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Wide Awake Gratitude

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You may or may not know that I spent more than a decade as an editor at Yoga Journal. A decade is a loooooong time to keep any job in this day and age. And so, it’s hard to summarize succinctly what I did during my time there. In a nutshell, I worked as the deputy editor of the magazine and then ran the web site as executive editor. I was the asana nerd, the cover model talent scout and coach, and, on many occasions, the team shoulder to cry on. I learned so much from the talented editors, designers, and photographers I worked with. I developed all of my true editorial chops there — from taking the initial spark of a story idea, choosing the angle, assigning it to the right person, guiding said person through the research phase, pruning their prose, packaging the story, managing the talent for the shoot, and watching the designers and stylists bring the story to life in the photoshoot and on the page. I also got to work closely with the most insightful, skillful yogis of our time, many of whom were very influential to me: from Sally Kempton to Maty Ezraty, Cyndi Lee to Shiva Rea. And of course, it’s how I met the man who is now my better half, Mr. Crandell.

But for much of the time that I worked with those amazing, thoughtful, talented people I don’t think I was “awake” at all. I had my head down, blinders on, like a workhorse. I worked and I worked and I worked some more. I wanted to hone my craft. I wanted to learn as much as I could. I wanted to please my boss and my boss’s boss and all of the masterful yoga teachers that we worked with. I was driven in a way that I wasn’t even aware of. I wanted that damn magazine to be perfect. We all did, I believe. Toward the end of my time there, as all of us felt the editorial direction was slipping through our fingers, my overall demeanor teetered between hyperbolic gravity and eye-rolling deflation. I look back and think, “Did I suck to be around back then?”

There are certainly many ways in which all of this hard work served me. But I know for sure that it did not serve my health and it did not, ultimately, serve my happiness.

In the past two and a half years, two game-changing events have gone down for me: I gave birth to our daughter and I was diagnosed with breast cancer. (In case you missed that fabulous tale, you can read about it here). These two events have been the biggest wake up call a girl could get. Yep, I’m finally listening. I’m finally hearing. I’m finally seeing what’s around me. And, I’m thrilled to say, I love all of it. I feel like all of those years of practice and devotion and cultivation of the yoga practice have come alive in me. “Um, God, you talkin’ to me? Yeah, I hear you this time!”

And so. I’m going to keep doing what I do, which is writing and creating content. But, for now anyway, I’m mostly going to focus on publishing right here on this very blog. In addition to helping Jason create yoga sequencing and asana content, I’m going to write about what’s honest and real for our family – how we live, what we aspire to, and the things we celebrate. I hope you’ll join me. I feel like I have a lot to share.

Right now what I want to share is a glimpse into our life over the past month. It’s my gratitude list. You remember years ago when Oprah was all about the gratitude list??? I was never able to keep one in the past. But now it’s easy. It feels important. It feels healing. So here goes.

…waking up to see my little girl’s face close to mine and hearing her sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star reallllly loud and reallllly slooowly…kinda like she’s auditioning for Star Search.

…playing hokey with Jason to watch Birdman (how about those meditation segments? Even Thich Nhat Hanh appreciated them.) and then watching them win the Oscar.

…overhearing our daugther sample a new food and saying it’s “totes magotes good!” (Thanks go out to both Paul Rudd and my bestie for teaching it to her.)

…the feeling that spring is in the air…and that I’m gonna be alive to enjoy it.

this beautiful, uplifting piece, written by Oliver Sacks, about his metastatic cancer diagnosis.

…putting in enough time on my mat that my arm balances are coming back again.

…this light yet toasty genmaicha matcha blend of green tea from Samovar. It is perfection.

…baking the most delicious sugar-free, gluten-free chocolate muffins with my kiddo.

…looking forward to traveling as a family again. To Santa Monica, to London, to Portland, and Ohio!

…a date night out with friends at a new spot in SF. (Well, new to us.)

…relishing that moment in our home as my daughter nods off on my chest. So sweet. So peaceful. So much love.



18 Comments

  1. How I love this article,but I love all your articles you wrote for YJ. Recently got to spend 5 days with Jason at a Training.
    Jason is very real, what you see is what you get. His teaching is simple but unique at the same time. Jason and you are going to be a dynamo team in the yoga world. it won’t be long before Sofia is on the scene.

  2. Love this article and perspective, Andrea. It’s a struggle so many of us identify with. And your gratitude list? You’ve inspired me to start my own…

  3. Thanks for the reminder to be grateful for the little things (that are actually the big things). Glad you’re recovering. Now how about that sugar-free, gluten free a chocolate muffin recipe??

  4. Thank you for your thoughts and heartfelt writings. I identified with your journey. My own path is ever-changing as well.

  5. Merci/Thank you for the reminder to enjoy the present moment and letting go of certain futilities. Gratitude is a fabulous remedy to many of our aches, often an eye opener.

  6. Yes! Thank you for the wonderful writing and all you share. The gratitude for the simple pleasures is huge and I needed that reminder. Cannot wait to read more and more and more!

    1. Great question Let me begin with the word Yoga. It’s silmpe meaning is Yoke or Union . Essentially, yoga means to bring together. So, to that end, we all come to our mats to move inward. Our focus on the mat becomes about ourselves, not our neighbor on the mat next to us. A little bit about the two styles; Kripalu is a gentle style of yoga. Using body, mind and breath, movements are slower. All Yogi’s are encouraged to move at their own pace. Vinyasa is more of a continuous movement or flow using body, mind and breath. In a Vinyasa style class, all students are also encouraged to move at their own pace. I hope this helps.

  7. Hi Andrea:

    Hope you are well! I LOVE your blog. I just sent you an JC an email on jason’s email address cause I do not have yours. Just wanted to give you aheads up cause I didn;t want to leave here. Hope you have a great time in London!

    Miss you all a lot!
    Peace
    Anna

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