Summer Solstice, The Heart and Joy and How The Chinese Seasonal Clock Affects Our Moods.

Hey All! We are officially moving into the element of fire! I am feeling extra enthusiastic and as you will read below, this energy is common during this time of the year. For the record I am completely aware that I put Capital Letters where they don’t belong.  Ha! I’m a rule breaker. Below I will give you a general outline of what is in store in terms of the Chinese Medicine clock as well as what to look for when in and out of balance.  We will be moving out of the Wood element (Spring, Liver) and into the Fire element (Heart, Summer)!  This can be a time of increased energy, joyful engagements, and vitality as wood brings fuel to the fire. 


The Characteristics of a balanced fire element within the body are; being joyful, full of excitement and enthusiasm, feeling active, alive, warm and generous, feeling loving, vital and happy, and needing a constant source of fuel to keep you motivated.  This is time of growth, larger than life thinking and inner joy.  We are at our peak for communication in relationships with others and our ability to self-care and hold ourselves is at a big time high.  A great time to start those self-care routines that you've been feeling would help.  This time of year is nourishing for our arteries and our circulation making things like hot and cold showers and dry brushing actually enjoyable.  The pulse feels like a flower in the summer when in balance; full, heavy and generous.  If it is too tight or too soft it can be an indication of fire imbalance. 


Indicators of fire imbalance are some of the following; cold physically, emotionally and sexually, a feeling like the fire has "gone out".  We can have hot or painful joints and an arid mind body and spirit.  There can be a lack of receptivity and poor circulation (varicose veins, hemorrhoids, heartburn and digestive problems).     


The Heart is called "the monarch who excels through insight and understanding”,  in the Nei Ching- a Chinese Medicine Classical Text.  When functioning well the spirit is bright, we have clarity and focus and the energy to direct that focus towards things that build us up.  When the Heart Fire is excessive or too low there can be restlessness in the spirit, lack of concentration and an inability to stay focused on the task at hand.  


Because the heart houses our "Shen" or our Spirit, mental health comes into play during this time.  It is important during this time of increased light and dark polarity that we stay grounded and direct the excessive energy to things that build up our spirit and bring joy to our lives.  Spend time outside!  Watch things grow, visit the bees, slow down the mind to help the fire energy stay balanced.  


How does digestion play into heart and fire time of the year you might ask?  Each organ in Chinese Medicine has a yin/yang paring and the Heart's partner in action is the Small Intestine.  The Small Intestine separates the pure from impure and allocates nutrients and waste to where they need to go.  What a job!  Arguably one of the most important I'd say.  On a more cognitive note the small intestine does the same with ideas and incoming information as it does with food, absorbing what is needed information and discarding what is not.


When the small intestine is out of balance we can experience obesity, or extreme thinness, toxins can build up in the system causing painful joints and not enough nutrients in the blood.  Mentally the mind wanders and is vague and hard to pin down.  Spiritually we can become scattered in our many forms of new age ways to heal our spirits.  We just cannot seem to get a grip on things.    We can bring this into balance by recognizing our need for information input and just allowing there to be silence in our day.  Don't look at your phone, don't pull a card ;), put that pendulum away! Settle in and connect with how your heart feels and the direction it wants to go.  Use the energy of fire to guide you and provide you the momentum that you need to really rise up (fire rises).  Let all of the stress-y liver wood energy from spring be the fuel to break old patterns and connect with what will drive you moving forward.  


In terms of dietary advice eat energetically cooling foods and herbs.  Some of these include cucumber, spinach, lettuce, greens, broccoli, asparagus and watercress.  Think green and not spicy.  Summer is a time to incorporate raw foods into the diet (do not go overboard unless your body can handle it) and avoid hot and spicy foods. 


As far as herbs go mint and lemon balm are great to just add to water as infusions or to smoothies. Rose has an affinity towards the heart.  It can open it up as well as teach us about protection.  Its thorny nature reminds us to be solid in our foundation when setting boundaries with others.  And its beautiful flower reminds us that when conditions are favorable we can bloom.  Nootka rose time has come to a close but make sure to stop and smell the roses as you pass the beautiful gardens. 


And last but definitely not least.  JOY.  What sets your soul on fire? Go do it.  And then make sure to go to the river for some much needed cooling off! It’s all about balance. 


Happy Summer Everyone.  May it be one of great change and growth.  And of course be joyous.