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Bijou Speaks: Slow Down

Bijou Speaks: Slow Down

In 2014, we were thrilled to announce a new member of the Zentangle Community. It was a celebratory time when Bijou the snail slowly and lovingly glided his way into our hearts and lives. We immediately fell in love with the unique character Bijou shared with us, and most of all we all, we embraced the stories and messages Bijou has told us that align with the Zentangle Method.

As we move along on this tangled journey we have learned, when Bijou speaks, we listen.

In this Blog series we explore some of our favorite thoughts, quotes, stories and Bijou-isms. Enjoy!


Julie writes...

Of all of Bijou’s Bijouisms, “Slow Down” is the one that I probably need tattooed on the back of my hand as a constant reminder. Not just when it comes to the Zentangle Method, but when it comes to life.  I talk too fast, I drive too fast, I like to constantly be on the go.

I have always liked to be busy. I have often prided myself on being busy. I think deep down I believed some notion that busy means productive, successful, or notable. Or, Maybe it was a fear that if I slow down just a little bit.. I will fall behind.

I have always kept a detailed planner. If I noticed a lot of “free time,” I was quick to schedule something to fill the void. Everything was scheduled to make sure I was staying busy – a load of laundry, mopping the floors, running errands, walking the dog. Even activities that were supposed to be relaxing were scheduled as tasks; going for a run, reading a book, going to yoga and tangling. Not only did I need to stay busy, I needed the visual confirmation that yes – I was busy.

Almost two years ago I closed a chapter of my life that kept me very busy. It was a passion project that took up all of my free time, and then some. Once that door was closed, I found myself with a lot more free time. At first, I was not quite sure what to do with myself. I remember being out to dinner with my husband talking about this and saying that I needed to take something else on to fill the void and he said to me, “why don’t you just slow down?”

I think one of the reason’s that the Zentangle Method has been so beneficial to me is that it has taught me the art of slowing down. When I first began diving into my Zentangle practice, I would start a tile and just want to hurry up and be done with it, so I could check that off my list. When I realized that the method is about the process of creating art and not only the finished product, I realized I had to learn to slow down, and to take things One Stroke At A Time.

I consider Slow Down a pre-requisite for many of the other Bijouisms. Before you can take a deep breath, put down deliberate strokes, or savor the moment, you need to slow down.

Much like many of the philosophies behind the Zentangle Method, this one started to seep into my everyday life. I still keep a detailed planner and I make lists and lists of my lists, but those chunks of free time don’t scare me anymore. There is no competition to see whose “to do” lists are longer, so I don’t feel obliged to fill them with tasks. Instead, I can fill them with tangles!


What is truly special is that once you slow down, you really start to appreciate …. Oh, wait, Molly already wrote about that one!

Julie Willand


  • Indeed, there is an art to slowing down. For decades my plate was too full, topped off with a gravy of “gotta do” flowing off the sides. My health has now forced me to slow down, and I get to appreciate even more the colors/patterns of life. Each day is a gift to be opened, slowly. Zentangle practice helps me open each day. one stroke at a time.

    Ginger White CZT34 on

  • Your comments are like reading my life story….I remember when I first retired, I was telling a friend that I had to feel that I was productive every day…so accustomed to being busy. My friend said, “Les, you’ve got to get over that!” Since I found Zentangle, it has helped me slow down, I’m more appreciative of the little things…listening to birdsong, watching the hawks that glide on the air currents over my home, making a point of seeing each sunset, creating beauty in my designs – one step at a time. A healthier way to live! Thank you, Bijou!

    Lesley Noble on

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