Earlier this week a friend in St. Louis reached out asking for advice dealing with someone important to him. A frustrated, emotional story tumbled out as he was sharing the details. My friend followed up his outpouring with an apology saying he hadn't intended to vent like that. My response was, "Venting is one of the healthiest things we can do! It gets out of our bodies and into the world where we can rid our minds and hearts of toxins, and start taking action towards healing. Vent on, my friend! "
Venting is one of my healthy practices. When I’m observing or experiencing a depressing, toxic, or fiery emotion, and I hold it in, it grows. My attention continues to circle back to that negativity, actually magnetizing more negative energy around the initial observance. My observation then becomes a judgment. Or even worse, I begin building a case, stacking up more and more negative evidence. No bueno.
To remedy this, I have a few friends to whom I send a quick message and 'vent.' I get it out of my system, airing out my brain space, making room for better thoughts. Sometimes when we vent it's like an excavation of the ego. We rid ourselves of judgment, fear, and our own toxic energy, opening the windows of our thoughts to let a healthy fresh breeze blow in some goodness. Ridding ourselves of negative thoughts and fears also disempowers them. It cuts them off at the knees so they can't run away with the rest of our mind and spirit. After his vent session, I imagine my friend will be of much better service to his friend for having vented out the story. He can look at the facts clearly and see how to approach the situation without fears, worries, and emotional attachments.
I have lived in the same apartment in Long Island City, NY for nearly 18 years. You can imagine how my housemate list has changed through the years. Well, the downstairs neighbor list has gone through many changes as well. The downstairs apartment has an outdoor space right below our living room that is really enviable. But when our windows are open, whatever outdoor activities are happening downstairs, it’s like they are really happening in our home. Music, laughter, drunken parties... Many of the downstairs residents have had varying degrees of rudeness/niceness dating all the way to a young pup named Channing Tatum, freshly moved to tackle the Big Apple as a model. He continually locked himself out of his apartment and would come upstairs shoeless and shirtless asking for help. (Swoon.) I’ve become dear friends with some of my neighbors, but often times I have ‘vented' to my housemates about the not so great downstairs inhabitants. Now I have a new neighbor that lives downstairs from me named Foram, which in Sanskrit means fragrance!
The first day I met Foram, (An ideal neighbor; She quietly gardens!) I called down from my kitchen window complimenting her on her beautiful sunflowers and plants that she was tending on her little rooftop veranda. She excitedly says, “You’re Lisa, the chef! I’m Foram, and I have a Thai chili plant that is over producing. I can’t keep up with it. I’ll leave some by your door and you can cook with them.” I adored her immediately! Look how beautiful her chilis are! As I sat down to write this blog I was at a loss for how to tie my thoughts to food this week. I even polled my friends at dinner one night asking them for their ideas on venting and food. I’ve been looking at this beautiful pile of chilis and I finally found my inspiration!
Most of the heat in a chili pepper -- whether jalapeño, serrano, habanero, or another -- comes from the white ribs and seeds. Removing both reduces the chili's heat and allows more of the pepper's flavor to come through. Typically, the smaller the chili, the more it’s packed with spicy punch. That spice can often overwhelm a dish or even worse, blow out our tastebuds, and it’s very hard to enjoy food for a while. I love spicy foods, but in moderation. I had to excavate the seeds from Forum’s Thai chilis to achieve the balance of flavor and spice. They were delicious! With a little seed removal, (venting out the toxic heat) my dish wasn’t overpowered by spice and I could truly enjoy the essence of the pepper.
No real recipe, just simple buttered toast, topped with scrambled eggs, sliced Thai chilis and avocado. Thank you Foram! And a sweet shout out to my venting posse and good wishes to the gent in need from St. Louis.