So… I bought a book…

Many of my stories begin this way. I love books. I love bookstores. I love art. I think it was the summer of 2012 when I bought a book about Zentangle®. If I had known it was going to change the course of my life, I would have marked it on the calendar or started a journal so I could remember the whole story. But, at the time, I had no idea that it was going to be such a catalyst. Now I’m not exactly sure which book it even was.

I do remember the Barnes and Noble where it all started, the cafe I went to afterwards, and my first attempts at drawing tangle patterns with a Sharpie marker on copy paper. I found myself wanting a class, a trainer, someone to coach me through the steps, a group of kindred spirits to share my new found art form with. There were no Zentangle classes in Salt Lake City. I searched everywhere. Obviously what Utah needed was a Zentangle trainer, so I started Googling to figure out how I could become one.

Life happened, workshops were full, and it wasn’t until the summer of 2015 that I registered for the certification class, spent the weekend in Boston, and bought a different book at the Harvard bookstore before taking the train to Providence, RI. This book, The Crossroads of Should and Must, struck a real chord with my right brain battle to excel in a left brained world and set a perfect stage for this next step of my Zentangle journey.

Like most, my life has not always been easy. My mother died in a car accident when I was just out of high school. I got married and divorced. (I’m not sure which was more challenging.) I moved to Utah with a toddler, away from friends and family to a place where I knew no one, for a job that paid more so I could support myself and my daughter. For 17 years, I was a single parent and a working mother with a fairly successful full-time career in sales & project management, juggling work-life balance and trying to maintain some semblance of sanity. In my 40s, I got re-married, changed jobs, and went back to school. As strange and disconnected as they may sound, these were all rather defining moments in my own search for meaning.

I have always been an avid reader, and through all of this, I found comfort at Barnes and Noble. It was reassuring to wander through each section and find my problem d’jour (relationships, parenting, business, money, happiness, etc) only to discover that so many others had the same issues… so many that people had published books about them. It was during one of these forays that I found a book on Zentangle and started to figure out why meditation and mindfulness really did make sense.

In its own way, all art is therapy. The biggest difference between Zentangle and doodling or the adult coloring pages is in the method. While the others can be relaxing, they are often as much of an escape as a solution. I like to believe that the Zentangle Method teaches some life skills that can be used outside of art as well. I want to help people see that even with all of life’s challenges, we still have opportunities to make uniquely beautiful designs in our lives.

…and it all started with a book.