Natural Dreamwork with Mary Jo

desert dream lessons from the saguaro…

When we find a spiritual practice that speaks to us…be it meditation, yoga, contemplative prayer, dreamwork…so many…we want to see and feel results right away. We want it now! And when it doesn’t happen in our time frame we can feel like something is wrong with us, that we have somehow failed.  What harsh taskmasters we are to ourselves. I remember when I was in my twenties, anxious for spiritual depth and wisdom. This is embarrassing to say but I ‘gave’ myself a goal of two years…then I would be a spiritual adept (how’s that going for you, Mary Jo?)  My spiritual teacher, Meldy (whom I’ve written about in previous posts), aware of my self-imposed pressure, gently said, “Dear…it will come…but you need a little more seasoning.”  Four decades later and I’m still seasoning…and it’s wonderful.

Often in my own work and with that of my dream clients, we are asked to season a bit…to stay…take a breath into a dream moment…a feeling that is present or that needs time to emerge…and let it unfold in its own wisdom…let something grow.

Joe and I are in the Sonoran Desert marveling at the beauty and range of the cactus, all with their own unique beauty and story to tell.  But, yes…the great denizen of the desert is the Saguaro…and for me personally, not because of the height it can reach, 40-70 feet, not because of its longevity, up to 200 years…though those are impressive numbers. It’s the teaching we can receive about the patience that the saguaro demonstrates with regards to its own growth…the saguaro has staying power.

Maybe I’m learning to be more like a saguaro…which doesn’t even have its first flower until it’s 75 years old…doesn’t have it’s first arm until it’s almost 100 years old…doesn’t reach its full height until its 200 years old.  And the growth of the saguaro, which can be one inch per decade (!) comes as it develops its capacity to store water. As it does so, it expands and can then store even more water. Water, in dream language, represents our feelings. It’s in no rush.

Maybe I’m learning to be more like a saguaro…developing my capacity to hold more water, i.e., be in my feelings with the depth, the passion, the vulnerability, the inner growth and support that dreams offer me. Like the saguaro I, too, as I am aging…feel less of a rush to achieve some goal…and feel more the capacity to grow slowly, deeply, seasoned all the way through…


Mary Jo Heyen
Archetypal Dreamwork Practitioner
Author of the dream primer, “Who are Those Guys?” 
Dream sessions in person, via Skype or on the phone