A new year. A new decade.
I have always loved the start of a new year. I love the idea of a fresh, clean start. A new beginning. Most importantly, a new, pristine planner.
Like many people, I usually start off the year with a list of resolutions and goals I want to accomplish in the year. Sometimes I kept those resolutions and reached those goals, sometimes they rolled over into the next year.
This year though, it’s a little different. I still got my shiny new day planner, but I decided I was not going to make a list of resolutions. I still have goals I want to achieve and things I want to do, but I the only resolution I have is to take things one stroke at a time.
Starting a new year is much like starting a new Zentangle tile. You have this crisp, clean, untouched surface. The possibilities are endless, but so are the choices. Will you use the dot, border and string to help you guide your choices or will you skip the string and just see how your tangles grow with one another?
No matter what choice you make or what you want to accomplish, you can’t get there without making that first, deliberate stroke. Too often in life we metaphorically sit in front of that blank sheet of paper waiting for the perfect moment, the perfect first stroke, the best idea, the most eloquent meaning. When in reality, the beginnings of some of the most wonderful things are often rough, awkward, and imperfect. It does not mean that they are not purposeful or deliberate. Learning to dive into a project or an adventure is many times the most difficult part. But once you are in, you can then only add to the experience. There is no need to redo that first dive, retake that first step, or redraw that initial stroke, once it is done, it becomes part of your journey. When is the last time you looked at a Zentangle tile and narrowed in on the first pen stoke and critiqued it? Most likely, never. That initial pen stroke is usually unrecognizable and intertwined into the workings of so many other strokes. Worrying about perfecting your first stroke, is only a barrier.
Creating Zentangle art is a practice. It is a beautiful place to metaphorically work through life skills that are often difficult. I love to use my Zentangle practice as a place to work through such things. Many times, once I work through it on my tile, I have a different perspective and more confidence moving forward.
The intimidation of the blank piece of paper is nothing new. It has stopped artists in their tracks for centuries. However, within the steps of the Zentangle method itself, we are able to ease through this process. It is such a powerful thing to let go of that pressure and just carry on with the process.
So here we are embarking on a new year. With the first days already behind us. As we make our way through 2020 we will be faced with many firsts. Shall we embrace the opportunities and remember that most firsts, follow with seconds, and thirds and so on.
Happy New Year Zentangle friends. Take the plunge. One stroke at a time, of course.