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How can we enjoy summer while sheltering in place?

Hi all! I hope this finds you experiencing your vitality on a daily basis. We've hit our stride with sheltering in place, are standing together in solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement, and are heading into the beginning of summer, a time for the seedlings we planted in spring to come into a fullness.

Summer is The time of year to be strongest in ourselves and our communities, in an outward way. I sent out a blog post at the beginning of this spring noting that the season's directionality, an outward bright fresh start, was being pushed into a retrograde, towards a more wintery time of being indoors, being alone, being quieter, all due to the need to shelter in place.

Now that we are a week away from the arrival of summer, I am seeing the same trend towards people being out of sync with the season at hand. We need to find our ways into the ripeness, connection, and passion of summertime.

Why all the fuss about staying in sync with seasons? From the perspective of the Daoists who founded Chinese Medicine, and I most certainly agree, when your actions aren't in line with the way of a given time of year, you are depriving your self of the effortlessness of being within nature's momentum. It's just plain inefficient, which, for beings that are often living to be 90 years old, is not a wise decision. Over time, when we are deprived of being in harmony with seasons, we have unnecessarily spent our vitality.

So how does this play out in choices? Picture yourself on a balmy 100 degree summer day, not a breeze to be found. Would you feel better at the end of that day having spent it at a pool party eating a salad and watermelon or having spent it watching a movie alone eating a burger and fries? Pool party with watermelon and friends, am I right?

That's because summer is about vibrant connections to your expanded community. We revel in exploring the full expanse of things before the year turns inward, beginning it's coalescing into fall and then the depths of winter. And we often don't feel up for heavy nutrient dense foods due to the heat.

So, how can we be in and of summer while sheltering in place?

The key is to remember the essential points mentioned above that define summer and embrace opportunities to have those experiences.

  1. Connect to your community. Summer is heart warming. It is a time to build connections to new and old friends. Let your heart shine out in the summer. Feel joy. Feel big in yourself. This heat you build up will shine through, warming you into fall and winter. If you don't build it up now, you will feel it's lack in the colder more inward months. Consider volunteering at a local food bank, offering support to your local chapter of Black Lives Matter, or having yet another Zoom call with loved ones. Ensure you're getting regular doses of more people in your life, even if it's a walk in a field where you are six feet away from each other.

  2. Find ways to be adventurous and brave. This is the time of year to have fun and explore. We are at our most expansiveness in summer. Just because the planes aren't flying doesn't mean you can't pack up your camping gear and find a slice of wilderness to explore. Jump with both feet into developing yourself, focusing on self expression.

  3. Skip the heavy meals. Our energy is burning outwards. Especially in the heat of a full summer day, don't weigh yourself down with lots to digest. Take it easy and cool down with refreshing fresh foods.

Seriously, don't forget to have fun and adventures these next coming months. Even if you literally shouldn't be physically around anyone until this whole thing blows over, you can still find a way to connect to others and experience yourself expanded into the joys of summer bounty.

If you are feeling disconnected or run down, and can't find it in yourself to jive with the message I'm putting out, please let me know. I can help you remotely with herbs, or in person with acupuncture (or both!) to get you feeling your best.

Yours in health,

Heather Bird, LAc | Within Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine, San Francisco, CA 94111 415-839-8090 |


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