Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It's about the Process

One of the things i tell people when i share the art of Zentangle® with them is:

"It's about the Process, NOT the Product." 

The product is just a happy side effect to the process happening in your mind.  When we let go of the ego and relax into the process, we yield amazing results.

For example, while teaching a dear friend of mine yesterday afternoon - i mentioned that when i focus too much on making the tile "LOOK GOOD" i find that it doesn't work and i am ultimately disappointed in my piece.  

When i can remember to let go and let the method of Zentangle be my only thought, to find that relaxed focus - doing each thing one step at at time without worrying about the end result - my tiles become beautiful.

Zentangles  - it's not just beautiful art.

I wanted to share a personal example of using Zentangle to alter moods - shortly after the flooding, i took my computer in to see if it could be saved, it turned out that the hard drive would not spin... and was lost.  Needless to say; I didn't deal with it well and took a five minute drive to fill up my car that turned into a 30 minute cruise around the country side while i tried to cool off. 

When i returned home, my husband in all his infinite wisdom suggested that i do a Zentangle to feel better.    My initial reaction was "NO!" (because sometimes i like to feel mad, and sometimes i don't like being told what to do - i can hear my husband laughing out loud at that last part already).  I am a Taurus after all, and even though the Bull is slow to anger, when they see Red they can be dangerous, but i reluctantly decided to give it a try.  

It's fascinating to me that even though i knew the calming properties of Zentangle i remember thinking as i drew my outline: "This will never work.  I am SO mad right now...GRR!"

The result? 

When i took a moment to reflect on my tile, i really noticed the anger in my tangling, and in my shading.  I also realized after that i had inadvertently created an image of a plane going down in flames... possibly another reflection of the anger and frustration i was feeling.


Having 'tangled it all out', i felt calm.  I began to feel the weight lifted from my shoulders and felt so much better.

This is also a pretty good example of using Zentagle as journalling.  On the back of my tile i had written: "No hard drive night" - and looking at the tile i can remember the feelings i felt while i was creating it. 

I have found, in my practice, that jotting down a note or two on the back of the tile about my surroundings or what i was feeling has been helpful to me.  Even if you aren't using Zentangle for journalling, it doesn't hurt to add "lovely day at the park" or "Having tea with Mom" on the back when signing and dating your work.

Now....After a nice long vacation - i'm back at work.  Back to the grind.  Back in Biz.  Having just had 11 days off with my hubby and my hilarious and adorable two year old, getting up this morning at 6:45 was somewhat of a challenge.  

There was about a-millionty-twelve emails to go through and phone messages to return, and a pile of paperwork to be done on my desk, and it was a might overwhelming at first - and as i began to feel that "In over my head" feeling, i remembered that i had a little box of tiles in my purse.
So i grabbed a cup of coffee, turned on some nice tunes and had myself a nice little coffee break, a moment of zen.  

I am always amazed at how much better i feel after having done a tile or two.  Like i am able to find my center.  To reconnect with "Laura".  She's a cool girl.  

Sometimes i need reminding.

How has Zentangle helped you?

Happy Tangling!


  1. Laura, what a great story. You said it all! Thanks.

  2. If half my clients would pause to place their drama on the page, either in words or symbols, their days would feel richer, - and their therapy time with me would be cut in half. These journals then become their best therapist.
    Appreciated you sharing this experience.


tangle me some zen, baby!!