Creatively Zen

Embrace the Yuck!

I am “relatively” new to tangling.  With the plethora of talent and experience out there I still feel like a newby.  Like so many others, when I first stumbled upon Zentangle®, I started following blogs and joined all of the Facebook groups I could find. Of course, I found “The Diva” and her awesome blog with weekly challenges. Being the type-A, slightly OCD woman that I am, I set out to do the Diva’s challenges from the beginning…(no point in joining at some random challenge number because that  is when I just happened to discover it!  …hmmm….funny how a little zenfusion can change one’s outlook…don’t we all join in, right where we are… everyday… in everything we do?)  Where was I? Oh yes,  I have been working on catching myself up on the Diva Challenges for quite some time. I have them piled up, separated from my other tiles. I’ve taken pictures and written blog posts about them. Did you see my “challenges” page? Go ahead, click on it…

It’s a link that leads to nowhere. They sit, as drafts, none of them quite “up to par” to put out to the masses. As a matter of fact, none of the links on this site lead to anything.  The pages are all empty.

I’ve had this little blog o’mine for quite some time. I’ve spent hours, honestly …h o u r s…  writing posts drafts, and researching how the blog kingdom works. Unfortunately, it befuddles me. I’m a fairly intelligent person, but I cannot tell you the difference between an plug-in and a widget. I actually can’t tell you what either of them are period. Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting up with another of my CZT™ (Certified Zentangle Teacher) classmates, Katie Crommett ,who rocks this online-y stuff. I was hoping for some miraculous words of wisdom, and she plainly asked me what I was doing it for.


What am I doing this for? I have zero desire to be a famous blogger.  I don’t particularly like writing.  I actually have a fairly strong aversion to technology in general. (besides Mr. Google…I have a genuine love in my heart for him and his ability to place so much knowledge at my fingertips)  Why then? Because I thought that’s what I was supposed to do to share this awesomeness called Zentangle.

I came home from my CZT training on such a high…I honestly felt that I could do anything! I envisioned myself as a hippie zen child skipping through a field of zen… tossing zen flowers to everyone around me…(come on fellow CZTs you know what I’m saying…) I just wanted to share the love and peace, and well, the zen!  But the real world slowly crept back in and I realized I just kinda sucked at this “tech-y” stuff.  And I don’t like it.  Trying to set up and run a website was sucking the zen right out of me.  So, I decided to walk away.  Chalk it up to a lesson learned.  No blogging for this girl. Done.

I wanted to get back to why I fell in love with tangling in the first place.  The calm, focused breathing…bringing pen to paper with no expectations.  The weekly Zentangle classes I attend are on hiatus,  so I  headed back to the Diva Challenges.  As fate would have it, I found myself there on the very week that my dear friend Elisa Murphy of Elisa’s Now and Zen was guest blogging.  In all honesty, I knew she had written a post for Laura Harms (aka “The Diva”). Laura attended and spoke at our CZT training in June.  She sent out a call for guest bloggers for the month of November, and my zister (yup, that’s zen sister…) jumped right in.  I didn’t know when her challenge would be featured, but just as I committed to deserting this sinking blog ship, Elisa’s challenge was published.

So, I did the challenge.  Easy enough…right?  I was going to do the challenge anyway.  But it wasn’t any challenge.  It was Elisa’s challenge.  I set out to complete a tile with my non dominant (left) hand.  I decided to recreate a basic intro tile that I have done several times…enough times that it has a certain familiarity.  I wanted to recognize and acknowledge the “yuck” vs.  run of the mill self-criticism.

I lost myself for hours in this tile. The individual strokes felt like they took an eternity.  Countless times I finished a stroke and simultaneously gasped for breath, not realizing I had been holding it.  And then, all of a sudden a section was done, and I started again. Time didn’t seem to be working properly.  Eventually I finished my four sections, shading, and “signing” the back.

So, Now what? I honestly have no clue how to post this little wiggly wobbly creation on the Diva’s or Elisa’s website.  Elisa, in her warm and nurturing way tells me…you don’t have to post it…don’t stress… But I really want to post this tile.  It certainly isn’t my “best” work.  But I have a true desire to support her challenge. I met Elisa at our weekly Zentangle class.  It’s truly an outstanding group of ladies that I am honored to tangle with on a weekly basis, honestly I could go on and on about each of them, and maybe I will…another day. For today, I will share that Elisa has a very potent and emotional story, and she is an inspiration to me.  Life is not always fair.  Life sometimes just sucks.  Sometimes it’s BUULLSHIIIT all day, every day, for a string of days that seem never ending.  We all know this to be true, although our personal barometers rise and fall to varying levels of high and low. We pick ourselves up by our bootstraps and carry on.  One step at a time.  One foot in front of the other, maybe stopping to lean on someone for support when we have to, just to catch our breath.  We do this to survive.  It’s a universal truth.

One lesson that Elisa has unwittingly taught me, is that sometimes while you are focusing all of your attention on your own bootstraps, on finding your footing, on getting up… and staying up, you lift up everyone around you as you stand.  You probably don’t see it, because it’s not your intention.  But it’s happening.

So with these words from my wildly sarcastic and pun-ny zister…I publish my “first” blog post along with pictures of my tile (another first for me!).  Thank you so much for helping me up and pushing me right out of my comfort zone zis …

Can you find the beauty in the discomfort? What happens when you tap into that shaky feeling as you navigate your tile? Did you find a way to adapt?  So………Are you with me?? Can you throw perfection out the window with pride and let your Zentangle freaky-line flag fly?


Elisa Murphy

Diva Challenge #194 “Embrace the Yuck”


here she is!  my wiggly, wobbly lesson in letting go!

Here she is~ my wiggly, wobbly lesson in letting go!


a closer can see the struggle...

a closer look…a bit painful actually… words for that...

…wow…no words for that…

adding a little distance to gain perspective is always a good idea ...

adding a little distance to gain perspective is always a good idea …

2 thoughts on “Embrace the Yuck!

    1. Pamela Post author

      awww…thanks! You cannot miss the irony that you posted this comment…FOUR DAYS AGO and I just happened upon it! I told you all I wasn’t good at this!!! lol!
      also…zis#3? That’s BUULLLSHIT! equal billing here my friend…we all get to be #1, otherwise one of us would be lonely at the top & we can’t have that! 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *