This spring I tried zen tangling for the first time. Zen tangling is a particular way of meditative doodling. The act of creating a zen tangle is meant to be grounding and easy-going. It’s a way to focus on the present and welcome what arises in each moment. It’s about imperfectly filling a limited amount of space with black and white patterns.
To get started on my first zen tangle, I (of course) turned to the Internet, where I found this basic set of instructions and a helpful video like this one. Creating my first zen tangle was not even close to a meditative experience. I clenched my jaw and held nearly every muscle in my upper body tense.
When I had finished tangle number one, my first reaction was to decide this would be my one and only zen tangle. Taking a deep breath, I realized that, like many meditative activities I’ve tried, zen tangling would take practice.
It helps for me to recognize the tension I’m holding before I even begin. I try to use my breath to relax into the process. I try to remind myself to let go of expectations and to embrace (and even admire!) imperfections.
As with my zen tangling practice, I’m embracing imperfection in life this summer. Each summer, I imagine that my regular blog-writing routines will sail smoothly without disruption. And each summer, I’m surprised by the tension I create in my life by trying to squeeze my kids’ full days into my already tangled days. Each summer, my kids’ patterns overtake my own notions of how my days will go. And so I’m letting go of expectations and accepting imperfections and embracing these summers with my daughters while I still can. I know it will be all-too-soon when my girls will graduate from high school, leaving my summers as blank as a fresh zen tangle square.
With that, blog posts will sprinkle the summer here and there but will not be published with usual regularity. When I’m not here on the blog, I will be practicing the zen tangle of experiencing summer with my daughters, connecting with them, creating new patterns together each day and making special summer memories that will live in their hearts.