(For more on the Heart, please enjoy some of these other blogs in the blog archives: May Blog: Heart; July Blog: A Few Little Jewels of Heart; and Heart of the Earth): 

Midsummer: season of the Heart, Fire, Joy, Laughter…. How do we experience joy? In Chinese Medicine, joy is the emotion connected to the Heart, and isn’t this where we tend to feel joy, in our heart? I often notice that I experience joy most easily when I am present in the present moment, letting go of past and future. This breath, this laugh, this flower blooming now, this yellow butterfly flying ahead of me on my path, this hummingbird sipping nectar for just a fleeting moment, this fire and this sun burning brightly, everpresent yet shining light and warmth experienced now. Becoming present in the body, imagining heart smiling radiance at all our organs and cells, and all the organs and cells beaming joy back to our heart.

Chinese medicine talks about cycles of growth and control, the way the different elements in our body interrelate. In the growth cycle, Fire gives birth to Earth. Earth, remember, is connected with our Spleen/Stomach/digestive systems, with our body’s center. Earth relates also to how we think, our life’s purpose, our connections, boundaries, and sympathies with other people around us. When we are connected with our Joy and staying present, it promotes a strong Earth system, which will not overworry or overthink, but stay connected to our life’s purpose. Being strong in our Joy and in our Center, we can be givers to other people, empathize with those we love, without giving ourselves away and losing our own center. From this place, we can sing our song (sound of the Earth element) and laugh (sound of Fire) with joy.

In the control cycle, Fire controls Metal (Lungs/Grief) and is controlled by Water (Kidneys/Fear). When it is time to come out of grief, joy and laughter are a trusty chariot…. And when we are fearful, joy is more difficult to access. Yet when we only want to live in joy and laughter, burning ourselves up with the excitement of Fire, Water can carry us back to the rootedness that the Kidney system embodies—our ancestral heritage, our bones, our will and destiny, deep wisdom. 

In the abundance of summer with all her glorious colors, flowers, fruits, and sun, the sweetness of joy seems at our fingertips, a taste on our tongue (also related to Heart, and spleen as well). Yet the taste of Fire in Chinese medicine is Bitter, which is said to clear heat when the heart has too much fire. Because, really, everything comes back to balance in the end. Sometimes we can feel the most joy even when we are in the midst of deep grief, joy in Life which holds both laughter and tears, life and death, dance and stillness.

During this season of most light, let’s take time to be thankful and joyful for this moment, and let our hearts expand to embrace the sunshine….

Summer solstice blessings, Shoshana