The Dreamers’ Den Series Ep 24: Our Dreams at the End of Life, and Every Night Until Then, Too (a conversation with Mary Jo Heyen)
This one touched me. All these conversations do, but I felt this one extra deeply. Perhaps it’s Mary Jo’s way of speaking – and her way of listening – or the tenderness of hearing about dreams people had when they knew they were close to the end of their lives. Maybe it’s the feeling of welcome inherent in sitting with someone who’s practiced at “companioning,” rather than, as she says, “fluffing or fixing.”
Mary Jo Heyen, practitioner of Natural Dreamwork and author of Dreaming into the Mystery: Explorations into Being with the Dreams and Visions of the Dying, companions dreamers and their families in hospice care and grief groups. She’s a Regional Representative of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) and she’s published work in their magazine, Dream Time, and in The Journal of Palliative Medicine. She also has a diverse private practice, working with dream clients of all ages and backgrounds.
Click “Play” above to hear about:
- Her childhood relationship to dreams, including a dream of her own at age 4 that touched something profound, and her father’s PTSD dreams
- Why she practices “Natural Dreamwork,” as taught by Roger Kamenetz
- The story of a man who dreamt, just before he died, of figures he’d been missing all his life
- The differences Mary Jo has noticed between the dreams of the dying and the dreams at any other time of life
- Her reflections on companioning people when there’s nothing to “fix”
- Advice for people who aren’t trained in dreamwork and are caring for someone at end of life
- The power of patience and quiet
- Our conversation about engaging with dreams in groups as compared to with a one-on-one practitioner
- Learning from dreams to hold our own pain with compassion, so that we can sit with someone else, soul seeing soul, and “not touch their pain with our fear”
- The dream of the wife of a man in hospice care, and what she suddenly understood through the dream
and so many more gems.
I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did.
Mary Jo’s website: www.maryjoheyen.com
Natural Dreamwork practitioners: www.thenaturaldream.com