Thursday, April 29, 2021

Gratitude - The Gift of Polio

 

Shortly after the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome in December of 2006, I realized I was at a crossroads in my life. I was told to prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair, adapt our Cape house or move to a Ranch and quit my award winning career as a VA social worker if there were any hope of stabilizing the debilitating symptoms as they were at that time.

As I had done whenever faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges, I got still and asked for Divine Guidance. Spirit spoke to me through what I now call my divining rod for healing, my pen in the form of poetry.

After writing "Running the Race" , a poem which foreshadowed my 2009 Boston Marathon run, I wrote the poem:

The Gift of Polio - from "Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life":

The Gift of Polio

Thank you God for the gift of polio that brought me so close to you

while paralyzed I saw your face no matter what I’d do

Many wonderful healers you sent them to me at age 5

perseverance and triumph life’s lessons learned

but my Spirit could not yet thrive.

 

At age 53 the gift was sent to me a second time

having time to sit and feel to heal I started to rhyme.

The second time felt worse than the first

yet your love and wisdom I found

out of pain and weakness and fatigue a remarkable spirit rebound.

 

Reliving all the trauma of special shoes and such

I discovered remarkable healers who brought a loving touch.

I had no clue I had such strength and the ability to grow

no matter what the outcome deep gratitude I show.

 

This gift so precious I live a new life gratitude flows from me

my heart and soul are filled with grace each day’s a gift from thee.

 

I went on to write "The Dancer" imagining in my mind's eye a resurrection from the 5 year old ballet dancer who was stricken with paralytic polio:

 

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.

 

Gratitude became a vital lynch pin in my healing journey. I gave thanks for all of the challenges I endured for they taught me so many soul lessons and helped to mold me into the beautiful woman I am today. I gave thanks in advance for my life being healed.

 

I started the practice of a gratitude journal that ignited my heart and soul with joy and shifted me out of a victim role into the role of victor and thriver.

 

went on to write an entire poem about gratitude:


Gratitude Tingles

 

Heart opens in quiet eyes are closed gratitudes trickle then flow

the basics a home, good food and love awareness begins to grow.

Each beat of my heart reminds me I’m a miracle of life

grace showers constantly upon me relieving alleviating strife.

 

Goosebumps with each reflection every breath a moment to pause

gratitude tingles feel the warmth relaxing unclenching jaws.

Grateful to now be fully alive so blessed to be kissed awake

appreciation flows in every vein for granted nothing I take.

 

What joy there is in this journey let Spirit within ever reign

trusting in goodness and kindness erases all fear and pain.

Memory traces from the past pale and fade when facing Source

gratitude overpowers correcting direction on my life’s course.

 

In moments of meditation happiness joy and peace

from the depths of my soul a fountain grateful blessings increase.

Lips upturn into beautiful smile from head’s crown to tip of toes

gratitude tingles tickling trail of delight everywhere gratitude goes.

 

During the pandemic, we intensified our gratitude practice writing what we were grateful for on post-its during the month of November and placed them in a gratitude jar. We read them on Thanksgiving.

 

Gratitude continued to be a theme in my poetry in "Hope is a Garden:Poems and Essays From the 2020 Pandemic".

Dawn

 

As dawn breaks my heart opens in gratitude

an inventory of the blessings in my life

strife only created from memories

gratitude the bridge over troubled waters

path to peace and joy.

 

Rubbing eyes awake from a starry night

pixie dust sprinkled while sleeping

cells sparkling with possibilities

twinkling eyes view the world.

 

It dawns on me

I am beloved

Love heals and bathes

uplifted to greet the dawn of a new day

sunbeams meet heart beams.

 

Writing headlines

a virus vanished

soul lessons learned

heaven on earth is here.

 

The Switch

 

Flip the switch from darkness

from unwell to well-being

dwell with Source.

 

Generate positive thoughts

current of gratitude

dispels doom and gloom.

 

Electrify imagination

in mind’s eye

ignite possibilities!

 

Shock waves from past

flashbacks

back to the future!

 

Dampen fears

shift gears

be light-hearted.

 

What ifs

glitter and sparkle

light up hope!

 

Rewire recharge

turn on tune in

vibrant optimism.

 

Flip the switch

switch perspective

let the magic begin!

 



 
I am grateful for all the challenges I have endured and overcome. I am grateful for this amazing journey of transformation that began 14 years ago on May 25, 2007 when I took a leap of faith leaving behind my award winning career as a VA social worker to heal my life from the effects of childhood paralytic polio and trauma. I am grateful for the gift of poetry that enabled me to heal my past and create a future very different than the one the doctors predicted for me and to navigate this past year staying focused on healing, hope, possibilities, light, love and of course, gratitude. 


From my heart to yours

In health and wellness 

Mary


For more information about my journey from childhood polio and trauma to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond, visit my website.

 

"Hope is a Garden:Poems and Essays From the 2020 Pandemic" along with all of my books to inspire and uplift you is available on Amazon.


 

 

 


 

 

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