Tuesday, April 30, 2019

National Poetry Month: The Runner

National Poetry Month has given me a rare opportunity to take time and read the poems I wrote from 2007 to the present. I wrote most of my poems from 2007-2016. I continue to write poetry when Spirit moves me and it moves my mind, body and soul to continue to feel the heal. It is a blessing and a gift in my life to read and write my poetry and to enjoy the poetry of fellow poets.

Yesterday I went on a solo run. Tom had to be in work early and so I ventured out on my own after I dropped Tom off at work.

It was an unseasonably chilly late April day but the sun was shining. No rain, snow, sleet or ice and sun shining is a win when it comes to running in New England.

I had a tough time getting in the groove for my run. I remembered that I am training for the Finish at the 50 and need to continue to embody myself as the runner who emerged after the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome.

I took time to both push my pace and savor the beautiful Spring day.

I was astounded by my negative splits inspired by two women whom I 'chose" as my competitors. They were ahead of me and I was able to pass them but then I stopped for water and they passed me again. There was a big gap between us and I knew if I pushed the pace any more than I was I would risk an injury. So I settled for third place feeling a wonderful clearing of mind, body and soul after I finished my 3.13 miles.

As I looked through "Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life" for a poem to wrap up National Poetry Month, I came across:
The Runner

Beautiful bedazzling beckoning Spirit shimmering on water
gentle ripples
muscles rippling as I run by catching glimpse of my own reflection
families of turtles and geese
a new season
a time to love
miracles of life abound
bearing witness
delicious decadent Divinity
feast for eyes and soul
quenches every thirst
her pace quickens
broad smile
transformed once more
the runner emerged
rubble from the past released to the Universe
the gravel beneath her winged feet
Hermes by her side
an Olympian going for the gold
the runner going the distance
running her own triumphant joyous race!

I cannot imagine my life without running. I am in awe of the journey of my transformation from having been told to prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond!

And to think it all started in my imagination with a poem, "Running the Race"!

Happy National Poetry Month!

From my heart to yours
In Health and Wellness,

Be sure to visit my website at www.marymcmanus.com

Hear my interview with Kendra Petrone on Magic 106.7's Exceptional Women Show by following this link

My books are available on Amazon and at Paper Fiesta in Natick on Mile 10 of the Boston Marathon route.

Monday, April 29, 2019

National Poetry Month: Run Bermuda! Run Happy!

Imagine your doctor tells you that on MRI your knee is in such bad shape that you are going to need a total knee replacement in a few years. He goes on to say that you need to stop running OR at the very least cap your distance at a 5K. Your cartilage is shredded. You have bone spurs, a fatty lipoma, and degenerative changes from reconstructive leg surgery and osteoarthritis. He refers you to a physical therapist who is the physical therapist from hell.

What do you do?

That's what happened to me in December of 2014.

Once again in my healing journey from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma I got still and listened for the promptings of Spirit.

I was led to Dr. Ryan, a chiropractor who believed, as I do, in the body's tremendous capacity for healing.

He led me to the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza and I double downed on my healing. Dr. Ryan partnered with me using kinesiotaping, Gastroc technique, chiropractic and prescribed a wonderful cross training/strength training routine that I continue to use today increasing the challenge as the program gets too easy for me.

By March I was back on the roads and my poetry ignited my imagination to be able to run swift, with ease and unencumbered.

From "Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life":
Paving the Path of Freedom

Frivolous frolicking filly be not deceived by her devil may care
eye of the tiger a fiery soul exceeding all limits she’ll dare.
She pounds pavement paving her way no longer driven by fright
portal to possibility all she’s ever dreamed of now within sight.
Thunderous hooves determined unbecoming all that she once knew
leave her old self in the dust shedding past of all she lived through.
pave the way to embrace herself as she was always meant to be
spirit joyful rejoicing being herself unbridled she’s free.
Competing with no one but herself instinctively she quickens pace
no longer limping swift of foot overflowing with ease and grace.
Feeling Spirit expanding nostrils flare and peace fills her soul
filled with goodness and kindness undefeated remarkably whole.

"Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them." -Marcus Aurelius

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
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
born to run
running free
joyfully crossing the finish line with ease.

From "The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953":
Anthony Raynor and Clarence Smith had me at hello at the Bermuda Marathon Weekend Booth at the Finish at the 50 Expo. Tom started chatting with Clarence "Stoker" Smith. I hung back but cocked an ear to the conversation. I gingerly eyed the pink Bermuda wrist bands, the bling from Bermuda Marathon Weekend races and the samples of pink sand. I glanced at Tom and felt we each had a tug at our souls. The tug got stronger with each moment we talked with Clarence and Anthony. We reminisced about when we went to Bermuda. I felt goosebumps and a warm feeling come over me, while a part of me was wondering why was I even having this conversation about running in Bermuda. Several months ago I was told to cap my distance and prepare for a total knee replacement.

“If you can get up to the Half Marathon distance, you’ll be better off than running the 10K with all of its steep hills,” Anthony said in his delicious Bermudian accent.

“The last time I was in Bermuda I was in a leg brace using a cane and a wheelchair.”

Clarence's wife said, "Look at you now girl."

There was no stopping me now. We exchanged information. Clarence told us he'd pick us up at the airport. I chatted with Anthony about the weather in January.

"Look," he said with a deep warm laugh, "I was told you people still have piles of snow near the Seaport Hotel from this past winter. I can guarantee you this. You will have no snow in Bermuda in January."

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.” ~Mark Twain

It was time to sail away from safe harbor and go the distance again. This time on the magical Island of Bermuda.

“Running is about finding your inner peace and so is a life well lived. Run with your heart.” ~Dean Karnazes

And so it was!

Tom and I proudly showed off our bling after Bermuda Marathon Weekend 2016 at the airport on our way back to Boston:

I wasn't a one hit wonder and went on to run Bermuda 2017 and 2018! We ran Bermuda and we ran happy! Well except for when I cramped up at mile 10 in 2017 and ended up in the medical tent but quickly recovered!

I'm still running but choosing 5K's rather than having a limit imposed by a doctor. I grew new cartilage, a new gastroc muscle, dissolved bone spurs and in essence, replaced my injured left knee with a healthy knee all through the power of my mind, chiropractic care and cross training/strength training.

And why do I keep running and working out now improving my pace, (after having focused on endurance at the 13.1 distance for 4 years) challenging myself at the age of 65 years old...because ....

From my heart to yours
In Health and Wellness,

Be sure to visit my website at www.marymcmanus.com

Hear my interview with Kendra Petrone on Magic 106.7's Exceptional Women Show by following this link

My books are available on Amazon and at Paper Fiesta in Natick on Mile 10 of the Boston Marathon route.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

National Poetry Month: Bridge to Nowhere

This blog post is dedicated to Dr. Bernie Siegel!

As I set out on my healing quest to heal the effects of paralytic polio and trauma in February of 2007 and discovered the gift of poetry in my soul, I also listened to Bernie Siegel MD's meditation CD's Prescription for Living. As I emerged from one of these healing intervals as Dr. Bernie likes to call them, I felt this poem flow out of me:

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

The Bridge

Restlessness filled my cells
in the dark quiet of the night
transported to another time and place
to remember
a black and white photo
a snapshot
knowing even then
I was separate from the walking dead.

Yet I was separate from the living
a wandering stranger
would I ever find my way
the veil of fog lifted
unveiling the bridge
soft lush green grass
purple wildflowers
vivid colors created by the hand of Divine Love
unbuckled my brace
quietly stepping out of my old shoes
my bare feet tickled
my soul happy and free
the bridge to nowhere
home at last!

Many of my poems began with an expression of how I felt in the past having endured years of abuse at the hands of family members shortly after contracting paralytic polio at age 5. But I didn't stay there. Through the power of my pen, my divining rod for healing, I was able to transform and heal the wounds of my past through the power of love!

Recently I was blessed to be a guest on Bernie's show, Mind Health Matters. You can listen to the interview by following this link.

Bernie and I have been friends since the 1980's when a nurse introduced me to his work. He became my CD or Chosen Dad teaching me how to love myself and how the power of love heals.

As I wrote poetry transforming the past, I witnessed a miraculous healing in mind, body and soul. I created a future very different from the ones the doctors predicted for me that I would spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair. I discovered the sport of running that became my therapy and brought me into a village of runners where we share unconditional love and respect for one another.

What a blessing to be happy and free on the bridge to nowhere finding my way home!

From my heart to yours
In Health and Wellness,

Be sure to visit my website at www.marymcmanus.com

Hear my interview with Kendra Petrone on Magic 106.7's Exceptional Women Show by following this link

My books are available on Amazon and at Paper Fiesta in Natick on Mile 10 of the Boston Marathon route.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

National Poetry Month: A Neighborhood Run

As the thunder crashed and flashes of lightning lit up the night sky, as rain poured last night, Tom and I wondered how were we ever going to get in our run today?! The weather called for cloudy skies with wind and temps in the 40's for this morning. We had a Plan A and a Plan B. Plan A was to take to the hills and run a new route around our neighborhood away from the wind of the Reservoirs. Plan B was to go to the BU Fit/Rec Center and use the cardio equipment there if the elements proved to be hazardous for a run.

We awoke to the sound of the wind but no rain! Puddles were on our lawn and the street was still wet but nothing we couldn't manage especially since we had run through snow, slush and ice this past winter. We packed our ponchos in a runner's backpack, layered, wore a hat/headband and gloves and went out for a run.

There was a stiff headwind that greeted us.

"Should we plan to go the back route to Beacon Street and skip the hills?" Tom asked me.

"NO!" I answered. "I need to get ready for the Finish at the 50 5K and that's got those ramps to get through."

"All right," Tom said -- let' go for it!"

We headed down Eliot Street and up Dean Road which is a very steep and long hill. I embraced the challenge and sailed through the downhills.

When we got to Beacon Street, Tom asked me if I wanted to take a left or a right.

"A left," I suggested.

When we got to the end of Beacon Street at Cleveland Circle, we saw a group of young women sporting Boston College Women's Lacrosse Team jackets.

We stopped to catch our breath and I was inclined to ask, "Do any of you know Brittany..." and I paused to remember her last name.

"Wilton...yes....wait how do you know her?"

I told them the story of our not so chance encounter on Thursday.

"That's an incredible story!" Kenzie said. "My mom coaches the Lacrosse Team so yes we know Brittany."

We wished them well in their game tomorrow and we all sent each other on our way with "Go Eagles!"

I wrote this poem several years ago that clearly captures how I felt on today's run and my journey of transformation through running:

A Neighborhood Run from "Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life":

Early on a weekend morning
lacing up
heading out
heart open
feeling free
runners pass me left and right
but no matter
I run my own race
keep my own pace
peaceful and content
celebrating health
feeling well and whole
holy integrated
in my sacred earthly home
remembering a time not so long ago
of estrangement from myself
isolated and apart
unworthy and wretched
oh the stories we tell ourselves
but no more
on this late summer day
my neighborhood
coming home in my body
I come home to my life.

The hills and headwind were challenging but I was rewarded with a wonderful runner's high as the endorphins surged with the effort.

With every run, I come home to my body. I come home to my life and discover something within me that is just perfect!

From my heart to yours
In Health and Wellness,

Be sure to visit my website at www.marymcmanus.com

Hear my interview with Kendra Petrone on Magic 106.7's Exceptional Women Show by following this link

My books are available on Amazon and at Paper Fiesta in Natick on Mile 10 of the Boston Marathon route.

Friday, April 26, 2019

National Poetry Month: Transformation

I've been celebrating the tenth anniversary of my 2009 Boston Marathon run and enjoy taking a look back at my journey both getting to the starting line in Hopkinton and every mile of the 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston.

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


Mary, Mary had to be contrary
they wouldn’t let her garden grow
she held on tight as they tried to snuff out her light
she kept her Spirit safe, sheltered aglow.
A moral dilemma should she fight or leave
she knew darkness could never win
no more destruction let peace prevail
a new day she can now begin.
With deep breaths of healing, a new rhythm of life
one with ocean, the earth and stars
the ugliness pales, perfection can shine
and all that remains a few scars.
Mary, Mary no longer contrary
her blue eyes gentle, wise an ageless soul
all the events once held in her flesh flushed out
only love remains Mary’s now whole.
Mary, Mary so innocent and pure
no longer alone and in fear
a message of healing she brings to the world
journey well she wants all to hear.
May others discover this message of hope
Mary carries her message as a torch for life
courage and kindness, compassion and love
forgiveness the cure for all the world’s strife.
Her heart is so thankful that she made it through
let everyone’s garden grow wild and free
each sentient Being find their way home
to Be the person that they were always meant to Be.

Going back into a leg brace using a cane and at times a wheelchair for mobility and having been told that I should prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair threw me into a tailspin in December of 2006.

My life, much like the life of the caterpillar came to a screeching halt!

This is from Christmas 2007:

After working with a personal trainer, I declared I was going to run the 2009 Boston Marathon for Spaulding Rehab.

In June of 2008, I ran my first 5K race:

And I was on the road to the Boston Marathon!

The Marathon Sports 5 miler was excruciatingly painful mind, body and soul but I didn't quit!

We built miles while I experienced a journey of transformation happening with every foot strike:
Foot Strike

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
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.

I trained...I wrote poetry imagining success on Marathon Monday while leaving the past behind....I trained and I wrote poetry. I meditated harnessing the power of my mind to heal my body from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma.

And then ... on 4/20/2009 ... I flew free ...

It was a journey of transformation filled with pain, exhilaration, trials, triumphs, tribulations and excitement doing the impossible!

My recently released "The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953" fills you in on the details of this amazing journey of transformation ... from a survivor of childhood paralytic polio and severe trauma at the hands of family members to a woman who embodies faith, grace under fire, courage, determination, endurance and resilience.

From my heart to yours
In Health and Wellness,

Be sure to visit my website at www.marymcmanus.com

Hear my interview with Kendra Petrone on Magic 106.7's Exceptional Women Show by following this link

My books are available on Amazon and at Paper Fiesta in Natick on Mile 10 of the Boston Marathon route.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

National Poetry Month: A is for Amazing

From "Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life"- a poem that perfectly captures a delightful encounter I was blessed to experience this morning on a day that brought brilliant blue skies to Boston's Copley Square:

A is for Amazing

A is for amazing awake aware alive
B is for God’s bounty unbounded for us to thrive.
C is for contagious spreading love in all we do
D is for delicious decadent Divine uniquely you.
Everything is perfect in God’s mysterious wondrous way
Finding faith and trusting beckon friends to come and play.
Growing in God’s likeness in gloriousness we shine
Happiness and harmony life is blissful fancy fine.
I AM all that I’m meant to be your blessed beloved child
Jackpot won in lottery of life on Your family You’ve always smiled.
Knocking on your kingdom’s door of my life You’re always a part
Laughter, loving, lusciousness treasure in my heart.
Meditation in the stillness moving ever closer to You
Needing nothing when You’re near always sees me through.
Observing without judging allowing everything to Be
Patience practice persistence with You I’m running free.
Questioning and querying no need for asking why
Rest assured there is a purpose dry my tears no need to cry.
Synchronicity serendipity surrender is a must
Thankful for this life we live based in faith and trust.
Universal Love unconditional showers upon us all
Vowing to let you be my Guide to catch me if I fall.
Welcome grace’s blessings cup our hands let it rain
X-ray vision You see through us easing all our pain.
Yoda’s wisdom now resounding trust the Force wield saber’s light
Zealous in our purpose Spirit soaring now takes flight!

I arrived early for my appointment in Copley Square with Dr. Lizzie.

Although there was a chill in the air, the sun was warm and I decided to take my banana and water and sit outside to read before my appointment with my beloved chiropractor. I'm reading "The Essential George Sheehan."

"Would you mind watching my dog for a few minutes while I run in and get something to eat?"

"No of course not. She's beautiful"...and then "I'll protect her or maybe she'll protect me!"

Several minutes later she came out of Pret a Manger with food for herself and water for this beautiful soulful dog.

"Do you live around here?" she asked.

"Brookline," I said. "I'm here for an appointment with my chiropractor."

"I went to school there.... I went to BC."

"Oh my goodness me too. I got my Masters in Social Work there."

"Do you still do social work now?"

"No I'm a writer."

We paused in the conversation ....

"Do you write novels?"

"No I write poetry and I wrote my memoirs about my journey.." and the conversation flowed with Brittany Wilton, a personal trainer and a woman overflowing with joy and enthusiasm believing in what is possible beyond appearances to the contrary. Her energy and whole persona was infectious and swept me away.

"Can I take a photo with you? I'd love to promote your book on social media!"

She boldly asked another patron at Pret to take our photo.

She posted this on Facebook and Instagram:
Today I got to meet Mary McManus. I ran into Pret to get breakfast after teaching flywheel and asked if she would mind watching @a_malamute_laylamae while I ran in. When I came back out we began to talk. She got her masters at BC and anytime I meet a fellow BC goer I love to talk....Little did I know I would be so blown away by this woman. Mary had polio at the age of 5 and was later diagnosed with Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease in 2006. Using a cane and a wheelchair for mobility, she was told she would spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair. She decided she wasn’t going to listen. She became a writer and wrote poetry and began to visualize herself running. She started to work with a trainer. After six months of working together, she told her trainer her goal was to enjoy a walk outside.... in 2009 she ran the Boston Marathon at the age of 55. Mary is a motivational speaker and Author. Along with her poetry wrote a memoir. I feel so lucky I had the opportunity to meet her.

After her social media posts, we discovered we have 3 friends in common!

A is for Amazing when we take the time to trust, to connect and be surprised by the beautiful tapestry woven by the hand of the Divine!

From my heart to yours
In Health and Wellness,

Be sure to visit my website at www.marymcmanus.com

Hear my interview with Kendra Petrone on Magic 106.7's Exceptional Women Show by following this link

My books are available on Amazon and at Paper Fiesta in Natick on Mile 10 of the Boston Marathon route.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

National Poetry Month: A Royal Flush

It is not uncommon for people to gasp when they hear about the challenges I experienced as a child and adolescent. At the tender age of 5 years old I contracted paralytic polio. My mother was addicted to prescription pain medication and wouldn't/couldn't care for me as I lay paralyzed on the couch from the neck down. She glared at me while smoking a cigarette. Three years later, my father became alcoholic and inflicted unimaginable acts of violence against my little body. I endured 9 years of violence at his hand along with abuse from my maternal grandmother until his suicide when I was 17 years old.

Yes one could say I was dealt a crummy hand. But there was my guardian angel and earth angels who helped me get through those years and planted seeds of possibility for the champion I was always meant to be.

Those seeds began to bear fruit shortly after the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome in December of 2006 when, on a cold dark day in February of 2007, I discovered the gift of poetry in my soul! Through the power of my pen, my Divining rod for healing, I was able to free myself from the shackles of my past and imagine a future very different than the one predicted for me by Western Medicine. I was able to take stock of where I had been, where I was and where I wanted to go all through the imaginings in my mind.

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

Royal Flush

One could say I was dealt a hand of crummy cards to play
at first blush I would have to agree
bluffing became my way of life
playing my cards close to my chest
ever vigilant
shifting eyes
do I continue to play or fold?

The stakes were high
I could no longer up the ante
living on the edge
waiting to find freedom only in death
every day a living death
something had to give
new rules
unconditional love
releasing fear by experiencing fear
losing self consciousness
opening my heart.

I bet everything I had
riding on hope, faith and a prayer

“I’m all in”
putting my cards on the table
there it was
a royal flush!

The Mountain of Trauma

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!

Come Back From the Edge

It is only by going right to that moment
when consciousness is about to be lost
awakening happens
returning to the scene of the crime
no perpetrator
no longer a victim
compassion for the enraged one
restless tormented soul
seeking to end his own suffering
snuffing out my light and love
carrying the pain in my body
tightly bound wound around in each nook and cranny
body healing
releasing the pain
come back from the edge
into the fullness of life.

May you play your hand with grace, ease and gratitude for all that happened for you and for the infinite possibilities that lay before you.

From my heart to yours
In Health and Wellness,

Be sure to visit my website at www.marymcmanus.com

Hear my interview with Kendra Petrone on Magic 106.7's Exceptional Women Show by following this link

My books are available on Amazon and at Paper Fiesta in Natick on Mile 10 of the Boston Marathon route.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

National Poetry Month: Savor the Sensations

As a survivor of paralytic polio followed by enduring years of abuse at the hands of family members, I was trapped in my body desperately trying to just survive! But after the life giving diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome, I began to savor the sensations of all the seasons despite admonitions from the medical community. I was told that if I used it I would lose it (yes you read that right) because of the damage done to the neuromuscular system by the initial polio virus. However, that was 12 years ago and I hope by now that they have updated their beliefs to include the phenomenon of neuroplasticity where the body is continuously healing and regenerating itself. I was also told that I had severe osteoporosis and should not go out in winter without a cane with an ice gripper!

All of that advice went out the window as I imagined a very different life for myself through my poetry and as I dug deep while training for the 2009 Boston Marathon. This poem was inspired by a training run around Jamaica Pond:


The fear of ice and snow and slush embedded in my soul
a training run in winter - the path to Being whole.
A winter scene - Jamaica Pond - a feast for eyes' delight
to witness nature's splendor and behold this glorious sight.

A leaf - a tiny dancer - skating free without a sound
God's breath directs her movements as She guides her twirling 'round.
Families of ducks decide to walk or take a dip
a comedy of errors into icy water slip.

Branches now bejeweled though bare bend with loving Grace
sparkling diamonds' anchor water's surface hold in place.
God's hand a glove of glistening snow hugs rocks along the wall
their heads peek out reminding me I'm answering God's call.

As I spent more time outdoors during training and in general in my newfound life, rather than bemoan the elements and see them as the enemy, I embraced all the seasons and savored the sensations healing all that went before through the power of my pen, my divining rod for healing:

Savor the Sensations

The bitter taste of trauma seasoned by salty tears
must be savored in equal measure
as hot cocoa slowly sipped
wrapped in a warm, soft sweatshirt
reminiscent of hugs surrounding
seasons and sensations come and go
when we allow nature to just be
not holding on
or avoiding

gentle embrace.

In the darkness of winter
peace and solitude can be found amidst the cold
as snowflakes gently, silently fall
look close
see the glittering diamonds
soon to be reflected by the morning sun.

Savor the sensations
release the grip
allowing heart and mind to breathe it all in
and let it go with a deep exhale.

This morning as a gentle rain fell, the alarm went off at 6:15.

Tom and I donned our ponchos over our layers and headed out for our early morning run.

We breathed in the fresh clean air and allowed the rain to invigorate us inviting and invoking us to embrace a new day.

The colors of Spring are bursting forth here in New England and they seemed even more vibrant against the backdrop of a grey sky.

The diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome was a wake up call.

I am blessed and deeply grateful that I was awakened to savor the sensations and bear witness to the fullness of life in every season.

From my heart to yours
In Health and Wellness,

Be sure to visit my website at www.marymcmanus.com

Hear my interview with Kendra Petrone on Magic 106.7's Exceptional Women Show by following this link

My books are available on Amazon and at Paper Fiesta in Natick on Mile 10 of the Boston Marathon route.

Monday, April 22, 2019

National Poetry Month: The Dancer

Before I contracted paralytic polio, I took ballet classes. From "The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953":
The office was decorated in dark mahogany. Red leather padded the chairs in the waiting room. Miss Holly, the physical therapist came out to greet us. We were brought in to meet Dr. Eugene Moskowitz. His starched white coat was in sharp contrast to his heart overflowing with compassion. He got right to work and assessed my functioning while measuring me for a leg brace. I mentally checked out and wondered if I would ever be able to return to ballet class. I allowed him to do whatever he needed to do to get my body to work.

Miss Patricia was a tall graceful woman who wore pink tights, a pink tutu and pink toe shoes. She wore a light perfume that reminded me of fragrant flowers in Spring. The mirrored room with ballet barres and polished wooden floor was my sanctuary away from my cold rejecting mother. Before class I carried my shiny patent leather Capezio tote that held my leotard, tights and black ballet shoes. My friends and I gathered in the anteroom with cubbies and giggled as we transformed into ballerinas. We eagerly ran into the classroom lining up with straight backs prepared to practice…

I never did make it back to ballet class with Miss Patricia or any ballet class but as I began to recover from the effects of polio and trauma, after the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome, one of my goals was to dance again and to feel free in my body. But first, I imagined myself transformed from the ravages of paralytic polio and trauma to being a dancer!

From 'Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life':
Learning to Dance

It’s never too late
you’re never too old
to learn to dance
paralyzed from polio
paralyzed with fear
frozen in time

awkward and unsure
shame and confusion
I fell into the trap of ego
my leg snared in the jaws of agony and defeat

saved by grace
my rescuer nursed my wounds
tentative steps
stiff and clumsy
painstaking movement
fueled by thoughts of days gone by
the match is lit
no match for darkness
the music of my heart’s desire
moved me to try once again
step by step
the dance of my life
the way I was always meant to dance

yes wrinkles mark the passage of time
I burn brightly

until my dance is done.

The Dancer

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.

Since partnering with Lizzie Sobel, DC in weekly chiropractic treatments, I have retrieved and revived muscle memory from when I was a ballerina! Despite all that I've lived through, and despite being 65 years old, I experience a sense of grace and freedom in my body as I move throughout my day.

It's never too late and you're never too old to experience freedom and joy in your body and to be the dancer in the spotlight of your life!

From my heart to yours
In Health and Wellness,

Be sure to visit my website at www.marymcmanus.com

Hear my interview with Kendra Petrone on Magic 106.7's Exceptional Women Show by following this link

My books are available on Amazon and at Paper Fiesta in Natick on Mile 10 of the Boston Marathon route.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

National Poetry Month: Come Out and Play

My childhood was stolen away from me at the age of 5 when I contracted paralytic polio. Three years later, shortly after coming out of my leg brace, my father became alcoholic. I endured 9 years of unrelenting abuse of every imaginable kind until his death by suicide when I was 17 years old.

The gift of the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome led me to writing poetry and unleashing a powerful form of healing from my mind, heart and soul. I then discovered the sport of running.

From "The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953":
Unlike many who may experience running in the rain a nuisance. I feel deeply blessed and grateful I am to be able to run in the rain, navigating, sometimes without success, the mud puddles. As a survivor of paralytic polio, lugging a full metal leg brace and then not having the flexibility or freedom in my body as I got older, I never had the chance to splash in puddles and run in the rain. Shortly after being diagnosed with Post-Polio Syndrome, I had a dream about splashing in the puddles without my leg brace. Imagine the scene with Gene Kelly singing and dancing to the title song from “Singing in the Rain.” That dream inspired this poem:

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.

I joyfully ran in the rain without a leg brace training for my third half marathon in as many years. We made a quick pit stop at home to fill up water bottles, use the bathroom and we got on our way for the final miles on our double digit training run. While waiting for the light to change, standing on the corner of Route 9, Paula rolled down her window and honked at us. We waved and smiled. What an energy boost! After our run, I thanked her on Facebook for the honk. She said how inspired she feels whenever she sees our post run photos. Twice around the Route 9 Reservoir, up the hills back to our house, the last mile up and down Eliot Street finishing strong with another hill and we deposited another 10 miles in the Bank of Bermuda. Double digits - done!

It's never too late to have a happy childhood! I learned at the age of 54 years old how to experience joy and freedom in my body splashing and running in the rain. BUT, the experience first happened in my imagination before I had recovered from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma! The power of that imagery signaled biochemical changes in my body that led to healing and transformation.

No matter what your age is, I invite you to come out and play!

From my heart to yours
In Health and Wellness,

Be sure to visit my website at www.marymcmanus.com

Hear my interview with Kendra Petrone on Magic 106.7's Exceptional Women Show by following this link

My books are available on Amazon and at Paper Fiesta in Natick on Mile 10 of the Boston Marathon route.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

National Poetry Month: Feel the Heal

From "How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body Tenth Anniversary Edition" by David R. Hamilton, Ph.D."
"Post-polio Syndrome
Mary's story - My master electrician
In addition to using poetry as a vehicle for visualization, I meditated several times a day, imagining God as my master electrician, rewiring my neuromuscular system and healing the effects of both childhood paralytic polio and severe childhood trauma that manifested as Post-polio syndrome."

As I meditated, images came to me that were then incorporated into my poetry. My poetry was woven into and sprung forth my subconscious and fueled my healing journey.

I was able to feel the heal in my mind, heart and soul that then manifested in my physical body!

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

A New Lease on Life

Rented space
rendered apart
what God has wrought
let no man put asunder.

Old wallpaper stripped
plumbing purged
once a trickle now flows
flickering lamps rewired
no longer dim
light bathes this old house.

Owner occupied
she smiles
sitting on the porch swing
butterflies dance

In a moment of unbridled joy
barefoot and free
they become One.

Feel the Heal

Feel the heal and heal the fear let goodness Love prevail
holding hands with open heart through adversity we sail.
Living in the present a gift no future and no past
surfing waves of our emotions suffering can’t last.

Feel the heal and heal the fear an illusion that fear is real
let go relax refresh and rest Love and Light can now reveal.
Faith and love no match for fear trust for we can fly
appearances deceiving doubts kiss them all goodbye.

Feel the heal and heal the fear we’re held in Loving arms
The Universe magnificent mysterious mystical charms.
We think a door is closing we grasp and hold on tight
miracle’s just a breath away release behold its sight.

Feel the heal and heal the fear get out of jail we’re free
possibilities are endless in our hands we hold the key.
No longer do we jump through hoops in faith we take a leap
Divine protection safety our life’s bounty time to reap.

Feel the heal and heal the fear let our hearts feel calm and peace
worries and anxieties heartache all can cease.
Today’s the day we celebrate as we all now feel the heal
courage strength compassion wisdom is all we need to feel.

The Potter’s Wheel

The Potter’s wheel with loving hands a figure forms brave and true
breaking mold cast by others,
Triumphant Spirit shining through.
In likeness of Divine’s image, all excess baggage gently melts away
unbridled freedom, joy fired up whole without fringe or fray.
Rhythmic turnings ever so slowly, tender kindness she feels the heal
embracing all that went before no longer feeling she had a raw deal.
Color and shape beyond compare magnificent in radiant sun
going the distance helps others to heal fueling her 26.2 mile run.
Transcending transforming no pain can last,
grit and gratitude fill heart and soul
leave doubts and fears in dust of memories past
sights set clearly on finish line goal.
In the distance the Potter’s cheering
that Voice so clear rises above the din
she feels in every fiber of her Being this race is hers to win.
Pacing, persistent and patient in each moment she feels the heal
reminded of her humble true beginnings
blessed by grace on Potter’s wheel.

My hope is that you or someone you love may know the blessing of feeling the healing!

From my heart to yours
In Health and Wellness,

Be sure to visit my website at www.marymcmanus.com

Hear my interview with Kendra Petrone on Magic 106.7's Exceptional Women Show by following this link

My books are available on Amazon and at Paper Fiesta in Natick on Mile 10 of the Boston Marathon route.