Friday, December 31, 2021

My End of Year Run for 2021

 

I call myself a most unlikely runner...and I am...I contracted paralytic polio at the age of 5, endured years of abuse at the hands of family members and at the age of 53, 15 years ago this month, was diagnosed with Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease by Western Medicine standards. But I am a scrappy and determined woman who is one to meet challenges head on with the guidance from helpers seen and unseen. 

I discovered the gift of running in my life a year after writing the poem, Running the Race, in which I foreshadowed my 2009 Boston Marathon run. As  Forrest Gump said, "From that day on whenever I was going somewhere, I was running."

Well, not exactly but since the pandemic began in March of 2020, I have been running outdoors 3X a week with very few exceptions resorting to a treadmill run if conditions were too treacherous outdoors.

Last Saturday it was a sheet of ice and we changed up our strength training day for a running day with Sunday. That meant I got out Tuesday and Wednesday for my 5K's.

On Tuesday, Tom and Ruth Anne had their 3 mile training run around the neighborhood. We started out together for their warm up and they went on their way for training for the Providence Marathon. I was able to enjoy the sights around the neighborhood on an unseasonably warm late December day.






One of my favorite sights to capture was the raindrops gently hugging on to the berries glistening in the sunlight. I savored seeing green grass at the end of December.








On Wednesday I capped off my miles for 2021. Many of my runner friends run over 1,000 miles for the year so I often am shy to post my miles for the year at just over 500. But then I reflected on what an amazing accomplishment that is for this most unlikely runner and posted on Facebook, "With today's 3.25 miles, 2021 miles are done. Tomorrow and Friday are my rest days.
505 miles for the year ALL OUTDOORS which for many may not seem like a lot but 15 years ago I was given the diagnosis of Post Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease.
I celebrate every footstep and every mile I enjoy and while I am not racing these days, I am incredibly proud of my consistent health and wellness regimen.
2022 here we come with my goal of feeling gratitude for all my body gives me every day and for the gift of health and well-being!
Loved my serene solo miles reflecting on how blessed I am!
To healing, hope and possibilities!
To your health and wellness!
To an amazing 2022 of miles filled with smiles!"

The post received over 80 reactions and 33 comments! 

I am excited to continue to motivate and inspire others with my powerful message of healing, hope and infinite possibilities. There are exciting projects that will take root and bloom in 2022. I  have a commitment to daily affirmations from Louise Hay with her calendar and Power Thought cards. I am fierce to protect my time for meditation and reading every day and continue my dedication to my health and wellness journey.

We will be celebrating Tom's 70th birthday, our 45th wedding anniversary and our twins' 35th birthday. I am so blessed and grateful that I take the gift of running with me into 2022 and also will be support crew for Tom and Ruth Anne's Providence Marathon for Victory Programs

To a year of resilience, gratitude, healing, strength, hope, joy, loving kindness and abundance for all Beings everywhere.
 
To finding the beauty in all things every day!

Since 2020 and all of my life experiences, I know that I have the resilience and strength to navigate these uncharted waters and be a beacon of light and hope in the darkness. So do you!

From my heart to yours

In health and wellness,

Mary

Be sure to visit my website at https://marymcmanus.com to learn about my journey to health and wellness in the wake of paralytic polio and trauma

Visit the News and Events tab to listen to my inspiring and uplifting interviews

My books to motivate, uplift and inspire you are available on Amazon


Thursday, December 30, 2021

The Magic of New Beginnings

 

I wrote this poem on Christmas Eve, the eve of my 68th birthday and hope it will inspire you as we get ready to embrace a New Year:

A New Chapter 

Dipping my quill

poised to write a new chapter of my life

surrender to Source

troubles become light as a feather

fear fades

quivering quiets.

Creating

happily ever in present moment

my presence a gift to the world

heart and soul overflow with grace

gratitude for blessings

feeling blessings on their way.

Chapters of days gone by

reveal beauty and strength

stronger in broken places

gold gilding

healed and whole.

Infinite possibilities on a blank page

pure and powerful

Love reigns supreme

Love story for the ages

tethered to Source

lightness and ease

giddy with delight

exhilaration and excitement

ready.....set....go!

 

Many people often ask me what it's like to have a Christmas birthday. I grew up as Jewish so the only frustrating part was that my parents didn't want my brother to feel left out on Christmas so he received presents as well. I always had the day off from school and/or work. I had to celebrate my birthday before the holiday because friends had to spend time with family but we had great family celebrations at my cousins' house in the Bronx. Once I converted to Catholicism during my graduate education at the Boston College Graduate School of Social Work, it became very special for me to celebrate my Christmas Birthday. My husband's family invited us to join them on Cape Cod and the twins' enjoyed raising a raucous with all of their cousins.

 

Having a birthday that coincides with a beautiful religious holiday and the end of the year creates a wonderful time for contemplation and reflection. As the winter solstice approaches, neighborhoods are splendid with holiday lights and the anticipation of Christmas is in the air. Once Christmas arrives, the winter solstice has come and gone and we emerge into more light every day.


I am overcome by gratitude for all of the experiences of this past year. I am deeply grateful that we have all been healthy. Team McManus worked hard this year to let go of people and habits that were not healthy for us, allowed new people and experiences flow into our lives and been blessed to reconnect with friends through Ruth Anne's Providence Marathon run for Victory Programs. 

 

While in person speaking engagements were not possible, I was blessed to share my journey, and my gift as a writer and poet, on many podcasts. Out of the podcasts, grew an idea to create an audio compilation of poems from Hope is a Garden to benefit Voices of Hope Boston. The Universe is always full of surprises. 


As I begin another year and as we all get ready to embrace a new year, I open my heart to the magic of new beginnings. I am excited for new adventures in my work as a writer, poet and motivational speaker.  I cherish being support crew for Ruth Anne and Tom on the road to the Providence Marathon. I am hopeful we will be able to experience runcations again in Providence and Cape Cod and perhaps return to NYC for another Broadway show weekend.


I plan to continue to work on releasing worries and fears, trusting that the Universe always has my back, making sure I set aside time every day to read books and get off screens, and have laser focus about what I want to co-create with Source in my life. This message popped up in my Facebook news feed. A message straight from the Divine.


It's time to relax, enjoy and trust the magic of new beginnings as Ruth Anne begins a new semester at Boston College, Tom begins a new contract job and I explore possibilities for sharing my gifts while getting ready to wrap up my next book with the working title,  "Into the Light: 2021 Poems and Essays."

From my heart to yours

In health and wellness,

Mary

 

Be sure to visit my website at https://marymcmanus.com to learn about my journey to health and wellness in the wake of paralytic polio and trauma

 

Visit the News and Events tab to listen to my inspiring and uplifting interviews

 

My books to motivate, uplift and inspire you are available on Amazon



Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Be Relentless! On Cake Calamities and Compassion

 

Last Monday I was planning to participate in Dr. David Hamilton's Personal Development Club Monthly Live Q & A. I got out for my run later than I had planned to because I wanted the day to warm up a bit. When I got home I debated about whether or not to attend the Zoom meeting since it was after the starting time and I needed to eat lunch. Yet something tugged at my soul to log on. I came in the middle of David sharing a part of his journey talking about listening to our intuition.

Someone posted a question privately to David. "I am doing meditations. I've let go of relationships that no longer serve me. I'm doing all the right things with nutrition and hydration but it's so hard to deal with the negativity and divisiveness that's going on in the world. Do you have any suggestions?"

David replied in his signature Scottish accent,  "I focus on being relentless with loving kindness and compassion. I do a meta meditation several times a day. When we do this meditation wishing well for ourselves and others not only are we sending out good energy into the world but we are changing our own chemistry so that it becomes easier to see the positive things in our lives and in the world."

A woman asked a question in the chat about how to manage chronic pain due to arthritis. I had the opportunity to share with her my journey and healing resources as David talked about his recommendations for healing and management of chronic pain. I went on to share my journey with compassion saying how easy it is to feel hopeless and helpless when we are in pain but when we share healing stories, they uplift and inspire us.

So much compassion, love and kindness flowed among the members gathered that transcended being in cyberspace. As David teaches, consciousness transcends location and we can experience the flow of beautiful energy through our hearts as we express gratitude and compassion. Tears overflowed from our hearts as we wished everyone a happy Christmas and New Year.

Fast forward to Christmas Eve. Tom went to pick up my birthday cake. When he got home and we opened the box, we saw one of the ugliest cakes we had ever seen with writing that went around and down the side of the cake. At first I was angry and then I cried. I wanted Tom to take it back but then I took a pause. What if the regular cake decorator was out ill or they were short staffed during the holidays. We have bought other cakes from this store before and they were never like this. Tom and Ruth Anne said they would go to another store and find a birthday cake for me. They were in short supply but they found one cake that they thought would be suitable and asked the person behind the counter if he could write on it. He proudly said of course he could. Tom and Ruth Anne picked up a small vegan chocolate cake that we have enjoyed before as a 'back up.' 

They did not have the heart to say anything to the young man and when they brought the cake home I did not know whether to laugh or cry. He used a baby blue gel to write Happy Birthday Mary. He was clearly not a cake decorator nor someone who was able to properly write on a birthday cake. Tom and Ruth Anne said that it didn't look 'that bad' under the store's lighting. The small vegan chocolate cake would do just fine to celebrate my birthday.

When it came time to put the candles on the cake, they kept breaking because there was a hard chocolate shell rather than icing. We laughed so hard as the cake crumbled a bit until they found a festive red candle to put on the cake.

It was perfect for Tom, Ruth Anne and her twin brother Autumn and partner Michelle via the Signal app to serenade me with Happy Birthday on Christmas.

While we could have focused on the cake calamities and certainly could have taken the cake(s) back to the managers with our complaints. Instead we focused on the joy of celebrating Christmas and my 68th birthday. How wonderful it felt to greet the calamities with gratitude and compassion hoping that the young man at the bakery counter felt he made somebody's day special with his light blue gel artistry.




Desmond Tutu made his transition on December 26th. May we all be inspired to live his legacy especially during these times when we need to find our way back to healing and unity.

 

From my heart to yours

In health and wellness,

Mary

Be sure to visit my website at https://marymcmanus.com to learn about my journey to health and wellness in the wake of paralytic polio and trauma

Visit the News and Events tab to listen to my inspiring and uplifting interviews

My books to motivate, uplift and inspire you are available on Amazon

 

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Hope & Resilience

 


On Monday Broadway World announced that, because of the toll that the pandemic was taking on cast and company, Jagged Little Pill, would be ending its Broadway run. I reached out to my Voices of Hope Boston family and we shared in the heartbreak while also sharing in a sense of hope that, as Greg Chastain said, 'Talent always lands on its feet."

As I thought about what to write after Jagged closed, my theme was going to focus on how we have all learned through the pandemic to seize the day. I was going to wait until 'things got better' to go see Jagged next Spring and I am so grateful that I followed Spirit's promptings to go with Voices of Hope in November. There would not have been a show to see in the Spring. I've learned to generate more compassion and kindness in my interactions with my family and friends, placing in check seeing people and situations through the lens of judgment. We never know when something might end.

Kathryn Gallagher who played Bella Fox in Jagged, was a guest on Stars in the House. She shared how her face reflected that she had been crying all day after receiving the news that her last performance was on December 17th. The show had closed for a few days due to the high rate of positive COVID tests and made the painful decision to not reopen. During the interview she shared how she had a sense that the show might close. During what came to be her last performance, she said she thought about what if this would be her last show. She took in every moment and looked at every seat in the audience. While she shared how she and the members of the company were heartbroken, one could sense her strength and resilience through the pangs of grief.

While once again feeling the sense of loss and uncertainty as a pandemic variant sweeps across the globe, I hold onto hope and light. After all, it IS Christmas - a time for hope, love, light and miracles. 

Sean Allan Krill posted on Facebook: 

Got to see my dear friend Kathy Voytko go on as Marian in The Music Man on Broadway tonight, and she was absolutely incredible. With virtually no rehearsal, she never missed a beat, never made a false move, looked, sang, and danced like a dream, made me laugh and broke my heart. She’s a STAR. The real deal. And so is the show. The whole evening gave me hope in a very difficult, challenging time. And, okay, let’s hear it for swings, understudies & standbys, for cry-eye! They are kicking ass and keeping Broadway up and running right now.
PS Hugh Jackman was a dream in the show as well, and gave the sweetest, heartfelt curtain speech about Kathy, and all the swings on tonight.

Despite his own heartache, he went out to support his dear friend and support the theater community that pulses through every cell of his body.

I receive emails from Broadway World as part of maintaining my connection to my New York roots and especially during the pandemic to keep up with the news. When I first started this blog in the Spring and writing the sequel to Hope is a Garden, I thought by now we'd be celebrating the robust return of shows and events during the holiday season. I never imagined that there would be news of friends' parents in the hospital during Christmas with COVID this year or that shows would be closing. In the midst of it all there is light, hope, strength and remarkable resilience.

Broadway World shared a video and the transcript of what Hugh Jackman said during the curtain call at last night's show:

Hugh Jackman paid tribute last night to the "bedrock of Broadway" - understudies and swings while bringing forward Kathy Voytko who filled in for Sutton Foster on Thursday night in the Broadway show in a curtain call video captured on Instagram by Katherine Winter. Hugh told the audience "Kathy, when she turned up at work at 12 o'clock could have played any of 8 roles. It happened to be the leading lady. She found out at 12 noon today and at 1 o'clock she had her very first rehearsal as Marion Paroo. This is unprecedented. It's not only happening here at the Winter Garden...but all over Broadway. This is a time we've never known. We're in our 4th preview and we're all still learning, so swings and understudies have not had a chance to learn. They've watched from the corner of the room while we rehearse; while we get to practice over and over again. They just get to watch and write notes and then 5 hours before a performance they're told, you're on. All of these people here - the swings, and I'm emotional because it humbles me. The courage, the brilliance, the dedication, the talent. The swings, the understudies, they are the bedrock of Broadway."

The arts, especially musical theater are the bedrock of our lives. They take us through the entire range of human emotions and have the power to transform us. The collective experience of live theater bonds strangers together as time and space suspend during the performance. Musical theater has the power to make us laugh and cry and be in a state of awe immersing ourselves in another world.

If we look at what's happening right now, it would be easy to get drawn into the vortex of darkened theaters with shows and events cancelled due to the pandemic. But there is always a ghost light that stays on. That ghost light is our beacon of hope and resilience. We have vaccines, strength, resilience, faith and protocols to manage this phase of the pandemic. We have love to uphold us and heal us. We know we can do this. The show must go on!

From my heart to yours

In health and wellness,

Mary

Be sure to visit my website at https://marymcmanus.com to learn about my journey to health and wellness in the wake of paralytic polio and trauma

Visit the News and Events tab to listen to my inspiring and uplifting interviews

My books to motivate, uplift and inspire you are available on Amazon

 

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

The Enchanted Village With Voices of Hope

 

One of the greatest gifts of 2021 was reconnecting with the Voices of Hope Boston family. Their live performances were cancelled due to the pandemic. They started a podcast in March of 2021. I reached out and asked if, given my experience through the polio pandemic and, having released Hope is a Garden: Poems and Essays From the 2020 Pandemic, they would like me to be a guest on The Cardinal Cafe podcast. While we had been going to their live shows for many years, it was not until the pandemic and being a guest on their podcast  that we wove together a tapestry of a deep friendship.

One of my traditions growing up in Westchester, was to go into New York City during the holiday season. It was a tradition that stopped once Boston became my home. When my mom died on Christmas Eve in 1997, family and friends gathered in New York for her memorial service. It was the twins first trip into New York City. We'd been back to visit at other times of the year but this year was the first year we went back during the holidays.

The trip was inspired by Voices of Hope Boston plan to support Sean Allan Krill and the reopening of Jagged Little Pill. It was a magical trip. I am so thrilled that I put aside my concerns about wearing a mask indoors for long period of time to experience the kick off of the holiday season in New York.

One of our big holiday traditions when the twins were growing up was to go into Boston to see The Enchanted Village, the windows at Filenes and Jordan Marsh and take home a box of Jordan Marsh blueberry muffins. When Tom ran the 2011 Boston Marathon for Childrens Hospital, the kick off party was at The Enchanted Village at Jordan's Furniture in Avon. There was no Enchanted Village last year and when Eliot was interviewed on The Cardinal Cafe podcast, he wasn't sure if it would be back this year. There was some banter about the possibility of Voices of Hope performing if the Enchanted Village returned but at the time, the future was uncertain as Eliot explained the pros and cons of reopening his store.

When we saw that Voices of Hope would be singing carols at The Enchanted Village on 12/18 and 12/19 we just knew we had to go. Dana greeted us with her signature bear hug and we were enthralled to hear our friends performing LIVE again!




 

We were planning to go to only hear our beloved VoH but the lines moved quickly and Ruth Anne took charge to lead us into a time honored tradition. 




Here is Ruth Anne all grown up experiencing the joy and delight she once knew when she was a little girl:











Scenes from The Enchanted Village:







I may have cried just a little when the song, "White Christmas" came on and snow started falling around us as I remembered taking my kids to The Enchanted Village when they were little. I felt the nostalgia of the scene with Eliot and the old board games and the free standing TV's in their wooden consoles. I felt the tears of joy and gratitude for dear friends and being able to experience the holiday season this year. It is truly amazing how the pandemic has intensified my feelings of gratitude and appreciation.

As we left the Village, we were told that the exit was upstairs. I thought that to be a wee bit odd since we entered the Village on the ground floor.

We walked through all the different furniture departments. Tom and Ruth Anne had done their 8 mile run on the road to the Providence Marathon for Victory Programs and I had done a 5K. We spotted an Exit sign with stairs that would have taken us back to the first floor near the front of the store but Tom asked a salesman how to get to The Enchanted Village. We followed the signs but ended up back at the stairs where there was no entrance! We had a record number of steps for the day!

We explained our situation to a lovely woman with a Jordan's t-shirt on and she took us through the employees only door and voila - we were back with our Voices of Hope family. We hugged so tightly and wished each other Merry Christmas while listening to one last song "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." Children with their winter jackets trimmed with fur wearing their little masks listened with wide eyed wonder. A new generation would begin their holiday tradition with The Enchanted Village and Voices of Hope Boston just might have a new caroling tradition for their group.

Prior to heading to Jordan's we agreed that since Tom and Ruth Anne (and by proxy me) were in marathon training that we would forego getting the Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins but there were boxes stacked tall at the exit/entrance to the store and the smell wafted through the air. We couldn't resist!

Ahhh ... the power of advertising on the radio hearing Eliot say, "...and while you are there don't forget to bring home a box of those delicious Jordan Marsh blueberry muffins made with the same recipe..."

Ruth Anne, Tom and I relished every bite when we got home knowing that the joy we experienced was far more important than the calories in the muffin!

What a joy to rekindle McManus family traditions while celebrating with our friends.

Here's to traditions old and new and being able to celebrate life to the fullest!

From my heart to yours

In health and wellness,

Mary

Be sure to visit my website at https://marymcmanus.com to learn about my journey to health and wellness in the wake of paralytic polio and trauma

Visit the News and Events tab to listen to my inspiring and uplifting interviews

My books to motivate, uplift and inspire you are available on Amazon


Monday, December 20, 2021

Under the Full Moon - Reflections on Unity

 

 

Divisiveness has once again dominated the headlines; a virus that can do more harm than the pandemic. I must say that it is quite easy to find myself 'taking sides' and make judgments about what is right or wrong. I can only do what feels right for me and our family and release making judgments on others' choices lest I contribute to this pandemic of divisiveness.

We were struggling with whether or not to get our booster shots. Boston College where Ruth Anne attends graduate school requires it. We decided to schedule appointments as the studies show that immunity wanes after 6 months. There were boosters required for the polio vaccine and many other vaccines for potentially life threatening illness. In my heart, I know had I not had the polio vaccine, I could have experienced more debilitating symptoms as did my friend's mother who was unvaccinated. Collectively we are exhausted from the news of the pandemic especially as we see that Broadway Shows have had to cancel performances and restaurants have had to close due to staff testing positive.

It would be easy to focus on the problems. 

After the diagnosis of Post Polio Syndrome, 15 years ago this month, I learned how vital it is to focus on the healing, not on the wounds; on how to make things better rather than focusing on how bad things appear to be.

I started listening to a podcast that I thought would be healing and bring comfort and peace to my quandry about boosters and it only served to leave me scratching my head wondering how is it possible that people criticize people about having immovable opinions which they say are wrong and yet they are doing the same thing.

I turned it off and took a deep breath and then I saw a post that resonated with my heart and soul from Dr. Michael Rocha. He works in New Bedford and dedicates his life to bringing wellness programs to his patients and the community. He started Walk with a Doc in the area, a program promoted by Dr. Vivek Murthy as Surgeon General. He chose to become a physician but continues with his passion for music playing trombone as part of the Buttonwood Brass and Southcoast Brass Band, the latter raises funds for the Boys and Girls Club.

"December 16, 2021
We find ourselves all in an uncomfortable time, again. A prolonged period punctuated by intermittent increases of disease, despair, and disconnect. We are all well beyond what is tolerable regardless of our varied views.
We are seeing our world crumbling again, feeling like we could get together more safely, then cruely, the virus decides otherwise. We are seeing hospitals fill up and feeling the strain in all areas of medicine. Breakthrough cases are disrupting our lives, work, families, and our holidays.
Everyone is angry and burned out. We must realize in the moment, it doesn't seem like the suffering will get better. It will. Why?
 
Science and compassion for one another will win out despite our exhaustion. Unfortunately, science in this moment is telling us to be more careful and make some short term sacrifices when we feel like we have done this too many times already. There are those out there that can not afford to get the virus and there are those with other medical issues that need care that is being diverted towards resources for COVID.
Vaccines save lives, are safe, and prevent people getting sick enough to be in the hospital or in the ICU. There are some exceptions to these rules but I see this first hand playing out everyday regardless of what is on any news channel or political camp. I don't watch news stations. What I see is real life not virtual. Additionally, masking indoors can make a difference when we are all consistent despite our extreme fatigue from doing this for 2 years.
 
As for real reasons that we will get through is our friends and family. Yes, in the last week it has been tough and I have felt it, but when that happens, people have shown up. They check in. In turn, we do the same for others. That is how we break this cycle when we take a closer look.
 
This holiday season, be present even when not physically there and please listen to one another. Pick up the phone or Facetime when you sense someone needs a call. If you are going to get together, consider testing before hand to cut the risk. If you are struggling with mental health, please reach out to your doctors or professionals for help as you are not alone.
 
May everyone be safe, healthy, and well during these times. May we all find some peace."

I have been focusing my meditations on peace, comfort and ease often times using the guided Meta Meditation from Dr. David R. Hamilton. At the end of the meditation he offers, "And let's send this one out to all sentient Beings. May all sentient Beings be happy. May all sentient Beings be well. May all sentient Beings be safe. May all sentientBeings be at ease." At the end of the meditation he states, "Whatever you do today. Go well and go kindly."

On Friday night I looked out of our window and saw the almost full moon.

Before I fell asleep, this poem flowed out of me:
 
Under the Moon

We are all One
under the light of the full moon
wintry barren branches frame its beauty
She beams
inviting us to look up.

Divisions must cease
who is right or wrong
transform these wayward passions
come with compassion.

In darkness and silence Source reigns
reign in conflicts

Listen closely to heart’s promptings
prompting us to be light not right
foolishly clinging
digging in

reach out
building bridges
a time to heal.

Judgments fade into the fog
Truth comes into view
a world made whole and new

under the full moon where we are all One.

As the year comes to an end, I will focus on gratitude, healing, possibilities, HOPE, joy, love and peace. I will cherish the moments with loved ones and celebrate my 68th birthday with gusto. I will focus on Unity knowing that underneath it all we have so much more in common than what divides us.

From my heart to yours

In health and wellness,

Mary

Be sure to visit my website at https://marymcmanus.com to learn about my journey to health and wellness in the wake of paralytic polio and trauma

Visit the News and Events tab to listen to my inspiring and uplifting interviews

My books to motivate, uplift and inspire you are available on Amazon








Friday, December 17, 2021

The next best thing to being there....



At this time last year, we thought for sure we would be planning our return trip to Bermuda for Race Weekend. Bermuda is currently a Level 4 destination according to the CDC and travel is not recommended. A month ago, Bermuda Race Weekend was cancelled. I saw posts from friends traveling to tropical destinations. Knowing I may not have choices about circumstances happening around me, I always have a choice to choose my thoughts and attitude.

Right before I was getting ready to publish my blog this morning, I opened up Lin Manuel Miranda's book, "G'morning, Gnight! Little pep talks for me & you" to read G'morning as we have done every day since we bought it a few months ago.

G'morning.
This feeling will pass.
These people will pass.
But look at you with the gift of memory.
You can time travel to the good stuff just by
closing your eyes and breathing.
Then come right back to now, eyes up for
the good stuff ahead.
You magic thing.

Synchronicity is beautiful and magical when we allow our hearts and eyes to see beyond what we can touch, see and feel and what is being told to us through the news.   

I went through my photos and changed my profile and cover photos on Facebook to photos from Bermuda. I have a photo from the beach as my wallpaper on my iPhone. I allow the joy to flow with my friends' posts allowing my imagination to feel as if I too am in a tropical destination. We've been blessed with the weather in New England for December. I savor every sight of green grass on lawns despite darkness descending earlier every afternoon until the winter solstice next week.

I am an eternal optimist and allow hope to fill my heart and soul despite the headlines. 

Fifteen years ago I was given the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome. As I sat in a leg brace using a cane and at times a wheelchair for mobility, I imagined myself dancing and running free. I harnessed the power of my imagination through writing poetry and even though my current circumstances looked quite grim at the time, in my mind's eye I was focused on winning a 10K race. I had never run a day in my life yet went on to run the 2009 Boston Marathon.

While part of me feels utterly exhausted from the pandemic; the need for Ruth Anne to be tested and boosted before she returns to grad school at BC and the impending regulations that in order to be considered fully vaccinated you need to have a booster shot, I imagine my world free from the pandemic and only needing to remember my bathing suit and running clothes when we travel again. The memories of traveling to Bermuda for many years in December, January, May and July warm my heart and soul. We look through photo albums and reminisce about our adventures in paradise. We remember with so much love the people who are no longer with us in the physical plane but feel their beautiful presence through our hearts and memories. Before I go to sleep at night, after my guided meditation ends, I ask myself where I want to go. I ignite the fire of my imagination and I can almost hear the tree frogs serenading me as I fall asleep. I see the ink from the headlines from the newspaper dripping down the front page while new good news headlines and news stories appear.

We are finding Christmas music old and new that brings us joy and focusing on all there is to be grateful for. Tom found a new 6 month contract job that is 100% remote starting in the New Year. We will be able to take a week's vacation together before he begins his new job and before Ruth Anne starts classes and a part-time job. I am looking forward to a much less frenzied pace of jobs that were not a good fit, and settling into a routine and rhythm of life.

And while I may not be getting on a plane to travel to our Bermudaful destination where we went for 5 consecutive years in January until the pandemic,

I will travel there in my mind's eye, filled with hope that one day we shall return. In the meantime, as I lull myself to sleep, look at my photos and my Facebook cover and profile photos, it's the next best thing to being there.

From my heart to yours

In health and wellness,

Mary

Be sure to visit my website at https://marymcmanus.com to learn about my journey to health and wellness in the wake of paralytic polio and trauma

Visit the News and Events tab to listen to my inspiring and uplifting interviews

My books to motivate, uplift and inspire you are available on Amazon

 




Friday, December 10, 2021

Emerging From 2021 and Getting Ready for 2022

 

There are so many quotes about letting go, moving forward and embracing a New Year. Many of them have negative connotations such as you can't reach for something new if your hands are full of yesterday's junk. Louise Hay's above quote is a much gentler and kinder way to look at letting go of what no longer serves us and opening ourselves to embracing the new.

There are many traditions that I've had to let go of during the pandemic. This time of year would be a time to prepare to celebrate the holidays and my Christmas birthday while getting ready for our annual winter trip to Bermuda. This is the 2nd year that we will forego that tradition. We will embark on a new tradition this year, hearing Voices of Hope Boston singing Christmas Carols at Jordan's Furniture Enchanted Village on December 18th.

Tom and Ruth Anne are training for the Providence Marathon in May of 2022 to benefit Victory Programs and Victory Programs ReVision Urban Farm. It's their first marathon training and fundraising endeavor since Tom ran Boston in 2011 for Boston Childrens Hospital. Since I ran the 2009 Boston Marathon, I have opted to be support crew.  A once and done marathon for me was a great accomplishment! I am so thrilled to experience the excitement of bringing the community together for great causes, to hear from people we've not connected with in awhile and to watch Tom and Ruth Anne run with heart to once again go the distance of the marathon. As of this writing, she is $408 away from her first milestone fundraising goal of $3000. Here is the fundraising link. It is heartwarming to experience the cheers and well wishes of our running family as we did when Team McManus ran the 2009 Boston Marathon. We are all hungry for feel good stories and Ruth Anne's miraculous journey is one that is embraced by our village.

We usually have a slate of races on our calendar as we bid farewell to an old year and head into a New Year including a Jingle Bell run. We have decided to forego the Jingle Bell run this year and stay focused on marathon training. We are not sure if there will be another Camp Hyannis aka Hyannis Marathon Weekend which was our last event before the pandemic in March of 2020 but are going to let go of that tradition in 2022. We are hopeful that the Falmouth Road Race and the Cape Cod Marathon will take place in August and October and are excited to return to our happy place for a race-cation, and are very excited about exploring Providence Rhode Island, a new race destination.

There are relationships that we released in 2021 as the pandemic helped us to discern who and what we want to have in our lives. All experiences were an important part of the tapestry of our lives and it's important to honor the importance they served at the time.

Other relationships have flowed into our lives that have brought wonderful rich, new experiences. I was blessed to be a guest on several podcasts to discuss Hope is a Garden: Poems and Essays From the 2020 Pandemic. Visit my News and Events page on my website to hear these inspirational interviews of how hope, and writing essays and poetry were critical to navigating the pandemic. Dan Thibeault, podcast producer for The Cardinal Cafe and Live Your Best Life, was inspired to reach out to me to create an audio book of my poems set to music. Together we were inspired to create, "Read Out for a Cure: Hope is a Garden - Forty Poems From the Pandemic to Uplift and Inspire You." 

In September, Tom realized it was time to retire from his position at Boston College and explore new possibilities. We are keenly aware now of what is important to have in work/life balance. With his technical skills, he will always find a place to work to generate a revenue stream during retirement. We even toyed with a non-technical job but by continuing to work in tech, he is able to do contract jobs and then take time off.

Ruth Anne experienced many different jobs in 2021. As we expressed gratitude for this past year and all we have learned, enjoyed and grown, Ruth Anne was most grateful to discover that she is totally capable of being able to work and to 'put up with a lot' in the work place. She is discovering her passion and purpose while she pursues her Masters Degree at Boston College. To help manage the symptoms of the traumatic brain injury that occurred as a result of an untreated infection, she was on a complicated medication regimen with many side effects. She is successfully tapering off of these meds and will be going into a New Year with a much lighter and smaller med box having so much more energy and vitality!

While every year brings an ebb and flow of letting go, transition and change, the pandemic has punctuated this cycle with a big exclamation point in 2021.

We don't know if fully vaccinated will mean having a booster shot although trends are heading in that direction. Masks are mandated at least through March of next year and while experts are keeping an eye on trends, testing and booster shots, Team McManus is keeping their eyes on health, well-being, doing good, letting go and letting in all the goodness and grace of the Universe in 2022. It's a milestone year as Tom turns 70 in March, we celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary in March, and the twins turn 35. My intention is to send out ripples of love, kindness, prosperity, abundance and healing from our hearth, hearts and home to the world.


From my heart to yours

In health and wellness,

Mary

Be sure to visit my website at https://marymcmanus.com to learn about my journey to health and wellness in the wake of paralytic polio and trauma

Visit the News and Events tab to listen to my inspiring and uplifting interviews

My books to motivate, uplift and inspire you are available on Amazon




Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Strong Headwinds

 

With Tom and Ruth Anne training for the Providence Marathon to raise money and awareness for Victory Programs and Victory Programs ReVision Urban Farm (link to fundraising page),  I do solo runs on Saturday mornings. There was a strong headwind as I walked out the door. It can be a challenge to feel motivated doing solo runs especially when the weather is a challenge. I debated about what route I wanted to run knowing that the wind would be particularly strong around the Reservoir with the wind coming off of the water.

I dug deep and something inside of me spurred me on to do the Reservoir run.

I've run in colder temperatures with snow or sleet pelting my face and compared these conditions as mild compared to those. Yet the wind was very powerful and at times I had to work hard to find my balance. I ran around the outer edge of the path to make sure I did not risk falling into the water.

The white caps were intense which is quite the contrast to the Reservoir's usual tranquil and serene water:

I soldiered on reflecting on how this run was becoming a wonderful metaphor for life. When there are strong headwinds of challenges, we need to find ways to keep our footing and trust in the strength deep within us. We need to trust our anchor of faith being connected to Source to help us navigate through challenging times.

Saturday's run was a wonderful metaphor for life during COVID. The pandemic hit us with full force almost two years ago. We had great difficulty finding equanimity in the midst of the turbulent times. The vaccines brought great hope and, just like on Saturday's run, the winds died down and we basked in the warmth of the sun and a return to a 'new normal' of life. But before long, we were back in masks and COVID guidelines remained.

On Saturday's run, I was struck by how the sun and clouds together look like an anchor! What relief to be able to shift from survival mode to being able to savor the sunshine and enjoy the beauty of a late Autumn day taking deep breaths to release the stress returning to a state of equilibrium. 

Rather than bracing against a possible return of strong headwinds, I stayed in the present moment savoring the peace and quiet. I was relaxed and steady when the headwinds reared up and roared once more.

When we are tested by the storms or strong headwinds that come up in our lives, it is a great opportunity to tether our souls to Source. Our anchor of faith is strengthened and we find a strength deep within that lights up for the world to see. I feel blessed and grateful that I knew challenges early in life after contracting paralytic polio and enduring years of trauma at the hands of family members. The wisdom, strength, resilience and resolve I experienced out of those storms helps me to navigate these turbulent times finding my way back to peace and warmth grateful I am able to hold steady when winds buffet around me.

From my heart to yours

In health and wellness,

Mary

Be sure to visit my website at https://marymcmanus.com to learn about my journey to health and wellness in the wake of paralytic polio and trauma

Visit the News and Events tab to listen to my inspiring and uplifting interviews

My books to motivate, uplift and inspire you are available on Amazon



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