Welcome to Summer
December to February
"We are here and it is now.
Further than that all human
knowledge is moonshine.”
H. L. Menken
Summer is a season of joy, of reaping what has been sewn over the lead up seasons of Winter & Spring; it's holding a big, breath deep in the lungs and feeling like you could stay that way forever -- almost. It's a time of abundance and feeling like you're at the top of your game, the prime of your life. In the daily cycle it's around noon, when it's beautifully warm and the sun is high in the sky, shining its support down on you and barely casting a shadow.
Not feeling quite up to this theoretical ideal? No worries, now is the time to take the first step towards where you want to be -- but the key to this is being totally ok with exactly where you are now. Feeling abundant and grateful with what we already have in our life is the quickest way to invite in more of the same. Feeling short changed, ripped off or generally unfulfilled and that's what we're going to get more of - now's the time to flip it and look at the same situation through abundant eyes. It's a glass half full thing and it makes life so much easier. Reminding yourself of this now, at a time when the environment could not literally be more positive & supportive, makes it so much more easier to impliment.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Summer is the season of the Fire Element but this is not the same fire of the digestive system (jathara agni) nor the bullying heat generated within the body by the liver & wood element of Spring, but rather viewed as the still flame of consciousness, being closely related to the mind and the seat of our soul also in yogic physiology. This candle of consciousness is a sensitive heat, probably better described as light, within the body and this is where our vulnerability potentially lies during these warmest of months - this flame needs to be nurtured and supported by the kidneys & Water Element in order to keep our mind & body feeling relaxed, peacefull, content & calm at this warm time of the year.
Of the five elements, the Fire Element is unique in that it is the only element further divided into four energies, rather than the usual two. The heart (yin) & small intestine (yang) pair relate to the actions of assimilating & integrating whereas the heart protector (yin) & tripple warmer (yang) relate to the functions of circulation & protection. In this system, small intestine energetically filters the pure from the impure so that the heart receives only the purest information. The heart protector physically protects the heart from shock and also helps fine tune our internal communication & self awareness. Conversely, the triple warmer is responsible for transferring energy around the three ‘heaters’ of the body (upper, middle & lower) as well as for our immunity and our capacity for connecting to and communicating with the outside world. The heart energy itself controls consciousness, memory & sleep and is in charge of the nourishment of our emotional core, of the shen or spirit. For these reasons, if we are feeling emotionally sensitive, manic, restless, anxious, like our mind is racing a mile a minute, or are having trouble sleeping, these could all be signs of a heart & fire element energy imbalance being exacebated by your constitutional pre-disposition to issues in this particular area, along with the effect the warmer, yang energy of Summer is having on you at this time.
Summer is a time where the environmental warmth strongly suports the digestive system and so is a time for incorporating as much variety into our diet as possible, as seen by the great number of fresh foods that are ripe and ready to eat at this time of year. Buying fresh, locally grown produce ensures that we are always eating the right food for our body at that particular time of year. Listening to our body ensures that we don’t just mechanically force-feed ourselves the same diet at the same frequency & quantity the whole year long, allowing ourselves to adapt and change our diet to something more suitable & appropriate as we move through the Seasons. Those with sensitive / sluggish digestive systems will find the environmental warmth very supportive to the warmth required by the digestive system to run optimally. TCM normally advises a diet of warm, well cooked food in order to assit this process but during these warmer months, you might find you are able to relax this rule and venture into including ingredients of fresh, uncooked salad into your diet at this time.