They always say that the best things in life come along when you least expect them and when you most need them. This has never been truer for me than when I found the Zentangle Method in January 2012. The previous couple of years had been unkind. Several members of our family and close friends had suddenly become ill and passed away in a short frame of time. In the midst of all these tragedies our two adorable dogs died as well. Life seemed pretty grim.
The worst was in the middle of the night, waiting for the phone to ring, for that dreaded call, knowing it was coming, but not when. There were many nights that I could not sleep, and most days, where I felt like I couldn’t breathe, concentrate or function at all. I was at a point where I did not know what to do to keep my sanity. In short, I was a mess physically, mentally and emotionally.
But a miracle happened. In the wee hours of the morning, when my sister was dying, when I couldn’t do anything to keep my mind from racing off with a life of its own, my prayers were answered. I had been desperately “googling”, looking for anything that might help my anxiety. This thing called “Zentangle” kept coming up again and again. After checking around on their site, I automatically dismissed it “knowing” that this was NOT the answer for me. I could NOT draw a thing, let alone do some of this beautiful art they claimed I would be able to do. And how could I ever imagine that by drawing dots, lines, circles or curves, I would be able to concentrate or go into a relaxed state of focus… Impossible!!!
Yet something told me I should give it a try. Before I knew it, I was sleepy and for the first time in months, felt very calm. Never in my life had I experienced this type of feeling. I was stunned but absolutely delighted. I kept doing Zentangle and felt this calmness like never before. I found myself in this wonderful place without a care in the world.
Soon I found that another benefit of my Zentangle practice was that it was helping me manage chronic pain. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Osteoarthritis in my early 20’s and after tangling for a few weeks, I realized I was taking fewer pain meds. Now, I practice Zentangle mostly for pain management. Even though I love the artistic part, that is not what is important to me. Most other art forms have become too painful to do because of arthritic spurs in my hands and back. BUT I can still tangle with a pen. This is such a blessing for someone who has always been creative. Some days my art looks better than others depending on how I feel and whether my hands are swollen or not. The great part is that it doesn’t matter. What matters is the calmness and relaxation I experience.
And that brings me to today and here I am, a Certified Zentangle Teacher doing something I love, something that fuels my creativity and soothes my heart and my soul. The Zentangle Method helps me feel fantastic about myself and who I am, no matter what I have experienced, good or bad. Being able to share it with others makes it even better. And that is why Zentangle makes my heart sing.