After summer has reached its height, we shift into the season of late summer. Abundant harvests surround and nourish us. This is a time for slowing down, reflecting, and gathering in. This is the earth element.
The earth element correlates with the organs of Spleen and Stomach which are the major organs of food digestion. Digestive problems are often caused by disruptions in these organs. In fact, Spleen Qi deficiency is one of the main diagnoses we see in the clinic. The Spleen is responsible for digesting food and thoughts. You can think of it as an organ that sorts through information- be it nutrients from food or mental ideas. Worrying, overthinking, and eating too much cold food (like raw vegetables) can weaken the Spleen. When this happens, our food isn’t processed well. We might have bloating after meals or undigested food in loose stool. To strengthen the Spleen, eat warm foods (not raw), calm your mind with mindfulness exercises, meditation, or prayer, and get good rest. Now is the time to start cooking more of your vegetables so your energy and immunity can stay strong for the fall and winter!
We can live in harmony with the late summer season by enjoying the abundance of locally grown fruits and vegetables. Take a trip to the farmers market and reflect on the harvest. Enjoy the bounty of our beautiful work and take a moment to express gratitude to the farmers! Buy what catches your eye. Learn to cook something new!
Its also a good time to take stock in the harvest of your life. Look at the parts of yourself and be conscious of any pieces that are weighing on you. Consider what you no longer need and what no longer works for you- either physically or emotionally. I’m currently reading The Live Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, and I highly recommend her theory of decided what works in your life. The basic process is to hold each item you own and ask “Does this spark joy?” If so, keep it, and if not, give it away. This process is perfect for the Late Summer and Autumn seasons, since Autumn is all about letting go. I can only imagine how freeing it will be to lessen the clutter in our lives and to be only be surrounded by that which sparks joy! For now, take inventory in what you have and how you nourish yourself.
Nourishment can come in the form of food, TV, books, people, social media and more. How do we nurture ourselves? Do we make choices that make us feel calm and energized? Spend some time in this late summer season reflecting on this. Its extremely important to living a well and balanced life. Enjoy the remaining warm summer days!