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Friday, September 4, 2015

Winning a Marathon

Maria writes: 
​When Zentangle appeared to​ us in late 2003, we knew immediately that it was important. When we started telling people about it, they thought we were perhaps working too hard, or starting to lose a bit of our minds, but we kept right on spreading our story.

I knew the importance and comfort of creating, and Rick. . . well he usually knows everything, but he especially knew the impact of the relaxed focus of meditation. But how could we have foreseen the directions that Zentangle has taken all of us. I personally feel more confident, extremely content and open to new possibilities, besides for a bunch of other changes in my life.

Recently, we received the most beautiful and fascinating letter. It is from one of our Certified Zentangle Teachers (CZT 16). I remembered Linda, and was happy to hear from her. We asked her if it was OK to share her story with all of you, and she graciously said yes.

Our gratitude to Linda and All of You who take the time and effort to tell us your heartwarming and moving stories.

Here is Linda's letter in its entirety.

The Story of One CZT's Marathon 8/28/2015

Hello. I’m Linda Dochter from CZT® “Sweet 16.” Friends call me “Doc.” Back around the time I was in Providence, I was in the habit of walking several miles around my neighborhood a couple times a week (unless there was a convenient excuse not to walk). Too rainy, too cold, too tired, too hot, too busy, too lazy, too boring, too this, too that. Then I had an unfortunate trauma accident that left me with a broken back – one that required extensive surgery and landed me in a brace and a wheelchair in a rehab hospital for awhile.

In rehab, physical therapists worked with me daily to get me back to walking again. After a period of working on strengthening and balance exercises, PT Jim took me into an unobstructed hallway outside of the gym and gave me a walker. My assignment: To walk as far as I could with the walker with Jim following with the wheelchair. When I reached my limit, I could sit down in the wheelchair. As I collapsed into the wheelchair, Jim asked, “How do you feel?” “Like I just ran a marathon,” I responded. PT Jim measured the distance I had covered as 30 feet – about the distance to walk around a car with a walker and some difficulty. PT Jim recorded a note on my chart.

The next day, PT Jim and I ended the therapy session in the gym back in the same hallway with the same walking assignment. Again Jim asked, “How do you feel?” “I’m training for a marathon,” I responded. PT Jim measured the new distance as 43 feet. I had made it around a slightly bigger car, again with a walker and with difficulty. “A new personal best,” I declared. Again, Jim took notes.

Then the germ of an idea sprouted. This really was like training for a marathon. Had I not been encouraging others in my fledgling Zentangle® business– “Anything is possible – One stroke at a time™.” Could one pen stroke represent one step? Put one foot in front of the other. Cover a short distance. Record the result. Put one foot in front of the other. Set a new personal best. Record the result. Just keep putting one foot in front on the other . . . Make forward progress. . . . One step at a time. Yeah. Anything is possible, one stroke at a time . . . Anything is possible, one step at a time.

Days later, I set a goal to walk a real marathon (26.219 miles). Not in one shot, mind you, but by counting all the bits and pieces of PT exercises, walking to and from PT sessions, walking here and there around the rehab hospital. I recorded any distance where I put one foot in front of the other and made forward progress. The rehab therapists cheered me on every day.

On an occasional afternoon, I held basic Zentangle classes for other patients from those who need occupational therapy for hand dexterity to individuals who were confined to bed with nothing else to do except watch daytime TV. My only teaching resources were an Apprentice Classroom Pack and a burning desire to encourage the discouraged to keep on trying – just one stroke at a time. Some ambulatory patients just came to watch the class. Since everyone in class was in a wheelchair, the mosaic became a “passing of the tiles” so everyone could appreciate the work of others. The change in the attitudes of my students and the onlookers from the start to the end of a session was palpable.

Four weeks after setting the goal to walk a marathon, I returned home from rehab and continued working with physical therapists in an outpatient program. I had almost completed the first mile of my goal.

August 28, 2015 marked the day when I returned to the gym in the rehab hospital to cross the ceremonial finish line of my marathon. Elasped time: 66 days. I was cheered on by the physical therapists that had cheered for me at the start. They told me that tiles left behind from the occupational therapy classes are still on display in the community lounge.

Now I walk because I’m grateful to be able to walk, armed with a story that “Anything is possible – One stroke at a time” as I make my way into the earlier_than_ expected retirement phase of my life . The Zentangle Method and occasional teaching assignments will surely be a part of my plan.


Thank you to all who joined us on our revisit to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, England. It was such a grand trip, if you have not read this blog post, please don't miss it!

We chose three names (at random) as so many of you made such great comments on the subject of tangle hunting in museums and other wonderful thoughts.

Roseanne V. Sabol


Vikki Snider

Please send us your snail mail address so we can send you a gift from us.

Best from us both,



sue jacobs said...

Wow - what a wonderful inspirational story. I'm impressed that Linda was able to carry on her teaching to the other patients while she was healing herself. And the certificate for her is beautiful and so fitting.

Toujours Soleil said...

Beautiful in every way possible.

Adele Bruno said...

ABSOLUTELY inspiring.

crotnem said...

Amazing what life can throw at us! Just so happy to hear you can walk and enjoy doing it now!
Keep on doing it, one stroke at a time!!!

Linda Dochter said...

Thank you to all for the high fives. Mean alot to have cheerleaders.

Charlene Mitchell said...

Wow! What a beautiful and inspirational story. Amazing and so generous of you Linda, to help others heal as you were on your own healing journey. Congrats on your marathon - most definitely a winner! Thanks Rick and Maria for sharing and the certificate is lovely! You have provided an inspirational start to my weekend - thank you!

sue said...

Beautiful story, beautiful inspiration, beautiful work. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Linda for sharing your story and I wish you many more crossings of "marathon" finish lines. You are a great inspiration for all.
Melissa Cahn CZT 6

brenda shaver shahin said...

Oh Linda, you are amazing! Even though I knew some of your story, I had no idea all you have been through. Thank you for being such an inspiration and sharing this. Thank you to Maria and Rick for sharing it as well!

Barb Round, CZT said...

Thank you for sharing, Linda and congratulations on your hard work and amazing recovery.

Diane Lachance, CZT said...

Congratulations Linda - what an inspiration!

Rae Smith said...

I'm putting my walking shoes on pronto! Thank you Linda, Maria and Rick for sharing such an inspiring story.

Sharon Wrench said...

Such an inspiration to all of us! Thank you for sharing this story. We often take too much for granite and forget how blessed we are. This is a reminder to never give up, no matter how hard the journey is.

Barbara said...

Wow, what a story, Linda! You are proof that anything is possible one stroke or step at a time. Thank you for sharing with us!

Shelly Beauch said...

Three cheers to Linda! That milestone takes courage to achieve!

Rebecca said...

Thank you for sharing this inspiring story with all of us! It's giving me a renewed commitment to tackle anything "one stroke at a time."

Q said...

Beautiful story thank you for sharing it!

Linda Dochter said...

One year update - Sept 30, 2016

Have since continued super marathons of 50 miles and 100 miles then walked to my brother's house in Pennsylvania and back to Maryland - about 250 miles. Most of it in circles in the warm water pool at the Y. Maybe I'll walk to Providence next but I know traffic can be murder on I-95. ; ) Doc