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I'm Late, I'm Late...for a Very Important Date.

I'm Late, I'm Late...for a Very Important Date.

Molly writes...

As a child, I loved the story, Alice in Wonderland. It was so curious and offered many oddities. There was the perfect amount of silliness and adventure. I loved that nothing seemed to make any sense in a very normal way of course. I have always been drawn to whimsy and imagination.

As a teenager I continued to be drawn to the story and its whimsical art. I became more curious in the symbolism within the story and studied it and enjoyed it in a new way. As a young adult I even traveled to Oxford, England to walk the streets where the story originated. It was so fascinating to learn that all the different characters and their interactions had a deeper story to tell.

Of the many lessons and wisdom, I became personally connected to, the story of the white rabbit is one that has stuck with me.

Alice and Wonderland is a coming-of-age tale. As she follows the white rabbit, it is reflective of her being led into the next stage of her life. She watches and follows so naively, still viewing life through the eyes of a child, but looking ahead to something different, chaotic, and curious. The rabbit and his watch represent, her adulthood and our attachment to time. Alice is viewing the rabbit as he panics himself into a furry. She is curious of what he could be worried about. Alice is still viewing the world through a youthful lens, where time is simply something that just is. As children we live free from the worry of time. As adults we become attached to our scheduled lifestyles just the way the white rabbit is chained to his watch. We carry layers of anxiety about when we should do things and how long they should take. We are burdened by what is next, that we often lose sight of where we are, just like the rabbit being so caught up in being late. We have the pressure of time coming at us from all directions.

What does this have to do with your Zentangle practice you ask?

When we deliver tangle lessons or challenges, I always hear whispers from tanglers, venting that they are behind or late or not caught up. But the truth is, there are no finish lines or first place winners in Zentangle. There is no stopwatch timing you or a deadline to submit. Our lessons and challenges are not timed, and we purposely deliver them in a way that each person can do them at any time of day and take as much time to complete them as needed.

As we approach this year’s Twelve Days of Zentangle, I challenge all of you to not follow the white rabbit down his hole. I encourage you to break free from the chain and the pocket watch and tangle on your own time, at your own pace. The Twelve Days series is fun and a great way to inspire us and challenge us, but it should feel good to you.

We hope that the time you spend creating with Zentangle Method is time when you can let go of some of the pressures that surround you. We hope that your tangles can make you feel nurtured by the present and the playful ink strokes that you put on to your tile can perhaps make you tap into something with the creative zest of a child. We encourage you to tangle when you can and for as long as it works in your world given all that you have surrounding you in this moment. We want you to feel free from judging yourself and comparing yourself to others. Your Zentangle journey is unique to you. You are a beautiful being and a beautiful artist. The way you approach a lesson, or a tile is in such way that only you can do it. Trust the process and your place in it. If a lesson takes you an hour or a week, allow it to. If you don’t get to a lesson right away, then know that when you finally do, it will be the perfect time. Prioritize yourself and your practice but don’t force it, allow it to be as much as it can in the space that you have. And when you finally do get some time to tangle, embrace it, for as much or as little as it is. Tangle at your own pace and get lost in your own tangled world.

We are very excited about the content we have for this Project Pack, but we also realize that we have packed a lot in to the twelve days. So, we wanted you all to know that it is OK to take it all in at whatever pace you need to. Enjoy it… we sure did.

If you like reading about the white rabbit and Alice and Wonderland, I found these two articles that speak more in depth about this concept … careful though, you can go down a rabbit hole on this topic.

Molly Hollibaugh


  • WoW! What a wonderful blog post Molly! I was also an Alice aficianado (still am)! And, as you can see, I’m quite late reading this, but I guess that’s an apt illustration of the point you are making! I’m also behind in watching the PP22 videos as well, (haven’t even started tangling along yet). I’ve found, over the 5 years I’ve been watching project packs, that I prefer to watch each video, enjoying all the banter, tips, techniques, philosophy, and camaraderie that all you HQ experts share with us, before starting my own tangles. While watching, I think about each stroke, what colors I might use, and how I might shade, highlight, or embellish my own versions. Sometimes I watch them two or three times before putting pen to paper. Thanks for validating my procrastination…it’s a lifelong habit, I’m afraid!

    Oh, goodness, gracious! Look at the time! 🐰♥️♠️♦️♣️

    Jessica L Dykes on

  • I absolutely love Alice and her adventures in Wonderland, and I remember as a child, being quite annoyed with the White Rabbit and his incessant scurrying. I totally agree with your sentiments, but it’s interesting as this project pack is one of the few where I’m actually keeping up with each day, partly because I’m in-between jobs so I have the spare time. I have never had an issue with trying to keep up previously because I’ve bought project packs well after the videos dropped, so have loved tangling at my own pace. I find it so very relaxing, creative and transformative. The tools are just beautiful, and I think that’s the other reason I’m loving keeping up, because I can’t wait to see how these beautiful colours come together on paper each day.

    Carolina Peters on

  • Thank you so much, Molly. I will put away the clock when I tangle, and enjoy as much as I can.

    Maria Cheng on

  • Always insightful thoughts!

    Linda on

  • Curiouser and curiouser! I always thought of curiosity as brain fertilizer. Thank you for this thoughtful post.

    Jackie on

  • Molly, thanks for the introduction to the new project.
    I love children’s books!
    There is a lot of life wisdom in them!
    The book “Alice in Wonderland” has a complex plot.
    It requires foresight and the appropriate time!
    How well said, Molly!
    And I like to work on my own clock and at my own pace!
    To fill myself to the brim with the charm of what the zentangle method gives me!
    So the magic unfolds before me in small, small steps!
    I follow them too…

    Dafi on

  • Thank you so much for the insightful and beautiful blog post. I had not read or watched Alice in Wonderland for years and actually ordered the book today, watched the movie and read your links. So much to learn from it. I just ordered my PP#22 today (a bit behind….but not late!) and watched the first day,..,.I am so excited to start this Wonderland journey this month and so thankful for your encouragement.

    Pattie Grove CZT 36

    Pattie Grove on

  • Thank you for that reminder, Molly, of not having to do every tile on the day the video is posted. It has always stressed me to have to follow, to see people posting their finished tiles quickly…It’s something that I keep working on although I have learnt to disconnect and do it once the project is finished.
    Beautiful post, by the way. I read Alice in Wonderland when I was younger several times and then forgot completely about it until 3 years ago, when I decided to read it again. Same book, different perspectives (child-adult). Thanks for explaining the symbolism! Big hug!

    Alma on

  • What an interesting post! I haven’t seen Alice in Wonderland for years. I never thought about the symbolism. Thank you for pointing it out! I do have a struggle with rushing through projects and not wanting to tackle projects that take a while to complete. . .. Although right now I am working on an intricate cross stitch design for a Christmas stocking for my grandson. I started it 4 years ago, life intervened, and I put it away. I got back to it last week and have been making progress again… I will try to keep this in mind as I work at whatever artistic adventure I am facing. Art takes time, and it is time well spent! Looking forward to PP22!!! Happy Holidays!

    LLS on

  • Your post is “timely” – no pun intended! It is a busy season and we need to be reminded to slow down. I am going to teaching my first class after the New Year and I started my description off with: “slow down you move to fast…you’ve got to make the morning last.” Do you remember who wrote this song? (Simon & Garfunkel). Basically, I want to remind them that zentangle is a creative art form that doesn’t need to be rushed. This parallels with what you have just said. Thanks!

    Patty on

  • Thanks, Molly, so much for the encouragement and reminder the Zentangle process is just that, a process. It can take however much time it takes. I’m still working on Project Pack 19 and feeling a little ‘behind’ but your kind words reminded me it’s a journey which should be enjoyed for itself. Have a wonderful holiday season.

    Joyce Schieltz on

  • Thanks for this timely and encouraging message. Marcia

    Marcia on

  • So insightful Molly … I had never thought of the parallels of Alice in Wonderland … I’m sure this resonates with so many … you exuded the same gentle life thoughts when we met back in Scotts Valley California. Thank you .

    Patricia on

  • Molly ❣️❣️❣️⏱️🧚

    Beautiful post!

    I couldn’t agree more with the symbolism you’ve highlighted, especially regarding the white rabbit and our attachment to time as adults.

    It’s fascinating how Alice’s journey mirrors our experiences as she follows the white rabbit into the next stage of her life. We often find ourselves burdened by time pressures, constantly worrying about what’s next and losing sight of the present moment. Like the rabbit, we become chained to our schedules and deadlines, forgetting to embrace life’s whimsical and curious aspects.

    Your blog post resonated deeply with me, and It’s a beautiful reminder to embrace the whimsy, let go of time’s pressures, and get lost in our own creative journeys. Thank you for sharing and encouraging us to savor the joy of Zentangle practice.

    Much gratitude and appreciation,.

    Lorie Fossa

    Lorie Fossa on

  • Thanks for this post, I am always reminding others that Projects Packs and prompt lists don’t need to be done to a timetable, you do what suits you and when suits you, so that you can enjoy the project and use it to make ‘delicious’ mindful practise, which is what Zentangle is all about.

    ildica boyd on

  • Thank you Molly! I love this, so beautiful and motivating. Just perfect.

    Michelle Dugdale CZT37 on

  • Thank you. Molly, for this wonderful post.
    For me it came at the right time in the right format for me and now I am sitting here with tears of relief running down my face.
    I am trying to figure out how to plan or not plan my days (I am recently retired) and having a hard time to fit all I want to do in my days. Often ending with the empty feeling of having achieved nothing because my day didnt follow my plan, trying very hard to concentrate on the positive things that happened to me during each day.
    Thank you again and I cant wait till the 12days start, but I am not anxious any more about my ability to follow, or keep up. I will open my PP22 now and appreciate again with slightly different eyes the goodies in there that are waiting to be used.
    Happy PP22 to all
    Bettina from Spain/Europe

    Bettina on

  • Great post. Such wisdom. I know these things, but it’s always useful to be reminded. There is a paragraph here that is so keenly appropriate for me that I’m gonna cut and paste it into my tangle folder so I can re-read it whenever I need to! Thank you Molly!

    Jem Miller on

  • Life is not a is a journey to be savored.

    At times we do speed up & at other times we drag our feet.
    We will all reach our ‘finish line’ at just the right time.

    I wish to approach my ‘finish line’ tangling on a Zendala with a micron in hand!

    patsy monk on

  • Molly, what a post. Thank you so much. I needed to hear that.

    Becky Ruiz Jenab on

  • Such a wonderful blog, Molly. Very insightful. I want to delve more into this. Thank you for the reminder to take it slowly and enjoy the process.

    It is so easy to get caught up in the flurry of postings during a tangle event. Comparinoia can loom. Keeping pace with others becomes a temptation.
    I really enjoy and celebrate what other tangles are doing and will promise myself to go at my own pace.

    Kim Orlando on

  • Loved your blog Molly !❤️ I really enjoyed the story.

    Cindy K on

  • Thanks Molly for your wonderful insight & reminding us to slow down and enjoy all the beautiful moments! In life, as well as in our Zentangle practice.

    Brenda Jowers, CZT #39 on

  • This is a fantastic blog post! So many things we need to be reminded of, plus I love reading the stories about the story. Definitely going down that rabbit hole!

    Lynnda Tenpenny on

  • ❤️

    Barbara WF on

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