Mary Ann (Wallace) Iyer, M.D. is a licensed physician, whose awakening led her to understand that the way to health involves waking up to our True Purpose. Full wellbeing includes attending to both our outer and inner selves.

Dr. Mary leads workshops which invite individuals into deeper awareness of their path in life. Her gentle, astute Presence leads participants into the safety of their own precious Hearts, where answers to perplexing problems lie.

Under the name, Mary Ann Wallace, MD, she has published several books and CDS. Visit http://www.maryanniyer.com/ for more details.

To bring Dr. Mary to your area, email: DrMA@maryanniyer.com

Note: You need to have a Google account to leave a response to this blog. Please follow the "Create Google Account link" on the right hand side under the section "Links" to create a Google account

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Here Where We Are

The original meaning of the word “perfect” was “thorough”. I take that to mean complete in our effort to be all we can be. The perfection of self-as-thorough may include components that come as a surprise – not fitting in the picture of some preformed idea we have about how a “spiritual (or ‘good’) self” should look. How many of us have strived for how long to live a life of spiritual depth? And how often has that caused us to feel despair at our lack of perfection in our efforts?

What I’ve noticed is that when I greet each thing in me against which I hold dislike or even abhorrence with a willingness to see what is being asked of me, I deepen into a sense of greater comfort and acceptance. Not just of me – but of life. We are, after all, but representations of Life. It could be that the “Original Sin” is but the unique flaw that set us on earth, which as (per Nepo) the Tibetans believe is “the mark where the bareness of being first kissed us, placing us in the world”. In other words, it is our so-called imperfections that define our reason or purpose for being here.

Sometimes we close off against Life based on the accumulated years of abuse and pain. Fearing more pain, we don’t trust Life itself. And why should we, when in the face of true innocence and vulnerability we have been harmed?

Until we come to the recognition that to open a bit is for our own good. Not as a statement of foolhardy “trust” in “all will be well”, but as a means whereby we can get a breath of fresh air. Bad things will happen. As well as good – by our estimation and judgment (because it is, after all, we who determine and define such delineations). But still, to be as open as we can under exactly these – our circumstances – is the best stance we can take for our own well-being, irrespective of how Life is playing Itself out.

We humans do damage on earth – by thought and deed – and we are the instruments for healing. And it turns out the main healing really is within the self. Each place that hurts is an invitation to pause and invite the kindness of Life in to be present in its opening to wisdom – right there.

It is the ultimate discipline, facing into with gentle heart, that which we dread or loathe within ourselves. Inviting the Divine Spark into these areas for willing transformation into their best selves requires our apt attention. It is through us that the pains of the earth – often there by our doing in the first place – are healed.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

“Healing Kindness”

I was buying shoes the other day. The saleslady was so helpful! Kind, deep, present, engaged and interested in the life situation for which I was buying these shoes. Or at least she listened with patient kindness when I went on about it. I had the strongest urge to scooch over on my bench and pat the cushion next to me and ask her to sit for awhile. Just so I could enjoy her Presence a bit.

In my work as a physician, I have often gotten credit for being kind, especially when I have attended those through the last months of their lives. People say, “I couldn’t do that work.” I love being with people at the end of their lives because, oddly, that’s the time we most open up to be interested in matters of great import. I love being with people who get right down to being real without pretenses. Who are focused on sorting out at a deep level what the priorities of living really are, anyway. So, for me, this just happens to be an environment where it’s “accepted” that to focus on spiritual things is the norm. By spiritual, I mean “way-of-being” things – how have I been, what do I regret, what do I so wish I had done differently, what do I feel satisfied with?

Running the full scale of Kubler-Rossian emotions is part of demonstrating an authenticity that has often been obscured through a lifetime of niceness-to-fit-in. It seems that when we’re on the way out, we tend to get more “real” – maybe because fitting in on planet earth has abruptly become an obsolete concept.

Back to the woman at Belk. I love how she showed up. Standing there, with shoeboxes piled high, she was a living example of how you can be a healer any time, anywhere. This is important. You don’t have to be a physician or nurse to do this. Anyone can show up. Be present. Be kind.

My plea to you today is to do this. Because – you are a healer. No matter where you are or what you do. And we all need you.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Mindbody Medicine - notes from a recent talk by Dr. Iyer

MindBody Medicine
Mary Ann Iyer, MD

I. Mindbody Medicine: What is it?
II. How does this relate to me in my life?
III. What are some useful Mindbody tools I can use to be healthier and happier?

MindBody Medicine:

If you’ve ever felt the stress of running late to an appointment, you’ve experienced the visceral impact of the mindbody connection. There are several layers in which our thoughts influence our wellbeing. We estimate, right now, that roughly 80% of what ails us, particularly in this culture, has to do with lifestyle choices. Hans Selye made the expression, “fight-or-flight response” famous in the ‘70s. There is little doubt any more that perceived stress has an influence on the body. We each have our own unique way of reacting when we feel anxious. Science continues to catch up to our common wisdom: the way we think, what we believe, and our fears and anxieties affect our wellbeing. And they affect it through what are now well documented chemical pathways: hormones, stress reactions, and our immune system. Our sense of wellbeing and the entire internal chemical milieu of our bodies are modulated by our response to perceived stress.

How does this relate to me in my life?

There are practical ways to bring the wisdom of Mindbody connections in to our daily lives. Noticing when and where you seem most often to experience stress in your life is an important first step. Linking situations with your physical response and experience gives you clues as to internal messages you may be telling yourself. For instance, in the above example of running late to an appointment, you can easily see that being late is, in and of itself, just a neutral event. If, however you are nervous about impressing the person with whom you are meeting, or you have a lot riding on this particular meeting, you will have all sorts of related messages running in your mind about the event. “If I’m late I might lose my assignment – or job – or, or –“). It is the response to our messages about an event that causes us to tense up in fear, anxiety or anger.

The second major thing to become aware of is what your actual body response is to these perceived threats. For some, tension always goes to the shoulders. For others, a migraine may develop. And so on. Learning to link events with what you are telling yourself with what your body does in response is the beginning key to breaking the cycle of unnecessary pain in your life.

Mind-Body Healing:

The final step in breaking the cycle of event-perception-messages-response is to choose a point in this dynamic and begin to undo it. Really, any point can work. We’ll briefly discuss each.

Event: if a situation is chronically stressful to you – can you change it? Be very honest here. We are seldom as stuck in a situation as we think we are. Make the changes you can.
Perception: is there any way that you are seeing only part of the picture? Are you sure your boss hates you? Is it possible his stress is making him temporarily a beast? Explore the edges of what might be different than what you think.
Messages: this is often the richest place to look. A good starting point to start to unearth this area is to diagram a sentence: If this happens, then this will happen, then this, then this – until you get to the conclusion that you are finding so odious. Then go back to that sentence and ask diligently at each step: “Do I actually, for sure, know this is true? Is it absolutely guaranteed? Is there a possible different way it could or might go? Do I have anything to do with it? Can I change any part of this formula?” Often the foregone conclusions we have in this regard reflect a past traumatic or unpleasant event that happened to us that our subconscious then records as the inevitable conclusion to anything that looks or feels similar. Spend some time at this stage. It is well worth the effort to free up a lot of energy in your life that may be bound up in false conclusions, and avoidance.
Response: another rich area. When we learn to disassociate an event or perception from a customary response, we have gained enormous freedom in our lives. Then and only then can we find true choice in HOW we respond to any given stimulus. That choice is there and it is ours, and when we awaken to the sequence in its entirety, we gain the freedom that Viktor Frankl described in his description of living in the Nazi Concentration camp – that no matter what constraints or punishment were meted out to him, he always remembered that he retained the choice in his reaction.

We each have a space of calm from which we can act, which provides a pervasive healing quality to our thoughts. Decisions made from within this framework tend to be healthier and more in balance. Mind-body integration therapy helps us remember this space of peace so we operate with awareness in our daily lives.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Power Over

This is an excerpt from a book I am currently writing:

Although this book focuses on the differences women and men experience in training our egos along gender lines, I want to make clear that the biggest factor needing attention is the mental structure behind this training. There are many clear biological differences between males and females. Only women bear children. Men are usually physically stronger. Our capabilities are inherently skewed differently.

This variability is not a problem, in and of itself. The challenge that faces us as a species and as individuals lies in the framework by which we define worth. For quite some time, in most cultures and religions, there are massive inequalities in what we define as having value that tend to fall along gender lines. In most cultures and nearly all religions, women are framed as objects owned by men – somewhat like cattle or houses. But this is representative of a deeper value system going on. There is what could be called a “Power-over” mentality that shows up not just in gender pools. Corporations are seen as entities with “rights” equal to or greater than the individual humans who populate and sustain them. Financial “entities” are granted assistance that human individuals are denied. Governments claim the right to own their citizens, and control them accordingly. Individuals (usually men) who have money are seen as not only more privileged, but superior in every way to those who have less.

This “power-over” mentality leads to oppression and suppression of what could be considered the feminine, if we define feminine as being the values of cooperation, nurturance and respect for all life. That which is soft, yielding and which loves. This is not just a gender-based value-system, but it is true that women have been recognized to harbor these values at a deeper level simply due to our inherent gender differences, and it is true that women have been debased as a gender along these lines. Being soft or yielding is construed as being weak. Emotions are relegated to an inferior role as less than mental acuity. An authentic expression of grief or sadness is discounted as a “pity party”. When someone cries, it may be that they are “just feeling sorry for themselves”. It may also be that they are giving vent to genuine grief, needing expression.

These sorts of judgments are made by both men and women, but decry the full range of our existence and capabilities. Emotional intelligence has gone missing for the sake of intellectual. IQ is defined as the basis for all intelligence, and only that which is logical is deemed of any worth. An intuitive, heart-centric way of life is considered frilly at best; stupid by some.

What needs to change is for the sake of both men and women. This is not about replacing men with women in positions of power. It is about changing the entire power matrix to disallow power-over oppression – under any condition or by any excuse. No living entity can be seen as “less-than” in the matrix of life for us to have the profound shift we need in our consciousness to heal what ails us as a species at this time.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


Anxiety: lurking, deep, swirling, gripping, pervasive. Hard to get at. Hard to eliminate. Seems to be ever-present. So much in the background we hardly can say it’s a “thing” separate from us.

And that, of course, is its secret to lingering – far beyond its welcome.

As we deepen in our devotion to the Inner state, many notice a tidepool of anxiety lurking deep within. Far beneath the surface of self assurance and busyness is this place where we are scurrying around trying to make sure we never sink in too deep. It’s just too scary and uncomfortable there.

This anxiety has many faces, names and nuances. But it exists for all of us. Many would deny this. The busyness of their lives keeps them occupied enough that they haven’t really noticed it, yet.

But nearly everyone I know who has begun the Inner Journey stumbles into this pit sooner or later.

It is so intensely uncomfortable it feels like we’d do ANY thing to get out of the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into.

What I notice is that – right where we feel anxiety welling up --- this is the place to go. To open. To be curious. Willing to see our own selves there.
It is good.

All of us – every single one of us – learned in some way in our lives that we are not completely OK just as we are. In some way – in some small or big way – we had to change to fit in, to meet our parents’ expectations or needs or deficiencies. We had to fit in to our culture or – gads – we would be a “misfit”. That statement, unto itself is terrifying. If we don’t fit in to society it spells not surviving. By whatever primitive means our minds operate around this principle, it speaks to the most basic of Garden of Eden scenarios. Being banned. Excommunicated. Removed from the garden of our most basic sustenance. Forever.

Very, very terrifying.

Underlying all this programming is a deep societal fear that IT (society) won’t survive if individuals are allowed to be different. And – this is more than fear. It is a recognition of a truth. Society, as it is, WON’T survive if individuals learn they don’t have to meld and mold themselves to the norm of the general trend.

The basic fear of all this devolves from the most basic lack of trust. A lack of trust in an inherent sense of order that might reveal itself and evolve if we each were allowed to follow the bliss of our hearts – rather than strive and struggle to conform to the norms defined for us by the society that already exists. Bound by traditions, religions, parents and corporations. It reflects a belief that somehow we are, at our base, not OK. Not OK. We have to be defined by some external standard to bring ourselves up to an idea of acceptability. Unlike forests, animals, stars and all other acts of nature – we are somehow deformed at birth and base. We don’t trust the basic goodness of life as it moves through US. Our minds believe we have to DO something – something different – in order to be “allowed” to live. To survive.

Forget the “lilies of the field” malarkey. We humans are different. We need cars and cell phones and designer jeans.


Stop here. Pause and take the time – right now – to just open in to the question: “What, in me, says ’No way!’ to the idea that I am perfectly, wonderfully fine – right now – just as I am?”

The answer to this question – and I encourage you to ask it often – will deliver you from such deep anxiety. It is worth the pause.

Monday, September 23, 2013


I recently had lunch with an acquaintance who was lamenting her lot in life. She has to work for a living. This would likely not be a big deal, except for the periodic bouts of panic she has about not making it. Not surviving. Not making enough moola to cover the rent – or in her case, two mortgages.

I’ve heard this story a lot. Not the two mortgages part – but some variation on the terror that can grip the belly when the specter of homelessness starts to creep up.

For some reason or Act of God this does not happen to be one of my terrors. So, in some strange way, I feel uniquely qualified to discuss it. Not because I’m an expert from the inside trenches, but because I might be able to give another view on the subject. I also want to offer the caveat that I am most certainly not free of fear; and my own variation of demons lurk in the basement, periodically scrabbling up the stairs ready to pull out my nails and yank my hair.

Back to the safe territory of basic survival. I can say there has been only one time in my life I cavorted with this particular devil of doom. And that was when I cohabited with a man whose proclivity for lying only matched his ability to overdraw our credit card. I remember distinctly laying on the cold floor one particular frozen Spokane winter day, staring at the ceiling and realizing I really, really did not have any idea how I would pay the mortgage that month. In retrospect, this particular moment stemmed from one of my more sinister demons relating to deceit, but it tapped deeply enough into the survival stream that I do know how that one tastes.

Most of the time, though, where my mind goes with this element of earth life is more brimming with possibility and adventure. I recognize this is due to Grace and hope my sharing this stuff is helpful, not just a piss-button pusher. I remember the time in college, when I was living in the student health center – allowed to sleep in a bed there every night in exchange for being on call in what passed as the emergency room. I had scrounged a few dollars that month doing some ward clerk work, so I headed to the grocery store for my weekly shopping spree. As I stood there eyeing the possibilities, I did some quick math that told me the turnips were the best buy – pound for penny, so I bagged up as many as my dollars would cover and headed home. Now I know for sure that living on a bag of turnips for a week would strike some as being out there on the limb of barely surviving. But that’s the point, see? I didn’t feel that way. Not even a little. All this sort of living is just an adventure to me.

I have lots more of those sorts of stories, but the point here would be that if anyone – even one single person – can live in similar dire straits as your worst nightmare and come out of it grinning, there is some likelihood that you, too, could begin to see your circumstances in some slightly different way. Even trying this on for size could rank as a novel adventure.

Let me know how this goes for you.

Just don’t tag on any invitations for bungee jumping.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Making Peace with Being Woman

An excerpt from a book I am writing:

One thing I noticed in all the interviews I did with women about their relationships with their mothers is that to make peace with who their mother was is essential for their own wellbeing. It is as if our history lives on deeply inside of us, so that to expunge the demons of the past includes embracing them first. The wholeness of who we are includes and is in part because of this very past we most don’t want. We can’t get away from it by ignoring it if it dwells within us every step of the way. Which it does, really.

We are of and from our mothers whether we like the person they were or not. And those who most loved their mothers were most willing to see the gladness of their past. Ironically, sometimes this made it difficult to move on, too. Being stuck in the past is no better than trying to expunge it from the core of our cells. Neither attitude works, really. But to embrace it – now there is a different story. A happy one.

Therein seems to be the healthy way. The middle ground, as it were. To embrace our past is to include it gladly in our present, without clinging or pushing it away. The middle way of acceptance, embracing, seeing who and what we are in the continuum of life as it was handed to us. We can only start there which is here. When we accept gladly that which was given us to deal with in this lifetime we can most readily get on with the living of it. We can make the changes we need to from where we are, not where we wish we were already. Which is simply impossible at best.

What ground do we have to stand on if not the solid ground of where we are? Even if we are headed in some direction that will move us eventually to a different place, we must start from where we are. Peggy Tabor Millin, in Women, Writing and Soul Making, remarks: “Because feminine responsiveness does not make the splash or the money and success required in our culture, because it is not ‘out there’ and ‘in your face,’ women, as well as men, devalue it.” “By the 1970’s the Power Principle had co-opted the women’s movement, opening the doors to women on condition that they turn their backs on their roles as nurturers and responders and become competitive and action-driven. With few models for feminine power based on the synthesis of feminine and masculine, we went to where the power lay – into the world of the Power Principle.”

It is time – we are in great need – for feminine integration as part of power. We have to translate from the debased female to what it would look like to have that principle honored. All of this sounds so self-evident, yet with the imaginative power of our brains and minds we can imagine whole fantasies to distract us from the task(s) at hand – which we most need to deal with to become our full potential. Our Being. Of Life, free from the constraints we were handed as the straitjacket into which we were born.

What I realized after my mother’s death was a sense of being loved that I had never encountered when she was alive. Encumbered by the straitjacket of her time – religious and cultural – she never broke free to extend the love which she really was. She lived the norm of her times. But after her death, she has come through to me in myriad ways, again and again loving me where I had felt previously judged. It has been a most remarkable journey that continues still. I had not realized how very little association I felt in any way with any sense of a Divine Mother. In our time of patriarchal religions holding sway, the only reference to the Divine is masculine. Even the Holy Trinity, which holds the potential of including the feminine to be complete in its expression, has been stripped clear of any such reference and speaks only to the “Father, Son and Holy Spirit”. A more complete version would be: “The Father, Mother, and Divine Beloved.” These reflect the major relationships with which we need to make peace, find consolation and “Divine Love” to feel fully safe in this world.

Peggy Millin, again: “Now is the time of redefinition of feminine power, a definition based on inner values rather than on outer roles and action.”