You take out a fresh, blank piece of paper, feeling and seeing the potential of that beautiful open space.
Take a breath.
At this point, I can almost see my mind bouncing from thought to thought. First, Ahh! I am calm. But then, ACK! I want to make something beautiful! The pressure! The pressure!
This is natural, I remind myself.
I am someone who has had anxiety attacks and depression since I was very little. Six years old, in fact. (So, that’s 30-something years ago…) Anxiety is my shadow friend that follows me. When I see her coming around, it’s really easy for me to start to freak out.
What’s been helpful for me in the last several years is to just say to myself and the anxiety, You’re in the exact place you need to be, right now. Grocery store, yes. In bed, yes. At work, yes. Huddled on the couch, yes.
Zentangle practice helps me make this catch phrase actually tangible. I feel the paper. I remember that there are no mistakes and that Zentangle is not about the outcome of making something beautiful, perfect and “product-worthy.”
And then I pick up the pencil.
That’s why those four dots are so essential. They are the beginning. They “unblank” the blank canvas. They set a foundation and grounding for whatever you choose to do next. And it might not have anything to do with those four dots. But they’re there. Light. Reassuring.
There is an amazing quote in The Book of Zentangle by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas that sums up the draw (no pun intended) that Zentangle has for me:
“It is our human heritage to create designs, manipulate symbols, and put pen to paper. In a time of accelerating technology, Zentangle offers an accessible comfort of simple, primal, and timeless creativity.”