This past week, I completed the training, added three new initials after my name (CZT) and am now a Certified Zentangle® Teacher. It was four exhausting days of tangling … and fun! If you’re not familiar with the term Zentangle®, once you Google it, you’ll discover a method of teaching for an easy-to-do art form. And I do mean “easy”! If you can write your name, you can tangle <g>. It is fun to do and you as you put one line on a piece of paper (or ’tile’), you’ll quickly discover and engage with yourself as ‘artist’ for each of us is creative in some way … and has an ‘artist-within’.

You don’t need a lot of “tools” to zentangle®. A pen (permanent ink), a piece of paper/your Journal and the side of your finger (or something called a tortillon) to help “shade” your piece is all you need. You don’t need to know how to draw or sketch or paint. Really! It’s simply putting down one line at a time. One stroke leads to another stroke and another stroke and before you know it, you’ve completed a ‘tangle’ and … art emerges.

If you’ve connected with Soulistry in some way over the years, read/subscribed to the blog, taken a workshop or retreat, read the Soulistry book, you’ll know that the Soulistry philosophy is to encourage a connection between spirituality, creativity and life, acknowledging or beginning to acknowledge that each of us, in some way, is an artist.

Back to the certification training … one of the projects was to encounter the tangle ‘Mooka’ (part of the fun of zentangling is learning a new vocabulary) in a new and fun way. When I realized what we were about to do, I gave the piece a name: Mooka Critter. At the very beginning, I had difficulty with the Mooka tangle in its placement. I’d drawn it before – it’s simple and easy to do – but for some reason, placing it the way we were invited to place it, became a problem for my brain and eye/hand co-ordination issues. Mooka Critter didn’t look right – at all. I called it quits and went to bed. When I woke in the morning, I was curious and wondered: “What would Mooka Critter look like if I added another tangle (called Tipple), a wee snail (called Bijou) and put a simple one-line-frame around the whole thing?”

So, I added them all. I looked at it … close up … far away. It still didn’t look right to me. I remembered the Zentangle® theory of “no mistakes” and set it aside. Again. To be truthful, I actually turned it over so I wouldn’t be tempted to throw it in the recycling bin. <sigh> When the day ended, I went to bed. The next morning, I looked at Mooka Critter. And I smiled.

She was unique – not like the way others had created theirs, but she was unique – and I had created her.

Within a second or two, a life lesson surfaced. Before making a decision – fully “engage” … consider possibilities … give the decision “time” to emerge. It took days before I looked at the tile and made the decision that not only was I pleased with it – but I was pleased with myself for not jumping to conclusions and throwing it into the recycling bin.

When looking at life and its decisions, I’ve learned that it’s helpful to ‘engage’ the decision.

In the case of Mooka Critter … fully engage her, or any Zentangle® tile … before making a judgement about its completion or quality.

In the case of daily living, fully engage in the situation before jumping to any conclusions and making a decision.

That word “engage” became important to me because of Mooka Critter and is partly why ‘engage’ is part of the the title of a new Facebook group under the SOULISTRY umbrella, about tangling. I’ve called the new group ZENGAGE … which is a neologism of two words: ZEN + ENGAGE (not surprising as SOULISTRY is a neologism (two words put together to form a new word: SOUL + artISTRY).

You’re welcome to come and explore the ZENGAGE group ( Its purpose is to share photos of, and information about, zentangle® classes (especially if there’s no cost to participate) … support CZT’s who offer classes so that we can all benefit from them … encourage newcomers to begin zentangling … further the conversation about the Soulistry ( connection between spirituality, creativity and life … and to play.

If you’d like to join either of the aforementioned groups, there are security questions to be answered. Just mention that you learned about the group through the “Soulistry-Artistry of the Soul” blog and you’ll be subscribed.

And as for Mooka Critter – well, she may not be ‘pretty’ … she may not be a great example of zentangling … she may not be any of those, but to me, she’s unique.

And, as a reminder of the lesson she taught me, she has found a permanent place in a frame on my wall in my home. 🙂

© June Maffin CZT37

© June Maffin, CZT