Summer is a time to celebrate our joy and creativity. The ripening of the earth’s bounty encourages us to celebrate our own blossoming. The spirit can be nurtured and uplifted during this time of year by absorbing the abundance of solar energy that surrounds us. Exercising and playing outdoors is the best way to receive the benefits of the sun. Just think of the blazing summer heat and you know instantly that this is the season of Fire! The element of Fire has its correspondence with summer as this phase embodies expansion, compassion, warmth, and brilliance. Summer is a time of blossoming where the Yang energy has reached its maximum potential. Summer’s season of growth and maturation is expressed in the abundance of fruits and flowers available at this time of year.
Just like in nature, Fire in our bodies is warming, heating, activating, and brings sparks of love, laughter and joy. Too much Fire can cause heat, sweating, dryness, redness, and fluctuations in emotions and anxiety. Often Fire conditions can lead to insomnia, and deeper psycho-emotional states. On the opposite end of the scale, too little Fire will result in lack of warmth, body fluid accumulations, nervousness, anxiety and depression. The goal of this season is to promote the warming and generating action of our energy, as well as fostering our emotions of love, laughter, joy and spirit.
Heart is the organ and ruler of the summer season. The Heart generates all changes in the spirit and is the root of life. The Heart is in charge of the strength of the flow of Qi (vital energy) and Blood, and it governs our blood vessels. It governs this movement upward, and outward, in an expansive way. One of the most important functions of the Heart energy system is that it provides a home for your Shen, or “Inner Spirit”. The manifestation of our Shen is seen in our eyes and complexion, and should radiate outward, like a light. The Shen is our spark, our inner spirit, joy and life force. It is the life and spark behind our eyes, and it governs our state of mind. Thus, if the Shen is oppressed, or not receiving the proper governance from the Heart meridian systems, then the Shen is disturbed. This disturbance shows up in emotional states such as anxiety, depression, volatile emotions, or on the more extreme end, psychological conditions.
Traditional Chinese Medicine understands that all mental activity-including emotions- is dependent upon the overall health of your Heart. It exerts direct control on all these functions, so if your Heart’s energy or Qi is strong and balanced you will experience sharp thinking, a balanced emotional life, good memory, a clear state of consciousness, as well as deep and restful sleep undisturbed by dreams. When these areas of life show problems, they can indicate unbalanced Heart energy.
- Have fun on a regular basis, even if you have to work at it at first. Make it a priority - schedule your fun, if that's what it takes. Don't compromise. Consider fun as important to your well-being as work or anything else you do.
- Give of yourself to others. Take the time to listen. Take the risk of dipping into your own heart and finding what you have to give to others unconditionally - then just do it.
- Live your passion, whether it be singing, rollerblading, preserving the environment, or writing poetry. If you don't know what your special passion is, be willing to admit that you don't. Meanwhile, stay amused and don't stop looking. When you find that great interest, dive into it wholeheartedly and enjoy!
- Get physical. Get into your body and out of your head. Love, exercise, dance, run, play. Get your circulation going.
- Stay hydrated. On average, we should all be drinking at least 6-8 cups of water daily, but when it's exceptionally hot and you're spending a lot of time outdoors, boost your intake to 1 cup every 15-20 minutes (especially during this record-breaking heatwave!).
- Consume "cooling and hydrating foods". Recommended fruits: apple, lemon, kiwi, melon, orange, pear, pineapple, tangerine. Cooling foods: cucumber, endive hearts, spinach, tomato, raw salad (more acceptable and tolerated in summer), barley, mineral water.