The Summer Solstice has been celebrated for thousands of years and across many cultures as a high point in the annual cycle. From a META-Health point of view, it corresponds with the high point of the Stress Phase. But this isn’t bad! Eustress, or positive stress, is a state of energy, growth and vitality.
See our META-perspective on the Solstice here.
The Solstice offers us an opportunity for growth and self-healing in various ways. Taking a META-perspective, we can move in two directions. Like Traditional Chinese medicine, where an over-exuberance or deficiency of yin or yang necessitates rebalancing, we can:
- Take advantage of the energy boost of midsummer (bringing in eustress), or
- Take a valuable moment to pause, reflect and regain balance if the energy has become too much (and has led to distress).
Here are eight ways you can make the most of the Solstice this summer:
1. Get outside
If you want to both enjoy the sun’s energy and rebalance, a simple solution is to spend some time outdoors. Enjoy an open space, such as a park, and witness how nature responds to the sun’s energy, for example, birds singing from dawn to dusk. There are many ways to enjoy being outside – playing games, hiking, biking, dancing or walking barefoot to ground and connect with the earth.
As suggested by our colleague and integrative eye expert Dr Kwesi Anan Odum, being outdoors for an hour a day is optimal for the health of our eyes (as well as the rest of the body!). Now is an effort-less opportunity to set this in motion so it’s habitual by the time we reach the darker, chillier winter months.
2. Celebrate the sun
Follow the lead of the ancients, and take a moment to honour the power of the sun, through watching the sunrise or sunset, meditating on the qualities of the sun and the element of fire (more about this later), or doing some energising yoga practice with sun salutations, a meditation in movement.
3. Enjoy nature’s bounty
Make the most of nature’s First Phase growth period by enjoying the many fresh fruits and vegetables on offer. Eating clean and green is easier now and throughout the summer months. It can also be an easier time to detox, as we tend to have a smaller appetite in hot weather and less desire for storing calories than in the autumn and winter.
And of course, drink water! As the temperature rises and we spend more time outdoors, we can support the mind and body by maintaining optimal levels of hydration.
4. Review and consolidate
Did you sow some seeds by setting goals at the beginning of the year or around the Spring Equinox? Now’s the time to take the two next steps to further this process…
First, as the half way point, it’s a good time to revisit and review your goals. Ask yourself: How far have I come? What have I already achieved? Am I still aligned with these goals? What can I do to refresh and revitalise them?
Second, the post-Solstice period is the natural time for consolidation and maturation as crops ripen and harvest-time approaches. With our goals, plans and aspirations, we can ask: What are my next steps to achieving these goals? What can I do now to bring them to fruition? How can I complete this process or cycle, and what will this give me?
5. Stand still
The term solstice derives from Latin, sol – sun, and sistere – to make stand or stand still. From earth, it appears that the sun stands still for a moment, at the height of its influence, before changing course. From a META-perspective, this marks the high point of Phase 1. If it feels too much, and eustress is turning into distress, the name might hold the solution: it may be good to stand still for a moment!
Bring some yin into the yang. As our colleague Kwesi explained at the META-Health Conference, sunbathing in high sun, while it may look like resting, is actually stress-inducing. So take time to regenerate in the darkness and coolness of the shade.
If you’ve been too busy in the manic summer months, take a momentary pause. Give yourself time and space to rebalance, restore energy and come back to your centre. There are many methods for achieving this, including meditation, solitude, breathing practice and receiving nurturing through massage or reiki, for example. The southern European practice of siesta also fits here – breaking up the Stress Phase with rest and regeneration at the height of the day, and being active during the cooler mornings and evenings.
6. Bring the soul into Soul-stice
An alternative definition for solstice I have is to stand still with the soul. Of course, we can do this at any time. But we get so busy with life. The solstice can be a reminder to go within, an opportunity to take ourselves back to our soul, which for now we could define simply as our inner self.
In the quiet and stillness of meditation or reflection, or through journaling, we can listen to and communicate with our inner being; find out what we really want, how we really feel and what’s important to us at a deeper level.
Another approach is to engage in more active practices for inner communication and healing. For example, one of our coaches, Roni Flatley, is integrating META-Health and META-Kinetics with Shamanic practices such as the Illumination Process, Soul Retrieval and Healing with the Ancestors.
7. Make way for change
The sun, summer and aestival Solstice are represented by the element of fire. From an archetypal point of view, what does fire do? It burns away what’s no longer working, purifies, and thus engenders transformation. Its destructive force can be a necessary step in change and regeneration – picture the phoenix, rising from the ashes. We can make use of this energy for personal development by identifying and clearing the patterns and habits that are no longer supporting us.
In terms of the meridian system, four meridians correspond with the element of fire: small intestine, heart, circulation sex and triple warmer. We work with the meridian system on META-Kinetics Level 2, identifying which are out of balance and why, and correct them through the TLC process. Balancing in this way raises vital energy and prepares the body-mind for deeper change work.
8. Balance your inner fire
As a yang element, fire stands for qualities such as power, passion, energy, initiation, positive action, expansion, dynamism, strength, influence and assertiveness. It represents upward, forward movement. In the negative sense, it links with hate and bitterness. In our emotions and life, it is connected with warmth, enthusiasm, stimulation, joy and laughter, making changes and following our calling.
You can use this opportunity to tune into and heal these fire qualities in your life and being. Where does your personal fire need taming? Where does it need feeding?
To find out, consider each of these qualities: How do you feel about them? How balanced are they? Which do you feel you have too much of in your life? Which may be lacking? Which of these qualities need healing?
For example, if you feel there’s too much aggression, assertiveness or force in your being, how can you be more passive, accepting or trusting? If you’ve reached your maximum activity, what can you do to relax and wind down?
If you’re feeling stagnant, contracted or lethargic, how could you bring more positive change into your life? What can you do to follow your life’s calling? How could you bring more joy, laughter and enthusiasm into your everyday life?
The cycles of change and growth
The cycles of life and nature provide many opportunities for self-exploration, healing and growth. The goal is greater health and balance in the broadest sense: in mind, body, emotions, life and soul. The Summer Solstice is one such moment that can remind us to look beyond the everyday and choose to make positive, conscious changes.
This year, our META-Kinetics Level 1 training takes place on the midsummer weekend. This seems to be a perfect match, as we’ll be exploring and releasing the programmes that are keeping us in stress, and bringing about positive transformation and change!
If you have suggestions on how to celebrate the Solstice or tune into nature’s cycles, or have enjoyed this article, please add your comments here or on our Facebook page.