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Tangle Your Own Conclusions

Tangle Your Own Conclusions

Molly writes...

My mom never really told us what to do or think. If you ask my siblings, they will say the same. There was always an abundance of time spent listening, supporting, nurturing, and loving us, but how we were going to navigate our lives was up to us. We were steering the ship. Even when we were practically begging her for advice on some big life decision making moment, she always gave us the same answer, “make a decision and make it right.”

“What does that even mean?”, my younger self would ponder. For years I took in the words of wisdom trying to digest them. Over time, I realized what she meant was that it wasn’t so much the choices I made, but rather what I did with those choices that mattered. If you move forward through your journey believing that the path you are on is the one you are supposed to be on, you spend more time embracing and nurturing where you are, rather than focusing on regret and disappointment. It is true that we are forced to work through difficult times, but when you embrace and own all your choices and focus on looking for and discovering even the littlest bits of beauty, you will soon realize you start to see more of it.

In Zentangle, we practice this philosophy too. We encourage Zentangle artists to own every stroke they put down, to make choice and then let those choices inspire and guide the next ones. We encourage you take chances and work through so-called mistakes in a way that allows you to see them as opportunities.

This is your story to write and your tile to tangle. If you believe that your life is a complete story and each event, every relationship, every mark you put down on your tile is part of that story, you will see that it is “you” that leads the way. As artists we can move along on this journey artfully, tangling our own conclusions every step of the way.

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Leave us your thoughts and we will pick one commenter at random to send a "tangle your own conclusions" Zentangle MantraBand.



Thank you to everyone who shared your thoughts on the "No Mistakes" philosophy on our last blog post. We have randomly selected Judy Grimes to receive the Ultimate No Mistakes Bundle!

Please send your snail mail address to

Molly Hollibaugh


  • Wise words (w2)!

    AndreaR on

  • There is a lot of things in life that we cannot control but we can decide how we face the challenges that come out way. Hopefully we choose a response that does not lead to regrets but if it does we can always learn from where we have gone before and choose a different way – for me this works in life and in art.

    Noni on

  • Enjoyed your post; I have finally learned that even the tiles I think are “wrong”, need to be saved and revisited…..lessons to be learned.

    Ellen Weinman on

  • My parents were very certain that they were making the best choices for my life and as a result, I spent the first 30 years following a path that didn’t feel true to me. I know they meant well, but it led to self-doubt and negative self-talk that continues to this day. But now I have Zentangle and the strength that it gives me to quiet those voices has truly changed my life. As my practice continues, every new tile is a step in the right direction and the Zentangle community gives me a place to call home.

    Cindi Carrigan on

  • Finding Zentangles released creativity and confidence, I didn’t even know I was capable of.

    Branched out to other mediums, watercolor, acrylic, rock painting to express the calm, focusing on the project forced me to set phone alarms for the pups walks. Zentangle is meditation for me. Thank you

    Carol Cox on

  • Great words! It is perfect advice for living life and wonderfully perfect for tangling.

    Katrina Thiebaut CZT on

  • I totally agree with you Molly!

    Hellen Hurkens-Moll on

  • Zentangle has helped me see what you mean in this post and I’ll try to bear this wonderful philosophy in mind, because it is so helpful, wonderful and freeing! “Have pen, Must Tangle!” is how I feel,especially when anxious as it helps me to calm down. How can you explain your lovely philosophy to someone who had something happen to them which changed their life drastically but was caused to someone else’s bad choice? That has happened to a family member and I do not know how to help him.

    Catherine Gisby on

  • You are so lucky to have a mom like that in your life. What a great way to raise a child/children. I hope that I instill that in my own child. I try to guide but without micromanaging. As for art, I love that as well. Every stroke is part of the journey. xoxox

    Deborah Bowyer on

  • I like that we have our own decisions to make regarding which tangles we use or how we use that specific tangle. Every single one of us will tangle a tile differently, even if we’re all given the same tangles to use. That’s what makes the Zentangle Method special…there is no perfect tile, no one way to do things, no cookie-cutter approach, just like life.

    Kimberly S Scholz on

  • Perfectly said, Molly. My choices lately have brought tears of regret but to own those decisions shows me I have the power to put them into the “no mistakes” category and continue to weave these tangles into my best life! Thank you!

    Linda Barnes on

  • Perfectly said, Molly. My choices lately have brought tears of regret but to own those decisions shows me I have the power to put them into the “no mistakes” category and continue to weave these tangles into my best life! Thank you!

    Linda Barnes on

  • It’s a gift to navigate your own life -I too had parents that my path was totally up to me .I went towards the scientific path & onto become a Registered Dental Hygienist-Healing Art ❤️My 3rd act ….an Artist 👩🏻‍🎨-Zentangle my favorite medium . Each tile is a fabric of my life story & forever grateful for this gift on my life & path 🙏🏼

    Penny on

  • No mistakes makes this a non-threatening venue. Everyone seems to breathe a huge sigh of relief before starting.

    Kim Springer on

  • Thank you Molly! Yes, I totally agree with you. When I start tangling, I always struggle to decide which pattern to put on. Once I made my decision, I just go for it. But sometimes it seems that the pattern I picked doesn’t quite match with other patterns. But so what? There is no right answer to creativity! So I will try to put some colours, or add some shading to make them outstanding. After that, I find the uniqueness and amazed by the outcome!

    Skylar Kay on

  • Great advise! I tried to do the same with my kids…they turned out great!

    Dianne Riva Cambrin on

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