I started tangling because it looked interesting. I was looking to do something creative for myself, and I started dabbling in calligraphy and art journaling, and then Zentangle. I read the newsletters, looked at the seminar, but I didn’t want to spend the money.
Fast forward to March. I was in a slump. More like, I was feeling low, really low, more than usual. I signed up for Seminar 18 as a last-ditch effort to end the downward spiral.
(Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it. I have clinical depression, and I don’t like to talk about it. So when I do talk or write about it, I use euphemisms and metaphors in an effort to disguise what I’m talking about and exactly how I feel.)
When I arrived at seminar, I made an effort to interact with the people I met. I found such a wonderful group of people – not just a few, but everyone. I made it a goal to interact with as many different people as I could, and was welcomed by everyone.
(That is not something I had ever experienced. Elementary school, middle and high school; not only did I not fit in, I was singled out. It was not pleasant, and it is probably why I avoid people.)
At Zentangle Seminar, I felt like I belonged. I felt like part of a special community of kind and generous people. When I came home, I woke up with a feeling that I can’t recall ever having before. I was at peace. I felt calm, and level. Not the euphoria that I get when I start something new, not the hopeless feeling I have most of the time.
So yes, I take the Method seriously. When I teach, I try to focus on the process, not the art, but I try to not be too dogmatic. I don’t want to turn people off with the hippy-dippy mindfulness thing. Even though that is the thing that saved me.
And if even one person is helped by the stories I share, then it is worth the great risk I take every time I put myself out there.
Disclaimer: I do not claim to be a mental health professional, and I do not represent that the Zentangle Method is a cure for depression or any other mental illness.