I am writing this sitting on my front steps listening to the song of the cicadas. drinking a glass of lemonade and wishing I had a rocking chair. This, my friends, is late summer. This is the season of bringing in the abundant harvest. This is the season where it gets so dang hot there is nothing to do but slow—way--down.
Mama Earth feeds us with her goodness: farm stand corn and tomatoes and piles of juicy peaches. The hot damp air cradles us, clings to us, like a too-close hug of our old great aunt. The air is alive with the song of crickets, cicadas and thunderstorms--nature’s own lullabies.
At our house we are squeezing the last juicy bits out of summer, savoring the freedom and ease in our schedules before school starts up again and autumn calls us to let go. We are lingering—on steps, by the pool, in hammocks—walking the fine line between easy and lethargic. Sometimes feeling bogged down. It’s OK though. It is all OK.
This is the season of gratitude, of taking it all in and letting it nourish you. This is the season of digesting all the goodness in our life. In Chinese medicine, we associate this late summer time with the Earth energy. The great Mama. Nourishment.
In our modern world it’s so easy to rush through this time — to start to march through the "to-do" lists to get us ready for “back to school” or our regular fall routines. Yet late summer invites us to connect to our own earth energy, to pause and drop into the life’s sweetness, to slow down and savor all abundance around us, even if just for a moment. Late summer calls us to harvest and digest the sweetness and integrate the lessons from the gifts and challenges that the past year has brought.
The Chinese classics tells that us wellness and good health start with living in harmony with the season. That's not always so easy in a go-go-go 24/7 high tech world. So...how can you incorporate a little late summer goodness into your busy modern life? Even if you can’t spend your afternoons in a hammock, you can experience the earthy goodness of the season in bite size pieces:
Here are some of my favorite ways to connect to the energy of this abundant season.
Living in Harmony with Late Summer
1. Allow yourself to slow down—if only for a few minutes. Sit outside and listen to nature’s songs. Take 10 extra minutes to complete your morning routine. Walk more slowly from the car, bus or metro in the morning, allowing yourself to really take in what is around you.
2. Prepare Delicious Food. Go to a farmer’s market or any market where the produce section is full of beautiful local food. Take home something delicious to prepare and maybe share with family and friends. If your are not a cook, maybe you just buy some peaches or juicy plums and savor them.
3. Digest your day with your loved ones. Make a practice of sharing what you loved or about your day at dinner or at bed time. If it was a challenging day, what did you learn?
4. Tend your life with love. You can transform a busy "to-do" list into the perfect expression of late summer if you frame it as a taking care of your own beautiful sweet life. One way to do this is to turn chores into a gratitude practice. For a long time I have struggled resentfully and not too healthily with the endless lists. Since I couldn’t escape them, I have been on a mission to transform them. I recently began to make my chores an embodied gratitude practice. Washing the dishes became a prayer of thanksgiving—for the food, for the company, for simply being alive and nourished and fed. Cleaning the house is a love letter to my home, a thank you for the shelter. Filling up the car with gas—gratitude for having such reliable transportation. As I approach each chore, I set the intention and then tell myself—this is how I tend the life that supports me. I can’t even tell you how this simple practice nourishes me.
5. Practice Self Care. We spend so much of our energy taking care of others, allow some of that care to circle back to yourself. Take time to nourish yourself. Give yourself 30 minutes of "me-time", go for walk, take an hour for yoga, schedule a massage or a mani-pedi or a night out with friends. Be sweet to yourself!
If you are feeling out of sorts with the season, know you are not alone. Many of us struggle with this transitional season. We feel out of balance and maybe a bit cranky or stressed out. Sometimes this imbalance shows up in our bodies—as fatigue or digestive problems or in our minds as an endless loop of worry. If that's the case, rest easy! In addition to the practices above, acupuncture is another wonderful way to restore balance and feel more like yourself again.
Meg Casey , M.Ac., L.Ac is an acupuncturist based in Silver Spring MD. She is deeply grateful for the beauty of Chinese medicine and the privilege of treating her patients. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment or would like to explore if acupuncture is right for you can reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-408-9873. You can learn more about her practice at www.megcaseyacupuncture.com.
(c) Meg Casey Acupuncture