Saturday, December 17, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I love Diva's challenge - number 52 - wow... it's hard to believe we've been at this a year (although I joined the party kind of late).  Anyway - the challenge is to "give" Zentangle this year and I've already done that.  Unfortunately - I rarely remember to take pictures of what I give to others.  So I will just report out.

First of all, I  introduced a young friend to Zentangle the other night.  She, her mother, and I sat around their dining table and drew tangles for a couple of hours.  She loves to draw and was trying to convince her mother to run to the local hobby store as I left.

A very dear friend of mine has been incredibly hurt by someone she trusted.  It ended up costing her job and her self-esteem.  As I was sitting and holding her in my thoughts, I meditated with my tile and pen.  The result was her initial embellished with my favorite, comforting tangles.  I sent it to her with a card that was able to capture what I was feeling for her.

A few months ago I found a "slate" board - white board covered with black.  Using an etching tool, I created a Z I A which I then gave to a friend as a housewarming gift.  I had already given him my very first tile - done when he was going through a very tough time and another one when his little niece was born 3 months prematurely.  He's going to frame them as a grouping which makes me feel very happy.

I've posted in the past about the larger pieces I've done - the tree of life for my heart sister, Kat and the spiral for my son. It seems that I am most inspired by the transitions of life.  I am most grateful for this forum to share these various inspirations and transitions with a fantastic group of artists.

I wish you all peace in this world of uncertainty.  May your holidays - whatever and however you celebrate - be blessed.

See you in the new year!
Namaste and happy tangling!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

#49 Red Thread Challenge

Happy Thanksgiving and Advent (starting tomorrow, of course) to all.

This week's challenge was so much fun.  I loved creating a tile using a red string.  The challenge comes from Cris Letournea.  More info about the "red thread promise" project can be found on her blog Tangled Up in Art.  I hope to send my tile and I can't wait to see the poster!  

My family (sans son who was working at his new job and was sorely missed!) had a great time together over the past 3 days.  Truly, we have so much for which to be thankful.  I would share more but I am exhausted after traveling and babysitting so I'll just leave it for now.  I hope to post some Advent musings in a few days.  For now, I hope you can find ways to give charitably this Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice/Yule season.  I would venture to guess that most of us could forego the malls and stores altogether this year (shop small and buy locally) giving thoughtful, heartfelt tokens of love and remembrance instead.  I hope you find ways to make this season meaningful for you and your loved ones no matter how or what you celebrate.  And, as always,

Happy Tangling!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I'm back! Challenge 48

After a few weeks' hiatus, I finally completed one of Diva's challenges to post!  Yea.  Actually, I did two.  Last Monday I was waiting for my friend while she completed some routine health exams.  I had drawn the tri-shapes string but had no resources with me to try out tangle patterns I'd never used.  So... the first one uses patterns I seem to use all of the time - Flux, Florz, Knightsbridge, Cadent, Purk, etc.

I came back home after a long weekend with my friends and helping my daughter's family move and
decided I would try the string again following Diva's challenge - use tangles I have not used before.  That was a pretty difficult task.  Even though I don't use a lot of them all of the time I have played with most that I have found in my books and on Linda Farmer's Tangle Patterns site.  I used a few that I will probably use more often and some - well - maybe I just need to practice a bit more!

In case you're interested - the tangles I used are: BB, Bilt, Bitten, Bumps, Demi, Florez, Gothic, Hepmee, Japonica, Popsicles, Punch, Unyuns, and Wisket.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Indulgence and Challenge #45

This week's challenge is to use a new tangle pattern by Rick and Maria - Chainging/Punzel - I may work on a tile later that center's on this pattern but for now I have placed it in a large piece I've been working on all week for my son.  I like the tangle - it has so many possibilities.

So that was the challenge part... now for the indulgence.  I have been working on how to express my thoughts and feeling to my son all week - and I suppose this is a pretty public forum in which to do it.  So if you have other things to do, you can stop reading now.  However, you are welcome to stay - I'd be honored to tell you about my son and how very proud of him I am...

He's my first born. He's an artist, a poet, a musician, and a dreamer. He's an old soul.- perceptive, compassionate, and not afraid to be vulnerable.  A rare thing in someone so young - a pretty rare thing in our typical macho culture.  Recently, my son shared with me that he was longing to do something different with his life. He was looking for a career move - work that would feed his soul as well as his wallet.  He loves where he has been living - the city of his birth.  A move he made a year ago with a lot of hopes and expectations.  Not all of them worked out as he hoped, but I think he's enjoyed his life there.  He found time to play, to create, to relate, and to grow up a bit.  But it seemed life was calling him to leave the safety of "home" - to leave the familiarity of the coffee shop, his family of choice, and the protection of the mountains.  So he applied for a job a few months ago which recently came to fruition.  He starts on Tuesday.  New month - new opportunities.  New challenges, friends... all mixed with a healthy dose of anxiety and anticipation.  

He will moving to Florida to work with kids who have blown their chances in the traditional world - kids who have made poor choices; kids who have been abused, forgotten, neglected - some who have never been able to learn how to deal with life.  He will be living in a wilderness setting with these kids - 24/7 - for 5 days per week... living in a communal setting when off duty and trying to find a little space in his down time to explore his new surroundings and himself. 

There are times when a mom has no words to express the depth and breadth of her feelings for her children.  One such time was a year and a half ago as I stood by my daughter's side as she gave birth to her son - my first grandchild.  Watching her grown into motherhood has been so amazing.  Now, my son is carving his path in this world.  I love them both so much.  I am so very proud.  

The ZIA piece I have created incorporates several blessings by Father John O'Donahue, an Irish Priest who sadly passed away a few years ago.  I just discovered his writings this year and I feel so blessed every time I read his words.  His book, "To Bless the Space Between Us" is a wonderful collection of blessings and musings on life - all aspects of life.  Check it out sometime... I can't recommend it highly enough.  Anyway -

I used the November 2011 calendar page created  by Carole Ohl for my background/canvas. The spiral blessing represents the paths we walk in life - leading us, if we pay attention, into the core of our soul.  The tangles were chosen randomly, attempting balance between curvy and straight, soft and hard edges - I think, life.  

If you've read this far, I thank you for sharing this moment with me.  I am going to miss my son so much but, as I keep reminding myself, he's not going into the depths of the Congo.  He's going to Florida!  And he will have access to the internet on his days off. I've grown accustomed to his being only 2 hours away.  Yet - I am so proud of him.  I am so honored to know him.  I am working on being open and allowing all of the good the universe has for him!  

I leave you with this blessing from Fra. O'Donahue:

For the Artist at the Start of the Day:

May morning be astir with the harvest of night;
Your mind quickening to the eros of a new question,
Your eyes seduced by some unintended glimpse
That cut right through the surface to a source.

May this be a morning of innocent beginning,
When the gift within you slips clear
Of the sticky web of the personal
With its hurt and its hauntings,
And fixed fortress corners.

A morning when you become a pure vessel
for what wants to ascend from silence,

May your imagination know
The grace of perfect danger,

To reach beyond imitation,
And the wheel of repetition,

Deep into the call of all
The unfinished and unsolved

Until the veil of the unknown yields
And something original begins
To stir toward your senses
And grow stronger in your heart
In order to come to the birth
In a clean line of form,
That claims from time
A rhythm not yet heard,
That call space to
A different shape.

May it be its own force field
And dwell uniquely
Between the heart and the light

To surprise the hungry eye
By how deftly it fits
About its secret loss.

From To Bless the Space Between Us, (c) 2008

Happy Tangling!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

All Tangled Up Inside (Challenge 44)

I missed last posting last week's challenge. I did it... it just took me a week.  I loved the concept of the sunflower, though, and I love this week's challenge to put a tangle inside a tangle.  For my "string-tangle" I chose Flux.  I seem to put this tangle in nearly every tile I draw so it's fitting, I think, to use it as my string.

The tangles inside the "petals" are: Betweed, Meer, Pepper w/ Mumsy, Florz w/ Squid, and Cadent.  This is the first time I've used Meer and Pepper.  Between the petals are Oof, Keenies, Limpitz, and Printemps topped off with Pendrils and Pokeroot.

Now - off for my weekend with my dear Maggiekat and precious Noah (and of course his mommy and uncle!) Maybe between challenges I'll blog about some of the changes happening in our family but for now -

Happy Tangling!

Thursday, October 6, 2011


This week's challenge is in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness - the theme is hope.

Most of the time the challenge is finding the time to tangle or learning a new pattern.  The challenge for me this week was how to depict something as elusive as the concept of hope.  So many tangible and concrete things represent hope to me: a baby, the first daffodils peeking through snow, a cocoon, a job application, a lottery ticket.  I had a very hard time finding the one thing that inspires me to hope. I started by drawing a double-string of the word "hope." And then it dawned on me - rainbows.  I love color and light.  In lighting, white light is the presence of all color. Rainbows visually represent the entire refracted spectrum.  When  combined, the result is pure white light.  Healing light.  Hopeful light.  So... here are my interpretations.

A full spectrum of hope

The names bordering the ribbon are special people in my life - family and friends - who have been touched by cancer.  Both my mother, Louise, and sister, Judy, survived cancer.  My mother succumbed to Alzheimer's Disease July 2010.

Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops at all.”  Emily Dickinson

Without hope dreams are meaningless.  Without hope we wouldn't put one foot in front of the other or dare to believe that a cure for cancer can be found in our lifetime. So, I wish you hope. And light.

Namaste - and happy tangling!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Weekly Challenge #41: DuoTangle v. II "Jonqal/Opus"

Sometimes the weekly challenges come easily, sometimes I get so bogged down in the trying that I never get anything done.  I appreciate the challenges, though.  It seems that I usually remember them at a time when I need to think something through.  Or a time when I am feeling particularly vulnerable (and struggling with accepting the vulnerability wholeheartedly).  This is one of those days - inexplicably out of sorts...feeling like I have done (or not done as the case may be) something wrong...maybe just something thoughtless.  I don't know why except I'm exhausted and I haven't been sleeping.  But lo! and behold... a challenge comes along to at least let me clear my head even if I have nothing figured out.  For once I have no opinion about my tile... I neither love nor dislike it.  I offer it as it is unconditionally.  Maybe in the letting go I'll figure out what is bother me.

Jonqal and Opus
Happy tangling.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

#40 Pinwheels for Peace

"I am the Diva's" challenge this week reminds us that September 21, 2011 is the International Day of Peace.  The website for Pinwheels for Peace will give you all the information for this year's project.  I hope you will visit.

The zentangle challenge is to create a pinwheel however we are inspired to do so.  I  thought about it for quite awhile.  I looked at the template on Diva's site as well as the pictures on Pinwheels for Peace.  In a moment of bizarre inspiration (I say bizarre because I was between clients at work and it just came to me) I decided to create a pinwheel out of a tangled tile. I used a peace sign string that overlapped the edges of the tile and then tangled the peace sign with Xyp. Pais (a close approximation to Paix) and Inapod (Peas... as in whirled peas) complete the background. I cut the tile on the corners and folded it to create a mini pinwheel.

Thanks for stopping by,  Happy Tangling!

Shalom. Paz. Paix. Frieden. Pace. Pax. Peace.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Love means...

I truly appreciate Diva's challenge this week.  In tribute to the events of 9/11/01 and to advent healing for the world, Challenge #39 is to create a representation of love.  Before I even remembered it was Monday, I had been working on a tile for 9/11.  Another Sunday Sermon tangle that was born out of the emotion I was feeling.

So sometime on Monday I opened Diva's site and realized that she had posted this week's challenge (I think that's when I realized it was really Monday!)  I really loved her "love" tile. Her quotes and verses to illustrate love were spot on. Laura wrote: "So, this week the challenge is Love.  Whatever it sparks in you, however you want to interpret it.   As long as you do so with the spirit of love, because through love we have the ability to change the world."

The first thing that popped in my head was "mother love."  I can think of nothing more precious than mother-love (unless, of course, it's grandmother love!) so here is how the challenge sparked in me.

In the words of the immortal words of Mahatma Ghandi: "Where there is love, there is life." 

Namaste and happy tangling!

Friday, September 9, 2011

A paradox? A paradox, a most ingenious paradox! 
We've quips and quibbles heard in flocks, 
but none to beat this paradox!  (From Pirates of
Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan)

Sort of works with this week's theme of a Pair of Ducks by Laura (I am the Diva) Harms, don't you think?

Using a monotangle - this time Paradox - create a tile or zentangle inspired art.  I love Paradox... actually, I really like paradoxes (paradoces? paradices?) They make for lively twists and turns in most of my favorite novels, plays, and movies.  
I've been drawing this particular pattern long before I had even heard of Zentangle.  I used to "doodle" this little paradox all over my math papers (and got into mega-trouble for it, too! "Martha, you are not focusing!" -- oh, little did she know.  Anyway, I digress...)  I love how straight lines curve and trick the eye.  Well, admittedly, not all of my lines are that straight, but you get the picture.  Here are my offerings this week:

My first attempt.... I see doves' wings
I added little eyes (a la Leeanne's birds)

This one used the mandala pattern from several challenges ago
I love holly leaves, too, so I combined holly and paradox.  Even the berries got a paradox treatment.
Last, but not least, Paradox on Paradox (on Paradox)
See - I told you I really like this pattern.  I hope you do, too.

Now off to dinner and a movie with my hubby - a VERY rare occurrence!  Happy Tangling!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Kiss my grids!

This is the 37th challenge from "I am Diva" and it's a doozie: create a tile using only grid patterns.  I jumped right in and thought, "I got this."

First lesson learned - don't make your string so elaborate.

Second lesson learned:  tiles have a way of turning out the way they are supposed to - not how you plan them to (kind of like life).

This one was sort of a tile-in-tile look - not exactly what I was going for... but oh well.

Then I had a vision of a cracked wall with a pattern peeking out from underneath.  Yeah... well... I guess it looks sort of like peeled back wallpaper but I was a little happier with this one.
So - then I decided to try simplifying my string AND just letting the patterns find their own place... Still not very satisfied but I like this one better:

Of course - the true challenge is to take a risk, put something out there, and have fun doing it. - to unconditionally accept the effort without judgment.  Another metaphor for life, maybe?

Oh.... one more thing.  a couple of posts ago I wrote that I did challenge #35 but that I wasn't going to beat myself up for not getting it posted in time.  I figured this was as good a place/time as any to post it:

#35 Tile in a Tile
Now I need to rest up.  My little bug is here for the weekend.  I'm going to need all of the energy I can get!

Worn out from playing with Poppa!

Happy tangling - and happy Labor Day!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dish it up...

This has been a weekend for projects.  I worked on my dissertation topic some more and am in another waiting phase for feedback from my mentor.  So what do I do while I'm waiting?  I tangle, of course!

I am not sure how I ended up with so many projects at one time, though.  Well... yes I do, too.  I started one several weeks (months?) ago and found a spurt of inspiration last week with some new tangles to try.  And then, a friend approached me today about donating a couple of "art" plates to a local silent auction/fund raiser for our local AIDs awareness and treatment non-profit organization. (By the way, it's called Upper-Savannah-Care-Services-Dishing-It-Out-In-Greenwood if anyone wants to take a look).  He said, "Your Zentangle (R) stuff would be really cool.  So - after running around to a few stores for white plates and a paint pen, I sat down this afternoon and whipped up a couple of plates.

First of all, tangling with a paint pen can be frustrating.  I could not find an ultra fine pen so I had to settle for fine.  Also, the tip dries pretty quickly so you have to keep shaking and priming it. However, the quick dry part is good for larger pieces so you don't run your hands through it.

One of the plates I chose was a Corelle pattern that already had a "string" on it!  I didn't add any additional strings to this one... I just tangled where I felt like it - letting on pattern melt into another.  Another issue with paint on a surface like corelle or china is that shading is not really an option.  So the depth I might get  by shading didn't happen.  Here's a shot of my progress about 1/2 way through...

And here's the finished product:

That one was so much fun that I decided to do another.  This was a square salad size plate with an inch border:  I used a Tombow gray marker to create my string then tangled it like the first one:

This one is oriented correctly

This one flipped clockwise when I uploaded it!
And here are both plates ready for the auction!  Well - almost.  I have to spray them with a poly coat first...

Another project that is nearly completed is my "envisioning" piece.  I took the 3" tiles and traced them randomly on a large 16x20 cotton fiber paper.  I drew a string behind all of the tiles and tangled the spaces as I felt led.  Some tangles were chosen because of their "elemental" meaning - droplets and waves for water, florz, and knightsbridge for their foundation/earth feel - others were chosen because they represent something important to me - the scrolls represent my degree completion, jetties always look like bouncy-balls so they represent my grandson, etc. And Abbe Road (among others) reminds me of my anam cara, MaggieKat.  All of these things are important in my life and in my vision of my future life of abundant joy and well-being.  Now I need to search for the right words or images to add in the tile spaces.  I hope someone else will take a chance on some Z.I.A. (zentangle inspired art) and envision their own perfect self.

Initial draft from my sketchbook
Just need to add my visions now!
OK... one more.  I wanted to try the new tangle Tuftid on Linda Farmer's Tangle Patterns site. I tend to tangle at times when I have to be quiet or still - neither of which are easy for me.  So - I typically start a tangle during church (I know people wonder what on earth I'm doing, but I think I'm less distracting when I tangle than when I fidget!).  Here's Tuftid and friends:

Happy Tangling!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Challenge #36 Assunta

This week's challenge is definitely challenging!  Assunta is a tangle created to celebrate Zentangle co-creator, Maria's, 60th birthday. (Happy belated birthday, Maria!) To add to my stress (wait - this isn't supposed to be stressful!) - uh - challenge I added MaggieKat's AbbeRoad - well - I tried to.  I am going to work on both of these some more.  I like them but I am a little daunted by them.  To "round" things off I added Fricle - another newer offering by Julie Evans, CZT plus a couple of tried and true favorites.

Happy Tangling!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Challenge-ing week

So I really loved the tile-in-tile challenge for this  week.  I actually created two tiles early on.  I didn't scan or upload either one.  Maybe later.  Or not.  I don't care.

The real challenge for this week has been acknowledging that I am getting old.  My body just cannot do as much as it used to.  I can't chase  a 16-month old little boy, worry and care for his mom's post-operative needs, eat sporadically ( if at all), while dwelling on whether or not someone will decide that my job is superfluous before I get back without my body and my psyche screaming at me.  Despite my most enlightened efforts I still care way too much about things I cannot control.  I care about not being important enough to those who are most important to me.  I care way too much about my often-rigid rules of "do unto others."   The thing is - no one has done anything wrong, overt, or even remotely out of character for me to feel this way right now.  It is all a manufactured construct of my own doing.  But that is what happens when that insecure part of me forgets to breathe and forgive myself for whatever keeps me insecure.

Sometimes I have to just let go of expectations that my (rigid?) expectations will actually turn out the way I planned. Sometimes I have to accept that I absolutely cannot be everywhere for everyone and that the consequences to my choices means that I may miss out on some memory-making moments.  When I give in to that sort of thinking, I taint what could have been a sweet, companionable time of just "being with" those I love. What I tend to end up with is a plateful of resentment, longing, or a sense of loss.

So... here's what I'm going to do.  I'm going to follow Martha Beck's advice.  Right now... today... this very minute I am choosing to love more by caring less.  I will practice daily (hourly?...minute-by-minute?) by letting go of conditions that I place on relationships, of expectations that keep me disappointed and insecure.  I will ask for others' opinions and defer to the choices and wishes of others when necessary - negotiation and compromise are a part of healthy relationships that have nothing to do with conditional or unconditional love. I will no longer make my relationships contingent upon my "if only" conditions.  So if you hear me say "I don't care," what I mean is that I simply and unconditionally just love you.  (That goes for my little insecure self, too.)

None of us can predict which choice will bring us the most satisfaction or pleasure or gain.  I accept and allow that I will continue to make choices that are as well thought out as I can manage and that I will continue to blow it more times than I can probably count. That goes for everyone and everything else in my life, too.  I will not hold others to a different standard than I hold me.  I accept and allow that what is just simply "is" and move on.  I will love more by caring less about others' choices, what others' think about me, what has happened in the past or may come in the future.

So love me or not... accept me or not... agree with me... or not.  I lovingly, honestly, and simply do not care.

"Every experience in my life has shaped me to be where I am at this very moment.  I am exactly who I am supposed to be."  Dr. Darren R. Weissman


Saturday, August 13, 2011

More Opposites...

Hmmmm... I can't seem to stop.  This was a fun challenge with many possibilities for opposites.  I used a straight string - my initials (hence the title of the piece "initial response" - which it wasn't but...) and curvy tangles.  But I also used black on white and white on black.  What fun.  I kind of like how it turned out.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Challenge 34

I'm still figuring out all of the ins and outs of posting my blogs and making then accessible.  I am really enjoying looking at all of the variations of the challenge themes each week.  I especially like how we are all at different levels of techniques and craftsmanship but how each tile is so uniquely beautiful.  I initially discarded my early attempts at this week's challenge.... I never really finished either one.  However, I rethought this and decided to post them anyway...

Well... not sure why the second one uploaded sideways... but you get the picture!

Have a good weekend, y'all.  Can't wait to see what next week's challenge will bring!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Opposites Attract

Oh... yes they do.  I'm living proof in so many ways!

It's been an interesting week that has included a mental health day where I did nothing but watch some DVR'd TV, lurked around on facebook, and was (negatively) inspired to write a piece in this space on leadership. (you can find it in the side bar if you're interested in reading rants).  I also tangled.  A lot. It was a good day.

This week's guest challenge by Christina (stART) encourages us to use either a curvy string or a straight string and fill it with the opposite tangle patterns.  I loved the challenge so much I jumped right in...and hated both of my first attempts (one of each).  That's what happens when I try to control the outcome of my tiles!  Those two are not included here.  I took a step back and just let the idea of opposites roll around in my head for awhile.  A much better plan...

 I like the first one better...

I discovered something while working on this challenge.  Previously, Diva challenged us to use all straight tangles and then another one we used all curvy ones.  I remarked then that I like the combination of straight and curvy - the yin and yang of using both types in a tile or larger piece. In this challenge, the struggle to stick with one form of tangle became even more apparent even though we were using both curves and angles.  I think it is obvious that parts of the tiles are very contrived - I needed one more of whichever type I was using to finish instead of just flowing with whatever came to me.

So last night during choir practice (shhhh... don't tell my husband, the director) I drew a very swirly string and straight patterns just started filling the spaces.  Except for one.  And I won't point it out but I don't like it and will probably not use it again.  However, I believe we have to stretch and explore areas with which we are not always so comfortable.  So here is "choir practice."

Keep stretching!  Keep tangling!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

In my humble opinion...

which usually prefaces a statement that really means "I'm right and you're a dunderhead!"  I recognize that not everyone shares my sometimes skewed thought processes so I offer my opinions with the full knowledge that some might disagree.  That's cool.  I don't mind discourse and debate - just as long as we can agree to disagree without rancor or name-calling.

The current climate in our country - maybe even across the globe - is full of disagreement and disagreeable people.  There is no discourse or debate.  "If I want your opinion I'll give it to you."  But I'm not going to discuss the current economic crisis, the Tea Party-ers, or the rabid "platform only - who cares about the people" politics.   I'm not even going to discuss religion versus spirituality, although I certainly have opinions about all of that.

As an aside I've decided that I'm not completely left, socialist, anarchist, or new age. I am most definitely not a right wing, fundamentalist, religious zealot. But I'm not a moderate, either.  I think I'm a hybrid.  I believe in Christian principles yet I refuse to align myself with what is being passed off as Christianity today.  I think if Jesus were here (physically - not going to get into the "he's always with us" debate) today I  think he'd be doing more than weeping.  I think he'd be leading the revolution against those who insist on perpetrating violence and hate in his name! I believe that he'd be knocking a few heads together and saying "Stop it - go sit in your corner and don't come out until you can play nice in the sandbox!"  The sad thing is that the very people to whom this might be addressed will automatically assume it's directed elsewhere.  That's part of the problem - no accountability.  No personal responsibility.  Ah well... time to move in a different direction.  I'm feeling my blood pressure rise.

Today I am thinking about leadership and what it does not mean.  So many in leadership positions seem to believe that in order to lead they have to be above those they lead.  Whether that is a physical, fiscal, emotional, or philosophical position, the divide is obvious.  The chasm is wide and getting wider.  Whatever the industry, many of those who rise to power positions tend to forget in short order from whence they came.  I am being very careful not to use "always" or "never" language because I know some of the exceptions to the norm.  Thankfully.  But I also know some folks who epitomize this as well.  Some figures are well known - politicians, religious leaders, CEOs of major corporations (especially financial and energy corporations).  Some are lesser known folks who circle around my own little, tiny world.  Some of these "leaders" are well respected on the surface.  They have an uncanny knack for making people believe that they actually care about them.  However, if you sit back and observe...just watch and listen... you see the smile never goes beyond the lips.  The words of encouragement and support are never deeper than the veneer on your counter top.  Little is done or said or felt that is not carefully calculated and, in some way, self-serving.  Yet followers lap up the little doses of attention and feel special when the leader knows their names.  They feel blessed and important - called to a higher cause - all because of the leader's charisma and charm.

Am I just being cynical?  Are you thinking, as you read this, "oh... she's been passed over or ignored by someone and is feeling jealous"?  Maybe you're right.  Maybe I'm not as self-aware as I like to believe.  Maybe I really am paranoid and spinning my own version of conspiracy theory.  Ok... I really don't think so. I'm not crazy and I'm not paranoid, and I am certainly not jealous.  I am sad.  I am saddened by the fallout that happens to friends and colleagues when they try to stand up to this sort of tyranny and get slapped down; are told to sit down and shut up.  I am mostly sad that this has made most of us afraid. Many of us who do have something to say, something to offer, some vision of a way to peacefully coexist and improve our lives and surroundings sit silently by as our world - personal or global - turns to crap because we abhor confrontation and are afraid of being the lone voice of reason amid the cacophony of hateful shouting.  We have seen what happens to profits and decide the risk is too great to jump in front of the train.

Most of us just want to lead quiet, comfortable, and content lives - making a difference where we can and living simply with those we love close by.  Is that really too much to ask?  Is it too much to ask that our leaders - political, religious, and corporate - take off their blinders and see how much easier their jobs would be if we moved forward to a true sense of collaboration instead of backwards to the feudal system of old?

There's a leadership curriculum that I had the good fortune to teach a few years ago that endorsed that the only way to be a true leader is to adopt a servant leader attitude by collaborating with every level of the work force and involving every mind.  By recognizing that everyone within an organization is a leader in some way and by looking to them for solutions instead of seeing the workforce as a liability increases buy-in and loyalty.  Fear is not the way to lead.  Fear is not the way to get the best out of people.  Fear manifests as prejudice, ignorance, and hate which leads to anger which leads to violence which leads to - fear.  It is a perpetual spiral into the darkness we are feeling  so keenly in every single pore of our existence.

My friend, Tiehead, is a creator.  He is also a leader-extraordinaire.  His voice has been silenced a few times but he tends to challenge the thinker (the non-thinker doesn't get his stuff!) to rise about the mundane and tired/tried methods into the clouds of risk and innovation.  He is my hero.  I cannot imagine that he would ever sell out his colleagues for self-preservation.  I want to clone him.  Yet only as his alter-self can he utter his own musings with total candor.  His "known" persona (I won't say "true" because I think his "alter" is his "true" self most of the time) tends to use metaphors and mirrors in order to make a point.  I don't think it's fear, per se, but maybe some trepidation that he'd anger the "leaders" who can't see past their own shoelaces.  Yet, he does challenge us to think beyond the confines of our small boxes in ways that could possibly make those who want to keep us in those boxes very uncomfortable.  I like it.  I appreciate it and wish I had more of his chutzpah!

Was there a point to all this musing?  There was when I started.  I'm not sure I remember what it was. Oh yeah... this rambling was really a not-so-clever attempt to share my thoughts about the predicament into which another one of my friend's has landed.  I've carefully tried to paint my opinions and comments with very broad strokes to avoid making this too obvious.  I've probably succeeded in being too obtuse.  Oh well.  This is mostly for my own enjoyment anyway.  I have no grand delusions that I actually have a readership!  However, should you read this and recognize yourself or someone else - please feel free to comment.  No matter on which side of the aisle you find yourself sitting.  And while you're at it - say a prayer or send up positive thoughts and energy that more people like Marianne Williamson, Oriah Mountain Dreamer, Louise Hay, and Tiehead will continue to emerge from the shadows and speak words of peace and wisdom.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Dream Catcher

Dream Catchers originated with the Ojibwe (Chippewa) but has been adopted by and adapted into other Native American cultures.  Dream Catchers draw in good dreams while pushing nightmares through the open spaces, thus protecting babies from restless nights.

The more I thought about Pendrills and my first attempt with this wonderful pattern, I started seeing dream catchers everywhere.  I had to give it another go.  So, this one is for my sweet grandson.  Sweet Dreams!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Challenge #33 Pendrills

I just need to say that my homemade chocolate zucchini bread is to die for!  Ok... now that's out of the way, on to tangling.

This week the challenge is to use a new tangle pattern by Rick and Maria, founders and creators of Zentangle,  I have looked at a lot of the other takes on this design and am in awe of the various ways Pendrills has been used by others.  I'm still not that comfortable with it but I am going to share what I've done anyway.  I wanted to make it stand out in my finished tile...I'm not sure I accomplished that.  Oh well.

I practiced awhile last night with branching off in multiple directions and turning the piece.  I kept ending up with something that looked like a dream catcher... so I drew a dream catcher!  great... I'm having scanning issues.  Maybe dream catchers are like faeries... you can't capture them by camera or scanner, it seems.  If I figure it out, I'll post it later.  Anyway - this is my first attempt at using Pendrills in a tile format

I like parts of it but I like my finished tile better.

I'll post more later when I am feeling less technically frustrated and less disjointed.  Mercury in retrograde seems to be messing with me more than usual!  

Happy tangling!

Oh - here's the best I can do on the dreamcatcher... sigh