It still takes me off guard when someone tells me how much they enjoy my blog. Don't get me wrong, I'm proud of The Canary Files and I hope that people will read it and that it will impact their lives for the better. But it still surprises me when the evidence of what I've wished for is actually revealed to me.
A woman stopping me in the grocery to thank me as she shops for ingredients to bake one of my recipes; high school friends I haven't seen in nearly two decades messaging me to let me know that my "foodporn" has inspired them to cook more and to lead a healthier lifestyle; a good friend telling me that her kitchen will never be the same since she and her partner subscribed to the blog; a hug from someone who now knows what she needs to do to live a stronger, less painful life thanks to something I wrote that resonated. And all of it makes me smile, in both happiness and satisfaction, but also from recognition that it was not so long ago that I, too, was taking my first steps on the journey that has brought me here today.
The inspiration to change, the glimmer of hope that life could be better, the abandon with which I seized the opportunity to fail in the name of my wellbeing - when the time came to leave the "old me" behind and let it go nearly seven years ago, those things were all I had. They were the seeds entrusted to me by many beautiful gardeners throughout my life, including my grandmothers, my Auntie Nora, my sister, and Amy March, the woman who first coined me a "canary." And scattering them onto the pain and hopelessness that permeated the life which I wished to leave behind, I waited with the patience that only comes from having nothing to lose.
And to my surprise and wonderment, a new "me" began to emerge.
While I had done things similar to this in the past, cautiously skimming my fingertips along the moving current of change, this was the first time I truly committed. This was the first time that I was actually putting me first, submerging myself fully in my resolve to reform my life, no longer willing to settle for mediocre results from mediocre effort. And those seeds began to sprout into a me that would choose to heal, a me that would choose to grow stronger, a me that would choose to love himself unconditionally, and a me that would choose to finally stop making excuses for himself and stop projecting blame onto others as to why life was painful. Pain, just like change, is a constant - an inevitable and essential part of life's equation. And therein lies the wonderful secret - the "a-ha" moment I had been missing all those years.
Pain is transformative. Pain changes us. If we resist it and keep it locked up out of sight, then the energy that we expend to keep it separate feeds it to grow and fester out of our control. But if we simply acknowledge it, inviting it into our lives, and resist our reliance on running away and resigning ourselves to that which we already know, then we may be enriched by that pain, discovering opportunities within it to learn, grow, and move on. And when I was finally brave enough to do that, those seeds given to me not only took root, but they continued to thrive, prosper, and bear fruit. And this garden has transformed the landscape within me in ways beyond imagination - far-reaching to the horizon, to the sky, and to the earth down below. More than I could have ever hoped for.
So now I pay it forward by entrusting seeds to you. That through loving both ourselves and the food which we give to our bodies, a revolution can occur. Hope. Resilience. Healing. Reconciliation. Transcendence. Compassion. Clarity. Serenity. That we may be nourished, mind, body, and soul, by embracing pain completely and then bearing witness to our power to overcome. That a life obscured in shadow is the perfect opportunity to recognize when light enters in. That by living an authentic and truthful life, you give others courage to do the same.
Plant them when you are ready.