Seasonal changes affect us in deep ways, beyond weather. Elemental forces that create climate also exist, to a degree, internally. Exploring seasonal dynamics from Chinese medical perspective can offer guidance for improved health and happiness.
Five distinct energetic qualities, named symbolically, interact in various ways and are observed in the progression of the seasons. Metal (autumn) finds Water (winter) which nourishes Wood (spring) that feeds Fire (summer) which supports Earth (late summer) which becomes Metal.
Late summer holds four places on the seasonal wheel, though is especially noticeable between summer and autumn, hence the misnomer. It occurs briefly between seasons, during the latter weeks of February, May, August and November.
Earth phase offers a moment in the midst of change to ground and center; to integrate past and prepare for future. Gathering in the harvest, digestion, assimilation, nurturance and support exemplify Earth qualities. Stomach, spleen and pancreas are of Earth. Central to health and emotional wellbeing, Earth is hearth and home.
Digestion, in its broadest sense, includes the way in which we assimilate information and life experience as well as food and water. Trust and openness indicate harmonious Earth, reflected in family and social relationships. Mental clarity and intelligence rely on Earth. Overthinking, including studying, taxes Earth. Worry and insecurity, especially with poor digestion or sweet tooth, signal that Earth needs support.
Cultivate Earth energy by taking time to digest and integrate the day. Just for a few moments, focus internally (can place hands on middle) with the intention of allowing assimilation. Nurture yourself however feels right: Massage, qi gong, bubble bath, your choice. Take as good care of yourself as you do others. Give the mind a rest and trust your gut.
If you don’t keep regular mealtimes, now is a good time to begin. Regularity fosters security. Be kind to your stomach! Let mealtimes be calm and peaceful. Eat easily digested foods that are not too greasy, spicy or sweet. Consider eating more yellow and orange vegetables. Avoid raw and cold, especially ice. Incidentally, in ancient times, various sugars were rare and used medicinally to resuscitate collapse and tonify digestion. Daily sugar consumption is not medicinal. When Earth energy is balanced we hunger for healthy foods; when out of balance we crave other.
Support your Earth energy and it will support you. Consolidated Earth provides wherewithal and stability, essential for all aspects of physical, mental and emotional health.