Natural Dreamwork with Mary Jo

crossing the platte…

Our dreams are full of images that carry feelings…
I had the privilege last week of co-teaching at a dream retreat in Chicago. Dreamers were invited to step into their dreams and to lay down for a moment the story around them and, if possible, through the dream images bring back to life the feelings in the image…the feelings in that moment.
When we gathered back after lunch, I was asked to lead an opening meditation. I spoke about images and feelings and how our dreams want us to recover our capacity to feel what we may not want to feel…that in the feeling is also a healing.
I shared how Joe and I had driven in from Colorado, a drive we’ve done over a hundred times…and how I still love crossing Nebraska. Crossing Nebraska!! Yes, this land of buffalo and plains indians and the Platte River. The Platte runs along the highway and we cross it at least a dozen times…this river with sandy shores and islets…so shallow that it can be difficult for even a canoe to navigate….this scrappy unassuming river
For 47 years crossing the Platte has evoked in me the colorful images of our past. My heart bursts with love for my country, our beautiful land…grief for ways we have mistreated the land, the animals, the indiginous people, each other…all these powerful images that evoke story in each crossing.  I shared with the dreamers that this time in the crossings, I didn’t go to story…I let the feeling rise in me, move through me…feelings of love…grief…loss…excitement…awe…no story…clear clean feelings rising…and tears rose.
And in the feeling soaked silence I posed an inner question…if I could share a phrase about dreamwork with this upcoming group of dreamers what would it be?  The answer, too, came in clear and clean…I don’t wear mascara anymore.  It made me laugh, so outrageous and seemingly silly a statement…but it was true and spoke to my own work with dreams.
As I deepen into my dreams, as I am willing to stay with the images my dreams bring…willing to feel into what wants to be felt…and take a breath into that…tears rise throughout the day…tears that carry feelings of joy, love, loss and grief…tears rising in unexpected moments…unexplained tears…tears that smear mascara. 

I no longer feel a need to find out why and what the tears are about…I trust their wisdom. Being in the feeling…feeling it…is the movement of my soul…the conversation with soul…is the gift in the images of the dream. 

And then, as we went into a silent meditation, I asked the dreamers to take a few moments, find an image that is alive in them…and then let go of any story around it, about it…and to take a breath and let the feeling underneath rise in them…the storyless feeling that is the gift in the image.

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