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Late Summer Wellbeing

The polymaths of the past knew how connected our health is to the Earth and its cycles. By close observation of the outward they formed a deep understanding of the inner dimension and developed medical systems that were holistic in every sense. The great Islamic scholars pondered over the truth set in the Quran which led to the highly advanced and detailed system of TIBB (Prophetic Medicine) using knowledge from other ancient systems like the Chinese, Persian and Greek.

The Quran asks us to see the signs in the macrocosm and realise it is connected to the microcosm. How can we truly know ourselves and our bodies if we are not connecting them to the cycles of the universe? If we are not connected to Allah’s Divine programming then how are we connected to the Fitrah (our innate essence)? As Muslims we are far removed from our heritage and the wisdom and knowledge of our past. But on digging deeper it can be found and revived. Like Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Tibb system has a great understanding of the seasons and how they can affect us.

With that in mind lets take a look at this lovely season of Late summer. How can we modify our behaviours in order to better align to the season and make the most of it.

Late summer is a short season with the energy of slowing down. After the vibrancy and peak of summer , the intense heat and brightness begins to soften gradually to yield the cooler Autumn months

Governed by the Earth element, this time of year is about grounding ourselves and returning to our centre and rebalancing ourselves. It is also the last period of harvesting and gathering in preparation for deep winter. Likewise we ourselves reap the harvest of our habits of the past year and reflect on the new term. So what might this look like in terms of our lifestyle habits?

Grounding Oneself

Earth element represents our ability to feel grounded, secure and at peace within ourselves, as well as feeling safe in the world around us. When we feel ungrounded, this can increase anxiety and result in issues like digestive problems, bloating, and even IBS. Simple grounding activities include

  • Reconnecting deeply with prayer and dhikr or meditation and mantra chanting
  • Walking barefoot on the earth. Touching a tree, soil or plant .
  • Spending more time in nature and less in man made environment
  • Zoning into the senses: eg enjoying a slow sensory walk, smelling the flowers, listening to the birds, feeling the warm sun or cool rain.
  • Gardening and tending to plants
  • Reflecting upon the first half the year, and setting intentions for the final months
  • Breathing exercises that slow the body and mind down and bring it into balance
  • Picking up your health rituals again that may have fallen away during the busy summer

Slow Down

  • Enjoy a gentle busyness as you organise and prepare for the “Back to School” season.
  • Consider what habits you may want to let go of.
  • Get through small tasks and ticking things off the to do list and completing projects
  • Enjoy quiet and meaningful moments with the family before the routine is back in full swing
  • Schedule less in your weekly planner
  • Allow yourself to savour slow cups of tea in the morning or just sitting in the garden enjoying the last of the summer evening sun.

Gentle Detox

  • Declutter and let go
  • In Tibb a gentle detox is encouraged at the end of each season: consider Hijama, or lymphatic massage
  • Swap out the summer indulgent foods with more wholeome foods.
  • Nourish the Stomach and Spleen which is associated with Earth element by avoiding processed foods and concentrating on the fruits of the summer : Root vegetables (especially sweet potato and carrots, pumpkin and squash, oats, dates, rice, barley ,talbina, garlic and spices like cinnamon, ginger, clove, chilli, cardamom, fennel and cumin 
  • work on the Qi of the spleen (which is generally often deficient) by taking up qigong, eating wholesome breakfasts, stretching exercises and addressing the emotions of the spleen: fear and worry.

Gathering and Gratitude

  • Enjoy the abundance of the fruits of Nature and practice gratitude to the Divine
  • Become mindful of the unique and special qualities of the harvest: the cool cucumbers, the sweet fragrant tomatoes, the tart berries etc. Look at the seeds and reflect over the fact that within each seed lies next years harvest
  • As summer is the season of bounty reflect on your own giving. How easily do you find it to give? It doesnt have to be big – a word , a compliment to lift another, a listening ear, time . These are precious gifts.
  • The Earth element is associated with sympathy and compassion. How easily do you give sympathy or compassion. Can you recieve too? A person who cannot receive sympathy often cannot give to others either. An imbalance in these energies can lead to many negative traits: over-mothering, becoming manipulative instead of expressing needs honestly, exaggerating, over-complaining, whining to attract sympathy, or keeping silent and denying real needs, distrusting other people’s motives, and feeling that no one understands. Note the state of your heart and ponder over what you must do to address these spiritual diseases.
  • Keeping your personal harvest in mind, consider what you need to do to prepare for the season of letting go: autumn. What is overgrown or unneeded? What is serving you ? What is not? What distracts you from your deepest values and concerns? What could you simplify in your life or your own self?

By connecting to the energy of Late Summer we can make huge transformations in this little sliver of time. Alhumdulillah!

Warm salaams


One Response so far.

  1. Tabs says:

    Beautifully written article afsha. Reminding me to slow down now before the busyness starts of the school months is so beneficial. May Allah swt reward you in such beneficial reminders that are good for us physically and spiritually.

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