Natural Dreamwork with Mary Jo

the time it takes…

When we find a spiritual practice that speaks to us…be it dreamwork, meditation, yoga, contemplative prayer…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 or that the world has failed us. 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?)  I was blessed at age 24 to have met one of my main spiritual teachers, Meldy, with whom I worked for another 30+ years. She was aware of my self-imposed pressure and 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.  Maybe that’s why, when we’re young, we don’t find our voices easily…maybe it’s not supposed to be easy. Maybe we have to come up against naysayers and those who want to silence us. Maybe this is a part of life’s plan for us. Like the baby bird building strength by breaking through its shell, we build our inner strength not by being entitled but by cutting our spiritual teeth on all the difficulties that surrounds us, including the difficulties inside of us.  This is very painful and it takes time…  
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 now or that needs time to emerge…and let it unfold in its own wisdom…let something grow…be born in the time it takes…
When Joe and I spent time in the Sonoran Desert we marveled at the beauty and range of the cacti, all with their own unique 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 its first arm until it’s almost 100 years old…doesn’t reach its full height until it’s 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. The saguaro is in no rush. 
Maybe I’m learning to be more like a saguaro…developing my capacity to hold more water, that is, 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…

With love, Mary Jo

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 or 

2 thoughts on “the time it takes…”

  1. Wow. Mary Jo, I love this post. With such grace, humor and wisdom you have reminded me to stand in awe (and be patient) in the presence of my life. It feels like a friend and teacher has given me a gift of reassurance and inspiration. Thank you, dear one.

  2. Thank you Kirsten! I have to often remind myself that this journey we are on is for eternity and even as dedicated to it as we are there is also space for letting it unfold in its own ripeness.

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