Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Not Quite What I was Thinking

In the new book, which will be called Yoga for Your Brain, I have a little section on using Zentangle for praying. Or, directed meditation, if you prefer. I use the example of wanting to think about a sick friend and stay focused on praying for good things for her. You all will know immediately, when you see it, that I was thinking of Shelley when I drew my example. I use an image of the person and words integrated into the Zentangle and there is a very good reason for this. If you just tangle, your thoughts WILL stray. The images and words keep bringing you back to your subject.

I just proved this theory to myself.

You all know me as the strange artist who will tangle on anything. When I went to the first ZT certification workshop I was one of five ladies there who were tangling a gnu. I've tangled furniture, floors, walls, clothing, sneakers, skin... and tonight I tangled an urn.

I kept reminding myself that Shelley was not IN it... yet. But it was such a strange experience. I wanted her to like it! I kept thinking about her and what she would be saying. I have never been so afraid of messing up. This shiny fancy futuristic... probably expensive... permanent resting place... who was I to DRAW on it. I still get shivers. Perhaps it was the subtle fumes from the markers... but all the people who have died or left me in the past year or so joined up with Shelley in my head. You know that  prickly adrenaline rush sensation that you get when you go a little too fast around a curve? That's what a panic attack feels like when it starts, but I kept getting that feeling with an intense rush of sadness. The urn was very shiny and slippery and it was hard to keep control of the pen as my hand kept getting shaky and slippery too!

There seem to have been too many deaths lately. But I have always had a sort of obsession with graveyards. Perhaps because I grew up in the Adams Family, I have a skewed vision of what is considered an appropriate form of grieving (party in the graveyard?) So, I guess it is appropriate that I was asked to tangle an urn. And I think that Shelley will like it. I used her tangles "Alice" and "Heartlines" as the main designs. But, my point is, tangling an urn is not relaxing. Or meditative. There is a VERY good reason that Rick and Maria developed those little squares of paper the way they did! If you are focusing on, or distracted by, the materials you are using... or the outcome you expect... Zentangle will fail to work it's magic.
And don't tangle with death! (ooh that would make a good t-shirt!?

I'll post a picture of the urn tomorrow when it is not quite so dark.


  1. Dear Sandra, thanks for sharing this post. I love that you were able to write so beautifully and honestly about your experience. I've found a similar experience when asked to do calligraphy for 'Sympathy' cards. It's good to know that it isn't just me that finds this kind of 'art' and 'grief' combination a challenging one. I usually try to focus my thoughts on the family and loved ones who will see my art... and I continually have to remind myself to breathe!

  2. Wow ! I can't imagine doing an urn,especially for a friend. It was hard enough doing a tangle to place in my husbands casket when he passed away. I can see how art and grief go well together. Looking from my perspective...through my grief I am finally beginning to heal. Only because my muse returned and the tangling began again . I will be thinking of you Friday !! Hugs... Kristy... Aks Rose Twofeather

  3. Thanks for sharing, Sandy. Our hearts are floating with you, Shelley and all her friends and family.

  4. Sounds like a beautiful way to honor your friend - hope you post a photo.
    The new "Yoga" book sounds interesting! When you brain is concentrating on creating, it does take you away, and to another, peaceful place.

  5. I too, have had the experience of decorating a 'final resting place'. I am a decorative painter and a member of a chapter of painters. One of our members passed away and at her wake there were paints and brushes set out next to her coffin. We were all requested to add our marks. I added her middle name, 'JOY' to her coffin because she brought so much joy to all of us. As it was an open coffin it was rather bizarre, but I know my friend would have really enjoyed it!


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