Friday, October 19, 2012

Thinking Outside the Comfort Zone

Do you like challenges? Or do you shy away from them? I think my answer would be a little of both, depending on the situation. Challenges take you out of your comfort zone, throw you off balance, make you think. They also cause you to grow, improve, and truly live. I can't think of a challenge I haven't come away from without feeling it was worth it and improvement was made.

This week's Zentangle challenge truly challenged me. The Diva asked us to take inspiration from a charity called Beads of Courage. I think it's an awesome organization, but how do you boil something like that down to black and white, ink and paper? I could have gone the way others were going, and while I loved what I was seeing, it wasn't speaking to me saying "this is what you should do too."

The essence of the Beads of Courage program is the beads, and the essence of a Zentangle is a string (at the least it's what you build the rest of the tangle on). So I decided to make my string with ball chain to serve as a string of beads. Spontaneously arranging the string and tracing it onto a tile, I was off and running!

Next I started tangling. I almost completely ignored the string. How dare I! That's what made it all beady! That was the link to the challenge, and I ignored it! You didn't do it right! Do another one, and let no one ever see this tile, ever!

Deep breath.

My response: "Whatever, inner critic! Take a hike! It's Zentangle and I can do it however I want! It's my blog, and I can post however I want! Go strive for perfection in your own little black and white world. I'm posting this whether you like it or not!"

And so I will. Everything tells me I should redo it. Not even post the tile. But this is what came out, and I'm going with it. I'm challenged right now - but guess what? I'm learning something, growing, and feeling alive! After all:

The further you get away from yourself, the more challenging it is. Not to be in your comfort zone is great fun. 
-Benedict Cumberbatch

It is great fun. I wonder if "thinking outside of the box" and "stepping out of your comfort zone" correlate. I think they do. Think of that the next time you're thrown a challenge - because new and exciting things happen when you think outside your comfort zone!

Now I have a little announcement: See that tab right under my blog's header? I started a store - now you can own a piece of the blog by purchasing an original Zentangle tile from me! Enjoy the artwork itself, and then look back through the blog to read the story behind the tangles! I love hearing direct from the artist about their work, and I figure others will too! 


  1. Nice tile. Like the combination of tangles that you used. As usual also enjoyed your unique presentation of your work.

  2. Love your Betweed with the wide spaces; love the fill in Xyp; love the idea of a ball chain to inspire a string!
    Did Benedict Cumberbatch himself say that? or the Holmes character? Either way, it's a good quotation. (Love that show. Want more.)
    If you haven't seen it yet, you might enjoy this Diva challenge:

    1. To tell you the truth, I don't rightly know whether the actor himself or his character said that! I quickly searched for a quote, and this one fit so perfectly that I didn't look up who the guy was! I need to do that before I post quotes...

      Thanks for the link! I followed the weekly challenges long before I began participating in them, and I was specifically thinking of that challenge when I did this one. I meant to link it, but forgot! I now have some chain or string in my Zentangle kit at all times - so helpful!

  3. So why was a grand idea!

  4. zachary - i like what you've done. (and i always like the way you present your tiles to us. the photography is fun!) i find it interesting how some of your lines in the betweed carry over into the adjoining section - joining them and making them one. nice twist. and i like how your beads stand out, but they don't take the show. they have other elements supporting them. just like the kids behind the Beads of Courage program. wonderful interpretation.

  5. Total agreement with all previous comments - so glad you ignored your "Inner Critic" and the expectations it promotes. No expectations, one of the main tenants of Zentangle - you followed it well - great interpretation of the challenge.

  6. It worked out perfectly!! it always does! I enjoyed reading your spiel - I often say, what I picture in my head and what eventuates are nearly always so so different and that is the beauty of Zentangle :)

  7. You did great! Great is your tile, but maybe greater is the decision to do the challenge (or whatever comes your way) in your own way.

  8. i love it!!

    and good for you for posting it! (Part of my challenge to myself is to ALWAYS post my first tile for my own challenge, whether i like it or not...)