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!