Natural Dreamwork with Mary Jo

the adapted self…

So often in our dreams we see ways we behave that can feel painful. We may be judging, criticizing, pontificating, caretaking…all the myriad ways of being in reaction…of avoiding painful feelings…of trying to stay safe in an unsafe world.


What our dreams are showing us, without judgment, shame or blame are the ways we have adapted to our environment…an adaptation necessary for our survival. For many of us our early environments were less than ideal…perhaps even traumatizing. Many of us learned early that who we were in the world, how we expressed ourselves and our desires was not acceptable often time to those whose love and support we needed most. The world wasn’t going to adapt to us so we adapted to the world and something very precious was hidden from the world and tragically even hidden from ourselves.


adaptation – “-modification of an organism or its parts that makes it more fit for existence under the conditions of its environment”


Because our environment didn’t have the capacity to receive us, to adapt to us, to welcome our uniqueness, we were the ones who adapted to the environment, not the other way around.


Being the incredible creation that we are, we did learn to adapt…to be part of the norm, to please significant others, to fit in…and maybe they would let us stay. We paid a terrible price for this. The ways we came to know ourselves moved from being em-bodied and en-souled to outer focused, other focused, seeking to please, get approval, vigilant for outer cues…all to stay safe…and the connection to our soul self got frayed.


We lost the connection to the deepest parts of who we are…our soul.


adaptation – “an adjustment of a sense organ to the instill or quality of stimulation”


In this process of adaptation parts of us were wounded, our hearts and our minds…and our sense organs. Our senses adjusted to survive the intensity of our environment.


When our senses get wounded their capacity to reflect the truth gets wounded and we come to understand that…
wounded minds think in a wounded way
wounded eyes see in a wounded way
wounded ears hear in a wounded way
wounded bodies give and feel touch in a wounded way


This is where exploring our dreams can be of such tremendous help. They know everything that has happened to us. They know how in order to survive we changed how we are in the world. They know that during that time we learned the need to shut down and close doors in order to please those in our outer world.


Our dreams also know that our true self got locked up back there with the wounding. They know this and that is why they take us back to those moments and memories. They do this not to re-injure us but to help us  get what got left back there…our connection to soul…our memory of who we truly are…beings that are en-souled and em-bodied…beings in connection with the deepest part of who we are…beings that remember the Ones who love us…


As we learn to trust our dreams (and they are challenging) we find a clearing. We begin to think with clear minds, see with clear eyes, hear with clear ears, engage with clear bodies and love with clear hearts.



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

4 thoughts on “the adapted self…”

    1. Thank you so much, Sandy. Recognizing our utter and helpless woundedness can help us be kinder and more understanding of ourselves…can help us lay down the story of what happened to us to a deeper desire to remember who it is we are…have always been…under the wounding.
      Much love, Mary Jo

  1. You are a light in the dark-please keep helping us collectively to make our way. To embody the true essence of who we are! Thank you Mary Jo

    1. Thank you so much Tamara. I love what Ram Dass says, “we’re all just walking each other home” and can we find our way to do that as openly and honestly as possible…it’s what makes us trustworthy…Much love to you…

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