Painting by Deborah Koff-Chapin

In our heavily constructed world it’s easy to forget that, like all living beings, we are deeply subject to the changing of seasons. We get so caught up in our local dramas that we forget to look through that wider lens, where we can observe our deepest impulses being governed by a mysterious cycle. Our dreams, however, will always show us where we are in that cycle, using clues like the weather, time of day and landscape to depict our inner climate.

If your dream is set in spring for instance, you are in the midst of a radical rebirth. A brand new life is being offered to you and, by choosing it, you accept both its bounty and the responsibility that cultivating it takes. Unlike winter, which has much more to do with resting and turning inward, spring is about stepping bravely out.

Like the bears, we are slowly waking up, coming out of our winter tunnels into the world of possibilities. Old blocks are being melted, past relationships don’t fit anymore, and we are hungry for new challenges. Though our dens have been comfortable, they are suddenly feeling cramped and agitated. And with the increasing light, dreams that seemed far off are imminent and visible. But like the crocuses pushing optimistically up through the earth, there is still the real possibility of getting snowed under again. We are vulnerable to the world, stripped down to our essentials, trying as best we can not to take up the old armour.

Remember that wonderful scene in the Lord of the Rings when, stepping out on their mission to deliver the Ring, Sam turns to Frodo and says, “If I take one more step, it’ll be the farthest from home I’ve ever been.” Indeed, living in a new way takes enormous courage. But while our comfort zones are cozy, staying in them too long can result in stagnation and psychic atrophy. There is a quote I’ve always loved by Søren Kierkegaard, “Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.” The idea is that fear is not always a warning to back away from something, but a portal to great discovery. Beyond the fear is elation for having transcended our perceived limitations.

A good friend once told me that we should never make decisions based on fear of the alternative. That is to say, instead of weighing your future on the scale of security, why not choose that which frightens you a little. Like swinging on a trapeze, there is a terrible-wonderful moment when you have to let go and freefall your way to the next grab. But the more times you find the new bar there to meet you, the stronger your trust in the unknown grows.

Begin to notice the changing weather of your interior life. Have your feelings frozen up into an inner winter, or are you blossoming your essence freely into the world? Is there an abundant creek rushing through you, or have you hit a dry, desert-patch? Will you become a bigger version of yourself, answering the call to spring into adventure, or do you need just a little more time underground? Every point on this mysterious wheel is valuable and challenging, and not one can exist without the others. Ultimately, however, the weather doesn’t matter as much as how you roll with the changes.