Summer and the Heart

heart shaped blossoms of red

In the Five Element system, the Wood of Spring generates the Fire of Summer. During summer, Yang energy expands to its fullest potential.
Fire is the element of the Heart, so the summertime is a wonderful time to work with the energy of the Heart.
In Chinese Medicine, the Heart is also known as the "Emperor", and is associated with the mind, the spirit, (the Shen) and our sense of identity. Experiences that affect our Heart, can therefore strongly affect our mind and our mental well being.

The virtue of the Heart is Peace, and its acquired emotion is Joy.
If our Heart is in balance, we view the world from a state of Peace. Our mind is calm. We sleep deeply, and wake well rested. We allow our Fire to bring light to our soul and to illuminate the dark places within. We are able to view the chaotic world without falling into chaos ourselves.
If the Heart is not in balance, we may experience anxiety or insomnia. Life may seem to have no joy or no hope. Alternatively, the Fire of Heart may flare so hot that the mind cannot rest. Joy becomes mania and no longer supports our inner being.
The Heart's Yang partner in the body is the Small Intestine. This may seem like an odd pairing at first. In Chinese Medicine the Small Intestine is said “to separate the pure from the impure.” Its physical role, much like that in Western Medicine, is to separate the nutrients, and the fluids, from our food, and send the waste downward.
Our mind is tasked with doing much the same thing with the experiences that life brings to us. We must separate the pure from the dross, and learn to nurture ourselves with the meaning and fullness that life offers us.

During the summer, it is very helpful to use the healing sound of the Heart to disperse extra heat that may build up in the Fire system. The healing sound of the heart is easy to remember, because it associated with the sound of joy, laughter. The "Ha" sound helps disperse not only heat, but agitation and anxiety. To use this sound, do several Pulling Down the Heavens. Then hold your hands in front of your chest as though you were embracing a tree. Your palms face your heart, elbows down, shoulders relaxed. From this position, tone the "Haaaaaa" sound. Let it vibrate in your chest. Play with the tone to find the tone that vibrates the best for you. Tone the sound at least 6-9 times. You may find this practice helps you to sleep better. Your heart thanks you!