Late Summer, the Time of Earth September 01 2016, 0 Comments

In the tradition of Chinese Medicine, late summer is differentiated from early summer, and is designated the time of Earth. Earth is the element that represents change; the cusp, not just of a cooler season, but of each element transitioning to the next. Earth is, therefore, the Center of all the other elements; at the same time, it is the embodiment - the source - of transformation.

Late summer is the time of rooted, stable change; of fullness and fruition. The direction of Earth is Central and, in some interpretations, “in between” each of the other elements - it is the element of transformation, of each season moving into the next.  
Practically-speaking, this is expressed in the idea that The Earth element is the symbol of ‘home’. A personality in strong alignment with Earth will operate with qualities such as home-bodiness, comfort-seeking, nurturing/mothering tendencies, reliability, stability and compassion.

The less pleasant end of that spectrum manifests in such things as excessive rumination, worrying (think over-protective mother!), smothering. The sound of Earth is ‘singing’; the flavor is sweetness, the environment is dampness (as in late-summer humidity), the tissue is muscle, the color yellow (or brown), like the soil.

Medically speaking, the internal organs associated with Earth are the Spleen (which is
essentially TCM code for ‘digestion/fluid transformation) and the Stomach (also obviously related to digestion). These organs are ‘paired’ internally(Spleen)/externally (Stomach) in the spirit of centeredness embodies by the Earth element: i.e. the digestion provides the ‘center’ or immediate source of nourishment for the rest of the body. In the same way that the organs of Earth are at the physical and functional center of the body, the Element in its entirety represents the concept of ‘center’ in general. The external organ of Earth is the mouth.

The mindset - or emotion - of Earth is deep thought. On one end of the spectrum, this manifests as meditation: substantial and transforming stillness. On the other end we have what is more akin to ‘worry’ (an ‘emotion’ according to strict Chinese interpretation) or excess rumination.

That going around and around, working or ‘worrying’ an idea your mind - that motion in stuck-ness - is a quintessential Earth operation. It is beneficial in the form of meditation, but the same mechanism becomes a pathology when it takes the form of repetitive thoughts or ‘working something over and over’ in your mind.

Stay in Harmony with the Season

Late summer is the ideal time to appreciate the abundance in your life. It is the time of both maximum material comfort and of the beginning of decline - the point where Yang switches over to Yin in the natural cycle of things.
Some ways to align yourself with the spirit of Late Summer:

Make a Habit of Taking 15 Minutes in the late afternoon for meditation

Late afternoon is the time of day associated with Earth - the time of the siesta in some cultures, the time of saturation, abundance, preparation for the evening routine. So many of us are so busy finishing up our day at this time, but the spirit of Earth has more to do with reflection and remembering our rootedness, so a few minutes of centered quietness at this time of day can help to realign the body and mind.

Make sure your diet incorporates the sweet, juicy produce of the season

Grapes, berries, melons, peaches, plums, and corn - all of these come to their best at the end of summer and are full of the sweet and moisture-laden flavors that embody the spirit of Earth. To balance them out energetically, you can sprinkle them with aromatic herbs such as cardamom and ginger.

Splash your skin and hair with green tea daily

Green tea is cooling and tonifying, a perfect balance for the damp warmth of late summer.  Always welcome as a topical skin treatment for its antioxidant effects, green tea has the extra benefit during this season of harmonizing and balancing the effects of the environment on skin and hair. You can simply make green tea as if you would drink it, and then use it as a rinse for skin and hair after washing. It should be steeped and used immediately each time, at room temperature or slightly cool; storing or refrigerating it will decrease the benefits and might allow bacteria to grow. Drink it too! you can never go wrong with that.