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Bijou's Be Well Bundle: a 21-Day Tangling Journey

Bijou's Be Well Bundle: a 21-Day Tangling Journey

The United States has been observing Mental Health Awareness during the month of May since 1949. Each year, businesses, organizations, schools, and individuals dedicate this month to acknowledge those affected by mental illness by presenting innovative ideas, events, and programs to support the treatment and prevention of mental illness.

Many individuals that suffer from mental health symptoms have found that creating art can be used as a therapy and have very positive effects on their condition. A regular practice of creating art can be nurturing for relieving stress, increasing confidence, and supporting general mental health wellness in all of us, not just those that struggle. The Zentangle Method is a simple and powerful way to access creativity and opens doorways to our creative abilities, and the artist within each of us. Using simple steps and basic strokes, anyone can create beautiful images using the Zentangle Method.

This year, as we considered how we would honor the importance of this month, Bijou reminded us of his wise Bijouisms. These Bijouisms serve as gentle reminders for us in our Zentangle practice and in life. For 21 days, May 11-31, we embarked on a tangling journey where we delved deep into one Bijouism and one tangle on a Bijou tile each day.

Bijou has collected all these thoughts and musings from each day into a blog post so that we can revisit whenever we need a small reminder.

Bijou has a special surprise that he is giving away. Learn more at the end of this blog!

You can learn more about how to prepare for this series in this newsletter.

You can watch all of the video lessons in this series here.

Day 01: Comfort

Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always. - Hippocrates 

The superior man thinks always of virtue; the common man thinks of comfort.
- Confucius

Merriam-Webster's Dictionary lists the following as the definitions of the word “comfort”.
  • A strengthening aid.
  • A consolation in time of trouble or worry
  • A feeling of relief or encouragement.
  • A satisfying or enjoyable experience.

Bijou has always felt that the word comfort is a great word to describe how he feels when he tangles. He tells us that he hears similar things from his friends in the Zentangle community, which coincidentally is another thing that brings him comfort. Oh! How Bijou loves tangling his heart away surrounded by people that give him that sense of warmth and awesome!

At Zentangle, we also use the word comfort in reference to tangles that are familiar, come easy to you, or that are simply your favorite ones to draw. If you are new to the Zentangle Method, you probably do not have one yet … but we hope you do soon. In the early days of sharing the Zentangle Method we referred to these tangles as “Mac ‘n’ cheese” tangles. We called them this as a playful reference to the concept of comfort food. Macaroni and cheese is a popular comfort food in the United States. Though many understood the fun reference, the analogy did get a little lost with our international community, so we started to use the term “Comfort Tangles” instead. We now use both interchangeably.

Whether the comfort is found in the tangle, in your pen, or in the experience, we invite you to take comfort where you can. In a world where we are encouraged and pushed to the edge of our comfort zones, know that there is room for both comfort and discomfort in your heart and in your mind. Today, we invite you receive in whatever it is that brings you comfort. A contented well-being.

Day 02: Relax

"The time to relax is when you don't have time for it." - Sydney J. Harris

Take rest; A field that has rested, gives bountiful crop.” – Ovid

We live in a fast-paced world these days. We have more information than we need or want at our fingertips. We often wear “busy” as a badge of honor and we have become accustomed to instant gratification. Technology and ideas meant to make our lives easier can sometimes come at a cost, the cost of our peace of mind, patience, and connection.

As a society, we are overwhelmed and over stimulated and that kind of stress takes a toll on us mentally, physically, and emotionally. We have all heard it. When we are filled up with pressures and stress of life, the people around us might say, "You need to relax." Obviously, that is easier said than done. Of course we should all relax more, but the question is, how and when? Well, it is hard to write an exact answer, but we have consulted Bijou on this very problem and he suggests the following pathways to be able to relax:

  1. Pause. Take a deep breath. Before you take on a new task just simply stop and breathe.
  2. Do nothing. Then perhaps for another moment, do nothing. Try not to stress about the how and when at this point. Just soak in the nothingness and all that it has to offer.
  3. Start small. Channel your inner Zentangle artist and approach your busy life 'one stroke at a time'. Think about taking just a few minutes of your day to pause and do nothing, or do something that comforts and nurtures your soul.
  4. Take time. It is easy to say, we do not have time. Most of us do not have much extra. But just know that the few minutes you take today to take care of you is an investment in how you will perform and live tomorrow.

Bijou has always felt that the word comfort is a great word to describe how he feels when he tangles. He tells us that he hears similar things from his friends in the Zentangle community, which coincidentally is another thing that brings him comfort. Oh! How Bijou loves tangling his heart away surrounded by people that give him that sense of warmth and awesome!

Day 03: Savor

Savor the moments that are warm and special and giggly.” — Sammy Davis Jr.
"Sometimes we need the salt of tears to remind us how to savor the sweetness of life." - Lysa TerKeurst

When someone says “savor,” we often think of food or a profound moment. We want to savor the last bite of a delicious meal or the last bite of a decadent chocolate cake. We are often reminded to savor the big moments in life and enjoy them completely. But what if we took a moment to savor the small things in life? The little moments that might seem insignificant at first glance but have potential for great impact?

In the hustle and bustle of daily life, we often get caught up in getting through all the things we are supposed to do. We are trained to accomplish tasks, achieve our goals and check things of lists. However, when we put ourselves into this momentum, we often get stuck in a routine of always thinking about what is next and we lose sight of soaking up where we are. We are left with little time to appreciate the things not on our lists of tasks and goals.

Bijou notices that when he looks back on his life verses looking forward, he values the importance of different moments and how they made him feel. If he planned tomorrow, reflecting on how he felt about yesterday, he would spend more time caring for today. He would soak in the sunrise, share more smiles, and admire all the beauty that surrounds him. He would simply savor all that there is at this very moment.

Day 04: Deliberate Strokes

"Small, deliberate actions inspired by your true desires create a life you love." - Danielle LaPorte
Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” - Dolly Parton

We asked Bijou what he thought about when we decided to use "Deliberate Strokes" as one of his Bijouisms. He responded with a few descriptive words, "Careful, intentional, meaningful, and purposeful are all things that come to mind when I think about deliberate strokes."

He paused and shared a little more, "I would love this Bijouism to inspire and remind artists to allow themselves to pour their hearts into each stroke that goes down on their tile. I want them to embrace all of the unique imperfections that make their mark theirs."

"As an artist, they should learn to own each stroke as theirs and only theirs and develop a sense of awareness of how important they are to this process." Bijou added, "I always loved Dolly Parton's quote above as it took me a while to discover who I was, but once I did, I realized how important it was for me to be me ... purposefully, proudly and deliberately."

Day 05: Beautiful and Beyond

"There is certainly no absolute standard of beauty. That precisely is what makes its pursuit so interesting." - John Kenneth Galbraith
"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched—they must be felt with the heart." - Hellen Keller

There is a curious transformation that happens when one begins a Zentangle practice. In a way it is a transformation of beauty. Bijou reminds us to emphasize what kind of beauty we are talking about. We are talking about the kind of beauty that lives in a sunrise, hides in hug, and crawls along the edge of wildflower garden. Then there is also the beauty found in the way your best friend makes tea, or your neighbor rakes their lawn, or the rips in your favorite pair of jeans.

People say that beauty lies within the eyes of the beholder. It is so true, and in the case of tangling, we have noticed that many people experience an increased awareness of the beauty around them. It is as if the practice has shifted their perspective and opened windows to something more and they are able to see some beauty in almost everything around them.

Bijou agreed with us but added that there is even more to it than that. He believes that every Zentangle artist is constantly adding beauty to the world. So there actually is more and more beauty added to our worlds every minute of every day. He explains that it is not the tangle by itself where we find beauty. It is what the artist has done with it that we are so drawn to. Bijou loves to share his adaptation of a famous quote by chef Thomas Keller to describe this phenomenon, “A tangle has no soul. You, as the artist, must bring soul to the tangle.” In other words, it is the artist that makes each Zentangle tile Beautiful and Beyond.

Day 06: Embellish

Embellish your flaws. They will turn into your assets.” - Marie Lu

Our Zentangle practice is a place for us to explore, take chances, and stretch the limits of our creativity. Once you have learned a tangle, the possibilities to make it your own are endless. Thanks to the "No Mistakes" philosophy in the Zentangle Method, we are free to relish the embellish!

Bijou actually takes the lead from Julie on this one. She always comes to work at Zentangle dressed to impress and she always tells us that there is no such thing as being overdressed for any occasion.

He agrees that there can never be too many embellishments on a tile. He admires the way she never hesitates to go over the top with adornment on her tangled compositions too. She loves the frills, decoration, and awesomeness that you can add to tangles. She proudly takes the time to support a tangle that wants to take center stage. She embraces embellishments like perfs, auras, fringe, dots, and weighting. Here at Zentangle, we often refer to this stage in your practice as "adding love" to your tile. Bijou and Julie agree that embellishments are certainly full of love.

While we love and see the value in the simplicity of tangles, we encourage all of you to relish the embellish too. Do not hesitate to add a little rounding here or an extra aura there. Perhaps redefine a line or ink in a space to create contrast. Enjoy the embellishments, the extras and the love.

Day 07: Breathe

Take a deep breath. Inhale peace. Exhale happiness.” – A.D. Posey
Breath is the finest gift of nature. Be grateful for the gift.” - Amit Ray

Breathing, it is simple, right? Most of the time we do not even think about it. It is so easy, automatic, and so powerful. Our amazing bodies take over 20,000 breaths a day without any thought or effort. But in moments of stress or anxiety or fear, what does our body subconsciously do? It alters our breath. Breath can become irregular, rapid, and shallow.

Many people find the Zentangle Method at stressful moments of their life, whether it be illness, loss, caregiving, or the myriad of other moments that happen in our lives. Practicing the Zentangle Method gives our minds a moment to breathe, a moment away from those racing thoughts, a moment of relaxation.

Our wise friend Bijou likes to remind us to take conscious breaths, to connect to our body through breathing, to exhale deeply and inhale fully. He knows that just a few moments of mindful breathing can lower blood pressure and heart rate, reduce levels of stress hormones, and connect us to the present moment.

Bijou encourages us to practice taking a few conscious breaths before we pick up our pen and find Comfort in our art. And maybe a few more as we take a moment of Gratitude and Appreciation. And maybe a few more as we Relax and put down our Deliberate Strokes, remembering to Savor the moment.

Reward yourself throughout the day with a few mindful breaths, you deserve it.

Day 08: Enjoy the Shade

Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” - Brené Brown
Gotta have opposites, light and dark and dark and light, in painting. It’s like in life. Gotta have a little sadness once in awhile so you know when the good times come. I'm waiting on the good times now.” ― Bob Ross

Bijou talks a lot about how much he enjoys the shade. It is his happy place. He explains that though he loves a wet, cloudy day the most, he also finds beauty in the sunshine. He believes that there is so much value in the contrast of life. We recognize emotions, experiences and thoughts based on contrast. For instance, with food, a little bit of sweetness after a savory meal is a decadent treat. A cold plunge in a lake on a hot day feels invigorating, and the quietness of the country after time spent in the city can be a soothing symphony. The contrast of life is what makes it all flow. It keeps things interesting. It allows us to have perspective and passion. It is how we sense things physically and feel things emotionally.

As we create with patterns, we work with basic tangles and sometimes more complex ones. We combine tangles with inky blocks of color alongside ones with textured fine lines. These approaches create contrast in our work, but the real magic comes in the shading. When we add graphite and chalk to our tangles, we open up amazing opportunities to illuminate our work with light and shadow. Dark bits of graphite that melt into the paper gradually fading to the starkness of the not shaded, sculpt the tangles and create an illusion of dimension. Added white chalk can exaggerate highlights and create sparkle. Shading is all about the contrast.

Day 09: No Mistakes

"Mistakes are the portals of discovery." - James Joyce
"There are no mistakes in life, only lessons." – Robin Sharma
We don't make mistakes, just happy little accidents.” ― Bob Ross

At the core of the Zentangle Method is the No Mistakes philosophy.

Bijou wants us to know that "No Mistakes" does not mean that we are not allowed to make mistakes or that mis strokes do not happen. "No Mistakes" is about what we do and how we respond after the so-called "mistake" happens.

When you approach your work with openness and welcome all parts of your creative process, you start to understand the “mistakes” purpose and role in the bigger picture. If you believe that each stroke of your pen or mark of your pencil plays a role in all the marks that follow you start to see them differently.

Where you once saw a mistake, you now see opportunity and potential. When mis strokes happen on your tile, Bijou encourages you to pause and then embrace this new opportunity that is in front of you. You learn to trust the creative process and embrace the humanness that makes it special. You can start to embrace how this new perspective allows you to focus on the present and then pushes you forward to the next step. Once you implement the “No Mistakes” philosophy in your artistic process, you might just start to see and feel it trickling into other parts of your life.

Day 10: Reflect

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ― Melody Beattie
"The way we experience the world around us is a direct reflection of the world within us." -Gabrielle Bernstein

Have you ever had a moment looking back at a tile you created with no memory of creating it? Where were you at that moment? The act of tangling that tile brought you on a journey to a magical place of calm and peacefulness, ultimately bringing you home safely. Looking back, you can find comfort in knowing you spent your time in this way. You can also admire the beauty of your art and how it is a reflection of you.

Bijou thinks there is wisdom not only in the practice of creating art but in reflecting on what we have created. There is wisdom in pausing to see not only the experience but the result. "We don't learn by doing, we learn by reflecting on what we've done"- anon. Today, Bijou reminds us to learn a lesson from ourselves, and take time to admire where we have been, as it is the guide to where we are going.

Day 11: Inspire

"Spread love everywhere you go." — Mother Teresa
"What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you." — Ralph Waldo Emerson

When we sat down with Bijou to discuss the word "inspire", we all agreed that inspiration can be broken down into two categories; being inspired by something or someone and providing inspiration to others. In other words, there is the giving and the receiving.

Then Bijou shared the above Mother Therese quote with us, "Spread love everywhere you go."

We all sighed pleasantly with the warmth of the quote, and we started a discussion on how perhaps there is overlap with love and inspiration. When we love something or someone, we are wired to pour our hearts into that thing.

We become driven to perform, grow, be challenged, and share ... which then can inspire others to do the same. In that sharing of strength and desire to grow, along with it comes love. And so, we have this beautiful ever-growing web of love and inspiration spreading in all directions.

The Zentangle Community is a beautiful example of a place where the web of inspiration is vibrantly visible and growing. If you have not witnessed it yet, we warmly welcome you to come on in. Bijou comments on how every time he is with a group of tanglers, he is inspired by the love that is shared amongst them. Tanglers tend to see overwhelming amounts of beauty in others and their artwork. And not only do they see it, but they are eager to let each other know it. When people are acknowledged for what they have created, they are inspired to do more and be more and they are likely to inspire others. And so, we are back to our web ... spreading love and inspiration in all directions.

Day 12: Come Out of Your Shell

If you want to sing out, sing out, and if you want to be free, be free, cause there's a million ways to be, you know that there are.” ― Cat Stevens
"It is never too late to be who you might have been.” — George Eliot
Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” — George Bernard Shaw

Bijou loves a good "come out of your shell" story. In the Zentangle community we see it more as an unveiling of the artist within. We have witnessed so many beautiful stories of people discovering and revealing an artist that had been hidden inside them for years or in some cases their entire lives. One might assume when you see a mosaic full of tangled artwork that each artist has been creating for years, but the truth is some of those artists have just recently come into their own.

Discovering or rediscovering the artist within takes courage and strength, but once you have that support and confidence you will want to come out of your shell and share it with others ... and believe us, you will Inspire others to come out of their shells too.

Day 13: Slow Down

If you’re always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one you’re in? Slow down and enjoy the moment you’re in and live your life to the fullest.” ― Nanette Mathews
"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished." Lao Tzu

Slow down. Bijou takes this one very seriously. He lives for it. He knows if he rushes about to get to his destination, that he misses out on so much. Yes, ultimately Bijou reaches the end of his journey, but he would be exhausted if he got there with a "pedal to the metal" attitude.

Hurrying through life causes stress, can cause mistakes, and ultimately takes away the enjoyment of the process. If the mindset is always to take the "to do" and make it a "done", we miss out on opportunities to grow from truly paying attention to the experience, being in the moment, and seeing other possibilities of what "done" could mean.

This philosophy is so important to the Zentangle Method. The method is about the journey, not the destination of the finished piece of art. The beautiful art is just the bonus. It is about being in the moment, getting lost in the pen strokes, enjoying the shade, embellishing with bits of love here and there. There is magic in slowing down and letting your creation unfold. Maybe that tile takes you a few days or a month until you feel like it is finished, but Bijou wisely knows that you will love it all the more because you took your time.

Day 14: Appreciate

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Dr. Maya Angelou
Change your expectation for appreciation and the world changes instantly.” — Tony Robbins
Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” — Robert Brault

Appreciate is not just a Bijouism, but also part of the first and final step in the Zentangle Method.

To appreciate something is to recognize its full worth. When Bijou reminds us to appreciate, he wants us to appreciate every aspect of our Zentangle journey, including ourselves.

When you sit down to tangle, take a moment to acknowledge the entire experience.

Appreciate the materials you have in front of you. Perhaps it is a new tile or pen... or an old favorite.

Appreciate this moment that you are taking for yourself and your own well-being.

Appreciate the art that you are creating and all of its beauty.

Appreciate you, and your contribution to the greater Zentangle mosaic. Appreciate its importance to the bigger picture of our creative world.

Appreciate others and know that others appreciate you.

Day 15: Discover

"You use a glass mirror to see your face. You use works of art to see your soul." - George Bernard Shaw
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” ― Aristotle

Bijou loves the quote above by George Bernard Shaw. He knows that as we take the time to tap into our creative selves, we get closer to our truest self, our nature, and therefore can let our own unique light shine. We Discover our essence.

The beauty of tangling is the structured yet unstructured nature of it. We are all following along a prescribed set of instructions: draw a line, draw an orb, aura, take off and land - yet, as we all follow the same set of instructions, our creations all come out differently.

Our uniqueness shines through. We have a weight with which we draw, a curvy or straight way about our lines, our own flairs and embellishments, and the more we tangle, the more we develop our style, certain distinctive qualities to our art. Our art reflects us.

The more we take time to create, the more we discover the artist within, the more we discover ourselves, the more we discover all the beauty we can share.

Day 16: Trust

"Self-trust is the first secret of success." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
"A trust leap is when we take a risk to do something new or to do it differently from the way that we’ve done something before." - Rachel Botsman

Trust, this can be hard sometimes. That critical voice can creep in with the "buts", "maybes", and "what ifs". Those can lead to doubt and second guessing, which can lead to stagnation.

Sometimes while tangling we can be unsure of where our tile is going, we have made a mark or two or three that we are undecided about or are learning a tangle that we are uncomfortable with.

That is where Bijou comes in and tells us to Trust. Trust that it will be ok. Trust the process, the growth that comes when we take that leap. When that voice is trying to introduce hesitation, trust yourself, have faith, and move forward. A beautiful place to practice this is with your art. Develop the confidence there and bring it with you into the world.

So, if that critical voice starts to speak, Bijou reminds us to ask that voice, "What if it all works out?"

Day 17: Create

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” —Maya Angelou
Creativity doesn’t wait for that perfect moment. It fashions its own perfect moments out of ordinary ones.” —Bruce Garrabrandt

When it comes to the Bijouism Create, Bijou means business.

After all, the entire purpose of this 21-day journey is to encourage us all to take a moment to create art. Bijou knows how important creativity is to our own well-being and how freeing it can be to simply create.

Bijou also knows that the more we allow ourselves to tap into our creativity, the more creative we become.

Creativity bubbles up everywhere in our lives, whether it be in the kitchen making a meal from what is left in the refrigerator, or the artistic flair added to an outfit. Maybe it shines through in the repurposing of an old item or the out-of-the-box solution to a challenging problem. During each day we creatively respond to what is presented to us.

Bijou also reminds us that nourishing our creativity nourishes us. We spend our days pouring our energy into others, whether it is our family, our friends, our jobs, or all the above. You may have heard the saying, "You cannot pour from an empty cup", but what happens when the cup we are pouring from is empty? You need to take care of yourself so that you can take care of others. It is important to take moments to fill our own cups. Taking a moment to create does just that. Whether it is cooking, dancing, sculpting, or tangling, Bijou wants us all to spend some time creating today.

Day 18: Focus

The only thing that can grow is the thing you give energy to.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Focus more on your desire than on your doubt, and the dream will take care of itself." - Mark Twain
Instead of focusing on how much you can accomplish, focus on how much you can absolutely love what you’re doing.” - Leo Babauta

We know that what we focus on is important. Many of us are often bombarded with the temptation to think we can and have to focus on many things at the same time. Even worse is that we think we can actually tackle multiple tasks at once. Unfortunately, we as humans are rarely able to do more than one thing at the same time. When we do, we often compromise the integrity of all the things we are trying to do. When we do focus on a single task our abilities and potential change exponentially.

From its birth, the Zentangle Method has used the tag line, "Anything is possible, one stroke at a time." We move our way through creating slowly and deliberately by focusing on the one stroke at hand, and then letting that stroke guide us to the next. We encourage artists to pour all their hearts into that one stroke, not worrying about where you were or what your next stroke is but allowing yourself to be in that moment. You can then let that moment and momentum lead you to the next stroke. By practicing this technique on the tile, you realize how you can apply this to your everyday life. You will see that even the biggest tasks or most daunting problems can be broken down into basic strokes. If you learn to focus on just one of those strokes at a time, each one can feel more attainable and your chances for success increase.

Day 19: The Strings The Things

Creativity thrives on a consistent diet of challenges and opportunities, which are often one and the same.” — Lee Clow
"Under constraints, creativity thrives." David Sherwin
"Art lives from constraints and dies from freedom." Leonardo da Vinci

Imagine the scenario, someone hands someone a blank piece of paper and says, "draw something."

Most people would pause and have to really think about it and/or begin to doodle mindlessly.

Creating openly and limitlessly might seem like an ideal situation, but in reality, it is actually quite difficult and sometimes stressful.

However, when one is given some structure or guidelines to work with, creativity blossoms and artistic momentum is born. When an artist has restrictions or obstacles to get past, it is in those decisions where ideas and inspiration live. Art, when subjected to limitations, thrives.

When Rick and Maria developed the Zentangle Method, they thought about this theory and wanted to integrate it into the method. The act of putting down four dots and a border and then creating a string are part of the ceremony that gives limitations to work with. A string is loosely drawn in pencil and can be as simple or intricate as you want. It provides guidance and offers a suggestion but also does not demand anything particular. It invites interpretation and creative thought processing. With each stroke you add to the string, more decisions and opportunities are born.

In this particular series we came up with a simple suggestion of guidelines and we invited folks to use them or not. Whether you have been following along closely or taking things in your own direction, the guidelines give you a starting point and a rhythm to follow.

Whether you followed our suggestion or went in your own direction, it has been a delight to see what you all have created and shared with us. I think many of us can agree that there is an elegance to limits and in the case of the Zentangle Method, the string certainly is ... the thing.

Day 20: Choose Your Tangles

"Make a decision and make it right." - Maria Thomas

Bijou agrees that there is something magical that happens when an artist is faced with limitations, obstacles, and structure. A narrowing of the options invites a creative explosion.

However, along with any framework or limitations, comes choice. Our lives are full of choices. We make thousands every day. Each choice guiding our next step in the journey. Many of the choices we make are easy. Should I wear jeans or sweats? Should I have eggs or oatmeal? Should I walk or take the car? Then there are the choices that are much more complicated but have to be made in order for us to move through our lives.

Maria was talking about this very subject with Bijou. Bijou had heard from Maria's children that when they were younger and came to her about a big decision they had to make, Maria always said, "make a decision and make it right."

When they were young this frustrated them very much. They really wanted her to tell them what to do. They wanted to labor over the choices and complain about the situation, and have someone else make the choice, but this advice she gave them served to stop them in their tracks and put the ball back in their court. As they got older and wiser, they learned what she meant by this statement and why she always pushed them in this direction. What they learned was to take ownership of the choices they had to make. They learned that once they made a choice to move forward, they should do whatever they could to make that choice purposeful in what was to come next. They learned to not look backward and hem and haw about what might have or should have been but to focus on the belief that the choices made are always the right ones. It just depends on how those choices are embraced.

In our Zentangle practice we make choices too. What we do on the tile is a great way to practice what we do in our life. It might seem like a reach, but we have to start somewhere and why not have it be on a tile? So, choose your tangles and know, whatever you choose, it is the right one.

Day 21: Enjoy

Find happiness by enjoying the journey, not by awaiting the destination.” - Peter Sheppard Skaerved
"Don't wait for everything to be perfect before you decide to enjoy your life." - Joyce Meyer
Embrace your life journey with gratitude, so that how you travel your path is more important than reaching your ultimate destination.” - Rosalene Glickman

From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

Enjoy verb:

        - To take delight and pleasure in (an activity or occasion).

        - possess and benefit from.

How wonderful it is to both take pleasure in and benefit from an activity! Staying present drawing our string, choosing our tangles, delighting in the comfort of our favorite tangles and embracing the challenge of learning new ones, relishing the shading, and then taking a step back and appreciating our creation. There is so much joy to be had during the entire journey of creating a small, unique piece of art.

That is why Bijou reminds us to Enjoy! Enjoy what your art brings, enjoy what your life brings, enjoy all the moments of your journeys!

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Let us know in the comments what your favorite day/Bijouism was (if you can choose) and why. Bijou has an extra tin of Translucen-Z Bijou tiles he found and will choose a commenter at random to send it to.



  • What a joy and relaxation this series has been for me! Thank you Bijou and everyone at Zentangle. My favorite Bijouism is Slow Down. I need this reminder every day.

    Lalita K on

  • Bijou’s Be Well Bundle video series were very useful and really helped me to understand Bijouism. And all thoughts and musings bijou has collected were very interesting.

    My favorite is “Discover”.

    Because I really thought [The more we take time to create, the more we discover the artist within, the more we discover ourselves, the more we discover all the beauty we can share.] is true.

    Mika Shiohara on

  • I started this year with a lot of problems with my hands, so much so, that I had to take a break from all my hobbies for a couple months. BUT… this series came along just at the right time for me to start ramping back up with all the wonderful sayings, going back to the basics, and the perfect size tile! I made an extra project of each day, by looking at all the pattern de jour videos I could find, and then adding various versions on my little tiles, using a number of colours and being a bit wild and crazy with the string too! Grant it, my mosaics are not quite as planned as yours, but they are still amazing! THANK – YOU SO VERY MUCH FOR THIS WONDERFUL SERIES!

    Pam New on

  • I loved this series, the simplicity, the silence and the cleverly written emails filled with great reminders. I enjoyed them all, but Focus has to be my favorite one. So lovely to see you all in the wrap-up, thank you for yet another wonderful series.

    Berit Kyllo-Steinmoen on

  • I loved this series and am sad to see it end; although I am also aware that my personal journey need not end with it. The tangles presented here are a mix of new-to-me and familiar, both categories that I should explore more. Bijou’s words of wisdom provide much food for thought. I cannot choose a single favorite, but a few that resonated with me: Slow Down, Discover, Focus. The first and last of this trio are things I most intensely need to work on. If I can succeed in that much, the second of these three will be much easier to accomplish.

    Joan Mitchell on

  • I figured out what time the video dropped so I could stop and tangle. I started to learn during the pandemic lockdown, and I found much comfort in the drawing. I especially liked the bijouisms of “slow down” and “deliberate strokes”. When I slow down and make deliberate strokes, my tangle becomes more relaxed and open. I feel the tiles look better when I tend to the tile and to myself. The bijou tiles were just the right size for a snack for the soul. Thank you for sharing this practice.

    Jodi Phillips on

  • Every single day the message resonated with me…it seemed to be exactly what I needed for that day. I am so grateful you put them all together in one space to enjoy, to contemplate as needed. I am overwhelmed at the mosaic you made with all the tangles. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! (The Veterans group I work with each week is also benefiting from the Bijouisms.)

    Mary Kay Cass, C.Z.T. on

  • My favorite was Day 13- Slow Down. I teach middle school (and started a Zentangle Club at my school this year!) and we’ve just gone on summer break. Part of what I relish in with having discovered the Zentangle Method is how much it makes me slow down and be in the moment. It’s something that I have a hard time doing consciously – tangling helps me slow down without the pressure of it feeling like a task. For me, tangling is a sort of self care without the pressure and guilt. Thanks for bringing this amazing method to the world!

    Sue A. on

  • This was a joy every day. My favorite Bijouism is Day 12, Come out of your shell. Easier said than done some days. Thank you all for giving us food for thought as well as a Zentangle.

    Maria Thompson on

  • I have followed Zentangle for a number of years. While I appreciate the business and outreach aspect of your collective work, I want to honor Maria. For me, It is Maria’s artist heart and playful yet wisely insightful mind and spirit that is the foundation of what you do. As I witness the arthritis increasing in Maria’s hands, I wish to convey my appreciation for all that is Maria. Bijou’s Maria-spirit is most enjoyable. Thank you.

    Kathy Flewelling on

  • Well,I loved each day in this serie. I only had enough gray tiles at home and so I decided to tangle on them with colored Gelly Rolls and to shade with the colored Generals . My favorite Bijouism therefore had to be : Decision and the second one was Relax. I had to trust the process and I have to say: it worked well. I‘m very glad that I had the oportunity to participate, thanks to all of you at HQ .

    Martina Fegeler on

  • I have soooo enjoyed this 21 day journey. Each day was unique and special. (I can’t choose a favorite) I relished the time to sit down and create a simple tile using a single tangle. And the Bijouisms were great reminders of how to take better care of myself (allowing me to take better care of others.) Thank you

    Pam Meeks on

  • What a wonderful journey this has been… I think my favorite is No Mistakes… as I purchased the Translucent bundle and on the very first tangle thought “oh no, this has been a bad mistake, these tiles are so hard to work with… what am I going to do?” Well, thank you Bijou for guiding me and turning what I thought was a mistake into a learning journey… I learned how to work with the tiles and pens and shading nuances… and am really glad I saw it through as I am very proud of my “mistakes” Zentangle has been a wonderful part of my live peacefully and enjoy phase of life and I thank you for this ramble along the way!

    Kyle H on

  • I LOVED this series! Each day and activity was short enough to fit in no matter my schedule, and each result was a delight. As I’d planned, I did mine in doctor and hospital waiting rooms, and they helped the waiting time go by in a wink. It’s hard to choose a favorite, so I’ll pick two — ravel and mirasu. Both led me down surprising paths and embodied Trust and Coming out of your Shell. I am already looking forward to your next surprise project! Thank you for your gifts of creativity.

    Jane Elaine on

  • My favorite Bijouism is “Slow Down”. I love that the Zentangle method is about “the journey, not the destination”. This philosophy has helped me not only get more pleasure and enjoyment from Zentangle, but in many other aspects of my life where I am working on applying it. I am fairly new to Zentangle, so the 21 days of guidance came at a perfect time to help me continue my tangling learning process. Thank you all for a great series!

    Mari M on

  • This merry month of May has been a downer but thanks to Bijou’s “ism’s” and tangles, I have gotten through it and am looking forward to June! I’m sure I could have done it without you, but it was so much more comforting, relaxing and enjoyable with you. I will miss finding Bijou in my mailbox each day. Thanks for letting me share your journey. Charmion

    Charmion S. on

  • I enjoyed them all! I loved to finish my Black Sakura sketchnote with almost all the series! I did the last two on my own Bijou tiles. Thanks for all that fun! Say thanks to Bijou!

    Nathalie Paré on

  • Thank you so much for this series! I simply cannot choose a favorite day. I loved the reflections of each day, the quiet, simple, brief tangling opportunities with many of my favorite tangles, and seeing the beautiful ways tanglers all over the world interpreted these tiles in their own unique way. I love that this was all connected to Mental Health Awareness Month because Zentangle drawing has truly been a way for me to grow and be aware of my own mental and spiritual well-being. Thank you so much!

    Diane Harpster on

  • I loved every single day of this project! I bought the translucent tile pack and it was my first time working with these tiles. I loved how each tile turned out – it was fun to work on both sides and awesome to be able to see what the other side looked like! I will definitely be getting more translucent tiles in the future. I also really enjoyed the silence in the videos. I do enjoy when there is narration, but I think the silence this time was perfect for this project. It gave me a sense of stillness as I worked the tangles. Thank you for such a wonderful 21 days!!

    Jill A. on

  • I just love the Bijouisms. So many of them really speak to me and remind me to be kind to myself and to enjoy life. Savor, Trust, Breathe, Come out of your shell, and Focus are a few of my favorites. Thank you to the Zentangle team for giving us these 21 days of bite sized tangling. It reminds us that we can all find a bit of time in ours day to escape into the world of tangling.

    Betty card on

  • The 21 days were a very nice relaxing thing to work on.

    By drawing on the half of the bijou, it seemed to me that the blank part represents the space.
    Looking at the finished product, marasu on the 12th day looks like it’s spreading, and it looks like it’s wrapped up.
    Thank you for your wonderful plan.
    I would like to continue to enjoy bijou after this.
    Also, I was able to concentrate on what I could enjoy even in silence.

    Tomoko Fujikawa  CZT36 on

  • I loved this Bijou Bundle! I loved the fact that there would be a new prompt each afternoon. Using the Bijou size tile was a new experience for me. Just the right size for a daily meditation. I have to say that I did miss the friendly chatting that typically takes place during an instructional video. I hope that doesn’t change for the future project packs. Thanks so much!

    Diana Richard on

  • What a pleasure it has been to work with Bijou, both for the tangles and for the texts. In fact, I’ve often printed these texts to share during my classes. Thank you, thank you Bijou!
    Choosing a motif is almost mission impossible, but I have a particular fondness for Printemps, drawing like this.
    Thank you, too, for showing the variations in each design. I’m imagining a fresco with the whole thing, wow, just thinking about it fills the heart with joy.
    Gratitude, gratitude

    Schneider Monique on

  • It has been my pleasure and my meditative happiness. Everyday I would wait for Bijou and his sayings and tangles and this became my sanity: leaving all the negative and transmuting (Tangle) into positive and happy journeys everyday and I greatly thank you Bijou, for teaching me it is not getting from point A to Z, but the journey. You have shown me my happy place my creative world.
    All my Love to you Bijou,
    Selena Noiles

    Selena Noiles on

  • I think, if I MUST pick, I would say my favorite Bijouism was on Day 2…Relax. I needed that reminder just then and it carried me throughout the 21 days. I chose to tangle mostly as a wind-down at the end of my days and it really helped. A Bijou tile at the end of the day with a nice cup of tea sounds like a winning practice for me. Thank you for the joy. 🥰

    Letitia Minnick on

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