Sunday, July 31, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! #RunBermuda 6 Sensational Miles - Momentum!



For the first time in my 10 year healing odyssey, I have steady positive momentum in leaving behind the effects of paralytic polio and childhood violence.

Healing trauma takes incredible courage. It takes incredible courage to live through the traumatic events in the first place although we have amazing protective mechanisms that help us to survive. And then it takes raw courage to become vulnerable and face those events without those protective mechanisms. And it takes tremendous courage to believe that total healing is possible!

I am incredibly blessed to partner with Jeffrey Spratt, MT, who pioneered the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy which works to remove blockages and facilitate release of the emotions and the memories stored deep in our bodies.

Jeffrey is a light worker in every sense of the word. He joins with those of us who have faced evil and violence and brings compassionate presence, light, Love, healing hands and a tender heart to heal and to not allow darkness to win.

Through this powerful work - through the power of positive touch, that place within me that yearned for and believed that total healing was mine to claim, I am now able to train once again for the Bermuda Marathon while continuing to cross train and strength train.

Yesterday was our first training run for the Bermuda Half Marathon.

I looked through my blogs from this time last year.

"I don't quite understand what happens," I said to Jeffrey before Thursday's treatment, "but when I'm out there knowing that I represent the work we are doing, something happens to me."

"It's like you get your superpower on," Jeffrey suggested.
And I added this photo:



Together we have unleashed the super power within me; the part of myself that believes that I am going the distance in my healing journey.

It was a rather hot day but there was a sea breeze as we ran out and back from Carson Beach to U. Mass. Boston and then up to L Street in South Boston.



I remember how Tom and I used to imagine what it would be like to run in Bermuda as we did our training runs along the coast in Boston. During our training run yesterday we remembered that phenomenal half marathon in Bermuda. I feel greater ease in training for a half marathon this year after a year of treatment that transformed the effects of paralytic polio and violence and continues to heal the deepest wounds.

Six sensational miles deposited in the Bank of Bermuda as we build up to 12.5 miles and then taper two weeks before we leave for Bermuda in January.

After 10 years of incredibly hard work, of searching for a partner on this healing odyssey to help me reclaim my life and run unencumbered and free, it has all come into manifestation because I found that place inside of me where nothing is impossible.

To your health and wellness!
Mary





Friday, July 29, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Celebrating Special Ability

"There's only ability if you believe in yourself." ~Deb - a member of an Australian Cheer and Dance Squad with Cerebral Palsy "confined" to a wheelchair



I saw this story on Facebook and could instantly relate to Deb's Spirit shining through and believing in her ability.

Almost ten years ago now I was told to prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair. I listened to Dancing Through Life from Wicked.



I vowed that even if I did have to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair I would find a way to dance through life.

I've been so blessed with healing the late effects of paralytic polio and 9 years of unrelenting violence through partnering with Jeffrey Spratt,MT, pioneer of the innovative Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy. After a serious knee injury in December of 2014, he and I worked together meeting in the quantum field of healing to reverse bone spurs, grow a new gastroc muscle that had atrophied from polio and help me unburden myself from the effects of trauma that was bound in the very fiber of my body and Being.

I decided to go the distance again and last July I signed up to run the Bermuda Half Marathon.

I would train and run at my own pace celebrating my special ability being able to run despite being told I would spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair.

I celebrated finishing the Bermuda Half Marathon and the Hyannis 10K taking a hiatus to go into off season training mode building core strength and focusing on cross training while maintaining running twice a week.

I ran the Quonset Air Show 4 Miler in June and PR'ed it - a PR for me and my special ability at a 15:40 minute/mile pace and last weekend ran the Narrangasset Bay 5K running at a 15:53 minute/mile pace with heat and hills.

Tomorrow I begin training again for the Bermuda Half Marathon in January of 2017. 6 sensational miles are on tap.

I no longer fear the training or going the distance. I'm excited to experience the training with a year of healing behind me through the power of positive touch partnering with Jeffrey. And I used to worry about the time or finishing last or the course closing up before I was able to finish. However, now, because I reclaim advantage and reclaim life each week with Jeffrey, I can enjoy the journey celebrating my special ability!

To your health and wellness,
Mary

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Ain't nothin gonna hit as hard as life! Strong in the broken places!



During yesterday's massage therapy session with Jeffrey Spratt,MT I was incredibly blessed to experience the power of positive touch through his innovative Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy to help me both express and heal from the trauma of my dad's suicide and the events that led up to it on 8/1/1971. Our daughter has been struggling with depression and two weeks ago expressed wanting to end her life. Thank God she reached out for help and for a brilliant team at St. Elizabeth's Hospital who discovered that her meds were affecting her pituitary gland which exacerbated her psychiatric symptoms. Unlike the events of 1971, help is available, she is open and willing to receive help and no one is blaming me for what happened. Tom and I are receiving an outpouring of compassion and support. After my father's suicide, in her grief stricken and rage filled state, his mother, my paternal grandmother told me that I was the cause of his suicide and it was just as though I pushed him to his death.

Debriefing from the events of 1971 (and the years that led up to his suicide) while Jeffrey bears witness and bathes the wounds with compassion and care keeps me going along with a wonderful village of friends and now providers who will help to reduce the stress of being care givers for our daughter.

I gain so much clarity and insight while we work together and as I move through my life after the sessions, and can move forward in my life. Old habits and ways of being are shed and I can reclaim my Divinity, my strength, my courage, my goodness and realize that I am in no way shape or form connected to that biological family who were darkness personified.

I saw this post on Facebook this morning:


As Jeffrey validated all that I went through I unburdened myself of the pain I was holding inside for decades. I finally have someone to partner with who could help me to heal the pain of the summer of 1971 and all that went before beginning with contracting paralytic polio at age 5, and all that our daughter and we have experienced during these past several months (and years). Jeffrey commented that sometimes it wears you down doesn't it?

Yes it does! And what a relief to acknowledge that and not have to be strong all the time.



But you know what? I never give up because I want to inspire people to know that no matter how hard life hits and God knows I've been hit pretty hard you can always find a way to move forward because that's what winning is about.

At last night's DNC, Joe Biden shared this Ernest Hemingway quote:



Thanks to partnering with Jeffrey and keeping the faith drawing from my own inner strength and determination, I can reclaim my advantage, reclaim my life and move forward. To read more about Jeffrey's philosophy about what it means to Reclaim, check our latest blog in his own words.

To your health and wellness!
Mary

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Running Is My Freedom



I shudder to think of where I would be without running in my life.

When I run, I become One with all that is leaving my past behind. I discover my strength and my abilities, my edge and my limits. It's a time to unplug and experience my sacred body in all its glory.

My pace and my form are uniquely me. I am free to be me and express my beautiful Spirit through my running; a Spirit that could not be trampled by paralytic polio, 9 years of unrelenting violence, suicides, a diagnosis of a progressive neuromuscular disease and 25+ surgeries.

In April of last year, Jeffrey Spratt,MT said to me after my very first massage therapy session with him, "I want you to run unencumbered."

Through partnering with him and healing the effects of paralytic polio and violence I can run unencumbered and experience the freedom that is an integral part of the sport of running.

Sometimes it seems so surreal to me that I am 62 1/2 years old writing about my enjoyment of the sport of running. Ten years ago I was told to prepare myself to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair. One and a half years ago I was told to stop running and that I would need a total knee replacement and if I did run to cap it at a 5K well okay maybe a 5 miler.

Well the Universe and I had other plans and sure enough two amazing healers in Jeffrey and Dr. Ryan Means my beloved friend and chiropractor showed up in my life to remind me that I can go the distance in my life and on the roads.

Recently there has been tremendous stress in our lives.

Training again for the Bermuda Half Marathon



and having a training schedule to adhere to and knowing I am going to get out on the roads in practically all sorts of weather brings me a sense of stability, security, joy and challenge and freedom. It is a time carved out to be in nature, to breathe deeply, to savor all the sensations experiencing movement in all sorts of settings-by the ocean, by the reservoir, on the asphalt, on back roads and main streets.

Freedom is a state of mind and body and being...Running gives me all that and so much more!

To your health and wellness,
Mary

Monday, July 25, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! The Satisfaction of a Great Run-"I couldn't kick a ball..."



It's a most remarkable feeling to experience the satisfaction of a great run. I believe this to be true for anyone but for me who came to the sport late in life (age 53) and who never experienced the joy of athletic endeavors as a result of contracting paralytic polio at the age of 5 followed by 9 years of unrelenting violence that did not give my body a chance to heal from the effects of paralytic polio, that feeling of satisfaction is intensified.

Shortly after being diagnosed with post polio syndrome and being told I had a progressive neuromuscular disease, I got still and asked for Divine Guidance.

Here is the poem that flowed out of me with an introduction about what inspired the poem from "Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life":
It was a cold, dark day in February 2007. I sat in a leg brace, using a wheelchair at times for mobility. I faced a grim and uncertain future as the doctors handed down the decree of the diagnosis of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease. They told me that if I had any hope of stabilizing the disease where it was, I would have to quit my full time award-winning career as a VA social worker three years shy of when I was eligible for retirement. It was a no brainer. I knew I had to take a leap of faith and leave my career. But what’s a social worker to do after almost 25 years? She opens her heart to the cadence of Dr. Seuss that brought her so much comfort during the painful physical therapy sessions as she recovered from paralytic polio. This is the first poem I penned. Bear in mind, I had never run a day in my life.

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.


I couldn't kick a ball but my grades were always good....I had the nickname "Easy Out Alper" (my maiden name). I bore the brunt of taunts and teasing that left deep emotional scars and feeling ashamed of my body and my Being.

But running changed all of that...


So you can well imagine when, in December of 2014 I was told I needed a total knee replacement and should not, could not and would not run anymore given the appearances on MRI of torn meniscus beyond repair, a fatty lipoma, bone spurs and an atrophied gastroc muscle I was devastated.... If I did run I had to set the limit at a 5K or maybe a 5 miler at most and I was once again given a cautionary tale about post polio syndrome....and then I got pissed and once again turned to the Universe for help.

I fired everyone who was a naysayer and lo and behold the Universe delivered two amazing healers to me a chiropractor, Ryan Means, DC and a muscular therapist, Jeffrey Spratt,MT who pioneered his own method of muscular therapy...and they reminded me to set goals not limits and of my body's enormous capacity to heal.

Both are courageous healers who joined with my powerful intention to go the distance in my healing journey and transform from a disabled survivor of paralytic polio and trauma to a runner and athlete.

When I woke up sore this morning and felt my calves and gluteus muscles that served me well on that steep hill at mile 1.86 and my quads were still singing to me letting me know I worked them hard; when I woke up this morning knowing I had run the entire course stopping to walk only to make sure I had adequate hydration on a hot and humid morning, I also woke up to that sense of satisfaction deep in my soul that only a great run in a great race can bring. I felt more healing, more strength and more confidence in my body's ability to heal and go the distance. I felt that sense of utter perfection in my Being.

To your health and wellness and to being able to reclaim advantage and reclaim life....
Mary



Sunday, July 24, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! The more I run....Narrangasett Bay 5K & Half Marathon Race Report



It's official - running is in my blood. It's a way of life. It's my medicine and my therapy; my joy and my pain but mostly my joy especially on a race day like today.

Charlie Breagy and Geoffrey Smith know what runners need and want in a race. I love how their races are for every body where every body can participate and feel good about themselves as runners. If there is a time limit for a race, they are sure to specify it on their website.

Had life not happened and I would have run the Finish at the 50 5K as I had last year and was planning to run this year, I would not have experienced the beauty, splendor and specialness of the Narrangasett Bay 5K and Half Marathon.

I woke up at 3:15am without an alarm clock. We were planning to get up at 4:30, meditate, do core work and clams, have breakfast and hit the road to arrive in East Providence with plenty of time to spare for the 7:00am start of the Half Marathon and 7:15am start of the 5K. Fortunately I had seen Geoff Smith's post on Facebook yesterday about the set up for the race and felt Spirit nudge us to take a road trip to do bib and t shirt pick up.

We got to meet a legendary runner, Steve Jones (who I wrote about in yesterday's blog) and did not have to stress about bib and t shirt pick up on race morning.

I meditated and drifted in and out of sleep until the alarm went off...15 more minutes of meditation focusing on getting myself mentally and physically prepared for the race, choosing a song of the day for plank and core work and clams to wake up the body.

We had our usual pre race breakfast, loaded up the frozen water bottles, fruit, directions and off we went!

What a glorious morning to experience day break as we drove easily to the race site. I snapped this photo after we got out of the car and posted on Facebook #reclaimadvantage #reclaimlife With a full and grateful heart to Ryan J. Means DC and Jeffrey Spratt, MT and dedicating this race to Ruth Anne's healing with the fierceness of a mother's love. Perfect morning!



There was a little confusion about where the starting line was and we were told it was down the road about a mile but we met up with other runners and realized there was a short cut to the Stadium. One of the runners was running her first half marathon. I shared my story for some inspiration and she said, "Well now I know I can do this! Thank you for inspiring me."

We saw our friends who we met in January as part of the Bermuda Marathon Weekend, Mona and Shawn. It always amazes me how we seem to find people among a thousand or so runners without technology.

We watched the start of the Half Marathon:


and headed over to the start of the 5K:


It was a relatively small field and we started in the front of the pack. I settled into my pace and enjoyed being part of a race again. I love how you can start up conversations with total strangers and share in the joy of being a part of a special breed of people who love the sport of running.

There was a slight uphill, a downhill and then a stretch of flat road. I felt strong, confident and I was running unencumbered; the intention that Jeffrey Spratt,MT set for me during my very first massage therapy session with him.

His words, "piece a cake" echoed in my ears and I marveled at how well I felt in my body despite the heat and humidity and early morning wake up call.

My heart rate was up there for sure and I was running without my Nike+ enjoying the freedom of running from the inside out. It was an out and back kind of route and we passed our friends Mona and Shawn as we were going out and they were heading back. We also made sure to enjoy the panoramic view of Narrangasett Bay, the beautiful bike trail and trees. Tom and I commented how it reminded us of Bermuda with the water on the left and running among the Half Marathoners. What an exhilarating feeling to be running as part of the pack.

Tom needed to make a pit stop and I knew I needed to hydrate. Tom told me to go on ahead and he'd catch up to me after I finished my water stop. When he caught up with me he said that he was amazed at how far up the road I was and how hard he had to run to catch up to me.

We enjoyed the downhill knowing that when we turned the corner we were going to have that steep uphill heading back to the Stadium.

We ran up the hill together and I could feel how cross training on the Arc Trainer and Bike was paying big dividends.

Time for the final 1.1 miles.

I could feel the heat of the day but did not dial back my pace. I told Tom that I wanted to break 16:00 minute/mile pace and that I was running with my heart for the healing of our daughter.

I did opt to walk through one more water stop and then we poured it on to the finish.

How awesome to enter the Stadium and run around the track to the finish line.

My tank felt empty but I knew I wanted to sprint to the finish and leave nothing out there.

I couldn't even compute what the finisher's clock said in terms of my pace. I just knew I had given it all I had and had a wonderful time opening up my body and running on a beautiful course with beautiful energy in a race orchestrated by two extraordinary race directors.

The results:

253/273 TOM MCMANUS CHESNUT HILL MA 1708 64 M 6/8 60-69 49:25.5 49:30.9 15:53/M
254/273 MARY MCMANUS CHESTNUT HILL MA 1706 62 F 6/8 60-69 49:25.2 49:31.1 15:53/M

Yes - I had attained my goal through hills and heat. And we met some wonderful people along the way including a woman from Florida who offered to take our photo at the finish:



I feel a deep sense of satisfaction having this race in the books and now begin training in earnest for the Bermuda Half Marathon happening in January.

With every race, with every run I feel more strength, more confidence and more joy in relishing the sport that is everything to me.

To think that in December of 2014 everyone, including a massage therapist I was working with at the time told me no more running...you need a total knee replacement....well don't run any farther than a 5K - maybe 5 miles. I fired the doctor, the physical therapists and the massage therapist. Two healers came into my life, Ryan Means, DC and Jeffrey Spratt,MT to remind me of my body's natural capacity to heal. They saw in me that I wanted to go the distance in healing in my life and on the roads. They would not allow the effects of paralytic polio and violence to plague me any more.

Today I ran a race I'd never run before totally trusting in Geoff and Charlie to have a well marked course with volunteers and water stations for runners of every pace. There were bands along the course and a festive atmosphere reminiscent of the Bermuda Race Weekend.

Of course none of this would have been possible without partnering initially with Ryan and now Jeffrey since April of 2015. It was a beautiful day to take all the goodness that happens on Jeffrey's treatment table and reclaim advantage and reclaim life out on the beautiful Narrangasett Bay 5K course.

To your health and wellness!
Mary





Saturday, July 23, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Tipping the Scales in my Favor - Never Give Up! Never Surrender!



Today's Facebook feed was filled with the theme of never giving up.

My one year ago Facebook memory had:

That moment when you know in every fiber of your being that everything you have imagined and wrote about in poetry and declared by saying everything is healed, everything is rewired is coming into physical manifestation -- and your heart is so filled with gratitude that it spills over and waters your soul and you cry happy grateful tears -- yeah that moment - priceless! Thank you Jeff and Spratt Muscular Therapies, LLC for letting me know what it means to feel the heal and for partnering with me on this amazing journey down the rabbit hole. Dear friends - believe - and trust and have faith and never give up before the miracle happens. Feel the love and think greater than appearances. Believing is seeing! Have a wonderful night everyone. #reclaimlife #reclaimadvantage

And then my dear friend and elite runner Reno's post popped up in my news feed:


It's so easy to return to negative thoughts and old habits of thinking and being. I woke up this morning feeling tired, tight and sore. Well it's no wonder! Family stress, juggling work and caregiver needs and maintaining a rigorous training schedule do add up. But oh how amazing that I am the caregiver rather than needing to be cared for having left the diagnosis of post polio syndrome in the dust.

I reminded myself that I am strong, healthy, whole. My left leg is factory new despite sometimes sensations to the contrary. I reflected on all the gains I have made since I began my partnership with Jeffrey Spratt,MT in April of 2015 and I was able to re-experience the goodness of our sessions and the power of positive touch with a focus on how Jeffrey works with my left leg to encourage my body's natural capacity to heal from polio and countless surgeries including reconstructive leg surgery.

I practiced my affirmations and opened my heart to gratitude.

As I reflected on how I was feeling I realized that before I started working with Jeffrey and experiencing the power of positive touch through the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy, I had to struggle to overcome the effects of paralytic polio and violence. Think of a scale where one side is weighted down. Or a see saw - try as you might to get up in the air, the weight was just too heavy on the other side to allow you to take off. As we clear the trauma and the effects of polio and 25+ surgeries, there is lightness and ease and a way to return to balance and equilibrium regardless of what's happening in my life.

Partnering with Jeffrey has tipped the scales in my favor to relieve me of the burdens of the experiences that once bore down on me weighing me down in every area of my life. There is justice and there is grace.

Tomorrow Team McManus toes the starting line of the Narrangasset Bay 5K. We did bib pick up today and were blessed to meet Champion Steve Jones and reunite with Champion Geoff Smith:



As I was doing research about Steve Jones, I found this video:



It's been quite the 10 year healing odyssey. I am so grateful and blessed that I did not give up and did not surrender despite many setbacks, working with less than honorable and competent body workers and the trauma of my nephew's suicide and the tragic events of 4/15/13. I shudder to think about all the adventures I would have missed and all the amazing people I never would have had the chance to meet.

It's quite the miracle that I continue to experience positive momentum and once again tomorrow I get to experience the joy of the running community, running with Champions and reclaiming my advantage and reclaiming my life.

To your health and wellness,
Mary



Thursday, July 21, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! "Piece a Cake!"

"Oh and I have a race to run on Sunday," I told Jeffrey Spratt,MT before my massage therapy session yesterday. I shared with him the stress that was happening in our family.

"How far is it?" he asked

"It's a 5K down in Rhode Island."

"Piece a cake," he said. "Let's get you on the table."



What a difference a year makes!

When I was training for the Finish at the 50 5K 2015 Jeffrey and I were rehabbing my left leg after a knee injury in December 2014. He provided me with emotional support throughout my training. The week before the race he went over the course map and walked me through the stages of mental preparation for my inaugural race after being told I should not and would not run ... well if I insisted nothing more than a 5K. He helped me to release my fear and harness the power of belief in my body's ability to heal while he worked to help me reclaim advantage and reclaim life through the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy.



I've trained hard and I've trained well and have a great base of training and miles from having run the Bermuda Half Marathon in January. Weekly massage therapy sessions with Jeffrey clear out the congestion from the combination of negative stress in my life and the positive stress of training.

I am excited for Sunday's race to open it up and see what this body can do. It's quite the miracle that I have this positive momentum in my healing journey from the effects of paralytic polio and violence where a 5K for me is now a "piece a cake."

To your health and wellness!
Mary

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Introduction to Going the Distance: Healing Trauma Through the Power of Positive Touch (And Running)



It's thrilling to be writing my next book which chronicles my healing journey from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma. I am not what happened to me..I am what I choose to become and Going the Distance is a book about becoming.

Here is a sneak peak at the working Introduction:

Introduction

I lay on the couch paralyzed from the neck down. On June 3, 1959 I was running around the gym in my kindergarten class. The walls had a blue-green institutional tinge to them. There was a baseboard bench that went around the perimeter of the gym. Gym class that day consisted of galloping around in a circle. I remember dropping to the ground without warning.

I have no memory of how I got home from school. I do remember the doctor coming to the house as I lay in my twin bed in the bedroom that my older brother and I shared.

The pain was excruciating. I became an observer of what was happening to me.

“Put your head over the side of the bed,” commanded Dr. Jacobs.

My neck was stiff as a board. I have a vague recollection of him telling my parents he was going to need to do a spinal tap.

“I suspect it’s polio. Did she have her vaccinations?”

“She had her fifth vaccine yesterday,” said my mother while smoking a cigarette.

“Here’s the number of the vaccine company to call. There might have been a problem with the vaccine.”

Even at 5 years old I thought it odd that there could have been a problem with the vaccine since my brother had not contracted polio and we were vaccinated from the same batch. I had been playing with my friend Susan James after school. I learned that her mother had not been vaccinated and contracted paralytic polio on the same day as I did.

As I lay on the couch, my mother glared at me smoking a cigarette. I had to go to the bathroom but I knew better than to ask her. I learned that I had to wait until my father or grandfather came home to be toileted. I had a vision. This beautiful Being with a flowing white beard appeared. A hand was extended to me to climb into a well bucket only there was no hand. I climbed into the well bucket even though I lay paralyzed on the couch. I was reeled up to meet this Being and then I returned to my paralyzed body. I knew that somehow I was going to make it through this mess.

After experiencing this vision, I saw this Being everywhere I looked. I saw the Being in my storybook. Whether my eyes were open or closed this Being was with me. Guardian Angel? or hallucination from the fever and pain of polio? I cast my vote for Guardian Angel that was there to protect me. Despite the emotional and physical pain, the abject terror I was experiencing, somewhere within me I felt peace and comfort.

I regained movement of my right arm and leg but my left arm and leg remained paralyzed. At least I could wiggle around a little on the couch and could hold my books. Here I was with this cold, angry, rejecting woman smoking a cigarette who would not and could not touch me, waiting for my father or grandfather to come home to meet my basic needs. Despite the precarious predicament I was in, I had a sense of safety. This was my first of many experiences of being touched by grace.

“Hi – I’m from the March of Dimes. I understand your daughter has polio. May I come in and see her?”

“Yes, someone has come for me,” I thought.

She helped me down onto the carpeted floor.

“Let me see how you can move…can you move from side to side? Can you roll over?” she gently asked me.

“Boy you are one of the lucky ones…”
“Really?” I thought to myself – “this is lucky?”

But she was right.There were many children who were institutionalized and in iron lungs.There were many children and adults who never regained movement after paralysis and there were thousands who died in the polio epidemics. Yes indeed I was one of the lucky ones. And although my mother did not have the capacity to care for me and about me, I had my spirit guide who invited me to make a choice. I chose life.




Perhaps the greatest gift that Jeffrey Spratt,MT has given to me is the permission to speak my Truth while his healing hands, compassionate presence, unconditional love and non-judgment of anything I shared bathe the wounds to bring healing to all that went before.

In 2011, Olympian and champion of the anti-doping movement Frank Shorter broke his silence about the horrific abuse he endured as a child. I was blessed to meet Frank in 2009 at the Hyannis Marathon Weekend. What an amazing man! At the time I had no idea what he had lived through nor did he know my history yet there was a powerful connection between us. I shared with him my journey as a survivor of paralytic polio and taking on the 2009 Boston Marathon and that I was running my first half marathon ever while he signed a poster for me.

After running my first half marathon, I came into the ballroom overflowing with thousands of runners. Frank Shorter made sure he connected with me amidst the runners celebrating after the race. He could tell that the run had taken a lot of out of me. I was shivering from the sleet that had started falling during the last several miles of the race. He put both of his hands on either side of my arms, looked at me straight in the eye and told me how much courage and strength I had to do what I had just done. He told me he had no doubt that I was going to cross the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon. He told me to hydrate, get some hot soup and take a hot shower. He signed the back of my bib.

Frank had seen me as a survivor of paralytic polio who came out of a wheelchair and leg brace to take on the Boston Marathon. I saw him through my starry eyes of meeting an Olympic Gold Medalist and an elite runner in every sense of the word.

When I saw Frank again in 2010 at Hyannis, I had brought my bib from Boston for him and Bill Rodgers to sign. Frank Shorter signed it: To Mary, You're unbelievable.

As we approached the one year anniversary of 4/15/13, I read an article about Frank in "Shorter remembered his own experience with childhood abuse," the article stated and had a link to the original story of his breaking his silence in 2011.

I was absolutely stunned. Perhaps what struck a chord in me was how once Frank broke his silence about the abuse he endured, others were able to break their silence and the door opened to healing and possibility.

Keeping silent keeps trauma survivors in the vortex of trauma with no outlet for healing. While I had seen many talking therapists and countless body workers in my quest for freedom and healing, not one had the ability to take my hand and lead me to freedom until I met Jeffrey.

The first focus of our work together was to get me back to the sport that heals me and helps me to feel free by rehabbing my left leg and helping me to experience the power of positive touch; to condition my body to new experiences and to massage therapy in its finest and truest form with the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy. Then we got to work healing the trauma.

Until I could break the silence and feel safe releasing the fear and terror from the very fiber of my body and being cared for, about and with someone trained in trauma whose intention is to heal rather than observe me with a distant curiosity, I could not be free.

Now I am and I have broken my silence to reclaim advantage and reclaim life...and I want to help others to experience the gift of their own freedom through the sharing of my story; so that everyone can reclaim their advantage, reclaim their life and go the distance becoming the person they were always meant to be.




To your health and wellness!
Mary





















































Sunday, July 17, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Breaking the Silence - The Gift of Freedom!



Perhaps the greatest gift that Jeffrey Spratt,MT has given to me is the permission to speak my Truth while his healing hands, compassionate presence, unconditional love and non-judgment of anything I shared bathe the wounds to bring healing to all that went before.

In 2011, Olympian and champion of the anti-doping movement Frank Shorter broke his silence about the horrific abuse he endured as a child. I was blessed to meet Frank in 2009 at the Hyannis Marathon Weekend. What an amazing man! At the time I had no idea what he had lived through nor did he know my history yet there was a powerful connection between us. I shared with him my journey as a survivor of paralytic polio and taking on the 2009 Boston Marathon and that I was running my first half marathon ever while he signed a poster for me:



After running my first half marathon, I came into the ballroom overflowing with thousands of runners. Frank Shorter made sure he connected with me amidst the runners celebrating after the race. He could tell that the run had taken a lot of out of me. I was shivering from the sleet that had started falling during the last several miles of the race. He put both of his hands on either side of my arms, looked at me straight in the eye and told me how much courage and strength I had to do what I had just done. He told me he had no doubt that I was going to cross the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon. He told me to hydrate, get some hot soup and take a hot shower. He signed the back of my bib.

Frank had seen me as a survivor of paralytic polio who came out of a wheelchair and leg brace to take on the Boston Marathon. I saw him through my starry eyes of meeting an Olympic Gold Medalist and an elite runner in every sense of the word.

When I saw Frank again in 2010 at Hyannis, I had brought my bib from Boston for him and Bill Rodgers to sign. Frank Shorter signed it: To Mary, You're unbelievable.



As we approached the one year anniversary of 4/15/13, I read this article about Frank in Runners World. "Shorter remembered his own experience with childhood abuse," the article stated and had a link to the original story of his breaking his silence in 2011.

I was absolutely stunned. Perhaps what struck a chord in me was how once Frank broke his silence about the abuse he endured, others were able to break their silence and the door opened to healing and possibility.

Keeping silent keeps trauma survivors in the vortex of trauma with no outlet for healing. While I had seen many talking therapists and countless body workers in my quest for freedom and healing, not one had the ability to take my hand and lead me to freedom until I met Jeffrey.

The first focus of our work together was to get me back to the sport that heals me and helps me to feel free by rehabbing my left leg and helping me to experience the power of positive touch; to condition my body to new experiences and to massage therapy in its finest and truest form with the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy. Then we got to work healing the trauma.

After our 3.14 mile run today preparing for next Sunday's Naragansett 5K Road Race, I felt deep gratitude for the gift of health, wellness and wholeness in my life.



Until I could break the silence and feel safe releasing the fear and terror from the very fiber of my body and being cared for, about and with someone trained in trauma whose intention is to heal rather than observe me with a distant curiosity, I could not be free.

Now I am and I have broken my silence to reclaim advantage and reclaim life...and I want to help others to experience the gift of their own freedom through the sharing of my story.



To your health and wellness!
Mary

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Runners World Classic Weekend - The Celebrity Mile - A Day Filled with Magic



A dear friend and member of my running family, Kelly told me about the Runners World Classic Weekend happening this weekend. I knew that life was just a little too hectic to fit one more thing in so I told her I'd help spread the word but there was no way I could see us getting up there for the event. Of course Kelly totally understood. And then I "just happened" to see Tom Licciardello's Facebook post putting out the call for volunteers for the Runners World Classic Weekend. How could we say no to our running family....We looked over the volunteer jobs and I thought volunteering for the Celebrity Mile might be a good spot for us. At the time I did not know that Tom's wife Lyn would be our Team Leader or the magic that was going to happen once we arrived on the Merrimack College Campus.

Our first stop was at the Student Center to pick up our volunteer t shirts. We walked into the Expo and were greeted by Anthony Raynor's warm smile and green eyes. We first met Anthony at the Finish at the 50 Expo last year. I was heart broken that they weren't at this year's Finish at the 50 Expo thinking I would have to wait until January to be reunited with the Race Director for the Bermuda Marathon Weekend. Warm hugs and smiles all around and we were introduced to Elizabeth founder of a new company, "Runaway Bermuda." We chatted. I was able to get my Bermuda Marathon Weekend Postcard for my refrigerator to replace our 2016 card, a pink pen and goosebumps realizing that once again I am going to train for the Bermuda Half Marathon.



As we walked toward the Celebrity Mile Tent we had to pass through "Charity Village." Dana Ewan Seigel was standing underneath the "Voices of Hope" tent! We met Dana through our dear friend Jordan Rich a few years ago watching them in a performance of "Love Letters" to benefit "Voices of Hope" that benefits Mass General Hospital Cancer Center. It was a beautiful reunion. I shared with her the work I am doing with Jeffrey Spratt,MT both on the table and as his Communications and PR Director. I shared with her how he works with cancer patients and has a bold approach to the work he does. She took my card and said she was intrigued by what I shared with her. I mentioned Jordan's experience when we went to the studio to do one of his last shows.



We went to the Celebrity Mile Tent and reunited with our Strider family. There was this cool lobster ice sculpture:


and everyone worked together as a team to get the tent ready to greet our guests.



Once the set up was complete and we were waiting for the arrival of the celebrities, I asked if anyone had seen our dear friends the DiLorenzos. Tom suggested I check her posts on Facebook to see where she might be. Sure enough she was posting Live from the Finish Line. It was so great to be reunited with her and to see the boys.


Tom waited to see if he could catch a glimpse of Paul finishing the 10K.



It's always a special day when Geoffrey Smith is in the house and we took this fun selfie:


We had so much fun being able to greet the celebrities, get their swag bags, t shirts and bibs and snap a few photos. Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans was incredibly generous with his time and kept thanking us for volunteering. I was honored and humbled to meet Bill Richard who also kept thanking us for all we did today. You could see how much he has healed and how proud he was to have a solid representation of Team MR8 at the event. I got goosebumps when I saw them gathered before the Celebrity Mile and the lengthy applause Bill received during the introduction. It's always a joy when I get to see Dave McGillvray who has inspired my life and running in so many ways.



Jeff Bauman arrived along with Adriane Haslet-Davis, Carlos and Mel. The media surrounded them and the energy was electric as Jeff was about to participate in his first road race since 4/15/13 walking his first mile. I was blessed and honored to talk with him before he ventured out on his challenge. We had met on the first anniversary of 4/15 at his book signing where I shared my journey with him and he was moved to tears to hear what is possible and then again on the 2nd anniversary of 4/15 as I was just in the beginning of my running comeback. I was thrilled to let him know I'd run the Bermuda Half Marathon in January.



Our dear friend David Brown was part of the Celebrity Mile along with friends we've met along the many miles on the road of life -- Amby Burfoot, Steve Cooper, Becca Pizzi and John Young just to name a few. Here are the celebrities gathered before the mile run:


After we saw the celebrities run the first loop, we headed toward the finish line and cheered on the celebrities. The crowd went wild as Jeff Bauman with Carlos in a wheelchair recovering from foot surgery and Melida came toward the finish line. Dave McGillvray had us clear a path saying, "He has one more lap to go," and Jeff echoed, "I have one more lap to go."

Dave encouraged the celebrities and volunteers to walk the 2nd lap with Jeff. Talk about magic!

As we neared the finish line, Tom captured this video of Jeff completing his first mile walk:



Three years ago Carlos pushed Jeff in a wheelchair and saved his life. Today Jeff pushed Carlos and as Dave McGillvray said, "It could not have been scripted better."

The whole day could not have been scripted better as we walked as a Boston Strong community celebrating healing, resilience, strength; as a community that gives back through running and weaves a tapestry of love that only gets stronger with greater resolve in the face of terrorist actions. As the brilliant July sun shined brightly, we as a community shined our light:



It was a day of love, of joy, of magic and one truly orchestrated by the Divine.

To your health and wellness,
Mary