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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

What's Your Idea?

Rick writes:

Many people send us pictures of their Zentangle art and tell amazing stories about how drawing Zentangle art benefited them. They describe rising above fear, depression, grief and suicide. They report relief from severe pain, mental and physical traumas, addictions, insomnia, and even selective mutism.

When Maria and I began teaching, we did not expect such stories.

At first, I thought it might be because when you enter the relaxed focus of Zentangle art you access a recess from the pressures and demands of the world. For example, imagine picking up something light, like a glass of water . . . no problem. But hold that glass at arm’s length for a while and your arm will ache. However if you can put it down every now and then, it’s easier to hold it out for a longer time, even though it still weighs the same. Even knowing you can put it down whenever you need helps.

This morning I began to wonder if there’s something more behind these stories and came up with another analogy.

Imagine you are riding in a car and the radio is playing something irritating, but you don’t know how to change the station (perhaps you borrowed your friend’s car). You could drive to the radio station, confront the people there and insist they change their broadcast or, you could pull over and learn how to tune in a station you like.

Maybe these amazing stories have something to do with discovering a metaphorical inner tuning dial that can access other stations, even if only while tangling.

The point of this metaphor is not that you should tune in a particular station, rather that such a method to deliberately shift focus is available at all . . . and all wrapped in the enjoyable experience putting pen to paper and creating unexpectedly beautiful images in a fun and relaxing way.

These are the sorts of thoughts and questions that fascinate me.

What are your experiences? What are your thoughts?

I look forward to reading about your experiences and your ideas.

Many thanks,

The art at the beginning includes Maria's and my 3Z Tiles (from the "12 Days of 3Z" Blog series) and Maria's lettering and butterfly. We made this to welcome students to our 2017 Certified Zentangle Teacher training seminars.

I had to include some Zentangle art with this article! And, it was also a good way to remind you about the upcoming seminars! :-)

Thanks again for your comments!




Rose said...

Hi Rick and Maria,

This is a very beautiful article and I am so glad I came across it now, when I am totally appreciating my 15 months journey in the Zentangle Club. It is, since the moment I learned 'the zen' in the Zentangle©, I got totally hooked up. In past 15 months, I have been able to amazingly sweep through the pressures and pleasures of my daily life, in a very very balanced way. My relationship with myself improved, my relationship with my family, friends, my community people, everything has begun to improve and it is impressive to know that I am able to chose my surroundings and challenges very well. My 8 year old kiddo is very happy as she finds me always laughing and cracking jokes with her n people around. My husband is being very supportive even if he finds me a little too eccentric. Now, I feel less bogged down by troubles of daily life. There's sense of achievement even in doing the little tiles like bijou size. Those 90 mins or more are just mine. That moment I am aware of the pen, paper and breath. I don't need music to tangle even if it is for straight 6 or 7 hours, because tangling is like Music to me. For me, it is a small act of awareness/being in present that makes that one day of my life beautiful, fulfilling.

Katrina said...

The most powerful experience for me so far is the ability to draw structured patterns in my mind when faced with stressful situations. I have used it to calm my nerves when getting a root canal. There is no way to use paper and pen in some situations but since I have done patterns repetitively many times on paper, I can do it in my mind. I have to again thank you for that! For introducing it as a way to relax!

Marieke said...

I do have a similar experience as Katrina... I can draw the tangles I know in my mind and this has the same relaxing and calming effect as drawing them in real. Sometimes, when I have been too busy on a day to draw, I spend some time to draw the tangles in my mind just before I fall asleep. It is then that I get new ideas for tangelations as well.
Zentangle is such a wonderful invention! It completely changed the way I live my life... I often think, no matter what will happen in my life, I'll always have Zentangle, if necessary only in my mind. And that gives me a very rich feeling. Thank you so much for sharing Zentangle with the world!

Laura said...

Whenever I encountered an issue, I would sit down to draw a 15 minutes' tangle. Zentangle is a comforting tool, to calm down my mind and have
strength to move on. Thanks to Rick & Maria to develop such a wonderful method. Love, Laura Liu/CZT in Taiwan

Karin Godyns said...

Hello Rick and Maria,

What a beautiful drawing for the seminar 2017! I love butterflies. They are my favorite insect. Thank you for sharing this with us.

I am a grief counselor and when new clients come to me that are too overwhelmed I would give them a tile, a pen and a pencil and simply ask them to continue talking but also just do what I am doing: the basic steps on a Zentangle tile. Soon the emotion will lower and they often say: "wuuaauw, what is this?" :o)

Personally whenever I have an ‘off day’ I tangle and quite quickly the feeling of peace and faith resurfaces.

It is Law of Attraction in action. When you put your mind to something it is like a seed…. It will grow the more attention you give it. So when people put their mind to something as nice and beautiful as Zentangle, the magic happens. Soon the beauty will reappear in their life. And for some people having a quiet mind – away from stress, grief and worries - for a minute or so is already a gift.

Zentangle is a gift to the world.

Terri Y CZT16 said...

I am so busy with life since I retired. I have many hobbies and my mind is full of ideas. Thus at times I overwhelm myself and cannot focus on what to do. So I grab my journal and pen and sit and tangle, sometimes for 15 minutes and sometimes for 2 hours. Zentangle helps me refocus and calm my mind and I am able to carry on with some of my other creative tasks. Thank you so much for helping me and so many others.

Zentangle said...

@all . . . Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

I love the theme of absorbing the Zentangle Method in a way that allows practicing even without pen and paper. We heard a story from a CZT who used that technique during an MRI . . . which she found quite unsettling. So, she tangled, in her mind. Later she re-created on paper what she had tangled mentally. The punch line to this story came is that her tangled images was strikingly similar to the MRI images.

Thanks again for the comments and conversations. I've been gathering notes as seed ideas for other conversations and this inspires me to continue with this project!

All the best,


Unknown said...

My name is Beatriz, I have four little kids and I love spending time with them, Zentangle is magical for all of them, and for me of course!! we draw together, share and have wonderful moments without computer, iPads, telephone... I love how they interpret and draw the tangles, one of my little ones is 5 years old and he tangles since he is three years old !!!! It's incredible you feel happy and proud of you every time!! Ah!! My father begin with Zentangle 4 months ago when he really stop working in his company and now he is motivated again because of his new work... Zentangle ,
Thanks for all your work
See you on the CZT 27 seminar!!!

PaigesUnwritten said...

I learned about Zentangle when I was searching for information on coping with PTSD. Behavioral counseling had helped some, in discussing emotions, etc. but there was something missing. I’ve learned that creating, while focusing on and enjoying the actual process, has given me a sense of control, calm and gratefulness, while having an end-product. I’ve added Zentangle to my life and have incorporated it in my crafting. I’ve shared it with family and friends and have explained that it has been part of my therapy. I’m by no means an expert “tangler”, but that’s part of the joy – it’s what each of us makes of it.

Pat Floerke said...

Studies of the brain show that mindfulness meditation - and I certainly consider tangling to be a mindfulness meditation - literally changes our brain waves, that practiced meditators can make that shift at will, and that the more often we do it, we literally re-wire the brain to be more likely to function that way another time. In this way we literally perceive the world differently, react differently, relate differently. So I find Rick's radio tuning image very accurate. I often find myself dreaming zentangles. Wonderful, and full of wonder!

ria matheussen said...

What a lovely card Maria has created and what a nice surprise for the future CZT students. I wish you all succes and I am very grateful that this wonderful art came into my life and that I had the possibility to become a CZT. Warm regards from Belgium!

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