asked me during yesterday's treatment.
"Yes," I replied. "Giddy with gratitude!"
What a contrast to that moment on March 12, 2020 when we hugged goodbye not knowing we wouldn't see each other for 14 months. "As long as things are open, I'll be here," she said but things quickly shut down the next day.
We shared how thrilling it was to be able to enter and exit a store from whatever door we'd like and to be able to go up and down the aisles no longer needing to pay attention to the one way signs. I recalled with horror the scene at Star Market on Friday March 13th when panic was palpable and empty shelves greeted us at every turn.
Maintaining an attitude of gratitude is vital and was especially vital during the pandemic. I did not set resolutions for 2021 but set my hopes for the New Year: (from Hope is a Garden: Poems and Essays From the 2020 Pandemic":
May I continue to appreciate and savor moments of beauty, joy and laughter and work to create happy times regardless of circumstances.
May I continue to take time for sunrises and sunsets, breathing fresh air, anticipating Spring and having a daily practice of gratitude.
May I continue share the blessing of my journey to continue to spread a message of healing, hope and possibility. May I be open to opportunities to share my journey and be a beacon of healing light for others.
May I open my heart to fully appreciate getting my hair done again, gathering for races, going out to a restaurant, not having to wear a mask, hugging friends and family outside of our ‘bubble’, a President who governs and leads and hope for healing our country and the world.
May I continue to deepen my connection to Source and to nature and find new ways to ignite a sense of wonder and awe within me.
May I remember that I have endured so much in my life especially during this past year and I have the strength, the faith, the optimism, hope and resilience to overcome any challenges that may come my way.
As I walked to my chiropractor's office at her new location, I savored the beauty of Boston in Spring, the quiet ambiance of Beacon Street away from her former office location in Copley Square. I loved how I could breathe in the fragrant air of Springtime without a mask. The waiting room is fully open with the tape removed to ensure social distancing on chairs, yet masks are still required for the office. My heart overflowed with gratitude to have regular chiropractic treatments again.
Dr. Lizzie and I shared in the joy of the shifting tide of the pandemic while also sharing in the sadness that lingers with favorite stores and restaurants that have closed, the collective trauma we all experienced in different ways and the fear and myriad of emotions that linger as we emerge from the pandemic world. While some shops, restaurants and places of employment have transformed for the better, there are many that have a cloud lingering from the trauma. Stress does take its toll sometimes bringing forth great transformation like coal to a diamond and other times bearing down wreaking havoc with what once was.
We chatted about the pandemic silver linings that we want to keep in our lives and not get swept up in an impossible goal of needing to make up for lost time.
I feel giddy with gratitude that all the metrics and statistics indicate that the pandemic, like one of the worst storms we have ever had to endure is "moving out to sea." I am excited to be able to go to the beach, swim in the ocean, stay overnight at a hotel, go out for dinner and feel the freedom to choose our activities. Lunch dates and hugs with friends will be so incredibly delicious!
My heart feels the sadness of the loss and devastation that exists in the wake of the pandemic and yet is filled with hope that we can rebuild with great resilience moving forward in our lives.
Gratitude and Grace
A joyous jubilation
a heaviness in heart
empty store fronts
empty seats at dinner tables
How do we heal from the carnage?
Gratitude heals the hole
making us whole
grace reigns from clouds of despair
sifting and sorting through rubble
Strength and resilience
beyond what we ever believed
Be sure to listen to my conversation with Greg Chastain and Ed Siegel on their Voices of Hope podcast, The Cardinal Cafe. From Greg Chastain: The latest episode of The Cardinal Cafe is up! On this episode we meet Mary McManus. Mary is a motivational speaker, author, poet, 2009 Boston Marathon Finisher, polio and trauma survivor. She has a remarkable story of resilence, healing, Hope and possibilities. Once you hear her tell her story you will want to rush out to purchase her newest book of poems “Hope is a Garden” which she wrote during the recent pandemic. So please join us for this incredible story.
From my heart to yours
In health and wellness
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.
Be sure to check out my website's News and Events page for upcoming and past interviews where I share my remarkable and inspirational journey as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma.
My books to inspire and uplift you are available on Amazon.