At this time of year I always feel full. Full of energy, sunlight, warmth, amazingly fresh food, company, music, movement, love. This is the meaty part of summer. The part where we know it will be wrapping up in a flash and savouring every meal and activity. We are expanding ourselves and making space for all of the glorious summery moments.
As we transition into the late summer we begin to take advantage of all of the bountiful gardens and orchards bursting with fresh fruits and vegetables. We pay tribute to the Earth and her ability to feed and nourish us. Chinese Medicine follows the tradition of recognizing and honouring certain worldly elements with seasons – the late summer is related to the Earth and the internal digestive system containing the Spleen and Stomach. As part of the tradition of honouring this time of year, and how our bodies respond to the seasons, in TCM we are encouraged to eat the foods of that are fresh, ripe and abundant currently. Following this tradition brings us into alignment with the energies of the earth and creates a holistic internal system.
Our physical bodies and bellies are one small section of our being that requires nourishment. Our hearts and minds also require nourishment to expand and grow and evolve and transcend. We have become a very hungry society – more so for alternative sustenance! In the summer, some of the ways of feeding our soul could include any or all of the following:
- BE in nature – in a park, by a river, in a lake, camping, hiking, swimming, floating, biking
- Soak up the sun (safely!)
- Eat something that YOU picked – go on a plant walk and discover edible plants and berries in your own back yard
- Exercise outside – Qi Gong or yoga in the park or on your patio, bike to work, walk to the store, swim in a lake
- Visit a farmer’s market
- Wear you feet bare naked (maybe even the rest of your body – *cheeky*)
- Stay up late and enjoy the night sky
- Get up early and watch a sunrise – count all of the different bird songs you can hear
- Smile, wave, or greet all of the people you meet on the street – especially your neighbours!
- Meditate outside – on your patio, in a park, or even in front of an open window
- All other amazing nourishments that you can think of!
The only caveat is that you be creative and try all of the things that make you feel amazing from head to toe, inside and out. If something feels not quite right, then move on to the next thing or maybe you adjust your space or position to make that activity more enjoyable and well suited to YOU. We often worry if we are doing something properly or feel shy or silly to do things in a public place, but please don’t let that stop you! You never know who you will influence and may even start a group of Summer Nourishment Enthusiasts!
So. Have you given yourself permission to be nourished? Try this…Sit in your most favorite place in the building or room that you are in now, or outside. If possible, sit in a warm ray of sunshine. Take a moment to relax your shoulders down and away from your ears, relax your jaw, soften your hands and bring a slight smile to your mouth. Now read the following affirmation and really let it sink in. May you feel full and content in your own beautiful, divine way.
-written by Alana Fairchild
I am grateful for the gift of this mind, body, and soul which allow my spirit to experience the gift of a human life. May I be assisted in all ways to discover the best and most beautiful ways to nurture flow into all aspects of my life, helping to nurture all of life around me, through divine wisdom and grace. May all beings be fed with what is truly needed, through divine grace, and courageous, wise use of our free will as human beings.