Natural Dreamwork with Mary Jo


Dream – I’m in a place, active, working with others sometimes. As I’m coming and going, I encounter this black family. They are having a good time together – laughing – speaking their own lingo. I notice them – notice their difference in style. I judge them a bit – like they’re a bit obnoxious, out of place. Later I return to an outdoor area. The family is all at a table. I approach them and they greet me in their style – with handshakes and slang just like I’m one of them. I’m aware I’m white – but they don’t just welcome me – they treat me like an insider. I’m humbled and disarmed and grateful for this.
Stepping into this dream of one of my dream clients, we see something that comes up in many of our dreams. It is this place where we have come to believe we are different from others, that others are different from us…and that we don’t belong. Then in order to feel okay about ourselves we judge others for their differences, for being something other than we think they should be. And we judge ourselves, feel flawed and out of sync with life, that somehow we got left behind, forgotten. Either way we end up feeling even more alienated
Somewhere along the way, in both our outer world and our inner world, we lost connection to our true knowing…that we do belong, that we are not alone in this world having to navigate it on our own, by ourselves. We forgot that we are a part of an Us and not just any Us…the dreams show us our inner family.
But even that’s not easy at first. When our inner teachers, our inner family comes to us in our dreams they are rarely who we think they are and we don’t recognize or remember them.  Many of us have developed an aesthetic view of spirituality and connectedness. We somehow misunderstood, believing to be spiritual means we walk, talk, behave in certain ways, often times with a certain propriety and somberness.  And our dreams will immediately turn us and our concepts upside down.  Our dreams show us an inner connection that is as outrageous, raucous and non-conforming as it is loving and supportive. Our inner teachers come in ways that are messy, loud and juicy…all to break through the places we have gotten stuck…the places and voices that tell us we don’t belong…and invite us back into the deliciousness of who we truly are and of who it is we are truly part. 
In the beginning of this dream the client feels this family is acting like they’re the only ones in the world, with inside jokes and their own way of being…and in the deepest sense possible…they are…but she doesn’t see that at first. So she begins with a reaction, judging them for this and then something wonderful happens. She catches her reaction on her own…in the dream itself!…and acknowledges that she is judging this family. This dreamer has been working with her dreams with an open heart and a willingness to look at places where she has held judgements and concepts about what it means to be connected and how they have instead kept her feeling separate, and to be aware that she is in reaction is really remarkable and healing. And then there is another wonderful moment. She catches her reaction and walks towards the family.  And in that moment she is immediately received, welcomed in as part of the family…because this is her family…an image of her inner family…”I am not other to them” and she is humbled, disarmed and grateful…and the healing medicine of the dream begins to take effect.

(Image: Us by artist Courtney Kalinowski who explores 
and paints images she experiences in her dreams.)

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