In summer, the fire element rules and nature ignites. As we find the growth and activity around us, we should be reminded of our internal fire inspiring us to be more playful, energetic and outgoing. In Chinese medicine, the heart and the small intestine are the organs associated with the summer season.
The fire element represents the connection of the heart, mind and spirit and this is the season of greatest yang. Yang can be described with words like expansion, outward, sun, heat, activity, growth and creativity. It is an important time to consider your mental/emotional harmony, find peace from anxiety and joy in connecting with the outside world.
In TCM, the heart is considered the mental/emotional center – the “ruler, monarch and emperor of the body“. Think of the common expressions, “Put your heart into it” or “Have a heart.” Our fire within brings emotional warmth, joy and passion.
“The heart is the root of life and the variations in the spirit.”
– from the Su Wen, an ancient Chinese medical text
The heart regulates blood circulation and controls consciousness, spirit, sleep, memory and houses the mind. It’s health is shown in the complexion and speech. People with healthy hearts are friendly, humble, have clarity, and can see through problems to find solutions.
General Symptoms of Heart-Mind Imbalance are:
- Scattered or confused mind
- Excess or no laughter
- Speech problems (stuttering, confused speech)
- Mental illness
- Loss of memory
- Dream disturbed sleep
- Weak Spirit
- Lack of social warmth, joy or humor
This connection between the heart and the mind should remind us of the importance to find harmony and inner peace. With a joyful heart, a calm mind and clear focus, we all can find better direction on our path to wellness.
To keep your heart in harmony, practice mindful speech patterns, sing or even shout out some chanting mantras. The condition of the heart is reflected in one’s spoken words, so improving the awareness of our speech heals the heart. Remember to establish a calm, clear mind to benefit from these practices, which are also linked to happiness and being present.
Other activities to enjoy in the summer:
- Hiking, walking, biking, swimming, canoeing
- A picnic or gathering with friends
- Gardening and/or connecting with nature
- Outdoor music, dancing and watching the sunset
*From Healing with Whole Foods, Paul Pitchford