Course Corrections

By Patrick McNerthney 

A few summers ago, I went fishing with my neighbor Rick. He’s got the perfect boat – meaning it’s not mine to pay for, fuel, clean, fix, maintain, store, insure, or make monthly payments on. 

Oh, and icing on the cake–it’s got plenty of room for two.

One lazy summer weekday morning (at sunrise) Rick and I went after the ever elusive Coho or “Silver” salmon. And we were not alone, as evidenced by the line of about 20 other roomy Trucks-with-Boats-on-Trailers waiting to launch from the ramp at 4:30 a.m. Furthermore, after launching (and not falling overboard), we joined a cozy group of about 100 additional boats on Puget Sound. It felt like rush hour on I-5. (Include the hungry sea lions and seals and it was a packed house indeed!).

(I’m sooo jealous of those marine mammals–how do they always catch way more fish than me?)

We trolled (for you land-lubbers–this is where one sets poles in rod holders and trails about 70 feet of line behind the boat as it motors at roughly eight miles per hour) for an hour to no avail. At which point Rick said, “Patrick, take the wheel! Get us over to Jefferson Head, while I take a break.”

I was terrified.

I hadn’t captained a boat in 20 years, and as previously mentioned: a) we were in a traffic jam of vessels/fellow trollers/sea creatures and b) the 70 feet of line we were trolling runs pretty close to the surface. Meaning, it’s really easy to make a turn, cross some other boats’ lines, and make a real mess of things (as in a big sea-going knot).

So, after about 20 minutes of panic, swift turns, and rapid throttle adjustments (but miraculously, no disasters) I remembered what my pops told me about boating: if you want to get somewhere, don’t make sharp turns. Pick a spot in the distance, and as you motor along, just do slight course corrections and eventually, you’ll get there.

This advice both got us to Jefferson Head and made my captaining actually ENJOYABLE.

(But of course in the end we caught zero fish, so no Coho sushi for us).

The beauty of course correction is that it can be done at any time. It requires no special conditions, just small adjustments. It promises no particular outcomes other than consistent, reduced stress and worry. It sets a point on the horizon to focus upon, instead of immersion into the myriad of things that could go wrong. Most importantly, course correction is about small changes that will eventually get us where we want to go. 

Over to you: where do you want to go? What’s the point on your horizon as you seek to serve your residents and loved ones? 

Fine Art Miracles (FAM) suspects your North Star may just be piloting the elderly, children with challenges, or anyone who needs help with life’s daily tasks through stormy seas caused by anxiety and depression. And FAM has a way to make this journey a bit easier for everyone.

It turns out that creative expression—the act of simply making—activates parts of the brain that lead to something every human being could use more of—a sense of relevance, self-worth, mastery, confidence, and the belief that they both matter and have the agency to change their world

And FAM offers loads of programs focused on creative expression: Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Dance & Movement Therapy, Art2Go Packages (December features Pablo Picasso Peace Doves!), and so much more. All you have to do is drop FAM a note or give them a call to get started—they’ll explain everything, and find the program that best suits your needs. 

A phone call is a pretty small course correction, yeah? I mean really, what do you have to lose? And remember, the beauty of course correction is that it can be done at any time. Plus, trust me, small course corrections make what you’re doing way less stressful and worrisome than focusing on what can go (or is going) wrong. 

Whelp, since I don’t have a freezer full of flash-frozen, fresh-caught salmon, I need to figure out what to feed my kid for dinner. Mac ‘n cheese? Steak? Oh let’s be honest, I’ll take him straight to the local drive-through. (Although with my luck some sea lion will most likely show up and snatch the burger right out of my hand!)


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