my brother and he closed his eyes and folded his arms. I have always been wonderful at forgiving others but not so great at putting down the burden of guilt and blame I carried with me for decades.

Just as I work with Divine Intelligence to heal the scrapes and cuts from last Saturday's fall, I work with Divine Intelligence to heal my heart. I open my heart to all that was and embrace the grace that showers upon me in the present moment. I am in awe of the healing of these cuts and scrapes and bruises. I am in awe of the healing power of Divine Love that flows through each of us to ourselves and each other.

I love myself and take excellent care of myself tending to the wounds and feeling the healing, making the shift to this new way of being unencumbered by my past.

I know now I deserve to run free and unencumbered.

This time, I am clearing the path and going the distance!

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. 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.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

My Running Chronicles: I Can't Believe I'm Doing This Again!

My wonderful FB friend, Nicole Berglund posted this photo last night in response to my saying that Tom and I mapped out our 7 mile run for Saturday:

I carried this image with me as Tom and I went out for our tempo run in heat and humidity. I woke up at 3:30am to go to the bathroom and went back into a deep sleep with some intriguing dreams. When the alarm went off at 6:00am I had to really psych myself up to rise and shine but first Tom and I meditated for 20 minutes. I created my day with affirmations and feeling overwhelming gratitude. I let the birds be the accompaniment to my meditation and went to a place of peace, strength, comfort and ease. I thought about my last treatment with Jeffrey at Spratt Muscular Therapies as his hands got hot while he worked on my legs. "You really want me to run unencumbered don't you?" which was the intention Jeffrey set for me after our first treatment back in April. "And swift and free and with ease," he replied. I commented to him that I noticed his hands got hot while he worked. Early on in our work together Jeffrey said that my deep desire to heal met his energy as a muscular therapist and healer and his hands would get hot as the energy flowed. It's real teamwork!

And speaking of teamwork...Tom and I were in perfect harmony this morning getting ready for our training run. We did our core work, had toast, banana and water, grabbed our ice water, fuel belts, my Nike+ and off we went.

We set the intention that we were going out for a nice tempo run respecting the heat and humidity. Tom knows that I've been clearing out a lot of gunk from the past and wanted to remind me how much fun we have when we just get out there and enjoy a run together.

The first mile was a steamy one but we were able to find our rhythm and comfortable pace. I decided to kick it on mile 2 and was rewarded with a 14:00 minute/mile pace. We modified the route around the Reservoir so we could stay in the shade. We worked in tandem making suggestions for pace and route. Somehow I got this idea in my head that I was going to run hard up the hill leading from the Reservoir. I remembered when I trained for Boston and how our trainer would always challenge us going up that hill. She would have me chase her and would let me "win". We took a water stop at the top of the hill and started to run again. "Whoa not so fast,"my body told me. I told Tom I had to stop for a moment. I was feeling light headed and nauseous. I had pushed hard and totally trusted in my body's ability to recover if I took a moment to cool down. This is the stuff that training runs are made of. So after a few deep breaths and dousing myself with water, we were off for the last .7 of a mile.

As I ran today I experienced thoughts of what I call creative awareness. In addition to the body work I do with Jeffrey, what mind work do I need to do to clear the path for me to run unencumbered? I became aware of the messages I received from the past from so many different sources and how I am in the words of Taylor Swift, shaking them all off with every mile I run.

Part of me is absolutely incredulous that I am training for first a half marathon and then the full Newport Marathon in 2016. There is a part of me that knows, as I train for the Bermuda Half Marathon happening in about 5 months, that this is something I absolutely want and need to do. Just like when I trained for Boston and was repeatedly asked in interviews if I had any doubts that I would cross the finish line, I know I am going to do this with every fiber of my being. I wrote this poem, "Ode to Marathon Training" that is in my recently released, "Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life"

Ode to Marathon Training

Blisters, black toes, aches and pains, a change in my routine
Long training runs, the hills, the sprints running clothes fresh and clean.
Carbo load and plan each meal power gels and gatorade
no matter what the weather no time to be afraid.
Humid - hot or freezing cold snow against the face
wind or sun or raining those running shoes I must lace.
What mile is this how long we been out check heart rate drink H20
meltdowns joys and triumphs only a few more weeks to go.
Heartbreak Hill won't break my heart this year has been the best
found myself and made new friends I feel incredibly blessed.

I can't believe I'm doing this again although this time Team McManus is partnering with Spratt Muscular Therapies LLC and we are reclaiming our advantage! This time we are going the distance and are going to be running long, strong, healthy, unencumbered and free!

"Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life" is available on Amazon along with all of my books that will inspire and motivate you!

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. In a recent massage therapy treatment with Jeffrey, Principal and Owner of Spratt Muscular Therapies LLC as I shared with him that I had experienced the phantom pains and told him I didn't focus on them, he suggested the analogy of living in a house and being familiar with all the different sounds. "If you weren't familiar with the house, and perhaps were a guest," he went on to say, "you might get really alarmed but once you allow yourself to feel familiar in your home, you can easily dismiss it and say, 'oh yeah it's just the furnace.'"

In Thursday's treatment, I could feel a lot of the past coming to the surface as Jeffry worked deeply yet tenderly on my quads and my arms. I had the stunning realization of all that I lived through and had a genuine appreciation for the miracle of my life.

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 through partnering with Jeffrey.

I experience the total grace each week with Jeffrey as he combines both sports massage to address my needs as a runner and healing trauma through positive quality touch. I have been to so many therapists and body workers and energy healers on a quest to find someone who would and could partner with me to help me go the distance. How amazing that Jeffrey's tag line is "Reclaim Life. Reclaim Advantage." Only it's so much more than a tag line. He has such a commitment and love for the work that comes through every mindful movement he makes with his hands and what he says during treatments from his heart. He also uses humor which facilitates the healing process.

After a few days of wrestling with unfinished business from the past after last Thursday's treatment, 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 fee 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
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.