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One Stroke at a Time...

One Stroke at a Time...

...AKA doing what is right under your nose.

Molly writes...

Modern day life is full. It is full of expectations. Full of plans and organizing. Full of setting goals and planning the future. It is full of quantifying this and having proof for that. It is full of doing things to check this box or get this credential or photograph and so on.

Modern day life is full of filling.

While there is value and space for some of that in this journey we call life, if we are constantly full of filling our time with only the things that appear to quantify purpose or get us a win or a label or some check box … then there is no room left for just being.

What if we paused for moment and appreciated the value in the pause? What if we celebrated the beauty in doing things just for the sake of doing? What if we did somethings without planning or purpose? What if we allow ourselves space for things that don’t have an obvious reason?

What if we allowed ourselves time in our everyday lives to be completely immersed in that thing we are doing in the current moment?

Perhaps we would realize this subconsciously allows our minds and our hearts to better absorb all the other stuff and help us be more equipped to work through all the other things that fill our days.

If we give ourselves respite from the constant looking ahead and planning for what is to come and instead just be completely immersed in each moment, we can honor that which we are doing right now.

Perhaps this honor, this increased focus on the one task at hand and can bring us clarity and strength to move on to the next. With all our energy and heart concentrating on each individual thing our abilities become illuminated. The next task at hand becomes more obvious and we dance effortlessly from one task to the next.

As you practice the Zentangle Method, we encourage you to trust the process and focus on one stroke at time. Allow the artist inside you to be in each moment. Let each step guide you but not restrict you. Leave space for the unexpected and embrace opportunities. Fill your moments with gratitude and let go of any expectations. Tangle for the sake of tangling. Create for the sake of creating and be for the sake of being.

As you continue to “fill” your lives, ponder the value in leaving yourself time and space for the now. Time and space for you to just be in each moment. Time and space for doing what is right under your nose.

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Thank you to everyone who participated in the #peanucklechuckle challenge on the Zentangle Mosaic App! We have randomly selected @BonnieJohnsonCZT36 to receive a Zentangle surprise! Please send your snail mail address to

Molly Hollibaugh


  • Well said Molly! Interesting enough, before I read your blog, I had just had a conversation with a friend about living in the moment. How timely and how true!

    Deborah R on Sept 26,2022 on

  • A little late to the party, but I’ve been busy dodging Tropical storm Earl & Fiona. But wanted to chime in because I love this blog post so much

    That’s exactly what being in the present moment means. Something I strive to practice daily. To be fully aware of what I am doing, while immersed in whatever activity or chore that Im engaged in. I still have expectations when tangling, but it’s definitely more about the process than the result. Though it’s always extra satisfying when the results turn out pleasing. 😊

    ~Jan~ Sailandbejoyful on

  • Beautifully said Molly. You are a true teacher and Zentangle yogi! Thank you for the reinforcement, the invitation, to just be me, in tis moment. I am task oriented and industrious by nature. A “Zen” mentality is necessary for me to find balance in this world full of judgements, expectations and purposefulness. Tangling helps. It brings me more peace, more joy. Being in the moment is clarifying. There’s an open, joyful flow and brilliant sense of well being to it. Less time filling, more nose…more flow. Simply saying yes to life, resisting nothing, embracing what comes next…being in the moment, at our cores, unites us as authentic individuals. Gratitude is an attitude💖. The more we practice it the richer life becomes

    Anna on

  • Molly ..Thank you for this message we desperately need in this crazy world! I’m teaching my first “Introduction to Zentangle” classes in October. This is the best message new tanglers could ever receive. I hope you won’t mind if I share this message with them.

    Bonnie Johnson on

  • Thank you, Molly for this reminder and perspective. I am going to print this and have it in my calendar notebook as a daily reminder. I had the privilege of taking a class this afternoon from Romi Marks. She is an amazing and so giving of her time to share the Zentangle methodology. She is a true ambassador. This blog was a perfect read after i completed her class. Thank you.

    Pattie Grove on

  • It is always important that we make time for enjoying those things that give us pleasure. It is important that we take care of ourselves. There are millions of things that we could plan to do during the day but the most important one is taking time to know, appreciate and enjoy who we are.

    Anita Stovall on

  • Spot on, Molly! As famous planner and motivational speaker, Stephen Covey, might say: “Take care of the big rocks, and the little rocks will take care of themselves.” It is up to you to decide what those big rocks are, and make time in your day for them. Specifically, set aside time in your calendar for that. If someone “expects” or demands you use that time for one of “their big rocks” you simply say, “Sorry but I already have an appt at that time.” Then offer them an alternative, if you are so inclined. Most reasonable people will respect your calendar commitments. The Zentangle Method is one of my Big Rocks, and I have no problem saying no to requests for other commitments that interfere with “My Tangling Time.” Of course, I’m retired and a widow. My time is my own. I realize other tanglers may be under a lot more pressure than I am. But I learned the Big Rock theory when I worked for the US Dept of Defense. If it worked there, it will work almost anywhere. So jealously guard your tangle time, or any other outlet that is important to you. Think of it this way: You are your biggest rock. If you don’t take care of yourself first, who will? Happy tangling!😉

    Jessica Dykes on

  • Oh Molly! Did this ever hit home! I work on this each and every day, but I acknowledge that the task is likely much easier for me than some as my child is now a grown adult, I live with only my 4 legged baby and my life is entirely my own. Even with the slower pace of life these days, its so easy to get tangled up in `5 steps ahead`. Absolutely love the Miller video!

    LovelyRita on

  • So true Molly. My daily practice of tangling has given me all of what you speak of and more. My “me time” and I can’t wait to share it as a new CZT!

    Brenda Jowers on

  • This message couldn’t have come at a better time. Thank you so much.

    Georgia H Chilton on

  • I enjoyed this blog today. It made me think of a word that has begun to take on new meaning and importance for me recently. The word is Preparation. If we prepare ourselves in whatever way that works for us to get us motivated and excited about the next 24 hours, I think we are in a better position to have a more meaningful experience. If we set our intent, for example, to spend a set amount of time in our artistic pursuits such as tangling, I think we are more likely to follow through. And it also helps me to try to keep my Zentangle materials at hand—out on my art table—and keep clutter at a minimum! Last but not least, I saw this quote on an Internet blog: “We must prepare the delicacies before we ring the bell.”

    Paula Schneider on

  • Amen. Amen. Amen.
    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    Judy on

  • Thank you for this reminder, Molly. It is so needed for today and every day.

    Tharina on

  • This could not have showed up at a better time for me to hear this message. I have so much on my plate that I don’t know where to start….I’ll start with my nose. Thanks….Lori

    Lori Riden on

  • My favorite blogpost ever. Thank you.


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