February 9, 2011

Tangling with Zen

Whew... the last two posts have been pretty heavy.  Let's lighten it up here at Enjoy the Ride Today! 

As we all know, I've been focusing on my health and my mind, but in all honestly, 2011 has brought me all kinds of creative moments as well.  This is very different for me, but in the spirit of my One Little Word: Movement... I have been really working toward spending a little time (or a lot of time) each week doing something creative... something not focused on food, or lifting weights, or activity, or cleaning out the cobwebs in my head.

One of those things is Zentangle.

My very first Zentangle

I have mentioned previously that I wanted to try it ever since Marit mentioned it on the SFTIO boards (thank you Marit), and I have asked Santa for the Zentangle kit two years in a row now for Christmas.  When I didn't get it this year, I used a gift card to purchase it for myself.  That's what gift cards are for, right?

So, what exactly is Zentangle, you ask?  Well, how about that... here I am to tell you! 

Zentangle is a piece of abstract art contained to a 3 1/2 inch square piece of art paper (although I don't doubt that they can be bigger or smaller).  It is a frame broken up into pieces by a string, and then you use the tangles to fill the pieces of the string.  Their motto is "anything is possible, one stroke at a time."

My second Zentangle

I will leave it up to them to explain the theory, but here are some pieces that call to me:

At first glance, a Zentangle can seem intricate and complicated. But, when you see how it is done, you realize how simple it is. When you create a Zentangle, you realize how fun and engrossing it is.

Doodling is hard for me!  So, I thought if they are telling me it's simple, I've got to try it, because I want to feel more free to doodle and add sketches to my cards, layouts and journals.

Just as you make a deliberate pen stroke on your Zentangle, that very act of putting your pen to paper focuses your attention in a way similar to meditation or being "in the zone." As your eye follows your pen strokes your attention shifts to a state that allows fresh thoughts, new perspectives, and creative insights to flow unhindered by anxiety or effort.

It really does put you in a focused state, and that's really very relaxing!

You always succeed when you do a Zentangle because you always create a pattern. A Zentangle has no up or down and is not a picture of something, so you have no worries about whether you can draw a hand, or a duck. You always succeed in creating a Zentangle.
I'll tell you what... the more things I can find success in, the better I am able to handle those setbacks, as I've been talking about.   I highly recommend this little art outlet.  Check out the gallery on the Zentangle site to see some amazing little pieces of art, including some from a seven-year old. 

My fourth Zentangle
No, you didn't miss it, I failed to photograph the 3rd.

Hey, if a seven year old can do it, I can, right?  In fact, I think I'll go start a new one now! 


  1. Love the new brighter, lighter blog site.

  2. Love your new blog header and background. And I can see the progression in your Zentangle skills - really like how the 4th one turned out! Maybe that "zen" quality explains why I doodle so much in long meetings at work...

  3. Hello, Kai. Thank you for the nice comment you left on my blog. :o) I'm glad you did because it brought me over to your sweet blog where I was immediately drawn in by your blog header and that great quote you have there! I've never heard of Zentangle but the concept is fascinating. It sounds like something that would be very beneficial for me as well! Have a great day.


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