Chopping winter squash

It’s thaIMG_5632t time of year. Pumpkin and squash gracing meals galore. I have a cutting board. A cleaver and other very sharp kitchen knives. My arms and hands are strong from decades of yoga and two years of intense baby-carrying. I have a pretty good aim and a mind that can aim hard, too. But every time I have to hack open a rock-hard winter squash, and also peel the skin off this squash, I feel like I’m armed for a battle I don’t want to fight. I feel self-imperiled. Yet, I forge ahead on the expedition, and I’m always thankful that I did when it’s time to mangia.

This month, I found a shortcut. PRE-CUT, organic, local butternut squash. It’s always in the fridge now; however, I felt like such a cheater, because I COMPLETELY pride myself on being a from-scratch, rootsy woman, all around, head to toe, inside and outside, to the bone. Me?! Pre-cut something?! In an plastic bin?! STOP HERE. CONFLICT BASED ON HOW I IDENTIFY MYSELF. OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH.

TKV Desikachar says “Yoga is Awareness.” This is what he means. When you practice yoga, individualized, appropriate yoga, you are really just practicing focusing the mind (not bending the body). Suddenly, when we aim to stay focused, we perceive more, and with more acuity. Eventually, this habit of remaining attentive extends to include more of our life outside our actual practice itself. If we cultivate Citta Vṛtti Nirodha in our yoga practice, we may begin to perceive the subtle conflicts and contractions and contradictions within our own being that contribute to our psycho-emotional (and therefore life) stagnancy. If we are calming and focusing as part of our daily practice, when a moment of inner friction occurs, we don’t ignore it, entertain it, or squelch it: we see it. We remember to breathe, and therein hides a capacity untapped by anything else other than breath, one which opens up the potential to practice letting go of who we think we are, claim to be, want to be, to accept that we are part of an ever-changing universe. How conservative of us liberals to grab onto these identities, our security blankets in a wild world in which we seek Self-security but fight it at the same time by holding onto who we think we are supposed to be at all costs.

I’m still a natural woman…I just gave myself a little room to move. My life has. My residence has. My status has. My role as an attentive, single mother of a two-year-old has me on my toes 24/7. My small business is growing, and may even give birth to another. We eat as seasonally and organic as possible, but something’s gotta give if that’s going to include winter squash, and that, my yoga friends, is my identity. Big whoop. I heard yoga is pretty good for that.