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.



anne said...

Dearest Mary,
Have been remiss in checking your blog so did not know of this recent setback until a note from Buzz. Am so very sorry for your having to have more surgery. You will remain in our hearts and prayers constantly.
Barbara began radiation last week and seems to be tolerating it well.
Glad of the reminder of your dad's birthday. As the winds howl in BR today I can imagine he would be eager to go outside soon and retrieve mother nature's "pruning" remains.
Much love,
Rooney and Annie

Debbie said...

Dear Mary,

I forgot my logon/password detail after I wrote last summer and was lame to figure out how to remedy. (Will shift email address, that should do it.)

Anyway, I came to wonder how it was that I thought of Han Andre in a daily way when I hadn't seen him in so long. And it is because he is someone who it feels right to be around. And so he is around. As are you.

Nothing to grasp at when you are so situated. No place else to be when you're already there.

It's a lot. Thank you. Hope you feel better this morning.


mac maven said...

I remember Guriji's visit to Ann Arbor one May, probably 1976, and your father in class, his head and shoulders hanging off the low platform in an upper-body backbend. Guruji was trying to encourage your father to do better, saying "For your birthday I will give you a present. I will break your back." Of course there was a big smile on both their faces. Much love to you. I send you healing thoughts. Donna Pointer

Barbara Nicol said...

Dear Mary,

Sorry things have been so hard. If it is any consolation to you, Amma will be here May 30 in Seattle. There is almost always a question line in the mornings. Also She is in NY July 8-10. Her schedule is at

Also one of my Tibetan teachers, Lama Zopa, used to say that when we have health problems (or financial problems), we are burning alot of negative karma, lifetimes of negative karma. In that sense we can be glad to be purifying so much negative karma.

Lama Zopa also said that when we have health problems, the fastest way to purify the negative karma would be to generate boddhicitta. You take on yourself not only your health problem, but take the suffering of every one else in the world who has the same or related problem, on the inbreath you inhale their suffering and on the outbreath you give them your good wishes and happiness. And you make extensive prayers for them, too. So then when you are doing chemo, you have a million other people doing it with you as well...

Sickness is not failure. Wellness is not success. This is your new adventure, without judgment. You have been given a big test, and it can really help further you on the path of distinguishing mind from awareness.

Much, much love,

Mary Beth Early said...

Dear Mary,

You know, I hope, that we all hold you very dear in our hearts. It's so good to appreciate all the people who have made us who we are. As you appreciate your dad, we appreciate you. In this way we grow and share and the world benefits from people long gone who have sent their love and wisdom (and humor!) through those we love, to us, and to those who will come after us.

I attended a Paul Simon concert a few weeks ago in which many young artists performed his music, and he participated, and also performed alone. The younger artists watched him with awe and some nervousness, and he watched them with amazement and respect for their skills and learning and the transmission of art and joy. It reminded me of you and your beautiful humor and teaching spirit that you have been giving to the Iyengar community.

I'm so sorry you're going through a rough patch. Sending you fond wishes for a smooth passage on the bumpy road. I will be thinking of you every day.

Mary Beth

Kristine said...

Dear Mary,

We miss you in TT class. We are no longer giving 108 instructions on how to get to City Bakery from the Institute. Sending healing thoughts, prayers and energy. Kristine Bell

Yogarosa said...

I dedicate my daily Urdhva Hastasanas to my teacher, who took me out of the box into a sea of possibilities. I send you blessings and prayers for peace and healing. How about I send you mangoes too?

Nancy said...

I was glad to read this entry and learn that your recovery is coming along, and that you are working through your challenges with company and solitude--and grace.

I've been smiling for weeks now thinking back to a recent Monday night class. We were all attempting some bending and twisting forward balancing asana and making a real mess of it: stumbling and gripping and falling all over the place. You led us through several repetitions, emphasizing the importance of NOT focusing and gripping, and instead letting our mind and our eyes recede a bit so we could relax into the pose.

Our next few attempts were a little better, but we were still a sweaty, bumbly, somewhat abashed bunch when we finished and you walked to the front of the class. You surveyed the group, but most of us wouldn't even make eye contact.


"Get over it," you said.

And we all cracked up.

Affection and respect,

LeimomiE said...

Dear Mary,
My father's birthday was also May 12. If he were still living, he would be 97. Like you, I learned much at his knee, and am grateful.

And Duane and I have learned much from you over the years and continue to do so, with every message you send out.

We both send you our love and will continually hold you in our hearts, wrapped in Divine Healing Light.

Until next time,

Chris Buck said...

Mary Dunn,
For me, the biggest part of the gorgeous and beautiful spread out spring has been being in your classes with you as the teacher. This spring has been special because of this. I'm thinking of you now, many times each day and praying for all the energy you need to get better.

Patiently waiting to see your amazing smile again, (and learn from you.)

Love from,
Chris Buck (you know who I am but do you know my name? I'm the one who asked you where you had been the last time I was in your class. Sorry for some of the things that pop out of my mouth.)

Nancy Brodlieb said...

Dads are the best! They never really leave you, do they?
Such a beautiful gift to a daughter -
that love of, and fascination/enchantment with the flora and fauna of the natural world. The rich appreciation was transfered to you and so enriches
every moment.

God speed, Mary.

Nancy Brodlieb (Long Island student of Jeff Logan)

Anonymous said...

Dear Mary,

I was in sirsasana this morning May 14th and was hearing your voice correcting me from classes past!

I am thinking of you often and praying for you


George Petrides

Norma Colón said...

This one is from Paul Mayer

Dearest Mary,
I just became aware of this new phase of your journey, so
filled with faith and courage. I join with all your beloveds
in holding you in your "state of poise", perhaps a new asana.
This week we have been celebrating the wonderful ecumenical feast of Pentecost , when the Spirit descended on the community in tongues of fire.I am focusing this healing energy on you in prayer and thought.
In the monastery we sang one of the most  glorious
Gregorian chants during this season-"Veni Sancte Spiritus". I am singing it on your behalf.( I will send a poor
English translation to your email so as not to overload this wonderful blog.)
I am walking the path with you ,my beloved teacher and friend.

Roberta G said...

Hi Mary,

I was so glad to see you a few weeks ago after such a long time. It was wonderful being in your class again and listening to your crystal-clear instructions and great humor. I wish you all the best in recovery,

Love, Roberta

anna and art said...

what to say? that you are in my thoughts each day. that you have passed on your father's kind gentleness to so may of us; that i wouldn't be who i am without having been in contact with it. that i don't want you to suffer. that i want the glorious spring to fill every piece and inch of you and heal you. once and for all.

love anna

Anonymous said...

Anna said it beautifully---I echo her comments.

With love and prayers,

Laura Cunningham

Maddalena said...

Dear Mary,
I am a faithful student who has commented before in the vain of letting you know how much you touch and inspire your students. It hurt my heart when last week James told us of your surgery. (My mom is recovering from chemo and surgery for aggressive breast cancer - the topic, unfortunately, is close to my heart.)Please know that there is even one more student who is thinking of you, praying for you, and spreading your teachings in my teaching of yoga.

all the best,


I hope you are home now...To a place of comfort, safety and healing. Where you can be in the space of time and all of the moments within. And reminded of the collective support and breathe, moment by moment, when you are still enough to notice. That peaceful embrace of the unreal within the real...
Then there is Spring.
You have beautiful memories with your Dad, thank you for sharing and revealing some personal and meaningful moments in your life.
With love and devotion, Susan Turis

ItaliANAdiNewYork said...

Dear Mary,

We are always thinking of you and sending you healing vibes. This spring seems to be long and moody, with up and downs in temperature and weather conditions. But we know that eventually summer will come and with it fewer clothing layers. The same way I know you will get over this bump on the road with your same determined sweetness that you use to bring us into the most challenging asanas. And, in no time summer will come and with it, its never ending days for you to enjoy. We are ready to celebrate your recovery and the upcoming summer with you. You are in our hearts and our prayers.
With love and profound respect.


Barbara said...

Dear Mary,
I'm looking at the Huron River as I write..... redbuds are especially lovely this year. And the dogwoods (a sign of warming weather patterns) are gorgeous.
You comments about your dad are lovely. I do remember him.
I had Mother's Day dinner with your mother, Bobbie, and my friend Jill. Your mother was calm and contented and looked lovely in her red outfit. Of course we toasted her and you.
I'm sending love and healing energy. You are very much in our hearts here in Ann Arbor.
Barbara Sloat

tree said...

Dear Mary,

What a wonderful teacher you are - not only in the classroom but also through your illness and recovery showing/teaching us how to be. Everyday I visualize you surrounded by beautiful healing light.
The teaching with Geetaji at Yasodhara was such a blessing on many levels. Many of your friends asked about you and send you love. During my first asana class with Geetaji, I silently gave thanks for my teachers in NYC who have taken this beautiful teaching and presented it to us as a clear and direct tranmission. Many, many thanks to you for your beautiful teaching. May the healing blossom and may you return to the classroom soon.
Much love.

Bill said...

You are the best. And you are back at the top of my prayer list.
Bill M.

alexander vreeland said...

Dear Mary,

I stopped reading your blog since you were doing so well that I am saddened to read the last three instalments. I love your descriptions of Spring and your father.

You are very present in my thoughts and I hope to see you very soon.


David said...

Dear Mary,
After a wet and blustery Friday, the sun returns on this glorious Saturday.
We're all headed out to Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn for the Brooklyn Waldorf School's May Festival.
Nina and I will be chanting in our hearts with the others at the Institute, and Alice will be sending you her own special dance around the Maypole! Lily will come up with something, I'm sure, but I couldn't even guess what.
Our love to you,
David, Nina, Alice and Lily

David said...

Dear Mary:
After a blustery, wet Friday, the sun now shines on a glorious Saturday. That we could embrace change as readily!
We're all off to Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn for the Brooklyn Waldorf School's May Festival. Nina and I will be chanting in our hearts with the others at the Institute as Alice dances the Maypole. What Lily will be doing is anybody's guess.
You're in our hearts and minds constantly, Mary.
With our love,
David, Nina, Alice and Lily

4Latte said...

Dearest Mary; I feel as though I know you so well and yet barely do. But because of your illness came the blogs without which one could not possibly know you as I feel I do now. I am going to quote someone whom I believe to be the bravest human who ever lived: Iife is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate, is s strength undefeatable." Helen Keller. Keep on paying close attention as I know you are to the trees and flowers that bring you oxgen and the ground that supports our every step. Love Gloria Bleezarde who sits in the left hand corner facing the sun.

Marc Z said...

Dear Mary,
Although I never met your dad, I'm certain you've in various hints let us know of him beyond even your beautiful May 12 entry, but I'm grateful you've given more depth to where parts of your delightful smiles, among other things, origin.

What a delicate, well, more than simply kind loving touch you shared with us, of course consistent with you, Mary.

Continue healing well, and may the chemo transpire effectively, smoothly. I miss your light, yet know shadows of it rainbow all around, including during Saturday's chants to/for you.

toni r. said...

Dear Mary, I saved a poem your dad wrote:
POSITION STATEMENT I'm losing weight through yoga, friend, A fact I hope you'll notice -- Especially I recommend A posture called the lotus. I'm shedding pounds like crazy, chum, Because I never sup; Once in this stance, food has no chance -- I simply can't get up. I appreciated your dad's quiet humor and am missing seeing you in Ann Arbor. Love, Toni