Late Summer: Finding Home

30 July 2009 0 comments
It is officially late summer.
It is the time we feel settled, we feel content. Fall's panic, and all that need to be done...are merely a breathe away. But now we have gold mornings, and leaves and grass losing the depth of their brightness...and still afternoons. Evenings feel expectant.

Where I live, storms punctuate the days -- and sometimes the evenings. Here in Atlanta we begin to get the warm and damp air flows off the Gulf...heavy tropical breezes pregnant with rain.

It is the time of the fruiting -- everything beyond flower now coming to seed, to fruit.
Sweetness abounds.

It is the time of the Dampness, the time of stability. The time of Home.

In the picture above, you will see a place, a place I have been recently...and a place where I spent my formative years...a place that means home for me.
But for all of us, the feeling of being "home" is essential to us...and this is especially important as we enter the season of Late Summer...and I will tell you why.

Clinically, in the Late Summer...which according to Traditional Chinese Medicine is a different season entirely from the rest of the summer, we begin to experience symptoms, physically and emotionally, of Dampness.

In China, in Late Summer, they have so much moisture in the air (and the hair!) that they have described in the Chinese medical classics a condition we call "dampness". When there is dampness in the outside environment, this engenders dampness inside. There is a very famous Chinese phrase which translates "in Late Summer even silkworms get Damp".

In Late Summer, we are dealing with the rising and strength of the Earth element...that which represents our sense of stability, of settledness, of home. The Earth, not surprisingly, corresponding with nuturing, with our mothers, with our sense of self-worth, our ego development, in bonding with others, with boundary formation in relationships and with trust.

Also not surprisingly, when someone has a severe imbalance in the Earth element, this could manifest in clinical psychology as isolationism, narcissism, separation issues and schizophrenia -- which in itself describes unstable and shifting boundaries and difficulties in bonding. By strengthening this Earth element in patients, you can strengthen a person's ability to bond, to open up and to form clearer boundaries. You can help them to be more bring them home.

Physically, difficulties in Earth imbalance can manifest as craving sweets, diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, chronic loose stools/diarrhea, edema -- and when someone is beset by Dampness, they feel as though they are thirsty but don't wish to drink, they may have an increased severity of their elimination issues, they may have a general feeling of fogginess and heavy sensations in their arms and legs.

They may also feel "stuck" in their lives.

Herb formulas such as Si Jun Zi Tang (four gentlemen) can help this condition as well as Liu Jun Zi Tang (six gentlemen)...depending on your condition.

If Dampness is an issue for you, try eating more hard squashes, butternut, kambocha....which are coming into season now...and eating fewer melons and meats. Millet is wonderful for you as well. Try to have less icy food and drinks and begin to have a few warmer ones.

Everything, in effect, stems from the Earth element...and Late Summer is that time of harvesting all of the fruit...all of who we are and all that we have been. It creates the foundation upon which the rest of us can grow.

In the same way...home is a place where we are rooted...where we can always go to renew...and from which we can push off to grow, to flower, to bloom, to live the rest of our lives.



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