Natural Dreamwork with Mary Jo

new year’s return…

That which I will carry forward into the new year is not a resolution.  There is something about being resolute that feels willful, heavy handed and unmoving. We judge ourselves, have lost faith in ourselves and feel we must take charge. So we make harsh rigid rules for ourselves and then feel like failures when we can’t keep up with the inner taskmaster…and end up feeling even more alone…on our own. We can be so hard on ourselves…so unkind…all ways that the soul is not. 

The characters in my own dreams and those of dream clients do not ask us to be resolute but they do invite us to return to something…something we have forgotten about ourselves, about how much we are loved and supported, to return to our true selves are…our soul selves. 
And this invitation in the dream appears in startling ways as our dream teachers often come in outrageous garments…a menacing figure, an abandoned child, a sexual come on…all to invite us to feel something.  But most of us don’t want to feel what it is they want to evoke in us and in these moments of difficult feelings…fear…loss…pain…we are afraid to feel…afraid that it will be too much, overwhelming…and so we turn away. 

In Natural Dreamwork we have learned that there is another option…we have another choice…and this is what’s so meaningful for me…to turn yet again…back towards the inner support that is found in our dreams. Trusting this simple embodied movement is not an act of willfulness but a willingness to keep turning towards…and in doing so we re-turn. Feeling our pain returns us to love, feeling our sorrow returns us to joy…space for all of who we are and the soul’s capacity to feel it all.

My dream teacher, Rodger Kamenetz, shared that the Hebrew word, Teshuveh, usually translated as ‘to repent,’ really means ‘to return.’  I find this so beautiful, an open-armed welcoming us home to our true self.  Nowhere in our dreams does the divine come and tell us what to do, tell us to repent, tell us to be resolute and white knuckle our way through life’s challenges. Without judgment, without blame or shame, the dreams do show us how and why we learned to turn away…and if we can learn to feel into what it is they are asking then, with awareness, we continue the movement and turn again…

Our dreams simply continue to show us, in ways that are tender, challenging, painful, laugh out loud funny…always with love…where our inner self and outer self are not in alignment, how we developed skillful ways to be in the world to protect ourselves and to not feel the feelings that need and want to be felt…the very quality of soul. The way back is neither easy nor is it linear…it is more of a labyrinth, unlike a maze which has dead ends, the labyrinth is the constant turning of outer towards the inner and back again. Even in those moments when we are turning away…we can choose to continue the movement and in turning once again…we return.

Mary Jo Heyen is a Natural Dreamwork practitioner working with dreams clients in person, by phone or Skype. You can read more about her work at


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