Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! My Day in Court



I received one of the greatest gifts of my life today during my massage therapy session with Jeffrey Spratt,MT, pioneer of the life saving transformative Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy. I had my day in court.

Now truth be told I did not even know I needed a day in court. That's the beauty of the work we do together. In addition to receiving massage therapy as a runner, we are also partnering together to heal the effects of paralytic polio and childhood trauma.

Layer by layer and breath by breath we've been working to heal the emotional, physical and spiritual wounds from my past. Every week, for 90 minutes and this past Sunday for 25 minutes for a ShakeOut (TM) Massage, we partner together and the results are astounding (more on that in tomorrow's blog).

In spite of or maybe because Jeffrey has the most powerful healing touch I've ever experienced, I am still triggered by his touch. There are a lot of traumatic memories on the landscape of my body. Jeffrey always reminds me of the beauty that emerges from scars and uses words and touch to reverse and transform the events from my past. And although I am triggered, I am also simultaneously healed.

For the first time in our work together and, for the first time in my life, I was able to experience the outrage of what happened to me; the injustice of being orally and vaginally raped from the age of 8 years old and then once I hit puberty, the rape turned into nightly beatings. I struggled at first to find words to describe how I felt about being violated. The first image I came up with was having paint - black paint - thrown all over me and then I realized the word I was looking for was defiled. Jeffrey validated for me the profound injustice of it all; how experiencing the power of positive touch in the present triggers these memories and how I struggle to enjoy the joy of my physical being which is everyone's birth right. Of course everyone has struggles and challenges but no person on this earth should have to live through the experiences I lived through and have to process what was done to me.

BUT - it is what happened to me and how blessed am I to have found my way to Jeffrey's table. With his gentle touch and compassionate presence I was able to express what I wanted and needed to express for decades without fear and surrounded by love. Survivors of sexual assault struggle with appropriately expressing anger. There is a murderous rage we all feel inside but that murderous rage only feeds the toxicity of the wounds and makes more of a soupy mess. And it doesn't facilitate the healing.

Being able to express how my life was affected by the actions of my father and grandmother and having Jeffrey bear witness and compassionate presence while also being the judge and the jury vindicated me from the beliefs I harbored for decades; the beliefs that were instilled in me with violent actions and adults who over powered me. I was vindicated and they were indicted.

Oh my goodness - I just got goosebumps. This just became even more powerful for me. My father was a lawyer and he used to put me on the stand and "try" me for my "crimes of the day" that my drug addicted mother fed to him about why I should be beaten every night. In today's massage therapy session, I went from being the defendant to being the plaintiff. I finally had my day in court and can move forward continuing to reclaim advantage and reclaim life through the power of positive touch.

One final note - to the beautiful survivor of the Stanford University rape whose perpetrator will be released from prison this Friday after serving only 3 months in prison - we all stand together. And thank you for sharing this quote from Anne Lamott:


Let us all stand together and let our light shine being a beacon for anyone who needs to find safe harbor.

To your health and wellness!
Mary

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Running is my Therapy



After a serious knee injury in December 2014, my non-runner friends and many in the Western medicine tradition (and even the massage therapist I was working with at the time) did not understand my passion and single mindedness to return to running no matter what.

I came to the sport of running later in life - at the age of 53 - after years of loathing my body and decades of neglect and dissociation as a result of paralytic polio and trauma.

Once I put the intention out there to bring into manifestation all that I had been yearning for and writing about in my poems, The Universe first delivered my beloved friend, healer and chiropractor Dr. Ryan Means and then Jeffrey Spratt,MT, pioneer of the life saving and life changing Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy.

I've been able to sustain and build on my 5 day training cycle. I enjoyed my off season of recovery after running the Bermuda Half Marathon and the Hyannis 10K in January and February and am now amping up my training for the Bermuda Half Marathon next January.

We deposited 7.5 sweet miles in the Bank of Bermuda as we like to call it last Saturday and yesterday went out for a 5K tempo run after strength training on Sunday.

There's been a lot of family stress happening with our daughter's journey with mental illness.

We warmed up and then, as John "The Penguin" Bingham said, I let my feet process all of my feelings while talking and running with my life and running partner, Tom.

We did negative splits all the way and poured sweat leaving all of our troubles on the path around the Reservoir leaving everything up to the Divine. We offered up the Serenity Prayer while we ran and by the end of 3.11 miles we were ready to begin our day - refreshed, energized and with hearts filled with gratitude for this gift of running in our lives.



I am so blessed and grateful to have found my way to Jeffrey's table where, each week, I heal the effects of paralytic polio and trauma and reclaim advantage and reclaim life and keep running long, strong and healthy. Because after all, running IS my therapy mind, body and soul!

To your health and wellness,
Mary

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! The ShakeOut (TM) Massage - A Powerful Training Tool




It had been several months since I had Jeffrey Spratt,MT's ShakeOut (TM) Massage. Today I remembered why it is such a powerful training tool for running and for life!

It was just about a year ago that I first experienced a ShakeOut (TM) Massage. Jeffrey invited me to experience it after a 7 mile run as I blogged about last year. I hadn't officially come on board as his Communications and Public Relations Director yet. I was curious and intrigued about his work. Perhaps the most striking thing about the ShakeOut (TM) Massage for me was how I went in feeling so depleted after a 7 mile run and felt refreshed and energized after only 25 minutes on the table.

After going 7.5 miles yesterday and seeing that Jeffrey had a last minute cancellation on his schedule for this morning, I decided to schedule a ShakeOut (TM) Massage this morning.

"I'm feeling this pain on my right foot," I told Jeffrey as I plopped my leg on the massage table and showed him the corridor on my foot where I felt it. He did a cursory feel of the area while asking me, "Is it sharp and sudden pain or dull and throbbing?" "Dull and throbbing," I replied. He got me on the table - for those of you unfamiliar with the ShakeOut (TM) Massage I stayed fully clothed. I told him about the possibility of me becoming a Reef Runner Ambassador for the Bermuda Marathon Weekend. He was delighted that I had applied for the Ambassadorship and we chatted about my excitement of training for Bermuda this year. You see this is the first time in my almost 10 year healing odyssey that I am able to sustain training and running. The effects of paralytic polio and trauma recede into the background of my life and I feel vibrant and strong. "I might even start doing continuing education in trauma work and get my LICSW reinstated," I told Jeffrey. That would be a wonderful asset for our research study, "The Efficacy of the Spratt Method Muscular Therapy in Trauma Recovery."

The compression on my back felt wonderful. I even coughed to clear out the exertion from yesterdays 7.5 miler. Jeffrey flushed and stretched my legs. I took deep breaths as he went right to the edge of what was needed to insure injury prevention and to facilitate my body's ability to recover.

He found the spots on my right foot that were the source of the pain and provided me with education about my muscles and tendons working to alleviate the inflammation to prevent injury.

"My legs are tingling," I told him.

"Yummy," he replied.

I recalled with him how last year he had me make note of the difference between my two sides after he finished the circuit on one side before beginning the circuit on the other side. Because we have cleared out so much from the trauma and polio, I can reap the rich rewards of the ShakeOut (TM) Massage this year. I am conditioned to the work and his phenomenal touch!

In addition to the deep tissue work, Jeffrey uses his innovative techniques to bring about relaxation and yumminess to the cervical spine, cranium, jaw and face. Jeffrey is all about balance; the yin and the yang and he brings together the best of Eastern and Western modalities in his very own creation.

When I came home, Tom and I did our strength training workout. Tom had his regular ShakeOut (TM) Massage with Jeffrey this morning and we both remarked how we were able to get the maximum benefit out of our workout with less effort. I felt lightness in my body and a renewed determination and joy about going the distance in Bermuda in January.

I am deeply blessed to have found my way to Jeffrey's table where I can reclaim advantage and reclaim life healing the effects of paralytic polio and trauma and in addition to my 90 minutes of transformative massage with the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy each week, I can supplement my training with the ShakeOut (TM) Massage: a powerful training tool as I go the distance on January 15th running the Bermuda Half Marathon 2017!

To your health and wellness,
Mary


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! How far ya goin' today?

I love our long runs on Saturday mornings at Castle Island. We always bump into someone we know and today we bumped into 3 someones we know from L Street Running Club.

Our dear friend Tina said, "Now there's a good looking couple." She and her 2 friends had just finished their long run getting ready to run the Chicago Marathon in a few months. "7 and a half today I replied."



"It's getting hot," Tina noted and offered us some ice water. We told her we are all set and went on our way.

There is something incredibly sweet and delicious about training for the Bermuda Half Marathon the 2nd time around. After over a year of partnering with Jeffrey Spratt,MT I feel such joy and confidence when I get out and run...even when it's a challenging run like today with the heat and a headwind. We went out too fast given the conditions but unlike a run last year when we went out too fast, I was able to regulate and regroup with relative ease.

Tom and I shared a lot of laughs and joy on this run.

I submitted an application to become a Reef Runner Ambassador for Bermuda Marathon Weekend.

I had always imagined myself being an Ambassador for something in the running world given my triumphs in overcoming the effects of paralytic polio and trauma. What sweet redemption it would be to go from "Easy out Alper" and all the taunting and jeers I experienced growing up as a survivor of paralytic polio to a Reef Runner Ambassador for the Bermuda Marathon Weekend.

Of course it really doesn't change anything. I'm celebrating the fact that I can get out there and run and go through a 5 day training cycle to experience positive momentum in my health and wellness journey. I'm so excited anticipating our time in Bermuda in January. We've extended our stay an extra day to thoroughly enjoy the day after we run the Half Marathon and hoping to get to the beach this time to experience that luscious pink sand and "crystal clear waters warmed by the Gulf Stream."

We've got another 7.5 miles in the Bank of Bermuda taking it slow and steady as we build miles and count down to a most magical Marathon weekend. Tom will be getting in his hill training because he is going to take on the Bermuda Triangle Half Challenge - 3 races, 3 days and 4 medals!

How blessed am I to be able to reclaim my advantage and reclaim my life through the power of positive touch partnering with Jeffrey and having my life and running partner by my side and a wonderful running tribe who asks, "How far ya goin' today?"



To your health & wellness,
Mary



Friday, August 26, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Flashback Friday - 9 Years Later



As I saw the "No parking" signs in the North End for the celebration of St. Anthony's Feast, I thought to myself, I'm going to have to pay for parking today. How will I ever find a space but then I reminded myself that when I partner with the Universe, I'm able to manifest a parking space. Sure enough there was a spot right behind the VA Clinic on Causeway St. where I worked for almost 20 years before embarking on this almost 10 year healing odyssey.

"Should I go in?" I wondered.

"Hey I know that face," Big John the shuttle driver yelled out. "Oh my God...it's been like forever." We caught up for a few minutes and he told me he's still driving the shuttle between Causeway St and Jamaica Plain. "Nobody would else wanted it so I keep doin' it," Big John told me.

Next came James who has been at the VA as a clerk for 29 years now! Talk about dedication. We smiled and hugged and he went on his way for a cigarette break.

I decided that Spirit was beckoning me to go in.

This was my first visit back since partnering with Jeffrey Spratt,MT and being back at work. When I left the VA on 5/25/2007 I was still in a leg brace taking those first few tentative steps on my healing journey.

I looked around like a kid who was returning to the house they grew up in seeing how much it had changed yet there was still so much familiar about the Clinic.

I took the trip I'd taken hundreds of thousands of times from the 1st to the 2nd floor via the elevator where I'd escorted veterans in wheelchairs to different appointments.

"Excuse me, is Renee in?" I asked the receptionist on the 2nd floor where my office had been.

Renee is the social worker who initially took my job as primary care social worker and then moved into the position of OEF/OIF Caregiver social worker.

I knocked on her door and there was no answer. I was about to leave a note when the receptionist said, "Oh here she is now."

Renee graciously invited me into the office I occupied for many years. We joked about the ventilation and air conditioner/heating system. It was always too hot or too cold and we chatted for almost an hour. It was a most magical meeting in so many ways and I'm very excited about reconnecting with my VA roots.

But see when I cleared out of the VA 9 years ago I could not have possibly in my wildest imaginings known I'd be sitting in room 255 at 251 Causeway Street talking about the pioneering work of my boss Jeffrey Spratt,MT. We are launching a research study on the efficacy of the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy in trauma recovery.

I am deeply grateful to Renee for taking the time to reconnect with me and for me to be able to connect the dots.

And when I got home today...this is what was waiting for me...



I am a member of the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation and next month we hear about a proposal Jeffrey and I submitted to present at the 14th World Congress, "Reclaiming Life After Trauma: Innovations in Healing." How is that for connecting the dots?

To your health and wellness,
Mary

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Feel the Panda Mom's Love - Creation of a New Self



As many of my regular readers know and to those of you new to my blog or just happened to pass by to see what I'm all about, I suffered severe abandonment and neglect by my mother who was addicted to prescription pain medication. She was physically present but emotionally absent which I think is almost worse than if she just would have not been there at all. When I contracted paralytic polio she would smoke a cigarette and just glare at me. She smoked a cigarette and watched when my father would beat me and when I sought refuge from the nightly sexual abuse in her bed, she told me I didn't belong there.

BUT----- the story doesn't end there!

Since partnering with Jeffrey Spratt,MT, pioneer of the life saving/life changing Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy I am healing all the emotional and physical wounds from my past. We know that emotional wounds leave physical scars and through the power of positive touch we can bring these deeply buried and held wounds to the surface and allow for healing to happen mind, body and soul.

I saw a video on Facebook (shared above) of a Panda Bear who had just given birth to cubs tenderly nurturing and caring for her twins. I said to Jeffrey, "It's instinctive. How can a mother not care about her child?" I then felt a rush of chemicals connected with the thought, "There must have been something wrong with me," adding, "okay we need to throw that belief in the trash." Jeffrey agreed with me and said that both my mother and grandmother were depraved women and there was absolutely nothing wrong with me. While he massaged my back (as only Jeffrey can) he said in a quiet voice, "Feel the Panda mom's love."

I cried and let in the warmth of Jeffrey's healing hands feeling the grace crossing what Dr. Joe Dispenza calls, the river of change with fear at my back.



I wrote about the creation of a new self - a self who reclaimed life after the horrors I lived through; a self happy and whole running unencumbered and free through the power of my pen, my divining rod of healing pouring out the yearnings from my soul through my poetry.

And now through the power of positive touch, of Divine Love, the skilled hands and compassionate presence of Jeffrey joining with my intention to move beyond my past, I can feel the love knowing I am worthy creating a new self: the self I was always meant to be!

To your health and wellness!
Mary





Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Feeling the Shift!

In last week's treatment with Jeffrey Spratt,MT he stayed with me breath by breath as my body released the memory of childhood rape. During this week's training cycle as I prepare for the Bermuda Half Marathon in January, I noticed that I've felt lighter. My workouts have a different feel to them. I'm able to manage daily stress with greater ease. Racing that would often happen in response to stressful situations is gone and the only kind of racing I'm doing is when I'm training for the Bermuda Marathon weekend. During my run I noticed that I was running more with my entire body feeling a wholeness.



It takes courage to do this work. But it took even more courage to survive and the work is made possible by Jeffrey's Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy, his compassionate presence and his deep desire and intention to help clients reclaim advantage and reclaim life through the power of positive touch.

I'm feeling the healing shift from needing to use a ton of energy to keep memories at bay to experiencing freedom and a new connection with myself.

To your health and wellness,
Mary

Monday, August 22, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance



The rain woke me up at 3:30 this morning. I woke up Tom to make sure that the rain wasn't coming into the house as we left our windows open to enjoy the end of summer breezes and the sounds of the crickets chirping. I was having a hard time falling back to sleep but used the soundtrack of the rain to be my meditation. I fell into a deep sleep and when the alarm went off at 6:15am to signal the start of our day I so wanted to hit the snooze button and skip our morning run. But I know the rule:



unless of course it is a rest day!

We meditated for 15 minutes, did our plank, crunches and knee to elbow core work, had a piece of toast, hydrated and off we went.

We drank in the beauty of the morning and the sweet smell of the air after a soaking rain. The sun sparkling off of the Rt 9 Reservoir water with the backdrop of Boston's skyline was a magnificent way to begin our day.

It's always a wonderful time to unplug and just be together. Running is a sacred time and often times, like this morning, can be a time for inspiration.



"So what do you think about my working book title, Going the Distance: Healing Trauma Through the Power of Positive Touch (and Running)," I asked Tom. "Do you think I should take the parenthesis out of running? should I reverse the order?"

"I think you should think about a different title," Tom suggested.

We played around with different titles...

"But "Going the Distance" has to be in the title," I said. "It's the theme of the book."

"Wait I've got it...'Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance'!"



There were several turning points during my healing journey where I felt as though I could not go another step forward. After several unsuccessful and unsatisfactory experiences with massage therapists and body workers, I was ready to quit and figure out a way to heal on my own as I had done at the beginning of my healing journey discovering the transformative and healing power of running. I'm glad I decided to go the distance and trust once more finding my way to Jeffrey Spratt, MT who pioneered his own method of muscular therapy that will be featured in the book. Thanks to my partnership with Jeffrey, I can go the distance on the roads and in my life no longer having to endure the effects of paralytic polio and unthinkable acts of cruelty against me as a child but I can experience the joy of healing and the power of endurance through the power of positive touch.



After having a new book title and renewed excitement for my finishing the manuscript, Team McManus had a most satisfactory and inspirational morning run:


To your health and wellness!
Mary

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Seven Sensational Miles - "Hey Bermuda!"



The sea air was pungent with the distinctive briny smell as we began our 7 mile training run from Castle Island to the JFK Library and back.

"I thought I spotted you two from a mile away," Tino, a member of our running club said. We paused for a few minutes and got caught up, fist pumped and went on our way. It felt wonderful to reconnect with Tino who reminded us that our L Street Running Club BBQ is next Sunday. With all of our time consumed with caring for our daughter in recent months, we'd been out of the loop. It was a wonderful reminder that Tom and I need to move forward in our lives now that all the services and help is in place for our daughter.

Despite the warmth and humidity of the day, we were comfortable with the sea breeze. We paused for a moment to acknowledge the spot where I had fallen just about a year ago at this time during our 6.5 mile training run and Tom and I reflected on how far I've come in my healing journey since working with Jeffrey Spratt,MT every week for over a year now. Last year it took so much effort to put in the miles. Tom commented to me today how much lighter I seem and how the miles just seem to fly by. We know our fueling and hydration plan now. I have a new iPhone that has a much longer battery life than my old one that lasts during the training run and a new playlist.

I told him it's definitely lovelier the second time around.

We stopped at Carson Beach bathhouse for a pit stop. When I came out of the bathroom Tom was having a conversation with a woman on crutches. She's recovering from knee surgery. Tom was sharing my journey with her. She gave me a high five and her email address because she wanted to learn more about my healing journey.

Heading back to Castle Island and our starting point, Tom yells out "Hey Bermuda." He spotted a runner wearing a Bermuda 10K race t shirt. We paused to chat for a few moments and Mike and his wife Mary live in South Boston so run the Pleasure Bay loop for training quite often. For the last two years he has run the Bermuda Half Challenge. He is in reinsurance. The trip is part business and a whole lot of pleasure.

"Where do you stay when you're down there?"

"Do you know where the Hamilton Princess is? Well there's this hotel right across the way."

"The Rosedon! Oh my God that's where we stay." We talked about how much we love Muriel Richardson, the hotelier who manages the property and the breakfast and tea and being so close to Front Street.....

Mike got Tom really pumped for the Front Street Mile saying how you feel like a celebrity runner being on Front Street with the flood lights and everyone cheering you on. We talked about the Pickled Onion which coincidentally is where Mike and his wife go on Sunday for post race brunch with a local Bermudian running group. That's where Tom and I went for our post Half Marathon celebratory brunch.

Not a half hour before, I was saying to Tom how proud I am of him doing the Half Challenge this year and how excited I am for his 4 medals. I joked about how he won't get through security at the airport. Mike commented about the medals and that we should bring an extra suitcase!

We were riding high for the last 2 miles of our training run feeling the excitement of returning to Bermuda this year. Jeffrey told me in last week's treatment with him that we can once again count on him taking us to the airport. As I begin to build the miles, I can feel his intention to keep me running long, strong and healthy and I carry that with me on my training runs. We also cleaned out a deep and powerful traumatic memory last week that helped to open my hips and give me greater ease in my run.

We finished our run and were doing a cool down walk to our car. We couldn't quite seem to capture the light for our post run selfie so we decided to take it over by the car.

"Are those the McManuses?" my dear friend Jennifer called out!.....

Meeting up with another runner friend put the icing on the cake for this most magical day! We talked about her training for New York and shared in the beauty of the day. We just had to include her in our post run selfie:



One of my friend's on Facebook shared with me that she was with Anthony and Clarence, the Race Directors from Bermuda at the Falmouth Race Expo. The energy all around was electric and I was in awe of the synchronicity.

One of the things that Jeffrey takes pride in when it comes to massage therapy is that it's about more than what happens while you are on the table; it's how the work that's being done in the treatment room is carried out into the world to help clients reclaim advantage and reclaim life. The positive energy that I am able to generate within me now that I am reclaiming my treasure and leaving the pain and baggage of the past behind creates this beautiful life.

We took 5 minutes off of last week's 7 mile training run and thoroughly enjoyed 7 sensational miles filled with serendipity and synchronicity.

Hey Bermuda - we're coming for you.

To your health and wellness!
Mary

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Training for Bermuda-Lovelier the Second Time Around



A Facebook memory popped up from a year ago reminding me of last year's blog post, Healing, Hugs and Divine Intelligence.

Last year I was working to reclaim my advantage and reclaim my life partnering with Jeffrey Spratt,MT and garnering the works of Dr. Joe Dispenza, Dr. Candace Pert, What the bleep do we know and of course, my coach/healer/chosen dad of decades, Dr. Bernie Siegel.

This year I am feeling such confidence as I go the distance training for the Bermuda Half Marathon. There is so much that has healed in spite of experiencing a "tonnage" of stress as Jeffrey calls it, with our daughter's struggles with her mental health.

I am posting photos from last year's time in Bermuda. I said to Jeffrey in my last treatment that there are so many wonderful photos I wish I could have more than one cover photo at a time. He suggested I rotate them over the next months of training.

One of my dear friends, Nicole wrote, "You've got this," as I shared this photo


with this quote:
#runbermuda #reclaimadvantage #reclaimlife We've got 7 miles on tap for tomorrow to deposit into the Bank of Bermuda training for the Bermuda Half Marathon. I have so many favorite memories from Bermuda that I will be sharing them as my cover photo as we enjoy our training. Tom McManus is taking on the Bermuda Half Challenge -- Front Street Mile on Friday, 10K can you say hills on Saturday and Sunday running the Half with me. I just keep smiling and feeling deeply grateful for the gift of running, health and wellness in my life and that I can reclaim advantage and reclaim life leaving the effects of trauma and paralytic polio in the dust! Be sure to end your day with a positive thought and something that makes you smile. Here's another great photo from Bermuda....Thank you Ann Kucharski for capturing Team McManus at the start.


The most wonderful feeling came over me before heading out on our 7 miler today that yes I've got this.

I'm in a groove with training now; quite a contrast to the fear I experienced building the miles last year as echoes of that pesky injury from December 2014 loomed in the back of my mind. But each week as I built miles, Jeffrey was helping me to build confidence and tap into my "factory new" leg as he likes to call it.

We had a most magical training run today which I will save for tomorrow's blog post...but for now let me just say that training for the Bermuda Half Marathon is so much lovelier the second time around...

To your health and wellness,
Mary

Friday, August 19, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Find your treasure!



The Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy pioneered by Jeffrey Spratt,MT is a phenomenal method for healing trauma. I love the imagery Jeffrey uses to describe the work. He talks about traumatic memories leaving an imprint and then, over time, become fossilized, embedded in the body altering muscle, nerve and biochemical functioning. This is turn alters the mind, perceptions of the world and can fuel the repetitive nature of experiencing the same thoughts and behaviors over and over again. His hands and his fingers are his tools as he channels Indiana Jones searching to help the client reclaim the long lost treasure of themselves after trauma. Cue the music:



His compassionate presence channeling the Force of Divine Love flowing through him is powerful medicine. His strength and his presence allow me to finally unearth all the horrific events from my past restoring healthy functioning mind, body and soul.

Coincidentally, the imagery I used in writing poetry long before I ever met Jeffrey talked about buried treasure and asking the question how would I ever reclaim my life?! (Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life is available on Amazon.)


Born to Run

Born free
born to run
run free
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
refining
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
I AM
born to run
running free
joyfully crossing the finish line with ease.

Foot Strike

Each strike struck a chord of fear
helplessness
terror.
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
striking back
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.


The healing is all happening and I am able to relax and enjoy the therapy sessions more than having traumatic memories surface and because of all the digging we have done, I've hit pay dirt.

In my last treatment with Jeffrey I found myself sharing with him positive aspects of my youth. Positive friendships I had, going to NY Jets home games when they went to the Super Bowl, my crush on Joe Willie Namath and yes Barry Manilow, my love of live concerts and remembering the treasured moments of my past that were buried underneath the trauma. I had to use so much energy to seal off the trauma that I couldn't make space for the wonderful memories. In order to keep out the trauma, I had to keep it all out.

Of course it helps that Jeffrey and I share similar tastes in pop culture and Jeffrey loves to entertain during a session. His joy and passion for life, for music and sports help positive energy to flow.

In addition to reclaiming my advantage and coming back after a serious knee injury in December of 2014 that everyone said would sideline me from running, running unencumbered and free now, I reclaim my life - all of it - remembering the treasure of who I am and have always meant to be and recovering treasured memories from my past.

To your health and wellness!
Mary





Thursday, August 18, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Motivation!



What motivates me, a 62 year old survivor of paralytic polio and childhood trauma to maintain a 5 day training cycle of a long run on Saturday, strength training on Sunday, a 5K run on Monday, cross training in the pool on Tuesday and cross training on the Arc Trainer and Bike on Wednesday.....

First and foremost - I know the alternative of what happens if I DON'T take care of myself mind, body and soul. Almost ten years ago I was diagnosed with post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease. Initially it was excruciatingly painful to experience motivation to make a shift toward positive momentum in my life. My body was withering away and expressing the anguish of the unhealed effects of paralytic polio and trauma.

Something stirred within me as my pen became my divining rod for healing and spurred my mind and Spirit to lead the dance in motivating me to make a profound change in my life through poetry. (See Running the Race)

What a journey!

There were times when it was challenging for me to motivate myself to stay the course on my healing path UNTIL I was blessed to meet two healers, Ryan J Means, DC and Jeffrey Spratt,MT who have been the catalyst for me to maintain momentum and motivation.

They helped me to believe in my ability to heal from my past AND Jeffrey's Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy has been the game changer for me on my healing journey.

Ryan told me to set goals not limits and so last year I set the goal of running the 2016 Bermuda Half Marathon which Team McManus finished in grand style. We were so blessed that Jeffrey helped me to prepare mind, body and soul to take my first trip in 9 years and run the longest distance I had run since the 2009 Boston Marathon.



And now I'm training for the 2017 Bermuda Half Marathon!

Every workout means I am one step closer to running Bermuda again.

Jeffrey and I have been doing a lot of work to heal the residuals of trauma in my arms and hands. I joke with him about taking him on in arm wrestling. Now keep in mind Jeffrey is 11 years my junior and 6'3" tall with incredibly strong arms and hands but as I strength train my upper body, I feel myself training to engage in an arm wrestling battle with him.

Since partnering first with Ryan who now is in China bringing his gift of chiropractic healing across the world and then Jeffrey, I like being in my body and feeling the challenge, the soreness and the discipline of training again for the Bermuda Half Marathon. Seeing posts on Facebook from the Bermuda Marathon Weekend and posts from friends who I met at last year's race keeps the excitement and motivation flowing.

My friends who are training for Fall Marathons motivate me; we motivate each other as we cheer each other on during training.

It was a profound challenge for me to find the motivation to move from a leg brace and wheelchair to finding the strength and courage to heal my life. The Universe ultimately sent me everything and everybody I need and now each day I experience the grace of digging deep to move beyond my past, reclaim advantage and reclaim life with positive momentum and motivation.

How do you stay motivated?

To your health and wellness!
Mary



Monday, August 15, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Factory New & Crossing the River of Change


~Dr. Joe Dispenza

Facebook was kind enough to remind me that one year ago today I fell on my training run.


It was one of many turning points in my healing journey. I was taking on the half marathon distance and was going through so many emotions as I was training for the longest distance race I was going to run since running the 2009 Boston Marathon.

In September, I over did my training but nothing that Jeffrey Spratt,MT and his powerfully healing Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy could not take care of.

In last Thursday's treatment with Jeffrey, I realized that I had been so immersed in my past experiences that I did not have an opportunity to grieve all that I lived through. Now that I am partnering with Jeffrey, everything is healing and everything is moving through leaving healthy, clear energy in its wake. As Jeffrey worked to bring relief to my IT band letting me know it was pretty beat up, I said to him that I had an epiphany, "I no longer have to be afraid of my left leg." I went on to say, "Wait let me frame that in the positive. I have total confidence in my left leg. We have created a new left leg." "Factory new," Jeffrey replied. I felt my heart swell. Yes! I am a brand new car from the factory without a dent or a scratch on me. Jeffrey also echoed that he has total confidence in my left leg.


Training for the 2017 Bermuda Half Marathon feels so different from a year ago and so incredibly wonderful!

I have incorporated cross training on the Arc Trainer and Bike and can train smart.

With a year of powerful healing through partnering with Jeffrey, I am so much more in tune with my body rather than being at odds with my physical being.

I have the confidence to know that I can go the distance because I did it in January.

There's been a tonnage of stress in my life (to coin a phrase that Jeffrey uses) but I am harnessing the power of my mind to stay the course in my healing. I feel that delicious soreness that comes with training for a half marathon again, building strength in my strength training and cross training and enjoying our training runs.

I can feel the ongoing transformation of healing of my left leg. The stress in my life with our daughter's mental illness has taken a toll and when I feel the stress it tends to lock down in the areas where I am vulnerable from surgeries.

BUT Jeffrey takes extra time in the treatment to work out my left leg as only he can and we join our powerful intentions to have me fully experience that factory new leg.

I am having more and more moments of feeling the opening in my leg releasing the memories of paralytic polio and 5 traumatic orthopedic surgeries.

Last week Jeffrey did energy healing on my chakras. I can feel the congestion melting away from many many gynecological surgeries and the congestion in my heart from so much heartache.

When the old emotional trauma sensations emerge, or the old physical sensations from trauma arise, I tell myself that I am now transformed and I don't have to feel that way anymore. I deserve to be healed to feel joy, love and to be fully awake and alive!

It takes persistent and consistent effort to practice a new way of Being; to recondition my body to a new mind and to continue to recondition my mind but the rewards are so worth the effort because as I swim across the river of change, to quote Dr. Joe Dispenza, I become factory new!

To your health and wellness!
Mary

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! The Spirit of the Olympics and the Birth of a Competitor



Last May, during a massage therapy session with Jeffrey Spratt,MT, pioneer of the life saving Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy, we were rehabbing my left leg after a serious knee injury. I was preparing to run my first 5K since the injury, Finish at the 50. I shared with him when the competitor within me was born.

When I was 10 years old, just two years after coming out of a full leg brace after contracting paralytic polio, and suffering nightly sexual abuse at the hands of my father, I met a camp counselor, Joe Stetz, who was on his way to becoming an Olympian. He chose the path of becoming a physician but he had the energy and drive of a competitor that he wanted to instill in me. This is a photo of him with his Olympic training relay swim team - He is on the far left:


At the end of the summer, Badger Day Camp held their annual Olympics. Badger Day Camp has been in existence since 1933 and continues the tradition of training world class swimmers.
"The Badger Swim program is led by world recognized swim coach John Collins Jr. For the past 30 years John Collins has created a world class swim program in Westchester, New York. During that time John has coached 5 world champions, multiple NCAA champions and Olympic atheletes, including Westchester’s Olympic gold medalist Rick Carey. Himself a former Badger swimmer, Indiana University All American butterflier and American Record holder in the 200 Butterfly. John is currently a member of the United States National Team coaching staff." When I attended Badger, his father who is now deceased was the Camp Director. My first camp experience as a survivor of paralytic polio was horrible and so my physiatrist Dr. Eugene Moskowitz urged my parents to find a swimming camp for me. I was blessed that I found my way to Badger Day Camp with a supportive and all inclusive environment even back in the 60's.

There were only two campers who were competing in the butterfly event in my age group. Joe told me that he wanted me to swim the butterfly in the Olympics. I told him he was crazy. I had just come out of a leg brace and was recovering from paralytic polio. He told me that I was guaranteed a medal, that my time did not matter and I would be showing the other campers a lesson in courage. I told him I was afraid of jumping off the starting block and had no idea how to do a turn. At 21 years old (although in my eyes as a 10 year old he was a god of sorts), he had a very wise and kind soul. He told me to not worry about a thing; that he would coach me one on one in everything I needed to successfully compete in the race. Thus a competitor was born! I came in dead last but I finished and proudly took my place on the medal stand.

I've carried that Olympic Spirit with me after being diagnosed with post polio syndrome now almost 10 years ago. I carried Joe with me in my heart during my training for and running the 2009 Boston Marathon and every time I take my place at the start of a race.

After my nephew's suicide in March of 2011, I strayed off my healing path. After 4/15/13, I got back into running and watching Billy Mills' video of his 10000M victory at the 1964 Olympics lit the fire within me to up my game and go for a PR at Bill Rodgers 5K for Prostate Cancer.
"The subconscious mind cannot tell the difference between reality and imagination."


I harnessed that Olympic Spirit and here is the result:


When I was only 10 years old, from the heart of an Olympian, Joe Stetz, the torch was lit within me and a competitor was born. Thanks to partnering with Jeffrey Spratt,MT each week that Olympic Flame burns brightly as I transform the trauma and transcend all that went before.

When Tom and I were watching underwater shots of Michael Phelps doing the butterfly I said, "That's not exactly how my butterfly looks." We laughed and celebrated what the Olympic Spirit is all about.

To your health and wellness,
Mary



Saturday, August 13, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! 7 Sweet Sweaty Miles at Jamaica Pond and Channeling Only Health



It still seems surreal that I am training for the Bermuda Half Marathon again! My body is feeling those sore muscles again and I remind myself this is part of the joy of the journey.

But I had this strange thing that happened once before on my left foot where it hurts on the pinky toe pad and then it turns black and blue and gets swollen. I use MICE - movement, ice, compression and elevation. The last time it happened, Jeffrey Spratt,MT examined it before a massage therapy session and set an intention for healing along with mine and it resolved.

Now I suppose one could be concerned about what's going on, stay off of it and certainly not run 7 miles:


During this morning's meditation I wondered, what if we were programmed to only channel health? What if we saw everything that was happening in our bodies as a function of health and healing rather than worrying if we were injured or perhaps had a blood clot.

Last year my beloved healer and chiropractor, Dr. Ryan suggested I read Candace Pert's book, 'Everything you need to know to feel Go(o)d.' She talks about how our perception of what is happening in our bodies affects what messages we send to our bodies and we can turn healing on or off based on our thoughts and feelings.

At the end of the book, Candace writes, "Trust. Breathe. Let go. God is in control."

In her Epilogue, she reflects on fear.

"The root of fear, I concluded, is more about being alone, feeling unconnected to others and not realizing that we're all one. As my long-term massage therapist Adam Helfer poetically put it, 'If you're connected to the divine, you'll always feel fine.' Adam had also told me he thought the best universal advice to 'feel good' is to remain in the present moment as much is possible.'

And that's what I did on my 7 mile training run today.

Fortunately the weather was much cooler than it had been during the past several days. There was cloud cover and while it was warm and humid, it was not oppressive.

Tom and I went to our magical and happy place, Jamaica Pond where we remember training for the 2009 Boston Marathon, feeling the presence of Bill Rodgers who used to train around Jamaica Pond for his Boston Marathon and where mysticism and beauty abound. It has inspired many of my poems through the years and today inspired Tom and me to relish our time together.



After our run we went to the KooKoo Cafe in Brookline Village to refuel and then home for an ice bath with Epsom Salts:


The swelling has gone down on my foot and the pain is gone!

I don't know why my body needs to do this little thing with my left foot but I interpret it as needing to release and heal something. My left side was the side most affected by the polio virus. When this happened the other night, the first thing I did was to remember how warmly and carefully Jeffrey took my foot to examine it and couldn't find anything and then worked with it during the session to bring about healing. I remembered how he affirms over and over again my factory new leg, my strength, my health and wellness. How fortunate am I to work with a massage therapist who believes in the body's natural capacity to heal and who has the gift to stimulate the body's natural capacity to heal through the power of positive touch.

I channeled only health and now have 7 sweet and sweaty miles in the Bank of Bermuda as we like to call it while we train for the Bermuda Half Marathon in January.

To your health and wellness!
Mary



Friday, August 12, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Setting a Goal



It's exhilarating to be training again for the Bermuda Half Marathon. I'm feeling those familiar aches and pains that come with adding on miles - and adding on miles at age 62 although I like to think about Meb's quote, "How old would I be if I did not know when I was born."

With total confidence, I am ready to get out and run 7 miles tomorrow. I had a powerfully healing massage therapy session with Jeffrey Spratt,MT this week.

In addition to a fabulous runner's flush using the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy, Jeffrey worked with me to heal the effects of trauma from my past and the current trauma in my life with our daughter's mental illness.

We are so blessed and deeply grateful for the treatment team that is now in place to support our daughter's journey back to mental health and well being but as Jeffrey reminded me, it's important for me to have a space to release emotions that otherwise would get trapped in my body and cause dis-ease as Tom and I manage this stress in our lives.

What a blessing to not have to live in a world of duality as I had to do growing up in a family rife with substance abuse and mental illness. I can reach out and receive love, care, support and compassion. As I allow the powerful emotions to surface from the past and now in my present life situation, I experience the power of positive touch to restore balance, equanimity, peace and healing.

Setting a goal to run the Bermuda Half Marathon keeps me focused on what I need to do to reclaim advantage and reclaim life from the effects of paralytic polio and violence and now supporting our daughter as she struggles with mental illness.

During a moment in my session with Jeffrey I felt tired and defeated and cried tears from deep in my soul and then I paused and had a Scarlett O'Hara moment:



"With God as my witness they're not going to lick me..."

I'm going to continue to manage my life in a new way despite experiencing triggers from the past. I'm going to continue to maintain and build on all the gains I have made through partnering with Jeffrey since April of last year and tomorrow we head out to Jamaica Pond for 7 sweet and I presume sweaty miles but the joy is in the journey. I am excited to continue to manifest what I imagined in the unseen through the power of poetry into the visible as I train for the 2017 Bermuda Half Marathon.

What goal have you set?

To your health and wellness,
Mary

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Climb Every Mountain! Healing the Mountain of Trauma

"Do you like Barbara Streisand?" I asked Jeffrey Spratt,MT during my massage therapy session today. "I enjoy her music," he said. "Why?" he asked. "She's on tour now. We decided the tickets were too pricey even in the nose bleeds seats so we'll need to wait for her album to drop...There's this duet with Jamie Foxx - Climb Every Mountain." "Goosebumps?" Jeffrey asked. "Goosebumps and tears I told him." At the time I hadn't recalled how, for many years, I could not listen to her music.



I grew up with the iconic Barbara Streisand - Funny Girl, Funny Lady, Hello Dolly; watching her on the Ed Sullivan Show. I have her LP's. One year for Christmas my adoring well meaning husband got me one of her CD's for Christmas. He didn't realize I'd not been listening to her music for awhile. I tried to listen to the CD and it was a trigger for me. I felt so badly but at the time there was nothing I could do about it. The sad thing about trauma is that it can claim so much of our lives robbing us of the things that once brought us joy and happiness.

BUT the story doesn't end there...



I'd been on a quest for these past 10 years to heal my life after the diagnosis of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease. And then my prayers were answered. In January of 2015 I met Dr. Ryan Means, a chiropractic healer who would remind me of all that I had yearned for and wrote about in my poetry since 2007. He steered me away from the nay sayers and the people in my life who were recapitulating my past with me and became my sherpa as I found my way to healing. The Universe then hooked me up with Jeffrey in April of 2015.

Jeffrey's hands get warm and radiate Divine Love as he partners with me to heal the effects of having contracted paralytic polio followed by 9 years of unrelenting violence. Several years ago I wrote this poem foreshadowing the work we are doing together; in my sessions with him I stake my claim and reclaim my life transformed from victim to mighty conqueror.


The Mountain of Trauma from Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life"

Weighted down by baggage
I trudged up the mountain that loomed before me
believing I needed all these supplies in order to survive
protective clothing and gear
heavy blankets of fear and panic
sleepless nights in the cold
unable to appreciate the starry night
walled off from all that surrounded me
in solitude I trudged onward and upward
carrying hope in my heart that I would find what I was looking for.

Little by little shedding baggage
leaving the trail of what no longer serves the soul
no need to look back
looking down
stomach lurches with uneasiness
thrown off balance
eyes gaze upward.

Turning my face to the summit
sun radiating warmth
feeling Divine Love on angel slides
my heart quickening its beat
knowing this is the place
seeking no more
planting the flag of my freedom
staking my claim on my birthright
drinking in the moment
no longer a victim
mighty conqueror


I am learning how to open my heart and appreciate all the beauty and splendor, magic and mystery that life has to offer. I shed the baggage and transform how I live in my body and celebrate my Being.

This past weekend I selected two of Barbara Streisand's songs for my Bermuda Marathon Training Playlist, "On a Clear Day" and "Don't Rain on my Parade."

And then with beautiful synchronicity, "Climb Every Mountain" is one of the songs that is featured for Barbara Streisand's upcoming new album.

"The Sound of Music" was the first movie I saw in Cinerama. My friend Caryn Rodman's mother invited me to accompany them into "the City" to see it. We sat in the first row of the balcony. It was breathtaking for me as a 12 year old girl and what an escape for me given the horrific circumstances I was living in that nobody knew about at the time.

Here it is from the original movie:

As Barbara said, "Climb every mountain has faith built into it. It's about taking chances and risks and striving to be better." I carried faith with me through all these years; a faith that gave me the strength to climb every mountain and took chances and risks striving - always striving to be better ... til I found my dream of total healing now bringing hope and inspiration and faith to others.

To your health and wellness,
Mary




Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Transformation Tuesday - On Running a PR Then & Now



Tomorrow marks the two year anniversary of when I ran a PR at the Bill Rodgers 5K For Prostate Cancer. It was a triumphant moment for me after having experienced my nephew's suicide in March of 2011 and then the horrific events of 4/15/13.



After my triumphant PR, the massage therapist I was working with at the time showed no excitement about what I had just done. The staff at the massage therapy practice congratulated me, gave me a card and flowers but as I sat across from him before my session, I was greeted with flat affect. The treatment I received was virtually the same session I received week in and week out. It's no wonder I was an injury waiting to happen but oh what an incredibly glorious moment I experienced crossing that finish line.

When I first asked Jeffrey Spratt,MT what inspired him to pioneer the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy, he used the analogy of going out for dinner on a Friday night after a long work week. "You go into the restaurant and you wait for your table. One wait person comes over and virtually brushes by your table barely acknowledging your presence. How does that make you feel? Then a wait person comes over with arms full of dishes, juggling your menus and managing to hand them to you asking, "Can I get you something from the bar?" You take a long deep exhale and begin to unwind." He went on to share with me how important it is to attend to the client the moment they are on the table and greet every part of the body searching out the areas that you'll need to come back to in order to bring relief and help the client reclaim advantage and reclaim life.

After I ran that PR I knew my body needed a good flush but at the time I did not know I was worthy of quality, effective massage therapy and so I settled feeling ignored like that patron at the restaurant.

I did not compromise my unrelenting movement forward in my journey to health and wellness.

I wrote poetry asking how will I ever reclaim my life and yearning to run unencumbered and free striving to be the person I was always meant to be free from the effects of paralytic polio and childhood trauma.


Several weeks ago I scored a PR at the Quonset Air Show 4 Miler:


Jeffrey was there at the start:


cheered me on to a strong finish and celebrated with Team McManus after the event:


I've been blessed with a running partner in Tom who runs by my side stride by stride whatever pace and whatever distance I need. The community of runners has embraced my journey every mile of the way. And in April of 2015, I was blessed to find my way to Jeffrey's table. I reclaim advantage and reclaim life experiencing a glorious transformation from a survivor of paralytic polio and 9 years of unrelenting violence as a child to the magnificent woman I am today living my best life!

To your health and wellness,
Mary










Monday, August 8, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! A Runner's High



Some people (who are probably not runners) would say, "What's the big deal that they told you not to run anymore?" referencing what the doctors, PT's and even a massage therapist told me after a serious knee injury in December 2014.

Some people (also probably not runners) might ask me, "Why do you rave so much about Jeffrey Spratt,MT and his pioneering Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy?"

As one who contracted paralytic polio at age 5 and endured 9 years of violence from the age of 8 until my father's suicide when I was 17, 45 years ago, I suffered and I mean suffered with symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder and never felt good in my body. I was a stranger to athletics and while dissociation helped me to survive, I paid a terrible price for the great divide within me mind, body and soul.

But then I discovered the powerful mind, body and soul medicine of running.

It's crazy in a way since I did not start running until I was 53 years old.

Tom and I are training once again for the Bermuda Half Marathon. He's training for the Half Challenge: The Front Street Mile, the 10K and then the Half with me.

Bermuda Marathon Weekend posted this photo on Facebook:


Running and especially racing brings out the best in me.

It was a beautiful summer's morning here in Boston and Team McManus woke up at 6:15am to greet the day with a 5K run.

I run and train from the inside out. I was still feeling the joy of running in the rain on Saturday's 6.5 miler. Yesterday I did my strength training work out on land. Today I was ready to run again.

Tom and I settled into a great tempo run. We did negative splits with a little over a 15 minute/mile pace for miles 2 and 3.

I spotted a Brookline Firefighter in the distance displaying Engine 1 on the back of his t-shirt. Tom took one look at me and knew what I was going to do. It's our version of a Fartlek. He was walking at a fairly brisk pace but I knew we could catch up to him. As we started to pass him I said, "Thank you for your service to our community. We appreciate you." "Thank you," he replied, "Anything for you."

I kept up the quickened pace to the end of our run. I felt my lungs burning and my legs getting tired but I also felt that wonderful runner's high that carried me through the day.



When I first met with Jeffrey on 4/19th of last year he knew the big deal about me needing to get back on the roads.

He knows that running is powerful medicine and with his healing hands, heart and soul partnered with me to get me back on the roads and go the distance!

Thank goodness that a runner's high is still legal in all 50 states - it's the best medicine there is!

To your health and wellness,
Mary

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Come Out and Play! Running in the Rain

When we began our 6.5 mile training run for the 2017 Bermuda Half Marathon, we were confident that we would outrun the forecast for rain. We didn't even bother to tie rain jackets around our waist.



Being out in the rain and feeling a sense of unbridled joy among my community of runners is a special feeling for me. I contracted paralytic polio when I was 5 and never experienced that feeling of running through puddles as a child. I didn't even start running until 2007.

When I was still in a leg brace, using a wheelchair at time for mobility now almost 10 years ago, I had a dream about splashing in the puddles without my leg brace a la Gene Kelly in Singin' in the Rain.


That dream prompted me to write this poem included in my latest poetry book, "Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life":

Come Out and Play
Arms flung open wide dancing in the rain
pure abiding joy to feel alive again
healing tears fall and blend in God’s puddle
no time to sit in a corner and huddle
all the old rules driven by fears
washed away now by God’s loving tears
the imprint dad left no longer remains
rain washes away all of the stains
baptized with love, Truth lights my way
the sun shines through on this rainy day
splashing and laughing my heart opens wide
embracing and flowing I’m one with the tide
God takes my hand release the old way
bathe in my glory come out and play!


Last year, just about this time, I was leaving the Seaport Hotel after my first meeting with Jeffrey Spratt,MT to talk about my role as Communications and Public Relations Director. In just a few short months, I experienced tremendous gains through our partnering together since April, and was ready to explore the possibility of returning to work in addition to my returning to the roads. Who better to talk about the work being done at Spratt Muscular Therapies than me?

We had a fantastic meeting sitting in the sunshine in the Plaza Garden as Jeffrey shared with me his vision for his company and his unique niche in the massage therapy profession. We hugged goodbye in the lobby. "Do you have an umbrella?" Jeffrey asked me. The skies were threatening rain. "Oh no," I said. "My car is just down the street. I'll be fine."

I had no jacket and no umbrella and within a few feet of stepping out of the lobby I heard the crack of thunder and bolts of lightning filled the sky. I could have easily taken shelter and waited for the storm to pass BUT



I splashed in the puddles and was soaked to the skin by the time I got to my car. I embraced every moment of running through the rain; the first time I ever felt free and unencumbered, fearless in being out in the intense elements.

Tom and I chose a challenging training run with hills. We welcomed the cloud cover as a break from the searing hot sun and humidity. There were a few plops plops of rain drops. As we were almost nearing the end of our run, the plops turned into a steady rain and then the downpours came!

There were other runners out for their training runs who were also caught in the rain without jackets or hats. We smiled and giggled as we passed each other giving each other high fives and a happy shrug as if to say, "What are you gonna do? We're out here so we may as well finish the run."

I was robbed of so much in my childhood that was fraught with struggles trying to overcome paralytic polio at age 5 followed by 9 years of torture and unrelenting violence. But moments like yesterday and many moments I've experienced since partnering with Jeffrey, made up for all of that. Rather than listen to the cautionary tale I received from doctors throughout my life as a survivor of paralytic polio, Tom and I responded to the call of the Universe to, "Come out and play!"



My heart overflows with gratitude to Jeffrey and his life saving Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy that helps me reclaim advantage and reclaim life experiencing all the joy and giggles that life has to offer and the strength and resilience to overcome the challenges.

To your health and wellness,
Mary