Monday, January 25, 2016

I'm Now Off the Sidelines - On Creativity, the Power of Imagination and Healing



As I sat in a leg brace, using a wheelchair at times for mobility and contemplated a rather grim and uncertain future after receiving the diagnosis of post polio syndrome, a "progressive neuromuscular disease" in December of 2006, I knew that I was at a crossroads in my life.

It was a cold, dark February day and I was in the dark night of my mind, body and soul. I got still. Surrounded by print outs from Bernie Siegel, Wayne Dyer, Tony Robbins and Lisa Nichols on my dining room table, the words from a Lisa Nichols newsletter jumped out at me, "I am so happy and grateful now that I can create...." I don't even remember the end of the sentence...create ... "create what?" I pondered. I'd been told my social work career must come to an end if I had any hope of stabilizing my functioning where it was. I was post menopausal so I wasn't going to create another baby.

And then seemingly out of nowhere I wrote the poem:

Running the Race
Early summer 1959 my kindergarten year
everyone around me filled with nervous fear
despite the Salk vaccine hope polio would disappear
the polio virus crept right up and knocked me in the rear.

Dancing all around the gym feeling free just like a bird
I dropped to the ground just like a stone and no one said a word.
The pain it was so searing-the diagnosis even worse
"It's polio" the doctor said...he was abrupt and terse.

Called one of the 'lucky ones' I had a 'mild case'
but with the other athletes I could never keep their pace.
Miss Holly physical therapist, curly hair and a warm, broad smile
it tempered the pain of being apart - to walk I'd take awhile.

I always wore those 'special' shoes the kids they poked and teased
With no support and much abuse with childhood I wasn't pleased.
But put nose to the grindstone and learned all that I could
I couldn't kick a ball but my grades were always good.

Years went by and no more thought to polio did I give
I accepted the limp and everything else and decided my life I would live.
But symptoms of weakness and muscle pain did grow
I kept a stoic face hoping no one else would know.

Life no longer was my own I struggled through each day
Suffered in silence, isolated from friends- trying to keep depression at bay.
And with the grace of glorious God my world it opened wide
I discovered there was a Post Polio team and they were on my side.

Using wheelchair to travel, set limits on what I could do,
resulted in joy to realize I could live life anew.
Celebrated my body- creaks, groans and need for a brace
While in my mind I focused on winning a 10K race.

Sought out paths for healing and my spirit flew free
for the first time in life, I could truly be me.
The chains are gone and possibilities abound
I'm a tree with my roots planted firmly in ground.

I'm now off the sidelines, no need to sit and whine
So much gratitude fills my heart and love and beauty shine.
After all these years I can join the loving human race
I exceed all expectations and now I set the pace.


It was in the cadence of Dr. Seuss. My physical therapist, Miss Holly, read Dr. Seuss to me before every excruciatingly painful physical therapy session after I contracted paralytic polio and then while she was coaxing my muscles and nerves back to health, would have me recite it in tandem with her. I foreshadowed my 2009 Boston Marathon run with that poem.

From Dr. Joe Dispenza:



Poetry began pouring out of me at warped speed. I imagined myself healthy, whole and free. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote fueling my journey on the road to the 2009 Boston Marathon and during these past several years conjuring up in my imagination reclaiming my life and running unencumbered and free. I wrote about reclaiming the land from the invaders, those who foisted sexual, mental and physical abuse on me. I would stop and start on my healing journey. I believed and then I struggled with my power of belief in my conscious mind but when I wrote poetry I tapped into that part of me that wanted healing more than anything I've ever wanted in my life.

You can experience the best of my poetry during these past 9 years in "Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life," available on Amazon.

First I would meet Dr. Ryan, a chiropractor healer who reminded me that I can set goals not limits and turned me onto the work of Dr. Joe and all the teachers in What the bleep do we know? including the wonderful work of Dr. Candace Pert. A month later, Jeffrey Spratt, MT came into my life.

And just as Miss Holly read Dr. Seuss to me, as Jeffrey Spratt, MT, pioneer of the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy and Owner and Principal of Spratt Muscular Therapies worked with me he would tell me wonderful stories about his journey. We talk about movies and he would share his dreams with me about what he saw as the future of Spratt Muscular Therapies. Sometimes he even sings. His delightful personality and the cadence of his talking and the rhythm of the work moved that healing energy within me just as the cadence of Dr. Seuss helped to move that healing energy so I could walk again.

But it all began with me and feeling the creative urge within me to create a life different than the one doctors and therapists were predicting for me. I harnessed the power of my imagination and conjured up Jeffrey to partner with me to go the distance on my healing journey.

It is thrilling and a relief to now be able to have confidence in my body, to feel strength and to build strength; to have a training plan and enjoy the journey although as with any journey it is not always easy. It's a miracle that at last I am now off the sidelines celebrating my accomplishments with all the other runners after a race. While at times, the journey is not easy, the rewards are magnificent as I'll write more about in tomorrow's post, "Climb That Mountain."

To your health and wellness
Mary

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