Natural Dreamwork with Mary Jo

breathing underwater…

A theme…a motif even…that eventually comes in most people’s dreams is that of being with a child who is in the water…

The child seems to have fallen in…perhaps jumped in…

The understandable response is to think the child needs saving and it is our job to rescue them.  

We are afraid for the child…

So we jump in the water and attempt to pull them out.

As we explore the dream we consider that this was no unintentional tumbling into the water by this child.

They are not in distress.

What if they have been waiting in the depths for us to discover them…remember them?

What if they want us to follow them into the water?

…are inviting us to join them in these deep waters?


The child knows the real fear is not our fear for them…

it is our own fear to enter these watery depths…

that we will drown…will be hurt…feel our fear and pain…

The young child so often in our dreams is this image of our own soul…

a boy or girl…the part of us connected to the love that many of us forgot…

who, because they know they are loved can be with everything and feel everything…

the part of us that has never lost its soul capacity to feel it all…

the love and pain, joy and sorrow, fear and vulnerability…

who, because they know that they are loved can be in the deep waters…

can breathe water….

The waters in our dreams come for us…

seep through ceilings…

flow up from foundations…

broach shorelines…

the sea…the depths…the soul…comes for us…


Breathing Under Water

by Sr. Carol Bieleck RSCJ

I built my house by the sea.

Not on the sands, mind you;

not on the shifting sand.

And I built it of rock.

A strong house by a strong sea.

And we got well acquainted, the sea and I.

Good neighbors.

Not that we spoke much.

We met in silences.

Respectful, keeping our distance,

but looking our thoughts across the fence of sand.

Always, the fence of sand our barrier,

always, the sand between.

And then one day,

-and I still don’t know how it happened –

the sea came.

Without warning.

Without welcome, even

Not sudden and swift, but a shifting across the sand like wine,

less like the flow of water than the flow of blood.

Slow, but coming.

Slow, but flowing like an open wound.

And I thought of flight and I thought of drowning and I thought of death.

And while I thought the sea crept higher, till it reached my door.

And I knew, then, there was neither flight, nor death, nor drowning.

That when the sea comes calling, you stop being neighbors,

Well acquainted, friendly-at-a-distance neighbors,

And you give your house for a coral castle,

And you learn to breathe underwater.

Mary Jo Heyen is a certified Natural Dreamwork Practitioner working with clients in person, phone or video conference. Learn more about her work with dreams at