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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


  • Thanks Molly for your words of inspiration. I find that when I am not in a race I tangle much better and enjoy the process fully. I just want to keep on tangling until I cannot see the paper or hold the pen. With age I am tangling at my best.

    Leah Gasser
    Fort Davis, Texas

    Leah Gasser on

  • A wonderful blog, Molly. Such an important reminder that tangling is not a race or a competition. It is rather a wonderful way to relax and tangle whenever and wherever we can. Enjoying each an every stroke.
    Looking forward to the new project pack.

    Kathy mcMurtry on

  • A very timely message at this time of year! I’ve always loved Alice and the Cheshire cat. Thanks for reminding us of them and encouraging us to enjoy our now.

    Jo on

  • WoW! This is a wonderful blog. Thanks

    Rimona Gale on

  • A wonderful and timely reminder, Molly. I so love all of these things about the Zentangle process and philosophy. I’m looking forward to this Project Pack! Thank you.♥️

    Diane Harpster on

  • Wow such a beautiful blog post! Thank you for writing such a great reminder for all of us! Can’t wait for the Project Pack to begin!!!

    Donna Wynn CZT 13 on

  • Thank you, Molly 💙

    Peyton on

  • Thank you, Molly 💙

    Peyton on

  • Thank you for this wonderful message Molly! I always look forward to tangling with you all at this time of year and your wise advice to take our time and forget about schedules is just the gentle reminder I needed! Blessings & love to you all and happy holidays & happy tangling!

    Love always,
    Debbie Collins, CZT33
    Vienna, VA USA

    Deborah Collins, CZT33 on

  • Serendipity strikes again! I was just thinking about the typical frenetics of what could be such a quiet, introspective season, when Atlas Obscura sent out several Alice links, and now your musings. Lovely. Have you seen these windows? Thanks for sharing yourself. Happy holidays!

    Danielle on

  • Molly, This is such a nice blog post! It is a wonderful encouragement to take some time to engage in this project pack knowing that there are no expectations from any of us. You are so very generous with providing the instructions and having them available whenever we find the time to do the project. Thanks!

    Katrina Thiebaut on

  • Hi everyone!

    I love the story of Alice in wonderland, it has mesmerized me since I was a little girl myself.

    The smiley face of the cat gave me the shivers… So did the big caterpillar 🐛…

    The rabbit was yet a bit hasty but also very lovable and a gentleman. In my eyes…

    I love how this comes together in this project pack! My first one, since I became a CZT this last october.

    Sincerely yours,
    Maartje from the Netherlands 🇳🇱🌀🙏💗

    Maartje van Roij CZTeu7 on

  • What a wonderful reminder, especially after today, when I have had a "hurry up, hurry up, this must be done by…’ day. I have my project pack tools and am looking forward to relaxing my way through the lessons.

    Beth Powel on

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