Seasonal Health– Summer: the Fire Element
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Like all ancient cultures, the ancient Chinese lived in close relationship with nature. Their experience and understanding of the cycles of growth and decline that manifested in day and night summer and winter influenced how they thought and acted in every aspect of their lives, including medicine.
These Chinese sages tell us that a well-ordered, long life depends on living in harmony with the depth of quiet and peacefulness of winter, the blossoming and new beginnings of spring, the warmth and radiance of summer, the savory fullness of late summer and the clear, light inspiration of fall. They named each of these seasons after one of the 5 elements and declared that all of creation is made of Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal. These seasons, or elements, are seen in nature. Each season has a particular quality and role to play in our gardens, in farmer’s fields and in our lives – they exist inside each one of us and in all of life.
The season of summer is here. In summer the sun is at the highest point in the sky. This is the most yang time of year. In “the summer” of our own lives or the fire time of our life cycle we are at our highest time of our life. It is when we arrive at our own maturity. These are the years we are out working with other people by doing the work we are meant to do—by living our Tao at its fullest.
The season of summer supports the fire in all of us. The Fire element holds our capacity for relationship. Relationship has two aspects to be considered. There is the aspect of the relationship we have with ourselves and the aspect of relationship that we have with others. It boils down to love. The health of our internal fire stokes the love we have for ourselves and our ability to extend that love to others.
In Chinese philosophy the Heart is seen as the sovereign of the kingdom – of the body/mind/spirit. The Heart rules by not ruling (a very Chinese idea). The Heart must be a quiet, empty place from which the spirit of who we are can arise. We show the condition of our heart through the light shining in our eyes – called Shen.
Someone with an imbalance in their fire may have a hard time experiencing joy. Someone might have trouble sleeping when the energy of the heart cannot rest. Other things we might see with a fire imbalance can be temperature problems, circulation problems or problems with intimacy.
Acupuncture can help balance the fire by treating it and bringing it back to life or tuning it down when it is raging to high.
You deserve partnership in your life – the true contentment of loving and being loved. The world can always use more love. Summer is time to soak up the light and love from the sun that feeds our internal fire. Savor your spark and share it with others.
Written by Sally Laux RN, M.Ac.