This is the fourth season in our blog series on Emotion – the Emotions of Summer. You can read the past seasons here: Autumn, Winter and Spring. Chinese Medicine associates Summer with the colour red, the element Fire, the Heart and Small Intestine organs and the emotion of Joy.
Summer is the accumulation of Springs irrepressible growth. Nature is full to bursting and we are at our maximum activity. With busy social calendars, increased physical activity and desire to be in the great outdoors there is no denying summer is a jam packed time of year.
Life is joyful in a warm, nourishing kind of way.
Yang qi is at its peak and the Heart and Small Intestine energies are heightened within us. When the Heart and Small Intestines are healthy we resonate in harmony with the energy of summer and the Fire element. Functionally the Heart is responsible for pumping blood through our vessels, taking oxygen and nutrients to the cells. The Small Intestines primary function is the absorption of nutrients from our food and passes the waste products on to the Large Intestine.
In Chinese Medicine, the Heart has the additional function of housing the Shen or spirit. It is likened to a benevolent emperor ruling with virtue over the other the organs. The Small Intestine sorts the pure for the impure. It gives us the ability to discriminate between what is good for us and what is not. When we loose this ability we tend to choose poorly, letting things in (people/foods/activities) that are harmful to our Heart. When the Heart is well protected our Shen resides within us peacefully. We are happy and content just to be, emotional fluxes move through our bodies without any long lasting effects.
The emotion associated with summer and the Fire element is Joy. When our Fire energy is balanced withing us joy is a warm expansive feeling in our chest. There is a feeling of contentment, life is good no matter what comes. There is congruity in the way we live our lives, sleep is peaceful, relationships are solid and there is plenty of love and laughter to go around.
When there is an excess of Fire joy can become extreme, think little kids at a party high on sugar. It can create a lack of boundaries, a need to be constantly in control, constant chattering, and eventually mania or OCD. When there is a lack of Fire joy leaves the building. Instead there is a vulnerability, dullness and cold depression.
Laughter is the sound associated with summer and the Fire element. It is the sound of joy.
A good laugh has the ability to put the Fire back into the Heart, clearing a low mood.
A healthy Fire and balanced Heart gives us the ability to communicate clearly. To be openhearted to the information we receive and communicate our wants, desires and ideas clearly through words, touch and body language. During the summer months you may find yourself feeling more outgoing or having more opportunities to talk. Take advantage of this and nourish you Heart.
To keep the Heart and Small Intestine energies healthy and our Fire element balanced during summer take the time to have fun, laugh, relax and spend time with good people. Eating and wearing red, the colour of fire, is also believed to support the Fire Element. You can easily include, strawberries and raspberries, red peppers, radishes and red onions, tomato soup, roast cherry tomatoes, red apples and watermelon into your summer diet. Just steer clear of red cordial!