A Year After My Life Changing Decision

JAMIE GRABER EAST Gingersnapsorganic.jpg

They say a lot can happen in a year.  February 1st, marks the 1 year anniversary of my life changing in a way I could have never imagined. I feel as if I’ve lived a lifetime over the past twelve months. It seems like there’s been too much change to fit in the container of a single year, and I open my journal to track the important dates.

I met Lacy Phillips, my expander and life changer, at an event at the end of last September. Within minutes of meeting her, I knew I wanted to work with her, so we scheduled an appointment for six weeks out—November 7th, 2016.

She told me to use the weeks before my appointment to really consider what I wanted to focus on and call in. And that’s when I started to get quiet. Carving out that reflection time wasn’t easy, or at least that is what I told myself...But I needed to do some deep internal work, if I was going to make the changes I needed to make.

And then, in November, we finally spoke. And she asked me casually, what if Gingersnap’s Organic wasn’t my purpose?  And the answers came pouring out of my soul, and I knew that my restaurant days were over. It was time to embrace a higher calling—to work with individuals to call in healing and transformation into their lives full time.

I gave notice to my landlord within a month.

PHOTO BY CAITLIN MITCHELL FOR A WILD DOVE

PHOTO BY CAITLIN MITCHELL FOR A WILD DOVE

Taking steps towards change by has been a pattern in my life. It started when I switched my major from business to philosophy (plus a minor in psychology) at nineteen years old. My dad wasn’t happy about it, but I knew I needed answers to all my questions about human nature, the mind, and relationships with myself and others.

As I dug into the inner workings of the human mind, I started to lose control over my own emotions and reactions. I got so trapped in my head, and each day felt painful to exist. I felt like there was no place for me. I just wanted to go away, disappear inside myself. 

In classes, I was learning about philosophy, and started really  battling my own mind.  I was  grasping for control in my relationship with food, and spending hours at the gym to fill this hole inside of me. I lost my self and tumbled deep into the darkness of depression, anxiety, and disordered eating. It was my darkest of dark.  

My problems didn’t magically disappear after college, even though I somehow thought they might. After graduating, I moved back to New York to live with my high school best friend. Maybe this sounds like every girl’s dream, but it was the exact opposite of what I needed. I yearned for new people, and a new (and true) identity, but I couldn’t escape the story of my adolescence. I was still struggling to find balance in my relationship with food, and the people around me were constant triggers for my anxiety, and insecurities.

 

Jamie Graber Surfing.jpg

In 2000 I knew I needed to make a big change, if I wanted to live a better life.  I took a leap of faith, quit my job, and moved out to Santa Monica—a place that felt like home even though I didn’t know a soul, except of course my own, for the first time. So, I tossed my Guccis and started walking barefoot in the sand.

In Santa Monica, I met my soul sister Heather, who would have me meet her on the beach at 5AM to practice this kooky thing called Kundalini. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew that I felt great. She reminded me of my childhood connection to spirit and trust. I rediscovered my love for crystals and candles and all things mystical. She would give me Reiki and we would talk about the mind for hours on end.

In searching for a place to understand myself deeper, I started my first yoga teacher training with Saul David Raye in 2004, and then went on to finish my 200-hour and 300-hour training with Annie Carpenter at YogaWorks in 2006.  It was in that work that I was able to dive deeper into my body, connecting with my breath and my energy. I began to understand the power of choice, acceptance, and perspective. 

Fast forward to 2008, and this California girl had faced many of her demons. She was ready to come home. Within in months of landing back home, I fell in love with a meat-and-gluten-loving chef—which was quite the surprise for this raw vegan. 

Being back in New York (and with my food-loving husband) inspired me to create a plant based restaurant. I loved the idea of creating healing foods and helping people live nourishing lifestyles. So I charged ahead and ignored my intuition. You see, from my previous experience running plant based restaurants in Los Angeles, I always knew I was building something I didn’t want to run.

Even after years of self-work and discovery, I still wasn’t ready to own my truth, my desires, and my true purpose.

 

A Course in Miracles Community Night

A Course in Miracles Community Night

It wasn't all bad, by any means.  The bright spots were my interactions with my incredible customers. I’d work with them to make food and lifestyle choices that fit their needs, and in these moments I felt alive. I started to coach them in my hours away from the cafe and  I KNEW  that was what I was born to do. We also held a weekly community night where we discussed A Course in Miracles,   Unfortunately, I spent most of my hours solving sourcing problems, managing staff, and dealing with the hectic energy of running a cafe in Manhattan.

And this brings us back to last fall. My lifetimes-ago moment that sparked real change. The last week of January marks one year. One year since I closed the doors to what I once thought was my dream career. One year since I started living my real dream: bringing healing and transformation to my clients through mind shifting and energy work.  This year has gone so fast, yet it seems like lifetimes have passed. Stepping into my purpose and power hasn’t been easy, but it couldn’t be more rewarding.

The transformation process—even good, necessary transformation—isn’t easy, though. For the first few months, I worried that I had lost my identity. At first, when people would ask me about Gingersnap’s or my career, I would skirt their questions or give vague answers. I didn’t feel like I could step into the power of owning that I was a full time coach.

It took a little while for me to fully embrace and step into my new life. It started with a lot of journaling and inner work. And then small, brave actions followed. There were other larger shifts, too. At Gingersnap’s, every day was fast-paced, chaotic, and anxiety-inducing. When I transitioned into full-time coaching, I realized that I needed to reframe my beliefs around work, productivity, and self-worth.

I had gotten used to working fourteen-hour days, and I felt lost, at first, in the sometimes slowness of my new lifestyle. At the root of this lost-ness was fear, of course. Fear of stepping outside of my comfort zone. Fear that if I showed up as myself, people would run away. Fear that I wasn’t good enough. There was nothing to hide behind this time. No staff, no cafe—just me, out there for the world to judge. To keep the voices of fear and depression at bay, I created healthy rituals to anchor my days. I knew I needed to get out of my head and into intuitive action to stay in a healthy headspace.

PHOTO BY CAITLIN MITCHELL FOR A WILD DOVE

PHOTO BY CAITLIN MITCHELL FOR A WILD DOVE

Over time, I found my own incredible space where I could see my local clients.  And yes, it looks just like the one I held in my vision for the months prior.  I kept pursuing education and growth:  These practices keep me on track, and keep me moving forward, and keep me serving my clients in new and powerful ways.

None of my journey is about slapping a positivity quote on every situation—this is about deeply changing the way I viewed my life and  circumstances so that I could welcome in change. Going back to my days of philosophy, I now understand on a deeper level that we do have power over our minds, as long as we build helpful practices and learn to get quiet. When we can get quiet, we can act from a place of choice, rather than reaction.  We can tap into the pain of our past and learn to release and learn from it.  Even thank it...

Sometimes I wake up and feel guilty...like I’m not working hard enough because I find such deep joy in what I do. I’ll end an afternoon filled with back-to-back appointments or workshops and feel more energized than I have in years. And I take self-care seriously, like it’s my job—and, in a lot of ways, it really is! I do the hard work within myself so that I can show up in the best way possible for the people that come into my life, including my clients. 

Finally, when I’m tempted to wonder why it took me so long to find my true self and my true calling, I consciously sink into gratitude. I thank each part of my journey—from my eating disorder to my time in California—for being a teacher, a lesson, and a test.

My life has been an amazing collection of gifts and opportunities. Every experience brought me to this place where I was ready to bring in a guide and make this beautiful leap. And, while Gingersnap’s brought stress and anxiety into my life for so many years, it also cracked me open to see my truest purpose. And I can’t help but be grateful for that being the greatest lesson of all.

A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which.
Lawrence Pearsall Jacks

jamie Graber Ego Eradicator.jpg