Limiting and destructive beliefs have kept me from a fuller and happier life. When I have the courage and resolve to do it, I make efforts to uncover these slippery monsters and, hopefully, discard them. Usually I'm motivated by a need to understand why I've created such a reality of loneliness and lack of artistic fulfillment for myself.
Oftentimes I suffer from a lack of belief: Belief that I can change my convictions. I also tend to doubt that such changes will actually alter my outer circumstances in a positive way.
Once, while in the midst of such internal conflict, I had this dream:
I return to my apartment, where I am keeping two herons as pets. One roams free; at the moment, she is off in the opposite corner of the room. The other lives inside a big glass tank. He has never been outside. After a while he seems agitated. He paces around; then, he nips at some of the plants inside the tank so that their stalks fall over.
Some time later (I've been lost in my own thoughts) I look up and he is there in front of me, walking free! I'm momentarily nervous, wondering how his temperament will be. This is his first time out in the open, after all. But I look into his eyes and sense such sweetness and empathy. "Hey there!" I say, and give him a little pet.
I knew at once that the penned-up heron was reflecting a part of my life force, of my soul, that was being liberated by the inner work that I was doing. It had never been allowed to come out until that point. My limiting beliefs (symbolized by the stalks that he nips) kept it encased somewhere where it could see the greater possibilities of life all around but not take part in them. Finally, he and I are both seeing through the illusion. I don't need to be cowed by my own ideas, no matter how long I've been harboring them, any more than the heron needs to stay enclosed in his glass box.
When the conscious mind finds itself at the end of its resources, the inner self can come to its rescue. This dream brought me some affirmation that I sorely needed at that juncture. Confronting the very ideas that you have used to define yourself and your life can cast everything into a state of new creativity that nonetheless feels like chaos in the moment. Old landmarks and road signs are washed away in the surge. Luckily, the inner self believes in us even during those times when we find it difficult to believe in ourselves. Looking into the heron's compassionate and understanding eyes, I was reminded...