The beauty of Chinese medicine is how it sees the whole universe and everything in it as connected. We are in essence a reflection of the cosmos around us. When we fall into paying attention to the seasons as they change, we naturally change and our bodies, minds, and hearts follow suit without resistance.
Indian Summer is upon us late summer until autumn equinox, which resonates with the Earth Element of nature. This is such a beautiful time for standing still, quieting down, and nurturing the Earth element inside of us by using the earth itself. The air is bit humid as we experience it in some regions. In the transition from the hot heat of summer to the coolness of fall, we are in the in-between yang and yin phases, which is a very balanced state to be in. Yang is signified by the masculine summer sun, and Yin is represented in the feminine winter moon. It is more than perfect in every way that we just experienced a total solar eclipse! The conjoining of the sun and the moon hitting the earth, ushering in Indian Summer is so beautifully timed for all of us to enjoy and reap the benefits of a very balanced state of being. We all will feel both our masculine and feminine sides equally in the drivers seat of our life. This means our yang energy, our driving force to do, make order, provide structure is around just as much as our yin energy to rest, rely on intuition, and evoke creativity. A very delicious place to be and so is the food coming out of the earth. Our fruits and vegetables are at their ripest; our farmer’s markets are filled to the brim with a variety of delectable treats. Feast on the harvest inside and out, retreat to home and heart, cook, relax, and slow down. The more you slow down right now the more you will relish in the beauty of it all.
The Earth Element for the body has a lot to do with digestion, so eating healthy, whole foods is really the way to go. The main organs that we work with right now are the stomach and Chinese spleen, more thought of as modern day pancreas. So we want to eat just enough to nourish, but not too much to hinder digestion. Remaining slow with all actions right now, including eating is the best thing you could do, If there is too much heat in the body from summer, we might have acid reflux, stomach ulcers, indigestion, and problems with our stools. Eating blander whole foods, cooked, yellow and orange in color can be very beneficial.
In Chinese medicine we think our emotions are intertwined with our body, and there are certain feelings that correspond with an organ system. When the spleen is taxed, we’ll have a propensity worry and ruminate at times to the point of obsessive thought patterns; when the spleen/stomach is healthy, we have a tendency to empathize and support others but not at the expense of our own health. To keep the earth element emotion in us in check, meditation of all kinds is superb! Staying with your own breath, your own body sensations, or a mantra is so beneficial for curbing worry and anxiety in its path.
If we were overdoing it this summer, or not getting enough sleep, we might tire easily, feel unmotivated, or have some of those digestive and emotional concerns bubble up. The Earth element in the body manifests its essence in our muscles, so moving our body in healthy gentle ways will lift fatigue. One could engage with yoga, qi gong, tai chi, or prana and breath practices to circulate the qi and move the blood. All of this is wonderful to nourish the blood to prep immunity for the upcoming fall season.
These Indian summer weeks really are time to reflect, stay still, and rejoice in all the new beginnings that are happening around us right now. Empathize with others, but also empathize with yourself, really listen to the inner landscape, for its a reflection of the earth’s landscape. Seeing more of the beauty around you is only possible if you can reflect on the beauty within. This is all Earth Element medicine. Listen for it, because it here as your guidance.