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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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Beyond what our mothers taught us

[An excerpt from a book I am writing]

Peggy Tabor Millin in her book, Women, Writing, and Soul-Making, asks: “Why is it that women disown their genius, have so much trouble claiming it, and can be swept off by the smallest current of criticism? Are we so born to pleasing others that we do not know who we are, cannot find that inner thread unless it is handed to us?”

There are many mythologies that separate us from ourselves. The myth(s) regarding women is one of the most insidious and pervasive. Almost all religions are patriarchal. It wasn’t always this way, but it has been long enough to seem like “basic reality”. The rules of patriarchy and patriarchal religions automatically create a sense of “less-than” for women. Most of the rules in these religions apply to and for men. The need to tone down a pervasive arrogant ego implies there IS a “dominating ego”. The issue for most women by and large has to do with egos so shattered they don’t even know who they are outside of the roles they play in making others OK. Although this still speaks to the need for reducing the influence of a “negative ego”, the ego of which we speak for women is most often that inner voice of self-condemnation. It requires a different medicine. And going at it with the pickaxe of judgment just does more harm to an already injured place inside of us.

Many women grew up under the influence of mothers who were steeped in the deepest brine of this matter. Barb told me that the hardest part about living with her mother was that “it was sad and depressing. Not much joy. I knew she was unhappy. I felt bad for her. I constantly felt that I wasn’t good enough. I learned to keep things hidden, be quiet, to be embarrassed about who I was.” Lynette said, “It was hard to see my mother suffer. She dealt with so many issues: the loss of her mother, the infidelity of my father, the loss of my brother, her son. My father started drinking, and she couldn’t cope any more. Even so, she never took it out on us and maintained a ‘smile through adversity’.”

On the other hand, ironically, sometimes the very love that our mothers provide to us leaves us feeling “less than” in ways that may be surprising to those who grew up without a sense of safe haven with their mothers. Lanelle describes her mother as “so much a mother, constantly helping and present – supporting. I felt taken care of. But – I also felt less than some times – she was so good at anything and I often felt like I was not doing enough. There was a detriment of her doing all for me. I didn’t learn to persevere or figure things out so well.”

The cultural milieu and myths in which we grow up influence us in one way or another. Our mothers, of course, had this same paradigm in which to grow, survive and (amazingly) sometimes thrive. In many ways, the relationship we have with our mothers invokes the most basic Buddhist principle of learning to neither cling nor push away the reality in which we dwell. It is notable that within mother-daughter relationships, the syndrome of “never being enough” came about whether our mothers were too critical, or too helpful. This seems reasonable when our moms were constantly finding fault with us. But it is interesting that this syndrome can also arise within the context of our mothers being so good that we never feel we can compare favorably to her.

The cultural milieu in which we grew was the same, by and large, as that of our mothers. We were ALL taught – in one way or another – that as a woman we needed to earn love by being nice in the way women had to be. To placate, make OK for others. Spirituality in men’s terms has women as their helpmates. There is no mention of women in their own right under these doctrines. Our culture reflects the same more.

One ironic answer is to embrace. Use that which IS our inherent strength – for the good it can do us all. Embrace the mother we had – who did the best she could. And – most importantly, embrace ourselves – in the moment, doing the best WE can. Like in Tai Chi, we move WITH the energy of what we do best, but learn to include ourselves in the matrix of receiving as well as giving. The only way we can make the maxim, “it is in giving that we receive” really work is if we also really receive!

Learning to turn the spotlight of nourishment on our own parched souls may take some time of unlearning some of the most harsh rules we live by. But it is essential for our wellbeing.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Purpose from the Heart

From a Dear Reader:
I have been trying to remember some of the things you said in reference to my state of mind or should I say heart....... would you be willing to write the essence of what you said? It was really good and want to chew on it ....the full essence of it
Very grateful for you and your willingness to share and help a fellow journeyer --
I so enjoy your spirit and heart

We get so confused about this idea of “coming from heart”. Because our mind has been in charge for so long, we really have no idea what it means to come from heart.

So, let’s go about this a different way. Rather than figuring out (a favorite mind function) what to do and how to do it and so on, let’s just drop right into the body. What does that mean?
Just notice, for this moment, the feeling of the breath. Your breath. In and out. How that feels. Notice – how the mind kicks in. Just notice that. And, just for this moment decide that – just for this moment – you’re going to just notice the breath. And how that feels. Decide that the mind can wait. For a moment.

We hear these words so often. So many spiritual teachers tell us to do this.
But then – then – the mind gets busy.
Trying to figure it out.

This is exactly the malady that ails us. And we are so used to this, we don’t recognize it for what it is.

To rest quietly in that place inside of us – by whatever name we call it or no name at all – that place that is quiet, this is the challenge, the answer and the solution.

To be quiet enough that we can notice – really notice – our breath. In and out. Try this for five consecutive breaths.

That which arises next – and it may be irritation, it may be anxiety, it may be impatience – this is what we need to notice is aggravating our situation. THIS is the culprit, itself. It tries to convince us that it arises “because of” – this that or the other – situation, person, lack. But IT – itself is the problem. The sensation we’ve grown so accustomed to that we live our lives finding excuses for it.

In our longing to find our sense of Purpose – that for which we are living – what we most need, more than anything is to let go of all that gets in the way. In the way of just LIVING. Here’s the thing: it is exactly impossible NOT to live our Purpose when we do this. Because our Purpose does not show up as a banner in the sky. It creeps in. On the undulating surface of the waves of our lives. In this moment and this one and this one. What presents itself to be done. What needs response. What we need to attend to. Here.

This IS our Purpose. Make no mistake about it – if we began a big mission with full intent of purpose and do not rest deeply in each moment of its accomplishment it will feel no different in its level of aggravation than the life we’re living now – the life in which we are not in full attendance.

That is the misery. Not being fully, deeply dedicated to this life we are in. The one that greets us each morning when we wake up. The one we pull up our boots and get dressed up for.

This is the life we have to do “our thing” within. And the sandbox we have is the one we open our eyes to – every single day.

This is not to say we can’t change the sandbox. We can. But believe me – there is no single place – no single sandbox with its new shiny toys that will entertain us for long until we get right down into the fullness and juiciness of it.

So that is our practice. Attending to what is in front of us to do. Now.

That man who is driving us crazy. That job that is killing us with boredom. All of it. Attend to it. Ask yourself: “In relation to this – what is the kindest thing I can do? For me, for it, for him, for her?”
And then – do it.
In the doing you will be kind to all of us.

And – you will be fulfilling your Purpose.

Sometimes the discontent we feel is calling us to do something worthwhile. This can be a good thing. If this is true, stop and look around – in your life right now. Who or what that you know or know about could use what you can offer? Often we think “doing something worthwhile” means something BIG. Something different, somewhere different. Something that will make a difference in some sort of a way that is in our mind – “for the world”. This is not where we make a difference. We make a difference here and now where we are, with what we are immediately aware of that needs attention.

It is big enough. It matters, and it matters enough. This is what there is to do. And it is worthwhile.

Sometimes our restlessness means we’re just not happy. If there is something that is truly wrong in our lives, it is incumbent upon us to change it. If what is wrong is that we have a habit of being unhappy – finding fault – with whatever there is, then THAT is what needs to change. Only we can answer that particular question for ourselves, because only we are the Soul in this incarnation having this exact experience.

Our Soul seeks us out. And sometimes in that process we feel the restlessness of knowing that something needs attention. This is good. Be very, very patient with yourself. It is your Heart that needs attention. Kindness.

You do know what to do. Because you are so very able to be Present with the ones with whom you share life. You know how to show up. You know what needs to be done.

Often this work is more challenging for those who are remarkably intelligent. We KNOW we know all this stuff already. So we can get caught in the frustration of: “so why isn’t it working out just yet? I already knew that.”

Translating this into the action of the body – this is the rub and it is just that translation that makes it come alive. Real.

Embodied as the wisdom we DO know. In this breath. Now.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Making Tough Decisions

From a Dear Reader:
I long/have resistance to moving to a beautiful, supportive but rustic Hermitage that’s run by nuns. I’ve been debating this for over a year now, and still never get a clear answer. Sometimes my heart pulls me so strongly I feel like I could almost teleport. But I visited for two weeks last year and couldn’t wait to leave, so I also have to listen to that. At times, each is equally strong.

I have found both the place of happiness and yearning in my heart, and then also the place of what didn’t work, that feeling in the pit of the stomach. I have a real connection with one nun, and I yearn to be able to take some of the responsibilities from her. There are many reasons this should work, but it’s a big step to take if I’m not sure.

When I visited last year it just wasn’t what I’d expected. It was cold, there was no outhouse near my cabin, there was a lot of hiking that my out-of-shape body didn’t like. It was a totally different energy than I’m used to and I wonder if I will be comfortable with it if I return?

I know you can’t decide for me, but perhaps you can help me determine how to decide between the feelings for or against. Thank you so much, if you have time to answer this.

– I hug you in your earnest efforts – really to be enlightened. The good heart you bring to it. The fullness. The deep desire.

First, I want to deeply express the awareness that you know deep in your bones what is right for you. Anything and everything I say is only to support or incite or bring to surface awareness of that Wisdom you contain on your own behalf. It is the best that can happen.

I hear, first: your longing to move to the rustic Hermitage. The heart pull. The yearning both to be there in the beauty, and to help with their work. And, the resistance to the same. The idea you have of the place is/was different than the reality you encountered. A community you weren’t expecting and with which you were not comfortable. The cold. The environment being less hospitable than it was in your imaginings.

I don’t know what is right for you. But, I do know that – for me – I stay most on track when I tell myself the truth of my experience as I’m having it. When the yearnings I feel have a component of imagining: “I would”, “It would” – meaning – a projected likelihood for something that in my mind’s eye would fulfill the yearning, I can go astray. Not because the yearning is off. But because the imagined solution may or may not be what I imagine it to be.

So, the seduction becomes either:
- To believe that which our mind has created will solve our longing
- Or give up on our longing, believing since our ideas keep leading us into disappointment, the longing itself must be at fault.

There is another way. To surrender into the experience of the moment means to also accept ourselves deeply and fully in our experience. In OUR experience – the reality we are personally, ourselves experiencing. This includes our yearnings. Our longings. It also includes the experience we are having when we are actually IN the situation we imagined would be “the solution” to that yearning.

Don’t shy away from these experiences too soon. Surrender more deeply INTO it. From the depth of the yearning cry out. There is a Divine who hears us. Of this I have become sure. When we live so deeply in our raw authenticity, the Universe DOES respond. It is only those voices in the head that decry the very essence of our heart’s yearnings that get in the way. Those voices that try to wrestle us into some sort of logical progression along the Spiritual Path. Spirituality of the Heart is more messy than that. It comes up in spews of Truth. Unasked for, in response to what is in front of us. To do. To respond to. To listen to. To answer.

So – listen to your heart in the middle of any experience you are having. That means, when sitting alone at home, feel deeply the raw edges of loneliness or yearning or whatever it is for you. And ask for that to be healed. To be filled. And wait. Wait. Turn towards yourself with full love. Full compassion. Full longing for the easing of this suffering. Full acceptance. Full acceptance.
That for which you have been longing fills you up in that waiting. It comes unbidden to those who are still long enough for it to get in through the cracks in the door. And then, when your body feels the impulse to move to the next thing, do so fully.

Wherever you are, there will be that which arises. When in the cold damp of the Hermitage, sit with the discomfort. We are led to that which is the appropriate response from being completely in the experience. And, sometimes that is a simple solution. A warm blanket. Or – a move to a warmer clime, because – really – this is what we need. Sort of like – hunger’s simple solution is to eat.

But, sometimes the solution is of a deeper sort. And the yearning of the Heart is of that deeper sort.
So, sit still longer with the yearning. NOT to make it go away. But, surrender to its pull. Welcome it. Invite it. Thank it for where it will lead you. And what it will lead to you – into your life, by its magnetic pull. It happens.

What begins to happen then is synchronicity. Of the sort that brings in more tangible effects of this. But, it doesn’t work to seek the tangible first. It just doesn’t. Because – it isn’t the tangible that is the answer to our yearning. Not ever. The tangible is just the wrapper the Universe devises to dress it up. Never get confused about this. The wrapper is not the gift. Carbon based forms fall away. The living, vibrant Center of Life – which we are – and which we yearn to touch, savor and know – this lives forever.

It is us. It is what we are looking for.

There is also this technique of boring down into the simplicities. Noticing. The yearning specifically for what? Peace. Serenity. Community. Loving the connection with a specific person. And move/act on those specific elements; without getting attached to a specific environment in which we think it will all be. Let the Universe step in more deeply. Most of all –notice that edge where you don’t trust that. That thought-place – that mistrust/distrust – is a mental conglomerate. A block. A solid spot that we all trip over when it comes in. And – usually – it’s that one big, deep area where we long the most. Where we fear the most. Where we most wish it would work out. That’s where the lack of trust trips us up. “Everywhere but HERE”, we think. “These principles work everywhere but here. This one is too big.”

It isn’t. It isn’t too big. This is the rock in front of the cave of enlightenment. That place where we argue that this – “THIS is where we can’t trust God. THIS is too big. HERE – we need to take over to figure it out.” We think we know this because of the immensity of our disappointment with what the Universe has given us in this particular region/issue/place.

Here – here is where the healing has to happen. And the healing always involves surrendering more deeply to the Life that is really in charge. It almost always includes forgiveness. Of every part of our life where that didn’t work out (how the longing got there). Of every person involved. And, most of all – of ourselves.

So much love to you – you are Blessed. You are a seeker of the Highest we can achieve in this lifetime --- the awareness of Life, Itself. Your Heart is Golden ~