Spirituality of Salsa-making

One of my favourite things to do is to sit on a covered porch in the rain. That’s what I’m doing right now on a Saturday morning. While people with weddings planned for today might be muttering and farmer’s market vendors might be scowling – I’m as happy to see the rain as a plant with dry roots.

Without rain there’s no life. It’s the cycle we live within. And if it falls too much or too little – it can cause havoc. If it falls on our parade, it forces us to adapt. But that’s why we’re still here as two-legged creatures on this planet. We adapt.

It’s been a bit of a struggle to adapt back to southern Ontario city life after our immersion experience with indigenous folks at Grassy Narrows. Many of you have let me know that you were travelling with us and appreciated the reflections I passed along. While the sting of the experience is fading – there remains a few open wounds. These are the questions I brought home:

“What privilege am I willing to let go of – in order to be a part of the decolonizing our destructive patterns?”


“Now that I see the truth of my culture’s harm – how can I be intentional about reconciliation? How do I reconcile the abundance I live with knowing that “when I flush the toilet – somebody else gets the shit”?

It’s a struggle just to keep these questions alive in my heart. We’ve entered into the September chaos of busyness.

  • starting a journey with a new congregation of people at Greenwood United as their part-time pastor on a six month contract
  • starting a learning process with a group of Social Service Worker students as we together learn about Community Organizing on Friday mornings
  • starting the process of inviting folks into 8 different learning circles that Bedford House is offering over the next couple of months
  • keeping obligations to at least five formal networks of church & community associates alive – and wanting always to deepen and expand these relationships

And all of this busyness is affecting my family relations:

  • Needing to leave a wonderful wedding party early to make sure our Open House is a success
  • Needing to change my Saturday visits with son David in order to fit a new work schedule
  • Wanting to be present for a friend who’s going through a relationship break up and another who’s being proactive and organizing a circle of support for a loved one – not to mention being present with my own dad.
  • Needing to miss an important family birthday party in Ottawa because of work
  • Needing to exercise and adopt some new health measures into my routine
  • Needing to adapt to a lower income – meaning no fast food, and fewer conveniences which creates another time stressor
  • Needing to do repairs to the house while the good weather’s with me

AND! in the midst of this chaos, tough choices, and scheduling stresses – it’s time to make Salsa!

Why is Harvest Time so stressful? Are we just responding to some genetic coding that has us all going squirrelly at the same time? Is it an effect of the Harvest Moon? Is it an ancient need to prepare for the long cold winter ahead that kicks us into high gear as the leaves begin to change?

So today, in the rain, I’m going to go down to the Farmer’s Market and buy a bushel of tomatoes, bags of onions and peppers, and spend this afternoon making salsa.

There’s sixteen other things I should be doing – at least!

But making salsa today is my way of addressing those open questions/wounds from Grassy Narrows. By honouring the season with salsa making, I am decolonizing my ways. It’s a spiritual discipline if you like and it’s a practical choice of reconciliation.

I will:

  • bump into my community at the market and my smiles will add to the spirit of the place
  • my dollars spent locally will go into the eco-systems of ecology and economy that sustain us
  • I’ll compost the waste and can enough to share, to feed those cycles of life
  • I may not save much money buying locally instead of buying cheap off-the-shelf Mexican tomatoes
  • it may cost me valuable time but I know that my “making” of salsa will be my prayer today.

I’ll not just be talking about change – I’ll be making a change. The way I spend my dollars will make a difference to the planet. The way I spend my time will make a difference to the planet.

Will they feel this difference in Grassy Narrows?

I believe they will. For those of us who believe in the power of prayer – we know that our best intentions offered into the universe – make a difference. We may not understand how that works but we know that every act of care and love is a prayer worth making. By choosing not to succumb to the pressures and stresses of the money-making machine that screams to be fed.

By choosing instead to feed the soul of my community’s eco-systems – I will be reconciling my western ways with a way that indigenous people have proven over eons as sustainable. To live in harmony with the cycles of harvest abundance so we can share the bounty when things get lean – is a salve to those open wounds I carry.

Peeling, chopping, cooking, canning is my spiritual practice for today. May each act be a raindrop in the restorative power of our earth’s cycle.

One thought on “Spirituality of Salsa-making

  1. Laurel (Bower) Chapman

    For you dear Allen and Lynn…beautiful! Welcome home and some very well expressed feelings and thoughts. Sigh…thank you for this! Please know my heart is with you and prayers for you, Bedford house and all the live there always! I do hope to see you again some time!

    Hug, Allen, Lynn and David! Peace and light from Laurel 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

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