Praying by Design

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I am blessed by:

1. A warm house on a blustery, shivery, wet night

2. New opportunities to learn

3. Yesterday’s book jaunt with mom

For about a year now, I’ve been piddling around with this art form called “Zentangle,” which uses simple line patterns on paper tiles to create designs. There are lots of books available and information all over the internet, so I’ve had plenty of opportunities to play with the patterns on my own.

One of the things that most attracts me to this activity is its calming effect. It is very meditative. When I feel myself surrendering to the absurdity of panic, or I simply cannot quiet my mind at bedtime, I pull out my little portable Zentangle kit and start a new tile. Before I know it, I am relaxing into the flow of ink onto the tile.

It is also a very forgiving art form. You don’t have to be a trained or famous artist to create something quite lovely. In fact, one of the premises of Zentangle is to accept even those pen strokes that seem like mistakes, because within the whole of the art piece, they may turn out to be a new pattern or a focal point. There is a “wabi-sabi” grace to the process that just makes me feel joyful.

When I first started tangling, I began using the finished products to make cards and small gifts for friends. Because tangling involves repetitive movements, it lends itself well to prayer… much like knitting or crocheting. As I make each mark on the tile, I consciously think about the person for whom I am creating the Zentangle, lifting them up and praying for them as I go. It helps keep my focus on the recipient, as well as the One to Whom I am praying. (And when you’re a tad A.D.D. like I am, anything that helps keep you focused is a real blessing!)

So today, I attended my first actual Zentangle Workshop with a Certified Zentangle Instructor. There were four of us at the workshop, including the instructor, who was simply lovely. I’ve been e-mailing this lady for a couple of months, and I already sensed from her e-mails that she was going to be someone I would enjoy being around. And I was right! (I just love it when that happens!) =)

I’m pretty excited to have found this wonderful instructor who has agreed to meet with us each month for more Zentangle lessons and artistic fellowship. In her calm manner, with her warm smile, friendly voice, and clear demonstration, she taught us several patterns and enhancing techniques. Then she had each of us create a tile using the patterns we had learned.

The four of us were all using the same line patterns for our designs, the same pens and (eraser-less) pencils, the same paper tiles, but our creations were each entirely unique and reflective of the individuals who drew them. This diversity of products from the same materials is one of the truly exciting things about creating in a group. I’ve seen it happen time and time again in all sorts of art classes. Even working with the same materials, each person will come up with something original.

 

Like our fingerprints,

our creativity identifies us in particular ways.

 

That seems like a pretty special thing, that the Creator who made each of us one of a kind, Who breathed His creativity into us, makes our efforts at co-creating with Him unique, too.

 Look around you at the people you love. Pay attention to how each of those people participates in the act of creation in their own special way. Offer thanks for the many ways they decorate your life. Then tell them about it. You’ll both be glad you did. =)

 

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