Saturday, May 15, 2021

Pandemic Silver Linings

I've known challenges from an early age. At 5 years old I contracted paralytic polio in one of the last epidemics in the United States. Seeing what is happening with COVID, I now believe I was one of the 'breakthrough' cases since I had received 5 vaccines and there was no indication mine was one of the 'bad batches' that happened from a lack of quality control in 1959. I endured years of abuse at the hands of family members from the age of 8 until my father ended his life at the age of 17. Those challenges turned out to be the greatest gifts in my life informing the woman I am today.

At the age of 53, the gift of polio kept on giving as I was diaginosed with Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease by Western Medicine standards. I experienced a joyous journey of transformation after the diagnosis.

The lessons learned and wisdom garnered throughout those challenges held me in good stead during the COVID pandemic. We looked beyond fear and grief to find the silver linings; the treasures of the experience that will stay with us moving forward in our lives.

Since gyms were closed, we couldn't swim or use cardio equipment. We went outside for runs and walks. There was only one day that the weather prevented us from getting outside. We knew how vital it was to exercise and get plenty of fresh air and sunshine regardless of the weather. Running or walking 3-4 times/week with extra mini walks in between around the neighborhood built strength. Rather than breathing in air with the smell of chlorine, we breathed in fresh air and took into our hearts and souls the change over of the seasons.

Tom worked from home and not having a commute, albeit a short one, gave us time to be together, prepare wonderful meals or do take out enjoying leisurely meals together. Breakfast was unhurried and we were able to do early morning or noon time runs together.

I missed having treatments with my chiropractor who took an extended maternity leave during COVID, but I was able to tap into my body's tremendous capacity to heal from the late effects of polio and trauma connecting to the Divine in deeper ways. I savored that first treatment with her with intense gratitude.

Our meditation practice strengthened in depth and frequency.

We have a deep appreciation for our home and our yard. For the first time, we planted a flower garden. Every time I looked at that little plot of ground, it was a reminder of hope and faith. What excitement I felt as the little sprouts poked through the once frozen earth


 

 and then bloomed into magnificent tulips.



We planted our tomato seedlings and marigolds in the raised bed we built last year:











We had an incredible harvest last year that we shared with neighbors with masks and social distancing. We developed a greater sense of community in our neighborhood sharing in the somber mood of last year to find ways to uplift each other while keeping apart. This year that connection remains and is transformed into joy and hugs.

We were all challenged to allow our true selves shine through beyond clothes, makeup and hair styles. We were called upon to use humor and ingenuity when it came to our hair. We had many wonderful belly laughs as we attempted to style each other's hair. What an incredible treat to go to the salon after 14 months; an experience I will never again take for granted!

If it weren't for the pandemic, I am not sure how motivated we all would have been to get out the vote as we did. Whatever your politics may be, the truth is our democracy was threatened and incompetence at the highest levels of government were exposed by the pandemic. The power of the vote and 'we the people' was a silver lining that shined through the shroud of darkness hovering over our nation.

As time goes on, I am sure other silver linings of the pandemic will become apparent to me and to us as a global community.  

These past 14 months have tested our mettle while offering gifts and treasures that will forever be a part of the tapestry of our lives.

Here's to healing, hope and infinite possibilities of a transformed world.

Be sure to tune into Dreamvisions 7 Radio to hear my conversation with Bernie Siegel, MD on his show Mind Health Matters May 20 and 21st, May 27th and 28th at 12:00am and 12:00pm ET. We talk about my newest book, my journey as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma, healing, hope and possibilities and how my relationship with Bernie helped me on my journey of transformation since the 1980's.

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.


Thursday, May 13, 2021

Gratitude: 14 Months Later


 

The above photo and this post appeared in my Facebook memory feed:

Do you have little things that you are grateful for and make you smile? 

Here are a few of mine:
Bananas and potatoes that were in short supply
My favorite floss threaders from CVS that had been out of stock for weeks
Toilet paper - duh
Grated carrots from Trader Joe's
Our favorite brand of orange juice at Star Market
Finding puzzle pieces that fit

What a difference a year makes!

I am deeply grateful and blessed that we can now run without masks although we do have one with us at all times. 

This Spring seems to be more magnificent than any Spring I can remember. Here are scenes from yesterday's morning run that felt so free and easy compared to a year ago:















The morning sun's reflection on the Reservoir reflected the joy and gratitude we feel in our hearts. Our immediate family have all received 2 doses of vaccine. My son and his girlfriend are going to be eating outside at a restaurant for the first time in 14 months. We ate outside at a restaurant on Sunday after our daughter's 2nd vaccine. 

 




 

For the first time in 14 months we have plans on the calendar. In October we are going to New York to see Jagged Little Pill. The Cape Cod Marathon will be live and in person this year. Tom and Ruth Anne deferred from last year. We have hotel reservations in New York and Cape Cod.

Little by little businesses are easing screening restrictions but remain in compliance with safety guidelines from the CDC. I look forward to when we will no longer need to have our temperatures taken or fill out health surveys before appointments at our dentist, chiropractor or hair salon, but am so grateful we have access to these services. It wasn't that long ago that everything was in lockdown and we had no idea when we would be able to access them again.

I am grateful for how deeply appreciation runs in my heart and soul for sunshine, Springtime, taking deep breaths knowing we are on a positive trajectory out of the epidemic and to be able to share my pandemic perspectives and poetry in "Hope is a Garden: Poems and Essays From the 2020 Pandemic."

14 months later I am grateful for my book, the gift of poetry in my soul and how I can bless the lives of others with the wisdom I have learned living through two epidemics.

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.

 

And so it is!

 

Be sure to tune into Dreamvisions 7 Radio to hear my conversation with Bernie Siegel, MD on his show Mind Health Matters May 20 and 21st, May 27th and 28th at 12:00am and 12:00pm ET. We talk about my newest book, my journey as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma, healing, hope and possibilities and how my relationship with Bernie helped me on my journey of transformation since the 1980's.

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.

Monday, May 10, 2021

When We Find Ourselves in a Strange New World

 

We are emerging from the cocoon of our "bubbles" and the insular world we inhabited during these past 14 months. We are on a journey of transformation as we find our wings and freedom in this strange new world where science guides us about the risks of different behaviors based on the trends of the COVID-19 virus.

After approximately 10 to 14 days as a chrysalis, the butterfly is ready to emerge. When the butterfly emerges from its chrysalis, its wings are small and wet, and the butterfly cannot yet fly. The butterfly must pump fluids from its abdomen through the veins in its wings, which causes the wings to expand to their full size. Next, the wings must dry and the butterfly must exercise flight muscles before it can fly. ~from Butterfly School

The time of transition from lock down to quarantine to easing of restrictions albeit with a lot of precautions and fear still running rampant to this time of decreased infections, deaths and hospitalizations with increased vaccination rates feels like the butterfly's wet wing phase of transformation. 

Yesterday we 'celebrated' Mother's Day by going to Gillette Stadium for our daughter Ruth Anne to receive her 2nd vaccine.

In years past we would go to Cape Cod for a day trip and eat out at one of our favorite Falmouth restaurants. We took a selfie to document we are all vaccinated wearing double masks:

and of the giant screen at Gillette that indicated the number of vaccines administered to date at Gillette:

We ate outdoors at a restaurant for the first time in 14 months! There were strange new rituals such as no menus but a code to put in the phone to access the menu. Our waiter and all the staff wore masks, and patrons wore masks except while eating or drinking.  Silverware was wrapped in a linen napkin and the waiter was careful to keep them wrapped as he placed them on the table. There were no salt and pepper shakers or ketchup bottles. A small plastic container of ketchup with a lid was served with our meal. Since it was our first time dining out at a restaurant in 14 months, Tom took a photo to mark the occasion:

The CBS Sporting Club restaurant, previously known as CBS Scene was our go to place before the annual July 4th celebration Finish at the 50 race. We were struck by how strangely quiet it was for a beautiful Spring Mother's Day in May and the usual excitement and hype for summer concerts, upcoming New England Revolution games and the Finish at the 50 race were strangely absent. The steady stream of cars were headed to the East and West vaccination clinics.

During this morning's meditation, I reflected on the strange new world I encountered after June 5, 1959, the day I contracted paralytic polio. One of the many many silver linings of this pandemic is that I have been able to more deeply heal the wounds from having contracted paralytic polio despite having had 5 vaccines. It seems that there is such a thing as "breakthrough cases" of COVID in people who have been vaccinated though it is extremely rare. That might be an explanation for how I contracted polio as I was playing with my best friend whose mom was not vaccinated and we contracted it on the same day. As I lay paralyzed on the couch time stood still for me. My friends finished kindergarten year and had a graduation ceremony. When I returned to 1st grade, I returned to a strange new world wearing an ankle to hip leg brace and using crutches for mobility. My beautiful long hair was cut into a pixie cut because my mother and grandmother felt it was too much for them to have to take care of my long hair on top of the other demands for providing care for me. I was a stranger to myself from the lithe ballerina who was active and joyful to one who struggled with each step. 

I honed my intellectual prowess and graduated as high school valedictorian. After receiving my MSW from Boston College, I had an award winning social work career at the VA until my world came to a screeching halt after the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome in December of 2006. 

I entered a strange new world of rehabilitation and prognostications of what life would look like for me as I aged, and decided that it was time to get still and ask for Divine Guidance. What an incredible journey of transformation I experienced through the sport of running becoming a 2009 Boston Marathon finisher, poet, published author and motivational speaker.

It can be overwhelming and frightening when we find ourselves in a strange new world. We are making the transition from wearing face masks whenever we were out in public to being able to do outdoor activities mask-free.  We are making plans for the first time in 14 months. Tom and Ruth Anne gave me tickets to Jagged Little Pill for the October 24th matinee for my Mother's Day present:

We decided to drive to New York rather than take the train despite being fully vaccinated so we can enjoy the ride without masks. We will need to present proof of vaccination and I imagine that New York City will have a different post-pandemic vibe.

There is discomfort in experiencing the strangeness of our times. But it is also an extraordinary opportunity for growth and transformation and to experience a deeper and richer appreciation for life.

We find ourselves in a strange new world awakened to the preciousness and fragility of life, our vulnerability, the need for social change and justice and to change our habits if we are going to preserve our precious Mother Earth. We find ourselves in a strange new world filled with hope, resilience, infinite possibilities and opportunities for creation and innovation.

 When we find ourselves in a strange new world always remember to:

Keep the Faith from "Hope is a Garden:Poems and Essays From the 2020 Pandemic":

 

When challenges arise

keep the faith

close to your open heart

be grateful.

 

See blessings

on horizon wonderful happenings

waiting for you.

 

See signs

as angels guide

guardians of your Well-Being

always by your side

believing is seeing

joy in journeying

navigating turbulent waters

powerful oars to negotiate rapids

deliciousness in Oneness

strength of Source deep within.

 

Feel the rush

ride the waves

heart pounding

keep the faith

safely arriving on shore.

Here's to embracing the strangeness of our times and finding ourselves uplifted and inspired when we come out on the other side.

 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.

 








Saturday, May 8, 2021

"It's Like a Time Warp!"

 


I first discovered the power of chiropractic care from Dr. Ryan J. Means after a serious knee injury in December 2014. He suggested that I read "You Are the Placebo" by Dr. Joe Dispenza to build on my foundation of harnessing the power of the mind/body connection to heal from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma.

I healed my left knee injury without surgery and grew a new gastroc muscle using exercises on the Theraband Stabilizer to harness the power of mirror neurons, KT tape and visualization.

I went on to run 3 Bermuda Half Marathons in 2016, 2017 and 2018 despite having been told to stop running and prepare for a total knee replacement.

Dr. Ryan left the US to practice chiropractic in China and now Vietnam. I was blessed to find my way to Dr. Lizzie Sobel. I was asked by a friend to be a substitute for him at a meeting for BNI International, a networking group. Lizzie was the Chapter President and I was instantly impressed by her demeanor and professionalism. I made the change from massage therapy to chiropractic partnering with her since July of 2017 seeing her for weekly adjustments.

From "Hope is a Garden: Poems and Essays From the 2020 Pandemic":

Speaking at the Hyannis Marathon Pre-Race Pasta Dinner in February of 2020 and sharing my journey at the Expo was a highlight of my most unlikely running career. I reunited with friends I had met since I discovered the sport of running in February of 2008. Hugs and selfies were the order of the day. I made new friends at the Expo and after my talk at the Pre-Race Pasta Dinner where I shared the podium with Boston Marathon icon Bill Rodgers. We were all looking forward to a reunion in April in Boston for the Boston Marathon and for a year of exhilarating events.

 

We were excited to be hosting the water stop for L Street, our beloved running club, on March 8th. We ignored any of the quiet warnings about COVID-19 and hugged sweaty runners, poured water and Gatorade into cups for runners to drink and congratulated runners on getting through one of their last long runs before taper time for the Boston Marathon.

 

On March 12th, I walked into my pregnant chiropractor’s office.

 

The airwaves and social media news feeds were beginning to fill with fear and panic. I had a sense in my gut that something was terribly wrong with the messages and the methods that surrounded COVID-19. 

 

“I don’t think they have any plan for this,” I told Dr. Lizzie.

 

“I’m not worried about getting the virus,” Dr. Lizzie said. “I’m worried about what’s going to happen to my business.”

 

Always the commensurate professional, Dr. Lizzie gave me an outstanding treatment of chiropractic care. We hugged at the end of the treatment.

 

“As long as things are open, I will be here,” she said.

 

The first email she sent outlined the precautions she would take while keeping her practice open. Two days later she said that she would have to follow the State and City guidelines and temporarily close her practice. As numbers of cases spiked, she made the decision to close her practice until January 2021 giving herself an extended maternity leave.

 

I knew that she needed to find a new office in Boston's Back Bay since her old office would not be pandemic friendly. I didn't know if she would reopen in Boston but was fairly confident she would return to her practice in Walpole. I used meditation, a heating pad, a massage stick and lots of visualization including remembering what her treatments were like to manage the hiatus in care.

 

We received the email that she would be returning to her practice in a new office in Boston beginning in March.

 

I was blessed to find a parking space on Thursday that was not for Back Bay residents only and tried to acclimate myself to the new building. 

 

When the elevator stopped and I stepped out into the waiting room, I had to orient myself to the new office surroundings.

 

Dr. Lizzie came out of her office and said, "Hi Mary. It's great to see you! Do you need the bathroom?" A familiar phrase she asks before every treatment yet that was the only thing familiar about being together after 14 months.


She checked in with me about my comfort level wearing a mask for the treatment. She remembered I had emailed her about my anxiety of needing to wear a mask during the treatment. She said that I could put it below my nose while being face down but when she had me turn over I would need to pull it back up. My anxiety gave way to my joy of being reunited with Dr. Lizzie although it was certainly different than the way we used to engage pre-pandemic.

 

After we settled into an awkward rhythm of Dr. Lizzie doing an assessment, she spoke to the elephant in the room. "It's like a time warp isn't it?"

 

As we settled into the rhythm of the treatment, we talked about the last time we were together on March 12th and how nothing could have prepared us for what was to come.  It was so strange to have been used to seeing Dr. Lizzie as my treatment provider every week with maybe a 2-3 week hiatus at most for vacations, and then having 14 months without contact except for a couple of emails.

 

The after treatment ritual was the same of Dr. Lizzie telling me to take my time getting off the table and reminding me to hydrate because I might be sore from the adjustments after all this time especially since I received my second vaccine on Wednesday. 

 

I had bought a 10 pack session of treatments on March 12th so there was no need to exchange payment. She checked to make sure my follow up appointment went through on line. No post-treatment hugs to say until next time when we meet again it won't feel like it's a time warp.


Nothing could have prepared us for what happened after March 13, 2020 and there was no way to prepare for post-pandemic chiropractic treatments. We are still finding our way through this strange new world but armed with vaccines, a new administration in Washington and continued research we will continue to transform, evolve and heal from the trauma of these past 14 months.


From "Hope is a Garden: Poems and Essays From the 2020 Pandemic":


All Clear                                     

 

When clarion calls and sounds all clear no need to sit and wait

time for healing transformation create our destiny and fate.

All clear and cleanse the heart and mind a voice to light the way

shine instead of whining the mandate of the day.

 

Tho panic fills the headlines let cooler heads prevail

storms of adversity passing compass of kindness adjust our sail.

Imagination fired up dark clouds we now can clear

knowing deep within our soul there's nothing now to fear.

 

Light beckons in the clearing stand firm in Truths Divine

drowning out the din of dread love beams brightly shine.

All clear an inner peace takes hold deep breaths a wave of calm

emanates from faith and trust allowing healing balm.

 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.

 

 

 








Thursday, May 6, 2021

A Shot in the Arm - Part 2

 

Prior to the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome in December of 2006, I had an estranged relationship with my body. I had to dissociate in order to survive years of abuse at the hands of family member. While harnessing my intellectual prowess enabled me to have a successful career as a VA social worker, all those years of ignoring my body's needs took a toll. The diagnosis was a blessing and a wake-up call and I reconnected with the precious treasure of my body that is the temple for my soul. 

I immersed in the teachings of mind/body luminaries and was able to heal my life from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma.

After conquering my fear, I received the first shot in my arm. 

Other than a sore arm, I had no side effects. My son and his girlfriend had a much easier time of it after their 2nd shot but my husband experienced side effects of fatigue, dizziness and irregular heartbeat and breathing. His doctor reassured him that those are within the range of 'normal' side effects but it gave me pause about getting my 2nd shot. I had also seen a lot of Facebook posts about friends experiencing side effects after their 2nd shot. Yet there was no turning back.

I know the power of the mind/body connection and treated preparing for my 2nd "wellness shot" like I was training for race day. Hydration, pre-'race' fueling, meditation, visualization and letting my body know the outcome I expected were  the order of the day.

On Monday, I attended Dr. David Hamilton's monthly meeting of The Personal Development Club. We discuss topics related to mind/body connection, kindness, mindfulness and alternative therapies. David's presentation focused on the use of crystals. He inspired me to take a crystal with me and hold it in my left hand during the vaccination process.

Yesterday we went for a morning run despite the cool rainy weather:


and I made sure to enjoy the sensuous sights, sounds and smells of Springtime to take me with into the sterile Brigham/Mass General Building  where I would receive my vaccine.

I had a turkey sandwich with spinach on dark bread with a lot of sparkling water. For dessert I had a banana and a FlavaNatural Chocolate bar.

 

 

I could feel the nerves kick in. On the drive in town, I took deep breaths and used visualization while tightly holding my crystal.

We found a parking space right away but got lost on our way to the clinic after leaving the parking garage. We arrived right on time. I asked if Emily was working (the nurse I had for shot #1) but she had just taken a lunch break. Ruth Anne accompanied me this time and they asked if she wanted to get a vaccine. Those frenetic days of trying to get an appointment are behind us. Ruth Anne gets her second "wellness shot" on Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

I had a lovely nurse who went over everything with me about the possibility of side effects after the 2nd shot that one might not have experienced after the first one. "I have my crystal right here. I've been meditating and hydrating so I'll be fine." "Yes you will" she agreed. "And it's a very quick shot."

While waiting for the required 15 minutes post-vaccine I took deep breaths despite wearing two masks. I could feel the anxiety around getting the vaccines begin to yield to a sense of relief and joy.

We texted my son who was overjoyed that we are close to all being fully vaccinated.

From "Hope is a Garden: Poems and Essays From the 2020 Pandemic":

A New Day 

A new day dawns

breaches of power and trust

left in the dust and dusk of yesterday.

 

A new day dawns

light floods horizon

spotlight shines on goodness.

 

A new day dawns

infinite possibilities

healing is ours to claim.

 

A new day dawns

peace and calm

a font of joy overflows.

 

A new day dawns

abundance for all

basking in ease.

 

A new day dawns

arms open wide

glorious grace reigns.

I continued to hydrate all day today and other than a little arm soreness felt fine. After 14 months, I had an appointment with my chiropractor today but more of that in a later blog.

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.


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Learning How to Love! Learning How to Live!

 

Three weeks from today marks the 14th anniversary of when I left my award winning career as a VA social worker to heal my life from the once devastating effects of childhood paralytic polio and severe child abuse at the hands of family members. As I was reflecting on this anniversary and social media's Tuesday transformation theme, I reflected on how the first step in my healing journey was to learn how to love myself. 

Enduring years of abuse at the hands of family members and taunting from peers because I was different from them lugging an ankle to hip leg brace, walking with a limp and not being able to contribute to my team's efforts in gym class, took quite a toll on mind, body and soul.

I had been familiar with Bernie Siegel's work since the 1980's. Although I had not read "Love, Medicine and Miracles" in many years, the story of Evy McDonald and her miraculous recovery from ALS stayed with me.  She was also a polio survivor and after the diagnosis of ALS, decided she was not going to die hating her body. She literally loved herself well.

After my diagnosis, I reached out to Bernie as I had done through the years for guidance and what he calls being a "rebirthing coach" as my "Chosen Dad" to re-parent me and teach me how to re-parent myself. I joined his Forum, revisited his books and explored the works of other mind/body luminaries.

The gift of poetry was ignited in my soul after getting still and asking for Divine Guidance. Themes of gratitude, forgiveness, and self-love helped to heal my past. Imagination and visualization for a future very different than the ones the doctors predicted for me of preparing to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair inspired me to heal mind, body and soul.

I was a workaholic consumed with the needs of my patients, their families my Team and my family. I didn't know how to practice self-care and forgot to how to enjoy life.

I had to learn how to live again and running provided me with just the path I needed to rediscover life. 

Running was a great metaphor for the fullness of life and discovering my strength, resilience, beauty, grace, courage and being surrounded by love from the running community for my journey on the road to the 2009 Boston Marathon.

Next Tuesday, I record an interview with Bernie for Dreamvisions 7 Radio on his Mind Health Matters. Broadcast dates are May 20th & 21st at 12am & 12pm DST and it will also be available in the archives. 

We will be discussing my latest book, "Hope is a Garden: Poems and Essays From the 2020 Pandemic"

and how the wisdom I garnered during my healing journey held me in good stead during the pandemic.

We will also talk about the power of poetry and creativity to sustain us during challenging times.

Fourteen years ago I faced an uncertain future after a devastating diagnosis but I transformed the experience to learn how to love and how to live.

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.


 


Sunday, May 2, 2021

The Magnificence of May: An Awakening



As I watched my tulips poke through the once frozen barren ground and bloom, I thought to myself, "What if I had the same hope and faith I had when I planted those bulbs last October trusting they would blossom, and harnessed it in all areas of my life." 



 So often we want control rather than letting go; to trust in the unseen, to enjoy the mystery and wonder of life, to trust in the most beautiful and positive outcomes and to allow Divine Intelligence to guide. Just as the flowers need to go through the dirt, life can sure get messy at times as we have seen during the harsh winter of the pandemic. 

Spring always returns. Last year it was challenging at times to appreciate the glory and splendor of the season.  There was a pall that hung over the world as the pandemic claimed lives and we all faced uncertainty and fear trying to get our bearings with a 'new normal.' Initially we were confined to our homes except to go out and exercise. We saw businesses shuttered and restaurants struggled to survive. We had to wear masks everywhere we went and needed to stay socially distant from others. The colors of the season paled as we navigated an unprecedented time in our history.

Yet I always held onto hope and practiced an attitude of gratitude. This year, with vaccines, and signs of hope with metrics shifting to positive trends, May seems even more magnificent than I can remember.

During yesterday's 5K run, we paused to appreciate the bursting colors of Spring and to make note and appreciate nature's splendor. We breathed deeply enjoying the relaxation of the mask mandate for vaccinated persons.



Even the swans seem to be embodying the magnificence of May 2021:










 

There is an awakening and emergence from the darkness of the pandemic. On Friday, I had my first visit to a hair salon in 14 months. What a treat to have to transform long unruly locks into a beautiful new style for Spring.







 

 

Yesterday was seedling pick up day at Ruth Anne's ReVision Urban Farm. After our run and before we headed to the Farm, we ordered take out from Brothers and Sisters Cafe in Brookline Village. For the first time in 14 months we ate outside at a picnic bench among other people (socially distant with masks up when we weren't eating). There was a street festival and the energy was electric!

The last time Ruth Anne volunteered at the Farm was in January when the Farm Manager and Senior Grower were plodding through the cold, harsh winter. We returned to a vibrant, bustling community of staff and volunteers lovingly distributing the seedlings for customers to have their own gardens!












We booked a trip to Cape Cod for Cape Cod Marathon weekend in October; our first vacation since January of 2020. We are messaging friends who are fully vaccinated to plan lunch and dinner dates.

This week I receive my second "wellness shot" and get to see my chiropractor after 14 months of no treatments! There is a spiritual awakening of so many emotions experiencing "firsts" after so many months of adapting to "nots," My heart overflows with gratitude and relief, anticipatory joy for reunions and experiences we once took for granted.

It's already a magnificent May as the earth and its Beings awaken to hope, possibilities and a return to activities that bring so much joy to life.

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.

Pandemic Silver Linings

I've known challenges from an early age. At 5 years old I contracted paralytic polio in one of the last epidemics in the United States. ...