JAMIE GRABER: NOURISHED BY MIRACLES

Working with metaphysical text A Course In Miracles has helped Gingersnaps Organic founder Jamie Graber enjoy every step of her journey – anxieties and all. She shares how…Images: John von Pamer

It can sometimes feel like all roads to spiritual awakening lead back to A Course in Miracles – a channelled, self-study workbook perhaps made most famous by the likes of Marianne Williamson and Gabriel Bernstein, who both reference the teachings of ACIM heavily in their own work.

Most recently, the classic text popped up on our radar thanks to a weekly study group that meets at chic West Village juice bar Gingersnaps Organic. Inspired by founder Jamie Graber’s own journey with the teachings of ACIM, here she shares how the Course has helped her re-imagine her relationship with food and step fully into her life purpose…

The Numinous: When did you discover A Course In Miracles?
Jamie Graber: I discovered ACIM three years ago through Gabby Bernstein, who I met when she used to come and get juice when Gingersnaps was in the East Village, near her apartment. I was questioning a lot of stuff in my life at the time, and the Course helped me realize I could see things a different way. In turn, this helped me see that I had power over any situation.

TN: What inspired the ACIM study group at Gingersnaps?
JG: Because it was always my vision to have my restaurant be a place of community. I also noticed that the more I talked about ACIM, the better I felt, so I thought having the weekly meetings would be a beautiful way to start giving back. An amazing woman name Anne Marie Imperiale leads the class, an incredible coach who uses the Course in her work. We meet every Monday from 8-9pm, the class is free, and people come early to gather and connect. I love it.

TN: Why do you think the teachings of the Course resonate with so many people?
JG: Because because they give YOU the power. It’s not about idolizing or following rules, it’s about remembering that ultimately we hold all the power over how we see things. If we accept this and choose to really live in it, we begin to see that we have the answer for everything within us. The Course really teaches how to live in love and not fear, and who doesn’t want that!

TN: Can you give an example of this from your own life?
JG: My journey with Gingersnaps Organic actually began with a massive fear around food. I was extremely uncomfortable with my body, unable to embrace or love it, to the point I would actually say I say I hated my body. But out of that, I found raw food and plant based living, which in turn led me to discover my passion in life and to really be able to experience joy around food. I even married a meat-eating chef, and my favorite thing these days is to travel the world eating amazing food with him!

TN: So how has the Course helped you heal your relationship with food specifically?
JG: The lessons helped me realize my illusions about food were just that: illusions. For example, the idea that eating food would automatically make me fat and grotesque to everyone around me. At the time, I was 5 7″ and 85lbs, but when I looked in the mirror, all I saw was fat. In hindsight, I can see this was insane – but at the time, the the illusion felt very real to me.

TN: What’s been your key take-away from the teachings?
JG: That when I’m uncomfortable or going through something tough, I know it’s because I’m in a place of transition and that I have to make a change – and there’s an incredible sense of ease that comes along with that. Also that while often healing hurts, and feels uncomfortable at first, the more you’re willing to push through discomfort, the faster you will come out the other side to a place of joy and freedom that you didn’t even know existed.

TN: And what’s your very favorite lesson from ACIM?
JG: There’s one I love so much I actually set it as a reminder on my phone every night:

“Those who are certain of the outcome can afford to wait and wait without anxiety”

We often think we know what’s best for us, and have an idea of exactly what that should look like. We give a lot of power to this vision, and when things don’t go exactly as we “wanted,” we can lose faith and become anxious that we’re never going to get what we want. True faith believes that we are taken care of. We have to understand that we can’t always see the path ahead – but that if we have faith that everything we encounter is actually a gift, then we can enjoy every step of the journey.

Reaching the “destination” isn’t worth it for me any more if the journey is filled with anxiety and fear, so when I’m stressing about something, I will often read this lesson and mediate on it, remembering I am protected, and that everything is for my best interest. When I first opened the space in the East Village, I was a ball of fear and anxiety, so every day there was torture. I had no faith, and only frustration that things didn’t look like I thought they would.

Having Gabby and The Course in my life really took me back to my childhood, when I believed and trusted. I was the little girl waking up early before school to clear my crystals and talk to Spirit, and when I first opened up Gingersnap’s Organic, I had forgotten that. Opening up in the West Village has been completely different. I’ve done it with ease and trust, and chosen to just let things play out. Even when anxiety sets in, using my tools from ACIM, I am able to release it and actually enjoy waiting for how I want things to be.

Juice It, Blend It, Live It: Over 50 Easy Recipes to Energize, Detox, and Nourish Your Mind and Body by Jamie Graber is out now.

MARIANNE WILLIAMSON INTERVIEW: RECLAIMING THE POWER OF THE FEMININE

“Women ourselves have bought into this idea of ‘feminine’ as meaning ‘weaker’…” Jo Becker‘s Marianne Williamson interview speaks to what it means to be woman and a spiritual activist.

 

Marianne Williamson is a powerhouse. The fierce voice of modern spirituality shares her love-driven ideas on how to heal America far and wide: she’s written four New York Times #1 bestsellers, chats with Oprah on the regular, and even ran for Congress in 2013. To me, she embodies the future of feminine leadership and spiritual activism.

I’m inspired by her eloquent commitment to heart-centered change. Years before I read her books, I heard her life-changing statement from A Return to Love, the quotation she is now famous for:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I caught up with her at an Institute of Noetic Sciences conference. Astronaut Edgar Mitchell founded IONS back in 1973 after experiencing samadhi during the flight back to earth. Since then, IONS has been devoted to bringing together science and spirituality. I see Marianne Williamson as similarly groundbreaking in her work: she joyfully and relentlessly marries political activism with spiritual awareness.

The Dalai Lama said, “The world does not need more successful people. The world desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of all kinds.” Personally, I think the world needs successful peacemakers, healers, and lovers; and numinous women like Marianne Williamson are shining examples.

A lot of people think that “spiritual activism” is a contradiction. What would you say to them?
Spiritual activism is a change in thinking: from a mental filter of fear to a mental filter of love. Given that thought is the causal level of all experience, active thought and change of thought is the most powerful force in the Universe.

Earlier today, a scientist was talking about how information, as in data, is only 10% of what causes people to actually change their behavior. And we have the data. We know what climate change is doing, we know how dangerous nuclear power is. We have the data on what violence on television and video games is doing to young people’s brains, we have the data on the carcinogens that are in the air…So why is it that “knowing the data” isn’t enough to make us change?

What makes us change comes from a deeper place, and that’s what spiritual activism is. It’s when something of the spirit, of the heart, becomes active in our thinking, and our thinking gets lit up. Because the mind itself can be used for purposes of love or purposes of fear, so spiritual activism is when we seek to do whatever it is we do from a place of love and with the intention of love.

And I’m talking about the love with which the mother lion protects her cubs. The love with which the adult female [and some males] of any species that survives and thrives exhibits fierce behavior when she senses that her cubs are threatened. So the marginalization of spirituality, the minimization of love as force, is just part of the ego mind’s propaganda.

Do you resonate with what the Dalai Lama said: “the Western woman will save the world?”
Of course I resonate with it, but with all due respect to the Dalai Lama, I don’t think we need any man’s verification. I have a bit of a problem with the fact that we’re quoting a man to affirm our own power. I have the same great respect and reverence for His Holiness as anyone, but come on girls! I think what’s most important is that you say it. And I say it. Because we are affirming what we are doing: that this world is changing because we say so. Because we say so.

You’re doing a lot of work right now with balancing masculine and feminine energies in women. Why is this important to you?
It’s such a significant issue. I am a product of the 1970’s wave of feminism—obviously the women’s movement is a wonderful thing, obviously I consider myself a feminist. But there is what I think of as a flawed strain of feminism, through which we actually suppressed the feminine in the name of feminism. And we embodied in many cases the archetype of Athena. She goes out there, she goes into the world, she manifests, she makes things happen.

But we get to embody as many energies, i.e. goddesses, as we choose, and Aphrodite is important as well. She embodies romance and beauty and pleasure, and I think many women, myself included have had a lot of psychic scars from buying into the belief that cultivating the masculine side of ourselves was actually more important than cultivating the feminine side.

I also think a lot of women have come to a very confusing point in their lives, realizing ‘I made this happen’ or ‘I made that happen.’ ‘I had these professional goals—some of which I’ve manifested, some of which I haven’t.’ But when are the other areas of my life, which are just as important to me, going to occur? Old wise women don’t get pregnant.

I’ve seen a lot of young women particularly deeply saddened, even traumatized, by the fact that while they feel they’re on some track professionally, their relationships, and child-bearing and deeper issues of cultivation of the family and romance have become…it’s like women are standing there saying, ‘How did I become clueless in this area?’ And then not only ‘How did I become clueless?’ but ‘What are the clues?’ They’ve become lost.

Inviting in the Aphrodite energy of love, pleasure, beauty – what does that look like in a woman?
The integration of the Aphrodite and the Athena in my own life has been so important. I think obviously we’re all masculine, we’re all feminine, but women are here to major in feminine. It’s part of honoring our incarnation not to sideline something so fundamental to our being. And women ourselves have bought into this idea of ‘feminine’ as meaning ‘weaker’ without knowing it. Not women as weaker, but feminine attributes as weaker. I think many of us are seeking to reclaim lost pieces of ourselves, scattered pieces of ourselves.

What advice do you have for young women?
I think my biggest advice to young women would be, ‘enjoy it while you got it.’

And not try to be the ‘wise woman’ before your time?
The decades of life are like different rooms in the house. I have a daughter, early childhood, junior high, tween, high school college, now she’s a woman on her own. None of those phases is more or less magnificent than any other. And being in your 20s is fantastic, so be in your 20s when you’re in your 20s. Being in your 50s is fantastic; being in your 60s is fantastic. With every phase you lose something and you gain something. Be where you are when you’re there.

Having said that, I think something good is happening among American women. We’re starting to catch up, and we need to. We’ve not been the most mature group compared to women in other societies. And we’ve acted like we’re clueless regarding the suffering of women around the world, particularly at the hands of our own government in too many cases. We decry the policies towards women of a place like Saudi Arabia and for good reason, but when we invade countries that didn’t do anything to hurt us, a lot of the people who are dying in such invasion are women and their children.

So this is not a time for women of any age to be ditzy. This is a time to be deep. But I see many women of all ages seeking greater depth and it’s inspiring.

 

How do you think we can start to wake up to the suffering of others without dismissing it as ‘other people’s karma’?
Oh please! What a brilliant ego device that is. It might be that person’s karma to be starving, but it is my karma to give them food. Their karmic challenge might be that challenge; my karmic challenge is to help those who suffer that way. The ego is brilliant at coming up with excuses for not helping. There is no serious spiritual path, and there never has been, that gives any of us a pass at addressing the suffering of other sentient beings.

Now, get sucked in by it? Absolutely not. But there’s a difference between denial and transcendence. If you don’t even look at it, you’re not in transcendence. You’re in denial. But if you look at it and practice positive denial, which is: I deny the power of this phenomenon to continue. Why? Because I said so. Because I’m gonna do something about it. Because I know other people are gonna do something about it and we’re gonna make sure this ends. That’s positive denial.

Do you have a daily spiritual practice?
I am a student of A Course in Miracles. The course is 365 days of lessons; mine today is, ‘I will be still an instant and go home.’ Yesterday was, ‘I trust my brothers who are one with me.’ It’s a specific curriculum for dismantling a thought system based on fear, and accepting instead a thought system based on love. So spiritual exercise becomes like physical exercise. You are rebuilding your body, but with spiritual exercise you are honing your attitudinal musculature, just like in yoga. You want the correct position in your attitude, just like in your body. With physical exercise, you are developing your physical muscles so you can be strong and run. In spiritual exercise you are developing your capacity to be still. Your capacity for impulse control.

What practical applications does this have? It means there is a greatly diminished probability that you will send the frickin’ text that you will regret for six months. It diminishes the possibility you will say or do something or push the send button that will so sabotage a relationship or work situation or whatever. It diminishes the possibility that you will be so distracted by the meaningless chaos of the world that you will not be able to show up fully as a fully actualized human. We wake up in the morning and we take a shower because we want yesterday’s dirt to be cleansed off our bodies, but if you don’t meditate or pray, you might not be cleaning yesterday’s dirt from your mind. So internal purification is as important as external purification.

Marianne Williamson’s The Aphrodite Training began October 23 2015 and will continue to be available via live stream through October 25 2015. Get all the details and sign up here.

SOUL FOOD #2: A NUMINOUS READING LIST FOR 2015

Feed your mind, and the rest will follow…The 16 books in this Numinous reading list are guaranteed to rock your worldview, heal your life, and feed your soul.

:: Ruby Warrington ::
“As soon as I heard about Russell Brand’s Revolution, I knew I had to read it. I’m a bit obsessed with how Russell has reinvented himself, and gone from ridiculous if charismatic addict and Hollywood wannabe, to bone fide Now Age guru – it reeks of a genuine spiritual awakening. His experience of this, told through the filter of his pop culture background, his intelligence, and with his entertaining way with words, is positioning him as one of the voices with the potential to really cause a shift in consciousness at a very mainstream level. The book is every bit as brilliant as I’d hoped, as entertaining as it is profound and agitating.”

:: Erin Telford ::
Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing by Caroline Myss was the first game changer for me. I read it in high school. I grew up in a total hippie household and we would get crystal therapy when we were sick and my parents had a guru, so this lifestyle was very comfortable to me but it wasn’t something that I had consciously chosen. It was just what I knew from my family. When I read Anatomy of the Spirit it was my first personal connection to the idea that we could heal our own bodies and that the Western medical system wasn’t the only model…was in fact a very poor and deficient model for healing. The concept of “dis-ease” blew my mind wide open because it just made so much sense. It opened me up to the vastness of what we could do as individuals to self heal.”

:: Alexandra Roxo ::
“The book Be Here Now changed my life greatly at age 19. I saw that this world was merely a TV screen, a matrix of lights, all a constructed illusion, and how everything works together. I learned about food, karma, God…and something clicked. The knowledge Ram Dass spoke touched my soul and awakened existing wisdom within my heart. It was the first major awakening I had, and I remember thinking: “YES. Finally.” In 2014 I decided to listen to all of his talks on my iPhone and was re-inspired,10 years later.”

:: Erica Jago ::
What We Ache For: Creativity and the Unfolding of Your Soul by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, my dear friend who is a therapist and shaman. He shared the poem, “The Invitation,” with me and I wept. It was the first time I acknowledged and felt my own depth, and from that point forward my own personal healing began.”

:: Madeline Giles ::
The Master’s Touch: On Being a Sacred Teacher for the New Age by Yogi Bhajan. Yogi Bhajan was not a man. He was an avatar in a human suit – I guess we all are in some sense, but Yogi Bhajan was wide awake to it and the technology he transmitted to us is guaranteed (with consistent practice) to make you happy, healthy, and holy. Need I say more?”

:: Dani Katz ::
Right Use of Will: Healing and Evolving the Emotional Body. Hands down. No question. Right Use of Will came into my life several years ago, when I was heavily into ayahuasca, and tons of shamanic endeavors. It’s a channelled book – supposedly straight from the mouth of God – that lays out right and aligned third chakra relating. I take all channelled material with a grain of salt, but this book vibes high and true, and resonates on way too many levels for me to NOT take it to heart. It’s all about power – personal power, relational power, cultural power – what constitutes a distortion, and what serves the individual and the collective together. Since reading it, I move through life with a very clear certainty about how to exercise my own personal power with others and the world at large, while also being clear as to when others are out of line in how they are wielding their power with me/the world. It has since smoothed out my every human relationship, because I am clear as to what is right relating, as regards to will, and what isn’t. Armed with this knowledge, I know immediately when others are overcompensating for an underdeveloped third chakra, and can thus engage them in ways that support their empowerment.”

:: Sarah Hay ::
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein, Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet by Mark Lynas, and When A Billion Chinese Jump: How China Will Save Mankind — Or Destroy It by Jonathan Watts – these three books changed my life in 2014, and I believe that until people have read the information contained in them they will be functioning from a place of confusion, unknowing ignorance and powerlessness. Every single world event we are seeing today, from recent events of extremism in Paris, Nigeria and Syria, to extreme weather flashes in Gaza and the Philippines and water shortages in Yemen, plus extreme energy extraction in Canada, the US and the UK are all connected. We have the power to change everything, and climate is the one issue that’s teaching me this every single day.

:: Betsy Cohen ::
The book I feel every women should read is Make Every Man Want You by Marie Forleo. Marie is a huge hearted genius. Not many people know that this book exists, and when I read it I thought: “This is everything that I’ve been channelling through readings (in my work as a professional psychic medium) for the past four years about relationships all in one place!” I always tell people I hate the title but LOVE the book.”

:: Sarah Durham Wilson ::
“Shortly after my awakening four years ago, I remember being in a bath tub on a horse farm on Martha’s Vineyard and reading Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book), and watching my life change in the air around me. A wonderful human handbook, for certain.”

:: Jennifer Kass ::
A Course In Miracles. I always tell my clients it’s the template for reality. After knowing the basic spiritual truth that only love is real and fear is an illusion, we can drop everything we hear, think, learn into that template and know what’s real and what’s false, what will best serve us and what will not. Discovering the truth of reality freed me from fear and activated my own ancient love and knowledge within and allowed me to step into my divine life mission and become who I really am.”

:: Victoria Keen ::
“It would have to be…The Holographic Universe: The Revolutionary Theory of Reality. I discovered it a couple years ago in my studies about Sound and the nature of reality, and it is a thorough and fascinating investigation into the gaping blind spots in modern science. It brings to light, in a very succinct and easily comprehensible way, a scientific paradigm for truly understanding our connectivity and the power our thoughts have on shaping ‘physical reality’. This books lays the ground work for all energetic medicine, and I am so grateful it exists!”

:: Raquel Griffin ::
“HANDS DOWN, Marianne Williamson’s The Law of Divine Compensation: On Work, Money, and Miracles. I discovered it a little over a year ago and it totally changed my life…..it’s the definition of a GAME-CHANGER. This book completely redefined how I thought about money, work – and miracles for that matter. Marianne clearly illuminates the spiritual aspect of money (i.e. that money and spirit are linked), which is absolutely key to understanding and ultimately breaking the lack cycle. I honestly believe if every human lived by the concepts she elucidates in this book, our world would be a VERY different place.”

:: Sophie Teakle ::
“Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. I have listened to this more than once as a recording, and find new meanings every time. I’m also in the process of rereading The Kybalion which has such astounding depth and profundity I know it will be at my side for a life time, its meanings changing as I too grow and evolve.”

:: Laurie Di Biagio ::
The Alchemist. 18 months ago, this book opened my eyes to my own purpose – the fact that I too was on my own personal pilgrimage to the pyramids. That life is lived through the heart, not the head. And that what the heart tells you…you must follow. It came to be at the exact time it was meant to, as weeks later I embarked on a life of entrepreneurship.”