Yesterday my boss gave me two kabocha. I don’t know why she wanted to give them to me, but she was standing in front of me with two Japanese squash in her hands, and asked if I wanted them. I love to eat squash but I avoid handling them. So in that strange abrupt context, in the workplace, I was stupefied. But seeing that the squash looked good, and I like eating them, I said yes.
This morning, I saw the two squash sitting on my kitchen counter, my only thoughts were how to chop and peel them. Do I need an industrial strength knife?
Normally, in the past, when I encounter this kind of situation where things seem incredibly hard and troublesome, my default reaction is to avoid them. However, this morning, I was operating under a new pathway: I was curious as to what would happen if I put my knife into it. Refuse entry? Maybe it will budge and allow entry. Maybe it is not that difficult.
I know this is not quite an optimistic thought pattern, but it is nevertheless an improvement from my previous pattern of avoidance. Because this pattern is about curiosity and possibility. If you don’t try, you will never know. So why not give it a try? Put my blade into it, and see what happens. If it behaves like a rock, I can go out and buy a stronger knife.
Okay, so that was roughly the direction of my thoughts, which naturally propels a series of related actions. The result was that, only 0.2cm of my blade went through the skin, then I kept banging the knife and squash against my cutting board to gain perhaps another 0.05cm depth.
Okay, I pulled out my knife and stabbed the pointed tip of my knife into the 0.25cm slit. I jabbed it a few times, then split it open.
Splitting it in halves is not too difficult, but peeling the skin? Oh my god! So I decided not to cook it, but put it in the slow cooker instead. But I wasn’t sure how the peel would taste, so I thought maybe baking would be a better idea.
So I put it in the oven for a while. Seeing that it softened and the peel came off more easily with the knife, I peeled and sliced it to make a rice soup instead.
It is now ready, and I am super excited, not just with the result, but with the entire process, because though it required a bit more tact and ingenuity, I moved through every step with acceptance, enthusiasm, curiosity, fun, playfulness, joy, delight, lightness, etc.
My experience today is a surprise to me, because the other day I cleared my behavioral pattern relating to procrastination and aversion, I didn’t think that it would also help me with situations that I thought would be difficult. The effect is a new pathway of opening to new possibilities.