Lost in Thought: Painting Without Brushes

Lost in thought, she painted without brushes, a technique she shared with me, her granddaughter. My grandmother, Mary Agnes Davis Wall, was a talented artist who specialized in landscape and portrait paintings.

Decades after grandmother’s lessons I meander downstream, a paddler in the current. Stroke after stroke, slicing through the water, my blade enters at the catch, following through with fluid cadence and quick release to the finish. A repeated action, over and over, while banking the canoe ever so slightly as I arch turns around each bend in the river, silently calling “huts” with each shift of the blade. Moving paddle across gunnels from one side to the other, I guide my solo canoe swiftly down the fastest course of the flowing river, lost in thought.

Fire in the Sky_72A Great Blue Heron, standing at the water’s edge, lifted its mighty wings in flight soaring ahead, just above the wetland following the river. Each time I caught up, the heron lifted off again in the lead, lifting my spirits and thoughts. I felt alive and invigorated. Read More »

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Explore New Horizons. Find Your True Direction.

Anne at the HelmExplore new horizons at the helm of your true destiny. Only you can navigate your own life’s journey according to your own “true north.” Always remember that some will follow and be influenced by your actions and that you always need a support crew. No one sails the long voyage through life alone.

Sailing aboard TaraWhether crossing unforeseen challenges or delightful surprises it is better to navigate with a sense of purpose that gives depth and meaning to life, making it easier to rally teammates and hold your course toward your destiny. Navigate and live with purpose in the present moment. The future will arrive in its own time. The challenge is to anticipate and successfully navigate circumstances beyond your control and to grow and be enriched by keeping the wind and current at your back rather than opposing the forces of nature.

Do not be driven off course by unanticipated circumstances and others’ expectations. Stay true to yourself and your character will distinguish you as captain of your ship. Show strength through perseverance and resilience. A hot temperament may sink your ship or cause the crew to mutiny. Be mindful and act with integrity. Shine from within, guided by your values.

Coastal LighthouseLive an authentic life. Remain agile and adjust your sails and tiller whenever a course correction is necessary. Do not be afraid to change course, move outside your comfort zone and push the boundaries of imagination. Move beyond perceived limitations of the mind. It takes courage and tenacity to motivate and energize your crew. Always keep in mind that your every decision affects the emotional and spiritual well-being of the entire crew, including yourself.

The wake behind you affects the world, socially, spiritually, economically and environmentally.

Learn to live in harmony with the world, preserve the environment, nurture nature and the legacy you leave behind will lead others to true north.

Savor quiet moments and enjoy the calm before the storm filled with energy seeking release. Harness this energy with your sails as you tack windward toward your destiny.

Discover your own true north.


  © 2013 Anne Wall, FINE ART STUDIO LLC


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Each Step of the Run

Mountain Trail RunEach step of the run is a stride toward a better life. Run to live. And run for fun. The destination and purpose of running lie in the journey. It’s the act of running not the results that stimulate the senses.

One runs for the sheer joy of running, because it feels good and provides a sense of freedom. Running connects the runner with the surrounding landscape and creates a state of bliss unmatched by other sports. Off-road running where there are no vehicles or bikes is best and is fine training for a multitude of other sports.

Read More »

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Beth Schluter: The Legend

Beth Schluter, the legend, has been a national and international champion for over four decades.Beth competes in open, masters and age group classifications in canoe and Nordic adventure and endurance races. Best known as a marathon canoe racer, she has won multiple USCA National Canoe and Kayak Championships in C1 Woman, C2 Women, and Mixed in nearly all age divisions.

Like all elite athletes, Beth has talent, strength and determination, skills she has developed with a regimen of mental preparation, efficiency training, attention to diet and living in an environment with clean air and water.

Aging competitive athletes need continuous improvements in efficiency and technique, according to Beth. Her husband and former coach, Errol Schluter said, “She concentrates on technique more than physical strength.” Beth says, “Being aware of body alignment is important because it’s easier on the body.”

Many of Beth’s competitors come to events with morephysical preparation and training, but her secret is mental preparation. Beth trains her brain through visualization exercises and mental focus to gain an advantage over her competition.

NeilWiesner-Hanks, Beth’s long-time paddling partner, refers to her as “The Legend.” He said, “Beth doesn’t make mistakes. Her competitors, some of whom are younger, stronger and faster, lose to her because they make mistakes.” Read More »

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Survive a Squall

We set sail on a lovely day unaware that we would survive a squall. Little did we know that extreme adventure and a near death experience were in our future when we began our journey along the familiar coast of Wisconsin’s Door County Peninsula.

The allure of freshwater and lush green islands make this area popular for sailing, Sure, we knew that weather on the Great Lakes could be challenging and unpredictable – sometimes even deadly. Just a week earlier, news reports indicated that two experienced sailors had died when their 35-foot sailboat WingNuts capsized during a storm on Lake Michigan in the Race to Mackinac.

But on this day in July 2011, we woke to a sunlit sky and a gentle onshore breeze, ideal for day sailing. This was intended to be our final sail aboard Tara. Her owner, my father, had decided to sell the 36-foot cutter after 20 years of enjoyment.

Anticipating a lovely cruise, we set sail from Fish Creek. Our course would take us past Little Strawberry Islands, around Chambers Island, and back. The forecast called for a change in weather with the possibility of an evening storm, but we expected to be back and dining ashore. Read More »

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Chance Encounter

During a recent visit to Sedona Arizona, while hiking at Airport Mesa near an energy vortex, I had a chance encounter. A gentleman, along with his partner and faithful dog, taught me an important lesson. It was a simple life lesson that I’d like to share with you because it made my journey to this magical place memorable.

As we watched the setting sun from the top of a butte on the mesa, Danny Kean described how years ago this vortex changed the direction he was traveling. The mystical nature of the vortex experience in this spot high above Sedona had its way with him – a positive way. Danny told me, “Playing, creating my own music, sharing what I have to offer the world at no cost, the travel, relationships; all is for the joy of it. [This] came about after a decision to pursue my wildest of dreams.”

Once he realized that he could play for the joy of it, he mounted a piano to the back of a bright red pickup truck and began “feeling his way through life and music.” It became a new way of life for Danny and his piano dog, “Mo.” They travel the roads together. Outdoors, Mo sits on top of the piano, while Danny plays improvisational music. Danny’s mission in life is “fun, friendship and respect with musical empowerment and inspiration and no cost and without commercial, organizational or political affiliation.” He uses synchronicity and spontaneity to create music for people.

After sharing his story, Danny asked if he could play for me. Drawn by the sound of music across the night air, people gathered around the piano. Energy and emotion poured forth, as his hands danced across the keyboard in the twilight. Music came through Danny’s heart and soul as a stream of consciousness that he readily admits he could never repeat. Read More »

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Dreams with Purpose Part 2 – My Story

Dreams with purpose are realized by people with seemingly impossible goals using focus, discipline, hard work and self-determination. Faced with a variety of challenges, these champions never give up. The pathways toward their goals may be unclear; nonetheless dream achievers persevere. They exhibit resilience and tenacity – rising above failures, temporary setbacks and physical challenges – in order to accomplish their dreams.

Olympic and Paralympic medalists are among the greatest achievers. They are not the only successful individuals to realize their dreams. Many accomplished individuals go unnoticed. They achieve personal success without fanfare or notoriety. Like Olympic champions, they have high aspirations and strong mental fortitude to overcome setbacks and unforeseen challenges along the way.

Dream achievers can be found all around us. They are ordinary people who have achieved extraordinary goals. Think about accomplished individuals whom you most admire. In addition to world-class athletes, these individuals might be charismatic leaders, social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, community volunteers, educators, movie stars, doctors, musicians, and local heroes – all achieving successes in their own ways.

This story is about a personal journey and a discovery process that enabled me to realize my dreams. Through this example, I hope to inspire and encourage others so they too can follow paths of self-discovery toward personal achievement. It is my intention to share stories from time to time about my experiences and those of people I admire. Through these stories, I would like to educate and motivate others to achieve their dreams. Read More »

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Dreams with Purpose Part 1 – Dreamers & Achievers

Dreamers and achievers have one thing in common – both have a vision. Dreams provide us with visions that can fuel our aspirations. Dreams alone won’t get us far. The ability to achieve dreams with purpose requires mental fortitude and resilience. Achievers turn dreams into reality. The will to succeed takes great inner strength.

I have learned that many individuals are capable of far more than what they achieve. The raw talent may exist. Talent alone does not make a champion. Talent, skill and agility can be developed over time. Sheer determination comes from within. But lack of motivation, resources and other excuses prevent some dreams from ever becoming realized.

In “Dreams with Purpose” you will learn my perspective of what it takes to become a champion on and off the field. This is the first in a series of articles about how people achieve dreams with purpose. Together we will explore gold medal performances in the sports arena, successful game changers and winning performances in business. Many of the same traits that enable people to succeed in sports also create a foundation for success in other areas of life.

From Dreamers to Achievers

High achievers turn dreams into action. They set goals, attain them and then excel to achieve more. Achievers learn to overcome difficulties and turn challenges into opportunities. I respect those with high standards who overcome perceived limitations to embark on a personal plan toward success. However, I do not admire winning at all costs. For those who want to succeed, I would encourage you to maintain values and a sense of purpose in pursuit of a winning performance. Read More »

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In Snow Sports, Expect the Unexpected

In snow sports, expect the unexpected. Turning potentially disastrous situations into memorable and thrilling sports adventures requires awareness, training, and good instincts.

With skill and appropriate judgment we can come prepared to the mountains to ski, ride, climb, and snowshoe. Ever

Swedish Powder Shot”, Phil Icke, Photographer

changing winter conditions present a variety of situations making snow sports challenging. Toying with fate, we calculate risks based on our preparation and knowledge of each situation. The more informed and better prepared we are, the lower the risk; yet providence still plays a hand in our destiny. We can’t let our guard down. We must remain vigilant. And we need luck on our side.

Adrenalin junkies often place themselves at risk for the thrill and joy of the moment. Some take unwise and unnecessary risks. Others come unprepared or simply unaware of pending disasters. Rather than plan for these situations, many people prefer to hire a guide with local knowledge. Others rely on unofficial guides as group leaders to shepherd them. In search of adventure, they follow like flocks of sheep.

Adventure seekers are everywhere. They are especially prevalent in Utah, an adventure sports mecca. Utah is a vast outdoor playground for holiday travelers, thrill seekers, and adventure sports athletes. I fall into the latter category. Read More »

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Westward Journey

N.M. AbbeyWestward journey taught me a life lesson. When this journey began, I planned a trip to Utah to attend an anniversary celebration of the Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

I was prepared to write about my ten-year reunion with colleagues from the Salt Lake Organizing Committee, where I was employed as Brand Protection Manager. I also considered writing about reuniting with fellow coworkers at Snowbird Mountain Resort, where I moonlighted on weekends as a ski instructor. I had planned to share many memorable moments from my adventures living and working in Utah. But my story took a different turn.

This is a story about a journey and what I learned along the way:

The road we travel is often more important than the destination we seek. Read More »

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