Even if you skim the surface, there are metaphors for life in the process of Zentangle. All of the many wonderful things the process shows us can so easily be transposed and applied to situations in our daily lives.
The more I become immersed in the process, the more I realize that it's much more than metaphor for me: The ACT of creating a Zentangle IS life.
The act of starting a Zentangle: I step out into a blank space, not knowing what shapes will appear. Ok, so it's a piece of paper, it's not a new job that I start next Monday. But it's still an act of stepping into the unknown.
As I draw my string, I have to let go of what I may WANT the Zentangle to look like. I allow my hand to intuitively (without thinking) make a mark. I have to use and trust my intuition, no matter what my big left brain is trying to tell me (and it certainly has a lot to say: "that's not pretty enough, that is too much space, that is not enough space"). The ACT of using my intuition opens up the "intuition pipeline" a little bit more, and the next time I call on my intuition, there just might be an easier flow.
The act of choosing a tangle: Some days I have a tendency to "think" my way to a tangle: "This one would look better than that one, this one is more fun than the other, this is too light", etc etc etc!! I do my best to ask my thinking brain to step aside and once again let intuition flow. More exercise! If I am not up for that at the moment, I close my eyes and pick a tangle. The act of choosing a tangle, is the ACT of moving forward. After it's been chosen, I don't allow myself to doubt the choice.
The act of doing a tangle: As I pick up my pen I am aware that this is an ACT of trust. Using the pen means whatever marks I make cannot be erased. They can be acted on and embellished, but I can only move forward (or stop completely, if I let my left brain get the best of me).
As I make my marks, my thinking brain wants to interfere: "go faster, you have a lot of black to fill in; isn't making all those triangles going to be boring?" When these thoughts come, I close my eyes for a second, breathe, and remind myself to savor the moment, savor the stroke. I allow for the act of being in the moment. Now it feels to me like there is no act at all...just being. At this moment, it doesn't matter what comes next, what came before, what looks good, what doesn't. Whatever is, just is.
It's as if each stroke is a pathway to NOW. As each mark appears, and my eyes and attention follow it, the awareness of NOW gets strengthened. As the awareness becomes stronger, well, it just doesn't matter what happens next.