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Turn the Tile of Life

Turn the Tile of Life

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorns have roses.” - Alphonse Karr


Molly writes:

It seems people use the turning of a new year as a gentle nudge to make changes, renew hope and start fresh. A time to look at things differently … from a different angle or perspective perhaps. It is a beautiful and traditional time to set intentions for the year ahead. Some people set goals to learn something new, improve on something or leave behind a bad habit.

This year I was inspired to use the turning of the new year as a reminder to turn my tile as I work … not just in my Zentangle practice, but in my life too.

I was inspired by a letter we received from a CZT about perspective. The letter was one that made me pause and reflect on how this idea played a role in how I see things in my own world. The letter came from CZT, Daria Kreher, and it she tells us a story about a student interaction she had recently: Daria writes: I was suggesting that "it's helpful to turn the tile ...." (As you, at Zentangle have said a million times). When I finished, she (the student) said, "I turn the tile in my life. Last time I was in your class you said the same thing and it struck me – that I can do this with my life! And now, I "turn my tile" when I'm faced with something that is difficult or that I can't figure out. I will always "turn my tile" in my life. Thank you!" I found everything about Daria’s story so beautiful and profound. It also makes me think she must be a wonderful Zentangle teacher.

In my Zentangle practice and my teachings, the act of turning my tile is as constant as breath. “Turn your tile as you work,” I say.

With each stroke, we turn our tile, making little adjustments to make the drawing process comfortable and to enable flow in your process. Turn your tile to see the composition from another angle that might offer inspiration or encouragement. Turn it this way and that to take in what you are creating. Turn your tile and pause. Turn your tile and take a deep breath. Turn your tile to see something, you had not before. Turn your tile to be guided. Turn it to reconsider your judgments. Turn your tile to be humbled. Turn your tile to understand. Turn your tile to see beauty. Turn your tile to love.

This year I have put out an intention for myself to not only turn my “tile” in my Zentangle practice but to turn my “tile” in my life too. I will turn it to see the situation from another angle that might offer inspiration or encouragement. I will turn it this way and that to take in what is happening around me. I will turn my tile and pause to let things soak in and rest. I will turn my tile and take a deep breath. I will turn my tile to potentially see something I had not before. I will turn my tile to be guided when I don't know where to go. I will turn it to reconsider my judgments and assumptions. I will turn my tile to be humbled. I will turn my tile to understand. I will turn my tile to see the beauty. I will turn it to see love.

Molly Hollibaugh


  • Paula Schneider I am sorry for the loss of your husband.

    This turning of our tiles is such a great tool. Bless you on your journey.

    Hope Spencer on

  • Great thing to practise indeed! I never make new year’s resolutions, but this is a good one. :-D

    ArjadLH on

  • This is an awesome concept and beautifully written. I’ll be sharing. “It’s a matter of perspective” has been a catch phrase for me for most of my life. “Turn your tile” is so much easier to relate to, especially for those in the Zentangle community. This would hold true for new tanglers and those that have tangled for years. May we all step back and “turn out tile”.

    Holly c on

  • What a profoundly simple concept! Today, as I head to school, I am going to think of ways to incorporate this idea into my tangling lesson this morning. Thank you!

    Ann Baum on

  • A wonderful blog, Molly, thank you so much. Turning the tile and looking at things from another angle makes such a difference. 😊😊

    Kathy McMurtry CZT on

  • What a wonderful perspective in all kinds of different life events! Thank you!☺️

    Barb Bradley on

  • Great advice for me as I sometimes forget to turn my tile but I’m constantly reminded in life it’s all about perspective.

    Mar Kay Watson on

  • Molly, your words touched me deeply. My husband of 38 years passed away a few weeks ago, and in this time of reflecting, assessing, and trying to figure out how best to show up in the world without him at my side and ALWAYS in my corner, I earnestly seek every day for guidance as to how I will live my remaining years. The answers do come to the extent that I am able to listen. Change is inevitable and I TURN MY TILE with a positive attitude and deep gratitude for everything in my life, including Zentangle practice which has been so important to me for over 10 years.

    Paula Schneider on

  • Thank you

    Susan Arnsten-Russell on

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