Just as a delicious, savory classic Italian sub sandwich with its zesty vinaigrette and all of its layers of goodness provide lots of flavor and scrumptious sustenance, so do joy and love sustain us and allow us to be bold and strengthened from within.
Fear reminds me a lot of an obnoxious bully.
It bounds in forcefully, menacingly, and uninvited, and begins leveling threats against our well-being, poking us in the chest and mocking us, often causing us to lose joy and that “lightness of being” that provides the much needed gusto and zeal for our endeavors in life.
And when fear begins to dampen the very light that shines from within, then it’s a lot like it’s stealing our lunch money.
Our zest, our enthusiasm, our joy for life, which is the very currency that allows us to move about with freedom and gives us the very will to accomplish all that we accomplish in day to day life, begins to be diminished or feel like it’s being taken away altogether.
And the truth is, when we turn over our lunch money (or our joy and our happiness) to the bully that is fear, we’re left with a shame and a discouragement that can make it challenging to find the meaning in life, because we begin to fixate on the fear.
Our joy and our openness is what provides us with flavor in life, with exceptional taste and satisfaction; it’s what sustains us each and every day, and allows us to put one foot in front of the other, and to do and accomplish great things.
When fear gets a hold of us, we become rather paralyzed and unable to find our mobility, which is one of the worst positions we can find ourselves in.
Here’s the good news: we can decide not to turn our joy and our happiness over to the bully that is fear, but to stand up to it and fight it with love, instead.
Challenging, difficult things come into each of our lives at some point; we struggle with money issues, with health issues, with relationship issues, with job/career issues—any number of issues that can scare us when there’s something seemingly negative or threatening attached to them.
And it’s that feeling of not being in control that is truly at the root of the situation; that feeling like we don’t know what will happen, like things are out of our hands, like we are at the mercy of someone or something other than ourself.
But what if that really wasn’t the case?
What if that’s been the illusion the whole time, that our well-being and our joy are at the mercy of something outside of ourself?
I’ve been contemplating this a lot lately, and because I’m a fairly stubborn person, one who cannot stand bullies or the notion of allowing an external force to take from me the very stuff that I need for a fulfilling and joyful existence (because I want nothing less than to experience life in all of its fullness and color), then I’m realizing that the only way to fight back is with the best weapon of all: love.
When we inject love into a situation, we come with an openness and a willingness to experience whatever has been placed before us and to taste it, so to speak, and to see it not as “bad” or scary, but just as an experience that can add to our life ultimately.
In those moments when love is added to the mix, we can more easily see that all experiences are necessary and are worthy of teaching us something, and so in turn, there ends up being nothing to fear.
It’s all in how we approach things that determines what happens, and keeping our joy and our love alive and even channeled into our circumstance will only help us to remain open and receptive to any guidance we may receive.
And if we feel we aren’t able to maintain our joy and love while in the midst of difficult situations, then that becomes our prayer and we ask for that.
Every circumstance in life will always be better played out when we firmly, relentlessly and whole-heartedly demand to keep our joy and our love present no matter the situation we find ourselves in; we absolutely and unequivocally will not hand that over, because we know that if we do, then we have nothing.
Life has its battles, that is for certain; and the weapon that I’d rather have at my side more than any other is my joy and my love.
Fear and malice either dissolve in those, or are rendered utterly powerless, as joy and love are the only tools that can genuinely disarm.
So in the spirit of love and joyful layers of flavors, I have a mouthwatering, mildly spicy, savory and succulent classic Italian Sub Sandwich, loaded with salami, bell peppers, cheese, and an amazingly herbaceous red-wine vinaigrette on delectably soft bread, made especially for you.
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Classic Italian Sub Sandwich with an Herbaceous Red Wine Vinaigrette
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Makes 2 sandwiches
• 2 good-quality sub rolls (or Italian bread)
• Red Wine Vinaigrette (recipe below)
• 8 slices Genoa salami, thinly sliced
• 8 slices Capicola, thinly sliced
• 8 slices ham, thinly sliced
• 4 slices provolone cheese, thinly sliced
• 4 slices mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
• Thinly sliced 1/2 green bell pepper
• Thinly sliced 1/4 red onion
• Thinly sliced tomato
• 1 cup shredded romaine or iceberg lettuce
• 1 tablespoon sliced, black olives (optional)
• 1 tablespoon peperoncini (optional)
-Split the sub rolls lengthwise in half, and scoop some of the bread out of each half; drizzle a bit of the Red Wine Vinaigrette onto both top and bottom halves.
-On the bottom half, layer a couple of slices of each of the meats, followed by a couple of slices of provolone; do another layer of the meats follow by the mozzarella.
-Add some of the thinly sliced veggies, and drizzle a little more of the vinaigrette over those; add a little extra sprinkle of salt and pepper before covering the sandwich with the top half of the roll.
Red Wine Vinaigrette Ingredients:
• 6 cloves garlic
• 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
• Pinch red pepper flakes
• 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (dried Italian herbs)
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 1 cup olive oil
-Add all ingredients except for the olive oil into the bowl of a food processor, and process for about 20-30 seconds until well blended; with the processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until everything is well emulsified and blended.
-Keep vinaigrette in a covered container, and store any unused portion in fridge for up to a couple of weeks.