As a Natural Dreamwork Practitioner my work includes being a hospice volunteer, being with the dreams of hospice patients, their families, and after the death, for those in grief groups. Even if we haven’t given much attention to our dreams, an impending death, our own, or that of a loved one brings a new urgency to find some measure of comfort and healing at end of life…and many turn to their dreams for the support found there. It is a privilege for me when I am invited into another’s dream to find the healing medicine there.
There was a hospice patient whose wife had come to several meetings to discuss her husband’s end of life care and how things were unfolding. She was a person of strong faith and felt the support of her church community and so didn’t feel the need for hospice support other than the medical care.
One day after she attended a hospice meeting we were all walking out and she stopped me, “I had the strangest dream” (those five words are tender music to my ears…an invitation into a conversation with the deepest part of who we are.) We found a quiet corner in the hospital and she told me her dream…
Dream – I’ve ordered a twin bed and when it arrives I panic! Why did I order a twin bed? I notice it’s 10 feet long! Where am I going to put this? Then I realize I can just sent it back and then I feel better.
This is a woman who shared she had never given notice to her dreams, how they slip away upon awakening not to be explored…but this time in her life things were different. Her husband of many years was dying and the landscape around her was changing fast…too fast…and she was open to help from new quarters.
We stepped into the moment of her looking at the twin bed. She was immediately caught in the panic and even self ridicule of why did she order a twin bed. Trying to figure all this out in her mind, the relief of being able to send the bed back, to make sense of it all, helped her avoid a feeling that was underneath…a feeling her dream wanted her to feel.
I slowed the dream down and asked her to take a breath and look again at the twin bed…and she got it. Tears came…”In a few weeks all I’ll need is a twin bed” and she felt her sadness. And then resistance rose and she stopped her tears, “What’s the point of being sad? It doesn’t do any good!” I agreed that her tears wouldn’t change the fact that her husband was dying. And yet…there it was in her dream…in her…sadness waiting and wanting to be felt…a deep grief for all that she was losing. “It is sad, isn’t it?” she said…and we sat another few moments as she took a breath and let sadness move through her.
Then I asked her to look at this bed…a bed that was 10 feet long. She laughed a bit at this unusual image. I asked, “Who would need a bed 10 feet long?” “Someone very big and tall,” she said. Could she consider for a moment that this large bed showing up wasn’t a mistake? Maybe she didn’t order it (there was no evidence in the dream,) maybe it was being delivered to her, showing up now for a reason. Could she consider that someone large enough to need such a big bed was moving in with her to support her in her grief, who knew the deep hurt and sadness in her heart? She had that ahhh! moment that dreamers have when they make the connection…hers was to the divine…that this huge presence was there for her…to be with her. She was quiet for a moment, no longer in her mind trying to make sense…she was in her body, feeling into the image of this bed in a most visceral way…and then she giggled…she giggled…and said, “I feel shy.” She had let herself feel her sadness, let her heart open to the deep grief…she had taken the healing medicine in her dream…and in that moment she felt the connection to her heart…her soul…the divine…a loving and supportive connection that would comfort her in the difficult days ahead.
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 www.maryjoheyen.com or www.thenaturaldream.com