Lisa A. Kramer

Author, Speaker, Theater Artist, Creativity Facilitator

Zentangling Myself

"Anything is possible, one stroke at a time." (Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas)

The other day a new friend gave me a gift.

[caption id="attachment_6658" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Flight and Freedom I call this, "Flight and Freedom"[/caption]

I shared with her my worry that my brain and emotions are out of control, whizzing around like a buzzing beehive of thoughts and ideas but never stopping to rest.

I cannot catch them. I cannot slow them. I cannot control them.

It's not the same as writer's block, because I have been able to write a few things, and have done a lot of work. I've tried clearing my mind in my Morning Pages, but that doesn't seem to help. I cannot rest. I cannot sleep. My mind is constantly in motion.

It's exhausting and a little scary.

So my friend gave me a gift. She reached into her bag and handed me her copy of  Joy of Zentangle, along with the little package she uses to hold her pens and her Zentangle cards.

"You need to find your center she said. I'm loaning you these."

"Are you sure?" I asked.

"Of course."

I started working on one then and there, as my friend (who is a writing buddy as well) was reading something of mine. I took  a suggestion from the book as well as an example she showed me and tried to reflect on some of the things that have haunted me, while I let my mind create.

The result wasn't beautiful, but it was revealing.

[caption id="attachment_6659" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Circle of Questions "Circle of Questions"[/caption]

I took  her gift home.

What is Zentangle? For a real understanding of this, you should visit the Zentangle Website or the Zentangle Blog. However, is a way of using drawing to help bring about well-being, along with creativity. It's art meets meditation.

From the book:
"Countless experts in various professions, including psychology, education, and counseling, are in the process of exploring the benefits and uses of the Zentangle method and the meditative-like state it is capable of producing. Many have found Zentangle to be a wonderful way for individuals to cope with trauma or grief, or as a way to build self-confidence and promote self-expression. As with many processes of healing and self-exploration, each individual's experience with the Zentangle method is unique, and the benefits that come from Zentangle are specific to each person who uses it." (p. 16)
Yesterday, I went a little Zentangle crazy . . . returning to the journey between chores and obligations. Sarah wasn't feeling well, so we spent  a much-needed day at home as well. I alternated between getting ready for summer, writing, trying to nap and allowing myself these brief explorations into creativity and meditation. With each one, I felt I got a little more creative, a little more insight,  and a lot more calm.

[caption id="attachment_6660" align="aligncenter" width="300"]"Balance" "Balance" The final tangle from last night[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_6661" align="aligncenter" width="296"]"What words do I need?" This is one of the earlier ones. "What words do I need?" This is one of the earlier ones.[/caption]

This morning, I woke up and wrote in my Morning Pages, and the words flowed more easily than they have for a while. I read a little. I dealt with e-mail. I found out I needed to deal with some technology issues on this site. As I waited for that to happen, I pulled out another blank card (which my husband cut out of some drawing paper because I'd used up the ones in the kit), my pencil and my pens and I began . . .

[caption id="attachment_6662" align="aligncenter" width="350"]"Gleams at the Center" "Gleams at the Center"[/caption]

I know that I can't lose myself into this Zentangle journey. I know that I'm not the most brilliant artist in the world. I also know that sometimes you have to explore in new ways to find peace within yourself. I learned that a few years ago, under the guidance of another good friend of mine; an artist named Jackie who first helped me find the connection between meditation and art which resulted in a piece that now hangs on my wall.

Moon GoddessI am so grateful to these women, who help me quiet the chaos. I thank them from deep inside my soul.

I also thank the inventors of Zentangle . . . I really needed that.

What do you to get out of your head and out of your own way?