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,


Tobias said...

Dear Mary,
We first met seven years ago (I doubt you remember) at a yoga conference at Lake George. In that one week back in 2001 I learned the three most important things I have ever learned from any of my yoga teachers—and one of them was from you.
At that time I was studying with Erich Schiffman. Erich told us that the most trying emotions, such as sadness, anger and fear, contain within them the possibility of tremendous joy and peace. This was news to me! He explained that by learning to let go of the constriction offerred by such emotions and to allow their energy to move through us we could access the joy and peace of our inner nature.
This was so contrary to what I had learned previously about such emotions that I was skeptical to say the least. I questioned him about when people you love die. He responded that with compassion he had held the hand of a dear dying friend and was able to feel a sense of joy in it. He wasn’t being boastful or crass, but trying to reveal a deep truth at the heart of yoga—that we have the capacity from moment to moment to choose love or not.
One afternoon you came to teach the group that was studying with Schiffman. I can’t say that I was enthusiastic but I did show up. At one point you called the class over to talk about your teacher Iyengar, and how he would demonstrate the different ways of doing things. You gave the example of learning to lift up the whole sternum bone, instead of just the bottom of the of the sternum. Then you looked directly at me and you caught me staring off into space; you noticed that i had missed the whole point of the demonstration. You looked at me with stern compassion and said, “but if you don’t learn to pay attention you won’t ever get it.” Then you demonstrated the difference between lifting from the bottom of the sternum bone and the whole sternum bone again. Did i sure pay attention that time!
That incident planted the seed which led me to study with you a few years later and eventually to become an Iyengar teacher blessed with the opportunity to teach the value of paying attention. Of course your teaching about paying attention and Erich’s teaching about the joy in sadness are (like abhyasa and vairagya) two sides of the same coin: only by paying attention we can learn to let the joy of being reveal itself in trying times.
The third thing that Schiffman taught us that week is that miracles are possible. While I remain open to a miraculous shift in your prognosis I am also grateful that everytime I start to cry when I think about you that I can also practice relaxing into my sadness. This helps the feelings to move through me and reveals a glimpse of my true self. With love and immense gratitude, –Tobias Fields

christopheray said...

sista gemini...i day apart...
may G0D'S L0VE b with u ALLways

ray mankowski said...

siata gemini...1 day apart...
may G0D'S L0VE b with u ALLways

Jenny said...

Mary, You are loved and loved some more by everyone everywhere that has known you, worked with you, learned from you, pondered with you. How good life is that you can know this so deeply. How lucky we all are to have a chance to tell you we love you, over and over. Thank you for keeping in such close contact. You continue to define life at its best and highest. Gracious Mary, you have graced my life. Jenny

Judith said...

Dear Mary: So many around the yoga community are praying for you and send their love. Me, too.
Judith Hanson Lasater

MICHELE said...

Dear Mary,
You continue to teach us all
through this blog, and Im so
blessed to be to be a recipient of your teachings amd grateful to listen to the people who share
their experiences with you. It s
a beautiful community and we all
pray and wish for miracles. I continue to learn from you and the people you ve touched.
More hugs and love,
Michele Weis

Nancy Mildren,Corvallis Oregon said...

Dear Mary,
Janet sang a chant to me this morning that she is singing at the beginning of her classes this week with dedication to you.
It honors the light of the Guru shining through our teachers, dispelling ignorance;guiding with Light.
I honor your beautiful Light sharing beautiful life filled analogies to inspire awareness in key areas of the body.
I am praying the Light to fulfill you and us with a miracle that the cancer karma be absolved and you recover your strong and radiant vitality in all of your kosas.
I adore flower gardens and you are just an exquisite flower garden of a teacher. I have multicolored sunflowers in amidst my corn and green beans and the green beans keep climbing higher and higher that I will have to get a ladder to climb up to pick them amidst those cheerful faces all uplifted to Divine Light
The figs are starting to burst with the full sweetness of so many sunny days.
The gladiolas keep opening their rhythmic, swaying, ascending scale sprays of rich color palette of the feminine all dolled up for a celebration of life...bees and butterflies all abuzz...quietly aflutter to the party. I stop, humble with gratitude to be quietly present. Touching earth , I touch heaven
Mary you are precious in my heart garden.
Love and gratitude,
Nancy Mildren, Corvallis

maria c said...

Dearest Mary

It is so good to hear from you and read about the progress that steadily, with up and downs come step at time. There is nothing better than the present moment and each breath become so important, tasty and meaningful. Breath in and breath out with joy, acceptance and trust.

Your great attitude and the loving support from everybody who you have touched, so many! certainly are an important part of the healing process. This is a great loving circle that just get stronger thanks to you!
I, as everybody else in your blog, and even the ones are not, but know you, are sending good vibes, prayers and much love to reach you.
You are an example and an inspiration, always! I do also agree with Mary Beth, who I don't know, but am getting to know a little bit throw your blog :), that you have taught us all those qualities that are within you and so graciously, naturally, and happily just manifest in you and one can feel them in any single moment close by to you, an even further away! I feel your presence within me, here in CA and hold you warmly and deeply in my heart.
I feel joy just thinking of you, and certainly enjoy reading your blog and seeing that incredible smile again and again.
As the song says and I sing for you..You are so beautiful to me.
You are daily in my prayers.
I love you, admire you and send you the best could come from me, and if I could more, that will go too!.
And of course a huge warm hug! I think smiles and hugs are therapeutic both in different ways. if they come from a place of love.
So, you'll get tons and tons from all over the places, international hugs and happy smiles :) and love in all the languages and forms. You deserve all that for so much you have given to all an everybody you have met. Amazing Mary!
maria :)!

Dmitri Shapira said...

Yes, how very fortunate we are! To be able to try to tell you how much you mean to us, how much of a difference you have made to our lives. How much richer are our lives! And as Richard said, we ARE with you every step of the way, in a way, on this very personal yet universal journey. At the same time I can't help but think that you are also with each of us in our steps and will continue to be so long into the future. I heard someone say (was it Gunther Schuller?) that part of the reason we become teachers is to give back what our teachers have given us. You have given me so much that I have a lot of work ahead of me! From my very first class with you it was clear that you were teaching us much more than asana, that this work was about much larger things: life, connection, the moment, the mid-line... How to thank you? There is no real way except I think to try to be a better student, a better teacher, a better person, and to try as best as I can to pass it along. What an honor to be your student!
with Love,

lpostlew said...

Dear Mary

Among the many wonderful ways you have touched and helped people during your life, this blog ranks high. This is deeply humane and important work, and you have helped so many to understand how to face adversity and challenges in their own lives.

Thank you and God bless you.

Laurie P

Mary Beth Early said...

Dear Mary: I too am nourished by your continued presence in this blog. Lara reminded us in class last week that the quality she thinks you most embody is joy - and she exhorted us to practice with joy despite all else. This is a joyousness you continue to share now.
I offer you this small image that touched my heart last weekend. On a small island off the coast of Connecticut, in the beach roses (the common rosa rugosa with rosehips) above the tideline, my friend found a conch shell (that pearly pink northern conch) with a small bird's nest deftly woven into the abandoned opening, folded and crafted to accommodate itself and its contents to that shape. Inside, two tiny speckled eggs, one hatched and one intact. Who can say what it means, except that life can always surprise us with its bounty. Praying for your miracle. Like Tobias I too practice often with tears.
Sending love, hugs, and healing thoughts,
Mary Beth

ItaliANAdiNewYork said...

Dear Mary,
I don't have to think to infuse my practice with your teachings. It comes natural, like swimming or riding a bike. It is a beautiful lifelong journey you have gifted us. Every practice a dynamic discovery full of happy surprises with your wisdom, optimism, joy and sweetness guiding us all along. As you can see from all the comments posted here, you have a big grateful crowd sharing their thanks. I am one of them with all my heart.

All my prayers and thoughts are with you.

With love and profound gratitude.


johanna said...

Dear Mary,
I am compelled to write -inspired by the generosity of your blog where your essence shines through - so brave and full of love, dignity, and wisdom. You exemplify a life well spent: a life of purpose with an expansive community of friends, followers and family. I open your blog and see the photo of your radiant face and read your insightful words; I am reminded of the joy, laughter, and depth of intellectual and spiritual growth that I experienced when I participated in your asana classes in Ann Arbor. It has been an honor to be in your presence. And now, I am thinking of you - living in the moment – encircled, comforted, and restored by natural beauty and the love and care of your dear ones.


Gloria said...

Dearest Mary: I am not sure I am ready for "the end to await" YOU. I wish I could give words to the tears I fwelt today while reading your most recent blog; and, of course, I am the person who gave you a book with the chapter "abandon all hope of fruition". I was feeling that this chapter would only apply to yetanother t3est or visit to the hoepital. While i do believe in this notion, I am not ready to say goodby. Love Gloria XXXX and I hope James gives or gave you the hug I ordered him to give you.

Van & Thelma Monroe said...

Dear Mary,

Van and I are so proud to be a friend of you and your family. We continue to remember you daily in our prayers as well as our church family. Miracles do happen and we are keeping the faith.


Ellen said...

Dear Mary,

I have been reading your blog and wishing you well from deep in my heart. Thank you so much for writing it, and sharing with all of us.
Every time I practice I remember things I have learned from you. I feel so fortunate to have studied with you for many years, even though I did come and go. You embody truth, inner strength, and authenticity. I have always been inspired by your depth of understanding of human nature and what it is to be on the yogic path, and your ability to put this understanding into words during class.
I send huge blessings and gratitude and prayers for the miracle we all want for you.
with love
Ellen Saltonstall

Ellen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mimi said...

Dear Mary,

When I started taking your classes at the institue (why didn't I go to you sooner?? maybe I wasn't ready?) I was so blown away by the deep wisdom that you made tangible while teaching asanas, that I decided "this is why I am in New York, this is what I need to learn now." (I didn't need to go to some cave in India; I could just go to 22nd street, and there you were. What a privilege).

I told my husband "she looks just like a normal person". And he: "But secretely she is a saint?" And me: "Yes, I think so".

I never understood why there weren't hundreds of people lining up to take your classes (but I was glad there were'nt)

Many times, you have made me cry during a class, when you were pounding us with some terribly beautiful truth. Often, I felt as if you were talking directly to me (a feeling that I must have shared with many).
It was an amazing feeling, having somebody teach you who has been there, who knows the way from experience.

I treasure every single thing you did say to me personally. (One of them being; "challenge yourself").

I am so not ready to not have you there anymore.

I'm praying for the miracle.

I pray that you don't have to suffer.

Thank you from the bottom of my hart.

Mimi Visser (the 'other' Mimi, I don't think you have ever known my name, but I know that you knew me)

Phyllis said...

Dearest Mary,

I open your blog and feel so warm when I see your beautiful smile. I remember the day in Wednesdays class when you announced that you were going to be a grandmother. Your enthusiasm was especially contagious that day. Each of your grand children carries with them your light, spirit, joy, energy, humor, and wisdom. They will continue this spirit to their families for generations to come.

You have been so inspirational to me wince the day me met many years ago and graciously helped me through my challenges. I came out of every class feeling so alive and fulfilled and ready to enjoy the rest of each wonderful day. I am so greatful to have been a recipient of your teachings.

Along with everyone else in your wonderful circle of friends, I send you my love and prayers and continue to learn from you and those hearts you have touched.

Much love,

Debbie said...

Well, yes, for sure, we all come to the same end. Unless it's rather the same beginning. Don't know. But you know James often poses the most enigmatic question when we do svanasana: what is at the end of the exhalation? Don't know if the question his original or a borrowing from India but I have contemplated asking, do you know the answer actually or are you hoping I come up with it?? But I never do. Ask.
That aside. Wallace Stevens wrote of the listener listening in the snow, and, nothing himself, beholding nothing that is not there, and the nothing that is.
I've glimpsed a perfect union myself. Energy all pulsing and colorful, and yet quiet. At the end of the exhalation A dance. and you, you wear that flower in your hair as you always did in Bali.
Love, Debbie

Theresa said...

Dear Mary...The chapter of your life that brought you to the East Coast....I am grateful to share this chapter with you. The retreats, the classes, the parties, the events. I see you rarely now but your presence is always with me. Thank you Mary. Thank you for joining us and nurturing us. Love, theresa rowland

Bill said...

Dear Mary,
Something about the stage of hospice asks for truthfulness (truthiness?).
I have had a sweet spot for you ever since I met you.
Bill M.

Anna said...

Dear Mary,
Saturday's practice was beautiful and it was like you were right there in the room with us. Your classes have been transformative for me and I am ever greatful for that. You are in my thought all the time, as I hope for a miracle. I am so glad you are enjoying the beauty that surrounds you. All the love. Om,

Marc Z said...

Dear Mary,

Saturday *was* wonderful, and you were assuredly there in my thoughts, I'm certain in everyone else's, in more ways than counting could ever satisfy--spirit works that way. I'd have preferred you were there in more than spirit, but the spirit was most there.

For me, it's the young ones' efforts to compile tricks, then the searching looks in their faces as they inquire if the effort was successful that so convincingly and sweetly endears to me! For you too, I surmise. Your smiles have always spoken similarly. Birds soar, most importantly, because they were taught that beautiful dance, although I think it's equally true of their singing, the knowledge conveyed through previous generations. A month ago I learned that birds truly learn to sing, their songs are not accidental! You are my first yoga singing teacher, and I will aim always to sing better, more consciously, freely, with tone.

I'm so very grateful I've been amongst those for whom you glowingly conspired to deliver similar 'tricks' (you clearly possess the same spirit as your grandkids--like leaning back to change the cross of legs). I've many memories of your glance asking (us/me) if the effort you made had reached through. It has, assuredly.

The questions you've asked, stories told, taste for those ScienceTimes articles, all combine to travel amongst us much as do the parental bird's lessons, by example, for their young on how to soar, and sing. It's both because of your lessons by example and the sparkle carried in your eyes with which you've delivered them us that I, like all the sentiments I've read and heard lately, am so honored to be always your student. I'll keep with me your words of things I can do now, will be able to do soon, standing along the rope wall's edge a year from last Spring. They gently broke a sentence I'd been wrongly yoked to for so many years.

Like the rest, I join you in hoping for a miracle, at the same time holding dearly a comfort in knowing you have around you people who love you. I've learned we're never alone when we permit ourselves to ask for help, accepting gentle hand holding, or simply arm brushing (almost like the wall being our friend), exchanging of glances, all the while singing a nice song, being fully in Tadasana or Shavasana. You've always shown this. Yoga makes it more real to me.

It's a rich rich gift to be able to tell you so.

love, Marc

Kathy K. said...

Dear Mary,
Thank you for all of your years of patiently teaching me yoga. I have benefitted greatly and, in my own way, pass your valuable lessons to others in my life. Here we are now! What is possible?

Coming into class I would have the sensation of moving my brain aside so you could directly address my body. And then, on good days, during the pose I would feel as if gravity turned off and I was flying! I would access the infinite space within me! Here we are now! This is possible!

So thank you from my flying, infinite heart, revealed to me through your patient, loving, intelligent teaching. Profound indeed!

Jill Forger said...

Dear Mary,
You are a rare jewel of life & light & love & wisdom! Every class I have taken with you, Mary, plus any time I have had the opportunity to spend with you has been uplifting & has expanded my awareness of yoga & life. You give & give & give so much to so many people. Such generosity of spirit is an example for us all. I am grateful for every minute I have spent near your beautiful smile, exuberance and your wonderful stories!!! How fortunate I am to have met you all those years ago!
Love Jill

Cindy said...

Dear Mary,
I think of you at least daily and dedicate the merit of my morning meditations to you. I am grateful for the teachings I have received from you -in Mexico and other places as well. I, along with Randy, send you much love.
Cindy Dollar

Glenn said...

I guess it was about 30 years ago that Eve and I would chug across the Bay Bridge every Thursday(?) night to the basement at St. Clements. It was the nicest thing we could imagine doing and we often used superlatives to describe your classes there. Among the tiny child size chairs and tables, and the cardboard bricks, you gathered our energy and like a lightning bolt we zapped off to somewhere wonderful.

That word, wonderful (Sandi and I merged it with your name), followed you to Hawaii and lit up many a smile in your workshops and on the beach. I’m convinced that there is a huge population with a greater capacity for mirth and enthusiasm because of you. In class some little quirky twist of meaning would catch your attention and with widening smile you’d describe how to fit that little twist into our asana to find enlightenment. And like an echo, that little twist reappears again and again to brighten our practice and our lives.

So there is a huge bonfire of brightness spread across this globe. And I find you echoing constantly through my thoughts and heart. You are so entwined with us all, you have grown deep into our souls and are ever incandescent there. I love you Mary.

Max said...

There is no loss of words here as we think of you. Yet neither words nor deeds nor yogasiddhis can hold a candle to that wonderful creature of forest wood, dancing with delight and lightness across ice-covered ponds.

Rest well, dear one. Be well always.

sabinelarue said...

dear mary,

i spent last week at Rancho La Puerta--where i used to work in Baja California, Mexico.
on the second morning of my visit i practiced in the asana room early in the morning. when i came to the end of my practice i went into the closet and pulled out a bench for plough pose. as i pulled it a little closer to me in the posture i noticed over my head a little yello piece of paper scotch taped onto the bottom of the bench:


offered by John Obendorfer...
Lemon Grove, CA"

i was overwhelmed with your presence and grace and expansive quality of your teaching...

thank you for everything you have offered to everyone you have touched or taught. your wisdom, your insight, your beauty, your strength, your compassion, your courage, your willingness , and your sense of humor. all of this and more--you have helped us sculpt and shape and contain and express ourselves on every level.
wishing you a miracle or two or three, and much comfort.

i feel blessed to be a student of yours,

namas te, sarah bell

Bonnie said...

I took your Thursday morning class this morning. You were not there, but you were. Your joy and love and spirit still touches me every time I take your class, even more now than ever before.
I feel blessed to have had the honor of learning from you the true spirit and meaning of yoga and will continue to do so everyday of my life.
With Love & Gratitude

Chris Buck said...

Dear Mary,
This past March, I returned from one leg of a long period of working in different locations in the southwest, which I told you the last time we spoke, I'm sometimes inclined/have to do. This time I returned with a broken heart. I came to the institute to take a class which happened to be yours. I had had the experience of you a couple of times in the fall but was fairly new to Iyengar yoga. You walked into this crowded class, sat down on the platform, your eyes met mine, you smiled big and said,"Nice to see you again!" I was probably hooked then but I know I haven't moved since the moment just after the next class when we were putting our shoes on and you sat next to me. I asked you if you could ever imagine living in California again (all of the back and forth in my working life had left me without anchor.) You basically said no, but that every place has it's particular charms, and then, with emphasis,"stay where you are and enjoy it!" This hit me hard and I stayed put and walked through the spring with you and more within me, along with the bumps in the road- following, watching, listening, laughing and experiencing the grace and joy of it all. The daffodils never looked so good, the city never looked so good and I've never met someone so wonderful as you. My practice has deepened, my committment more firm, I won't leave this path.
Like all who know you, I haven't had enough, I want more, but as someone on this blog before me wrote about, you have lit a flame in me that will not go out, nothing can blow it out. You are with me always.
I'm praying for the miracle.
With much Love and appreciation,
Chris Buck

Larson said...

Dear Mary,
I continue to have you in my thoughts and prayers. I smile every time I think of Louise, Leize and I on the back row of your class in Bali, with our legs shaking and barely able to hold a pose. What a wonderful time being with your close friends, family and students- it is a true gift knowing you. I look forward to seeing you again, wherever that may be-hopefully somewhere as beautiful as Bali!

Love always,
Larson Campbell

Sue Shapiro said...

Dearest Mary,

It is with tears in my eyes and love in my heart that I write again to express my boundless appreciation for everything you have taught me. Today opening the computer and thinking, 'let me check--is it possible Mary's written again?' and there you were with such warmth and honesty as you gently, truthfully let all who love you know where you are in this journey we all must take.

I think back to the last time we had dinner-- you, me and Amy at Omen, as we spoke about Judy and how difficult it must be for her when her family was having such trouble accepting how ill and weak she was. We spoke of ways we could privately help her speak of her fears and concerns, help her be less alone with this last trip.

The other two images that sprang up today were when I met up with our group in Thailand for the greatest trip I've ever taken--the one to Laos and Cambodia. I remember going to the first yoga class of that trip and feeling like I was coming home--so happy to be in your presence again and in the presence of these great teachings. You caught my eye and gave me one of those wonderous smiles of yours--recognizing my sense of being home.

Later that trip, I think it was in Luang Prabang we were walking along and suddenly there was a magnificent standing Buddha, in perfect Tadhasana. We stood there practicing in this wondrous presence—taking each others’ pictures.

We often spoke of how one day you would like to write a yoga book but how difficult since each time you teach you are inspired by the present moment—how difficult then to make it static by putting it on paper. We spoke of audio taping your classes or conversations and having them transcribed—but of course life is so full and we put it off.

I think your blog is your yoga book—your living yoga. While all of us still hear your voice inside when we are doing our practise – and perhaps before this past year we heard your voice at other times as well. But now, I /we hear your voice daily in so many moments--your blog is helping us all, teaching us all about living and dying with full presence--experiencing the exquisite joys that each moment has to offer, and feeling fully the sadness as well. So while hoping for a miracle I am grateful for the miracle that is you and wishing you an easy, peaceful journey until we meet again.

Namaste and many hugs and breaths together—love always--


linda S said...

Dear Mary,

I came to the Greenwich Arts Council and Isla Mujeres and Feathered Pipe to learn yoga with you and was always in awe of your philosophy about life. This continues as I read your blog and send you healing thoughts and prayers. We miss you like crazy and want you to know that the impact you have had on our lives has been huge. I am praying for a miracle. Love Linda Schlapfer

Naghmeh said...

dear Mary
you are so dear and strong; and these I have learned from you as qualities to nourish. Your pounding encouragements (come one, Naghmeh..!), your more than kind truthful criticisms "yes, do 'something like that'" ... and I know I've got to work for the ones where you say "do it 'just like that!!".... my teachers teacher. you are the link that has put the yoga flower in us all here in new york, there in san diego, in san francisco, in feathered pipe, in bali, in mexico... everywhere you have graced, you have made birds of us all - giving us those big wide wings, those big wide hearts, those still and alert gentle eyes with which we soak in the love and light of life as we do our best, like you, to be with yoga and atman, trusting that that will be well.

thank you for teaching us to live in the here and now. where we are all with you, in yoga.

blessings and love and a firm kind hug full of affection.

Carol Cavanaugh said...

Dear Mary,

As always I follow your blog closely. I am in San Francisco this week - went today to the East Bay and thought while there about those early classes I had with you at St. Clements when the girls were little and you were teaching close to home. Being in Berkeley made me remember those times so very long ago in both our lives. As I get together with friends we all talk about you and send you our love. Vicki Austin said she did some ceremony for you the other day and will write you about it.
Reading the eloquence of others on this blog makes me also want to say something eloquent. But behind many churning emotions ultimately I find a sense of silence in which my soul hopes to connect with yours, to send and receive love and peace. We are all of us one with you as you move through this phase. I hope and believe you are feeling that. Love, Carol

kymlee said...

Dear Mary,
You are such a beauty through and through. Whenever I think of you, immediately I have an image of your radiant smile. I remember thinking when I first started taking from you “Oh – we can laugh and have fun in an Iyengar yoga class?” There were a number of times when you had a hard time even trying to stop laughing. How incredibly refreshing and liberating!
Your teaching is simultaneously accessible and profound. The way you would weave all different concepts into the classes always blew me away. It wasn’t the poses. It was simply who you were.
One of my college professors said “Words are a feeble attempt . . . “. I am so blessed to have crossed paths with you – so blessed.
I’m sending gratitude, hugs, love and prayers in full-on Mary Dunn style,
Keri Lee

Anneke said...

Dear Mary,

Last time we saw each other was in Denver Oct '06 at the Into Assessment. How special for me you were there, with your silent encouragement for me as I passed and as I also was grieving my father's death just a month previous. It reminds me of something you told me when I made the decision to leave NYC and move West, get married and start a family. You said that it was a good idea, and that having a family was not like the yoga one is able to immerse into with the focus of solitude but that it was still yoga, just a different kind. Now as I am awakened in the night by my one year old Julian Skye, calling "MaMaMaMa" there is a sweetness of my dharma to him and the continuous flow of life -my prana to him that is so special yet so temporary and fleeting. These life lessons are everyday and I am thinking of you in my practice, whether it is on my mat while he is sleeping or the moments that try my keen perception and attention in mommy-hood.
Thank you for your encouragement. With all my love and gratitude,

Gloria said...

Dear Mary: I was worried because James didn't teach his HIV class that something was wrong. Marla and Paul are both doing the emotional support from "Light on Live." I keep thinking of one of the last times I saw you and you gave me a hug. You seemed so little and fragile and our hug felt so much to me. I keep seeing your little girl inside with her pink Michael Stars t-shirt on; her frosted pink toenails and her little curls from chemoed hair. I will keep this image and when I see her she will be eating chocolate mint ice cream. XXXOOO Gloria

Gloria said...

Dear Mary: I was worried because James didn't teach his HIV class that something was wrong. Marla and Paul are both doing the emotional support from "Light on Live." I keep thinking of one of the last times I saw you and you gave me a hug. You seemed so little and fragile and our hug felt so much to me. I keep seeing your little girl inside with her pink Michael Stars t-shirt on; her frosted pink toenails and her little curls from chemoed hair. I will keep this image and when I see her she will be eating chocolate mint ice cream. XXXOOO Gloria

David said...

Dear Mary,

There's a little book of Thich Nhat Hahn's called 'Cultivating the Mind of Love' in which he tells the story of a love he had as a young monk for a Buddhist nun. It was, for all the obvious reasons, a love that, according to our understanding of "beginnings" and "ends", was never to be. Of his many works, it's probably my favorite, and I'm offering this passage from it:

"Please look into the river of your own life, and see the many streams that have entered it, that nourish and support you. If you practice the Diamond Sutra and see the self beyond the self, the person beyond the person, the living being beyond the living being, the life span beyond the life span, you will see that you are me, and you are also her. Look back at your own first love and you will recognize that your first love has no beginning and no end. It is always in transformation."

Like the passage from 'The Shoes of the Fisherman' I posted a week or so ago, this one came to mind as I read your words about ends.

So far as miracles are concerned, I don't have anyone to turn to. But then, do I need to? Isn't this life of yours miracle enough?

With love from myself, Nina and our girls,


Linda said...

Hello Mary,

"Turtle Feet" (by Nikolai Grozni, subtitled "The Making and Unmaking of a Buddhist Monk") is such a good laugh with metaphysical thoughts scattered throughout the book. I thought you might enjoy reading it...
Glad to hear you are in good spirit!


Nadine said...

Dear Mary,
There is no reason you should remember me as I have only been fortunate enough to take classes with you at conventions or a few workshops in Portland but I too feel compelled to tell you how significantly those precious few encounters have positively affected my life. You make me want to dig deep into myself and pull out my best. You inspire me to give more to others. I am forever grateful to you.
Love and peace,

Adina :) said...

MaryMaryMary,you and the thought of you and what you inspire in us all
is a miracle in itself.

Last night at the open restorative practice orchestrated beautifully by Matt was so peaceful. People with very little knowledge and practice of the poses went from one pose to the other with the least amount of assistance. It was awe inspiring-Mary inspiring.
It brought to mind the observation and assisting of your enormous
Gentle classes.

Less is more less is more.
Mary, less is more.

With love and respect,Adina

garth said...

Dear Mary,
You continue to amaze and inspire as you courageously face this and whatever lies ahead. May every moment in this embodiment and beyond be joyous, pain free and peaceful. Continuing to send you infinite love, light and smiles as we hold consciousness for a miracle. Garth

Kate Roth said...

Oh Mary! I am one of your many- thousand-students, and you will not remember me. But you are in my thoughts and my heart, every day, when I go out to my garden. The begonias are so extravagant this year, their buttery little hearts are bursting into big plump petals of lemon and pink. I have never seen such extravagant blooming, and I think: it’s all for you, dear teacher, who gardened every class. I remember a long-ago spring morning in Manhattan, when it just popped into your head to call for the “hanging begonia pose.” Aha! Stiff-legged level-one students suddenly understood… so that’s what you do in utanasana! And we all became begonias, in that moment, as your beautiful blue eyes sparkled. Beloved, brilliant teacher… may the way ahead be scattered with blossoms, to perfume your journey and cushion the road you are walking. With profound gratitude… Kate

kenya said...

Dear Mary:
You are an inspiration and a guiding force that fuels The Institute and the people who visit it. Thank you so much for sharing your gifts.
Much Love and strength and prayers to you.

Judy Ward said...

Dear Mary,

Please feel my embrace from afar. I deeply treasure your friendship and friendships we have shared with Elizabeth and Judy. Your words of wisdom move me deeply. I rejoice that you are surrounded by your wonderful family and the thoughts of so very many devoted students and friends. My hope remains strong.


Racquel said...

Dear Mary,
You continue to teach and inspire as you so generously share your journey - with warmth and humor and grace and gratitude. I am grateful to count myself among your dedicated and inspired students. You taught me to "see" in so many ways. You taught me to listen inside as well as outside. You taught me that teaching and learning can be full of joy and playfulness as well as rigor. Your spirit and smile and voice are with me always. Thank you for all the gifts I have received from and through you. I send them back 12-fold wrapped up in love and hope and stars.
XXOO Racquel

Alice Plato said...

Dearest Mary....

So long ago we met in India and I still have a most wonderful picture in my memory of you molding my back into perfect straightness with your kind strong & sure hands. Your intense focus and commitment to helping me find a center...a center that was unknown to me on my first trip to Pune in 1984...was testament to your great love for your teacher our Guruji. Your own dedication launched me on a physical and spiritual journey I never knew was possible until I saw it in your actions. There you were along with all the angels assembled in this enlightened group to help your guru teach the uninitiated. Your hands initiated me in that eventful trip along with those of Guruji, and I thank you now for giving me that hope and spark of yoga so long ago. When I teach others now you are there too...helping me to help them understand that what we believe we can be is so much more important than the mere physical form we may find ourselves in.
Thank you for sharing that with me and all the others who have been touched by you. Much love to you as you lead us still on the journey...Alice Plato

Barbara Nicol said...

Dear Mary,

So I sent word to my teachers to pray for you, to pray for your recovery if that was karmically possible. By sheer grace I was able to talk, albeit very briefly, with all of the personal secretaries of the big three of Tibetan Buddhism: His Holiness (HH) the Dalai Lama, HH Sakya Trizin and HH the Karmapa.They will pray for you! I also sent word to two of my other Tibetan Buddhist teachers,one of whom had been in Sloan Kettering as well. So whatever unfolds will certainly be very blesed!

Much, much love,

Rachel said...

Dear Mary.
I'm think of you.
Sending Love Rachel.

Jen said...


Today you are in my thoughts. I hope that you are soon in the arms of your family.

You are in my thoughts often. As I prepare for assessment your words and your high expectations guide me forward. As I move through this difficult time, your words, strong hugs and vibrant eyes circulate around me.

I hope that you feel all the arms, and thoughts and prayers for miracles around you.

You are an astonishing person and teacher.


Kurt said...


Thanks for the blog and teaching us generosity. Your blog is a gift for all of us who miss you.

Here at the beach in Montauk you are in my daily thoughts.

- Kurt

Barbara Nicol said...

Dear Mary,

Lama Zopa is also praying for you. His secretary gave me this link to Lama Zopa's advice to a student who had cancer---- http://www.fpmt.org/teachers/zopa/
advice/pdf/UsingSicknessForthePath.pdf ----

Much love,

eleoth said...

my dearest Mary,
your blog, which is my opening site, has been inspiring me all this time and allowing me to feel a little closer to you every day.
I have not good enough use of english to tell you how much i love you. I'm grateful for your teachings beyond asanas, for your welcome hugs each time i've showed in your classes, for the moments you have shared with me.
I cherish your strength and faith and be sure in your heart you are a leading torch for all of us.
I thank life for the opportunity to meet you,
with all my respect and love,
eleonora thomson

eleoth said...

my dearest Mary,
your blog, which is my opening site, has been inspiring me all this time and allowing me to feel a little closer to you every day.
I have not good enough use of english to tell you how much i love you. I'm grateful for your teachings beyond asanas, for your welcome hugs each time i've showed in your classes, for the moments you have shared with me.
I cherish your strength and faith and be sure in your heart you are a leading torch for all of us.
I thank life for the opportunity to meet you,
with all my respect and love,
eleonora thomson

Deborah said...

We are holding you in the light dear Mary. I hope you received the poem I sent by Mary Oliver. "When I am among trees.." You could have written it. It is so you.
love from Houston, Texas


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