It’s not summer anymore, yet it’s not really fall either—say hello to late summer. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Qigong there are five seasons correlating with the elements. Known as fire, earth, metal, water and wood. Late summer, also known as Indian summer has the element of Earth. It arrives around the third-week of August and remains until the fall equinox.
It’s the time of transition as we begin to leave the fiery-yang element of summer into the more yin season of autumn. It’s like we have one foot in summer and one foot in autumn. Where I live in Utah, the mornings are getting cooler, while the nights are at the perfect temperature, where you can enjoy being outside on your patio. As compared to our very hot summer when even at 9pm it was more than 90-degrees outside.
Since the energy of the season corresponds to the nurturing Earth energy, the next few weeks are an important time for self-care and self-cultivation. A powerful time to fully expand and transform on the inside, using the last of the summer’s fire energy. This transitional season provides an opportunity to reset, reflect and prepare for energetic changes. One of the oldest forms of preventative medicine is cultivating balance within and without.
How do we balance our energy this season?
First of all, it’s all about moderation, reflection, and slowing down. Which is different than the vibrant energy and abundant activity associated with fire element of summer. Remember to take care of yourself first—continue with your physical activity, and balance your well-being. Support others but without over-extending your own energy. When we value and nourish ourselves, it is one of the highest levels of a personal spiritual practice we can do—then our love can flow out to others.
Take a moment, and clear your mind with some conscious breaths—then ask yourself the following questions:
Am I living with honesty and integrity, doing the things I love?
or … Am I settling for doing what others want or expect me to do?
Am I being limited and blocked by my emotional feelings and fears?
Remember: truth and love reside together on the same side of the coin.
Seasonal eating is also preventative medicine, it’s grounding and keeps us centered. Late summer begins the harvest. Peaches, pears, apples, are all plentiful this time of year, and our body craves that natural sweetness. Enjoy the fresh fruit, just remember not to replace the sweet craving from Mother Earth with processed sweets. It’s all about balance, too much sweet food can overwhelm our bodies and impact our energy systems. Everything in moderation.
It’s also a good idea to include a variety of cooked and raw foods in your diet now as we transition primarily to cook foods in the yin seasons of autumn/winter.
The organs related to late summer are the Spleen and Stomach. They are responsible for transforming not only our digestive health, but they also regulate the immune systems and circulation of blood. Together they relate to our ability to receive nourishment, digest it, and transform it—both physically and mentally. When our stomach and spleen are in balance, we take in life’s adventures and transform them into enriching experiences instead of depleting us.
The emotions connected with the Earth element are worry and neediness. These imbalanced emotions come from overthinking, taking everything personally, and wanting to be right all the time. Instead let’s get out of our of head, and into our heart—flip the coin—focus on learning trust and acceptance. Feel more think less, listen to your body, it’s always knows before the mind. For example, when you begin to feel the first symptoms of having a cold, know that this is your body’s way of speaking to you. The question is, do you listen and slow down taking time for yourself, or do you push through it? As you may have experienced, not listening to our body usually makes the symptoms worse.
Let’s make the most of this season by creating a transforming journey into physical, personal and spiritual self-inquiry. Ponder every day how you can cultivate your beingness by becoming more open and trusting with yourself, with everyone you encounter, and the Universe.
Simply BE = Breathe & Expand