I'm soooo happy. I knew it wouldn't be a problem soon enough, but I finally got in with Whole Foods, an AWESOME company, which isn't easy because like NOBODY leaves, lol, and today I found out I could go full-time next week (if I wanted to, AND I DO! ) I really really enjoy working at Whole Foods! (Although memorizing all the little produce codes is a pain in behind a bit....more of a healthy challenge than anything, though.
It's been an interesting ride for me, to say the least. When I first found out about raw foods almost 8 yrs ago, I had been working in chiropractic almost 3 years, and learned a ton. I left to go to Creative Health Institute in Michigan for 7 months, after careful research....and because nobody at the Puerto Rico Institute could return a phone call, for weeks and weeks and weeks. I learned later that this is the par for most of these grassroots institutes. I was warned at CHI by an old-timer who now works for David Wolfe that people who do long-term energy exchanges there (and likely other places) usually end up worse off, not healthier, by the end. She had visited during summers off and on for years and years. Sadly, she was right. A lot of us were appalled, and the place has been deemed almost a negative vortex of sorts, considering all the bad luck, etc. I saw more than one person die, and at least a few were because although the diet works, with no instructors, guidance and being shortstaffed, people did not get the education they were paying for, pure and simple.
I met two people from Oregon, one in Eugene, one in Central Point, and was invited to head out west to help them set up their respective businesses. Chaotic and fun, I did just that....also working a great office job in Eugene for 2 1/2 years while running my own catering and educational service. Eugene is a hippie apex with no raw food restaurant. I made a killing. The girl I was originally helping to do the same thing simply couldn't grasp it, so we branched out. It was all good. Then I moved back to southern Oregon in order to get paid under the table and help them finally get their institute off the ground since they, after 4 years and weeks of trying, couldn't even put the menu together. We had already designed countless programs, which I love to do, so I quit my apartment, my health insurance and good office job plus my lucrative side income in order to help them achieve their goal.....and to continue saving for my trip to Thailand. After about 3 months into it there was 'suddenly' no money and they were bankrupt (which any business knows they are headed for before they invite people to come take part in getting it off the ground. You don't wake up $500,000 in debt!?). Everybody went back on their word after verbally excoriating me over their "staffing oversight" that endangered everybody there (well, her husband did in what I can only describe as "emotional rape", a very real thing, while she did nothing), bit by bit, and I was left screwed and hanging out with my supposed "best friend's" very embarrassed and apologetic kids, who I was still close with at the time. After everything I had put into it and the friendship we had, it was extremely gutting, but even that is an understatement. Still, what doesn't kill us makes us stronger, and I had my good times despite all, and took care of me as best as possible and counting the days until I was gone.
I was able to somehow go to Thailand still, regardless, yet for only 3 months instead of 6. And it was an amazing, enlightening experience. I wanted to change, and my prayers were answered, thank God. Thailand was awesome, despite the fact that while I was there 1 of my roommates and 1 of my neighbors were 400lbs and very very mean, angry people. I mean, sitting in the tropics at that weight MUST be incredibly uncomfortable. The female girl from Australia was very unstable and sat outside the gym and smoked all day in her black clothes, she was too self-conscious to work out, and instead stayed up all night talking to people, keeping the light on in our room when at least *I* wanted to go to morning training still, but it was getting more and more difficult with her around.....and I just moved and never lost my cool. I had a strong desire to avoid drama during this time, and just appreciated that this chick was miserable and I was nice to her. The Thais are beautiful people, and I loved spending time with them, not necessarily the spoiled and often ignorant Europeans, Americans and Australians (even though they were my friends too). I had a blast, and still keep in touch with my "Australian fling" After dating two LOSERS in a row ad dealing with their addictions and other idiosyncracies and of course their constant brokeness, I had had enough!! Dancing in Patong and kicking and punching (muay thai) was just what the doctor ordered, lol!
So....after Thailand I got my bearings together in Oregon (Eugene again) and drove back to the midwest in February of 2009, preparing to work at the nation's premier detox/fitness center for a guy I met five years earlier at Creative Health. The way he made it sound, the place was filling up every month, etc. It was in the middle of the country and was a fasting and fitness center using both eastern and western techniques for the detox. I helped run the detox, did all the administrative work, and designed and taught raw food prep weekends after the detox that went SMASHINGLY. So much fun!
However, my boss was running a fort that was teetering, about to fall over, at any time. He plagiarized his website right down to stuff we didn't even offer, he flirted shamelessly with the women there (he's married), he is not a certified or licensed personal trainer, his massage therapist is not licensed to be giving massages....the wheatgrass was moldy to the point where I would NOT cut it and serve it, the veggies weren't organic, and here the guests only got ONE 12oz juice a day, that's IT, so it was embarrassing that it wasn't organic (I think my actual response was "why not just give everyone a pepsi, then? It's healthier! Me and my way with words, LOL)
And of course - as usual - you work around the clock, every day, no matter what. And burn out. Again, as my friend told me, working in the field at these centers that are trying to get up and running is just not healthy at all, LOL! It's a lovely message to share, sure, and likely even lovelier when you have healed yourself and have more energy to help the guests more, but ultimately it's not worth your health, plain and simple. The GUESTS however, are usually awesome, and are what it's all about. I have lasting friends from all of these institutes and endeavors, always. But I also paid some heavy dues.
I left the fasting center suddenly in June when my boss promised me three times that the door to my room would be locked while I was gone a week because a bachelor party was staying there during that time (note: ew! LOL) and I stopped in after 2 days on my trip to South Carolina and some guy was staying in my 'hidden' room. *sigh* There were other instances, too, including the time I was sick in bed and laying down during down time, something he always encouraged me to do...and the first time I do it he comes in my bedroom (inappropriate) to tell me while I'm sick in bed a threat about my job security, which was entirely unfair. And mainly because I was 160lbs, which is pretty damn small on me, and he really wanted me to be at a 145 (I would NEVER do that, sorry), and so after only being there 2 weeks, he tells me he's questioning whether I'm "right" for the role, even though was working nonstop. Meanwhile, he eats tons of meat, aspartame, dairy, you name it. Drinks all the time, but as long as he LOOKS healthy thanks to his human growth hormones, etc, he doesn't care. He is all about looks only.
My boss was very untrustworthy, it turned out, and a couple days into my vacation at Hilton Head, he says he wants a copy of my weekend (mind you, I'm a subcontractor, not his "employee") because he may want to teach it one day. Whuh???? I told him that was all I had, and it was MINE. And we can work something out, perhaps, but he's not entitled to teach it as his, period, unless I give him permission, etc. It's more of a principle thing. I'll help anybody with anything, but this is how he operates: plagiarizing and copying and not being a licensed or certified anything. So I left over it. I know many lawyers, and intellictual property is a very real thing. He's greedy and lazy and ultimately a total bully. His friends, lol, all simply told him I was right. Because I am. Intellectual property is a very real thing. And it wasn't a big deal, but he was a real jerk about it, and I left. Period. Felt great. I passed up on opportunity to go teach in South Korea, and had decided NOT to open the juice bar at the gym in Thailand, although it was a VERY flattering offer, so I packed up, drove home to Chicagoland, and wondered WHAT brought me back HERE?
Immediately, without missing a DAY, I started working at Chicagolands premier raw restaurant, Borrowed Earth Cafe. What a great experience. And this restaurant is in the SUBURBS. Of meat and potato land! And people LOVE it. How INCREDIBLE. Just so exciting. But you know what? Restaurant work is still restaurant work no matter what. And I've avoided it thus far for a reason. So, I left. They had the help they needed (who I heard just stopped showing up! ) and I knew it wasn't the best match, ultimately. They wanted me to teach for them and all, too, but I didn't want to wait for that day. It just wasn't my cup of tea, and I could feel it was not a good match even though we all liked each other as people. It's all good; I see them shopping at Whole Foods, and we have a great time catching up. Good people, they are! So now I REALLY wanted to know WHY I was here in Chicsgoland, you know?
Anyways, my family said I could stay with them while I got on my feet again. I love being near my nephew and twin brother again, and I love being close to the greatest music scene ever: the Chicago blues scene! HERE'S THE STRANGE PART: I went to college 15 yrs ago, in Chicago, for music business management. So I know some of these blues dudes for 10 years now. And I finally met a NEW one, one whose name I'd seen a million times but never met for some reason, and his name is Pistol Pete. We met by chance. And here he lives in the suburbs, too, and is totally playing for the wrong crowds: he is a totally gifted Hendrix, I swear, has had quite a career, but really needs to break out into the college scene. So he's like "book me. I only want to play my guitar", and I'm like, "Heck YEAH I'll book you!", so right now I am excited to say his website will be done and up soon, as will his press kit, and I'll be making money off of my dear friend, Pistol Pete....whom I'll show you, LOL! He's just too rock and roll, man. In the best way possible.....
And, at this point, I'm simply putting up a new website with the writings I always wanted to have done and up, with 'activist' prices and all that good stuff. Some recipes, some information-based, but all fun, shorter (like cliff notes), and helpful to the GENERAL POPULATION, who I think is really more and more interested in this stuff with each increasing day. Some of my recipes may not be all raw, either. We'll see. I'm really really excited, and working at Whole Foods is great. It's a well-oiled machine, I learn a lot, I can grow, and I get a discount on my kombucha teas and everything else I could possibly want for recipe-making, etc. And I can even teach there sometime if I want. :-) FUN! And yet well-organized and lighweight. A positive, structured place with progressive values. I love it!
As far as $ goes, I temped a bit, got 3 job offers to run chiropractic offices again, which I THOUGHT I would love, but you know what? My spirit just said NO. I have no desire - after YEARS of it, including my years long ago in a chiro office - to harass people to keep their appointments, etc. I'm done with it. Just take care of yourself, do what you have to do, or DON'T. But I'm not going to be a professional mom anymore, explaining why you need to drink your wheatgrass, get an adjustment, trying to drag people in to make numbers so you can stay in operation. I just am done with being "that guy". It's not healthy, period. I don't give a s**t what anymore does anymore, period. I'll work on me, follow my pursuits, feel LIGHT for once, and enjoy my work. Happy when others are open to being healthier and I get to see it every day at Whole Foods, trust me, and it's awesome. But that is the extent of it. So I didn't take the jobs, held out, did xmas work at Kohls and started at Whole Foods a week later. Too fun!! I live life day to day now, no question about it. And am loving it.
So, oddly enough, I'm back here and will be able to pursue taking care of me while also working on some labors of love, plus can finally get involved in the music industry, which I'd be GREAT at because I'm SUCH a socialite, it's almost out of control....at least on the blues scene. Life is interesting how it works out, but I couldn't feel better and have no regrets. My life feels lighter without all the pressure of getting people to sign up for $1500 to $2200 week retreats in this economy, you know? And none of that is truly necessary, I've learned, anyways!?! You can do the same stuff at home, period. Any and all of it. I've been exposed to a ton, and I have a mind for it. I'm looking forward to putting it together MY way. Because I'm also tired only the "rich" being able to heal, more or less. It's simply not true.....but for the rest, you'll have to wait and see......
On top of it all, after months in the country, I'm dating a couple different guys! (2 right now) They both know, and I don't see them often, and when I do, all is well --- they are excellent friends first, without question, and just what the doctor ordered. But yeah, it's nice, I can't lie, LOL! Good men who adore me and treat me awesome. Love it! I'm still "single", but not looking of course......
So this should have perhaps been posted in Journeys, not sure. Mainly it's a random update, which I've been meaning to do. But I just put it in the hanging out area because while I could go into a lot psychology and personal crap I sorted through, it likely can just be assumed by the nature of the post. I'm just sort of filling in the events that have led me to the perfect job situation, which all came together today for me. (Yay!) I have my share of struggles at times, this year has been tough, but I know it's all an investment and I will get by and then some in due time. So no worries here. My only---or rather, my FAVORITE---social life, after all, is the blues club scene, and I don't have to pay for any of those, THANK GOD! I'm excited about all of these opportunities, designing websites, following my heart, feeling lighter and happier than I have in years, and am excited about my plans. 2010 is going to be AWESOME! Especially since I'm becoming such a little 'exercise fiend', which is great. I really got burned out from raw foods, the movement, etc. And understandably so.
Without further ado, a few visual aids to support my story, LOL!
Me in Chicago this summer with Vance Kelly and his brother John, his keyboardist.
Me with Lindsay Alexander, one of Chicago's premier blues artists - and TRULY (ahem) "one of a kind", LOL!
I still kept all the beautiful friends I met while at the detox center, even if the owner got all wierd with me and was clearly a time bomb waiting to go off. Here's 2 of them, their parents are 2 more..... Country life is beautifulF, that's for sure!
My precious, precious nephew, The Goose, who is now 11, after his first guitar lesson with a guitar hero, Pistol Pete. Goose has always been a rock and roller....and he did great! It's worth dealing with Chicago winters to see him more often, etc.
And here is a recent shot of me, contemplating, LOL!
Last but not least, here is my guitar prodigy, Pistol Pete, performing "Little Wing" by Stevie Ray Vahaugn at Rocktoberfest in Dubuque - a beneft for Autism. He was in the top ten of the national Jimi Hendrix contest and Hendrix's nephew told him, point blank, that the vote was political and that HE should have won. Cool, huh? He plays blues, jazz, bluegrass, rock, you name it. A total Steve Vai. A big Zappa fan. And everything in-between. A Chicago west-sider who had a full ride at the prestigious Berkeley School Of Music in Boston. Seriously - all you music lovers and guitar freaks, watch this clip.......I'm so excited about booking him. 20% of a 15K corporate gig? DAMN! LOL
Thanks for listening.
This is what I've been up to.....
and I'm pretty happy with how it all is panning out. The universe always knows what it's doing, LOL!
P.S. So sorry if this is too long for some; it's nothing really vital and therefore not a necessary read. I just kind of wrote it out, a very rough summary of what's been going on with meet since I pretty much stopped posting to start working around the clock, buried alive with projects (a feeling this geek doesn't altogether mind, of course. If nobody wants to read it, that's fine with me, too, LOL!
P.P.S. After finishing a few other items, I just MAY write an expose' of sorts of my experiences behind the scenes in the whole health movement underground. We shall see. It's amazing who preaches all raw and pure but is also hooked on crack or guzzling starbucks espressos, etc. And yet honestly, I don't care because I am not a zealout of extremist - and if I came across that way before for any reason, I apologize. I only care because it's like, "Just be honest with it". Like this one spiritual leader who had gone back to eggs and meat, without telling a soul, etc. For his stamina. It's all just insane. Just admit you're not perfect instead of having some ridiculous image to uphold, since we ALL have our moments and weaknesses, and BE HONEST. That speaks volumes more than some slick fact or amazing story, no?
Wow, geesh, what a story!! For such a young person, Erica, you sure have been around the block!! I'm at work so can't see the pictures, will have to check them out at home, they are blocked here.
I can't wait until you have a website up and running, that sounds like so much fun creating that by yourself. It'll be YOUR baby!! Again, for all your youth, you seem very knowledgeable about all of this and it will be fun reading what you share with us.
Now you are tantalizing and teasing us with the juicy gossip of who is doing crack and eating meat, i wanna know!! Hmmm, well, i haven't been doing well at all, i guess i'll post that in the weight loss challenge thread that i started and haven't managed to lose any more weight in.
I LOVE Whole Foods (not that founder guy though) - good for you finding a job there, even though they do sell some "junk", it's a huge improvement over any other SAD, regular store and we go there every week for our main grocery shopping. I don't know why people claim it's more expensive to eat that way, i have found that to be very untrue. My packaged Swiss chocolate that i'm so addicted to is way more expensive to eat all week long than bananas, mangoes and salads. Way more.
oh well, it was very nice hearing from you again!!
MaryKays1, my yahoo on this new laptop does that to me like 20x a day. It is infuriating, although I loooove my new computer!
GabrieleN....my youth. You are awesome. Then again, 35 is young. I started working full time in the field, and by that I mean essentially LIVING at your job, immersed in everything (but not always) in 2001. It's been an interesting ride. Now I get to just work on me. So nice! Through immersion training, just like learning a language, it's intense. I can honestly say that all of the institutes I've worked at and helpedt design are fraudulent and working illegally on some level, and was abusive. Not to mention alllllll the other experiences and things you find about what and whom. At the end of the day, though, all of it is still healthier than having never learned the info, which is still phenomenal..............
So much for the "two" guys I was seeing (both knowing about each other, it wasn't two-timing at all).......I already wanted to see the ONE that I just had such an amazing friendship and connection with for years - he's head of security (and a drummer) at my favorite blues club.......soon and found out that his schedule is full b/c on his 2 days off, he's going to play with an artist out of town. He's starting to do this more again (stopped for years to raise his kids), and he's going on the road with a famous old bluesman in March. Well, I checked this old bluesman's schedule, and this dude is on the road from March 15 - April 30th...and that's just b/c the dates aren't posted after that. I'm horrified and sad, glad for him to be taking a risk and living his passion again, full-time, but we really cared for each other but I'm 35, he's 51 or so, he's extremely trustworthy, that's not the issue (unlike most musicians, lol ).....but I give too much, am sooo nice, and I'm simply not going to see him every 3 months (at most) if I'm "lucky". I need to just focus on me, period, and move past it. Not the friendship, but it'll never be what it was, b/c it's too hard to go back to that level and not be intimate - even if we weren't seeing each other exclusively. It's all just so sad to me, and the other guy I'm seeing is just annoying me lately, to be honest. For valid reasons, but still. SO I decided that after a week off due to sickness and hormones and going out of town for 3 days, I am starting a six week intensive fast tomorrow, and huge exercise bootcamp. Through March 1st in the very least. I thrive on it. Am stronger, smarter, have better endurance, etc. I can handle it. I need to do it, plain and simple. This is just too sad to me. He's a great guy, but I'm 35. I will always have him as a friend, and wasn't like sure I was spending the rest of my life with him or anything, we weren't at that point, but I have done SOOOO MUCH for him, of course, and I'm broke. He is, too! But I can't be that girl, doing so many favors because that's how I roll, driving all the way out to his place and back each time, adding up miles and gas use on my car, and giving him tons of health supplements and aids for his issues he cannot see the dr. for yet or that he can't afford. I have no regrets, but MUST get my bearings straight. I mean, I'm 35. To be blunt, sex once every 3 or 4 months --- even though I can go much longer if need be --- is NOT ideal, sorry. It's all sad to me. The other guy I need to take a break from or end it with too. He's just super in love with me, and we are good friends, so it makes it hard. As usual, I put everybody's feelings before my own. Ug. So I'll throw myself into me and my new site and my music promotions efforts and memorizing the skus for green beans, celery root and countless others. Why not, it's freakin Jan and Feb in Chicago. NOT MUCH ELSE TO DO, LOL!
Thanks for posting that above link here; I am back at school so am not using my FB account much.......too time consuming
I hope you don't think that it is arrogant to say....."I know exactly how you feel"..........I can totally relate to the growth spurts you are experiencing right now....it's such bloody HARD work, but oh, so worth it!
So......keep your chin up, congrats on your new job and continue to grab onto some fun! Joy and fun are how we celebrate our connection to the divine parts in ourselves...and to the goddess!
Wow! I would love to know more about your experiences and growth spurts...namely...did you work in the detox/natural health/raw foods world at all? It's funny. MonaRaeHill, above all, thanks for sharing. The understanding you emanate is truly soothing. I have no regrets. I know what I experienced and guests and interns at every single place I went to would 100% agree, and do. But everybody is good at heart, some are just wounded and - more importantly - haven't worked to fix them, etc. And stress. Kills not just us physically, but relationships, etc. too. Important observations. xoxoxo
Awesome. I shop there for years and know how hard it is to get in unless you know someone. Did you know someone? Wow...love the peep that work there too...the prices are outrageous. Do you get to bring home some of the "not so perfect pricey organic produce?" Yeah.
I spent a fair amount of my adult-hood both working at, and managing, food co-ops. So............I definitely had some interesting experiences with the "holier then thou" types walking among us. All's I can say is that there are many, many, hypocrites out there and while I am not a big fan of regulation and/or certification (too many rules), it's true that having to become certified can certainly send many "snake-charmers" running along. Shoo-Shoo already! lol. I also was a certified aerobics instructor for some time, and have tried almost every type of exercise known to humans, some I stuck with (or they stuck with me) and others not worth repeating (walking backwards????come-on, already!i'm barely able to walk FORWARDS some days..lol). My favorites to this day are dancing, hiking, and roller-blading, maybe not in that order.......at any rate, I've certainly had my challenges in life. I didn't grow up with exercise, fun, or any kind of healthy diet or mindset, so my growth spurts were incredibly traumatic, (but also equally worthwhile). Because of my history, I refuse to let go of fun in my life.....I truly believe that joy is how we celebrate our connection to the divine.........took me ages to get here and I ain't setting it aside no more, not for nobody! cheers. MonaRaeHill
I agree. Nothing is worth sacrificing the fun in life. It's all about balance.
And a lot of the stuff at Whole Foods is very comparable, some EXTREMELY affordable. Organic will always cost a bit more, but it's quality. Like buying a cheaper that breaks down all the time vs. investing in a toyota that will never have a problem, etc. Still, there are also tremendous savings in coupons that we point out to customers that even I should utilize, but don't.
Even a lot of organic certifications can be bunk, like grown organic in mexico and then sprayed coming over the border, etc. Whole Foods spends money on hiring a 3rd party objective company to come in and ensure that OUR practices are organic, as the only organic grocer in the world. Not a store that sells some organic, but an organic grocer. They are extremely progressive with wind energy, recycled goods, etc. and educating the customers as well. I knew very little about all that before, and am quite impressed. I'm also just glad I am NOT in the food prep department, lol!
The staff is friendly and happy because of all of the different benefits and the way they empower staff members; it's an extremely unique system that benefits all.
Yes, I'm sorry to say I've lived long enough to detest the slippage I've seen in organic food standards; it's truly abhorrent! Try telling that to the FDA, though, arghghg. Luckily, here in Vermont, we have a couple of watch-dog groups who actually do their jobs and lobby like crazy to keep the standards high.......sometimes successfully, sometimes not so. At any rate, we do have some of the best local sources for fresh, organic, clean, produce.....
I am happy to know that about Whole Foods; I did not realize that they use an independent third party to source their product, that's excellent! Although it's terrible right now that a lot of our so-called organic bulk and frozen food is coming from China.......arrghghg.
Apparently, there's no way to be diligent enough to keep it out......the co-op managers tell me they'd have to hire a person who does just this job and none other, and it would drive prices up, naturally. So.........it's really up to the consumer to keep abreast.....another change that is not so great.......I do it for a hobby, and it truly is a Full-Time job!
Well, so I guess that's where personal responsibility comes in, right? The Co-op here has started sourcing a frozen food company from the states, called Stahlbush farms.......I have no idea of their quality, but at least it's from the states.......next on my list of research projects.....lol.
That is awesome, I have used co-ops many times, I just don't know of any in Chicago that are stores like that (we do have Timber Creek Farms, but.....that is different). Like I have heard absolutely everything in Trader Joes (a store I like) is irradiated. Scary! Yes, Whole Foods, the more I learn, is very impressive. No transfats in the entire store, no bovine growth hormones or antibiotics in ANY dairy or meat or seafood, etc, regardless if it's "labelled" organic or not. I love working b/c I love chatting and so many of the customers are trying out health food, vegetarianism, raw foods, etc. for the first time. It is a joy to see!
The Co-op here has started sourcing a frozen food company from the states, called Stahlbush farms.......I have no idea of their quality, but at least it's from the states.......next on my list of research projects.....lol.
I buy Stahlbush's frozen fruit and corn sometimes and so far I was impressed by their quality. The price is still better than the rest that's organic.