Zentangles, Intention and Anxiety

Intentions are an interesting thing. We can have good intentions toward others and have the actions we take result in catastrophic outcomes. On the other hand, we may not apply conscious intentions to a situation and tremendously improve our own lives or the life of another. Personally, I tend to act with good intentions as I go about my life, but we all know the saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. Why am I prattling on about intentions today? It’s because I had the intention to do something for myself – that by all accounts has positive benefits – but I never got around to it. More accurately, I couldn’t make myself do it.

A few weeks back, I got my hands on a copy of the book ‘One Zentangle a Day: A 6-week Course in Creative Drawing for Relaxation, Inspiration, and Fun’ – isn’t that a mouthful – so I could teach myself more about the Zentangle practice and expand the range of patterns I can draw. For some inexplicable reason I couldn’t get started, even though I woke every day with the intention that it would be the first day of my ‘formal’ practice. Then each day the hours would pass without me reading any of the pages or working through any of the exercises. I noticed that I was feeling anxiety and pressure about doing something that is supposed to be relaxing and meditative.

Today the anxiety and self-inflicted pressure fell away. I didn’t intend to start day one of the 6-week course. I didn’t open the book at all. Instead, I used another Zentangle resource that places no time constraint on ‘getting it done’. I turned to ‘Zentangle 1: Basics’, another instructional Zentangle book that teaches you the basics about the practice. That being said, what I’m trying to express has nothing to do with either of the books. I’ve read glowing reviews about the 6-week course, which is why I got it. What this is about is the block I somehow created with my intention.

I can’t figure out how I managed to turn something meant to be fun and good for me into a source of anxiety. I’m also wondering how many times in the past when I felt anxiety it was in response to my resistance about an intention I set for myself. Is it possible that I’ve been creating my own psychological fear and pain, and not actually responding to external things? Is it possible that my intuition has been waving red flags that I ignored and chose instead to push through my fear or discomfort because I felt committed to situations I conjured with my intentions?

I don’t know if any of this makes any sense. I don’t know how drawing lines and shapes on paper has brought me to this place. I don’t know why trying to do something within a fixed time parameter is causing me such discomfort when I have always depended on having structure in my life to cope with everything. More importantly, have I been living my life with the best intentions for those around me and lesser intentions for myself? Or, was this simply a case of deciding to work on Zentangles using the less structured resource while having empty time to fill because my internet connection was lost for most of the day?


The Verve – Bittersweet Symphony (Cruel Intentions Ending)


4 thoughts on “Zentangles, Intention and Anxiety

  1. One thing interesting about doing things in life is that sometimes life sets boundaries for you — like “a Zentangle A Day” as though somehow if you don’t do a Zentangle a day the whole thing will crumble from underneath you. We have so many of these small pressures to behave a certain way. Maybe your resistance was your authentic self saying “This should be fun, not rule-bound. How about we not follow the rules?”

    Liked by 1 person

    • This put a smile on my face.
      I’ve lived my life buttoned up for so long, I’d like to believe that my authentic self is a fun-loving rule-breaker 🙂
      I also vaguely remember making a somewhat similar comment on one of your posts a while back. So maybe – just maybe – I’m a wild child at heart 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so interesting and I think happens to me sometimes – if I say I’m going to do something on my blog such as a series of paintings or post a drawing saying I’ll paint it soon and show the finished result then all of a sudden it becomes a chore and I avoid it. The pressure is on and I don’t like it! It’s so silly because no one apart from me cares. Hopefully recognising this mean we can prevent it in the future.


What are your thoughts about this post?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.