Natural Dreamwork with Mary Jo

underneath jealousy….

A dark voice whispers, “they are excluding you…they don’t even see you…”
so I know to look up…just in time to see jealousy coming up my walk, 
dragon claws flexing, ready to sink into my heart, 
nostrils flaming red hot rot that will sear, separate and blind me…
will squeeze my heart closed and turn other into object.
This time…just in time…it doesn’t slip in past me, catch me unaware.
I remember the promise in my dreams…”there’s a feeling underneath…”
Curious…even a little brave…I step out to meet this familiar old dragon, 
“It doesn’t have to be this way you know,” I say…heart pounding, hoping that it’s true.
“There’s a feeling underneath you…I want to know what that is.”
Jealousy waits…
heat coming from its mouth…itching to tell its dragon tale.
I know one hesitation…one flicker of my story mind and it will be inside…
I breath into the narrow space left me and I, too, wait… 
another breath…another…collapsing to what is waiting there.
I close my eyes…slowly I let the feeling in…
feel what jealousy is hiding, what it promises to spare me from…
pain…of an ancient wound always avoided
pain…of longing for the love that the voice denies,
pain…of loss for a connection denied.
I stay…I breathe…I feel my pain…it hurts so much…so much so…
I have to sit down on the step…
as the grace of sadness rises and flushes and flows out my eyes.
Sadness for myself…for how many times I’ve made it about other…
how many times I believed the lies that tell me I’m separate… 
How difficult this is for all of us…to stay…to breathe…
to feel difficult feelings all the way through…to what’s underneath.
Even jealousy has to sit its sorry dragon ass down…
and in the waiting gets teary eyed…takes a ragged dragon breath
…and becomes desire.
When we’re willing to take a deeper look inside at what may be keeping us from our wholeness, our connection to soul, it is difficult.  The dreams don’t care if they step on our toes and scuff our polish. They just want to be in a depth conversation with us. How do we look at these stuck ways we behave and not go to shame, not give up? Can we learn to feel the pinch to our ego and take a breath into it…stay a moment longer?
One way I found for myself happened unexpectedly, years before I formally began dream work. It often helps me to keep a sense of humor with those behaviors that are…shall I say icky? So one night I found myself caught in the viselike grip of a jealousy. I didn’t want to feel jealousy but couldn’t’ find my way out…so I sat in meditation… breathing…letting go of the story and the fight. It was really hard to stay with it but I did. 
Suddenly in my mind’s eye was an image…a pudgy little dragon…huffing and puffing as she walked over and plopped her sorry little dragon bottom down beside me. She had a fretted brow and I couldn’t help but laugh. Here was what my jealousy looked like when I wasn’t fighting it…under all the tight, resentful, maneuvering energy that goes into being jealous was this vulnerability.  
Through my work with dreams I’ve since come to the beautiful recognition that underneath our jealousy is our desire…a desire which can seem too vulnerable to feel, too tender and raw, so we cover it over and make it about others and get lost in story.  
I made a drawing of the dragon and kept it near my meditation cushion. A few years later I walked into a small art studio and there, sitting on a shelf, was my exact pudgy dragon, with the addition of little dragon toes painted pink.  I felt so received in that moment. She now sits in my midnight loft and reminds me that under all my stuck places is a little dragon. How can I not feel love and compassion for all the broken parts of myself in that moment?
I remember Ram Dass speaking about his own stuck places. He calls them his schmoos, “Oh, here comes this schmoo again.” And it’s true…I believe these parts of ourselves will always rise…they may have less energy but they will rise. And when they do, can we bring tenderness and kindness to ourselves in our stuck places? If so, then we also make space for other things, such as acceptance, humor and a lightened attitude about stepping into work with these often difficult parts of ourselves and others.

(Image: Mary Jo’s Dragon by Jan Igaki)
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 “underneath jealousy….”

  1. How wonderful to discover that \”underneath our jealousy is our desire…a desire which can seem too vulnerable to feel, too tender and raw, so we cover it over and make it about others and get lost in story.\” The next time I feel the edge of jealousy approach, I will look inside for a pudgy dragon! Many thanks for all your wonderfully insightful posts. <3

  2. Thank you! Our inner work is so serious that I have found for myself a space is also needed for comic relief within the mess. I often used to hear my dad giggle softly to himself. He had the capacity to feel deeply his own ragged humanity as well the capacity to be tickled by it. Wonderful teaching for me.

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