Saturday, May 11, 2013

2nd Blogoversary: Finding Meaning in the Here & Now

2 years.

Wow.  That truly snuck up on me, so much that I didn't even realize it had happened until after the fact.  I remember last year around this time, scrambling to publish posts detailing my favorite moments of the first year and the obligatory celebration cake.  I was in a very time consuming show that required me to arrive at the theater hours in advance for makeup and wardrobe, so in order to make my everyday life, my actor life, and my life as a blogger all fit into one I had to extend the hours in the day, sacrificing even more hours of sleep beyond my usual night-owl nature.  In short, I was not the happiest, nor the healthiest, camper.

But this year, that didn't happen.  Certain factors remain the same: the juggling act of my full-time job, another time-intensive theatre piece, teaching and training at the gym, and my compulsive habit of burning midnight oil.  But what sets this blogoversary apart was my refusal to make it a big deal, coupled with my refusal to compromise my health and my mental and emotional wellbeing in order to do what I imagine is expected of me.

And that last part is key.

As far as I know, there is no manual regarding the prerequisites of being a successful blogger.  But I created this entire world of judgment surrounding the horrible consequences of not posting on the exact day of my blogoversary, of not being able to share a cake recipe on that same day because there hadn't been time to take photos, and the transparency of just how amateur I was.  What would people think?

As it turns out, they appeared to think of me just as they had before.  No subscriptions lost or gained, no huge spike or dip in my site traffic, and no fireworks, parade, or press conference.  They were simply two more posts of the 139 I have published to date.  And just as the ones previous and the ones to follow, I learned from them.  I learned what it means for me to be successful in my writing, my photography, and my recipe development.

And I was yet again reminded that self-compassion and honoring the spirit can never fall behind pleasing others or "measuring up."

So this year, to celebrate the anniversary of my blog, I hope to share favorites with you in the coming weeks.  In the mix will be peanut butter cookies, bitter melon salad, lychee ice cream, and Indian-spiced brownie bites, a combination of personal favorites as well as favorites of others who are near and dear to me.  I also hope to publish a short shopping guide for those who have ever wondered, "What would Jonathan buy?," just in time for National Celiac Awareness Month.

What these all have in common is inspiration - going back to the roots of what fuels my passion and feeds my soul.  Given that it's been 3 weeks since my last post, you may think that I'm lacking in inspiration, which would make sense.  But in actuality, I've been overflowing with it - so much that it's difficult to sort through, decipher, or make little bite sized portions to chew on.  I was becoming agitated, with approaches to my keyboard in that precious hour or two when I could actually sit and write continually met with perpetual pressing of the delete button, nothing coming out quite right.

Which is when I started spending more time in nature.

Bees and cactus blossoms on Mt. Bonnell.

In a field I always drove by, but never stopped in.  Until now.

Swans overhead as the sun sets on Lake Travis.

We've been having unpredictable, fairly crazy weather as of late here in Texas, and all over the country and the world, really.  Here, rather than diving headfirst into triple digits in April after a temperately bland Winter, we're actually having Spring.  Cool breezes, foggy mornings, sun-filled days and balmy evenings perfect for a bike ride.  Rain, even. [gasp]  And the blessings have spanned not only a more gradual transition to Summer, but also meadows of wildflowers,  blooming trees and heady-scented vines at every turn, and perennials awakening from their sleep.  And it occurred to me:  Just as there are seasons in nature, there are seasons within us.  Physically, emotionally, spiritually, creatively.  And walking through those meadows, sitting on top of mountains overlooking the rivers and lakes, talking to the flowers as pollen-laden bees whispered secrets in my ear and butterflies perched on my shoulder, I found permission to just "let it be."  No one tends to these meadows, and yet these flowers, these plants, and these insects continually come back, prolific and exuberant in their beauty.

And if I allowed myself to sleep at night, if I allowed myself the space after arriving home to eat without planning posts or conjuring recipes in my head or posting something fabulous on Instagram or Facebook, and if I allowed myself to take care of myself before taking care of what I "needed to do," then everything would work out.  Like the air stewards say, "Secure your own mask before securing the masks of others."  Time to write would happen.  Time to cook would happen.  Time to be the best me in that moment would happen.  Time to live life would happen.  But if I tried to make it happen and control on my time, I would just be left waiting, pressing that delete button.

So this is how I mark The Canary Files' 2nd Anniversary.  With an affirmation of why I share my journey on a road less traveled, and why I'm a canary who sings because of his circumstances, not in spite of them.  I am so grateful for the past two years and all that I've learned, both about writing and sharing and about myself.  Now I look forward to the discoveries, the renewals, the challenges, and the growth in the years to come.

Wishing you Love, Light, and the gift of finding meaning, here and now.


  1. Congratulations on your blog's 2nd anniversary. I definitely can appreciate your dedication to post regularly. I know it's tough when your schedule's teeming to the brim sometimes, but I know that your readers are never up in arms about having to wait; if need be. It's nice to be able to share knowledge and experience with readers and when we get feedback from 'fans,' it can give you such a lift inside =)

    We both can appreciate the concept of happenstance; so we just have to trust in the universe and know that things will turn out as they should.

    So, I wish you another successful year for your blog and for your life, kuya.


    1. Maraming salamat, ading! It is tough, but like you said, everything will happen in its time. No need to rush or put undue pressure on myself - just let it be and things will turn out.

  2. I'm so happy to have found your blog (yay, Pinterest!)
    You're a good writer!

  3. Three years blogging and I have yet to do something SPECTACULAR to celebrate my blogoversaries. They keep passing me by and I go, "Oops," and keep on.

    It's so easy to forget to take care of ourselves when we are immersed in our blogs. I love what you're doing to take care of yourself with everything you have going on.

    I don't even think I apologize anymore if I go longer than a week without a post. I might explain why, but the hardcore readers understand as well as the rest of us bloggers.


    1. That makes me feel a LOT better, Debi. There are so many rules that we make up in our heads, thinking for others and making judgements on ourselves based upon these imagined expectations. A reality check from time to time is always a good thing. Thank You for that. :)



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All the Best,

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