Thursday, September 4, 2008

September 4, 2008

Dear Friends,

It is with great sadness that I am writing to let you know that our beloved Mary has left her body to continue on her journey.

She died peacefully in her sleep on September 4th at home with her two daughters, Louise and Elizabeth in Westchester, New York.

The family is planning a memorial service for Saturday, September 27th at 2pm, to be held at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of New York.

In addition, we are planning a celebration of Mary Dunn's life for early 2009. We will keep you informed as those plans progress.

At Mary's request, in lieu of flowers donations to support IYAGNY and its continuing mission of teaching Iyengar yoga may be sent to:

150 West 22nd Street 11 Floor
New York, New York 10011

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Blog 8/30/08

My outer world is shrinking as my strength goes down.
But as I look into my window sills laden with flowers and beyond into nature’s sculpture of the barks of timeless oaks, I am again in an inner world that expands and satisfies.
Nature from which we come and to which we return, holds out her arms.
I am content with this beginning and resolution.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Blog 8/18/08

Before I left Memorial behind today, I had a wonderful call from Prashant Iyengar and was able to speak with him and with Guruji. Then, my daughters, a wonderful friend from California, and I made our way Elizabeth’s home in Westchester. The Bronx River Parkway broadens into a woodland ribbon of park meandering from the Bronx into Westchester. Trees, birds and little wild creatures welcomed us into the timelessness and cycles of nature.

Soon I was settled into a bright, cheery, second-story room nestled in the trees. Everything is here and thought through for my comfort and care. I spent the evening enjoying the memories and thoughts that come from rereading your cards and letters. I wish I could thank you and respond individually to what you wrote. Know that I smiled and sometimes laughed out loud learning about what is new with you and your thoughts about life --- each thought a treasure and gift to me. Know also that your unwritten prayers and ideas are reaching me and warm my heart as well.

I cherish the family time, rest, and possibilities each new day brings. I use what I have learned and keep learning from the experience yoga has opened to me about life to keep my spirits up and to be in the moment.

With love,

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Blog 8/12

At the beginning of the month I moved out to be with my daughter Elizabeth and her family in Scarsdale, taking advantage of the care and services offered by hospice. We twice found ourselves most comfortable coming back to Memorial for treatment to correct unforeseen complications. As of Tuesday the 12th I am still at memorial but hope to go back to Scarsdale by the end of the week, as we seem to have things under control.

Saturday night’s practice for emotional stability, at the Institute, sounded wonderful. My only regret was that I wasn’t there with you. But I dare say that I joined many who were not on site but were there in spirit.

It has been wonderful having Roger, my former husband, with me as well as my brother and sister-in-law. My daughter, Louise, will be with me for another extended stay when I leave the hospital.

The birds will still be soaring, the hydrangeas adorning and the grandchildren coming up with all sorts of new tricks to endear them to us when I return to Scarsdale.

Until then, I am uplifted by your thoughts and prayers. In the meantime I retain the hope for a miracle while I also accept the inevitability of the end that awaits us all.

With love,

Monday, August 4, 2008

Blog August 4, 2008

I did get home the hospital and settled back into my apartment. I will be here for a few more days and then take some time at my daughter’s at Westchester for family visiting. My former husband, Roger, and brother and his wife are both coming to see me there as well as a wonderful friend from Colorado. In the meantime, Dean and Rebecca Lerner have been here along with my daughter Louise and her husband nursing me back to better than I have felt in weeks.

This morning the lure of the light and crispness of the air pushed me out for an early walk to Hudson River, the first walk of consequence in quite some time. In the hospital, I had a fall while escorting a very tall lean pole. The fall and hospital goings on curtailed my walking. But walking is improving and I am more secure day by day.

I can report big improvement in the nausea--eating loop too. I am attributing it to Slippery Elm powder suggested by the Learners, which so far has proved, if not miraculous, at least close.

All this improvement is certainly good for my spirits and balances out the bells and whistles I have attached to me (the devices attached to my midsection for draining etc.)

I am continuing to live day by day and enjoy the good times.

With love,

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Blog 7-27-08

Dear friends,

The last few weeks have been eventful. James and I went to Ann Arbor to see my mother and work on clearing the house two weeks ago, and was glad to see her and get more work done on the house that always seems to have more to give.

I was able to go to the Institute for a small celebration we had for Guru Purnima. The celebration was to show our appreciation of our Guru, Shri B.K.S. Iyengar along with the August issue of Fit Yoga which is dedicated to his genius and the genius of the Iyengar method.

Then home and a wonderful visit from Elizabeth Whalley. Soon after that I went back into Memorial Hospital to try to figure out what to do to help my situation. I am in the hospital now, hoping to come home on Tuesday.
I reflect on what a wonderful life I’ve had. How many dear friends I have. What a devoted family I have. How lucky I am to have been able to do something in my live that is meaningful to me and others.

You couldn’t ask for anything better than that … accept a little more.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Blog July 4, 2008

Dear friends,

The last month has found me in an up and down situation. Each day brings wonderful things to appreciate and equal challenges.

In enjoying the highs and avoiding the troughs I am living in the moment, resting, and taking advantage of the restoration that comes from rest. I am giving up the idea that I can do everything that I have done, or all the things that present themselves and are important.

My girls have been here and James has been taking loving care of me; taking up the enormous challenge to tempt my appetite to combat the nausea I have been experiencing. Friends have continued to send delicious food and bouquets, to my great delight!

I had to give up being at Feathered Pipe Ranch as it became more and more obvious that travel to Montana was not possible for this year. My thoughts travel easily however, and I will be there in spirit this coming week.

Today I am headed to Westchester to be with Elizabeth and her family for the holiday. I am looking forward to reading stories and making them up, homemade music and fireworks.

With love,

Saturday, June 7, 2008

May 23 and June 7, 2008

Blog June 7, 2008

Dear friends,

I am sorry to be so out of touch but appreciate the huge support I feel from so many of you. My recovery continues to be gradual as the chemo on top of the surgery was harder on me than previous times. However, there is no doubt that I am getting better and finding my way back into my energy. Elizabeth Whalley, my college roommate and lifelong friend has been here from California this week helping and encouraging me.

Today, my daughter, Louise, and her family are here from Philadelphia and give me a chance to delight in my older set of grandchildren and catch up on their lives.

I have been to the Institute twice, once for the profound and inspiring lecture given by Faeq Biria on Svadhyaya, self-study, and also for the last session of this year’s teacher training class. Of course I am looking forward to getting to regular participation and teaching as time goes by.

My birthday was filled with well wishes, flowers, and family. James organized a time for those at the Institute to send me a montage of taped greetings topped off by a wonderful guitar solo by Lara Warren’s husband, Raphael. James is here for me always as the great and constant friend he is--keeping my spirits up, gently reminding me to rest and be patient, shopping and helping in all ways.

My doctor and I have a schedule for the upcoming treatments which will allow me to go to Feathered Pipe Ranch if I am feeling up to it. The carrot of that trip is coaxing me onward and upward and I am visualizing being on a plane after the Fourth of July as well as being in Greenwich and at the Institute before that.

Greetings, much love, and many, many thanks for all your greetings and love, outwardly and inwardly expressed.

Blog 5/23/08

Dear friends,

My first chemo after surgery went without a hitch on Wednesday. My daughter, Elizabeth, was with me. We had a good visit and I felt the protection of her care. My former husband, Roger, provided great comfort over the previous weekend of real convalescing. My daughter, Louise has been in close touch and has come from Philadelphia to be with me too.

Yesterday, I can really report that I felt more myself throughout the day, and today too. In illness, the sense of who I am seems to retreat and coalesce in a central part. Those around me reach into me to nurture and help in every practical, emotional, and spiritual way. I ask for help in so many ways and shed the independent being I am used to and let the truth and reality of our interdependence manifest.

I feel blessings said and unsaid, chanted and unsung, written and thought. Thank you all.

According to all predictions, the sun is out for upcoming days, and my treasured walks can resume with new enthusiasm. Chris Saudek is with me for the weekend, and we will enjoy things on all fronts and maybe even tackle the top of the jobs…. i.e. paperwork… that have very literally piled up. Anyway we are having fine talks, naps, walks and we even went out to dinner! As long as I pace myself, I can do a little more each day.

Much love to you all. Know that, although those around me caution me to not go too fast, my thoughts are that it will not be long before I am back at the Institute, my second home, enjoying the fruition of that dream. And I look forward to spending some time with each of my daughters, their mighty fine spouses and those four grandchildren I am crazy about.

With love,

Sunday, May 18, 2008

May 18, 2008

Dear Friends,

After getting home on Thursday, I am making progress and regaining strength. I have resumed my walks to Central Park, each outing getting easier although the pleasure factor was right up to the top of the scale from the first one! Walking alternates with quiet times and, since it no longer hurts to laugh out loud, I am doing some of that as well.

Friends are cooking for me, helping me and aiding the healing from the surgery.

Next week I will resume chemo with the intent of pushing back this eruption and finding an agent to sustain the progress we make.

Yesterday the lilt of breezes created an ever present awareness of the atmosphere. We practice watching our breath -- yesterday made me watch the breath of the earth. And the simple pleasure of sitting in the sun took me to the core of what makes possible all incredible existence.

A group chanted at the Institute, and I know prayers, meditations, and thoughts are with me from all directions. I am grateful for all this and every moment.

With love,

Monday, May 12, 2008

Blog May 12, 2008

May 12th is my dad’s birthday. I have been thinking of him so much with appreciation and love. He gave me and all he touched so much in such a gentle way. Any of you who have seen a wry grin appears on my face can trace it directly to him. And he too appreciated the humor of his own vision. Any of you who have seen me identify a plant or an animal behavior should know I learned it at his knee. Any of you who have seen me not rise to the bait know that I learned emotional vegetarianism by living with him….

The spring has been gorgeous and beautifully spread out so each flowering beauty and leafing has its own time.

I am almost a week post surgery, and the week has been a hard one. The good thing about a hard time is there can be some downhill after. There is a gradual improvement of bodily functions, but it’s a bumpy, gassy, road.

The spring has been gorgeous and beautifully spread out so each flowering beauty and leafing has its own time.

I will probably go home midweek and start chemo again the following week. My doctors and all my friends are working with me towards coming to a state of poise-- holding this aggressive cancer in check so that I can do the work I love and be with the family and friends I cherish.


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Blog May 8, 2008

Operation over!

Recovery a little prolonged. The bowel is fixed and will be useable in a few days. No food or water for what seems like a long time. But those liquids and good nutrition will be ever so welcome when they come.

I have lots of support here and the right combination of being by myself so I can rest and some family coming by so I can hear the news.

Next Wednesday seem like a probable day for release and I feel I will be ready for it. I am already sitting up and going for laps around the floor.

Much love and thanks for all the prayers and thoughts coming from you, my wonderful friends.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Blog May 6, 2008

Dear ones,

After a period of feeling on top of the world, several weeks ago I began having worrisome symptoms. I went back into treatment and then had an episode that took me back into Sloan last Thursday night with a small bowel obstruction. Conservative treatment didn’t solve the problem and I am slated for a small surgery later this afternoon. My daughters will be here with me and I am completely at peace with this decision and an in good hands.

I expect to have a quick recovery and be home and up and about soon.

I know there are lots of bumps like this in the road ahead. Thank you for staying with me on it.

With love and appreciation for the hands that reach out to me from all directions,

Monday, March 17, 2008

March 17, 2008

Dear Friends,

The week in Mexico with Dean and Rebecca Learner and old and new friends was wonderful and full of wonder. On the beach for every sunrise and sunset, I enjoyed the unfolding and refolding vibrancy of the sky and sea. Trumpeting colors announced and celebrated each day and the inestimable value of being present for the present.

At least twice a day I swam and walked in the warm clear water and felt the renewal of my skin, the quietness of my mind, and the buoyancy of my body and spirit. The horizon spoke eloquently of the wholeness of the earth and the interconnectedness of us all.

I rested each day, ate nourishing food, and found joy in the reality of the practice and ideas of yoga as they permeated my skin, mind, and spirit.

Rested and strong, I returned to New York. During the past week I went through tests and received the result at week’s end that there is no active cancer at this time!

While I am aware that there are no certainties for the future, I am equally aware that there is every reason to celebrate the present. I am eager to share this celebration with all of you who have been so generous with your prayers, thoughts, and help!

For now, I am appreciating normalization and recovery with no chemo. I am taking an estrogen blocker with a good record in preventing reoccurrence.

Spring is in the air -- sporadically. But the trees and bushes are budding and the calendar is making its way into the certainty of renewal.

I am grateful beyond words and appreciate each of my friends and blessings.

All the best!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Blog January 22, 2006

Dear Friends,

This weekend as I crisscrossed Central Park, the first snowdrops delighted my eyes. There they were, pushing aside the nurturing soil that covered them in the darkest days and popping up. neck first, snowy blossoms facing the earth.

The days are getting longer and so are mine! The healing rest after surgery has allowed me to pop up too. My lifelong friend, Elizabeth, was with me for this past long weekend and we were indeed out and about. We walked Fifth and Madison Avenues on the grey day and went to the Met for the African exhibit and the Jewish Museum for the William Steig exhibition. We pondered Pinter’s The Homecoming and Beckett’s Happy Days as part of our literary heritage. We sang lots and lots of old favorites at a sing-a-long at the JCC.

If all of this sounds like a lot, I nap in the afternoon and am being nourished by wonderful meals delivered with love by devoted friends.

And of course the news of the optimal outcome from the surgery is adding to the bounce of my step.

I am often asked if I am practicing. Of course I am and I use the lessons of yoga every hour, starting from when I opened my eyes and embraced the world in the first conscious breath after “being under.” I credit yoga with my experience of being able to ease pain and have a positive attitude pervade all my sheaths.

My daughters and their families have been wonderful as have been so many devoted friends who are communicating with me above and below the radar. I am the grateful beneficiary of your prayers, meditations and thoughts.

I have been to the Institute and will go more regularly next week to gradually resume my life there and my teaching. This week I will also start a 2-month regimen of chemotherapy. I have clearance to go on my annual trip to Isla Mujeres with Dean Learner for my beloved Feathered Pipe the first week of March so life is indeed going on positively for me.

All the Best to all of you. I know it is a cliché, but don’t forget to smell the flowers… or at least smile them…

With appreciation and love,

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Dear friends,

I am into my second day post surgery.

The operation went really well. The surgeon reported that it was an optimal result! So I am very pleased as you can imagine.

The first few days are a little tough, but I am making progress on all fronts.

Thank you for all your prayers, meditations and good thoughts.

More later.

With love,