Chinese medicine is very concerned with proper behavior and timing: What to do and when to do it to live a healthy, happy, and long life.
In order to know the proper what, how, and when of things, humans should observe Nature - seasonal shifts, diurnal changes, plant and animal behavior - and take our cues from what we see.
Sleep and wake with the sun.
Sow, harvest, store at correct times.
Stay (mostly) inside during winter. Venture (further) outward during summer.
Conserve energy whenever possible.
Each season carries a specific theme and inspires a set of behaviors that, if followed, will yield a life of harmony and ease.
If not followed, then... disease.
Summer, for instance, is about growth outward. Gardens reach their full expression - exploded, overgrown (if allowed). Animals and insects explore everywhere outside.
Humans should take their cues from this. Get up early. Go outside. Express. Explore. Love everything.
It's hot, yes. But don't avoid it. Don't dislike it and wish it to go quickly. Slow down and enjoy the opportunity for release.
Is that what you did this summer? Release?
If not, the energy that would otherwise have been released during summer could get trapped inside for the months ahead and turn into heat. That's a recipe for discontent at best. Illness at worst.
[Don't worry, there's still a little summer left. Though technically (at the time of this writing) the lunar shift out of summer into autumn has already happened (c. August 7th), change doesn't happen all at once. As long as the natural world outside your window is blossoming, you can join.]
In autumn, everything turns around.
Autumn begins a movement back inward that culminates in the hiding and hibernation of winter.
Autumn is about gathering in. Many plants fall back to the Earth and begin the process of becoming part of the soil again. Animals, birds, and insects gather food and materials for storage in winter.
Humans should take their cues from this. Plan to move back inside, then actually start to do so. Gather what you'll need for winter so you won't have to expose yourself to the elements later.
Let's talk about this recommendation.
Summer was the time to let your emotions and energy be on the outside. Autumn is the time to take them back in.
Don't mourn too much the loss of summer or the disappearance of the beautiful colors in early-autumn. As the leaves fall from the trees, don't give too much emotion to them. Understand that their descent is a part of a normal cycle. Let them go.
Don't talk too much or interact with many people outside your trusted, inner circle. Bring your energy inward and conserve.
This is not a recommendation to suppress feelings. That's rarely a good idea.
This recommendation is about non-attachment. Descent and decay are as normal, cyclical, and fleeting as growth. Just don't hold on to what's outside yourself, and you will be fine.
Easier said than done.
Nonetheless, autumn is the time to bring your attention inward. It's the beginning of Universal you-time.
You have our complete permission to take it.
Please do, or you won't have energy for next year. And there's a lot more to say and do then.
PS: Seasonal transitions can be bumpy, physiologically speaking. If you notice an up-tick in symptoms in your favorite problem area, or to prevent, get on our schedule.