Natural Dreamwork with Mary Jo


I was a co-teacher at dream retreat last May, and as part of our work we were stepping into each other’s dreams with a Natural Dreamwork technique called 5D (Five Dimensional Dreaming which explores the dimensions of space-time-feeling found in our dreams.)

Deep into the second day of the retreat we were well into this intense and intimate way of exploring the material that comes up in our dreams…the places we experience strong feelings as well as the places where our difficult feelings may be hiding in the dream.  Dreamers were beginning to see how we have all learned ways to avoid these feelings and we often do it by explaining the feeling, the reason it’s there, what they know about…all the ways where we will do most anything other than feel it. 

I was asked to lead a guided meditation for when we gathered for the afternoon session. How do we learn to truly feel what wants to be felt? Like meditation, can there be a practice that can help us build this capacity? So I began…

I referenced a writing by Linda Ellis called ‘The Dash’ where she shared a talk she heard at someone’s funeral. We refer to the date of birth and the date of death. We focus on both dates…the day one came into the world and the day one leaves. In between those two dates, however, is this little seemingly insignificant punctuation mark – the dash. The dash contains all the years in between those dates…how we chose to live our life, how we loved, who we loved…all in this tiny punctuation mark.

Then I spoke of another punctuation mark…the period. Early in my work with my own dreams, with the feelings that arose…love, pain, joy, sorrow, fear…I wanted to learn to stay with them…feel them…and not spin off into story about them. It wasn’t easy to do…it was a learning.

In came the period. I feel sad. I feel fear. I feel pain. I feel love. Like the humble dash, the equally humble period invited me to stay in the feeling…take one more breath into it. In doing so, I learned that the feeling knows what to do, has its own kind of grace, knows how to move through me, at what pace, in what way. I know that the feeling is the healing medicine in the dream and to not dilute it by bringing in my mind…the story about the feeling. 

There is a sweet simplicity in this…even with difficult feelings of pain and fear…a healing each time I am willing to take the dream medicine…I feel sad…I feel love…I feel pain…I feel…period.

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 

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