Summer Listening

1093344_the_moonThursday evening, Yi Ren Qigong teacher Brendan Thorson said we were right at Summer Solstice and additionally were about to have a full moon—which meant that energies were running high in the world within and around us.

He said he usually felt heightened energy for a week before and after Solstice.

I thought, “Dang! I meant to pay attention to Summer Solstice, but it snuck up on me.”

It seemed too late to assess whether the changing of the seasons was affecting my energy, so I decided to focus on the moon, which was still two days away from total fullness. After all, even we westerners acknowledge that a full moon can have curious effects. A home health aide recently told me that at a nursing home where she’d worked, they always upped patients’ sleep meds when there was going to be a full moon.

So Friday night, I went for a walk at about 10 p.m. It was an almost clear night, and I could see the moon sitting all by itself up in the sky, looking mighty close to round, with its man-in-the-moon facial features quite pronounced. I live in a suburban over-55 community, and there is never much street action at night. So except for a couple of cars driving past, I had the streets and the sky to myself. It was very quiet, and very lovely, and I had a very nice walk—but nothing cosmic happened.

The next morning, it occurred to me that I should find out what organ is associated with summer in Chinese Five Element Theory, which is a cornerstone of Traditional Chinese Medicine. As a Yi Ren Qigong teacher, I am supposed to understand Five Element Theory, but it is so complicated and so foreign to my usual way of thinking about the world that in truth, I do not. This past winter I learned that winter is associated with the kidneys, and this spring, that spring is the time of the liver (and possibly of anger rising up!). But summer?

Summer, I found, is associated with the heart, according to the charts of Five Elements correspondences in my qigong books.

OK, fine, so that’s what they say.

But then I remembered that as I’d walked the evening before, I had noticed that it felt very good and very right to walk with my hands close to my chest as I held my shawl—and that I was very much aware of my hands and my heart and the connection between them.

I also remembered that a couple of months ago, when it was still spring spring, I had noticed that I was wanting to do a lot of tapping around my torso above my waist—the liver area—when I was doing the closing exercises for my Yi Ren practice sessions.

Hmmmm…. Am I grasping at straws here?

Or is this the way you become aware of your body and its relationship to the natural world—that is, unless you’re particularly energy-sensitive or you’ve grown up in a culture where people habitually pay attention to such things.

In other words, will the awakening of my body happen by baby steps or, as I would prefer, in a manner more dramatic and clear-cut?

I guess I’ll just have to keep listening to my body to find out….

PS I went for a walk Saturday night, too, the night of the actual full moon. The moon-lit sky had been a place of stark, dark cloud formations as I was driving home at about 10 p.m.—so much so that I almost pulled over to watch them and had brief thoughts of Armageddon. But by the time I got home and set out on foot, the clouds had taken over the sky, the moon was mostly obscured and, for me, the show was over.

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