“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart.
Do not despair if the answers don’t come immediately.
Some answers are only revealed with the passage of time.”
~~Rainer Maria Rilke
My dear precious people …
Greetings from the city of Tulum on the Mayan Riviera coast of Mexico. I have spent the past week in this city, experiencing a wonderful combination of ancient culture in an idyllic location, where the ocean breezes are constant, and the turquoise water is calm and inviting as it caresses the golden sand beaches.
The places where change occurs naturally – blue sea to the sandy beach, golden beach to lush green mangrove forest – are known as the liminal spaces, places where shift and transition happen. It was on one of these beaches that I was privileged to participate in an early morning Mayan ritual acknowledging the Full Moon of August 1 as well as the celebration of the Illuminating Sun of August 2. Picture this: yoga on the beach at sunrise performing 24 Sun Salutations amidst beating drums to echo the Earth’s heartbeat with the smoke of copali resin rising from within the circle as the shaman chanted and used the sacred conch shell trumpet (called ‘quizuiztli’) to call in the 4 directions and pay homage to the moon, the sun, the sea, the wind, the underworld and beings who inhabit such … speaking of his ancestors and their connection to the land, sea and air, and the medicine the Natural world provides.
MAGICAL. POWERFUL. AMAZING.
It helped transport me to the ‘liminal space’ of the body-mind-spirit, the spaces that invite us to shift our point of view, open up the landscape aperture of our eyes and our heart, allow us to be in the flow of the vibration of the Earth, where suddenly, there is opportunity to experience awe, wonder and the sense that we know things without words, we can find the light in the darkness, we are made of starstuff and earth blood.
The Mayan culture and those of other indigenous people resemble the foundations of Chinese medicine in that they have great respect for their physical world, acknowledge their ancestral lineage and remind us that we are all connected, to each other, as well as every other living thing on this precious planet that is our home. They follow patterns in nature, be it in the seasons, or in the moon phases, they study the sky and they tend to their daily lives in a rhythm of how to eat, sleep, move, and be in community.
What a wonderful getaway to be on these ancient lands in August, designated as National Wellness Month, when we are reminded to prioritize self-care, manage stress and promote healthy lifestyle choices to support our body, mind and spirit. This month is highlighted by the appearance of two Super Moons in the night sky, one on August 1, well as the Blue Moon/Super Moon on August 30. The Super Moons, also known as the lunar perigee, occur when the Moon is closest to the Earth and a full Moon during perigee will appear 14% larger and 30% brighter than when it is furthest away from Earth. And what gives the Moon its bright light? The Sun, of course – the Moon’s illumination is simply a reflection of the Sun’s light and what a great reminder of the interdependence of our world and the reference points we encounter in the sky – the yin and yang, apparent in all things, transforming one into the other, day by day.
In America ‘Blue Moons’ were calculated every year and listed in the Maine Farmers’ Almanac starting in the 19th century and continuing on into the early 20th century. The almanac used what is called the ‘tropical year,’ which extends from one winter solstice, usually around December 20 (the “Yule”), to the next. Most tropical years contain 12 full Moons — three each in winter, spring, summer, and fall — and each of those full moons is named for an activity appropriate to the time of year (Easter Moon, Harvest Moon, Yule Moon, etc.). But every once in a while a tropical year contains 13 full Moons, so one season has four full moons instead of just three, hence the ‘Blue Moon.’
This is definitely the time to be slow, be purposeful in your energetic cultivation and take some time to reacquaint yourself with your inner knowing and your heart’s desire. The focus for this month is alignment with joy, connection and movement, all intertwined to support the Fire element of the Heart, the most important Sovereign Emperor of the body.
For many, Summer is a time of creating joyful memories in the sunshine, gathering with loved ones, spending time outdoors, delighting in sun-warmed skin and connected souls. Chinese Medicine relates Summer, the Great Yang, to the Fire element of the Heart, where the corresponding emotion is joy and the associated sound is laughter. Summer is an invitation to fully embody the joy that is our birthright, so I encourage you to tap into your Self and get curious and explore the experiences that light you up – that make you feel Present and Alive. Find ways to bring those sparks of your Authentic Self into daily practice, for the more your own spark shines, the more you will connect to those you love and the community you want to serve.
Summer energy is lively, quick and constantly moving. You may notice yourself feeling more active than usual during these last weeks of the Great Yang season, and if so, try incorporating more active workouts with a focus on cardiac health, breaking a sweat to promote circulation of the blood and breath in the body. Always maintain adequate hydration with water, especially in the heat and humidity, for your body is actually at least 65% water and your brain, which helps run the intricate network of information in all systems of the body, is estimated to be 75% water. This means that dehydration, even as small as 2%, can have a negative effect on brain functions. Dehydration and a loss of sodium and electrolytes can cause acute changes in memory and attention, so make sure you are drinking plenty of water!!
The common themes of Summer, the season of the Great Yang, continue to focus on the Sun, which is fire, and the Heart, which represents the Fire element in Chinese medicine. My medicine practice is always instilled with my Irish ancestral lineage that guides the heart by the way of service within the community. May we all be reminded that we live together on this Earth journey and it is vital that we find ways to stay connected, supportive and contribute to our circles of people. This is one of my favorite Irish sayings, with a few literal translations that sums up my blessings for all of us:
“Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine”
Irish translations (various):
It is in the Shelter of each other that the people live
It is in each other’s shadow that the people live
We shade each other from the Sun
Phonetic pronunciation: Err scawh a ch(k)ale-ah a wir-enn na dee-neh.