Monday, March 10, 2014

A difficult decision



Can I just be honest for a moment?  I haven't wanted to Zentangle for a couple weeks now.  More specifically, I haven't wanted to make a Zendala.

I love the Zendala Dare, so much so that I think about it all the time.   New challenges, new templates, new materials....you name it, I think about it.  When it comes to completing the Zendala's however, I'm just not down with it.

As you have probably noticed, there was no Zendala Dare this week.  I tried all week to pull it together but my schedule just would not allow it.  I thought I could get it done yesterday but all I wanted to do is watch bad TV and avoid my homework.   I thought about writing a white lie and saying that my computer had broken or something but my readers deserve better so I abandoned that idea.  

So I had to take a hard look at what my issues were and figure out how to overcome them.  I knew that part of the problem was that I haven't had time for traditional Zentangles.  When I started the Zendala Dare I had a lot of time on my hands.  I did alot of traditional 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 tiles AND lots of Zendala's.  The traditional ones appeal to my organic side and my Zendala's appeal to the control freak in me.  Lately, things are so hectic that I have not been able to feed my creative side with traditional tiles and in turn my Zendala's have become a chore and as a result are not the kind of work I am proudest of.  

The second issue is school.  Oh, what to say about school.  I am in my third semester of nursing school and it is a killer.  Each semester is split into two different rotations.  This first rotation has really taxed me and I hear the second rotation is twice as bad.  More hours, more homework, more testing etc.  There isn't a whole lot of time for anything else and school has to be my priority.  And if nursing school wasn't enough, did I mention that I'm also taking a history class?  And I hate history.  I really, really, hate it.

I decided I needed some time to recharge.  Some time to focus on school, take the down time I need and not have to worry about deadlines.

So how does this affect the Zendala Dare?  Well, I'm going to have to limit my posts.  I will still be posting and giving you a Zendala Dare on a few random Saturdays but I will not be able to do weekly posts until after this semester has ended and I am able to fully commit to the Zendala Dare the way I want to.  So until June 1st, my posts will probably be few and far between, but don't worry there will be a few.  I apologize for having to do this but I really don't have a choice at this point.  I hope you understand and stick with me.  I love the Zendala Dare community we have built and hope to come back in June to make it even bigger and better.

47 comments:

  1. Do not feel one bit bad about focusing your energies on your schooling. More power to you! Keep on doing the great job that you're doing!... history class DOES suck. *wink*

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  2. We will miss you and the zendala dares but understand that life sometimes gets in the way. Good luck with your classes and we will cheer when you are able to return.

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  3. In life we have to make many dississions, this is one and the world just go on, I always say in dutch de wereld vergaat niet, I am also very busy with my vollonteer work in a printingmuseum with create a new art department and have not so much time also so i understand it complitly.
    Enjoy your work and see youback in future and thank you for inspiration moments!!!!!!

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  4. Maybe we, your readers could assist you. We could submit zendelas for you to choose from. Nursing school is relentless I know because I am a pediatric nurse practitioner. My advice is to tangle while you take notes. It is proven that those who "doodle" retain 30% more and even score that much better on exams...the brain is amazing.

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  5. I just arrived very recently in your Zandala world, but I want to tell you not to apologize for learning a profession where you will be there for others. And to not feel as if you are ni any way obligated to churn out Zendala challenges on the usual weekly basis, just because you have done so in the past. Doing this was lovely of you but I don't think anyone would think badly of you for taking this decision. I for one give you my deepest respect for being mindful with yourself.

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  6. I have always been in awe of all you juggle in your life, Erin. Sometimes it's essential to have priorities and I know we all respect and understand your decision. I agree with Caroona who sums it up really well. And Stacey's idea is great!
    Take care and all the best with the studying. Axxx

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  7. Of course we'll stick with you!!!! We will absolutely miss the every week zendala, but we totally understand.
    And it will be so exciting, to see when there will be an occasional zendala :-)
    Erin, can you tell me where I can find the 'emergency' zendala's?
    Take good care of yourself!!!!!!

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  9. Sorry. I had typing errors. Will review this time!!! You are right and justified to reset priorities as life changes, and I hope everything works out for you as it should, Erin. You deserve it.
    But...and here's my but...you are assuming that the Zentangle thing is an end in itself, but it isn't. It's a beginning!
    Let me explain.
    In my concept, if you close one door - and you must do that consciously - another will open.
    As far as zen drawing is concerned, not feeling like doing the midgit drawings deemed to be necessity for this style is not a sign that you are losing something, but a sign that you are in fact thinking outside the box.
    My suggestion: Take a really large sheet of paper - at least 4 times letter size, and draw yourself a blind string. Make it complicated, it isn't binding. Then, when you have time and feel like it - and only then! - draw a pattern in one of the spaces you've made with your string. If the task is bothering you, or tiring, or in the way, stop immediately and do whatever you need to do next - housework? ironing? getting stuff together for class? revising something? going for a walk? ANYTHING. Don't work on your drawing till you feel like it., I guarantee you, that this will break the block caused probably by work overload and stress!
    And farm out this zendala task for a bit. There are so many talented zentangle CWTs that surely some of them could take over the task of setting a mandala each week for those who are hooked on it. You don't need to administrate it. Nearly everyone has a blog here.
    I'll miss the regular tasks, too, but I'll just get on with the kind of drawing I've just described. Really big drawings are a splendid way of passing the time without having to stick to a deadline or rules! Look at what Neopoprealism has to offer. That style is the precursor to zentangle and much more flexible in concept.
    Whatever you decide to do, enjoy it. Life's too short to make a chore of it!

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  10. P.S. For anyone wondering where you can get such large sheets of paper, I recommend either purchasing a student block of about 200g smooth watercolour paper, or using the back of wallpaper cut to size, or even packing paper, which is interesting because it isn't usually white.

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  11. Having just pulled myself out of a several month long trip through a virtual creative desert, I totally understand what you're feeling... when your mind is pulled in directions that leave no room for superfluous ideas. Life just gets in the way sometimes. & YOU SHOULD NEVER APOLOGIZE TO ANYONE for having to put aside non-essential things in order to do something good for your life (i.e. school!!) Everyone in this little community that has grown up around your dares (& charming stories about your life & family) is going to be behind you, backing you up on this all important decision. & we'll all be patient & be happy to wait for you to be in the right "place" again. & I agree with Faith about doors opening & closing, as well as her idea that this whole Zentangle thing is not necessarily a means to an ends, but a creative gateway to something new... to thinking outside the box. Which is exactly what I had to do to get myself drawing... drawing ANYTHING again.

    I also think she hit the nail on the head as far as how to possibly move forward. She basically described exactly what I went through to put my creativity back on track. I still love Zentangle... mostly because I love patterns (& yes, I know, it's not technically patterns,) but I just can't be constrained by what a Zentangle is supposed to be. I want to utilize the style, but not in terms of what the whole method is supposed to be about. The Zendala Dare (as well as The Diva Challenge,) are ways for me to be prompted to practice - which is awesome, because sometimes I just don't know where to start. But my style will never be a true Zentangle. I can't work in what Faith calls the "midget" style. I want it bigger, I want it bolder, & I want color. & I hope that those out there who see my work on the challenges don't just brush me off because it's not a 3.5"x3.5" black micron pencil shaded piece.

    GO - don't worry about what will happen to the Zendala Dare, or the community that participates - do what you need to do. Don't let it stress you out or worry you. & when (or even IF) you are ready, it will all be here waiting for you.

    As far as farming the dare out goes... maybe that's not necessary. You've got 93 challenges so far & a couple emergency zendalas under your belt. Why don't we just... maybe... start back at the beginning? Just an idea. Let us take the weight off of your shoulders.

    Be well, be happy, & ace those classes.
    (I don't know if there is any way I can help at all, but one of my majors in college was History... but if you have any questions, or want a sort of 'crib-note' for any events, who what when where whys, please feel free to ask.)

    THANKS FOR EVERYTHING, ERIN! YOU ARE A STAR!!!

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    1. Thanks Kathryn, for supportive words on my comment and for the honesty with which you approach this dilemma of how to keep going, go forward and move on (as the case may be). I realized that the tiny tot drawings (midgits) required by the official zentangle style were not my thing at all and moved away very fast.
      Zentangle is a nice passtime, but it is only part of the big picture.
      It's great that so many people have discovered their love of drawing through the incentive of the movement, but it's a beginning, not an end in itself.

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    2. I agree. First I want to thank you for being so faithful in doing these challenges for such a long time. I know I have a hard time being "in charge" of a weekly lesson on our church community page so I understand. I have only been tangling about a year and like Faith I am more comfortable in a bigger scale. This also means that each of my drawings take longer to do than a tile. When I first started and found these challenges and those over at the Diva, I did them every week as soon as they came out. And then I started to fall behind and that was causing me stress that I couldn't keep up. Ha Ha the stress of the challenges took away my zen and happiness. So I took a step back and decided that I did not have to complete every challenge out there. I check them out and if they call to me, I do them and if they don't call to me .... well that's ok too. Heck I have done some challenges but haven't bothered to put them on my blog over a month.

      We will all still be here to support you. And for those who want a challenge every week, I like the idea of either going back and doing the ones we missed, re-visiting ones that call to us, or starting over from the beginning. Or maybe someone can take an old template, but give it a new challenge twist. In any case, you should rest assured that you have helped to create a community that cares about you.

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  12. Our priorities are always shifting. That's life. Good for you for doing what you need to do at this time. Enjoy your studies (even history!), let us know how you're doing once in a while. And we'll look forward to every post and any zendala dare that may pop up!

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  13. Erin, don't apologize for prioritizing your life! Things are constantly shifting up and down on the priority list because your needs and the demands on your time change. Do what you need to in order to take care of yourself and stay sane! Your fans will be here when you post again. And if you are willing to accept zendala patterns from others, I'd be happy to send you a few to post.

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  14. dear Erin,
    don't apologize we know exactly what you are going through. We all have some very busy time in our life.
    Please, go to school, and to work and keep time for your family life.
    Please, keep in touch with us for time to time.
    We love U
    Take care.

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  15. Don't apologize for making the right decision for yourself! I'm relieved that the Zendala Dares won't keep piling up while I don't have time to do them! So many in your fantastic file, plenty to do! Be happy and hang in there!

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  16. Thank you for your honesty. Now that we know, we will simply wait and cheer you on. You go girl!

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  17. Take care of yourself Erin.
    Paula (PEP)

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  18. Go - do what needs to be done - refresh yourself and enjoy your journey.
    Never fear - we will all be here whenever you have time to return. And keep blogging so we'll know how your are doing. Best of luck Erin.

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  19. Your decision to devote yourself to your studies is commendable. Also, if something is no longer enjoyable and feels like a chore, it is wise to make a change. I agree with Kathryn Behrends. You have posted many templates. For those who feel a strong desire to do one, the option is always open to pull up a previous template and tangle away. Good luck to you and looking forward to seeing your posts whenever you have the opportunity to share.

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  20. I've heard it said that life is a challenge of sacrificing the important for the more important. That's all you're doing and obviously it's the wise choice. All the best to you in your nursing studies!!!

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  21. I have wondered how you can be in school and still do the Zendala Dare, too. You deserve a break. You don't need to add more and become overwhelmed. I agree with others--wise choice. :)

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  22. Thank you for being honest, because now I can tell you that I can so relate to what you are writing. It's all in finding the balance between loving what you do and realising it feel as an unpleasant task that needs to be completed. Wishing you all the best for your classes/studies and you will be missed, but whenever you will post, it will feel like Christmas has come.

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  23. your schooling and work should always come first. we aren't going anywhere. i appreciate anything you do for us - whenever you can do it. and if we wait indefinitely - i understand. not a problem. i am so proud of you and what you are accomplishing through your studies! hang in there, girl, the end is in sight! <3 <3 <3

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  24. Hi Erin, just landed on this page...sounds like everyone is really supportive of you. I haven't experienced the Zentangle Dare but look forward to becoming a member of the community when it all kicks off again in June. Keep doing You, wishing you unlimited strength and energy for all that you do over the forthcoming months. Oneness.

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  25. Erin- take all the time you need for school- it is brutal as I have been there.!

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  26. What a smart young lady you are! Recognizing your stressors is a big step; you went ahead and actually made a plan to give yourself relief. Hard to do, but a good step towards self-preservation. Good decision to "take care of yourself" at this time.

    Oh, how well I remember the pressure and responsibility of nursing school. Seemed like it would never end! (...and it really does NOT end until after you take State Boards!). They expect SO MUCH of you!!! I am now retired and have no regrets.

    Your followers want the very best for you! If you take a blogging hiatus, we can breathe a sigh of relief (for you) and send good vibes and white light your way.

    All the best to you!

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  27. Erin. I have been doing the Zendala Dares for a while and have come to eagerly expect them every week. I know I will miss them, but I will be thinking of you! and cheering you on. It's a very important part of your life right now; finishing school. You will become the person you were meant to be.
    We all look forward to hearing of your progress, and any Dares will be a bonus.
    Keep in mind all the suggestions made in the previous comments. I'm sure many of them will be helpful.
    Best of luck.

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  28. Understand. We have the luxury of not participating when our schedules dictate it and can get away with it more easily. Like others have commented, will miss them, but we may all find some positives out of the change. May put us in a position of challenging us in another way.
    Good luck and will look forward to your posts when they are available.

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  29. Dear Erin, we all have livesand sometimes they take over, dont feel guilty. we really appreciate all the work you put in for us.I have many zendalas not yet done, enough to keep me busy for ages. any chance you could keep your mr. linky going so we can still see what others have been up to?

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  30. Dear Erin, I've much enjoyed your Zendala Dares, and look forward to any you may post in the future. Creativity is a wonderful thing, but when it or an aspect of it becomes stress filled work, it's no longer as satisfying or fulfilling. As I read your words, I felt that I knew what you were going through - you're a wonderful writer and so thoughtful. I'm not as stressed, nor as busy, but sometimes we all just need to make choices and give something up, even if it's just for a break. More and more I sometimes feel that keeping up with new Zentangle patterns, the tangle a day calendar, the Dares and the Challenges… well, I don't seem to just sit and tangle mindfully and creatively much any more…. We'll miss you when you're not there, but look forward to hearing from you when you post. Keep happy, and positive and do what you need to do! We love you.

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  31. Power to you, Erin, for taking care of yourself. I think you are amazing to have been able to do this for so long. Good luck with your studies--I'm sure you'll make a great nurse!

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  32. hi erin
    thank you so much for all zendalas. i enjoyed them very much and they were a good help for me in bad times. but now it is time for other duties in your life. take care for yourself and good luck

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  33. As you can see, the Zentangle community is pretty awesome in supporting one another. I admit I don't know how much work is involved in doing the actual posting. But I bet many who have just started following you haven't tried some of the wonderful templates that you posted at the beginning. I wondered how you kept coming up with new ideas. I know you have a file of past challenges, but many of us don't bother to go there. You could have a "flashback Saturday" or "an oldie but a goodie" post. Just start with number 1 and you'll have a whole nother year. Just a suggestion. I don't do the dare but I do enjoy looking at other's work. I enjoy following your posts and remember you from Class 7. You are one awesome tangler and are just trying to "untangle" the rest of your life. You go girl!

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  34. Have no fear...we'll be here! I plan to go through ALL the Zendala templates you have posted (eventually) but am no where near the end of them as a relative newcomer. You KNOW each template can be done in endless ways so I am sure we can manage to keep busy! Take care of YOU and find time to recharge so we can enjoy your renewed zen-inspired creativity in June!!! Hugs & blessings!

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  35. Don't need to apologize Erin. You have so very much going on in your life at the moment that making a choice is the most logical thing to do.
    And you choose the most important thing for now.
    Your study should always come first, that's your future.
    I will keep following you, but for now I want to thank you for all the dares we did with you. Good luck with your study Erin :)

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  36. You need to do what is right for you. While I love having something new to play with there are tons haven't done yet either. Best of luck with your studies and thank you for all you have taught me!

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  37. Erin - I just want to say thank you for all the wonderful templates you have shared! My kitchen is full of them now! http://munchiedoodle.blogspot.com/2014/03/this-post-is-for-erin-at.html shows pictures of all the woodburning that I've done on my cabinets. Finding your blog has made a big difference in my life this winter.
    THANK YOU and take care of YOU!!!

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  38. Apologies are not needed when you are working to better yourself. Priorities need to be made and sometimes we need to put things in perspective and decide what goes on 1, 2, and so on in the list of life. Good luck and take care!

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  39. Erin, first I respect your honesty with all of us who follow you and do your weekly dare. Knowing what is more important in your life at the moment is key to personal growth. As generous a person as you are, your decision to take some time off from the Z-Dare had to be so difficult. Know that all of us will continue to follow your blog, support your decisions, and will look forward to whenever you post! This little community of followers will be here and ready when you are!
    Finish strong,
    Jacque Solomon
    www.tanglebright.com

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  40. Hi Erin, hope all is well with you and that you are getting all your school work done without any extra pressures. I have just entered your Dare No 1 and 87. I hadn't done either of them before so this is a great time for a catchup!!! Bye for now!!!

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  41. Why not have guest bloggers fill in for you?

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    1. I think it's the administration that is time-consuming. I thought about that, too, but anyone offering a challenge needs to have the setup for it and I can understand Erin not wishing to pass her "baby" onto anyone else. But there are already plenty of zendalas to try here!

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  42. Hi Erin, I found your page a week or two ago and keep coming back to look at older posts for ideas and inspiration. And there is so much here. How you have managed it all is amazing.

    All the lovely responses you have had here should tell you a lot about how worthwhile it has been and how much respect everyone has for you in your work as a paramedic, soon to be nurse.

    I read a post from February 26th 2013 about how you were planning to lead a healthier lifestyle. I'm a fair bit older than you and have been forced by health issues (Type 2 diabetes, albeit borderline) to face the same decisions. I hope you have been successful in your attempts to live a healthier lifestyle and would be interested to know what progress you have made. (Maybe there are some posts I haven't read yet that will tell me more, I haven't explored the site in detail.)

    So, good luck with your studies, your tangling and your health plan, get back to us all when you can.

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  43. Erin, you are missed! Three months is a long time not to hear frm you. I hope all is well and between school and work you have found time for YOU, plus some fun with family and friends.
    Well, I just wanted to check in. - Stephanie

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