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What is Zentangle?
Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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STORIES: Disabled, bedridden tangler finds life is richer and depression is dealt a blow through Zentangle

In this occasional series on TanglePatterns, readers describe in their own words how Zentangle® has changed their lives. For more accounts in this series, click on the “STORIES” link in the pink alphabetic tangle index above.
Visit this post for the stories that inspired this series.

* * *

STORIES: How Zentangle changes lives“I’m 54 years old and have been completely disabled for the last 18 years. I had a career as a sign language interpreter and I sang professionally with a touring group during summer breaks. When I lost my ability to work I was devastated because I lost my ability to perform and sing as well.

For 15 years I went without a diagnosis while my ability to function slowly deteriorated and I became bedridden. Depression was my constant companion. With the help of an amazing doctor I’ve finally gotten a diagnosis of serious spinal degeneration that has cause permanent nerve damage down my left side. I’ve had multiple spinal repairs done over the last 2 years. Depression is always a struggle when coming back from surgery for me and after my last operation I never could bounce back. It took an already difficult situation and made depression into a trap from which l couldn’t escape.

Enter my counselor, with whom I’ve shared the Zentangle Method™ and given her my first Zentangle book. She wanted me to find something new to be interested in. Musical instruments are expensive and I couldn’t think of a way to do that from my bed.

It started with an adult coloring book and took me about a week to realize I could draw my own stuff and color it. And like a gift from God, I was on pinterest looking for texture patterns for my dragon’s wings (he’s still not complete!) and there was Zentangle! I have done nothing but draw for about 20 hours a day since and like magic my depression was dealt a blow.

I still struggle and the art can suffer when my head is in the wrong place but all I have to do is get out my sketch pad and soon I’m blissfully immersed in a new project. My world has gone from one room to a vast community of like minded people who revel in creating beauty! I am truly blessed! My hands shake and so my lines get messy and I prefer my paper to be a bit bigger but I’m completely hooked. I finally have a way to express myself that I can physically handle.

My life is not just richer for the tangling but I’ve been given hope for a future beyond these walls! My counselor has seen the dramatic change and has taken tangles home to her teenagers. I can’t thank Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts enough for developing this concept and the teaching method. I’m already wishing I could do CZT training. It’s all about hope!

Thanks for sharing this story with me and may all your dreams be tangled!”

~ Cyndee P. from Oklahoma

* * *

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.”™


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"Absolutely the best Zentangle Book yet! As an accomplished artist I used to think I did not need instruction on this art form. How wrong I was! My tangling improved by leaps and bounds after reading this book. If you think you have Zentangle down then you need this book more than ever!" ~ Kris H


11 comments to STORIES: Disabled, bedridden tangler finds life is richer and depression is dealt a blow through Zentangle

  • Debbie

    This truly attests to the power art can play in people’s lives.  I work at a craft store and sometimes lose sight of this, but I will remember this story and pass it on to others there. It has helped me. Many blessings and good vibes to this person! May you feel wonderful every minute of every day.

  • Liz

    You are one wonderful, positive person who has found a way of coping with a devastating illness. Thank you so much for your insight into how to cope in such devastating circumstances. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us all. It certainly gives us all hope and a way to cope ourselves. Hall tangling! Thanks again. Liz xxx

  • Thanks for sharing. It truly shows what one stroke at a time can do. And has inspired me to one day share my story of coming back from open heart surgery 20 months ago with the help of Zentangle which I found shortly after the surgery.

  • Beryl Prusinoski

    Thank you for sharing. You truly are a member of a wonderful community. We are all available right from your computer.
    Thanks, Beryl

  • It means so much to share what Zentangle has meant to me. Since writing this I’ve started a blog ( which was a big emotional step for me. I didn’t think I had anything to share that anyone would care about. My counselor encouraged me to do it for myself. I’m amazed anyone stops by at all! All of this has been an amazing journey. Then, one week ago, on July 4th, 2016, my beautiful son Sean, took his own life leaving 4 boys and a wake of destroyed lives behind. I’m still stunned and numb but I’m clinging to tangling and hoping to find my peace again. Don’t know what else I can do. Thanks everyone for your kind words.

    • Linda Farmer, CZT

      Cyndee, I am stunned by your loss and we all send you our love and best wishes to help get you through this terribly difficult time. Please know we are all thinking of you.

  • Cyndee, I am so inspired by your story, your strength, your courage. Please know that you are loved and remembered during this tragic time.. Blessings and peace.

  • Anita Telkamp


    You are so brave. Please keep sharing your stories of success with Zentangle with others. By doing this you are helping others. I wish for you is be able to go to a CZT Seminar. Take Care, I will keep you in my prayers.
    Anita Telkamp, CZT #24

  • Samuel Grady

    I’m so glad that the author found bliss through tangling. I am in the process of climbing out of lifelong depression and crippling anxiety. Zentangle has been a miraculous aid in this endeavor. No matter what is bothering me tangling brings me right back to patience and contentedness almost immediately.

  • Deb obrien

    Hi Cyndee. I’m as usual late in finding things but I have been following you doing Zentangle now for awhile. You are a delightful and patient teacher. I have a lot in common with you and wanted you to know you aren’t alone in the chronic pain and depression department and that other business you spoke of too. I am coming up on one year after her suicide and tangling has been my saving Grace. Thank you for your time and insights to redirecting the mind. Hope u come back soon. You are missed.

  • Cyndy Eaton


    Hello I’m Cyndy, I to have spinal stenosis and degenerative discs, I have also found relief from depression through art. Zentangle has shown me the I can draw. I never thought I could because of harmful criticism from a sibling when I was a child. So I thought I couldn’t draw and stopped trying. Then I stumbled across your YouTube videos and I was inspired. I plan on learning the patterns that I need well enough to illuminate my own manuscripts. I also bind books and this style of art fits well with 17th century style books. Please keep doing what you do. Blessings on you and yours.

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