More Than a Mindless Doodle

It’s nap time again, and I have work to do. But it’s another snow day, and I just feel like hanging out in my pj’s and making stuff. And now, after my day at the CAYA Retreat, and a re-introduction to Zentangle, I have a new obsession. So I am finding myself thrust back into my quietly defiant high school days, where instead of writing the notes on the board, I am aimlessly doodling all over my note book. (Actually I was a very good note taker, I wrote quickly with impeccable penmanship and didn’t need to ask questions, so I had plenty of time for doodling.) But instead of losing my thoughts in lines of spirals and flowers while I listen to the lecture around me, today I am indeed procrastinating.

zentangle pendant
Making Zentangle Pendants @ The CAYA Retreat


We all need a little mindless doodling sometimes. The very name ZENtangle invokes a feeling of peace and meditation. It’s the same feeling I get when I keep my hands busy with crochet. It’s the same feeling my body seeks when I move on my yoga mat, my breath a rhythm for my mind to follow. These are all forms of meditation.

I’ve never been good at sitting still. Throughout my days in school I was indeed a doodler, a stretch in my seater, a get up everyone once and a while and take a walk to the bathroom just for some movement-er. (In fact I just did it right now)… But because I was quiet, and didn’t cause any trouble, no one ever scolded me for these habits. In my short career as a school teacher however, I saw far too many children shamed and disciplined for these very behaviors.

I wasn’t planning on sending E to school. I’d arranged our lives so that I could be home with him for the most part, and when it came time for learning, we’d follow an unschooling / child lead method. But life has a funny way of changing our plans, and I’m finding myself in position where the very thing I have been avoiding is suddenly, and graciously falling into my lap. A wonderful school opportunity for E, and teaching job for me.

So I’m doodling. I’m crocheting. Yes I am procrastinating.. but really I am processing. There are a lot of thoughts swirling in my mind, and I’m allowing them to swirl out of my fingertips onto my page. I’m meditating. On what our life is, what it will be, where this opportunity might lead us, and ultimately on letting go of all of my plans.

I’m still not good at sitting still. But I’ve found ways to sit, to listen, to be in stillness. As the snow falls around me today, I’m inviting myself to do these things, without judgement, or worry, or shame. I’m inviting myself to watch as the world unfolds before me. Like a Zentangle drawing, I’m finding my rhythm, letting go of the outcome, and enjoying the unique beauty of each line.

Zentangle hand

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