As a polio survivor, I learned a lot about shame, embarrassment, low self esteem and staying in the background. I did not learn how to celebrate me, celebrate life and celebrate every experience of the tapestry of my life. This year has been an incredible year of ongoing transformation which began with the diagnosis of post polio syndrome three years ago in December 2006. I believe that everyone has had experiences which have dampened the Spirit or, as Deborah Hill poignantly says, blows out our light - the light of our True Being - shining and overflowing with love, joy, a giving heart, a sense that all is well and in right order. Nowadays with the news bombarding us with reasons for why we should not be happy, it is easy to let those winds of bad news blow out our light. But as we sit poised on the dawn of a new decade, I propose that we all join together in celebration of the uniqueness of each and every one of us, that we celebrate our incredible resiliency and ability to survive and thrive in spite of or maybe because of external circumstances and we celebrate all the magic and wonder that is yet to be.
This year has been a phenomenal year for me. I ran the Boston Marathon and raised $10,535 for Spaulding Rehab Hospital. I ran many road races and learned that what is most important in running as in life is to JUST FINISH! My family gave me a surprise birthday party to celebrate me. My birthday is on Christmas day yet friends from near and far came by to celebrate this year. I learned that my purpose in life is to not eliminate post polio syndrome from my life but to learn how to peacefully co-exist with whatever is happening in my body. I have learned to ride with the wonderful ebb and flow of my physical being and the physical world around me. I learned how to ask for help and let go of control. I have learned that I can rise from the ashes again and again and again! I realized that I can use all that has happened to me to inspire others and to help spark the light within that may have been blown out by the winds of life. Doors of opportunity have opened for me to share my journey and gift of poetry. I met amazing people who have encouraged and supported me on my journey. I have met incredible teachers and mentors and am so grateful for each and every one of them. The flame of my Spirit has been fanned by joining with Rotary Club's End Polio Now Campaign to help create a polio free world. I have learned that it is time to celebrate and give thanks for all that is, for all that was and to know that the best is yet to be.
Happy New Year! Happy New Decade!