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For the past several months, I have been reacquainting myself with my HeartMath emWave  – a biofeedback device that tracks my heart rate variability and provides me with training feedback (a ding and a green light) to help me find coherence. 

Coherence is an emotional state of being associated with being in the flow, using the upper cortex of the brain and providing access to creative resources.  It is the feeling good state of being of emotional alignment. In Abraham terms – access to the vortex.  I have to say, it feels good! And I like how simple the feedback is…green is flow, red is stress, blue means heading up or down.

Using the device regularly has provided me with lots of positive results including a new degree of calmness, clarity of thought, more productive work patterns and an overall feeling of optimism.

It has also inspired me to dust off my HeartMath coaching materials. I became a HeartMath 1:1 Provider several years ago and actively coached for a couple years before I got very involved (and distracted) with mobile application technology.  Which was fun and all (and by the way, there is a HeartMath Mobile App coming soon!) but I am ready to re-engage with coaching clients and share this wonderful work with motivated and proactive individuals eager to learn a more scientific approach to emotional intelligence.

That being said, this blog post could also be considered a call to action – if you are interested in becoming a HeartMath coaching client – please email me at smaravetz@essentialpath.com to learn more about the individual programs available. We can match you up with the best program to meet your situation and goals.

Repaving

This post is not about natural beauty, but it is about a natural process.

For the past week, my main pathway into Wrightsville Beach has been the scene of road construction. Our two lane road has been reduced to a single lane, the roads have been scraped down to concrete and new asphalt has been put down. The drive has been slow, rough, annoying and noisy.

And then the work was done….

Smooth as ice, quiet, easy access in and out of the beach…I am taking great pleasure in this new road.

And so it is with the contrast in our lives. Without the rough patches, the delays, the detours, the noise….how would we know to appreciate the smooth, well-paved aspects of our existence?

And when you find yourself in a rough patch, know you are staging yourself for an incredibly smooth path in the very near future. And when you find yourself on a beautiful path…..appreciate, appreciate, appreciate!

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The Appreciation Effect

I always thought that appreciating another was an act of kindness or politeness. That is until recently, when I have come to value the boomerang effect that happens when you truly and deeply appreciate another person, pet or beautiful object. It is an act of kindness, but mostly for yourself, to nurture your own soul.

For me, an easy place to feel the bliss of appreciation is to watch a sunset on the sound. The beautiful reflection of low sun on rippling water, the sky shifting from blue to orange to red. I am able to immerse myself in the pure beauty of nature, and for a slice of each day, feel pure source energy wave through me in great appreciation for our beautiful planet.

If you are skeptical, start with something easy, a beloved pet or favorite sanctuary. Slow down and really look at your object of appreciation and find the feeling of pure love and exhilaration that you hold for your beloved.

Stay in that juicy place for as long as you can hold onto that delicious feeling, perhaps expanding your scope of appreciation to other aspects of your life. Feel the momentum of that good feeling as it builds and expands. Allow it to wave over you and remember that you can find this feeling at any time, anywhere, with anyone.

The benefits are immediate and long lasting, you feel calmer, more centered, in control, able to focus on tasks and more patient and loving with others in your world. It is well worth making Appreciation a part of every day.

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At the beginning of March, GOOD offered a challenge, 31 Days of Art.  I shared the link with my Facebook friends and recruited my sister and a friend in Savannah to participate with me.  My sister dove right in, posting pictures of her son and she making art, both digital and physical art.  Yay! I was inspired.

My friend in Savannah took walks and posted lovely pictures of the scenic city.  Again, I was inspired.

I didn’t have alot of resources at my disposal, but I did have my iPhone and the Instagram App, so I decided my 31 days of Art would be to take pictures of anything that captured my interest and imagination during my morning and evening walks with my dog, Caro.  She isn’t the most patient of assistants and many photos were taken haphazardly, slightly askew, out of focus or not set up as I would have hoped, but thanks to the magic of Instagram, I was able to salvage these quick shots and eventually find a way to tap into my creativity.

The first walk was on a rainy afternoon and I didn’t have too much hope for the results of the shots I took of my pathway to the beach.  Ok, first, before I go any further, I have to admit than when your backyard is the ocean, it isn’t hard to 1)be inspired and 2)find lots of good shots to take.  That being said, a gloomy, dreary afternoon didn’t promise to be too fruitful. But I was committed. Those first shots, once filtered through the magic of Instagram, set a high bar for me to keep to.  The feedback from my Facebook friends was immediate and supportive, and so I was “hooked”.

Soon, I found myself eager to wake to capture a sunrise.  If you know me at all, you will know that sunrise isn’t my favorite time of day.  During yoga teacher training, I heard many times that meditation at dawn was recommended, yet I never managed to get up for that early practice.  Yet, here I was, waiting on a cold dark beach with plenty of other early birds (who knew?), excited to see what kind of sunrise would emerge that morning.  Some were hazy and disbursed.  Some were bright, fast and awe-inspiring.  One was so amazing, I had goosebumps as I saw the light glaze through the clouds and knew I had a once-in-a lifetime shot.

Sunset became another highly anticipated time of day.  Eager to watch the sun dip below the horizon on the sound side of the island, I would observe the current of the water and found to my delight one evening that the water was a still mirror, reflecting exactly what was above it.  Some of my favorite shots emerged that night.

Some walks with Caro were limited to a one-block radius from my house. Caro is fifteen (yes, she really is that old!) and so has her bad days. On those days, I could talk her only into a quick trip across the street and so I would scan the lovely old beach houses for quirky features: beautifully potted plants, flamingo yard art or the colorful contrast of stairs and walls.

What I learned from this 31-day experiment was a new talent I would never have found otherwise. I have always admired my father and my brother’s work in photography and jealously wished I had that talent. The ability to frame a shot and apply lovely effects to it to tell a story about a place that I am falling in love with more and more each day, was a gift that I am excited to continue to explore, perhaps with some discipline and training behind it (and a “real” camera).  It was nice to get kudos from friends, but the real reward happened each time I opened my Instagram history and reviewed the pictures I had posted.  I would remember not just the place I had visited, but the emotions and story behind that photo.

I look forward to continuing to explore photography and I look forward to uncovering perhaps even more hidden talents that I didn’t know I had.  At forty-five, it is fun to discover that you can indeed surprise yourself!

I was enjoying a walk on the beach yesterday, and a funny dialog popped up in my head, revolving around how pure the ocean is as source energy and how valuable it would be to try to emulate the ocean a bit more often.

The dialog went something like this. Things the ocean would never say….

“Does this wave make me look fat?”

“My waves are never perfect, I may as well not even try.”

“I can’t afford another wave, I am going to have to cut back.”

“If no one is going to appreciate all the effort I put into making waves, I won’t even bother.”

“This just wasn’t my day to make waves.”

You get the idea. The ocean doesn’t judge itself based up on its wave making capabilities and doesn’t get upset if every wave isn’t perfect. and yet somehow all of them are.

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The Best Valentine’s Day

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I had the pleasure of being a casual observer of a Valentine’s Day Date that reflected the essence of pure innocence and appreciation that are at the heart of this holiday.

I have a habit of being energetically tuned into those around me, and yesterday was no exception. I overheard this very mature and upfront conversation happening between this adorable little couple and I couldn’t resist tuning in to (and stealthily photographing) their date.

Honestly, some portions of it could have come out of a couple 10 years their senior, both were so adult in conducting their date. They discussed favorite school subjects and teachers, the merits of various after school programs. He anticipated that she would have to share her candy heart with her little sister, and asked her what her favorite video games are. It was all very heart affirming, that young love springs from such an authentic place.

And this scenario is in such stark contrast to what would seem to be the norm for kids in today’s world. You would believe all are bullies, mean girls and show offs, based upon tv and the general media.

To be a witness to such sweetness and innocence on Valentines Day made it one of my best ones ever.

Proud Sister

This Sunday marked a huge milestone for my younger brother – James Maravetz  His first Superbowl commercial aired for Met Life.   I know this was a collaborative effort, for example I know James isn’t an artist or an editor, so there were plenty of animators and a whole team involved in the editing process.  But this marks a pinnacle moment for James in that his career efforts have been raised to another plane, a higher level of recognition that he has worked hard for and fully deserves.

You only have to see the response from this fan to understand what James’ vision was all about.  Andre (the raving fan) totally understood the cultural context in which James crafted this ad. And that is really what my brother is best at doing; talking to the next up and coming audience: the millennials; this is a generation that is a little cynical and snarky; but also has a soft spot for their childhood, a bit of nostalgia for a not so distant past that was safe and assured.

So for one more day, I will brag up a little on my little bro and be the proud sister I always am, just a little louder and more public than usual.

As far back as my memory will allow me to reflect, I have lived a life of fully-structured time. Even when I’ve had an “unstructured” career, such as providing personal coaching or teaching Pilates, I still had a great deal of structure to my day-to-day routine, since it was important for me to make appointments on time and fulfill my obligations.

For the past several days, I’ve been living in the complete unknown. The great unknown of zero formal obligations. Don’t get me wrong, I have some expectations of myself and what I should accomplish every day, but I have no meetings, client appointments or even a work place that I need to show up for. I am starting to realize how foreign non-structure is to me. And perhaps a bit uncomfortable for my psyche.

A few years ago, my business coach introduced me to the concept of “big stones.” The idea is if you want to get everything accomplished, you have to pick which of your to do’s are the “big stones”; ie. the most important things that must happen in order for you to move forward with your goals. I took this concept a step further and have always made sure the big stones were the first things I worked toward every day. Without this concept, I would probably not be getting anything done during this unstructured period in my life, so I am grateful for this concept, but I am also wondering about those less fortunate little stones and grains of sand. Perhaps I want more sand and small stones in my life right now and fewer big stones?

What is showing up for me during all this relaxed time, is that magic shows up when I am free to flow from task to task, from moment to moment, without expectations or obligation. More time to meditate, contemplate, process, read cookbooks, bake, read, talk to friends, think big thoughts, make peace with my past, set new goals and envision even bigger dreams. This is a luxury that won’t last forever, but for now, I am appreciating the experience and not getting lost in the fear of non-productivity, which is a wonderful thing.

Namaste!

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