Listening to music? Well that is relaxing to a point, but if I listen to whale song or waves on a beach it soon irritates me and there's very little zen in that. If I listen to classical music that is soothing as well, until I try to pick out each individual group of instruments - was that the flutes? Did I hear the trombone there? Then I start to try to listen to each individual part played by each individual group of instruments and then try to pick out the different melody played by the same instruments within the piece all AT THE SAME TIME and that's decidedly not relaxing.
Go for a walk, that's relaxing and it is, it really is. Until I start timing myself and try to beat myself each day. Great for fitness, not so good for relaxing. Needlework, well that is relaxing, I love to do cross-stitch and tapestry. One of my sorrows is losing all but one piece of my work in the floods a few years ago. The only problem I have with needlework is that it tends to take over my life and I do it to the exclusion of everything else. Then I get the guilts about not doing other things I should be doing. Moderation? What's that??
So zentangling, it looked like the ideal thing to do, a small square, not too much time involved and a satisfying result. And it is. Well it is if you do it the way I believe you're supposed to do it. I believe the idea is one square at a time, learn the different patterns and then let the pen wander as it will over the paper. But of course me, I spend all day working on it, trying to learn all the patterns at once, doing square after square and then trying to make a collage effect from them all, so that each square has to be pre-planned to make it work.
Without scissors (remember, glued them shut in a stroke of genius) I've become used to using an A4 size sheet divided up into 9 squares, until I decided that sometimes maybe it should be two or four squares, exactly in the middle of course and with a large framework of zentangling around it. Lots of measuring and swearing by me - can't draw a straight line to save my life so have to use a ruler and do lots and lots of measurements to get my lines straight. Supreme lack of zen.
So the zentangling has been put in the cupboard. I will do it of course, I have already got two new pages ruled up after all and it really is addictive. But since I can't trust myself to do only a little bit and then move onto something else, it will wait there until I finish the work I have set myself with Zora's Dawn.
Where is the zen then? I added the 'then' only because I like the sound it makes, zen then... The only place I find zen is when I write. And now that I am trying to make a living from it I don't need to get the guilts if I do it all day and get up in the pre-dawn to do something that came to me in a dream. Writing does everything that everything else is supposed to do. I focus on it, lose myself in it, forget the rest of the world while I'm doing it. I'm calm (except when it's not going so well), relaxed and my mind is not spinning.The words still scroll along on their script inside my head but it's only the words I'm writing and the rest of them disappear for a while. I am in fact living exactly in the 'now' and that's the zen.
I really loved writing the various cat books, so much so that I have almost finished another and have yet another one in my head. They are very satisfying for a couple of reasons. One is that they only take a week to write and publish because they are short reads. The other is that I am writing about a subject that I really love - cats - and so it gives me a lot of pleasure to write about them. And geek that I am I love to do research so I find the entire experience a great deal of fun.
But Zora's Dawn is waiting and growing impatient. Last night I dreamt I was sitting in a cafe and the person at the table next to me turned so their face was in profile and it was a wolf face. So time to get on with that too. I have a plan, so that I can do both types of writing. Zora's Dawn needs to be finished and the editing well under way in a couple of weeks, as a person I need to interview about the shelter book will be available next month. Once I've talked to her and two other people it will be time to put that book together.
So, I will write my fun writing for part of the day, and work on Zora's Dawn the rest of the time. There's only about 5000 words to do to finish Zora's Dawn but they are the hardest since I know where she has to be at the end of the book (to lead properly into the next in the series which is already planned out in my head) but I'm not quite sure how to get her there!
And of course I have to overcome the paralysing procrastination. Once the book is finished I have to put it out there, and if it fails it will be quite a devastating experience so of course I'm procrastinating with all the skill a lifetime of doing so has given me.
So, I am off to read, edit and write :)