Originally written October 29, 2007. I'm dusting it off in anticipation of what's to come in 2008 - and perhaps beyond!

*** ***

"Dad, will you help me with my pumpkin?"

The thing I've been trying to avoid has just happen. How do you say no to your 11 year old who needs help getting the "guts" out of the pumpkin she's carving?

So I trudge over, like the convict walking to the firing squad. I scrape for a while with the tool meant for taking the stringy insides out of the orange gourd, then when there's no other choice reach in and start pulling them out with my fingers.

It all my comes back...my rocky relationship with pumpkins.

We were strictly a plastic pumpkin family growing up. I never had any real dealings with the fruit kind. I did try pumpkin pie once during Thanksgiving...didn't like it at all and avoided it ever since.

But that night in 1983 when I sampled some pumpkin bread at a party was the thing that sealed the deal. I didn't like it much but managed to finish the piece I was eating.

Maybe I'd been working on a stomach virus beforehand. Or maybe one of the other ingredients was spoiled.

Or maybe pumpkin was just plain bad news to my system. Whatever it was, it was about the sickest I'd ever been in a 24 hour period up to that point.

From then on pumpkin and I were enemies. I'd pick them out at the farmstands, carry them home, even throw them in the woods when they started to rot in early November.

Just don't ask me to touch the insides or put them anywhere near my mouth.

It got to be the running joke in the family. Wanna gross Daddy out? Start talking pumpkins.

Over time as I got to feeling good and studying Law of Attraction I realized pumpkins are an extension of who I am. Of course that doesn't mean I'd want to eat them.

But I also knew the feeling of dread around the big goofy orange thing was more a conditioned response. Pumpkin eating/touching = pain/ bad smells/hunched over a toilet bowl.

It didn't have to be that way. I have enough self control and emotional intelligence to replace the movie running in my mind.

And it started with the two excited kids in the kitchen carving up their personal pumpkins into their favorite shapes.

And watching world class chefs do cool stuff with pumpkins on The Food Network didn't hurt either.

Will I ever sit down to a meal of Pumpkin Souflee? Possibly. But I'm not concerned about it right now.

I am however looking forward to making peace with the goofy orange creatures this year. They're a part of the harvest season I enjoy.

And something tells me...as I get more comfortable with them, I grow closer to myself.

Author's Bio: 

Larry Hochman is the founder of NO MORE HOLDING BACK. He helps individuals and groups break through self-imposed limitation and achieve success in business, careers, relationships and happiness. He is a long-time educator, counselor, author and entertainer. Join the free NO MORE HOLDING BACK support and networking community at NoMoreHoldingBack.ning.com