I don’t know about you, but most of my life seems to be spent going from one point to another: a goal, an achievement, a restaurant, a workplace, a life phase. I like to plan for my next destination, but I often forget to pay attention to what’s going on between the two points, the transition.
Transitions. That’s what the focus of my weekly yoga class was. Typically, yoga class is spent holding poses, moving from position to position, in the most efficient and danger-minimizing way possible. This week, however, we spent very little time in the actual pose, and focused on the transition. We spent more time getting to the pose, focusing on how we were moving towards a position, rather than actually in the position. The transition is often where everything happens. Yes, breathing and remaining present in an actual pose should be a focus, but being present (emotionally, mentally, physically) in the transition should be just as much of a priority, if not more so, since most of our lives our lived in transition.
Getting caught up in planning what my endpoint is going to look like is so easy for me; I slip into organizing mode and miss the wonder and awe right in front of me. To be honest, focusing and going slowly through the transitions to give them the full attention and respect they deserve actually hurt. It required much more concentration and strength and muscle control than usual. However, it gave me the time to be able to listen to my body and hear it when its wisdom was telling me to change directions. Normally, I’d be so focused on the next pose, that I wouldn’t have heard that whisper saying, “you know, maybe you shouldn’t go into that deep lunge today, perhaps you should stay Warrior Two, or move to a side stretch instead.”
Remaining present and choosing to live in the transition, rather than live for the endpoint, allowed me to stay present enough to be aware of my needs, my potential, my limitations, and my desires in a way that would not have happened otherwise. I was able to receive the wisdom to change course even in the middle of a transition -to change my goal because the purpose was not the goal, but to live and engage with myself and the environment.
So my take away is: I don’t want to be so focused on my end pose, or next life goal, that I miss an opportunity to respect myself and experience something unexpected and good, even if it was not what I originally planned.
Yoga is not the only thing that has taught me this lately. The necessity for spontaneity (and the outright inability to plan) when being in a relationship with someone in the military has really
hit me hard smacked me in the face this week. I had been so focused on my goals and plans and ideas that I had missed the reality of the situation. I was feeling insecure because of [what appeared to me to be] another’s lack of interest in planning with me, when really, it was a lifestyle/survival choice of that other because they know that anything and everything can change in the blink of an eye. Living in the transition, rather than the goal, helped me see that. It changed my perspective. My insecurity no longer had a place to grab hold of in that situation and I was able to appreciate that the other person was actually trying to show me grace and compassion, not avoid being with me.
When I got home from yoga, I decided I want to celebrate. I was feeling overwhelmed -I had to go into child’s pose and simply cry with my face down in my mat several times during that class- and decided that making this pie was the best way to live in the moment. I had wanted to make it for a a few months, but other “goals” kept getting in the way. Baby steps, right? I might as well live in the moment, take a rest, and make a pie, instead of going to bed early so I could make it to that gym class tomorrow. Planning is good, but being present is the lesson that I need to be living out right now.
Just a note: THE SAUCE IS AMAZING. If you don’t make the pie, just make the sauce and put it on EVERYTHING. I highly recommend using it to top high-quality vanilla ice cream.
Banana Cream Pie wit Bourbon Caramel Sauce and Peanut Crust
From Bon Appetit
- 1 1/4 cups cups unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup heavy cream, divided
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons bourbon, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 ripe bananas
Preheat oven to 350°. Pulse peanuts in a food processor until coarsely ground. Transfer 1/4 cup ground nuts to a small bowl; cover and set aside for garnish. Pulse remaining peanuts until peanut butter forms, about 2 minutes.
Whisk flour, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat both sugars, peanut butter, and butter until well combined and mixture resembles wet sand, 2–3 minutes. Beat in egg yolk and vanilla, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, until well blended, about 3 minutes (mixture will be clumpy). Gradually add dry ingredients; beat just to combine (mixture will be crumbly; do not overmix or crust will be tough). Gather dough with your hands, place in pie dish, and press evenly onto bottom and up sides of dish. Bake until edges are deep golden brown, 15–17 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover tightly.
Bring milk and cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Meanwhile, whisk sugar, cornstarch, flour, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add egg yolks; whisk until smooth (mixture will be very thick). Whisking constantly, gradually add milk mixture to yolk mixture. Return to saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until thick, 2–3 minutes. Transfer to a blender with butter and vanilla. Purée until smooth, 1–2 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl; press plastic wrap directly onto surface of pastry cream. Chill until set, AT LEAST 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead.
Using an electric mixer or whisk, beat 1/2 cup cream and powdered sugar until medium-stiff peaks form. Cover and chill.
Stir sugar, 1 tablespoon bourbon, corn syrup, and 1 tablespoon water in a medium deep saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat, bring to a boil without stirring, and cook, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush, until sugar just barely turns a light tan color, about 4 minutes (mine continued to cook after, so I took it off at a light tan color, though you might be cooler than me and be able to actually get yours to a dark amber color without burning… I can’t). Remove caramel from heat; whisk in remaining 1/4 cup cream, butter, and salt (mixture will bubble vigorously). Let cool for 5 minutes; whisk in remaining 1/2 Tbsp. bourbon and vanilla. Let bourbon caramel cool slightly. DO AHEAD:Whipped cream and bourbon caramel can be made 2 hours ahead. Re-whisk whipped cream before serving. Let bourbon caramel stand at room temperature.
Spread 1/4 cup vanilla pastry cream evenly over bottom of peanut crust. Slice bananas into 1/4″-thick rounds. Layer half of the bananas over pastry cream. Top with 1 1/2 cups pastry cream. Arrange remaining bananas over; top bananas with remaining pastry cream. Garnish with whipped cream and reserved ground peanuts. Serve with bourbon caramel.