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

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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

I’ve been bathed lately with the knowing of – “just Space”.
Where giving and receiving seem like – what – only nuances of breath.

A recent example.
A homeless man in front of the PO. Shivering in the cold.
Asking for money – for wine I know.

The flash of overlay of an earlier thought ---
that I have too many blankets stuffing my closet -
accumulated through gifts of years’ past.

The obvious.

Going home. Emptying closets.
Having a celebration of blanket give-away where it matters.
Where the blanket belongs.

Where someone is cold.

One example.
On it goes. This breath. This moment. This calling.
Joy to you, Dear One ~

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Being at Peace where We Are

I’ve been grappling with a question a beloved reader sent: how to feel peace in a world so torn by war and greed, rape of the environment and each other?

It can be a hard world. The news bears that out and drives it home. I’m not sure it’s ever been otherwise, but the sheer volume – of people; of the technologies that make destruction possible more rapidly; of the frequency we are reminded of trouble via media – has upped the ante of our experience of it all. I, too, have wondered, “what to do?” Here are a few of my thoughts.

We tend to think that the only way to provide relief from suffering is to fix something. Something outside of us that is terribly wrong. Obviously something is wrong – or else why would there be so much suffering? In our frantic search for “what to do?” we often feel ourselves worn out and drug down. Hopeless. Defeated.

And, indeed, there are things that, being changed, would reduce the suffering for many. But I’ve concluded that turning our faces to the sun for a little will not likely make matters worse for our lack of attention. Like a plant fixing nitrogen in the soil to enrich it, allowing a few rays of joy into our own lives and hearts can do more good than all the worrying we might be doing. This is not an act of denial, but rather an act of allowance. Allowing the Sunshine in. A bit of Divine Grace. Giving ourselves the nourishment we need to follow-through with the Heart’s inspiration for action.

This is not to imply a judgment against ourselves if we are feeling depressed about the state of affairs – in the world or in our lives. Rather, it is a call for attention of a different sort. To turn around and be caring for the suffering we, ourselves, hold is a bigger step than we realize. If we wait to attend to our own Precious Hearts until after the world is cleaned up, we may miss a whole lot of life. A lifetime spent in the dregs has not likely helped the state of the world, either. If there is a hidden belief that we are not allowed to feel Joy while others suffer, it is a consignment to hell - because when will that be, exactly?

Try this: face that place inside that is suffering. Go there. Imagine putting your arms around her/him. Say “I care.” Pause. Just hold you for a while, pouring the caring of your heart into this place of suffering. Then – imagine allowing a little space in which you open in genuine curiosity. Ask: “What do you need?” Keep it personal. Don’t set yourself up for failure by making your own happiness dependent on the state of the world or other people’s behavior. This is hopeless. Rather, keep it at the level of self-honesty – for self. This is not as selfish as it may sound, as we’ll see in a moment.

Finally, simply invite Divine Grace – or wisdom – in. Imagine handing the inner turmoil over to a Benevolent One. Be receptive to help – in whatever form and surprise it may take. Stay receptive as ideas come to you, and then stay receptive for a while longer to feel yourself deeply nourished. Whatever you feel called to do will then be tapped into a well of nurturance that you can return to again and again – independent of outcomes or reactions from the outside world.

What I find is that to be of an open Heart within myself, living in an internal environment that is kind, I have the energy to “show up” where I’m needed. Depressed? Not so much.

Being kind to ourselves is under-rated – and not a substitute for caring for the world. It is, rather, at the very core of it!

September, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


What do we do when we’ve lost our temper and said or done things that were hurtful? We regret our action but don’t know how to undo the damage. And – not knowing what to do – we often castigate ourselves into a hole deeper than where we started before our upset. In addition to lashing out against others, we usually also have a voice that goes on and on about our own badness. We become so convinced of these falsehoods of our own concoction that we end up in a quagmire - depressed and dejected.

Let’s pick the above sequence apart because it contains the clues we need to undo ongoing damage.

Let’s say we really let somebody have it. The barrage that came out with all the full force of anger was designed to hurt. In that moment, we had no interest in some spiritual idea of “revealing the truth”. Rather than cutting through falsehoods with the sharp words of our tongue, we added to the mound of problems. We obviously blew it. We’ve begun to see what we may have lost in all this. And now, we want to make it right.

Most of us fear anger precisely because we know that it can do great harm. When we want to make amends, we have a special vulnerability inside. Often in the mix is a sense of fear that our attempts might not work out. We may have done irreparable damage to someone or something we care about. If we’ve spoken from anger, we’ve unleashed a powerful force. We may feel confused and a little disoriented. We may be uncertain what we were really so mad about to start with. And what, exactly, that “truth” was that we were trying to get to.

Here is a key: if we let ourselves face squarely into what we most fear in this situation, we can open the channel for deeper awareness and healing. Because hatred and anger directed outward reflects a place of pain inside of the self – its occurrence is a powerful clue to look within. The anger is a call to attention. This is an enormously charged fulcrum upon which we can actuate the potential for change. As I mentioned earlier, there is often pain beneath our anger that has been too terrifying to yet face. It is trying to surface now for healing – all wrapped up in the protective garb of anger.

This is the path to freedom: go deeper into the fear space. Presume the worst you can imagine – then ask yourself “and this means ----?” Specifically, what does this (or might this) mean for you? What are the implications or possible ramifications of the damage you most fear in your life? Listen to the tone of voice you are using with (and/or against) yourself. What are you saying? Use FEAD here. Be kind. Embrace yourself. Be curious. Let your entire intention at first be to find and allow healing of the festering wound within. Remember that this is exploration for freedom. Your freedom. You might consider asking for help from a professional if the self-examination seems just too daunting.

The potential of anger energy is that, when harnessed to the desire for truth, it is a powerful force for good. The thing to remember is that whatever negative, critical attacks we levy against ourselves are the seeds that become future angry outbursts. More than any other place, this is where the anger cycle can most successfully be broken. When we begin to be kind to ourselves, it becomes possible to open in kindness to others. The process becomes self-sustaining. By treating ourselves with compassionate kindness and staying curious about “what just happened”, we are able to be receptive to others in a similar way. We then know, from a deeper place, how and what to say to “the other” to make amends. Because we have cleared our inner space, our words ring with the sincerity of clear intention.


Friday, August 19, 2011


Thank you for your requests for blog topics. This one - anger and what to do with it - has shown up as a question to me several times in the past year.

What is it about anger that makes us so badly want to be free of it? Is it the searing inner heat? The feeling out of control? The fear we might actually do harm we will later regret?

On the other hand, what is it that creates the sneaky desire we may have to keep it?

Many, but not all, religious disciplines admonish us to be free of anger. The advice they give for how to rid ourselves of this malady ranges from philosophical to paradoxically brutal. But perhaps the greatest motivator we have is that to feel angry is just plain uncomfortable. We frighten ourselves with our own vehemence.

Anger is a universal emotion. We all experience its ravages. And, so far as I can tell, any attempt to rid ourselves of anger (or any other emotion, for that matter) is doomed to failure. Resisting or pushing away any facet of our experience has the rather alarming effect of intensifying its hold on us.

Nor have I noticed relief with the free expression or so-called venting techniques which have the dual misfortune of stoking the fire within and potentially causing us to do irreparable harm to self or someone we love. It seems the more we express anger without concern for its effects, the more anger there is to express! There is a (sometimes not so) subtle boost we get from anger which permits us to overpower what may have been fearful or constraining.

So what is left to do?

Well — there truly is a different way. Odd as it sounds, fully allowing the sensation of anger while not acting on it can be the quickest way out of self-inflicted pain. Often our tendency to try to get rid of an emotion either by pushing it away (resisting) or venting it only makes matters worse. If, instead, we get curious about what we are trying to tell ourselves, we get to the matter at hand in such a way that finally allows true resolution. The FEAD technique(http://www.maryanniyer.com/Resources/article_FEAD-IJHC-%20Wallace-10-3.pdf) is wonderful for this — Face, Embrace, Allow space, invoke Divine grace. When you feel the rise of anger, immediately turn to yourself with curiosity. “Dear One, what is this? I am curious. I want to know. I am absolutely here with you. What is it you need?” What is revealed may or may not be realistic to the logical mind. It still needs attention.

Here’s what I’ve noticed: anything that remains bottled up, no matter how old — fear, hurt, opinion, truth, love — sooner or later must burst out. And if we’ve been squelching some intimate, essential part of ourselves, or in any way living a lie, it is likely to be a surge of anger that breaks open the cave to let it surface. Let that be. Although ranting and raving are not necessary for the expression of anger, sometimes it is exactly that which forces out the needed words.

Stay as open to yourself and the experience you are having as you can possibly be. When we adopt an attitude of genuine caring for that in us from which the lava of anger has arisen, we provide a different kind of “venting”. In this, we allow room for authentic resolution of whatever inner misalignment is going on to generate such heat in the first place. Sometimes these hidden spaces are like deep tectonic plates shifting to force the issue. This opens us to say exactly the words that we’ve been holding back and that need to be said. It is perhaps an honesty we’ve been too afraid to express because of presumed consequences. Or a fear, grief, or loneliness so great we haven’t dared to feel it, yet. Often there is pain beneath our feelings of anger that runs so deep that our fear of being destroyed by it keeps us denying, covering up, protecting ourselves.

Be curious. Be welcoming of every (denied) part of yourself needing attention. It is not the anger needing attention — that is just the torrent carrying the message. Strive with all your might to hear the voice under or within or at the base of the anger.

When we do this, there is really no need to focus on getting rid of anger. Once that which needs our attention is recognized, the anger seems to evaporate as mist. It was just the conduit — the lava bringing the message to the surface. The self-contained impetus anger seems to have to maintain itself points to the desperate need of something needing attention. Once its service is over, anger no longer exists. It really never did exist in the first place, independent of that which it was serving.

Joy to you ~ Mary Ann


Sunday, June 26, 2011

FEAD It Differently

When teaching Mindful Eating classes, I always pose the question: “Why do you eat?” The reasons class participants give are myriad, and seldom is it true hunger that stimulates the eating response. Emotional eating stands out as one of the major reasons for reaching for food. Anxiety, stress, worry, fear, anger—all can involve sensations that mimic hunger. Furthermore, as sensations go, these all rank as uncomfortable. Smothering them with food has become the coping method of choice for many.
Often, class participants discover hidden reservoirs of pain and suffering, many of which have their origins early in life. As we delve ever deeper into the roots of our maladaptive behavior associated with eating, we find ourselves wrestling with the demons of the past that continue to haunt the psyche with their messages of inadequacy, failure, and so on. I have found that by facing, embracing, allowing space and invoking divine grace (FEAD), participants begin to find a different way to deal with the empty spaces left in the wake of attacks from these difficult voices inside. In other words, they learn to FEAD themselves differently. Here’s what I mean:
1. Face it: Whatever is troubling you, wherever you feel the tension, anxiety or pain inside—pause right there and see if you can get a deeper, fuller sense of this place in you. Relax all around it and let it be. Face it squarely, giving it full permission to be there just as it is. Approach this place of discomfort with a sincere curiosity. There is something awry here, in this which is you, and you want to focus on knowing at a deeper level what that is.
Amazingly, as we do this, safety grows around parts of us that have historically felt rejected, shut off and abandoned. Simply because we approach these areas of ourselves and our lives with interest, the pain often begins to abate.
2. Embrace it: Go one step further. Approach this place of pain and offer it loving acceptance. Let it be there, with the full understanding that pain requires kindness, not rejection. Treat it as if it were a hurting child. In many ways, it is.
The healing begins here. As that which has been rejected feels itself being pulled back into the fold of the living with your warm embrace, it instantly begins to relax in a way that is uniquely healing and nurturing.
3. Allow Space for it: As you breathe deeply, embracing that which is hurting, begin to loosen your grip somewhat. Give it permission to be there, and simply allow space for
it—not the space of abandonment in which you turn your back on this part of you that is suffering, but a warm, fully loving and safe space. Compassionate space. Develop the capacity to love each part of yourself.
This means dropping the self-criticisms and judgments that have been aggravating the problem all this time. It means allowing room for change where in the past you may have begun a cycle of self-punishment. Explore this: just focus all your attention on breathing into a compassionate space around the area of pain, and watch with gentle curiosity.
4. Invoke Divine Grace: A last important step in this process is to invite into the picture an awareness that surpasses what you have known to be possible up to this point. We want to change old, repeating patterns that have caused ourselves and others harm. Sometimes, this means not only allowing space, but inviting new ideas to enter into that space. Whatever your belief system, invoke that which is beyond what you currently know to be possible. This expands the space into dimensions of possibility that your conscious mind has not yet realized, and is the basis for deep and lasting change.
Often, the last thing in the world we want when we are in pain is to feel more of the pain! We do everything in our power to escape, cover it up or otherwise remove it from our lives. Eating, for many, provides temporary anesthesia from feeling what hurts. By FEADing yourself differently, you provide safety, nurturance and room to evolve into a whole new way of being. The next time you’re in a tight spot, feeling the constriction inside, I invite you to explore this approach.

This is an excerpt from a longer article which you are free download from: www.maryanniyer.com, in the articles section.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


So many of you responded to me individually after my last entry about my father’s death. Thank you for your kind words. I was astonished at the number of you who expressly mentioned how lucky I am to have such good relations with my siblings! As one friend said, “It is so strange how we seldom can look to those from our own family for support.”

I’ve given this topic considerable thought – because my goal in these sharings is for authenticity that is potentially useful. So – here is what I want to share. From what I’ve observed in my decades of doing counseling work, it seems there are wide variations in regards to sibling relations. Some of you have close relations; for some of us -- these are our toughest places.

My belief runs along the lines (let’s see if I can capture this --) of karmic pattern playouts. In other words – we will each, somewhere or somehow get into situations most apt to push our deepest buttons. Some of us were born into a family that serves that function. For me (and for many of you, based on the feedback I got) - the family of origin serves as a constant playground for the reflection of our deepest wounds.

Consider this approach: welcome it. Not because it is fun – it is the hardest work I know of! But, because when we are bent on a path of waking up -- how better to do this than to tangle with those who see (and magnify) the hidden crevices of the worst in you that most people don’t have the glasses for?

I can truthfully say that the relations I have with my siblings are among the most difficult I have. I’ve spent many years turning this over and coming to peace with it. This is what I’ve learned thus far: I realize these relationships are not guarantees of love and support. And -- –I find it much saner to not expect that from my siblings.

In my case – again and again, I come back to the simple question of what I can learn – in this, and this – and this. About myself. About my life. And my relationship with Precious Life, itself. This is where I’m putting my money.

At the end of the day, it is – for each of us – our selves and only our selves we are accountable for. And – only the reverberations of our own hearts that define our existence. ANY one who serves the function of revealing what may be the “worst” in us is actually – believe it or not – on our side. Anyone who invites us to explore what is true – and what isn’t in such a way that we can deeply know for OURSELVES that we are innocent under it all – is promoting our freedom. What I discover – again and again – is a deep well of innocence under it all. A lot of delusional thinking – yes. But – innocence. In us all. I let the pain from attacks to provoke me to dig deeply enough inside of me to find that place. Oh, it is sweet freedom!

Sibs. Aren’t they great? Dig deeper ~

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Spring - death and rebirth

Spring --- the time of great change and rebirth.

My father died the first week of February – sudden, unexpected. He was “the healthy one” – and left my mother, who needs 24/7 supervision in his wake. It has been a time of finding the new in the ashes of the sudden changes.

I've always thought of Spring as a time of new growth. What I've realized in recent years is that often the newness arises from a depth of loss. Each year for several, I've noticed some catastrophe in February: loss of a husband, parent in hospital, death of a relative.

As I notice the changes clustering around this recent death of my father, I am reminded of the glistening newness of it all. And – it is amazing to watch each day unfold with the question of “what are the possibilities” – given this, and this, and this – new conditions revealing themselves constantly and rapidly in this course of events.

My mother, now in an assisted living situation in which her face lights up with new friendships. The lightening of our family history as my siblings and I review the accumulated possessions and habits of their 58 years of married life. Sorting. Talking. Discarding. Keeping and cherishing. Like the crocuses popping up in their vibrant purple and white hues, we all have a sense of starting again. And -- I feel my father in a glorious state and condition – very happy. I know this to be true.

Different conditions, new circumstances, some closets empty, some new places of the heart exposed.

I am grateful - for it all.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I enjoy the nuances of the seasons. And this year, I am also noticing – without disgruntled resistance – the impact of the passing conventional holidays. For instance, even with its ornamental, commercial interests, Valentine’s Day perks up certain closets of the heart.
So I’m going deeper into this. Curious. Asking myself what, if any, parts of myself are resisting just plain receiving love? When I grouse about the icky mounds of superfluous pink (just get on with the chocolate, will you?!), what momentum am I creating to push away the heart of the sender? How much closeness can I really handle?
It’s fertile ground – this. Noticing the myriad internalized structures of this so-called protection lest there be some (god forbid) moment of vulnerability.
I invite you on the journey. See how deeply the moments and movements of love sent your way can go – and when the reception gets cloudy -- -tune in! Open up. See what receiving love this time of year tastes like!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

This New Year

It's a man-made construct - the notion of the "New Year". The cycles of the seasons are continuous and ongoing. And I love that this idea we've agreed on - defining winter as the time to designate new beginnings - is in keeping with the natural flow. All goes inward in nature in the winter. The sap slows, deepening down into the roots. Only the healthy stock survives to face, grow and blossom into the new year.
It is a time when many make resolutions for this next turning of the wheel. What I notice is that many of these promises-to-the-self are taken on externally like a cloak. And - like a costume wrapped around, they easily fall by the wayside as the year progresses. My clients come to me in dismay about their inability to keep their commitments to themselves.
I propose that we take the time to go deeper. Settle in to the more stable center from which our actions and activities originate. Seek there the deeper intent behind or beneath those external resolutions. Then, turn that awareness into a mantra of sorts - a daily invocation to honor our deepest intentions. This gives us the strength to hold the focus of what is important by also providing the flexibility to sway with the changing circumstances that our daily lives will most definitely give us!
To you - in the Joy of the ever-changing Seasons; and the strength of the core of your Heart ~