Saturday, July 6, 2019

the call home...


Our dreams want to help us remember who we truly are...not who we think we are.

They do that by showing us who we became through conditioning and ways we learned it wasn’t safe to be our true selves. For many this ‘conditioned self’ (versus true self) began forming at an early age in response to a world that is cut off from soul and especially the quality of soul that feels it all...the love, the pain, the joy, the sorrow, the belonging, the loss...the soul feels it all.

Our dreams show us how we have shut down our feelings, numbed ourselves, misunderstanding that this is what it means to be strong, that this is a true way to be. They show us how we have lost our connection to soul and to inner support.

Our dream’s deepest desire is to call us back home, to our soul, to our connection with the divine, the inner father and mother, to the inner support they provide.  As I’ve shared before, in dreamwork we see the soul manifested in our dreams as a boy or a girl. How we are in relationship to them in the dream reflects how we are in relationship to this deepest part of who we are...do we love them, can we be them? Or are we angry at them, rejecting out of fear this vulnerable and tender self that is our truest self and thereby rejecting the call home?

There is an exquisite and poignant scene in the film, “Blood Diamond" that brings this alive. Dia, age 10, is kidnapped by the rebels, abused, violently trained to kill, to be ruthless...and something in him seems to die, becomes soulless. When his father, Solomon, finally finds him, he is met with Dia pointing a gun at his head, empty-eyed, ready to pull the trigger and kill his father.

Solomon speaks: “Dia, What are you doing? Dia! Look at me, look at me. What are you doing? You are Dia Vendy, of the proud Mende tribe. You are a good boy who loves soccer and school. Your mother loves you so much. She waits by the fire making plantains, and red palm oil stew with your sister N'Yanda and the new baby. The cows wait for you. And Babu, the wild dog who minds no one but you. I know they made you do bad things, but you are not a bad boy. I am your father who loves you. And you will come home with me and be my son again.”

It is as if Solomon's voice reaches down into the abyss, evoking the son he loves, evoking a return to soul...and we see the light rising in Dia’s eyes...a re-membering...the return to his soul, a return to the boy who is his father’s son.

Our teachers come to us in this way in our dreams...they call us back from the darkest of places, where we were shattered and something dark came in, pretended to be us and stood between our soul and our inner teacher, our inner connection.  Like Solomon, our dreams speak to the deepest part of us...calling us home to our capacity to feel it all...that even in the midst of bad things that happened, we remember who we are...soul boy and soul girl, children of the divine.



Mary Jo Heyen is a Natural Dreamwork Practitioner working with clients throughout the country and abroad in person, phone or Skype. Learn more about her work with dreams at www.maryjoheyen.com or  www.thenaturaldream.com

Monday, June 24, 2019

too much...



Sometimes we can feel that we are too much...
too much for our families...our partners...our friends
...too much for the world. 

We have desires, passions, needs, wants and ways we want to express ourselves...
our signature voice...our own unique and personal way of being in the world.

Yet what would happen if all of this poured out of us...if all of us poured out of us? 
We fear that who we are and what we want is too much...that we will be too much for others. And so instead we withhold...and what is within us languishes…
doesn’t see the light of day...doesn’t bring its unique gift into the world. 

In that moment of ‘too much’ we can take a breath 
and feel into this fear of ‘I’m too much’…
and take yet another breath...and another...and wait...and slowly...
too much’ begins to take a different shape...it’s original shape. 
We begin to feel the truth of what’s beneath “I’m too much”…
‘Too much’ reveals itself as ‘so much.’

Who we are is so much...so much creativity...so much desire...
so much voice...so much love...and this ‘so muchness’ is the true us 
that wants pour out of us...onto the ones we love...onto the world.

“How could the drop of water fear she is 
too much for the ocean?” ~rodger kamenetz



Mary Jo Heyen is a certified Natural Dreamwork Practitioner working with clients in person, phone or Skype. Learn more about her work with dreams at www.maryjoheyen.com.






Friday, May 10, 2019

unseen visitors...

from my hospice journal….

A hospice patient died this afternoon.

I had been to visit Sharon every other day for the past 2-1/2 weeks. When I arrived this morning, her husband said hadn’t talked since I was there last. She died shortly after I left her this morning. 

When Sharon was admitted she said she’d like to speak with me about her dreams but we never got to them. The cancer was slowing her thoughts and her speech. She could only speak a few words at a time as if each word took the greatest of effort to find and to speak. So we spoke little. I held her hand, massaged her arms and legs and made her laugh.

Her husband, Steve, an atheist, a very practical and logical man, struggled with the dramatic changes, how quickly she was diminishing…and that he couldn’t fix it. He was very upset because Sharon was seeing dead people…a close relative had committed suicide years ago…a friend who had died. He was agitated telling me about it, that he told Sharon that she’s hallucinating, that she’s seeing things.  And I knew I wasn’t there to hear Sharon’s dreams; I was there to help Steve find the blessing and comfort in how she was dying. I assured him that this was okay, not only a part of dying but a welcome part of dying. Maybe it was, as he thought, metastasis to the brain, but that we want to stay open that indeed Sharon was in two worlds now and the other world was starting to make itself known. 

So as he listened, I asked Sharon about her unseen visitors and her face lit up, “I was so happy to see them!”  She would lay quietly and then smile. I said, ”you’re feeling them now aren’t you, I can see by your face” and she would smile and nod. Later that day, at the hospice team meeting, Steve shared what was happening and said this amazing thing, “How do I know? Maybe Sharon is seeing her relatives. I’m just going along with and supporting whatever she says.” I could tell he felt good about this, that he somehow had a sense of how he could be with her, even honor the unseen visitors in the room.

I walked in to Sharon’s room a couple of days ago and before I could even sit down, Steve said to her, “Tell Mary Jo who you saw!” She said to me, “Nobody believes me.” I said, “Well, you know I believe you and Steve believes you.” She lay quietly for a moment; talking exhausted her. Then Sharon, a great cat lover, said, “There were cats all over the room.” Both Steve and I marveled at how wonderful that was for her as she pointed to all the spots around the room where she had seen them.

Today as Sharon slept deeply and peacefully, her husband spoke of his love for her and how he imagined that even in that moment Sharon was already in another place that was beautiful and comforting. 


(image by josephine jackson)

Mary Jo Heyen is a certified Natural Dreamwork Practitioner working with clients in person, phone or Skype. Learn more about her work with dreams at www.maryjoheyen.com.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

if you were god...

If you were God would you leave the beings on this ragged little planet without a way to be in relationship with you…to stay in touch?

However helpful and wonderful books may be would you want to leave them something that is more alive, visceral and intimately personal than words on a page…

Might you leave open a portal where all souls could be in on-going communication with whatever they wanted to call you…God…Angels…Source…Spirit Guides…Davey?

Perhaps you'd call this portal ‘dreams’…and each and every night invite everyone into relationship with you. And through strange language, incredible characters, objects and events that come each night you would encourage us to be with our unique dream images…take a breath into them until they reveal themselves as feelings…the healing and sacred conversation of the night.




(Image by Jeremiah Morelli)

Mary Jo Heyen is a certified Natural Dreamwork Practitioner working with clients in person, phone or Skype. Learn more about her work with dreams at www.maryjoheyen.com.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

first responders...

In addition to dream presentations and workshops that I offer to the general public, I am invited to speak to groups of first responders, such as our local hospital and crisis advocate group, on why our dreams matter, how exploring our dreams can help support inner and outer wellness.

These crisis teams are an incredible group of professionals and volunteers who are called into situations of domestic violence, terrible accidents, death…and  they step into places where they are met with a full range of the unpredictable…and in this unpredictability part of their role is to give support and comfort to the survivors.  First responders step into the unknown, what is raw, what is still unfolding.  Could working with their dreams help support them to be in these moments…to be present for the families they serve and for themselves…to help them deepen their capacity in the pain-filled situations. 

One night before I was to speak with a group I was called into my midnight loft…where I am called to most nights…and I step into the quiet dark…and speak what wants to be spoken…and listen to what wants to be heard…this liminal space between worlds.  And there waiting for me was a teaching…a simple yet potent teaching about our inner first responders…

As our dreams heal us…help us to drop our walls, the protective defended structures we believed were necessary in order to survive, we discover that our first response to the world…is not our mind…not even our feelings. It is our body that responds first. We may feel a jolt or a thrill and instead of taking it right up into the mind to explain it can we run it through our heart and see what feeling is there that wants to be felt?

The closer we come to being in the world from our soul we find that our first response to the world…to a situation…an experience…is through the body and then the feelings that arise in that moment.  Our bodies wisdom recognizes and expresses the feeling…even holds it for us if we’ve lost connection to our feelings…until there is a return to feeling.

And slowly we recover this excruciatingly raw and vulnerable way to be in the world…the way of the soul…as we become the soul in its potency…in its capacity to feel everything. And we recover our capacity to respond…in the moment...fully present with ourselves, with each other and the divine as soul.


(Image by Daniel Sundahl)

Mary Jo Heyen is a certified Natural Dreamwork Practitioner working with clients in person, phone or Skype. Learn more about her work with dreams at www.maryjoheyen.com or www.thenaturaldream.com 


Sunday, February 10, 2019

the long good-bye...

I was speaking with a woman whose husband had died suddenly. She was wondering aloud what’s better...a long drawn out illness where you know the person is dying or a sudden death then ends life quickly.

She said, tearing up, “I never got to say good-bye and tell him I loved him.”

There’s a kind of regret that sits alongside grief...the regret of ‘I wish I had told them.’ It’s a regret that wants a ‘do over’...that tells us we should have, could have done things differently.

It’s a regret that waits for a dream of the deceased to offer some assurance that our loved one is okay...and okay with us. This is all so very tender and sad...and confusing to the already deep well of grief with the death of a loved one.

What if we made our life with someone we love into one long good-bye? What if we didn’t wait until a catastrophic illness, an accident to strike to let our love be known? What a risk we run if the death is sudden...to not have made our love manifest.

After my conversation with her, I was thinking about how we can choose to live in such a way that we’re always saying good-bye. By that I mean, we voice our love, our recognition, our appreciation of our lives together. So much so, that even if our last words were angry words, we’d be okay, because we know we love each other and that angry words are just a part of being in relationship; they don’t undo anything.
Do the people we love truly know we love them, value their presence in our lives, know that life without them may go on but never be the same?  It’s not something reserved for special occasions. It a daily connection in a smile, a laugh, a thank you, an I love you...all the ways we say the long good-bye...with no regrets.



Mary Jo Heyen is a certified Natural Dreamwork Practitioner working with clients in person, phone or Skype. Learn more about her work with dreams at www.maryjoheyen.com.


Saturday, February 2, 2019

the sting of the anemone...


From a dreamer…
Dream - I’m with a group of unfamiliar people spelunking in caves and I’m excited. It’s dark, mysterious and eerie.  Someone is holding a lantern and we are exploring. The caves are spacious and go on forever, deeper and deeper.  We have a guide, 60’s, long white beard, wearing an overcoat and a brimmed hat.  He seems like a sage and I trust him.  He’s an old hand at this; he knows the caves.  He shows me a pool, 2 feet in diameter, shallow, clear trickling water.  There are beautiful, brightly colored anemones with waving tentacles clinging to the pool wall and little fish, beautiful tiger fish, vibrant colored spines, almost like they’re lighting up the pool.  I feel in awe of the beauty.  The guide says, “Put your hand in the pool.”  I’m scared to do it but I do because he told me and I trust him.  My whole arm is in the water and I feel electric stings all over my arm and even my legs which aren’t in the water.  I feel shock, pain, am afraid, “Oh fuck, I shouldn’t have done this.”  I pull my arm out in pain.

Dream Practice: Be in the moment of hearing the sage say, “Put your hand in the pool.” Feel your trust and do it. When you feel the pain of the electric stings…stop…don’t pull your arm out…turn to the sage who supports you here and take a breath into the pain…and then another.

It makes sense to pull one’s hand out of the pool full of stinging anemones, to not want to feel the sting of pain. The sage in the dream, this inner teacher, tells the dreamer to do the very thing that he must know will cause the dreamer pain.  Why would he do that?  Why would I give a dream practice that asks the dreamer to not only return to the place of pain but to stay there…take a breath into it?

Because this dreamer, like many of us, is already in pain, and had learned to be numb to it, to shut it down. He, like many of us, has been pulling his hand out of the pain pool for most of his life. When the original pain began in his childhood the dreamer believed he was alone, that there was no understanding and support…and there truly was no one he could turn to…and he adapted to his environment which meant closing off from his feeling self…his soul. Often times it is not the traumatic event that traumatizes us. What traumatizes us is that in that terrible moment…those terrible moments…we felt abandoned…we believed we were alone…

Our dreams, in their wisdom, take us back to these feeling places, to help us recover these parts of ourselves to which we lost connection. It can take some time and at first we may need to just feel our fear…our fear of pain, our fear of being afraid. This dreamer was in a place where he was beginning to trust his inner teachers and so followed his guidance…and then reacted as he had been to conditioned…to pull back from the difficult feeling. 

Pain is part of the feeling palette of soul. The soul feels everything and if we’ve learned to shut down to difficult feelings such as pain, loss, grief and fear, then we are also shut off from parts of our soul…and we are no longer whole. We will feel pain, we will feel fear…and as we learn to trust these feelings…let them move through us in their own wisdom…allow them to teach us what it is they want for us to know…we also feel more deeply true love, true joy…our connectedness and our wholeness.

This dream invites the dreamer into his pain…no longer alone. He is invited to feel his pain with the presence and support of his inner teacher. This is the healing medicine in this dream…to take a breath into his pain, to turn and feel the support for him, his capacity to be with all of who he is and this helps heal him, helps return him to wholeness.



Mary Jo Heyen is a certified Natural Dreamwork Practitioner working with clients in person, phone or Skype. Learn more about her work with dreams at www.maryjoheyen.com or  www.thenaturaldream.com