Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! The pen is mightier than the sword!
In February of 2007, I sat at my dining room table contemplating a very grim future! I sat in a leg brace and used a wheelchair at times for mobility and was told that I "had" Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease. I was told to prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair. The best we could possibly hope for was to stabilize the symptoms where they were if I quit my award winning career as a VA social worker, went on social security disability and did everything that the doctors and therapists told me I should do.
The only thing I did do was to take a leap of faith and leave my job because the stress of the job and the daily grind of getting up at 5am and working 8-4:30 was not going to create a healing environment for me mind, body and soul.
I asked for Divine Guidance about what my next steps should be. I was scared but I got still and lo and behold the answer came in the cadence of Dr. Seuss! When I was recovering from paralytic polio, my physical therapist, Miss Holly read Dr. Seuss to me before every painful physical therapy session and then to distract me from the pain, had me recite Dr. Seuss back to her.
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 and 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, isolated from friends- trying 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.
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.
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.
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.
This poem foreshadowed my 2009 Boston Marathon run and I continued writing poetry to get me through my training and to the finish line on Boylston Street!
Poetry began pouring out of me at warped speed. It was as though a spigot was turned on in my soul and I began expressing gratitude, joy, love, healing and wholeness through what became my divining rod for healing, my pen.
Perhaps what was most curious was that after repeatedly hitting the wall in my journey to health and wellness trying feverishly to heal the effects of paralytic polio and trauma, I started asking the question how will I ever reclaim my life and yearning to run unencumbered and free.
From Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life:
Each strike struck a chord of fear
How would I ever reclaim my life?
Holding onto hope
waiting for the day
when memories would no longer weigh heavy
free to run my own race.
Stomping in anger
shadow boxing with the thief
who stole away childhood innocence
a no win.
Each foot strike ignites my soul
fired up to run my best race
taking the lead
breaking finisher’s tape
today I won my race.
Crumpled cringing alone in darkness portrait of paralyzed child
heap of limbs loss of control panic fear run rampant and wild.
Enter stage right he gathers her gentle tears honor old embrace new
beautiful ballerina transformed music swells the pas de deux.
Dancing with Spirit she celebrates lost in moment of time and space
winged feet now poetry in motion joyful light ease and grace.
Daring she enters spotlight center stage a vision to behold
vulnerable yet confident - courageous strikingly bold.
On point to an audience she no longer plays,
soul’s rhythm tempo she keeps
magic memories made in each moment
delighting grateful heart leaps.
Her life she now knows has no bounds
choreography her dancing decree
revelations unveiled with each movement
unencumbered expansive now free.
On the battlefield of life
when we fight the good fight
a heart for a heart
to the victor goes the spoils.
A treasure trove of Truth
scars merely badges of honor
secret weapon of loving kindness
vapors of fear
water bathing the garden of my soul
yielding to joy
as treaty signed with forgiveness
sweet reward of peace.
fragrant green grass
a winding road leading to everywhere
strapping and healthy
free to be me
my victory lap.
Trembling with excitement
shaking it off
allow yourself to be with a capital B
Being who you were always meant to be
yet time well spent
on tiny legs
grounded to earth’s energy
garnering wisdom along the way
a time of uncertainty
this is the path
abide in darkness
lose grip on grasping
On April 15, 2015 I was led to Jeffrey Spratt,MT, pioneer of the life saving Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy. His tagline? Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life!
Our first session was on April 19, 2015 - from "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance":
He greeted me at the Front Desk of Wave Health and Fitness all 6’2 and a half inches of him (6’3” on the program he once told me) dressed in his collared black Spratt Muscular Therapies shirt and beige khakis. My hands shook as I tried to complete the intake form. Do I dare trust another massage therapist? What if he turns out to be just like all the other body workers I met during these past 8 years? Was he trustworthy? After all the only thing I knew about him really was what I read on his website that contained very little information about him. When I did a google search I learned that he taught at the Cortiva Institute, had a degree in aviation and had been a practice manager at Massage Works in Quincy. I did some Facebook stalking and discovered we had mutual friends in common from L Street Running Club. I sent him a photo from One Boston Day with a Facebook message letting him know we had Facebook friends in common. He said he was looking forward to seeing me on Sunday....
I had never experienced anyone work with me the way Jeffrey worked with me in that first session. He used very little product, worked a lot through the sheets and rather than attending to an area and having it be once and done, he moved around my body and methodically went back to work on areas again. I experienced a sense of stillness and peace on the table feeling so comfortable and at ease while Jeffrey worked with me. As he finished with a clearing of the energy, he placed his left hand on my right shoulder while he turned his body toward the door. He turned his head and gently
looked down at me, “Okay Mary…take your time getting up. I left a hot towel for you if you’d like to use it….Please don’t rush. Take your time. Open the door a crack when you’re dressed.”
“How are you feeling?” Jeffrey asked me as he handed me a cold bottle of water as a wine steward presents a fine bottle of wine at the finest restaurant.
“Amazing. I’ve never experienced anything like that before.”
Jeffrey warmly smiled.
“I usually tremble – I have head tremors and body tremors but I was so still and felt so at ease with you.”
“I felt your stillness,” Jeffrey replied.
“I want you to run unencumbered,” Jeffrey said with his piercing blue eyes intently looking into mine. At the time I didn’t quite take in the enormity of what he had just said. He was setting an intention for our work together that I had set early on with my personal trainer and then wrote about in my poetry for the past several years.
“I’d like to work with you,” I said knowing that my life was about to dramatically change for the better.
He has partnered with me to release and heal the once devastating effects of paralytic polio, rape, beatings, psychological and physical torture at the hands of family members. His powerful skilled quality touch is medicine for mind, body and soul.
I am triumphing over their evil. I am unearthing the treasures and the Truth of my being living my life and running unencumbered and free. There is more physical healing to be done and I continue to heal the emotional wounds from the trauma but I have an incredible quality of life at 63 years old having had no relapses of symptoms of Post-Polio Syndrome. I run, I cross train, I swim and I strength train. I work to spread the word about Jeffrey and Spratt Muscular Therapies as his Communications and PR Director and am also his Executive Assistant. I am resilient and strong having reclaimed my advantage and reclaimed my life from the thieves who tried to kill me mind, body and soul. I have run two CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathons!
Several years ago I put out the call to the Universe through my poetry and set the intention for what I yearned for in my life. The Universe answered the call letting me know that the pen is so much mightier than the sword!
To your health and wellness,