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.
Amazingly, just as Spring is felt to be truly deepening and taking hold, we are already on the threshold of Summer. As a reminder: in the Chinese calendar system (which seems to generally overlap quite nicely with the Bay Area seasonal patterns), the solstices and equinoxes are the midpoints of each season, and the crossquarters points (halfway in between solstice and equinox) are the beginnings. This makes May 1 the beginning of Summer, season of the Heart and the element of Fire (please see archived blogs for more on these subjects!). The ends and beginnings of each season are also known as "Earth Time", when the element of Earth (more on this in the blog archives also) joins the element of the current season. And so, as we enter into this union of Heart and Earth, here are some of my thoughts to share....
A few more words about the heart as we come to the last part of the heart season of summer. Many of us are experiencing the realms of the heart more strongly at this time, whether through dreams, emotions, or more physical manifestions such as night sweats, mouth sores, insomnia, and others. Here are a few words to remind us about the heart time and heart spirit, or shen: joy, insight, inspiration, play, sweet and bitter, fire, blood, sweat, connection to universal spirit, sparks of the divine, highest self.
May is here, and this time of year welcomes the very beginnings of summer in Chinese medicine as well as various other traditions. The weather here is certainly feeling very summery lately too (at least at the time of this writing)! This time of year is dedicated to festivals of joy, fertility, love, and spiritual dedication in many cultures.