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Oct 28, 2016

Have you ever wondered around Youtube, looking for inspiration? I did a few years ago, and I stumbled upon(1) an activity called Zentangle. It is an art form that really suits everybody. Let me explain. A 'tangle' is a pattern that doesn't have to look like anything in particular(2); it is a simple pattern, repeated over the paper. It's similar to 'doodling' which is when a person draws any random shapes, connected or not, as a way of relaxing. There are no expectations of drawing a particular object or scene, just shapes. Well, a Zentangle is a collection of several different patterns on a small paper (usually 3.5 inches squared). The 'Zen' part of this practice is that a person is completely free to choose the patterns, style, and combinations, and to simply enjoy the process. There is no stress involved, no expectations of artistry or perfection. In fact, it has been proven that tangling reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and increases focus and happiness. Amazing! It seems to work with the human brain in a similar way to yoga: relaxation, freedom from competition, and focus. It has actually surprised me how this kind of organized doodling improves my mood. A booklet called 'Beginning Zentangle' lists why it is so popular:

1. It is unplanned, so its results surprise you.

2. Without up or down - can be viewed and drawn from any orientation.

3. Abstract nonrepresentative art, a collection of patterns - not a drawing of something.

4. Can be drawn with either hand.

5. Small enough to be drawn in 15 minutes.

6. Portable.

7. Not limited by technology. All you need is a paper and a pencil or pen. (3)

So, if you think about it, you can tangle in most places in order to relax and enjoy the moment. I'm going to slip a pad of paper and some fine black pens into my handbag so I can tangle with Zen whenever I feel like it.

1. 'To stumble upon' means 'to come upon' or 'to find by chance'. The verb stumble means to trip (over), so the phrase implies that a person finds something by actually falling over it. What a great picture! We often use this phrase when we explain that we have found something interesting in a book or a newspaper.

a. In a medical journal, I stumbled upon a remedy for my skin problem.

b. In the park, we stumbled upon a hidden path that led to a cottage next to the river.

2. I use the word 'particular' twice in this podcast. Once as an adjective 'a particular object', and once in the phrase 'in particular. This can be placed at the beginning, middle, or end of a sentence, but is most commonly placed at the end. It singles out a noun as being special or focused on rather than others.

a. They loved to meet in cafes on Saturday mornings, in Cafe Mela in particular.

b. The theme of literature in schools in the month of October is Autumn, and Halloween in particular.

3. The list quoted from 'Beginning Zentangle' is written in incomplete sentences. This is fine to do when you are writing a list of basic information, or sharing facts; sometimes we will omit the verb or the article.

a. The advantages of exercising regularly:

1. Improves mood.

2. Speeds metabolism.

3. Less need to diet.

4. Body repairs itself more quickly.

b. Math class supply list:

1. Large eraser.

2. Packet of #2 pencils

3. Protractor and ruler.

4. No need to buy graph paper, - supplied by teacher.