The next transition or "between seasons" period began on July 20 and lasts until August 6 when energetic Fall begins according to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Just as it's wise to live in harmony with Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, let's not ignore the "between seasons" periods! One of the five between seasons periods for the year has just begun.
“Why is it then that Earth is most specifically awarded the place between Fire and Metal? The qualities of nurturance, abundance, fullness and ripeness align it naturally to the time of harvest, that time of year when the energy is neither rising (Fire) nor falling (Metal), a period of balance and harmony. Earth finds its natural place in the seasons of nature’s maturing.” —John Kirkwood, The Way of the Five Seasons: Living with Five Elements for Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Harmony
We are an inherent part of nature. We are not separate from it. Logically speaking, living in harmony with nature will assist us to have physical bodies that are in harmony in all of its internal systems. We will eat in a certain way, exercise in a certain way, sleep and wake accordingly, give, love, contemplate, and nurture ourselves in alignment with the ways of TCM’s Earth season. Not only our physical bodies will benefit with health and vitality thereby preventing illness, our mental, emotional and spiritual aspects will be kept on balance and they will thrive as well. See also our blog post of July 15, 2016.
The element associated with this transition period is Earth, the color is yellow, and the organs are stomach and spleen.
Now is the time to think about harvesting what we have sown throughout the summer. It's simultaneously a time of "decrease" or slowing down and abundance. At this time, it’s helpful for us to incorporate the following insights into our everyday lives:
- Take a contemplative look at the fruits of our labor in a variety of arenas: in the relationships we enjoyed this summer, in our exuberance of life, and in the care of our hearts, both literally and figuratively.
- Start directing our focus to the nurturing of ourselves and in the ways that intuitively come to us.
- Intend to digest not only our food very well but our thoughts and emotions as well thereby enabling them to reach our minds and spirits.
- Begin winding down and gathering in all the energies we have created throughout the Summer.
- Direct our eye toward recognizing the bounty of the earth since harvest time will soon begin. We might look to see how we can be bountiful and generous in our lives with intentional giving to others.
- Contemplate the harvest aspect of our lives to see the areas that are bearing fruit and which are not and then to determine when energetic Fall arrives (beginning August 7) which ones can be let go or given focus.
- Decide on what is truly necessary in our lives and what is superfluous or a distraction and then take steps in alignment with these discoveries. This is important as we prepare to enter the Fall season where letting go is paramount.
- Observe and mirror nature at this time of year. The metaphor of the cycles of nature has much to teach us. Now is the time to begin contemplating how the seeds we plant (both physically and metaphorically) reap similar kinds of harvests. We can contemplate the seeds we have sown and realize that every harvest bears the seeds for the next one.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published July 16, 2017 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
Photo by Brigitte Tohm at Unsplash
Kirkwood, John. The Way of the Five Seasons: Living with Five Elements for Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Harmony. Singing Dragon, 2016.