Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Zentangle

Hi Friends,

I have been so overwhelmed by the support I've had for my new product which I just released this week, I have been blown away by the number of sales I had so soon after releasing it, it really warmed my heart and motivated me to share my example pages with you as I work through them.  I really hope they will inspire those of you who have bought my product and I look forward to hou sharing some of the pages with me online.
For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about; this week I released my "Mama Space Journal" into the world.  It is a digitally downloadable journal, specifically designed for mums, with 50 prompts to encourage relaxation, reflection, creativity and mindfulness. You can find out more in my Etsy shop.  Although I have written the prompts with motherhood in mind, almost all of the prompts could also be used by those who are child free.

Mothers and motherhood though; those are my passions.  My "why". Because I know what it's like to face the misery and majesty of motherhood.  I've been there in the wee small hours with a crying baby, feeling like I was the only person in the world whose child would not sleep through the night.  I've experienced the sore, leaking breasts, the peculiar discomfort of a changed body, the stepping into a strange new unknown version of myself. I also know the joys of motherhood, the absolute wonder of the gift of bringing life into the world, the power of it and how after giving birth you look around and wonder if anyone notices that you are changed.  And I know what I needed when I was (and still am) going through all this.  I needed someone to acknowledge how damn hard this motherhood journey is, how it wears you down to the bone, how it bares your soul completely naked and exposes the hidden parts of yourself.  I needed someone to say it's hard, but you're doing a great job. I needed someone to say what you are doing it worth something, that all your hard work is precious and important and seen.   And that is what this journal does.  It says you are awesome, what you are doing, raising children, it's monumental, it's THE most important thing you can do now those little souls are in your care but mostly it says mums need to be looked after too, mums need care and time to reflect on this epic journey of self discovery they are embarking upon. And it offers a small jewel of hope, a light in the dark, an opportunity to grab with two hands and make your own,.  A chance to relax, reflect, to capture the creative spirit that burns inside your heart since your body became switched on to creating when you conceived that child in your womb (or heart).  That is why I wanted to bring this journal into the world, because I love motherhood and I think it is important and I want you to love it too and know that what you are doing matters.  For all the discomfort and challenges it brings, there are also the moments of exquisite joy that make it all worthwhile.  Because you come from a long line of strong women, because women have always had to be strong, I want to bring this to you to acknowledge your strength and to help you to own it, to see the complex  and intricate web that has been woven through generations past and generations to come because of the gentle and loving power of motherhood. What you are doing matters, motherhood matters, and I am honouring that with this creative space that I have designed for you.  I really look forward to this journey as I work through the book in the hope that I will have some kindred spirits to join me through the experience over the coming months.

In this post I wanted to talk to you about using the journal and especially the Zentangle prompt.  Unlike some of the prompts which ask you to dig deep, the Zentangle doesn't require any soul searching, so it acknowledges that sometimes mamas get tired and what they need from time to time is a little mental escapology. Drawing a zentangle is a great way to do this and an un-daunting way to start getting creative as it requires little equipment, time or mental investment.  You simply pick up a pen and begin, which is why I decided to give a tutorial on this prompt first.

In an ideal world, when we approach a mindful or reflective journal or creative prompt in your "Mama Space Journal" it is good to get into the right head space.  This means child-free, quiet and time.  If you are lucky enough to be able to get these three things that is so great, you'll really be able immerse yourself into the prompts (if you haven't don't worry I will talk to you about that later.)

During lockdown it has been especially hard to find time to myself so I can absolutely empathise with mums who are feeling burnt out and overwhelmed because that is me right now. I am snatching the odd moment between my husband finishing work and cracking on with dinner every few weeks and I have insisted upon one Saturday afternoon to myself every two weeks.  My husband takes the boys out for the afternoon on those days so I can be home with all my art materials, my laptop and everything I need to work and get creative with painting, drawing and writing.  I also use my evenings (when the boys are down early enough and when I have the energy after a long day) to work on my creative projects.  Ideally I keep the TV off so I can fully focus on what I am doing. I know some mums who get up before their children to get some alone time which is also a really good idea, just doesn't work for me in this season, but maybe it would for you.

If you manage to get some periods of quite time to yourself you might like to begin by following a guided meditation.  I really love the meditation that Lucy H. Pearce writes in her book "The Rainbow Way" (affiliate link below), she helps us imagine ourselves moving into a special private creative space all of our own.  I really love this meditation (and have written versions of it for my retreats and my "Affirmation Card e-workshop") because it sparks our imagination and inner creative spirit, which is exactly what we need for a creative act.  It also encourages us to imagine a support figure to help us when we go into this creative space.

I thought this was rather a nice meditation that is free on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSqEYFsF3w8

And this one which is a little bit shorter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5dNHrYCYMw

Or if you only have 5 minutes there's this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TODtU3FKIMU

If you are relaxed before you begin you'll get so much more out of the creative activity. Maybe I'll upload one of mine onto my Patreon page some day.

Once you are in a relaxed space you are ready to begin.  Take up your pen and begin to create patterns, let your mind relax into the lines as you create them and let them flow from the pen.  If you get stuck try looking at some pattern examples so you're not blocked thinking about what to do and can let the lines and patterns come naturally.  Here are some examples on my pinterest page.

If you aren't able to get extended periods of quiet alone time to meditate and really focus on your zentangle, don't worry, you can simply add to your doodle whenever you can snatch a moment.  You'll still benefit from a small moment concentrating on the lines and shapes you draw, just do what you can when you can, perhaps before the kids are up, or while they have breakfast, if they watch TV you could do some creative work then, or when they've gone to bed.  I have been know to go and sit in my car for some quiet time during lockdown, just to get away from the noise and mess of the house. With kids you sometimes have to be creative with your time, but there is usually a way.  I have found that all together  I end up spending not an insignificant time each week on Facebook, so managing my time on apps like this and Instagram also frees up moments during the day when I could be creating.

Anyway enough talk, time to get creative, check out my little sped up videos below to inspire you:




    
 

















So I hope you find these little videos helpful and you feel inspired to have a go at this prompt in your journal if you have purchased one.  If you would like to grab a digitally downloadable version for yourself check out my Etsy shop HERE.

Of course you don't have to buy the journal to have a go at drawing zentangles, you can grab any bit of paper and get going.  However the beauty of the "Mama Space Journal" is that all the prompts come together in one place, so not only are the kept together but you have a record of your creative journey as you complete all the prompts. In time it will become a valuable and precious document that you can treasure and look back on in the future to mark progress, reflect on memories and just to delight yourself with the wonder of seeing your own creativity manifest itself upon the page.



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