Holding Pattern and “Process” Jalapeno Nacho Sauce

Permission to land captain!  How many of us are stuck in flight, circling the ground and making every effort to maintain the status quo and not touch down? We roll from one thing to the next, hovering above our feelings so we don’t have to spend time in the “icky stuff.” I call this a “holding pattern.” For me, it’s go go go. I can become a bit reclusive, a little bit apathetic, my breathing becomes shallow and I prefer to do just about anything that doesn’t involve sitting still in my body (i.e., my feelings).

This last week, I found myself locked in a holding pattern. I first became aware I was holding as I was trying to sleep one night. I realized I actually had to coax my body to let go, to relax. There were other signs too—preferring isolation, feeling defensive and self righteous, being easily agitated and impatient. Things were building and I knew on some level that this holding pattern wasn’t sustainable….something was going to give. And it gave alright. It started to show up in my food. I was headed for a binge landing when suddenly the damn burst and I was a puddle of tears on the floor. I couldn’t numb any longer. I had landed.

How does this happen? How does a seemingly self aware individual knowingly tune out from her emotions and end up picking herself up off the floor? Well, it’s a little thing called process. As much as I think I can control everything in my life, process is one of those things that defies control. Process has a wisdom and timing of its own. I had been banking a lot of grief—and as I was busy in my holding pattern, I was actually processing my grief in really healthy ways—I just didn’t know it at the time! The anger, the need to be alone, all of it was in a perfect flow, in preparation for the big release! I had forgotten how therapeutic it is to cry. It made me think about a section in Opening the Senses of the Soul by Samantha Orthlieb, where she talks about crying and the healing power of tears. After my fit on the floor, I felt tender, but I also felt calm. I felt that I could finally surrender:  I had landed safely, and everything was going to be okay.

The best we can do is be aware when we are avoiding, when stuff is coming up for us—and allow it, trusting that the what and whys of it all will be revealed to us in time. We don’t need to know the answers, or become critical of where we are. That’s where the trust in “trust the process” comes in. We are all in process. And we will all get through. Just as when the pilot announces to the passengers that the flight is in a holding pattern until it’s okay to land, we too can trust that the appropriate circumstances are being set up for our own landing, and in allowing it and honouring the process with compassion for ourselves, we can ensure it’s a soft one!

I’ve really had to trust the process in the kitchen this last week too!  I’m used to experimenting and getting fairly predictable (and tasty!) outcomes, but for some reason I had one or two times where something was just off, or certain foods just didn’t combine the way I’d hoped. Take the below recipe, for example.  I made a blatant ingredient error (I used a red jalapeno pepper thinking it was a sweet pepper!) and the Italian theme behind my creation quickly became a Mexican fiesta! Needless to say, the pairing of the Mexican outcome with the rest of my Italian-themed meal was—weird….BUT, on it’s own, the Mexican sauce WORKS!! And so I’m going to try to recreate it here for you to the best of my ability. The whole recipe became an attempt to dull the heat from the red pepper and recoup the original Italian flavours—but this process took on a life of its own (sound familiar!?) and behold, the result!

“Process” Jalapeno Nacho Sauce

¼ cup fresh basil

½-1 red jalapeno pepper, seeds removed (depending on your heat preference)

1 cup cashews

2 garlic cloves

1 large carrot

Juice from 1 lemon

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1-2 tbsp tomato paste

½ tsp sea salt

3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

½ cup nutritional yeast

1 tbsp olive oil

Add all the ingredients to a high powered blender or food processor and blend until smooth! Serving suggestions: delicious mixed in with raw corn on the cob, fresh grape tomatoes, and grated zucchini. Use as a dip for tortilla chips. Layer corn tortillas with nacho cheese sauce, fresh corn, black beans, more cheese sauce, and finish with fresh tomato salsa. Sprinkle with Daiya cheez (optional) —and bake! Add two scoops to a 1 cup of chickpeas and blend for a spicy variation on hummus.

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