Sunday, August 1, 2021

A Higher Authority

 

I love the above quote from Walt Disney. During these times of confusion about what all the data mean in relationship to recent outbreaks of breakthrough cases among vaccinated individuals and conflicting information about whether or not to mask up again, I like to put my faith in a higher authority.

After reading an article in the Globe about the data coming out of a study of a recent outbreak of the Delta Variant in Provincetown, I took a time out to meditate. 

A commercial for Hebrew National Hot Dogs came to me:

I could easily get dizzy trying to comprehend the different data and recommendations. Instead, I turn to my higher authority to discern what my family and I need to do to remain of sound mind and body during this time. We are going to mostly stay in our bubble and mask up when we are indoors. Tom returns to the office one day a week until the end of August when he will go 3 days a week although we are manifesting winning the VaxMillions Lottery Giveaway. Ruth Anne's classes are hybrid and she will mask up when she volunteers with ReVision Urban Farm.

While a part of me feels so strongly that if only 'they' would have waited longer to lift all protocols and 'they' would have gotten vaccinated we could have eradicated the virus, I know that my inner world connected to the Divine dictates my quality of life. When one lives life based on if only's and expectations rather than making peace with what is, one experiences a great deal of suffering.

We are reinvesting the money we would have used to go to New York City and the theater and Cape Cod into landscaping our house and making home improvements.

We are stepping up our gratitude practice reminding ourselves that it is not 2020 but we are not quite out of the pandemic yet....

Soul lessons learned from 2020 will continue to hold us in good stead as we navigate what we hope is the tail end of the pandemic. I will step up my meditation practice, limit exposure to the news, continue to find avenues to share my inspirational message and journey of transformation and cherish the moments of peace and quiet,.

In the Quiet of the Morning

In the quiet of the morning
sunbeams seen through eyes closed
streaming into room
filling me with hope

Cat’s purring my soundtrack
connect to Source
sifting and sorting through thousands of thoughts
fleeting moments of doubt and fear

Choosing faith

In mind’s eye all is well
trusting Truth from a higher authority
to guide
unleashing imagination

Creation replaces reaction
tears gently trickle
overflow from a grateful heart
beaming blessings to all beings

In the quiet of the morning
joy bubbles from deep within soul
dawn of a new day.  

From my heart to yours
In health and wellness,
Mary

Visit my website to learn more about my journey of transformation in the wake of paralytic polio and trauma to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond.

Be sure to listen to my recent conversation with Liz Brunner, award winning journalist, now CEO of Brunner Communications on her podcast Live Your Best Life. I share how I live my best life despite the challenges that I faced at an early age.

For all of my recent appearances, be sure to visit my News and Events tab on my website.

My books to inspire and uplift you are available on Amazon.  

Saturday, July 31, 2021

A Tale of Two Pandemics

 

I've been focusing on peace in my meditations and as I go about my day. As I cycle through moments of anxiety, I take deep breaths and focus on what I have control over and what I don't have control over. I found myself riding the wild roller coaster of the tale of two pandemics. In Burlington, Vermont people are at crowded bars, dancing the night away and quoted in the news as feeling fearless and free. Their state has the highest vaccination rate and lowest infection rate in the country. Massachusetts is close behind Vermont in its vaccination rate but recently has seen clusters of outbreaks in Provincetown, and Cambridge. There are 5 counties in Massachusetts with high and substantial transmission rates. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its masking guidelines on Tuesday, recom-mending vaccinated individuals wear masks indoors where community transmission levels are classified as high or substantial.

I've had to limit my exposure to news stories and am just checking in to see what the latest mandates are for our area. Our family has made the decision to mask up when we are indoors and stocked up on a new supply of masks. While I feel twinges of sadness, anger and frustration when I look at my bookshelf where, for a brief moment in time, there was space with only one mask per person 'just in case',  I know it does not serve me to dwell in the space of "what if they only waited to lift restrictions until more people were vaccinated." There is no going back. We can only go forward as best we know how, once again navigating unknowns and uncertainty in the wacky world of COVID.

I do know for certain that we have taken every measure we can to ensure a healthy lifestyle mind, body and soul focusing especially on our mental health and well-being. Fear and anxiety, and listening to the 'latest' data which are constantly in flux serve only to suppress the immune system. Finger pointing and blame, what if's and if only's wreak havoc with our body's chemistry.

Peace, on the other hand, allows for the production of the body's natural chemistry that is set to bring balance, healing and a strong immune response. While at times it feels as though the weight of the pandemic is bearing down on us again, it is vital to find joy, laughter, lightness and ease in our lives. Even if it is not happening in the moment, imagining those feelings pulls us out of the vortex of darkness in the moment.

I checked my email as I continued to allow this essay to percolate and received this from Telecharge:


 I felt tears well up in my eyes and a lump in my throat as the reality of the pandemic continues to take center stage in our lives.

We decided now is just not the right time to go to the theater in New York. Wearing a mask for two and a half hours just doesn't appeal to us and part of the thrill of going to the theater is experiencing the crush of people waiting in line to get into the theater. We'd have to present a government issued photo ID along with our proof of vaccination. Wearing a mask before dining on deli or eating Italian at Mama Mia's takes the joy out of the New York City experience.

I hearken back to Lin Manuel Miranda's words to Jimmy Fallon when they were celebrating the re-opening of Broadway, "It's all depending right? On vaccinations and whether or not people will feel comfortable returning to the theater."

All of those invitations with printed out google maps for directions to different events are gone from our refrigerator. There are still lots of posts in my news feed of people who are traveling, dining out, going to bars and acting as if the pandemic has ended. We are going to err on the side of caution as a tale of two pandemics continues on focusing on all we have to be grateful for. 

After we cancelled our New York City trip we bought ice cream savoring the taste of summer in New England watching a glorious sunset. We held a space for our sadness and frustration while expressing what we are each grateful for. 

As the scientists try to sift and sort data, and as politicians focus on what to do about the myriad challenges facing us at this time in our history, I am going to focus on being the change.

 Be The Change

 Wildfires raging
 mood as dark as thick smoke
 enveloping all in its path
 virus' variant wreaking havoc
 
 How to stop the carnage?

 Tears from an open heart extinguish hopelessness
 compassion and kindness fan flames of healing
 turn off talking heads
 turn toward each other
 feel the heal.

 Grateful for blessings great and small
 tender moments
 tending to each other's wounds
 beauty of sunsets
 tomatoes ripe on the vine
 savor and appreciate.

Bind broken heartedness
banding together
we are one
powerful to effect change
one action creates ripples
slowly
reversing
damage we once wrought. 

From my heart to yours
In health and wellness,
Mary

Visit my website to learn more about my journey of transformation in the wake of paralytic polio and trauma to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond.

Be sure to listen to my recent conversation with Liz Brunner, award winning journalist, now CEO of Brunner Communications on her podcast Live Your Best Life. I share how I live my best life despite the challenges that I faced at an early age.

For all of my recent appearances, be sure to visit my News and Events tab on my website.

My books to inspire and uplift you are available on Amazon.  





Tuesday, July 27, 2021

A Booster Shot of Hope

 

It is very unlike me to feel depressed, frustrated, angry and hopeless about what's happening with the pandemic. I let fear take over on Sunday when we were going to go to the beach although it was misting and thought that we'd be back to where we were a year ago. A year ago we were able to adapt to circumstances knowing what precautions to take to keep ourselves and our loved ones healthy. It was challenging but after a few months found a rhythm to life practicing gratitude and optimism feeling hope and faith deep in our hearts.

After we were fully vaccinated, we thought it would be some time before the pandemic was in the rear view mirror but when we received the all clear from the CDC, the White House, and Governor Baker, we breathed a collective sigh of relief. We did not rush out to book a trip that required a plane ride or head indoors to eat at a restaurant but felt wonderful to have that freedom to choose.

We were stopped in our tracks when the news of rising cases and hot spots even in our state of Massachusetts with one of the highest vaccination rates in the country made the headlines among the unvaccinated and there were reports of 'breakthrough' cases.

When the news first broke about the pandemic, I wasn't frightened of becoming ill. I experienced the trauma of being in lock down and seeing the world and our lives come to a screeching halt. I focused on health and well-being. I have total confidence in the vaccines and my immune system but as is true when you're driving in a car, it's the other driver you have to be concerned about ie those who are unvaccinated.

After having a miserable day on Sunday, I focused Monday morning's meditation on turning the tide of my attitude and mindset. I knew that the energy I was putting out was attracting negative posts to my social media news feed and creating an atmosphere of unease in the household. 

After listening to David Hamilton's Tibetan Sound Bowl Meditation, I felt refreshed and decided that I needed a booster shot of hope, optimism and happiness. I asked Ruth Anne if she would like to do our run in South Boston after breakfast. She was thrilled and so was I!

It was a sultry summer's day and it probably wasn't smart of me to push my pace but I needed to get those endorphins kicking and feel my strength and resilience resounding throughout my entire body.

Shortly after we set out on our run, we bumped into one of the members of our L Street Running Club family.

Ruth Anne and I had delightful conversation expressing our gratitude and appreciation for all the good things in our lives. We reflected on perhaps there could have been a slower reopening and removal of the mask mandate but there's no turning back on what is.

A year ago at this time we couldn't go anywhere near South Boston given the high infection rate in the City and would have had to wear a mask if we did. We deeply breathed in the sea air taking special note of summer's beauty.





By the end of our 5K we were soaked with sweat and filled with joy.

My news feed and the news took a noticeable shift. Vaccine mandates are being implemented. There is a lot of peer pressure for vaccination and people are masking up in public. 

My booster shot of hope was working and I was able to turn the tide of feeling hopeful again despite appearances to the contrary.

Turning the Tide

Yesterday so filled with fear stumbling lost my way
clearing out the cobwebs I begin a brand new day.
Hope was buried in the darkness of headlines grim and drear
a shift a change in attitude as close as heart so dear.
Connecting with the Source of all Love must now prevail
a tender touch extending through adversity we can sail.
Though the waters may be rocky we hold still safe inside
Divine with all its wisdom steadily is our guide.

When thinking that the coast is clear and storms come into view
unwavering faith beyond appearances will always see us through.
A GPS a compass to navigate the night
calm the waves of queasiness eradicate all fright.
Standing at the helm of life strength rising from the soul
Creator deep within us current flowing feeling whole.
Rising up to meet all challenges seas will be calm once more
look out to the horizon we’ll make it safely back to shore.

From my heart to yours
In health and wellness,
Mary

Visit my website to learn more about my journey of transformation in the wake of paralytic polio and trauma to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond.

Be sure to listen to my recent conversation with Liz Brunner, award winning journalist, now CEO of Brunner Communications on her podcast Live Your Best Life. I share how I live my best life despite the challenges that I faced at an early age.

For all of my recent appearances, be sure to visit my News and Events tab on my website.

My books to inspire and uplift you are available on Amazon


 



Sunday, July 25, 2021

On Crisis, Opportunity and Vulnerability

 

The day after I received the 2nd vaccine, I experienced knee pain that was different than any kind of knee pain I experienced throughout all of my running career. I knew that joint pain could be a vaccine side effect and that energy flows where attention goes. I focused on all the parts of my body that felt well and focused on gratitude that vaccines were the path to ending the pandemic.

"I've had this deep bone knee pain that's worse in my right knee than my left," I told Dr. Lizzie when I presented for last week's appointment." 

"The pain woke me up one night."

"Did it wake you up or was it morning and you woke up with it?"

"No it woke me up in the middle of the night!"

We chatted about the different variables that might be contributory factors to the knee pain and Dr. Lizzie got to work to help release my body's natural capacity to heal. 

We talked about the pandemic and the latest uptick in cases expressing relief so many people we know have been vaccinated and that she kept the pandemic protocol for her office.

When I turned over, a thought bolted through me like lightning.

"Oh my God," I said to Dr. Lizzie. "Look I have goosebumps."

I could feel the phantom pain from polio and trauma coming into my awareness. 

While the vaccine's side effects may have set the joint pain in motion and while the continued joint pain is a sign that my body continues to build antibodies, the recent uptick in cases have turned joy and celebration to caution and conflict has been a trigger to my past.

But what a wondrous opportunity to heal wounds on a deeper level. It's also a time of opportunity for vulnerability, honesty and having difficult conversations around vaccinations and making choices. We talked about being able to unapologetically turn down an invitation if we did not feel comfortable going to a particular event in light of the recent uptick in cases.

I felt wonderful at session's end knowing that out of the crisis of the joint pain, I have a tremendous opportunity to heal on a deeper level mind, body and soul and to have Dr. Lizzie hold that sacred space for me to share whatever is in my heart that affects being able to feel comfortable in my own skin.

"Would you like to buy another package?" Dr. Lizzie asked me as the package I had bought on March 12th, 2020 was finally used up.

She brought out the paperwork.

"Tom and I were talking about this the other night and we do save a lot of money with the package..." My voice trailed off as I got choked up remembering what happened after I bought the last package of 10 sessions. Something that I did countless times without even thinking throughout the past 4 years was now laden with overwhelming emotion.

"You can pay one at a time. You can buy a package of 5. You know that I'd never let it expire with the current conditions. Just tell me what you are most comfortable with."

I was taken aback with my reaction to buying the package. I know that Dr. Lizzie has the utmost professional integrity. As she reopened her office I communicated with her via email asking when the package we purchased in March would expire. She told me that she did not want us coming into Boston if we were not comfortable. She only asked that we kept her updated of when we thought we might return for treatments. As vaccinations increased and infection rates declined, Tom and I set up our appointments. 

As we signed off on the paperwork, Dr. Lizzie said "If you get home and are not comfortable with the purchase, I will give you a full refund and you can pay as you go."

I took a deep breath realizing that it is not March 12th 2020 and we are moving forward in ending the pandemic. Meanwhile, in the midst of this crisis there is opportunity for healing, hope and possibilities and experiencing a new way of being in the world vulnerable, tender, compassionate and kind with ourselves and others. 

Vulnerability

Sharing tears and fears
tearing off veil
revealing true self
fullness of human experience
embraced by unconditional love
acceptance

Courage unbridled by COVID
urgency and hunger
true connection
nowhere and no need to hide

Hard conversations
truth telling
beauty in raw emotions
holding sacred space for each other
tenderness
compassion and kindness prevail 

Undam emotions
flooding heart with love
transforming damnation
forgiveness and gratitude
releasing decades of pent up pain
emerging from shadows of former self

Crisis an opportunity
excitement
exploring
bathing wounds
feel the heal

A brave new world
riding waves
only certainty in uncertainty
lighting the way
companions exploring
emerging
transforming
healing path
paved with Divine Love.

From my heart to yours
In health and wellness,
Mary

Visit my website to learn more about my journey of transformation in the wake of paralytic polio and trauma to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond.

Be sure to listen to my recent conversation with Liz Brunner, award winning journalist, now CEO of Brunner Communications on her podcast Live Your Best Life. I share how I live my best life despite the challenges that I faced at an early age.

For all of my recent appearances, be sure to visit my News and Events tab on my website.

My books to inspire and uplift you are available on Amazon.
 

Friday, July 23, 2021

Perspective

 

It can be very easy to feel discouraged by the latest news about "break through" cases of COVID in vaccinated persons and an overall uptick in cases for unvaccinated persons. Uncertainty of the trajectory of the pandemic once again brings great concern to public health officials and to the general population. The only thing I can control is what choices I make about the risks I choose to take when going out and choosing my perspective. My family and I made the choice to get vaccinated.

We are now choosing to wear a mask indoors. 

I absolutely loved this editorial from CNN written by Comilla Sasson, MD, Ph.D. She compared navigating COVID to being on an airplane. 

When we get to cruising altitude, the seatbelt light turns off and we can now move freely aboard the aircraft. But sometimes we hit turbulence. When the pilot comes on the speakers and says, "time to get back in your seats and put your seat belt on," we (most of us at least), find our seats, put on our seatbelts, and brace ourselves for a rocky ride. 
 
When we put our seatbelts on, do we ask ourselves, why didn't the pilots, flight attendants or air control predict this? Do we question the credibility, reliability, or intentions of our flight crew? Nope. We understand that things can change quickly, and we must adjust to the conditions. There is a reason for what we are doing.
 
She goes on to say,

Well, Covid-19 is the biggest, scariest pandemic plane ride, and the entire world is currently on it together. When we go into lockdowns, restrict travel, and mandate masks and other prevention strategies, health care and public health officials, along with government workers, make these decisions, based on the data they have, with conditions changing quickly, in order to keep the public safe. 
 
Vaccines came out and are ridiculously effective in preventing people from becoming hospitalized as a result of Covid-19. We had hit that beautiful cruising altitude in our pandemic plane ride, where we could all take a breath, literally and figuratively, and take off our masks, see family & friends again, and reopen businesses and schools. 
 
But the vaccines are not a silver bullet. We can still get Covid-19. But the chances are dramatically lower that we will get Covid-19 if we are vaccinated, and even if we do, it will be a mild case that does not require hospitalization. What we didn't and couldn't predict, is how quickly Covid-19 itself changes, how much of the world remains unvaccinated, and that this novel coronavirus, which no one had heard of or had to treat just 24 months ago, would cause these crazy, unpredictable, turbulent conditions. 
 
Tom and I ran in a torrential downpour last week. Our perspective kept us moving mile after mile until we hit the 5K mark which was our goal. It was relatively warm outside. Soon there would be snow and ice so we wanted to enjoy being outdoors without layers upon layers of clothing. We are healthy and enjoy our time together unplugged. When Ruth Anne and I were in the middle of a run and it started to drizzle, we had perspective that at least it was not the torrential downpour on our previous run.

After last year's experience, we have a very different perspective on this year's uptick in COVID cases. There is hope with the vaccine and knowledge that with masking, vaccination, social distancing and good hygiene as well as investing in our individual health and well-being, we can and will end the pandemic. We flattened the curve and we can do it again!
 
A new language emerged last year that included phrases such as mask up, social distancing, fully vaxed, lock down, quarantine, Phased Reopenings and supply chain shortages. As we emerge from the pandemic, I see phrases such as Post-Pan (We Hope) and Quasi-Pandemic. A year ago, those phrases were not even on our radar. There is no State of Emergency splashed at the top of every page across our home-delivered Boston Globe.

That space on our bookcase for masks just in case is now once again filled with masks and are part of our regular laundry. 

The risk of contracting COVID as a fully vaccinated family is extremely low and we are keeping that risk low by re-instituting wearing masks and being mindful of what social activities we plan to be a part of.

Last year we had to wear masks all the time and the risk of contracting COVID was quite high limiting our choices of what we could do and where we could go.

Is it disheartening that officials declared the pandemic over and we were set free to live our lives only to see the metrics moving in a direction indicating that the pandemic is not yet over?

Of course but I prefer to keep everything in perspective living with an attitude of gratitude and seeing how far we've come from where we were last year at this time.

From my heart to yours
In health and wellness,
Mary

Visit my website to learn more about my journey of transformation in the wake of paralytic polio and trauma to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond.

Be sure to listen to my recent conversation with Liz Brunner, award winning journalist, now CEO of Brunner Communications on her podcast Live Your Best Life. I share how I live my best life despite the challenges that I faced at an early age.

For all of my recent appearances, be sure to visit my News and Events tab on my website.

My books to inspire and uplift you are available on Amazon.
 


Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Undeterred by Detours

 



I've recently encountered a lot of detours on my runs and on the roads. I was on a run around the Reservoir when a detour sign appeared. I turned to Ruth Anne, my running partner and said, "Well what shall we do?"

We came up with a plan to go into a familiar path under a canopy of trees. We would go to the halfway  mark of our 5K and return the same way we ran to get to the halfway point.

It started to rain; nothing like the downpour Tom and I experienced last week but a steady rain. The canopy of leaves caught the rain keeping us relatively dry. When we emerged from our detour, the rain stopped.

Ever since the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome in December of 2006, I have learned to find joy in the journey and embrace the detours. 

The detour of Post-Polio Syndrome led me to the most glorious destination of becoming a 2009 Boston Marathon finisher, motivational speaker, author, poet and one who shares a profound message of healing, hope and possibilities. 

The 2020 pandemic was a mother lode of all detours. We were extremely blessed to maintain our health and well-being through it all. We thought that after we were all vaccinated we could resume activities and see friends without any trepidation.

We are extremely fortunate in Massachusetts to have a high vaccination rate and a relatively low infection rate but the vaccination rate has dramatically slowed and there is an "uptick" in cases that is of concern to public health officials.

I focus on accentuating the positive, releasing fears and trusting in the Divine believing in my health and well-being and in the health and well-being of my loved ones. When I meditate, I send out well-being to all Beings.  I know the power of the mind/body connection and harness it to boost my immune system and continue to heal my life from the once devastating effects of paralytic polio and trauma.

This new "uptick" in cases in Massachusetts and around the country have given our family and me pause. The news that came out of the CDC that if you are fully vaccinated, you can go about your lives with ease and no masks was a cause for celebration. But given what's happening, one wonders if they may have moved forward too quickly with their advice. I know they were basing it on available data. They used it as a motivator to encourage people to get vaccinated based on the data at that time. We were not about to book a trip that would require traveling by air but we did book a trip to New York City. The words of Lin Manuel-Miranda on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon are now echoing once more. As Jimmy Fallon and he were talking about the excitement of Broadway’s reopening,  he said“And it’s all depending, right? It depends on how safe people feel returning to the theater and people continuing to get vaccinated…”

Tomorrow is the Voices of Hope Boston 11th Annual Barbara Byrd Memorial Golf Tournament. We were all set to go but with the uptick in cases, Ruth Anne expressed a lot of anxiety about being around a large group of people whose vaccination status was unknown and eating indoors for the luncheon. We presume that the majority of people would be fully vaccinated and everyone will be fine but it wasn't a risk we were comfortable taking at this time. The breakthrough cases among fully vaccinated people is unsettling.

We know about the power of belief and trust in the efficacy of the vaccines we received. Our concerns lie with people who are unvaccinated and the risk of breakthrough infection which is what happened to me during the last polio epidemic. Even if that were to happen we know we would be fine but why take the risk right now? We have returned to hand washing and masks indoors and making choices based on our tolerance for risk, weighing the benefits versus risk of our choices.

We are taking life day by day which is truly the only way to be. We are aware that life can and does change on a dime.

We'll continue to enjoy life with an attitude of gratitude undeterred by any detours that may come our way. The beautiful destination we arrive at is the gift of the present moment where we have everything we could possibly need and more. 

From my heart to yours
In health and wellness,
Mary

Visit my website to learn more about my journey of transformation in the wake of paralytic polio and trauma to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond.

Be sure to listen to my recent conversation with Liz Brunner, award winning journalist, now CEO of Brunner Communications on her podcast Live Your Best Life. I share how I live my best life despite the challenges that I faced at an early age.

For all of my recent appearances, be sure to visit my News and Events tab on my website.

My books to inspire and uplift you are available on Amazon.   



Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Seventeen Months Later - Worth the Wait!

 

We met through running and, as so often happens in the running community, became sole sisters. I am an honorary member of the Merrimack Valley Striders of which she has been a member for many years and one evening was going to the meeting as a guest speaker. Kelly had a minor medical procedure earlier in the day and couldn't stay for the meeting but met me in the parking lot so we could meet "IRL" or in real life for the first time. I gave her a copy of Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility.

We remained close friends in person and in social media. We supported each other through different challenges and celebrated joys and triumphs in our lives and in our children's lives.

On February 12, 2020, we met at Legal Seafood in Chestnut Hill for lunch. Fortunately, Kelly doesn't mind the drive into Boston from where she lives just north of Boston. We had a delicious leisurely lunch that nourished us both mind, body and soul. Kelly had a very busy work schedule but decided it was vital to take time out to care of herself and to meet with friends. In August of 2019 we finally put the pieces of the puzzle together for what was happening with my daughter Ruth Anne and I was emerging from the caregiver role able to meet friends for lunch again.

"I'm paying this time," Kelly said and added "you'll pay next time."

We agreed to schedule monthly lunch dates because life is just too short!

Our date for March came and went as we feverishly messaged each other on Facebook. I kept rescheduling our reservation on Open  Table until everything went into lock down. We frequently messaged each other through FB messenger checking in to see how we were weathering the pandemic and looking ahead to May to reschedule our luncheon. 

Well we all know how that went and so we kept doing virtual hugs and imagining how incredible it would be to be together in person again.

Kelly was vaccinated in January because she works in health care. She told me that as soon as I was vaccinated we could meet for lunch. 'Anytime you're ready,' she kept reminding me.

As I struggled with whether or not get the vaccine, all I could think about was getting together for lunch with Kelly again and being able to experience life to the fullest.

Seventeen months later we had our reunion in the parking lot at the Cheesecake Factory in Chestnut Hill experiencing one of the longest and tightest hugs I can remember in a very long time.

I made a reservation to eat outside but as we walked into the restaurant, we saw that the tables and booths were covered after the morning rain. There was a big sign that the restaurant had put in a new air filtration system, asked unvaccinated patrons to wear masks and all staff wore masks. We looked at one another and agreed we would be fine.

I know there have been a lot of complaints in the news about service at restaurants but the staff at the Cheesecake Factory were genuinely happy to be there. Our waitress' eyes smiled with delight as we explained to her we were sorry we took so long to order because this was our reunion lunch.

I scanned the restaurant to see that we were in the first booth and the booths across the aisle were socially distanced from us. I quickly let my fear dissolve as Kelly and I became engrossed in conversation.

Whenever we get together, no matter how much time has passed, I am in awe of how much we have in common and how in sync we are with our world view. It's so incredible to meet in person and get the stories behind the stories that stream on social media.

We genuinely love and care about each other and listen to each other with rapt interest. It's incredibly special to be able to share whatever is deep in your heart with another who greets it with total love and compassion.

It was my first time eating indoors at a restaurant since the pandemic and I'm so blessed and grateful I got to share the experience with Kelly. There is news about uptick in cases around Massachusetts, hot beds of cases around the country and the globe but I know how the immune system gets a boost whenever love flows. 

Two and half hours later the waitress brought our check. I wasn't fast enough to grab it from Kelly.

"Come on," I said. "The last time we had lunch you treated and said I could get it next time. This is next time."

"Well I lied," she said and we both laughed.

"You'll get it next time," she said.

"Noooo don't say that. COVID could come back."

"Oh stop it" she said with love and laughter.

It did speak to the lingering anxiety from what transpired since we last had lunch together.

We took out our phones and scheduled our next lunch date in a month. 

We had the longest goodbye in the parking lot hugging each other, letting each other know how much we love each other and hugging each other as though it could be the last time. Of course it won't be and as soon as I got home I made a follow up reservation for August.

Seventeen months later was a long time to not be able to chat or hug in person but those two and a half plus hours sharing lunch, laughter, tears and hugs was well worth the wait and getting those shots in the arm.

From my heart to yours
In health and wellness,
Mary

Visit my website to learn more about my journey of transformation in the wake of paralytic polio and trauma to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond.

Be sure to listen to my recent conversation with Liz Brunner, award winning journalist, now CEO of Brunner Communications on her podcast Live Your Best Life. I share how I live my best life despite the challenges that I faced at an early age.

For all of my recent appearances, be sure to visit my News and Events tab on my website.

My books to inspire and uplift you are available on Amazon.  




A Higher Authority

  I love the above quote from Walt Disney. During these times of confusion about what all the data mean in relationship to recent outbreaks ...