GIFTS OF SUMMER SOLSTICE
Summer begins on the longest day of the year in June. The extra hours of sunlight give us the time to nurture our creative energies and be part of the abundance that surrounds us. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Fire is the element associated with summer, and it has the power to give light, and to illuminate our inner being as well as our external world.
The warmth of summer gives us the power to fully celebrate life in its bounty. It is the season of growth and maturation, of gardens bursting with flowers and vegetables. The weather is conducive for shared outings and recreational sports, parties and barbecues, walks with friends; we tend to our inner Fire and nurture these relationships.
Because the power of Fire is felt most intensely in summer, summer may be the best time for you to concentrate on rebuilding the energy consumed during the winter and spring months. As summer activities can sometimes appropriate your relaxation and meditative time, make sure to find a balance between action and being, between social events and time to be in your garden, or relax in your hammock, and allow the earth to nourish you and recharge your battery pack.
Celebrate the season! As summer is a time for play and relaxation, make sure to create time each day to nourish yourself:
Engage your senses. As summer brings with it a myriad of intense colors, sounds, and fragrances, make yourself available to the abundance all around you. Go outside in the grass barefoot and ground yourself. Listen intently to the musical sounds of the crickets in the evening. Take time to stop and smell the flowers, this is life in full bloom!
Eat cooling foods, and eat slowly. Enjoy the flavors of the vegetables and fruits in their season. The taste associated with Fire is bitter, so try to include bitter greens like endive, escarole, spinach, kale, and Swiss chard in your diet.
Drink lots of pure, fresh water. The sun pulls the moisture from your pores, so it is important that you rehydrate. Drink eight to ten 8-oz glasses of water a day. If you don’t feel thirsty, force yourself to drink it anyway - your skin will thank you!
Exercise. A healthy heart needs regular exercise to keep the circulatory system in good condition. Get a good cardiovascular exercise and try to build a sweat, which helps to cleanse toxins from the body. Depending on your level of fitness, make your workout fit in. If you are out of shape, begin slowly by walking daily. Try to walk fast enough to just break a bit of a sweat, but don’t overdo it. The heart is more vulnerable in the summer, so build your exercise routine gradually.
Trust your intuition. The heart rules understanding and intelligence, but not of the cerebral type. When we know something in our heart, we are connected to a deeper part of our being. Try to engage in this deeper knowing, and take the time to listen to your inner voice.