Recently I've found myself struggling to get to sleep at night. A lot of people have this experience, and I've occasionally had it in the past. But now it's stretching into weeks. Not every night, but most nights. So unusual. I've checked my food/caffeine intake, and my screen time, as well as my stress level, but there's nothing I can tag as a cause. All is well...yet I often cannot get to sleep.
When this happens, I get up and leave the bedroom entirely and read or tangle. Or meditate, which I also enjoy doing late at night. Here's a blog post on the connection between meditation and insomnia--bottom line: it may help, it may not. But (for me, anyway), it feels good while I'm doing it, so I usually will give it a try if reading or tangling aren't helping me get sleepy.
WHAT I'VE BEEN WORKING ON DURING MY INSOMNIAC SPURT:
Alas, I can't post the main thing I have been working on in the last week because it's a gift for someone and until it's given, I will have to hold off. Check back in the next week or two for the full picture. It's a piece of Zentangle® inspired art, and I can only post enough of it that it won't be recognizable, so here is that bit.
That has taken much of my time (it's much larger than what you see above), but then the Zendala Dare #108 came along and I decided to participate in that. It's been a while since I have done one of these challenges.
The Rainbow Lead pencils I ordered from Oriental Trading Company arrived at the end of last week; it was time to try one out and see if I liked it as well as my other Rainbow Lead pencils. If you want to know what I'm talking about, see my long post on using these pencils here, including information on where to find them and how to identify that you are really getting a Rainbow Lead, not an ordinary lead. (Actually, every post since then has related to that topic, at least in part)
Here was the template for this week's challenge:
So far so good--I decided to do two tiles, one white and one black, and use the new pencil on each, and see how it worked. Here was what I did with the black tile at 3 a.m. today:
I was pretty happy with this except that it looked...well...DULLER than I thought my other older pencil does. But maybe not? I mean, who knows, at 3 a.m. in the pitch dark? I took a photo (several, actually, but more about that later) and did some additional meditation, and finally went to bed. I say "additional meditation" because I find that Zentangle is a form of moving meditation. Like yoga.
This morning I got up and had another look. Yes, it seemed duller. So let me try it on a white tile and see if maybe I'm imagining that. I had a chance to sit down and re-do this zendala template with different patterns this afternoon and here it is:
You know, I like this too. But the colors of this Rainbow Lead pencil are dull, dull, dull! At least so far. They just do not have the p-zazz of my earlier, older RL pencils. (I am sorry I cannot distinguish them by name--unfortunately none of the styles have any identifiable names. Darn! Makes them hard to discuss.
I used a variety of tangles on this: Marasu (center), Scarabou, Enyshou (oo oo oo, do we have a sound pattern developing?), Paradox variation, Indy-Rella, and Perfs.
So here is a picture of both types of RL pencils I'm comparing
The pencil on the top left is by far my favorite. You can get it at ????? (Good luck finding these--I know Oriental Trading had them years ago but they don't anymore. See my previous post, referenced at the top of this post, to see more about finding these.) Frankly, every time I see them I buy up every one I can get.
On the lower right is the pencil I just got from Oriental Trading. In fact, Rainbow Lead pencils are cheap, so I got 2 dozen of them.
Now look at the leads...you can see the way the colors are distributed. Also, see how much brighter the lead on the upper left pencil is? So it truly is not my imagination; these new and readily available RL pencils are definitely more dull. Darn!
My overall assessment of them so far: MEH. Good if you like subtle dull colors. I have a lifetime supply--anyone want to buy a couple? (Kidding--I may use these in classes)
Here is what these new and currently available pencils look like, in case you want to get a pack from Oriental Trading:
AND NOW FOR THE OBLIGATORY PICTURES WITH MY IPHONE MIRROR APP:
Ok, if you got this far, you didn't think I could resist playing with my iPhone mirror app and these zendalas, did you? Of course not. Here are two pictures of the black one, mirrored a couple of ways:
Yes, I cannot resist; I admit I am addicted! The last one is from the white tile.
Perhaps it's not so bad to have occasional insomnia. I had four lovely meditations today: two regular ones, and two moving meditations with Zentangle.
I'm a textile artist (traditional rug hooking, punch needle rug hooking, and other textile arts), long-time meditator and coach, focused on learning about the interplay of art, creativity, and mindfulness every day.
NEXT INTRO TO ZENTANGLE CLASS:
No immediate group classes scheduled (I'm always open to hearing about a good venue in the Cambridge-Somerville area). I am always happy to teach 1-1 and/or in a small group in your home.
Come and amaze yourself!
SITES TO WATCH:
Insight Meditation Society
Oxford Rug Hooking School
Zentangle: The Official Site
Green Mountain Rug Hooking
Massachusetts Tarot Society
Skillful Meditation Project