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If you’re the plant, what’s the sun, nutrients, and water?

There are so many changes possible in 2022 and yet there are some deeply challenging aspects from the past few years that remain.

With an eye on the present, and a desire to take good care of myself so that I can continue to grow and be of support to others, I’m focusing on what nurtures me. 

What’s nourishing you now?

Several times a week I turn to my Zentangle practice for the creativity and calm it provides me. For the past few months I’ve been experimenting with botanicals and last week I added color. 

I’m writing a few haiku almost every day (as part of a year-long program), as it really stretches me. Here’s one of my favorites:

Beauty of first snow

breathtaking and heart-stopping

Vanishes quickly

Meditation almost daily, and a silent retreat for part of this week, are both restful, a respite (from the cacophony of my life), and CHALLENGING.

My daily walks in the neighborhood and a local state park, and my standing desk keep me from feeling rooted in my chair and energize me.  

Happily, I’ve found a few groups of colleagues who stimulate and support me and I leave those meetings feeling inspired and connected. 

 

 

 

How are you growing yourself—whatever that looks like to you?  

What habits have you created? 

What is no longer serving you, that needs to be let go?

(And, just knowing that we need to leave that which holds us back, doesn’t make it easy to do.)

What dream do you have that will move you forward? How will you design the ease, growth, play, calm, or whatever it is that you desire? I’m guessing you know those answers if you make the time to ask and answer the questions and develop a plan. 

If having a sounding board or a partner to ask some of the questions and support you in the design of your own self-care package, please reach out to me. It is a delight and privilege to walk on the path/be a part of the journey with those who want to take good care of themselves and step into more of their dreams. 

And now, for something totally different…

Just last month I began a creativity coaching program. I’m exploring my creativity in a totally new medium—paint— and learning to bring new ideas, skills, and practices to my coaching work with existing clients. Maybe I’ll even offer creativity coaching as an elaboration of the Zentangle play and work that I adore.

What have you started, or explored more deeply, recently? What’s exciting in your life right now?

One of the exercises in this coaching program is to create a face collage. Surrounded with images torn from magazines, gel matte, paintbrushes, and more kinds of scissors than necessary, I set to plorking (playing and working) with jazz playing in the background.

Once complete, perhaps an hour later, as there is symbolism in everything element chosen for the final piece (and that takes time… all the sifting and sorting through images), I was delighted. I had created a rather startling image!

My big, beautiful face is surrounded by photos that called to me. All of these images stir my imagination… I follow a pathway through a forest, see gorgeous, weathered planks of wood,  imagine being a bird floating in the sky, and experience warmth and a sense of peace in the viewing setting sun.

The image of a beautiful bird reflected in the water invited me to invert the photo for this piece. The reflection is placed at the top of my head because that’s where I do my thinking, feeling, and musing. My very large eyes see both beginnings and endings—sunrise and sunset. They go beyond the contours of my face. My nose smells the flowers and all there is to take in, my cheeks are bright, sparkly red buttons of color showing life and vitality. My mouth is big, juicy, and open just a bit as there’s always something to be shared and talked about. My ears represent both the big picture, listening for big themes and the sparkle in the fine details of what people are saying. I sport a jaunty crown of an undersea delight. The monarch Butterfly is an anchor for me just reminding me of my tattoo/my connection to my father. The beautiful Spring owl soars, as I always seek to do myself.

If you were to make a face collage, what would you create? 

What ideas, beliefs, desires, questions, and more would be integrated into your creation? 

I hope you will experiment too. If you do, please share it with me.

If you’re interested in accessing, expanding, and evolving your creativity, I hope you will be in touch with me.

Zentangle, a lens for viewing my life

Zentangle is…

A simple, though not always easy, way to bring beauty, focus, and calm into my life every day with ease and a minimum of effort (re: time and materials).

A lens for viewing my life, a reminder to perceive my life with fresh eyes, understand that I will make mistakes—it’s part of living—because I try new things and I get them right and wrong. I am sometimes tired, my best efforts are not always my best work, and that working through the tangles (patterns)—by fixing them &/or moving on/making peace and learning from them is what enables me to grow. 

Art & a science… I bring my own special flair to the guidelines for working with the method.

A reminder to step back and gain a new perspective… there’s always at least one more way to view a situation. I’m always thinking to myself and saying to participants, “Hold your tile at arm’s length and rotate it—90, 180, 270, and then 360 degrees. What do you find as you do so? Which view is most interesting or appealing to you?”

Poke Leaf (the final stoke of the “Z”) invites new ways of working with a challenging pattern.

About both comforting and challenging myself. I LOVE and work with about two dozen patterns regularly—they feel easy and natural. The liveliness of Jetties, the wildness of Squid, the energy of Cadent, and the boldness of Knightsbridge delight me.

And, I’m always on the lookout for changing up the way I do one of my “go-to” tangles and for new patterns and media, to keep me sharp and humble… aware of my growing edge.

“What if, instead of just shading the leafy part of Poke leaf, I use my pen to color in the stem, shade the top of the stems, and use the tortillon/smudger to move the pencil lead into the body of the leaf?”

These four panels are 12-inch squares!

“How might I use/create on a larger area/literally a canvas—how do I need to adapt to the new dimension? What tools will I use?”

A reminder, that there’s a time to put down the pen and walk away from my work… because I have done enough, and doing more may overwork the tile. I  caution myself at times, “There’s a time to pause and reflect. Then, choose to leave it for now or pick up the pen or pencil again to continue.”

An opportunity to sink into the process, experience flow, and remain unattached to the result. There are times that I enjoy the drawing, learn a lot about the patterns and how they fit together yet don’t love the final look of my work and play. I counsel myself to walk away and return to the piece the next morning, knowing that I may feel differently about the tile then… or I will have learned from it and take that knowledge forward. 

Tangling on the inner surface of shells is delightful—it’s silky smooth.

Engaging in tangling is just like so much of how I live my life.

If you’re interested in exploring Zetangle, please reach out to me. I offer classes that cater to beginners and challenge those who are more advanced with a variety of media and long-term projects. I share most of my ongoing work on both instagram and FB.

Envisioning the future through reflecting on my past … which is not to say that past is prologue!

Imagine me running full tilt toward the finish line… that’s how I felt on Tuesday—it’s a vision, right?

I was meeting with the students from the Baruch College Industrial and Organizational Psychology program (MSIO). My mission was to share information about talent development as a field, ATDNYC in particular (as the VP of membership), and address their questions about what the future might hold… i.e., “What if I want to switch fields now that I’ve just graduated?” “How do I narrow my focus, as I love all areas of I/O?”

I had taken on the task of creating a visual of my influences on my path as a visual practitioner. Then, I realized that I had to recognize my foundation—how I even started to think of becoming a visual practitioner—and believed that this information was even more important to the MSIO students. I created a visual of my academic background and training experiences and the key influences in each program.

Of course, I had all kinds of thoughts about the background—literal, metaphorical—and with the clock ticking (my strength of creativity getting in the way again!), I went with a simple yellow/golden pathway… reminiscent of the yellow brick road.

I have plans for the second path or stream, which will intertwine with what I have created already. It will be my journey as a visual practitioner. A third path is brewing in my mind, thanks to my buddy Julia Curtis. I am going to share an abridged list of places of work and my consulting clients to highlight the impact of my education and training. This is more complexity of design than I usually work with… and I both am enjoying it and feel challenged by it.

Over the next few weeks, I will share the ongoing process of creating this multi-path vision, which is beginning to feel like a 3-D drawing…

I hope that you will see this as an opportunity not so much to learn about me but rather an opportunity to ask the same questions of yourself and create your own answers… visually or in writing, perhaps collage. It’s the content that matters—choose a medium that calls to you. I hope you will share your creation with me!

PS: Since the event, several students have been in touch and spoken with me about the power of sharing the visual and my story to help them see possibilities for their futures. Understanding the variety of resources at their fingertips (ATD NYC and other organizations) also made them feel more relaxed and hopeful about receiving the support they want and need.

How do you feel about relaxing, focusing more easily, and having fun?

What is this thing called Zentangle?

Just last week I was sharing my love of Zentangle—a meditative art—with members of the IAF Visual Facilitation SIG. Toward the end of the session, we were talking about how relaxing and fun it was to create such beautiful designs  and I was asked, “So how would you use this in a work setting?” I live for such questions—as applicability is my jam!

So we chatted about it—and I shared a laundry list of ways. Here are a few:

* Enhancing team cohesion—focusing on how, when learning new tangles together, we use the same tools, “string” (spaces within which we work), and tangles (patterns) and our work is both similar and different. It’s a perfect place to begin conversations about how we work together as a team, to recognize areas of commonality and diversity, i.e., we have common goals, similar and different skills, approaches, communication styles, personalities, etc.

 

* making the time to explore how this method engages our minds and bodies simultaneously – creating whole body/embodied experiences.

*diving into new tangles, new combinations of patterns, and re-visiting old/well-known patterns in new ways provides us with fresh, stimulating experiences, challenging us to remain focused, in the moment, experimental.

* wrestling with our inner critic—because sometimes we can’t easily leave that little devil at the door! Learning to breathe through the mistakes we make—because we’re human and we will make mistakes—and continuing to move forward. (Notice that there’s no eraser on a Zentangle pencil!)

* living the philosophy which permeates the Zentangle method. Here are just a few of the ideas I share with folks

* learning to step away and return to our work refreshed. I tangle at night and there are times I don’t love my work as I put it away… when I see it the next morning I am always happier… perhaps it’s because my inner critic got a good night’s sleep!

* slowing down and taking multiple perspectives—feeling the beauty and surprises in seeing our work from different angles—just by rotating the tiles… and carrying the skills of pausing, becoming open to possibilities, and shifting perspectives into our work and personal lives.

* actively supporting people’s taking care of themselves—making time, from five minutes to a lunch hour —for stepping away from work and the ever-present screen, to become absorbed in the delight and the challenge of using simple tools to create beautiful patterns… emerging from the experience refreshed.

* encouraging thinking in new and different ways—not only when we approach a new tile, but also in the media that can be used… look here to see many of my “off the tile” creations—on sneakers, mugs, jewelry, pencil cases… and in instances where I engage in ZIA (Zentangle Inspired Art) most often for fundraisers/causes I support and gifts for family and friends. How can we look beyond the ways we have previously engaged in processes and developed products to literally change the foundation from which we work. (I feel a parallel here to Ben Zander’s ideas in The Art of Possibility, about changing the table on which the game is played. (If you don’t know the book, check it out, it’s one of my favorites!)

While it’s clear that I am passionate about the Zentangle method and tangling, I haven’t shared the most important element to me. When I teach folks to tangle they see themselves in new ways—in an hour’s time! My heart sings when people say at the end of our session, “I am an artist!”

Are you ready to tangle? Join me for Relax, focus, and have fun with Zentangle on Thursday, May 13th for my Creative Mornings Field Trip, learn more and register here!