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What is Zentangle?
Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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STORIES: Respite and relief for caregivers

In this occasional series on TanglePatterns, here are two readers’ stories describing in their own words how Zentangle® has changed their lives. For more accounts in this series, click on the “STORIES” link in the alphabetical listing above.

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STORIES: How Zentangle changes livesI just discovered Zentangle through a friend of mine who has recently become a CZT. Her story is another exceptional one but I should let her tell it. Mine is about what Tangling has done for my frame of mind.

I retired last year, and the very first day of my retirement my 96 year old father fell and broke his second hip. I went and stayed with he and Mum (age 82) for 6 weeks to help them out. I came home but was back two weeks later as Mum had suffered a heart attack. At that point Dad asked if they could come and live with my husband and I. My husband was totally supportive and said he always knew this would happen. In the past year we have added on to the house and they have moved from a snowy icy cold area to our pacific coast rainforest. A huge change for them.

So now I care for them daily, and help them out with things they were struggling with on their own. I cook meals for them and take them out places. I have very little time for myself and I am an artist in the textile medium….art quilting, mixed media etc. But with this new 12 hour shift as a caregiver, I have little energy left to be creative, and I often feel sorry for myself as my retirement has not turned out as I had planned!

So in the evening, when I am finally alone, I sit down with my sketchbook and a pen and I tangle. Within less than 5 minutes I am in another world and hours can pass while I add to my design and twirl lines and dots and circles together. I go to bed relaxed and “zenned” into a peaceful sleep. It’s quite miraculous how it can take me away from a negative frame of mind to a satisfied one. ~ Gladys L

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STORIES: How Zentangle changes livesI am very new to Zentangle. I’ve recently become a care giver for my 86 and 89 year old parents. Mom has pretty severe dementia. Dad is just pooped from his years of taking care of Mom.  As you can imagine this is a very time consuming process. Zentangle has given me periods of respite during the day. I can just pick up my pen and tile and get lost for a bit. I can honestly say it is helping me stay centered.

A big thanks to Maria and Rick for coming up with this. I am so glad I stumbled upon Totally Tangled at my local art supply store. I took a class and fell in love. I plan to take every class that they offer just for the fellowship of other like minded folks. ~ Karen R

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If you would like to share your own experience for this series, please email me (linda [at] tanglepatterns [dot] com). You can make your story as long as or short as you like and if you wish your personal details to remain private, I will certainly honor that.

By publishing your “testimonials”, I’m hoping it will help spread the word about Zentangle to many others who can REALLY benefit from it. As the Zentangle founders say, “Anything is possible, one stroke at a time.”™


9 comments to STORIES: Respite and relief for caregivers

  • Betty

    If I’d have found Zentangle before the past few weeks, my mind would be in a better place than it is. My parents 86 & 82 have been requiring care for the past 12 years. Besides that I have children and grandchildren that I would like to be part of their lives. I also have a very loving husband who is beginning to require extra care. (ie Hip Replacement, arthritis, aortic aneurism at Christmastime… I do know that if I do not get time to draw (whether it be Zentangles or elaborately designed Kimonos – with Zentangle patterns – I know that my mind has someplace to go beside to Angry-ville or Whiney-town! Thank you.

  • Virginia L.

    I found Zentangles through a quilting board. Someone mentioned it, I followed the link, and boy! am I glad I did! I am a full-time caregiver for my husband who has cerebral palsy. When I married him 16 years ago he was already unable to walk and needed extensive help with ALL his personal hygiene. Things have gone downhill since then, of course, and lately I felt like I was on the way to a nervous breakdown with all the stress and loneliness. Then I discovered Zentangle, and it amazes me how much it can help soothe me until I can regain perspective. It’s much better than a tranquilizer!

  • Gab

    i love hearing these positive stories

  • Janet

    I had a similar experience caring for my mum who had dementia. I did it because I loved her & wanted to and wouldn’t have had it any other way. But it was physically & emotionally a slog at times with my own health issues and I had those moments of feeling sorry for myself too, feeling a little like I had a ball & chain on at times. The timing of finding Zentangle was perfect.
    Just a little time with it here & there made all the difference.
    Shortish periods of ‘time out’ with it were a real escape, they relaxed & refreshed me, making it possible to carry on with a smile on difficult days. Mum passed away recently but my enthusiasm for Zentangle continues. I’m really happy I found it.
    regards to all,
    Janet in New Zealand.

  • Jessie

    I have had these experiences as some of you Mother had dementia, and also she was diabetic it has been 9 years now she has been gone,but I wish I knew about zentangle it would have helped with the stress and anxiety.I am also dealing with my Husband who has heart failure.when he is having a bad day I sit and get my sketch pad and start to doodle with my zentangle I am a self taught.I am an oil painter quilter and do bead work with jewelry and on garments and many other mediums. I also have Rheumatoid Arthritis for more than 25 yrs. The beggining of 2012 my Sister had back surgery but things went wrong she developed blood clots and a clot went into her lung into the heart. they did CPR 2X and she survived. was in critical care for 13 days and recieved 22 pnts. of blood since they could not close her back insision and was loosing blood. when I got the call I put my sketch pad with my pens and off I I sat in the waiting area I was doing zentangle trying to be calm and praying it was a life saver for me. after all the trauma she is home and recovering slowly I took her a sketch pad and micron pens and told her about zentangle. she is enjoying it very much. this is my story
    regards to all you zentangle friends out their and teachers. it really is mental Therapy
    Jessie in Littleton,CO

  • Carolyn

    I think for many of us who are taking care of parents finding Zentangle is a blessing. I took care of my mother almost 15 years. I was into pottery but had to give it up because of physical limitations. I am a newbe with Zentangle, but it’s my new passion.
    Thank you to all that contribute.

  • deborah

    thank YOU Linda – my story is one i don’t wish to brings back too many painful memories-but tangling is opening up so many new doors for me and many others.bless you

  • Linda, I have been “Tangline” for 30 years and didn’t know it had a name. God led me to it for self preservation. I am overjoyed to be able to interact with you and your avid followers. This is a Great Day indeed.

  • Rebecca Jackson B

    As a “doodler”, I often try to come up with designs to quilt. I care for my husband, currently recovering from knee surgery with complications. I spend much of my time in doctor offices when I’m not caring for him. This may be what I need! I believe many of the patterns would lend themselves to quilting when I get him better, so a sketch pad is definitely in order.

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