The Season of Summer

Peggy Watson, Faculty

Summer! Ahhhh, Summer! For many of us summer invokes past memories of freedom from school, longer, slower days, and, yes! More fun. The ancient Chinese would encourage us to remember all of that, as we move into this season of expansion.

All natural rhythms of life were described in detail in the Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine. This ancient text, complied around 2500 years ago, is still studied by acupuncturists and herbalists today. Throughout the text, and especially in the section Suwen Chapter 2, quoted below, the Chinese describe our planet’s natural rhythms, and admonish us to follow them, or risk illness and early death. In winter we are advised to restore our life’s vital energies with deep rest and good sleep, in Spring we are invited to start stretching and enter into the new sprouting of life around us. In summer, we can let go, and bask in the full expression of yang, of movement, engaging with life and enjoying its richness.

The three months of Summer, this is the season referred to as ‘thriving and bursting into full bloom’. The Qi of Heaven and Earth intermingle, and the Myriad Things form flowers and fruit. Go to bed late at night and rise early! Do not get indolent during the day, and do not let your will be affected by anger! Make it flourish and bear fruit, and allow the QI to spill out, as if what you love is on the outside. This is responding to the Qi of summer, and the way of nurturing growth.

-Sabine Wilms, Humming with Elephants, pg. 49

During the more yin seasons of Fall and Winter, we are called inward, to tend our inner energies, in spring, as the yang rises, we are called outside again, and as summer arrives, we can move as freely as our energy allows, letting our own flowers bloom and burst, exploring our expression of life to its fullest.

Summer is the season of fire, of the Heart. The heart is the container of our consciousness, and gives us our ability to give and receive love. It enables speech, communication, relationships with others, and with our self. Summer invites us to live fully from the heart, to nurture our authentic selves and build and expand our relationships. In this way, we can “thrive and burst into full bloom” like the most beautiful gardens we see around us. Now is the time to picnic outside with our nearest and dearest, spending time with those we love, and nurturing our relationships, with both the ones closest to us, and with all others in our circle. The Heart is the summer in us, and as such, it will be nurtured by the season in the same way the blooming flowers are. Let your heart relax in the warmth, expand and express love as it sees best.

And please remember, the heart also thrives on calm, and asks us to also nurture the peace within, through quietude, rest, and less busy-ness. As always we need to remain aware of the yin and the yang, the rest and the activity, and look for their balance, in us and around us.

Happy summer to allow I hold myself in the world, including in the treatment room.