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Kate Bartolotta.

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Years before most of you became Elephant Journal readers, Kate Bartolotta was one of our three Managing Editors and most powerful and prolific writers, and a dear ally and friend in the early years after I had taken the leap from print magazine, to online.

Kate died, this morning.

As you’ll see if you read anything by her (and I recommend it), she was not only of Elephant’s greatest editors, but she commanded a powerful sweet sharp voice and used it for good. This little editor’s letter is dedicated to her.

In the early years online I went after awards so that we could validate our new business to advertisers. I blogged up a storm, every day. I worked maybe 16 hours a day, average, 7 days a week. I was infamous for bringing my laptop and working everywhere I ever went. I never traveled or skied or went on climbing trips or whatever else everyone in Boulder seems to always do, god bless ’em. I worked. After a few years, and with the help of Lindsey Block, and Colin Wiseman, I was able to hire a few folks. Kate was one of them. I think she started by volunteering. Bob Weisenberg was also a huge force, then.

You’ll get to know Kate best through her writing. Please take the time to find an article or two and get to know her. She’s alive and well and strong in her words.

But she was also an editor and a teammate, and those skills are harder to recapture. She was strong and kind and funny and sweet and nerdy and passionate and steady and…perhaps the best word to describe her is that, “and.” She was always more. Always extra. Always above and beyond.

I just checked our Facebook messages. We hadn’t been in touch for two years, when I’d messaged her, inviting her to write on Elephant again. We’d had a nice little conversation. Why hadn’t we been in touch? There might have been some hard feelings about something—her starting a site that, initially, was much like Elephant, similar mission, with many of her contacts and our writers. Business splits up many friendships.

On the other hand, her startup then was a reflection of how close our missions were aligned. She was a force for kindness and self-love and good—and I am ashamed at how out of touch we had become, and I miss her, today. But mostly I thank her, today—and I hope some of you will take the time to get to know her, and receive some of her generous gift.

And, finally, her too-soon passing is a lesson to me, and hopefully to you, that Death comes without Warning—to touch in with those you care about now, not later.


PS: I’ve used that little image of Kate because it’s the image she used in her own articles, in her bio, and it was all I knew of her for years as she became a star writer and then editor at Elephant. It’s how I remember her, now, despite having met her back in the day in NYC, at the Yoga Journal Conference, when we were working together.



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About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


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