Late Summer is the season of the earth element. Now is the time when the heat of summer transitions into the cool consolidation of the autumn. It is a good idea to boost our immune systems before the fall completely sets in. Earth is associated with the color yellow, which makes me think of our golden hills in California during this time. The fire of the summer generates ash, that is of the earth. We are seeing this perhaps too literally right now with the wildfires turning our hills and homes to ash.
The earth element is the center, just as our digestion is central to our health. Earth presides over the spleen and stomach organs, which help us to transform and transport our food and nutrients. The spleen and the stomach are the origin of our energy and blood. Having a condition like celiac disease can lead to absorption issues and anemia. The spleen opens into the mouth, so chew carefully, all year round. Eat cooked food if you have any issues digesting raw food. Steamed veggies or soups are already partially broken down, making it easier to absorb nutrients. Also, avoid too much sweet, dairy, or rich sauces. The spleen organs dislikes dampness, and dampness can be oily, greasy foods like an alfredo sauce or even ice cream. By supporting the spleen, we support the heart, which houses our spirit. This connection reminds us of how 95% of our serotonin, which affects our mood, is found in our bowels. Check out this article for more: GutSecondBrain.
Disharmonies of the earth element and this season include digestive issues and fluid movement problems such as poor appetite, loose stools, gas, bloating, and swollen legs. The spleen controls the muscles, so if you feel tired while you are digesting after meals, you might need a spleen boost. Bleeding issues, like early periods or hemorrhoids, can be due to spleen weakness since the spleen keeps the blood in the vessels. The spleen raises the energy up in our bodies, so be watchful for any prolapse of organs or sunken spirits. We will discuss recipes and herbs that support your earth element in the coming posts, so stay tuned.
The Earth element is the peacemaker. Earth is about home, community, comfort, family and bringing folks together. People who identify as being close to the earth element can be very practical, nurturing, and rooted. Loyalty and responsibility are additional characteristics, which can have a flip-side of people-pleasing, being overprotective, and selfish. People-pleasing or any codependent tendencies have a manipulative side to them if one is trying to get others to need them. When we help others and are of service, what is our motivation? Is there ego involved? Is there a savior complex playing a role? We need to check our intentions when it comes to needing to be needed, looking for something in return, keeping tabs, and eventually building resentments, which doesn’t build bridges.
The Earth element tends toward worry, overthinking, ruminations and obsessive thoughts. That is like when a song is stuck in your head or you are replaying a situation over and over again, even though nothing can truly be done about it now.
During this late summertime, we might be asking “What is my role?” It is about belonging. A podcast that blew my mind is called On Being by Krista Tippett. One episode about belonging features the brilliant Brené Brown:
Brené brings up the paradox that exists in speaking our truth and conforming to what you think the group might be wanting or expecting. We are wired for connection, although we sometimes might increase our loneliness by trying too hard to fit in or conform. What a bind that can be. We sometimes risk being alone in being true to ourselves, which can also bring a sense of peace and well-being. It reminds me of the difference between risky behavior, which might mean over-riding our own needs to not rock to boat and taking a true risk of being vulnerable and expressing our needs. It is all a delicate balance.
In another interview, John A. Powell, Professor of Law at UC Berkeley, discusses belonging in such a heartfelt and revolutionary way. He begins by saying: “Being human is about being in the right kind of relationships. I think being human is a process. It’s not something that we just are born with. We actually learn to celebrate our connection, learn to celebrate our love. If you suffer, it does not imply love. But if you love, it does imply suffering. To suffer with, though, compassion, not to suffer against. And if we can hold that space big enough, we also have joy and fun even as we suffer. And suffering will no longer divide us. And to me, that’s sort of the human journey.” Hear more in the full interview:
Please share any thoughts, feedback, resources, inspirations during this golden, almost harvest time of year. What is your role in fostering a more vibrant and authentic you and in turn, a more grounded and centered community?