Early Summer, the time of the Heart

Early Summer, the time of the Heart

For the month of June, Im all about the Heart.  Chi Flow with Jo will focus on Qi Gong, Acupressure and Food Medicine for a Healthy Heart.  At the end of the month there’s even an In-person Healthy Heart Retreat day in Dublin, the first for over 2 years!!

In Chinese medicine, the time of year for the organ system of the Heart is high summer,  Flowers are opening and bees are buzzing.  There’s plenty of activity.  The flavour is bitter, the sense organ is the tongue, the emotion is joy and flipped it becomes bitterness and resentment.  It’s time of day is 11am-1pm when we are at our most active. The colour is red and the element is fire.

There are many types of fire; a dangerous out of control forest fire which consumes all in its path. The hypnotic comfort of an open hearth or the spiritual connotation of the single flame of a candle. But they have however a common property and that is transformation.  This is the energy of the heart and its cultivation of gentle containment is what we hope to give you a taste of over this coming month.

A flame is never still; it is constantly using oxygen and changing the object that it is burning. This constant action is yang.

Out of control, yang can be destructive but when contained within boundaries, firelight illuminates and brings clarity.  Its energy is safe and warming. It is a place where traditionally, we gather and connect with others for sustenance and community.

The heart, the internal flame within the body, is protected by all the other organs. It is described as  “the emperor of the body” to which all the other organs are in service. So how do we nurture it and make sure that the flame burns brightly, shinning out through the eyes and complexion and yet doesn’t rage out of control, overheating the body, constantly on the move, causing

  • inflammation
  • anxiety
  • panic
  • high blood pressure
  • excessive sweating
  • insomnia
  • shortness of breath

Metaphorically, we build the heart a home, we give it a safe container to be housed in. The blood is the Hearts home.

Great food for bringing vibrancy to heart blood would include bitter green leaves such as chicory, watercress, dandelion leaves and rocket.

Red foods benefit the heart. It is the antioxidant anthocyanins, that give foods their red and deep purple colour, which together with bioactive polyphenols, help detoxify the blood ensuring easy distribution.

Good circulation and easy flow of blood are essential at times of high stress to prevent a rise in blood pressure. Good blood flow makes sure all your organs, tissues and muscles are oxygenated reducing inflammation and heat, especially for the Heart circulatory system.

So increase your intake of red peppers, beetroot, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, Chinese red dates, goji berries, watermelon, rosehips and pomegranates.

In the Middle East, pomegranates have long been associated with fertility probably because of their abundance of seeds. They have a bitter-sweet flavour and with their red juicy berries, fall under the realm of heart and heart protector in Chinese Medicine. Try sprinkling them on a bitter green salad, using the leaves above.  They provide a juicy burst of flavour when mixed with crumbled feta on a greek salad for fantastic summer food medicine. Find more recipes in my books https://joannefaulkner.ie/cook-books/

Physically it is the hearts function in Chinese medicine is to give vibrancy and life to blood.  Emotionally and spiritually, it is in the blood that gives the flame of our spirit, the “shen” as it is described in Chinese Medicine.  The imagery of the Holy spirit is often depicted as a flame around the world.

The Heart system is said to be where our consciousness resides.  Which is why we can find it hard to settle, difficult to sleep, feel anxious and panic if the “Shen”, the spirit has no home, no place to settle.

By making sure the blood is healthy, that it is full of nutrients and that it flows evenly throughout the body means that we can experience more joy, harmony and peace.  To enable this we need the elements of healthy eating, healthy movement and healthy thinking.

Sun Simiao,  in “The one Thousand Ducat Prescription Book” quoted in the “Five elements and Ten Stems”  states – “In your heart there is love, don’t love too deeply. In your Heart there is hate, don’t hate too deeply, because too much of any of these will attack the Shen” *1

Our spirit or “Shen” is a “unique treasure … present in us all”*2. It must be protected like a flame, not fanned to an inferno by emotions or allowed to dwindle due to poor care and attention.

By making sure the blood is healthy, that it is full of nutrients and that it flows evenly throughout the body means that we can experience more joy, harmony and peace.  To enable this we need the elements of healthy eating, healthy movement and healthy thinking.

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The moving meditation of Qi Gong is a great tool for allowing distance and perspective on people, places and things.  All of which can bring emotions such as happiness love and joy as well as grief, pain, anger, as well as . We need some distance from all of these emotions if we are not to be swept away from our own sweet spirit that dwells within us.

If we make external factors of people, places or things to be the cause of BOTH our happiness or sadness then they have power over us. However if we have perspective and don’t take things personally, literally by taking them to heart, then every person, place or thing can hold within it the possibility for our heart to expand with love and compassion.

Strengthening the heart physically, emotionally and spiritually means we can we drop the armour of protection and become at ease with ourselves, grounded in reality, in touch with the amazing potential of life.

Join us for the Day Retreat – DISCOVER YOU, DISCOVER LOVE

Where we will fall in love with your food, your body and reconnect your spirit

Held in the Chapel of Ease, Irishtown, Dublin this will be a complete experience of Chinese Medicine including:

  • ☯️ Qi Gong Energy Exercise Session – increasing blood flow, flexibility
  • ☯️ Food Medicine Demo & Tasting for a healthy heart
  • ☯️ Self Shiatsu Instruction for major points on the body for anxiety, insomnia
  • ☯️ Meditation, Mantra & Sound Bath to calm and restore your soul

Click here to view full schedule

PLUS  Sign up for the Free Healthy Heart Chi Flow with Jo Class at the end of the month

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