Chocolate Yule Log and Spiritual Growth
I have loved Christmas (Xmas) from early childhood.
The smells of the freshly cut tree, oven baking and twinkling lights is forever etched in my mind. My mum, continuing the tradition of masters of the kitchen at the helm,(strong women in our family group) instructed us well as we chopped, grated, whisked and iced to ensure a wonderful array of treats over the 2-week holiday in England that spanned Christmas to New Year. Forget yoga classes at that time. Slim pickings as Brits take this time to kick back (not necessarily in a relaxing way)until January and its new years resolutions.
My mum loved to make a good old Christmas cake (that inevitably morphed into my birthday cake at New Year’s Eve, even before my taste buds had invested in this), mince pies and sausage rolls. If you have not made the heavy fruit cake yet, there is no point in posting the recipe as its too late to eat for this year.
Mum was not exited about making the chocolate log but knew it was my favorite and so it was always on this list of things to bake. It was very simple. A tray baked rich chocolate cake, no rolling for ease after baking, rather halving and then stacking the cake before smothering it with a chocolate butter cream. Nothing fancy or complicated,but decorated with a traditional sprig of fresh holly and sieved icing sugar for snow.
I got very attached to the cake (raga) and hated it when company came over and she offered “my” chocolate log to the guests. The vrittis (thoughts) become part of our memory bank as we as humans and our life experiences become shaped by them for better or worse. My klesha of Raga (desire) for chocolate still haunts me today, but the more we learn about chocolate or cacao (not all bad!!),and the more mature my taste buds for chocolate have become (I used to detest dark chocolate), the more we can be OK with digging deeper into our own family kitchens to see what insight arises.
Our past certainly shapes us but does not have to define us.
As a female Swami in the unbroken line of teachers in the Kriya Lineage I have wanted to make the yoga teachings more accessible to everyday householders and not just yoga zealots. In my online course "Cooking the Yoga Sutras" , I use food as a metaphor for 12 major yoga teachings from Patanjali in his series of 4 books known as The Yoga Sutras. If we understand these sutras in this life time I believe we can make great spiritual advancements in this very lifetime which is what my Paramguru wrote to me (in a handwritten letter) decades ago.
What childhood memories around the kitchen do you have and how can this become a spiritual lesson for you?
The earth years are a contradiction of joy and suffering and It is my meditation that we all have a fabulous 2020 filled with peace, health and love. Of all of these three gifts from the gods, may health prevail for with that hope that we can accomplish anything in this lifetime.
If you are interested in nudging a loved one into a Christmas gift idea for yourself why not direct them to my website www.cookingtheyogasutras.com
It is a no frills video based course that I got one of our residential camera men to film for me. It is part lecture and part cooking show in my tiny room at the yoga community where I lived as a newly divorced woman with 2 kids and a house rabbit named Fonzie who sometimes vies for my attention in the filming.