HOW TO DEAL WHEN YOU GET YOUR DREAM JOB … AND YOU HATE IT

What do you do when your “dream job” turns out to be a nightmare? Jamie Graber tells Ruby Warrington how she finally realized it was okay to just walk away …

When Jamie Graber launched Gingersnaps Organic, the NYC restaurant and juice bar that became a favorite of raw foodies, celebrities and media alike, it felt like her dharma. Born and raised in NY, she felt it was working for Rawvolution on the West Coast that had helped her heal from a collage eating disorder, and finally develop a healthy relationship with food. Now she was helping others learn about the healing joy of food, too.

As a venue for regular high-vibe events (like Jamie’s weekly salons on the teachings from A Course in Miracles), her business also became a place to curate a community of like-minded seekers, while a move to a chichi West Village location in 2015 sent the signal that business was booming. A book, Juice It, Blend It, Live It, published later that year, cemented Jamie’s position as a leading figurehead of New York’s healthy eating scene.

So when she made the snap decision to shut up shop this summer, friends and industry figures alike were left reeling. What business disaster or personal tragedy could be behind her sudden move?

In reality, it had been a long time coming—even if Jamie herself didn’t see it. On the surface, she had built a life and a career that looked like a dream come true. Behind the scenes however, the relentless daily grind of managing a restaurant business had left her strung out, back in her eating disorder, and feeling like a prisoner in her own life. And yet, “I never even entertained the idea that I could just walk away.”

Sitting down to chat about her transition to a full-time coaching business this fall, she told me how: “part of the problem was that Gingersnaps had become my identity. Closing it would mean starting over, on every level.” Because where do you go, when the career you thought was everything you wanted, turns out to be the opposite?

Outside Gingersnaps West Village location

I found myself asking this question before I left my “dream job” on the Sunday Times Style magazine in the UK. And I’ve also found myself asking it since creating The Numinous, at times when my passion project has begun to feel more like a ball and chain. My point being that co-creating (with the Universe) a career that truly lights you up is a constant work in progress. Not to mention a privilege that deserves your full commitment.

As our own lives and needs shift, so will the work we find inspiring. And as we grow and develop as individuals, so will what we have to offer. When it comes to our profession, this will likely require multiple course-corrections as we seek to stay true to our path—even if it means “giving up” things we feel we’ve worked so hard for.

For anybody facing a similar career-crisis, Jamie’s story brings up several key areas for some honest self-enquiry. Read on if you’re ready to quit hitting snooze on living the life of your dreams—you owe it to yourself and those you seek to serve …

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QUESTION: DOES MY WORK MAKE ME FEEL POWERFUL?
“Looking back, I can see how I created a business where I wasn’t feeling powerful, because I didn’t actually want to be making food. Could I make the food? Absolutely. But I am not a chef. I’m amazing at tonics, I’m amazing at smoothies. But what people wanted to order at my restaurant was not necessarily that. What Gingersnaps was known for was not really what I wanted to be doing.”

QUESTION: IS WORK STRESS HAVING A KNOCK-ON EFFECT ON MY HEALTH?
“And then the eating stuff came back. In 2016 I had a book out, and it was all juices and smoothies. Writing it meant I gave myself the excuse to go on all liquids, because I had to recipe test. That summer, that is all I had. I probably lost 20 lbs. Eating disorders are all about control, and I felt completely out of control at Gingersnaps. So I chose to control my diet instead.”

QUESTION: WHO IS YOUR ‘SEEING IS BELIEVING’?
“I met my coach, Lacy Phillips from Free and Native, at a lecture. She wasn’t all sparkles. She talked a little bit about the darkness, and I liked that. In our first session, she asked me, ‘Who is your seeing is believing?’ And I told her ‘No-one.’ She asked again, ‘So you don’t see anyone doing what you’re doing that you can aspire to be like? Amanda from Moon Juice? Marcus from Juice Press?’ Again, I told her, ‘No.’ I realized that what I was doing did not exist as my dream job.”

QUESTION: WHAT IS IT THAT TRULY LIGHTS ME UP?
“So I wrote a list. What is it that lights me up? What is it that makes me happy? And then I wrote another list of the things I was doing every day. And it became very, very clear to me, that these were two completely different lists. That even in my best-case scenario, even on my very best days at Gingersnaps, this was still was not it. When Lacy asked me, ‘so what if Gingersnaps is not it?’ I realized for the first time I could actually just walk away. It felt like a 50lb weight had been lifted from my chest.”

QUESTION: WHAT IF IT WASN’T ABOUT THE MONEY?
“When I told my landlord, he offered me a 50 per cent rent reduction for six months. For a restaurant in New York’s West Village, that is a substantial amount of money! I could have taken this as a sign to stay, but actually it meant nothing to me, because it wasn’t about the money. I realized I wasn’t doing it for the money—and that wasn’t even important to me. It was when it became a really solid no.”

QUESTION: ARE YOU IN IT FOR YOUR EGO?
“Part of the problem was, Gingersnaps had become my identity. Lots of celebrities were doing our cleanses, and as the owner of Gingersnaps I got invited to everything, you know? I was going to have to deal with the fact that I would have to start over, in a sense. I had to really wrap my head around the idea that I no longer had an answer to, ‘so, what do you do?’”

QUESTION: WHAT DO I LOVE ABOUT MY CURRENT JOB?
“One thing I did enjoy on list of daily tasks, was talking to the customers. It would wind up coaching them, and I loved seeing the change I could have on people. That I could get them to see things differently. Ironically, food was rarely part of those conversations. I think what I really wanted was a community, and a learning space. After all, I was a philosophy major at college. Clearly, this was where I was supposed to be going.”

QUESTION: WHAT WORK DOESN’T FEEL LIKE WORK TO ME?
“I actually have a lot of guilt now, because the work I do doesn’t feel like work. We live in this paradigm where work and play are separate, which reinforces the subconscious belief that we’re not supposed to ‘enjoy’ our work. My husband reminds me that the fact my work no longer feels like work is because I’ve finally aligned with what I’m supposed to be doing. And I think that’s so important. Really recognizing that our work can absolutely be something we truly love to do.”

A Certified Reiki Healer, Certified Yoga instructor, Gabrielle Bernstein Spirit Junkie Coach and Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) graduate, Jamie now works with clients on a one-to-one basis. Discover more about her and her work at Organicallyjamie.com.

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.