Thursday, April 30, 2015

Life is a (Circular) Journey - Diva Challenge #215

In 2009, I attended a retreat at the Portincula Center For Prayer in the St. Francis Woods in Frankfort, Illinois.  The center has beautiful grounds that feature many quiet and beautiful places for individual and group meditation.  One of those places is this lovely labyrinth.  This was the first time I had walked such a path.

The purpose of the retreat was to share the music of Hildegard von Bingen and other meditative music including some rounds, singing bowls and gongs.  I experienced emotional release and spiritual growth in many forms during my short stay there. 

For me, sacred music is a more potent form of prayer than the spoken word could ever be.
I have always thought there is something very circular in some forms of music.  Notice that circles are the backbone of many of the forms of music I experienced at the retreat.  African music has a very round, ringing sound to the harmony as well, and I find it quite lovely.  Mozart, Elgar and other composers have a quality of roundness if you stop to feel rather than intellectually listen.  Certain music touches your heart in an actual physical way, a fact that science is beginning to discover.

Prayer circles, drum circles, wagon circles, children's circle games, Mayan calendars - even eyes and navels - evoke protection and contemplation.  The labyrinth (and Mandelas AND Zendalas) all echo this circular meditation. 

When I walked the labyrinth in St. Francis woods, I was struck by how I was unable to discern how far along the path I was and how far I had yet to go.  Around I went, light crunching sounds of my feet on the very fine gravel path, and wondered.  Suddenly, there I was in the center.  I stopped to rest there.  It was not a physical rest, exactly - it wasn't a tiring walk - but a mental pause. Reluctantly, almost, I rose and began the second half of the journey.  Again, even though I had walked the circle before, I was unable to determine how far along I was.  I walked, I hummed some music we had learned, and then...  With the lightest little crunch, my foot lifted off the last step and it was over.  Just like that.  No real warning. 

For me, that walk, that lift of the foot, was a metaphor for our life on earth.  We walk, we ponder, we distract ourselves, we grieve, we celebrate, and then...a little lift and over.  Life IS a journey.  It is not a straight line path to some goal.  We must be present and mindful of the journey every step of the way.

Here is my response to the challenge.  I drew the simplest of labyrinth forms and added patterns.  I divided the form into quarters to represent the earth cycle, but did not take great pains to interpret any particular cycle or season.  I just tangled my way around the path.

*****NEWS!   I am now an official, fully tangelated, inspired and blessed CZT!  Yippee!!

CZT 19 was a wonderful experience.  I loved meeting Rick, Maria, Molly, their staff, and a few of my fellow online Tanglers.  The Taiwan contingency was so totally cute!  There were drawings for prizes, and they won quite a few of them - they were so excited, so thrilled just to be there, and SO talented.  It was inspiring just to be around them.  I met my online Diva participants, David Hunter and Suzanne Durville, and getting to know them was so sweet!  Hi to Nancy and Judy if you read this, and to all the wonderful and inspiring people I met there.  Sandy - I was moved and honored to see your work in person, and I'm so sorry that in all the hustle-bustle we didn't get to meet.  I left there entirely worn out but inspired to share my newfound knowledge with my friends at home.  I can't wait for whatever comes next!!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Diva 213 - Traced Strings and Breaking News

Only one challenge this week - I've been extra busy (see below...)

Our Diva set an interesting challenge this week, which was to trace some shapes onto the tile to use as our string, then tangle as you wish.  I had fun with this, and found some things lying around, as it were.  Here I have used a plastic letter opener and a wine pouring spout. 

I decided to use all three tiles, and here is how they turned out.  No masterpieces, but fun to put your thinking cap on with the crazy placement.  I must say, I really love the Star Map pattern in black and white below.  I have never used it before, but with shading I think it is really cool!  On the list for go-to drama!

This one was just plain fun.  No rhyme or reason.

I tried Narwhal for the first time, and definitely need more work on it.  It is a little tricky to draw because I think the first spacers need to be farther apart.  I like how it looks on this tan tile.

So...I haven't wanted to jinx myself by speaking too soon...but...I am off to PROVIDENCE, RI for CZT 19!!!!!  Watch for posts - I will have my ipad so I will try to record some of the good stuff - assuming they don't make it top secret!

Signing out for now, but be back soon!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Diva 212, ABC, SQ1 - Working Hard?

For the past few weeks, I have been working really hard on my Tangling.  I've done multiple challenges, put a lot of thought and planning into each design - light/dark balance, composition and flow, Zendala complexities, practicing dewdrops (coolest thing ever!) and more.

As I went back through my old tiles, I expected to see quite a dramatic improvement over the past couple years.  As it happens, though, the very first tiles were indeed kind of clunky and lacking in sophistication.  But after a few months, I saw some things that surprised me.  I was tangling on my own after having taken one little intro workshop.  I followed for new patterns and just went with it.  I didn't try to imitate anyone else, didn't agonize over rules or standards, didn't judge.  I just tangled, and by gosh, I did some pretty awesome tiles just by letting them flow.

Now, I feel like I must be overthinking all of this.  I look at the blank tile with a bit of dread - akin to stagefright.  My grandmother used to comment about singers - "She used to sing so beautifully until she took singing lessons!"  I recently started some very rudimentary yoga workouts.  One of the best things the instructor has said is "Less determination and more observation."  I know most people doing yoga can do more than I can.  So what?  I can do more now than I did six weeks ago.  Six weeks from now, I'll be doing still more.  It will happen without pushing myself.  Yoga has no "no pain, no gain" philosophy.  You just "do".  I think that's how I should approach Zentangle, too.

So this week, I just took a step back and did tiles however I felt like it.  The Diva challenge was to use Fanz.  I did them plain and simple in a big fat section of the tile and then added two other patterns  I like.  Here it is for better or worse.  Like the overtrained singer, it may take a while to get the easy flow back.

The Square One: Purely Zentangle page has exploded into about ten separate focus pages now.  I'm overwhelmed!  Really!  It's fun to see everyone's beautiful work, but I certainly can't keep up with each one of them.  I did a tile here for the basic page with the original rules.  In this case, the focus was Man-O-Man.  I have tried this one before, but it doesn't seem to blend well with other tangles in general.  I like it, though.  Here, I thought I would do a few rounds on the tile with different embellishments, etc.  But when I finished the first one, my pen took off on its own (as it should) and this is what I got.  I'm happy with this!

There was another challenge out there for patterns starting with A, B, and C.  I'm so hinky right now, I don't even know whose challenge this was, so sorry, I won't be linking up with the website.  I fell in love instantly with the new 'Brella pattern, and added Allium and Cabana.  I felt like adding red, so I did.  No masterpiece, but I loved doing this tile.

Thank you for visiting my page and for all your comments.  I treasure them all!