In working with our dreams in both session and post session we are asked to feel into a specific dream moment. This is the heart of the message that our dreams want to convey…feelings are the medicine that heals. During session we are asked ‘What are you feeling,?’ ‘Is that a familiar feeling?’ This isn’t as simple as it may sound. How do we access feeling places that may have been ignored and unfelt for who knows how long? How do we feel into something? In my own dream work, this feeling thing took a long time. When my practitioner, Rodger Kamenetz would say, “What are you feeling?”…I had nothing. Slowly, very slowly, feeling (versus emotional reaction) came back into my body and my experience. We are asked to return to these feelings as part of the post session work…“feel into…(dream moment.)” And that, too, can be difficult to access.
What I’ve learned to do post session when I return to the moment in the dream is to just be with it…no expectations…no forcing something…no trying to orchestrate it…and trust that in my willingness to be open to whatever is there, to show up for myself, the inner teacher will be there as well, helping me in this difficult place.
A recent dream shows me with very raw and terrible wounds, a severed finger and a severed sole of my foot. I am aware of the wounds, trying to hold my finger in place, walk on the severed sole, managing as best I can on my own. Yet, with these open and raw wounds, there is no blood when there should have been. The dream was showing me, as in waking reality, even though I’m aware I have wounds, I can’t feel them. It is only the look of horror on my husband, Joe’s, face in the dream that makes me realize I’m not feeling the depth of these wounds. I truly am, like many of us, among the walking wounded. This is what happens when we experience a deep hurt, perhaps a trauma, and believe we have to carry on, function, ‘walk it off.’ We misunderstand. Our true self, our soul wants to help us heal and to do that we need to feel our deepest feelings.
My post session work became “feel into the moment of seeing your severed finger and severed sole and then see the look of horror on Joe’s face.” I wasn’t asked to feel the horror myself because in the dream and during session I wasn’t feeling it; this is how well our dreams know us and how respectful and tender they are in their teachings. In doing my work, I return to the dream scene, sit beside Joe and take in the look of horror reflected on his face in the presence of such a wound. At first all I could see was his horror; I was ‘fine,’ so I kept returning to that moment. Then slowly, over the next few days, feeling returned and my own horror rose…and turned into felt pain. It is a moment of awakening, where a wound I acknowledged but didn’t feel, had its mask removed and I saw it for what it was…and more importantly felt what it is I needed to feel. When I can feel my own wounds, the hurt they carry, the pain…I then allow space for the healing.
Mary Jo Heyen
Archetypal Dreamwork Practitioner
Dream sessions in person, via Skype or on the phone