Natalia Rae Kraft (aka Natalie, Nat) Passed away in her Larkspur creek side home with friends, family, and Karma kitty at her side at 12:08 p.m. Monday, July 21st, 2008. She was 42. Natalia embraced life to its fullest even during her journey with breast cancer over the past 3 1/2 years. Those whose lives intersected with hers remember her as warm, loving, inspiring, grateful, generous, caring, determined, persevering, real, alive, juicy, vibrant, funny, vivacious, unconventional, passionate and awake. She appreciated each day and had a gift for creating community and sharing her magical outlook and love of life with others. She leaves behind her parents, Don A. Kraft of Sarasota, FL and Martha L. Lee of Charlotte, NC, a sister, Sandy of Menlo Park, CA, and lots of friends whom she also considered family. Natalia was a Jersey Girl. She was born and raised in Madison, NJ and Winter Park, FL. She received a BA with majors in East Asian Studies and Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a MA in East Asian Studies from Stanford. For a decade Nat focused her life on Asia. She promoted international relations in a rural Japanese town, aided population and community development in Thailand, and managed projects for the Nautilus Institute, World Environment and Environmental Policy Centers. In the late 1990s, Natalia, a self-described Type A over achiever, began to direct her energies to mind/body studies, and self-discovery. She worked and pursued these studies full-time at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur. She also became a yoga teacher and a massage professional, ran marathons and started a sarong business in her spare time. She spent the final years of her life shining brightly and soaking up the beauty of her "peeps" and surroundings in Marin. She taught at The Yoga Studio in Larkspur and Mill Valley, led private yoga lessons and gave therapeutic massage. She loved living on Boardwalk One in Larkspur, dancing, singing loudly to every kind of music, and being present and alert for whatever life had store. Natalia left this world much earlier than she would have liked. She would have wanted to remind everyone of the importance of self-breast exams and mammograms, especially for women under the age of forty. She would also like to leave behind some advice: "go have a beautiful day each and every day", "breathe deeply", "take care of the planet and all the people on it", and above all, "all you need is love". She leaves behind an irrepressible spirit, lots of teachings, friends all over the world, and her booblog (blog) at www.beginwithin.net A Celebration of Natalia's Life will be held on September 20th, 2008 at 11:00 AM at the Stinson Beach Community Center.
Published by Marin Independent Journal on Sep. 19, 2008.