Monday, July 31, 2017

Run Bermuda! Run Happy! Look for the signs!

"Wait mom," Ruth Anne said to us as we were about to turn the corner onto Beacon Street on last Saturday's run. She found ANOTHER dime!

Our stash of cash for money found on our training runs on the road to Bermuda Marathon Weekend is growing....

and so are our miles

and so is our faith!

Life challenges us is in so many ways and it's so easy to grab onto our problems and hold on for dear life as we try to find a solution. Often times, our solution is based in emotions of fear, guilt, shame or anger.

It's amazing and quite miraculous when we let go and let in Divine wisdom to guide us.

Shortly after being diagnosed with Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease by Western Medicine Standards back in December of 2006, I got still and asked for Divine Guidance. The team painted a very grim future for me that included needing to leave my 20 year award winning career as a VA social worker, spending my life in a wheelchair, possibly needing a feeding tube, a sleep apnea machine and basically withering away as a result of the polio virus I contracted when I was 5 years old.

From "Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility":
I sat at my dining room table on a freezing cold dark February evening. No one else was at home. I had printouts from ‘new age’ teachers spread out all over the table. Dr. Bernie Siegel, Wayne Dyer, Tony Robbins, teachers from “The Secret” which was very popular back in the day were beckoning me. The theme was gratitude and a call to create.

“I am so happy and grateful that I can create,” was an affirmation from a Lisa Nichols newsletter.

Create? Create? I asked myself over and over again. What am I going to create? I had twins and my childbearing years were over. My career was quickly coming to an end. And then I felt a stirring in my second chakra (only then I didn’t know it was my second chakra – I thought it might have been something I ate). I went over to my laptop in the corner of the living room and I wrote this poem:

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.

I sobbed to write those words. I had never spoken about polio or the abuse I endured. I became curious. Why am I writing about winning a 10K race? When my husband came home I announced that I had a plan for life after the VA. Could he create a poetry website for me and we’ll have advertisers? He was delighted that I was thinking about life after the VA and said he’d be delighted to create a website for me.

The next morning as I was getting ready for work he came into the bathroom and said,

“Listen I have an idea for you. You know how you always write those really wonderful poems to celebrate special occasions – like you did for when the kids were in kindergarten and for our friends and family … Well why don’t you start a greeting card company?”

“What? I don’t know anything about starting a business.”

“So you’ll learn. I didn’t know anything about computers when I first got into them and look at where I am today.”

I came up with the name New World Greeting Cards, customized poetry for every occasion. Inspirational poems began flowing out of me. As I wrote poetry, I felt no pain. I was transported to a place within. I had to have pen and paper with me everywhere I went. The Universe began sending me all sorts of messages and doors began to open inviting me into this new and strange world. How wondrous that I returned to the healing cadence of Dr. Seuss that brought me so much comfort during my recovery from paralytic polio. Now I was the one holding the pen. I continued to work at the VA while planning my exit strategy.

And sometimes, we are reminded to keep the faith and showered with grace in some unexpected moments...

like finding a dime - the symbol for a 10K and a sign for me as a survivor of paralytic polio as I wrote about in last year's blog....

a reminder to always keep the faith, feel connected to something bigger than we are; to look beyond circumstances and to move confidently in the direction of our dreams as we look for the signs to guide our path.

Go the distance with strength and courage!

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life

Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:

And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):

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