Sunday, July 15, 2007

July 15th Ups and Downs

Dear Friends,

I feel more like myself than I have since surgery and chemo.

And there are ups and downs.

My friend since we were college roommates at the University of Wisconsin, Elizabeth Whalley, arrived today from California and will be with me for the next 10 days.

We have all kinds of activities in the offing. Some of the most important are Savasana, resting and sleeping. My recovery depends on this balance.

I continue to be blessed and surrounded by kindness, support, your poetry and stories and all the messages of love.

My white cells are responding to my care and to me. My appetite and enjoyment of food is back!

With love



Ellen K said...

Dear Mary,
So glad you're home, feeling mostly better and better and have the company of a dear friend.

Much love,


liz Brauer said...

Hello Mary. Speaking for myself and others here at the Ann Arbor Y who have deep appreciation for you and your dedication to us, wishing you comfort and recovery. Holding you near in our practice and hearts and sending you our best.
Liz Brauer

Lisa said...

Hi, Mary, So nice that you are enjoying food again and having good company. Thoughts and prayers from Madison, WI...

Yogarosa said...

There is nothing better than a good friend. But the question is, are you eating chocolate yet?
Love and kisses, Rosa

maryp said...

Dear Mary,
Good friend, good appetite, good white cells. Great news! As for the "ups and downs", may they balance.
Mary (Ct)

Ariane said...

Dear Mary,
So pleased to hear Elizabeth has arrived and I am imagining many wonderful meals, laughter, and peaceful contentment for the two of you.
You are in my thoughts daily...sending you so much love and affection, Ariane

Maureen said...

Hi Mary, I'm thrilled to hear that Elizabeth will be spending time with you! As far as I'm concerned and all other Italians I know..There is NOTHING better than enjoying food, friends and family"...Lots of Love to You, Maureen

Leslie said...

Dear Mary,
I was just thinking about Elizabeth a couple of days ago, and am so happy you two are together. She is just the medicine you need!! As I send you my continual love, pour some onto Elizabeth as well...
(Love always expands!!)

Leslie said...

Lovingly, I send you an addendum to your Sanskrit lesson:
Balance: TULAA
To create: SRJ
(Shavaasana, rest, and sleep create balance)

CJ said...

Dear Mary,
I am so glad to hear that you are surrounded by friendship, love, and kindness while you are healing. I want to share my favorite poem with you: "Kindness" by Naomi Shihab Nye
Lots of love,

Before you know what kindness is
You must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between regions and kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and produce bread

only kindness that raises its head
from the crown of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

Leslie said...

Your Sanskrit teacher made a mistake (not the first, and not the last):
The sentence should read:
(There is no "Y" in Srjanti)
Love, Leslie

Giselle said...

Dear Mary,

Warm wishes

Everywhere you are, the world is a little brighter

with all our love,
john and giselle

Karen said...

Dear Mary,

I am thinking of you and continue to dedicate some Tara mantra to you each day.

Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha!

In the Tibetan tradition, Tara is the Mother of the Buddhas and the Queen of Physicians. She frees us from fear and supports us in cultivating the skillful means that liberate us from suffering.

I am delighted to hear that Elizabeth will be with you for an extended visit. Enjoy your time with her, lots of rest, and delicious meals!

Karen Allgire

Ellen Sirlin said...

Dear Mary,

So glad that you are home in your own house to complete your recovery. I look forward to hearing about your full recovery in the near future and hope to see you in Greenwich in September.

Ellen Sirlin

Robin Janis said...

Hi Mary,

I found this poem in a book by Mary Oliver, meaningfully called "House of Light."

It seems to me that finally, we only have that light we cultivate in our own homes, shared along the Way, with those we love and who love us; respectfully offered to those we touch and who touch us.

The backdrop is that we all just "never know..." And it seems to me, again, that how we light the living of the reality of the Unknown determines the warmth and radiance we that we (forever) shine.


You never know.
The body of night opens
like a river, it drifts upward like white smoke,
like so many wrappings of mist.
And on the hillside two deer
are walking along just as though
this wasn't the owned, tilled
earth of today,
but the past.

I did not see them the next day
or the next,
but in my mind's eye--
there they are, in the long grass,
like two sisters.

This is the earnest work. Each of
us is given only so many mornings
to do it-- to look around
and love the oily fur of our lives,
the hoof and the grass-stained
Days I don't do this

I feel the terror of idleness,
like a red thirst.
Death isn't just an idea.

When we die the body breaks open
like a river;
the old body goes on,
climbing the hill.

Sending you love and as much light as I can vibrate.



Debbie D. said...

Hi, Mary. I check out your blog every day. I remember once your response to someone years ago asking what you did in the morning (eg. when and how long pranayama, when and how long asana, etc.) and your saying well I get up at such and such a time. . . but then there are the days when I just go back to sleep.
I loved that about you.
i hope you don't mind my memories. I'm skeptical of the call to "be present" -- which assumes after all the language and suppositions of time and so its confines. You know, stay here (present) and leave there (past) and don't go there (future). but the past (and the future) can only exist in the present anyhow. it's an inclusive, not an exclusive, thing. someone once said to me life goes on and i thought, no. it just stands still, and holds more.
you're in there. and, apparently, not done with me yet.

Pete (The Dag Man) D'Agostino said...

When I heard the shocking news
It was just the other day.
I tried to fathom why,
what it means to die
But I just could not say.
I know your ilk, Is just like silk
Soft but strong, so you'll live long.
I'm pulling for you & I Pray
So fight the fight with all your might
Find your health our biggest wealth
God will show the Way ♥♥♥!!!

Marc Z said...

Hello Mary. Something about the way you wrote of your friend Elizabeth gave me the impression of your having beamed the broadest smile, which makes me very happy. The joy that comes with our smiles is so warmly healing. Together, they speak of so much the same as fingers wide, of living, well.

May the joy and smiles always carry you through the 'downs' that arise from time to time, they too are part of our package. Times, I'd seek quiet to help me step through less good times, much the way Matthew Sanford described 'being outside' yet holding on, all the same, dearly, to inside.

I'm so glad you are getting the things that you need, and that feed all the important parts of you. In your healing of self, you are teaching. I'm not surprised. More important, I imagine you're not surprised, less so, even. Smiles and love to you...


Janna Peterson said...

Dearest Mary: Don't forget to let even your EYELASHES relax while in Savasana!

Blessings, love, light, and peace,


Jeff H said...

Dear Mary,
Taking heart in your continued recovery and sending as much light your way as I can muster, plus another wonderful Mary Oliver poem (imagine the text centered; I can't convince the blog spirit to accept my formatting tags):



Understand, I am always trying to figure out
what the soul is,
and where hidden,
and what shape—
and so, last week,
when I found on the beach
the ear bone
of a pilot whale that may have died

hundreds of years ago, I thought
maybe I was close
to discovering something—
for the ear bone


is the portion that lasts longest
in any of us, man or whale; shaped
like a squat spoon
with a pink scoop where

once, in the lively swimmer’s head,
it joined its two sisters
in the house of hearing,
it was only

two inches long—
and I thought; the soul
might be like this—
so hard, so necessary—


yet almost nothing.
Beside me
the gray sea
was opening and shutting its wave-doors

unfolding over and over
its time-ridiculing roar;
I looked but I couldn’t see anything
through its dark-knit glare;

yet don’t we all know, the golden sand
is there at the bottom,
though our eyes have never seen it,
nor can our hands ever catch it.


lest we would sift it down
into fractions, and facts—
and what the soul is, also

I believe I will never quite know.
Though I play at the edges of knowing,
truly I know
our part is not knowing,

but looking, and touching, and living,
which is the way I walked on,
through the pale-pink morning light.

 Mary Oliver
 “Why I Wake Early”

anna and art said...

am so happy to hear elizabeth will be with you now! my love to her.
and always you.

xo anna

ps: art is so thrilled to hear your latest news!

cathyannhenry said...

Ahhh, a good, longtime friend--the BEST medicine. So glad you will get a BIG dose of that!

Thought of you last night in class, remembering that what you are facing is larger than whatever I was feeling in parvritta trikonasana. Then I remembered to stay in the moment and breathe. Amazing--it got easier!

Blessings to you, and enjoy your visit with your friend.


Chris Nounou said...

Hi Mary,

So happy that you are able to enjoy eating again. I'm saving some chocolate for you. And when you are feeling up for it we'll paint the town red with the ballet or the theater. I'm looking forward to it.

Love, Chris N

Jackie said...

Hi Mary, hi Elizabeth!

Deeper notes in a friendship, so the golden moments shine.

My son was deathly ill this week. A purulent strep thoat which rapidly went south, he couldn't swallow or breathe, he was quaking with fever and body systems broke down. After a trip to ER and hospital and massive doses of morphine, antibiotics and other alien substances, he is now recovering nicely. But he is frail and thin. As I ply him with delicious food items, soft and nutritionally balanced yet attractive in taste, texture and look, he smiles up at me and whispers, "I could get used to this."

Then he falls asleep with a sweet smile on his face, The sardonic expression which accompanies his recent daily uncertainty is completely wiped away.

When my son wakes up, he will have passed the stage in which getting used to this looks good. But the closeness engendered by going through a bad experience alertly, together, will remain.

Have fun with your dear, wild friendship.

xx Jackie

Nancy O said...

Dear Mary,
I am so glad to hear that you are doing well. You have (and continue to be) such a positive force in my life.
I did finally have my right hip replaced & it has made a huge difference in the quality of my life. I can go for walks and even do Yoga again! Gardening is again the joy it used to be.Your words of advice helped me to make that decision, Thank you.
With Love,
Nancy Opgaard

Maria C. said...

Hello Dear Mary, Hello Elizabeth!

It's always good to hear from you with ups and downs, but more ups ups ups! Yeah!
When I am lucky to see you, you always bring my spirit up up up and that is how I remember you. It is so you and it is contagious! But there is only one Mary Dunn, one of a kind! We all love you and vote for the proper and continue recovering.

How lovely a good friend is visiting you.Friendship is a blessing. It's the family we chose and we feel so comfortable with. Enjoy it!
She might have taken the North CA sun with her to brighten your days even more :) since it was cloudy here (well around know how the summer is in the city, it takes it owns time to show up, luckily in Sep).

Take care and bon appetite!
Love and light to you.
Warm big hug and all the very very best to you dearest Mary

maria :)!

Peggy Kelley said...

Dear Mary,
I'm so glad to learn that you're home and with friends and with appetite!
We learned when I was in Pune (and you were one of the first to inspire me to visit there!) we heard of your illness and held you in our hearts. Now back in Austin, we've been holding you in the light in our classes. You carried the light here to Texas and we so appreciate your gifts of the teacher.
A Sanskrit hymn has helped me often through difficult days. Here it is: Kaivalya Astakam of Sankaracarya (in English--if you want the transliterated Sanskrit, let me know!, it's fun to sing; the last line repeated in each stanza is "harer namaiva kevalam")
Sweeter than the sweetest sweet,
Holier than the holiest,
Purer than purity itself,
That is God's name alone.

From Brahma-ji to a clump of grass,
All the world is just a dream
But what is real and what is true,
That is God's name alone.

If you're taught by a holy sage,
Or your father, your mother or friend,
You will always this recall.
That is God's name alone.

Nothing in life is guaranteed,
Your last breath, when will you breathe?
So worship God from childhood on.
That is God's name alone.

There the Lord does always dwell.
Where His blessed devotees
Are singing with hearts full of love,
That is God's name alone.

O great sorrow, O great pain.
The greatest loss is neglecting God,
For a chip of glass, overlooking a gem,
That is God's name alone.

Lend our ears, lend your ears to hear.
Lead your voice, lead your voice to say,
sing sing always in praise of the Lord.
That is God's name alone.

Surpassing this universe so vast,
Brightly shining on every part
Fullness, bliss and consciousness pure.
That is God's name alone.

This translation is by Swami Tadatmananda and now that I've got it all typed up in English, it seems that the Sanskrit IS better. Anyway, it's a great hymn, hope you enjoy it.

love from all your friends in Texas, who hold you in the light and thank you for the light you have brought here,
Peggy Kelley

alma said...

Dear Mary,
My name is Alma, I took a few classes with you. The first one was about 5 years ago, I still remember it vividly and the feeling I had after. I started to practice on my own after this class. I wanted to thank you for this inspiring blog and to send you my admiration and love.

alma said...

Dear Mary,
My name is Alma, I took a few classes with you. The first one was about 5 years ago, I still remember it vividly and the feeling I had after. I started to practice on my own after this class. I wanted to thank you for this inspiring blog and to send you my admiration and love.

alexander vreeland said...

Dear Mary,

My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Cancer is such a challenging illness since the treatment is actually a battle to eradicate something that is active within you. The Patient's experience is confused because they are feeling the effects of this radical battle being waged within their body. One is forced to really listen to the doctors who are able to monitor who is winning this battle. Often we feel like we are loosing while in fact the doctors are so pleased because the treatment is really eliminating the Cancer. It puts one in a confusing space as one has trouble reading what is going on within one's own body and one has to accept that someone else is informing us on how we are doing. A seperation is created between how we feel and how we are really doing.

Lots of love,


Vince Fratello said...


As I have been traveling you have been in my thoughts, meditations and prayers. You are a positive force in the world and I trust that is all coming back to you now. The wonderful work that many have done in cancer research over the years is coming to your rescue, especially the kinder gentler chemotherapy.

We can never know what the future will bring, but I think of the words of Thoreau "We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal and then leap in
the dark to our success." Take care of you--we are with you.

Vince Fratello