Friday, February 26, 2016
Reclaim Advantage - Reclaim Life: On Grieving, Gratitude and Celebration!
In my work with Jeffrey Spratt,MT, pioneer of the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy and creator of Spratt Muscular Therapies, LLC, we are going layer by layer to heal everything from my past. The beauty is that once I share a traumatic memory I can feel the healing of the wound and don't need to keep going back over the same things again and again. Each time the grip of the past is loosened; I move forward in freedom and allow myself to recondition my body to a new mind.
As Jeffrey stood in tadasana, mountain pose before my most recent treatment, grounded with hands open to receive I told him the issues that were coming up for me and the areas that need healing. As I focused on his open hands I shared with him that when he places his open hands on my hands allowing energy to flow, I can feel The Force flow through him.
"Is that "The Force" and he motioned with quotation marks or is it the force of trauma?"
"Oh no," I said. "It is "The Force" and I can feel that my arms and hands are generating new neuromuscular connections and energy can now flow again."
"I need to let you have your way with my left leg," I went on to say.
"You still guarding it?" he asked with compassion.
"Yes," I said.
"You live with the effects of polio every day don't you?"
And with that he left me to get ready for my treatment.
As Jeffrey took my left leg and stretched it as he had so many times before for the past 10 months, I felt a gush of emotions flood me. I started sobbing and Jeffrey gently lowered my leg and rubbed my back as I talked about what it was like to experience polio. I was a vibrant, healthy, graceful and flexible 5 year old ballerina with shiny long pig tails that Miss Patricia my ballet teacher would pull into a pony tail for me before ballet class. I was running around the gym as a free spirited kindergartner when I dropped to the ground on June 3, 1959 with no warning. I never graduated kindergarten and when I returned to school in September I was in a full metal leg brace with crutches and my mother and grandmother decided my long hair was too much trouble so they had it chopped off into a pixie cut. But as Jeffrey worked with me, I could feel my beauty and my strength and that despite the horrific transformation after paralytic polio I can now transcend and transform.
"But I'm beautiful now," I said as I reclaimed the Truth about myself.
"You certainly are," Jeffrey quietly and warmly said to me.
Jeffrey took my left leg again and he said, "I want you to work with me. I am going to stretch your hamstrings and your IT band so I need you to gently push against my arm." "That's it...you're doing great," he said to me.
And this morning on my drive into work and then to have a pre-event ShakeOut, I experienced the fear, the terror and confusion when my physical therapist and physiatrist would ask me to do something just like that, "Push against my hand," or "Move this way," or "Pick up these marbles with your toes" and I could not make the connection from my brain to my extremities. But now, partnering with Jeffrey and through the power of the Spratt Method, I CAN harness the power of my mind to make connections shedding the feelings of shame, fear and embarrassment about my limitations and transforming them into hope and healing.
"Oh my God," I said out loud to Jeffrey. "I am mourning the loss of my left leg."
I began to sob again. "Oh don't get me wrong. I am so grateful for all I have and that I do have a left leg but it's damaged although we are making into a factory new leg."
"It's okay. I get it. That's the duality that you're dealing with," Jeffrey affirmed.
I told him how hard it is to still not feel a calf stretch or to completely experience the left side of my body. He paid particular attention to my calf and gave me a very deep stretch using my toes to encourage the connections.
I told him about my conversation with Jack Fultz and his offer to train me on the Arc Trainer. "It's so frustrating in so many ways but how blessed am I to have the 1976 Boston Marathon Champion taking an interest in helping me to be the best possible runner I can be.
"Well that's your next goal, right?"
I was able to release a powerful memory that initially was at the non verbal level triggered by Jeffrey's touch. It's a memory I never have to revisit again and my body can heal from the horror. After Wednesday's treatment, I experienced a peace, a calm and a comfort accepting all that happened and being filled with the clean energy that can now flow in the wake of the trauma.
I never thought I would run Hyannis again. The results of the MRI and the warnings from the doctor, physical therapists and the massage therapist I was working with at this time last year were all discouraging me from running again but if I did - 5 miles at the most. When I told the massage therapist that I was not going to have a total knee as the doctors said I would need in a few years especially if I kept running, he shrugged. During my pre-event ShakeOut today when I told Jeffrey I am not going to need a total knee thanks to the work we are doing together I could feel his smile through his hands. I added, "Well maybe I'll need one at 85 but then it will be a 3-D printer knee." We both laughed.
Seven years ago I ran my first half marathon in Hyannis. I shared with Jeffrey the wonderful stories from that time including using all of my strength to not hurl on Frank Shorter because I had ditched my pacing, hydration and fueling plan for the last part of the race and was feeling less than spectacular after 13.1 miles. Lessons learned during training runs. But I kept it together while Frank Shorter put his hands on my arms looking me dead in the eye as I was shivering to say, "I have every confidence that you are going to cross the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon. You have what it takes." And it was sheer will power to still be standing when I spoke with the reporter from the Cape Cod Times at Frank's urging to share my inspirational journey:
Mary McManus, 55, of Brookline completed her first half-marathon after making a remarkable recovery from a life-long battle against post-polio syndrome.
She spent time at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and began running just last February. She competed in her first race in June 2008, finishing a 5K.
"It's like having a new lease on life," said McManus, who ran yesterday's half-marathon with husband Tom. "I was limping my way through life, but then decided to do something about it."
I shared with Jeffrey memories of Camp Hyannis and how Hyannis Marathon Weekend came to be called Camp Hyannis as Jeffrey gave me a 25 minute runner's pre-event flush. After I got off the table I felt the strength of my core and felt this energy surging through me. While I grieve for myself and allow the pain of different memories to surface and heal, I also experience the deep gratitude I feel for how well I am and so thankful that the Universe led me to Jeffrey.
Camp Hyannis is going to be epic this year. Several of my dear friends from L Street are going to be running the Half. It's the first race that I've been able to run with my friends in L Street. That's the beauty of an all distance race. The weather is lookin good and I am race ready. Now it's time to enjoy every moment and to celebrate all that I have healed excited that the best is right.here.now. as I reclaim my advantage and reclaim my life back from paralytic polio and trauma.
To your health and wellness!