Summer Lovin’ for the Self
June 24, 2019
There is a feeling to summertime. To the days spent under the sun; swimming, reading, playing cards, and eating ice cream. To the nights where you get to wear a breezy dress, appreciate the tan lines on your feet, and walk freely on cobblestone streets; listening to chatter and clinking of glasses, as life flows from patios to streets. To the smell of barbecues and beach fires, ready to be surrounded by people eating, singing, and dancing.
There is a feeling. Maybe the picture attached to that for you is different than mine, but the feeling is universal. The feeling is joy.
Sure enough, the emotion related to summer in Traditional Chinese Medicine is joy. Summer is the season of the Fire element, which resonates with growth and abundance. The color red, a scorched smell, the bitter taste, direction of the South, the vessels of the body, the sound of laughter, and the sense organ tongue all relate to Fire season. For organ systems, Fire season is ruled by the Heart and Pericardium, and their Yang pairs: Small Intestine and Triple Burner.
Essentially, summer is about love. Love of community and connection blooms in the summer, with picnics, family reunions, weddings, baseball games in the park… Nature gives us love with an abundance of ripe fruits for nourishment. Bees and birds buzz around delivering the love. There is, of course, the romantic side of the season, with summer lovin’ and all.
Nothing in Nature stands alone. On the flip side of love, connection, and playfulness of summer, there is anxiety, insomnia, and depression. There is the fear of missing out, peer pressure to socialize constantly, struggling with family boundaries, questioning when you will find a life partner… Then, there is the issue of self-love.
In the last two weeks, I have heard so many people mention a negative remark about their body, often related to their weight. I am the gal who tried every single fad diet in the book. I am the gal who survived an eating disorder and fights that fight every single day, almost a decade later. Learning to love my body has been one of the greatest challenges of my life. So, I get very easily triggered by these remarks.
A friend told me she loves intermittent fasting, because it is nice to deserve your lunch. Another skipped a community picnic to avoid extra calories. Another is refusing to wear shorts until they do one hundred squats every day for two weeks.
I get it. I know the urge to fit in, the need to be accepted, the desire to be loved. I also know your self worth has nothing to do with your weight. You get to decide your self worth, and own it. You deserve to eat food, without starving yourself for most of the day. You get to connect with other humans. You get to wear shorts. You get to buy yourself that really cute dress. You get to live your life in your body. You get to find what feeds your Fire and flare it up!
Nutrition and movement are huge parts of our health. By all means, care. But, also care to find joy in your body. Focus on all the brilliant things your body is capable of doing. Smile to your reflection. Get playful with the idea that something other than a six pack is sexy ~ goofy, content, strong, caring, find it for yourself, in yourself! Our Pericardium energy is all about boundaries we have against the world and ourselves; it is what protects our Heart. This summer, try to soften that energy. Stuff your shirt with rose petals. Wear your special blouse to the grocery store. Put that gorgeous hair down. Go foraging. Let the joy in the season guide you to find your own. As the Heart opens to the tongue, it is impacted by the words we speak, particularly about ourselves. Be mindful of your inner dialogue, and what words come out of your mouth when you speak of yourself out loud. Give yourself permission to love yourself, so your Heart can shine!
“When the heart is serene, pain seems negligible.”
~ Inner Classic