I may appear calm and cool as a cucumber on the outside, but on the inside, I have struggled with anxiety and depression from a very early age (at least 6 years old!). But I know this anxiety and depression truly isn’t me. It’s just a way I’ve learned to cope.
That doesn’t cut it for me any more, though. 30 years later and I’m open with the mental and emotional challenges I’ve dealt with, and I’m ready to embrace the creative and intuitive gifts I’ve been born into this life with!
I was introduced to Zentangle by my friend Irma. A former nun, now in her 80s, she explained to me how she is able to relax by drawing repetitive patterns on 3.5″ square sheets of fine paper with the best black pens. First lightly pencil-sketching a “string” on the square, she then fills each of the sections that string creates with different patterns. The finished product is one of unexpected and intricate beauty.
I googled Zentangle and found many links, tutorials and instructions! Zentangle.com is the first place to start. I poured through their archived newsletters. Tanglepatterns.com is a great place to get new ideas for tangles and strings. And then of course just Google Images! There are also countless blogs by Zentangle enthusiasts, like me!
I began doing challenges. I devoured many books about Zentangle. I found my artistic “voice,” and I found a very relaxing way to reconnect my imagination to something tangible!
How Zentangle has helped me
I’m not saying that practicing Zentangle has cured my propensity to anxiety. But it has allowed me to see the recurring patterns in my life (e.g., fitting too much into a small amount of time/space) and let go of outcomes a little more. It’s provided a channel for me to express myself when words just don’t seem to fit. It’s reconnected my hands to my head — more than just hand-eye coordination, but a reconnection to what’s happening in my body.
And, as someone who is sensitive to subtle energies, I find that the Zentangle art form is a method for my intuition, my need to create, my love for detail and my inclination toward healing all merge.
Finally, four years after my introduction to Zentangle, I decided to become a teacher. I got my certificate by attending the CZT training in Providence, Rhode Island, in June 2014.