I hadn't given much thought to my poetry book, "Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life" (available on Amazon) since I published it last July and did some promo for it over the summer.
When I found out I had a table at the 2016 Hyannis Marathon Weekend Expo, I scooped up my two copies along with my bling and 2009 Boston Marathon memorabilia:
As I shared my journey with one woman from Kripalu, she said that she would love to have my book sold in the Kripalu Bookstore.
Shortly after being diagnosed with post polio syndrome which traditional medicine says is a progressive neuromuscular disease, I got still. I asked for Divine Guidance and the answer came through my laptop in the form of a poem; in the cadence of Dr. Seuss that Miss Holly my physical therapist read to me before every painful physical therapy session and then had me recite back to her in a call and response kind of way to distract me from the excruciating pain of rehabbing after contracting paralytic polio. The poem? "Running the Race".
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, 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, alone and afraid tried 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.
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.
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.
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.
A portal of healing opened up inside of me and despite all appearances to the contrary I started writing poems about healing, wholeness, dancing in the rain and...running. That first poem foreshadowed my 2009 Boston Marathon run.
I kept on writing poetry all throughout my healing journey until I met Jeffrey Spratt,MT, pioneer of the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy. In my poems I was imagining a wonderful healer that I could partner with to go the distance and heal the effects from paralytic polio and violence. All the while I was working with different body workers but I was not getting traction on my healing journey. In fact, they were compounding the trauma. Each person I worked with led me right to the massage therapy table of Jeffrey and it was all part of my soul work. My poetry prayers were answered and my heart and soul did not need to cry out the Universe through poetry any longer.
Each strike struck a chord of fear
How would I ever reclaim my life?
Holding onto hope
waiting for the day
when memories would no longer weigh heavy
free to run my own race.
Stomping in anger
shadow boxing with the thief
who stole away childhood innocence
a no win.
Each foot strike ignites my soul
fired up to run my best race
taking the lead
breaking finisher’s tape
today I won my race.
Crumpled cringing alone in darkness portrait of paralyzed child
heap of limbs loss of control panic fear run rampant and wild.
Enter stage right he gathers her gentle tears honor old embrace new
beautiful ballerina transformed music swells the pas de deux.
Dancing with Spirit she celebrates lost in moment of time and space
winged feet now poetry in motion joyful light ease and grace.
Daring she enters spotlight center stage a vision to behold
vulnerable yet confident - courageous strikingly bold.
On point to an audience she no longer plays,
soul’s rhythm tempo she keeps
magic memories made in each moment
delighting grateful heart leaps.
Her life she now knows has no bounds
choreography her dancing decree
revelations unveiled with each movement
unencumbered expansive now free.
On the battlefield of life
when we fight the good fight
a heart for a heart
to the victor goes the spoils.
A treasure trove of Truth
scars merely badges of honor
secret weapon of loving kindness
vapors of fear
water bathing the garden of my soul
yielding to joy
as treaty signed with forgiveness
sweet reward of peace.
fragrant green grass
a winding road leading to everywhere
strapping and healthy
free to be me
my victory lap.
Trembling with excitement
shaking it off
allow yourself to be with a capital B
Being who you were always meant to be
yet time well spent
on tiny legs
grounded to earth’s energy
garnering wisdom along the way
a time of uncertainty
this is the path
abide in darkness
lose grip on grasping
Born to Run
born to run
unencumbered untethered unshackled
pouring energy into my running form
liquid gold once fired in the crucible
now my treasure born of my Spirit molded with alchemy
my precious treasure once buried
the map safely tucked away
X marks the spot
a new starting line.
Poised and ready
to go the distance
all out without hesitation
all is healed at last
my pace swift
Mercury and Hermes pace me on winged feet
born to run
joyfully crossing the finish line with ease.
The tag line for Spratt Muscular Therapies is Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life!
After my first treatment with Jeffrey he looked at me squarely into my eyes and said, "I want you to run unencumbered."
Yes indeed - my prayers were answered!
It's quite remarkable what happens when we allow our subconscious mind to express our deepest heart's desires to see what manifests in our lives. I combined the power of the word with my powerful intention and feelings to heal and conjured up finding my way to Jeffrey. It's wonderful to re-read my poems and watch the manifestation of my healing.
It's an absolute miracle that after 9 years on this healing odyssey I have reclaimed my advantage and reclaimed my life and run and live unshackled, unencumbered and free being able to literally and metaphorically breathe for the first time in 57 years.