Sunday, March 6, 2016

Reclaim Advantage - Reclaim Life: On Resilience and The Lotus Flower

Since partnering with Jeffrey Spratt, MT, pioneer of the life saving Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy and creator of Spratt Muscular Therapies, I have experienced a beautiful transformation of mind, body and soul. I have a new relationship with myself and a new experience of who I am. Rather than my past having a grip on me, I am able to loosen the grip that my past had on me and experience freedom, confidence, strength and reclaim what was rightfully mind, a gift from our Loving Creator right from the start.

I've crossed off running the Bermuda Half Marathon from my bucket list which was on there for 5 years and I wasn't sure I was ever going to get there. Last weekend, I crossed the finish line of the Hyannis 10K after a 5 year hiatus. Those intervening 5 years were when I was trying to put myself back together after the trauma of my nephew's suicide.

After leaving nothing out on the roads in Hyannis, I experienced leg cramps and swelling and discoloration around my pinky toe pad Sunday night into Monday. Fortunately I was able to get an appointment with Jeffrey for a ShakeOut (a definite perk of working for the practice now). He recommended icing, advil, compression and elevation. By Tuesday my foot felt great. I'm learning about being in my body in a new way and if I would have listened a little more closely, it would have been a good choice to have taken the week off from running. I did strength training on Tuesday which is usually a running day and on Wednesday went out for a 3 miler.

Thursday was my 90 minute treatment with Jeffrey and a total rest day and Friday was a gentle core workout and rest.

On Saturday I was tired but wanted to get out and run. It was a beautiful day outside and the energy around the Boston Marathon course at this time of year is infectious. I thought we were at mile 1 when we were only at .6 of a mile but that's because there was no way to avoid hills heading out to Beacon Street. I got a second wind though and took a water stop at 1.2 miles. Runners were passing us in both directions and the anticipation of Marathon Monday was palpable in the air.

We ran by Marathon Sports Brookline. "Would you like some gu?" he asked us. He was wearing a Boston Bulldogs Running Club jacket. "No," I replied. "You with the Bulldogs?" I asked. "Yes," he replied. "You know the Bulldogs?" "Yes..." and I asked him if he was at the Wellness Seminar with Jack Fultz and Becca Pizzi. He told us he had spoken during the meeting. "We thought so," Tom and I told him, "But we weren't sure with the hat and sunglasses." We told him as our eyes filled with tears how much his story touched our hearts. "I'm working here now," he said with such pride. We told him we are going to run with the Bulldogs next Saturday. We went on our way and I felt a boost in my run and a spring in my step. We went on to run up and over another hill and turned around.

My legs were feeling really tired and I suggested to Tom we fill up our water bottles and take a rest stop at Marathon Sports. I adore Dana the manager who has been a cheerleader and supporter of Team McManus since she became manager of the store. Her enthusiasm and passion for running and the Marathon Sports family is infectious. We talked about Hyannis and I told her that my legs felt really tired today; but I only had two miles to go. It was great to refuel mind, body and soul at the store and chat more with Will from the Bulldogs.

After hugs and high fives from Dana and Will I was ready to finish my four miles.

We got to a very steep downhill not far from home and I felt a sharp pain in my left knee. I did not panic trusting in my newfound resilience of mind, body and soul. Jeffrey coined the term, "it's only the furnace," when I experience different sensations in my body. This was a pretty loud noise but one that I could still say it's only the furnace but I need to pay attention. I slowed down and when we got to the bottom of the hill, the pain was gone. I made it home and was really glad to have that run in the books.

Time for icing, advil, elevation and compression and trusting in my body's wonderful capacity to heal and to reflect on what I learned and what I need to do for my training plan this week.

I realized that because my legs were tired, I could not fire up the calf muscles in my left leg which would have been the shock absorber for the downhill and everything got dumped into my knee joint. While Jeffrey and I are creating a factory new left leg complete with a rebuilt gastroc muscle, it is a work in progress and one that needs to be honored and cared for and about with love and compassion and a journey filled with hope and possibility.

Today after recovering from the run, I could feel my calf fire up again and, after doing my gastroc strengthening exercises, can feel that it is re-engaged as a shock absorber for the knee joint giving it a chance to quiet down again.

I will tell you that sometimes it's a real challenge to live with the late effects of paralytic polio and violence and sometimes I feel so deeply saddened by the tragedy of my childhood. And then I think about the lotus flower that is borne out of the mud. From With An Open Heart:

The lotus flower is a beautiful flower that can be found all over the world. But the start of this flower's life is not as beautiful as one might imagine. It’s unlike many other flowers. When the lotus first begins to sprout, it is under water, making its home in lakes and ponds in areas where the water remains fairly still on the surface. But underneath the surface, the lotus is surrounded by mud and muck and by fish, by insects, and simply dirty, rough conditions.

Despite these conditions, the lotus flower maintains strength, and pushes aside each of these dirty obstacles as it makes its way to clearer surfaces. At this time, the lotus is still just a stem with only a few leaves, and a small flower pod. But in time, the stem continues to grow, and the pod slowly surfaces above the water, into the clean air, finally freeing itself from the harsh life conditions below. It is then that the lotus slowly opens each beautiful petal to the sun, basking in the worldly beauty surrounding it. The lotus flower is ready to take on the world. Despite being born into dark, murky conditions, where hope for such beautiful life seems dubious, the lotus grows, rises above adversity. Ironically, this same dirty water washes it clean as it surfaces. As the lotus opens each petal to the air, not a stain or spot of mud remains externally. The inner lotus too, has never seen a drop of mud or dirty water. It is pure, and bright, and beautiful.

This week I am going to take that much needed week off from running and trade a running day for an extra workout in the pool. I can feel the heal in my knee happening and my body doing everything it needs to do to recover and heal from my accomplishments and continue to heal from the late effects of paralytic polio and violence.

I feel resilient despite experiencing sharp knee pain on my run yesterday and a few twinges here and there today. Hell it's only the furnace and it's quieting down again. And rather than focusing on tired legs and a tough run yesterday, I am feeling my beauty and the beauty that surrounds me in my running village, with my partner on and off the roads Tom and being blessed to partner with Jeffrey who has been called a gifted muscular therapist by Dr. Sanjiv Chopra. I couldn't agree more and no mud - no lotus - and no opportunity to share with others the resilience and brilliance of the human Spirit.

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