If you’ve followed me for the past year, you know that I’m a breast cancer survivor. Lately, I’ve been noticing how much I simultaneously want to forget that the whole thing ever happened–and I also want to remember. I want to forget because I’m human. I want to push away the pain of the doctor’s visits, the tests, the physical changes, the worry about recurrence.
But, I sense that sweeping it under some mental rug isn’t the best idea. Because if I remember my breast cancer diagnosis wisely, then I remember how grateful I am to be alive.
The truth is, I never quite felt the aliveness of life until this diagnosis. Once I could palpably feel how this life will go away someday, it was like a switch flipped and the simple acting of living just seemed ridiculously fun. Painting my nails pink or eating sushi with friends or going to a yoga class. Worrying about my “career” or why my kid won’t let me brush her teeth or what kind of flowers to plant in my garden–I now see how all of these things are a giant privilege. Some days it feels just plain silly how much amazing stuff we get to do in the course of a life.
I still get grumpy more often than I should. I still bitch and moan about ridiculous shit. I still worry uselessly. But when I remember, when a little voice kicks in that says, “This could go away at any moment…” I wake up again. And I’m grateful.
And here’s the micro list of what I’m grateful for. I like using my Instagram feed to look back over my year. For the past few years I’ve used Artifact Uprising to create a yearly Instagram book. I highly recommend this. They do a beautiful job and it’s super easy.
When I look back at my feed I remember how all of those small, mundane moments are so meaningful. So here goes. I’m grateful for:
• All of our travels – to LA, London, Ohio, and Hawaii.
• Saturday mornings at home and cozy breakfasts with our family.
• All of the fun things we get to do now that Sofia is older like making sparkly Easter eggs, going to high tea at Fortnum & Mason, or looking at fairy gardens.
• Rainy day boots and toddler topknots and Sofia licking ice cream cones.
• Spring peonies and palm trees, palm trees, palm trees.
• Women who make me laugh and who inspire me and who are kicking ass at making the world a better place. (Hello Amy Schumer, Elizabeth Gilbert, Brene Brown.)
• Ladylike shoes and Onzie printed yoga pants and great outerwear. (I live in a place where you must love great outerwear.)
• Coming back to my yoga practice full force and feeling how magically the body heals itself.
• My husband. Because. He’s the best.
• Sofia Sofia, Sofia, Sofia. I’m grateful that she’s growing so tall and eating butter by the handful. I’m grateful for how she grabs me and kisses me at random times. I’m grateful for how often she says she wants to spend “allllll day with you Mama.” And I’m grateful that she spends half the day in preschool so that I have some time to work on projects of my own.
I’m grateful that she has a little toy laptop that she enjoys “taking to work.” (I like that’s already planning her career 🙂 I’m grateful for how connected she is to her Dad. I’m grateful for the sound of her voice first thing in the morning.
I’m grateful for the other day when we were playing grocery store and she was leading me around our living room by the elbow. It wasn’t just the game, it was that I could imagine us traveling through Europe someday, her leading me around by the elbow and showing me the sights. I imagine she’ll be simultaneously comforted and totally annoyed by her batty old mom. And me? I’ll just be…grateful.
What are you grateful for?2 comments Add Your Own
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Happy Friday! How has your week been? The last two weeks have flown by for me because I’ve been taking an Instagram Bootcamp. I’ve always loved design and telling stories through visuals, but I’ve never taken any classes to help me manifest this. This class has been so fun and really riveting for me. I’m really grateful to the women who put it together and have shared their creativity and knowledge.
I’m going to be making some changes and consistently adding more food and yoga two my feed – because, let’s face it, these are my two obsessions. I’d love to see you on IG, so feel free to share your feed in the comments or give me a follow! (My feed is: instagram.com/andreaferretti)
And now, for some gratitude. I’m grateful for:2 comments Add Your Own
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I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately – about consciously thanking my body for all that it does. When you’re diagnosed with cancer, it’s easy to feel like your body has betrayed you. Like it’s been sneaking around behind your back, hanging out with rogue cells in alleyways making dirty deals. It’s a horrible feeling, that.
But my whole cancer experience has reset my priorities, which means that my time on the mat is now nonnegotiable. And so, I’ve been spending a lot of time feeling all the great things that my body can do and these are the things I want to focus on.
Before I begin my thank you note, I’m going to apologize for my past transgressions. In part because, despite what my writing might portray, I want you to know, dear readers, that I’m really not all hearts and flowers all the time. And also, by acknowledging the crappy stuff I’ve done to my body, I’m hoping that I can let it go (and my cells can, too) forever.
Ahem. Where do I begin? It seems like I have to begin loooong ago, back in my late teens and early twenties since that seems to be when my poorest choices were made. So here goes: Sorry about all those French fries (although the jury’s still out, I feel twinges of guilt for those high school McDonald’s runs). Sorry for drinking alcohol. Like ever. I’ve never been a big drinker, but that doesn’t seem to matter with the type of breast cancer I had. Sorry for bumming cigarettes at college parties and for my (past) love of cakes, cookies, ice cream, and cannolis. Do I need to atone for that tanning booth experiment that one time? Let’s just say it was the 80s and we were pulling out all the stops for prom. And we didn’t know any better.
In spite of all that—through fat times and thin times, good hair days and bad, you’ve continued to be there for me. So, I thought I’d thank you, publicly. Here goes:
Thank you to my heart for beating and reminding me that I’m alive
Thank you to my belly for moving up and down when I breathe in Savasana
Thanks to my toes for feeling the sand squoosh beneath them
Thanks to my face for feeling the sun shine on it
Thanks to my arms for being so great at hugging
Thanks to my legs for running and skipping and hopping
Thanks to my hips for wiggling and having dance parties with my two year old
Thanks to my vocal chords for making it possible to sing
Thanks to my ears for being able to hear music
Thanks to my wrinkles. If I’m being really honest, I have to admit I don’t like looking at you. But, you remind me that I’ve lived and and that I have gained some wisdom since the tanning booth incident.
Thanks to my blood and lymph and all of those other elements that come together and make sure that my body keeps on keepin’ on each day
Thanks to my musculo-skeletal system for firing up so that I can do yoga and feel what it means to be embodied
Thanks to my taste buds for giving me so much pleasure
Thanks to my brain for being able to process all of this. Sometimes you are too clever for your own good and you make things far too complicated. But all in all, I’m impressed by your hard work.
And finally, a big shout out to my eyebrows. Because, have you seen my eyebrows? I just really love the shape of my eyebrows.
Thank you. Thank you. Just thank you.20 comments Add Your Own
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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.