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.

 

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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

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5 Ways To Stay Committed To Your Goals

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Years ago, Gingersnap’s Organic, my plant-based cafe in Manhattan, was just a far-fetched dream.

I dreamed of creating healing, vibrant foods. I dreamed of sharing the power of plant-based eating with others. I dreamed of bringing a wholesome, holistic view of health to the people of New York.

But it felt like an impossible dream. It felt too big for me. It felt too far beyond my reach.


You’ve felt this way before, right? Maybe you’re sitting in this feeling right now. Dreaming of leaving your cubicle job. Dreaming of a ‘round-the-world trip. Dreaming of a healthy, strong body. Dreaming of writing your memoir.

Dreaming, but never doing.

Too often, we let our brightest dreams die.

Sometimes, we never even start pursuing our far-off goal, and our bright vision gradually fades. Other times, we leap into action at the first spark of inspiration...only to give up when the work has barely begun.

It’s painful, isn’t it? To hold space a dream inside for years, only to see it never happen? Only to let doubt and distraction kill your passion? Only to fail, again and again and again?

You’re not alone. You’re capable and deserving of reaching your biggest, scariest goal.

Every day, I work with my clients to overcome mental blocks, clear destructive patterns, and bring their dreams into reality.

Here are five tools I give them to help them reach their goals:

THE ONLY LIMIT TO YOUR IMPACT IS YOUR IMAGINATION AND COMMITMENT
— TONY ROBBINS

1. SPEAK YOUR GOALS

Stop holding your goals, your dreams, and your truths in silence. Talk about what you want to create in your life.

There is great power in speaking your goals. Voicing your dreams opens you up to collective support, forward momentum, and unexpected synchronicity.

When I decided to open Gingersnap’s Organic, I started to talk about what I was doing before I even had a plan. These conversations opened into providential connections I never would have imagined.

Through these conversations, I met a realtor (who showed me spaces for the cafe), a New York Times editor (who wrote a publicity feature), and a chef (who helped develop our raw, vegan recipes).

A million connections later, Gingersnap’s was born. Can you imagine what connections you’re missing by keeping your dream in silence?

 

2. FIND ACCOUNTABILITY FOR YOUR GOALS

Right now, the finish line is miles away. Achieving your goal is a long journey, and you need support and encouragement along the way. Don’t try to do this alone.

You need someone who will cheer you on, ask you the hard questions, and be honest with you in the middle of the mess. 

One word of caution: sometimes, it’s safer to choose an accountability person who is a step outside of your inner circle. This gives them objective distance, and protects you from the potential conflict of working with your best friend or partner.  

3. PRIORITIZE YOUR GOALS

Don’t get ahead of yourself. You have a long road ahead of you, and you’ll get overwhelmed and discouraged if you try to plan, consider, and accomplish everything at once.

Your next book or your new business won’t be birthed overnight—and my cafe certainly wasn’t!

Allow the process to take time, and focus on one step at a time.

Write a list, in order, of the steps involved, so that you can clear your head. Then, focus one one small goal at a time. And keep your eyes on that one small goal, instead of allowing the stress of all the steps combined to overwhelm you.

For example, if you’re trying to find a new job (which might take months) don’t worry about handing in your two week notice before you’ve rewritten your resume, honed your skills, or applied for a new job.

One step at a time.

4. STRUCTURE YOUR GOALS

Your initial spark of motivation, excitement, and inspiration won’t last forever. Along the way to reaching your goal, there will be many distractions and moments of doubts.

In those moments, you’ll be tempted to abandon the project you were once so excited about.

To push through this resistance, embrace structure and discipline as tools that will help you make your dream a reality.

Structure can take different forms, depending on your personality and your goal—you can set appointments with yourself, schedule “goal” time into your daily calendar, or create rituals that help you stay on track.

For example, if you are trying to be more active, you might schedule four workouts into your weekly calendar. Then, treat these sessions as unbreakable appointments.

Even on days when you’re not feeling well, look for creative ways to honor your commitment. Maybe, instead of an intense workout, you spend that time meditating, taking a bath, or going for a slow walk...anything that keeps you aligned and true to your goal. 

This scheduled time will help you show up and take action, even when you feel like abandoning the ship.  

Remember, The subconscious loves to throw distractions and reasons we can not complete our goals. When you are truly committed to your goals, you find a way to stay on track even during the "chaos" of life.

5. TAKE ACTION TOWARDS YOUR GOALS

So, friend, this is where the magic happens. But this is also where the fear shows up for most people. Trust me, I’ve been there.

Instead of getting overwhelmed by the hugeness of your goal, stay focused on your smaller priorities along the way.

Center your focus by writing down a few tiny action steps in a special journal every morning. Remember to be realistic and gentle with your expectations.

Writing down these small action steps creates momentum and moves your goal from your headspace into the real world.

Bonus: crossing off your actions steps each day will also lead to feelings of accomplishment—you’re getting shit done!  


If you’re ready to get serious about your biggest dreams + goals, you may want to welcome extra support into your life. Sounds dreamy? Let’s work together to open your perspective and create lasting change.

All of my coaching offerings are completely individualized, which means that there’s an option for you—whether you need energy healing to work through a mental block, intuitive coaching to help you create a detailed action plan, or a safe space to speak freely about your goals without judgment or fear. Click here to find out more.