5 significant lessons I learned with Zentangle ®

Jul 28, 2021 | English, Inspiration, Practice

What are the 5 most significant lessons I learned with the Zentangle Method?

Before I tell you more about the 5 significant lessons I learned with Zentangle, I’d like to share a list from an article of the Zentangle blog.

In this compelling article, Molly Hollibaugh explains how the practice of Zentangle can help people let go of negative emotions and thoughts and embrace their own creativity and beauty. She shares a list of ten principles to achieve Zen-like state of mind and relates them to the Zentangle method.

Here is the list:

10 to Zen

  1. Let go of comparing
  2. Let go of competing
  3. Let go of judgments
  4. Let go of anger
  5. Let go of regrets
  6. Let go of worrying
  7. Let go of blame
  8. Let go of guilt
  9. Let go of fear
  10. Have a proper belly laugh at least once a day.

– Author Unknown

There is something from this list and that article that resonated with me as it relates closely to the lessons I learned from practicing with the Zentangle Method.

Let me tell you more about these 5 lessons I learned with the Zentangle Method.

Lesson #1: Letting go

As you practice with the Zentangle Method, you learn to let go of judgment, comparison, and competition. It’s about your enjoyment of putting pen to paper.

This practice will help you delve into your creativity. It’s about your artwork and your unique creativity not someone else’s.

In other words, comparison becomes moot because the joy is in the process of creating, not only in the result it produces.

The artwork produced becomes the icing on the cake. It is lovely to look at but what makes you feel better is the moment you took for yourself, relaxing and drawing.

As you practice, you learn to be more present with each line you draw. You learn to accept that maybe today your line won’t be as straight as yesterday, and it is ok.

Une femme allongée sur le dos se détend en écoutant de la musique avec un casque

Lesson #2: Be in the moment

The anger or the feelings you might feel before you start to draw will become less important or disappear while you’re drawing (and sometimes even will entirely disappear). If your attention is on the line you draw, line after line, stroke after stroke, then it can’t be on something else!

This practice takes so much of your attention that everything else can wait, at least during the time you draw.

How relaxing it is to have time when you don’t have to overthink!

un papillon qui donne l'impression qu'il va se poser sur le doigt d'une main

Lesson #3: Explore what can be

As you practice, you’ll notice that regrets or worries become less important. If you have regrets because you haven’t done something or if you’re worried your tile or artwork isn’t what you expected, take a break and pick it up again when you feel like it and see what happens.

There is beauty in the discovery.

Where will this tile take you today?

Learn to go with the flow and explore.

It can have a tremendous impact on your creative thinking and help you expand your creativity.

quelqu'un est en train de grimper le long d'une échelle qui l'emmène vers le ciel

Lesson #4: Rejoice and relax

Blame or guilt are two feelings that can stop us in our track. How often do you tell yourself: “I am not good enough.” or “I haven’t tangled in a while”? Are there other things you think you need to do before you can draw?

Instead of letting guilt or blame take these moments away from you, learn to be grateful for these moments you can draw (or teach) as they are moments of connection and joy, relaxation, and sharing. These moments are precious.

That is to say, they enrich you and open your world and the world of those around you. They allow you to be more present and giving, first to yourself and then to others.

jambes de personnes assises par terre avec des objets créatifs autour

Lesson #5: Learning to go beyond fear

There is this saying in the Zentangle Method: “there are no mistakes, only opportunities.” It’s not that we don’t make mistakes. Of course, we do!

It is just that you learn, as you practice, to go beyond fear. Or, more precisely, you’re learning to see the opportunities that come from what you may initially consider mistakes.

That fear of making a mistake disappears with practice. It’s incredibly liberating to know fear can no longer stop you in your creative tracks! In essence, fear becomes your springboard to exploring something new.

Lesson Learned with Zentangle

What else can you do now with what you have in front of you?

These are the “five lessons I learned with the Zentangle method” and I hope some of them resonated with you.

Perhaps the most important lesson is the last item on the list at the beginning of this article: laugh once a day.

Creativity should never be something that takes the joy out of life.

You can also choose to understand this as “don’t take everything so seriously” or simply as “Have fun!”.

What made you smile today?


— Are you new to the Zentangle Method? You can start by reading more about the Method in the previous article or by taking the mini-course on tangling.

— You’re more experienced and want to practice more regularly? Try the Club ArtsAmuse. As one participant put it so well:

“I love it ! I never have to look for ideas anymore and I get to practice every day.”

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