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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Unexpected Outcomes

Maria writes:

Not too long ago, I got a (slightly) panicked call from​ one of my daughters while driving her children to school. "Stop the car, I'm gonna be sick," one said.

Pull over, emergency avoided, turn around . . . and head back home.

"Mom, can you take the other child to school?"

"I can't, but Rick can."

An hour later she calls back, "False alarm – ate more breakfast and wants to play – we're going back to school!"

The teacher was not surprised. She knows how much this child dislikes public speaking and today was this child's turn to speak in front of the class.

Flash-backward. . . 50 - 60 years, and I can remember exactly the same thing happening to me like it was yesterday! The symptoms precisely the same, the fear worse than I could imagine. This fear stayed with me all through life, never being big into groups, not wanting to teach, and for sure never wanting to speak in front of any size group.

As I replayed these memories over the last couple days, I realized those fears have totally disappeared.

What changed in my life?

Zentangle, of course.

We get heartfelt messages, letters, emails and conversations from folks telling stories of how creating Zentangle art helped their lives. . . but I had never pondered how it helped my life.

When the Zentangle Method "presented" itself to Rick and me, the first words I said to Rick were, "We have to teach this to others." 


It didn't occur to me at the time that this meant I had to become a teacher and a public speaker. And when tanglers of the world asked "Where are your books?" I became a writer, too.

Creating Zentangle art did not make me an artist. I had been there, done that since I was 5 years old. But what did change was I became a fearless teacher, speaker and writer . . . and I am having the time of my life doing things I never thought I could do. (Anything really is possible . . . !)


And that, my friends, is what I am grateful for.

How cool is that?

So now, the big question is . . . "How has practicing the Zentangle Method and creating Zentangle art changed your life?"

We'd love to hear your stories, and others will, too.

As usual, we will choose a name at random (we use an online random number generator) and send some fine goodies your way!

We love being able to do that.

-M

33 comments:

swxe said...


So far, it's very much akin to weaving as an art form --- something about sorting out and restructuring patterns as a form of flow and play simultaniously sorting and restructuring my thoughts, beliefs, biology, DNA in the process...

Feel like a beginner at the beginning just yet, but I already use it with my students and would really love to be able to start the next chapter of my life reinventing myself as a CZT!

Linda JF said...

Creating Zentangles have validated my artistic side. It's given my art heart and a soul. It's my go to for relaxation! I'm comfortable sharing the joys of tangling with others...because I know that they can find the same bliss as I have!

Jan Brandt said...

I had the same experience as a kid!!! Junior High. I literally worked myself into nausea with my fear of standing up in front of my class, reading Shakespeare. Thank goodness my mom bought it. I believe I would have died on the spot had I been forced to go to school that day. And now ... I've been a teacher (first computer classes in a community college, then Zentangle in my dining room) for 17 years. As long as I know my subject thoroughly and believe in its value, I haven't a shred of "stage fright".

How has practicing the Zentangle Method and creating Zentangle art changed my life? It has allowed me to realize a very precious dream, my goal since I was 3 years old: to be an artist. I tried SO many paths ... I played piano, I sang, I danced (I actually have a degree in Dance!), I painted, I quilted, I knitted, I crocheted, I wrote ... and then ~ Zentangle came into my life. It's been 5 years now. During that time I became a CZT (Seminar 12 in October 2013), created a studio for myself in my home, have sold quite a few ZIA pieces ... and somewhere along the way I discovered I could look another person directly in the eye and say, "I am an artist."

Thank you, Maria and Rick. I seriously doubt I would have attained my 55-year-old dream without Zentangle. ... Thank you ...

Sara said...

I've always been a teacher...as a child playing school, teaching piano lessons for extra cash in college and as a professional teacher for my career. I found Zentangle after suffering and aching and being tired from Fibromyalgia for over 10 years. But as a CZT it gave me some peace as an artist, calm as a parent and partner, and the realization that I was still a strong and worthy person. Thank you from the bottom of my heart...

elianna987 said...

Zentangle has been a great tool for self-awareness. When I'm gently focused on a tangle, I hear my inner voice so clearly. It has been surprisingly critical - and I thought I was past that! I also realized in the beginning that I had no sooner selected a tangle and begun to draw it, and I was thinking "what should I draw next?" instead of being present with the tangle I was drawing. I was prompted to consider whether I was really present in my daily life, and I have made it a practice to "be where I am" and to "be with what I am doing now," instead of planning. I could go on and on ... it has just been tremendous!
Blessings,
Deborah Butterfield, CZT 19

Quwatha Valentine said...

When I was 10 years old, my teacher had us draw something similar to the zentangle outline and to fill the interior space with designs. I loved doing the detail. I made mine very complicated. I was so proud of it. Then she had us to put our designs on the bulletin board and the class would discuss each one. When she got to mine, my sweetheart at the time said, "That hurts my eyes." I thought, "Well, I'll never do that again."

And, I didn't until many years later I discovered the Zentangle method. I was so excited to give myself permission to do something I had given up long ago. It taught me to not let anyone else's negative reaction to influence me. I am my own person following my own dream.

Holly Williams said...

Before I retired, I taught Preschool Special Ed (children with Autism, behavioral challenges, etc) for 33 years. I loved it, but teaching the calm and creativity of Zentangle is such a joy. (I joke that "no one has ever thrown a chair in my Zentangle classes"!) *My* challenge has been on the "sales" end.... I'm not a salesperson. However, I quickly learned that Zentangle "sells itself"! I'm so enthusiastic about it, and believe in it's benefits so strongly, that I'm not selling, I'm sharing! ��

Tonia C said...

I've suffered from anxiety since I was 14. It will be 39 years this year that I finally feel comfortable with it. Sure the anxiety meds help, but not always. I attribute my ability to handle it on my own because of Zentangle. I've only been tangling since February of this year. I made a pact with myself to do a tile a day.
What I've noticed is I can feel anxious and not get paralyzed by it, my agoraphobia has declined immensely, I'm not as afraid to make mistakes in my life, and my confidence to survive through a difficult time had increased. I also feel like an artist as my skills and understanding of the Zentangle Method has increased. I plan on sharing this with my niece who suffers from the same anxiety as I in hopes she will gain benefits to explore life. I look forward to attending a CZT seminar in the next year. Until then I will continue my practice one stroke at a time. Thank you Maria & Rick for sharing this gift. Tonia Croce, Rhode Island

Dani Ehlenfeldt said...

Zentangle has allowed me to grow as well as I now have my own published Oracle Card Deck based on the Zentangle method. I am also now a teacher and I have integrated for the first time this summer a workshop on weaving your own mandalas through working with spirit combined with Zentangle. But the biggest change is I have entered a piece of art in Art Prize 2017, something I haven't done since high school. Zentangle has opened my heart and life to so much joy I can't express how grateful I am enough!

Joanna Quincey said...

I totally identify with this, Maria. Our fears of judgement, our fears of failure, our fears of what others might think can so heavily influence our confidence.
I remember well the school days I would feel sick on. ...maths!
As soon as I found Zentangle I, too, knew that I have to teach this to others, to give them this wonderful tool, art, freedom. Zentangle has so many wonderful benefits that it's potential is endless. How perfectly fabulous to be able to pass this on to others.
I am travelling to the US from the UK in 2 days time to attendvthe CZT29 seminar and the next step towards my dream job....

Jennifer Matthaei Cottrell said...

i come to life when i get in front of a class and see the smiling faces anticipating "what's" next! i LOVE teaching Zentangle and seeing people take my classes over and over because they love it so much!!!

Sarah Hluchy said...

I've always been artsy-craftsy and I do have artistic talent. But Zentangle gave me permission to call myself an artist. And when I regularly practice Zentangle, I don't need to take my antianxiety medication. Non of my other art forms can do that.

Leslee Feiwus said...

I find doing my tangles very relaxing! It takes my worries away and makes me a much calmer person. I just had eye surgery and didn't know if I could see good enough to do my tangles but I spent all day Sunday and Monday tangling without any problems and when I went to the eye doctor on Tuesday my sight and pressure in that eye was amazing and he was so excited. Not only does it have a calming effect but because of this calming effect I think it also promotes a faster healing time. My eye surgery was on a Thursday and I was tangling without any problems 3 days afterwards. I have been doing all kinds of art forms since I was 8 yrs old but nothing like this has ever had this kind of effect on me. This is something I will do forever ! Thank you Maria and Rick for inventing this!

Pat Floerke said...

The most obvious change zentangle has brought to me is that before tangling, I was never an artist despite many attempts. Now I create beautiful art on an almost daily basis. Beyond that, there has been an on-going succession of changes. I now have a method to ground myself and find peace that almost never fails. I trust my intuition more and use it in lots of areas, including my work as a counselor, and I feel my clients respond differently. I'm much more comfortable with my "mistakes". Just two days ago, I was tangling with my non-dominant (left) hand, doing the "I am the Diva" challenge for the week, and I realized how tense I was as I struggled with my poor coordination. As I reminded myself to relax and breathe, I saw there was a life lesson there, that remembering to relax and breathe can help me get through all of life's challenges more easily. Thank you, Maria and Rick and all the other wonderful people who have helped me on my zentangle way.

gobarb26 said...

My story is a bit different. I have always been outgoing and needing to be around people I was very much in to Theater and music and I wanted to be on stage. I must say that Zentangle has helped me to learn how to teach what I know. The main thing that Zentangle has done for me is helped me learn how to live with my cancer and not to worry so much about most things. I love to teach and share my knowledge. I never thought that I would be able to do that because there is no cure for my cancer. However, over 31/2 years I have been in remission and have been able to do what I love and love what I do! Thank you Rick & Maria!

Faith Cohen said...

So fascinating. I could stand and talk in front of hundreds of people no problem, but put me in front of a blank page with a pen and I would freeze up!! Exactly the opposite - and yet both the same solution. Zentangle! I no longer fear the blank page and I am happy filling as many of the as I can.

Laurel Regan said...

Zentangle has changed my life in so many ways, but one of the most remarkable is pretty much the same as Maria's - public speaking! Even as I was chatting with people at CZT 25 I was absolutely certain that I would teach MAYBE 3 or 4 students at a time, but never more than that and NEVER standing in front of a class. The very thought made me shudder! Little did I know that I'd discover that I absolutely LOVE teaching groups, even standing up in front of them! I haven't yet had the chance to bring Zentangle to more than 10 students at a time, but I'm confident that I will be able to do so when the opportunity presents itself. I'm so grateful to Zentangle for this gift.

Anonymous said...

Creating Zentangle art has changed my life by releasing my worries. It is very comforting and relaxing so worries disappear. It soothes my mind and my heart.Jackie S CZT XIII

ForgetmenotTangles said...

How on earth can I get across in a few words that of what Zentangle has done in my life, the life of my family, and those that Ive had the privilege to teach? Simply put, it's brought me back. Period. When I found Z it was the hardest time of my life, it kept me sane while going through it and after I was through it, it brought me back to life. It's given me confidence, excitement and courage. I don't do the people thing-not large groups. But I can share Z and it can be to as many folks as show up. Bc it's all done one stroke at a time. Anything is possible one stroke at a time.

Wendy said...

Looking back I realise that it was when I first started to Zentangle that I began to have confidence in my own form of art and getting it out there. I now have my own wee shop @thebookapothecaryshop selling my original cards and other paper goodies. ๐Ÿ’•Thank you! ❤️

Suzanne Fluhr said...

I could feel kind of desperate when faced with a long wait at an airport or at a doctor's office. Now, I always have some tangling supplies with me and I am almost happy when I have to be patient and wait.

Renee Harmon said...

I have always had some form of art/craft that I pursued as a way to balance my professional career as a Family Physician. Zentangle appeared in my life right when I needed it! My husband had been diagnosed with Young Onset Alzheimer's Disease, I was working full time, and of course, I was very stressed out! A patient actually re-introduced me to Zentangle, and I realized that this art form would fit into my busy life, and that it was something I could do in the same room with my husband without having to go to my studio and leave him by himself. About the time when my husband's disease progressed to the point that he needed in-home care, I began carrying my very portable new art supplies with me, just in case I had time to tangle. Finishing early at the office one day, I decided to stop at a coffee shop to relax and unwind. "Oh, I'll just bring my tiles and pen and tangle for a bit before going home!" This one simple decision changed the way I maneuvered the transition from physician to caregiver! Soon, I began asking the caregiver to stay a little later with my husband, just so I could have time to tangle in a quiet, calm space before coming home. He is in a nursing home now, and Zentangle remains the way I choose to decompress after work or after a particularly difficult visit with the man I still hold dear!

Sharon Jerkovic said...

What a great story Maria! I have bought a lot of your kits, both hardcover book plus other goodies..I love Zentangle, but, I have to confess have not spent nearly enough time to master my skills to the level I wish to achieve ! I WILL get there!! One day I will be able to post a more exciting story..I am glad you and Rick are "out there"!! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Dani Lamothe said...

I will forever owe a massive debt to my grandmother for shoving a Zentangle book under my nose 2 years ago and making me buy it...๐Ÿ˜‚
Zentangle has been an amazing help with my ADHD and anger management issues - it sounds trite at this point, but it really does promote patience, mindfulness, and peace...so many thanks for creating and sharing this amazing art form, I've said this so many times before and I'm sure I will for many years to come.

Laura Story said...

How has it NOT changed my life? It has been the literal: life raft/lifesaver, reason, activity, meditation, vehicle and hope for me to live a life worth living.

I remember my very first introduction- a trillion times copied article from the internet was loaned to me to make some abstract cards to send home.

Zentangle has been my witness of my journey to live and live well.

I now have an entire COMMUNITY in my life, new opportunities, dear friends, and a confidence in my creativity ��

I have reconnected with what matters and have a haven when I need comfort.

Really, what hasn't changed?

Alice McCallum said...

How has the Zentangle Method changed my life? It has made me humble, or at least humble that I recognize. I am learning to accept compliments about my art. And, I have learned to accept that I am indeed an artist.

I have always enjoyed teaching, and have taught a wide array of topics. The Zentangle Method will allow me to share what I have learned, and to see the joy and surprise as an artist sees something they have drawn, and appreciate what they have created.

There has been a fair bit of stress in my life this last week or so, and drawing using the Zentangle Method has allowed me to "escape" and unwind.

Even when things were the ugliest... I told myself, and others "It's still a good day". And I believe it.

-Alice

j said...

I just started last month and I look forward to seeing how zentangle changes me.

Stephanie Jennifer said...

I've built a career out of teaching the Zentangle method to others. I truly stand behind the benefits it brings to people's lives, the positivity that it gives to people (from the satisfaction they get after completing a tile, to understanding that life has no mistakes, to building their confidence, and much more). It's almost the second year since I became a CZT. I can't wait to see what better things Zentangle brings to my life.

Cindy Aldridge said...

Doing Zentangles has changed my life. I have fibromyalgia and disconnective tissue disease. They cause almost constant pain. Every time I turned around something else would go wrong. It was depressing. I started Zentangling and it helps me forget the pain and not think about things that are going on with my body and mind. It takes me into a zentangle world and I forget everything but what I'm working on. The best pain reliever ever! And my mind relaxes as I tangle forgetting everything. Thank You So Much!

Mary Bartrop said...

I have stage fright about speaking or teaching, but I get through it. Sharing my art was another thing altogether.
When I was a child ART was the thing I loved best. I wanted to be a REAL Artist like my uncle who created beautiful portraits. I remember proudly showing him a picture I had worked on intensely. He glanced down at it, murmured, "That's nice." and returned to his conversation with my mother. I was crushed. My little brother showed him a scribbled sketch a few minutes later and he went nuts over how fantastic it was. It broke my heart in unspeakable ways. I no longer trusted my hand. My love of art remained strong, but I took it underground. It became my very private safe place.
Eventually I began teaching my art passions, sharing my favorite things: bookbinding, eraser carving, polymer clay. I realized they were all 3 dimensional crafts. Drawing was excruciatingly painful, but the longing was still there.
In 2013 I had 2 surgeries, 6 months apart. Miserable doesn't begin to describe that time. In the middle I discovered this "meditative drawing" thing: Zentangle. It was magical. Timeless. Pain free! I signed up for the next available seminar simply because I wanted MORE. Zentangle gave me the deep joy of drawing that I lost as a young child. I never intended to teach it. To GROUPS? In PUBLIC? OUT LOUD! Despite the fact that I'd been teaching crafts for years, this took me straight to the fear I learned from my uncle so long ago. That I wasn't good enough. The CZT seminar was wonderful beyond my wildest dreams. Zentangle cuts through everything, one stroke at a time.
I began slowly. One or two friends at a kitchen table. Now I teach regularly through a local college Lifelong Learning program. At this point I have almost no words. My Zentangle practice is all about Gratitude, and I incorporate it into every tile I create because Zentangle gave me back to myself.

I'm Toni said...

Zentangle has helped me with some of my anxiety issues. One of the skills I had learned was "in the moment", which entailed things like counting items in my area: 6 cars, 5 trees, etc. But after I started doing Zentangle, I just pulled out a pen and a sheet of paper and Voila! I was back in the present moment! Thank you!!

Diane Napolitano said...

What a story. I can certainly relate. I vividly remember standing in front of the chalk board in 4th grade working on a math problem, my confidence in finishing it correctly left me, I broke down crying and ran out of class. At one of my first college courses "Interpersonal relationships", the professor chose me to come to the front of the auditorium and speak. I tried explaining to the professor quietly that I always felt that I never fit in, he asked me to explain what I meant and I couldn't. He took pity on me and let me go back to my seat. For most of my work career, I've been the person who was asked to get up and present/speak mostly because I put on a brave front and show that I'm confident. I've been a Supervisor for 18 years and I give presentations to small groups of employees and have had to give presentations to over 100 employees including the Executives of our organization on a regular basis. If you knew me, you'd never know I was afraid to do any of this. Before any presentation, standing in front of a group or having to be the lead on a committee, I practice, practice and practice again until I know the information forwards and backwards. I've always been afraid someone will ask me a question and I won't know the answer/information. Throughout all of my life, I've had to make myself get up and do what needs to be done. I

I've loved Zentangle since I first saw it. I took some classes and was so hooked, I had to become a CZT. I have attended Zen Again and other classes and seminars given by Rick and Maria. For some reason I have not been able to get up the courage to teach a class. I don't know why, because that became part of the plan, to share Zentangle with others. I practice at home, love the classes I attended, have all of the supplies, belong to multiple Zentangle groups online, but I don't post and haven't taught anyone. After reading Maria's blog, I realize there is hope. It will be OK and I just need to do it, but I'm not there yet.

andrea said...

for me zentangle is like a puzzle with your pen! when i start one you just have a certain feeling when its right. i am also noticing more patterns around me. it has made me more observant! i love zentangles!!!