Confessions and lessons from my first job
Aside from Roots being my first job - already making it special - it is also a place in which I hold some of my dearest memories; a place that inspired (and continues to inspire) me to blossom in all the most beautiful and challenging ways; a place that has carried me through the highs and lows; a place that remains so alive in my heart to this day, even as I now live 600 miles away!
Roots is an entity in and of itself. All of its parts (employers, employees, customers, quality plus food, etc.) combine to make an exceptional space to expand oneself. Let’s get one thing clear, one can't work at Roots without one’s life changing in BIG ways.
So, back to the question. What does Roots mean to me? I'll break it down, because, frankly, Roots means so much to me that I could (no joke) talk about it for HOURS. Maybe I will.
When I think of Roots, I think of how many people walked in and out of this store, how many people I had the honor of working with, and how most (if not all) were special, powerful interactions and connections. Roots is a place to connect! It's hard not to when you know you’re meeting people who share the sacred reverence for taking care of and nourishing the body. But connection didn't just end with someone I could easily see had the same interests. Roots taught me that we have the ability to connect with all who share this thing called life. Roots expanded my connection with myself and, thus, with all things.
Roots means authenticity to me because, well, I think of how authentic everything about it is. No, Seriously! I am amazed at how beautifully Roots carries out being authentic—everything from authenticity about food to emotions and the inherent connection. It was the insurmountable array of support through both the toughest and most fulfilled times that inspired me to express my truest self. Something beautiful always comes out of being real and true, even if it’s uncomfortable. It totally helped to be surrounded by delicious, high vibrational food AND peeps. The transparency and reality of the traditional American diet, and what they are doing to our food was laid out on the table and brought to light. Roots doesn't mess around.
The friendships that Roots brought into my life are ones that will last a lifetime. As stated before, one cannot work at Roots without one’s life being changed. That being said, the individuals that Roots has employed have a deep affinity for nourishing themselves and creating deeper friendships. Coming into work was like going to a gathering. We all came together in the most supportive, joyful ways.
Roots taught me SO much about health—most importantly, about self-care. Our lovely (understatement) employers Bill and Carrie held a deep respect for us and were so compassionate when one did not feel well. Health was the key to keeping Roots thrive. I had little knowledge about WHOLE-istic health before working at Roots. And it truly took a while before I understood that it takes ALL parts of oneself to discover what is causing imbalance in the body, mind, and heart.
Roots didn't ever sacrifice integrity for business, despite being super alternative. This was a big deal! Many businesses out there are focused on catering to the mainstream, or the cheapest, easiest ways to become successful. Again, Roots doesn't mess around. And being dedicated to the original vision and expansding it has taken blood, sweat, and tears. The abundance that has been put into this café is flowing right back at ‘em in deep ways.
Roots means commitment to me because it takes a lot of knowledge and "doing it yourself" to really be an exceptional employer. It’s one commitment to learn and spread knowledge about health. But it’s a whole other commitment to embody it yourself. I was deeply inspired by the Roots team and their commitment to helping others by first taking care of themselves.
And, finally, with all of these parts put together, LOVE is what Roots means to me. I'm amazed at how much Roots transformed my and SO MANY OTHERS lives. It's a true honor to have been a part of this Team.
I love you, team!!
Emma is a two-time Roots employee and all-around gentle, loving soul. She followed her heart to the mountains of North Carolina, where she rides horses, plays in the woods, studies gardening and permaculture, and makes hand-crafted jewelry, available for sale at Roots Organic Juice Cafe. She also makes awesome Instagram stories. Follow her @emma.phant.