A wise CZT friend once said something that made me take pause. And since then, the thought is one I have carried around with me on my journey.
It was at a seminar I think, and I was rambling on and on about how I could have done this and should have done that, and I should do this more and she stopped me in my tracks and simply said, “Molly, don’t should on yourself.” I giggled and really took pause. She was right! What good was it doing for me to go on and on about all the things that I could or should have been or done? What if in that same moment I thought of all the things I had done and perhaps pondered the things I looked forward to doing? The truth is our lives are full. We do what we can. We push ourselves to do more when we can, and perhaps there are times we do less. And that’s okay. If we build on what we have done and celebrate our strengths and successes, we are more likely to grow and become inspired to do more. Pouring energy into all the things we have not done, does not put us ahead or even feel good for that matter. I have slightly modified the famous words of the wise old Yoda to serve as a mantra for myself,
“Do. Or do not. There is no should.”
It is easy to beat ourselves up about the past or wallow about what we were supposed to get done. But if we shift our focus, just a tad, and empower ourselves on what we have done, even the little things, you realize that you can and will do more. And then well, let’s celebrate those things.
Our Zentangle practice is a great place to shift in our focus in this way. First remind yourself, this is your practice, your journey, your mountain to climb. Comparison does not validate or dictate your path. You are in charge. You are the artist. If you tangle every day for a year: Awesome. If you have not tangled for a year, but you found a moment to tangle today: Awesome. If you tangled once and it was delightful, and you look forward to tangling again someday: Awesome. If you need a push and you know a friend that might inspire you to pick up your pen, give them a shout. If taking a break from your practice feels right, take a break. If you can’t keep up with all the content out there, that is ok. If you only ever tangle crescent moon over and over, that is awesome too. Choose one thing that inspires or interests you and start there. Do a basic tile with all known tangles. Start with one stroke and take it from there. Or maybe just admire a tile you did a long time ago. Embrace how your practice changes and how your art changes. You get to choose. Do what you can. Celebrate the moments. Celebrate your art. Push yourself a little and cut yourself some slack. And above all, “Do not should on yourself.”
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