posted by on Balance, Elements, Energy, Heart, Mental Clarity, Seasons, Stress

Over the past couple of weeks, you may have felt the weather shift. We’ve come into the time of late summer—after the peak of summer, but before the leaves of autumn fall.

According to Angela and John Hicks, co-founders of the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine, this is a time of remarkable balance: “What is most striking about this season is the sense of time standing still. The peak of yang is over and the days are getting shorter but the leaves are still on the trees and the weather can still be warm. The melancholia of autumn is yet to begin. It is a time when yin and yang are finely balanced.”

In the natural cycle of the five elements, Earth acts as our provider, our mother. It’s the soil that nourishes the plants, which in turn nourish us. Earth is our center, the root, which supports all of the other elements. Now is the time of harvest, the act of giving and receiving—reciprocity in the truest sense.“The fields are filled with nourishment representing the fruits of our labors. … it yields an abundant harvest to those who adequately cultivate and care for it.”Lonny S. Jarrett We should take a few moments every day to give thanks for an abundant harvest.

In our lives, a balanced presentation of the Earth element is someone who is not only able to work hard, but also able to reap the benefits of his or her efforts. It’s being able to feel satisfied and “nourished” by our accomplishments and relationships. Can you support others without being smothering or feeling resentful? Are you able to ask for help when you need it? If someone offers you help, do you accept it or push them away? Most importantly though, the Earth element is about being centered, stable, and “home.” Earth has the comfort and security you feel when you go home. On the contrary, if the Earth element is out of balance, we may feel mentally foggy or distracted, ungrounded, unsupported, lethargic, “heavy,” or worried (the kind of worrying or ruminating that’s super unproductive—like a hamster wheel spinning the same thought over and over).

“Madness is to think of too many things too fast, or of one thing exclusively.” – Voltaire

In accordance with the season of late summer, ask yourself:

Are you satisfied with what you have cultivated and ‘harvested’ in your life, or are you always hungry for more?

Where do you get your emotional support? Do you have someone you can turn to if you need help?  Do you feel like your relationships have a reciprocal nature of giving and receiving?

What nourishes you? Where is “home?” Where have you put down roots? How would you describe the feeling of “going home?”

What grounds you when you feel uncentered? What motivates you when you feel stuck?

Remember, now is the season to give thanks for all that you receive. Take a moment to reflect on what nourishes you on a day-to-day basis—physically, emotionally and spiritually.

 

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posted by on Chinese Herbal Medicine, Energy, Nutrition, Seasons

Acupuncture Atlanta

Here are some delicious cooling foods to help you balance the intense heat and activity of summer while treating your body—and taste buds—at the same time:

  • Watermelon
  • Tomatoes
  • Bananas (especially great out of the freezer)
  • Avocados
  • Lettuce
  • Asparagus
  • Apricots
  • Cantaloupe
  • Lemon
  • Grapefruit
  • Pineapple (makes anything a tropical treat)
  • Peaches
  • Oranges
  • Peppermint (makes a great, refreshing tea)
  • Bamboo
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Cilantro
  • Corn
  • Cucumber (add a few slices to water for a tasty beverage)
  • White mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Summer squash
  • Watercress (one of the most nutritious greens you can eat)
  • Seaweed
  • Mung beans
  • Dill
  • Sprouts (easy to add to any salad or sandwich)

A few more summer eating tips:

  • Avoid overeating or large meals. Lighter meals and snacks throughout the day will keep you feeling perkier and more energetic.
  • Make sure to drink plenty of water and other fluids, even when you don’t feel particularly thirsty. Ice water with sliced citrus fruit or cucumber makes a wonderful cooling drink!
  • Stay away from heavy, fried foods and dairy whenever possible.
  • Find creative ways to combine the delicious cooling foods of summer with inventive salads and cold soups.

Got recipes and ideas of your own to share? Add them in the comments section!

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posted by on Balance, Heart, Mental Clarity, Qi Gong, Stress

Acupuncture Atlanta

Stress can be a very sneaky, insidious thing. It waits silently in the background, showing no signs of the destruction it carries with it, while we work, pushing to get everything done in our daily lives. Even when we don’t think we’re letting stress affect us, it can accumulate in our muscles, energy and mind. Before you know it, you’re battling a migraine, backache, chronically troubling thoughts, etc.

It’s impossible to avoid stress in life, but it is possible to live with more peace, less pain and more balance by tuning in and staying in touch with the signals being sent all the time between the body, mind and heart.

One of our friends and partners, India Powell of Lightswitch Communications, has put together an online workshop designed to help you take better care of yourself and be more in tune with your own stress signals. Through the workshop, called Burnout to Balance, you can explore at your own pace seven steps for moving away from stress and toward more bliss in everyday life, and you’ll build your own a complete action plan for better self-care. It’s also full of local resources, recommended reading and other tools to help you on your journey.

Make sure you find time to do something today—however small—to care for yourself.

 

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posted by on Balance, Elements, Featured, Seasons

Acupuncture Atlanta

I had the opportunity recently to visit beautiful Colombia, and during the trip I was reminded once again of the value of generosity. I witnessed and experienced such incredible patience, conscientiousness and giving to others as I got to know the Colombian people.

Unfortunately, my trip home was unusually challenging and exhausting, fraught with flight troubles. While it could have turned into a nightmare, my journey continued to be filled with amazing, generous people—and that made all the difference in the world.

I ran across some thought-provoking words about the importance of generosity from a Buddhist perspective at Learning to Give, which is devoted to teaching giving and service-learning.

“When we develop generosity, our mind becomes lighter and more available to insight. The act of generous giving is a means to that end. It is through giving with a kind, loving heart that we develop our capacity to let go. As we let go we become freer, lighter, and happier. The Buddha said, ‘If beings knew, as I know, the fruit of sharing gifts, they would not enjoy their use without sharing them, nor would the taint of stinginess obsess the heart and stay there. Even if it were their last bit, their last morsel of food, they would not enjoy its use without sharing it, if there were anyone to receive it.’ (Itivuttaka 18)”

Sharing our gifts makes us able to enjoy them even more. What a sweet reward!

 

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