they tell us, we who are aging, to learn something new to create more neural pathways in order to take advantage of the plasticity of our brains. okay! I accept the challenge. backstory....i have "normal wear and tear" in my left thumb. for most that's not a life-changing issue. For those who, like me, are left-handed, it is. opening things, holding things, lifting things all suddenly became achey at best, very painful at worst.
acupuncture has helped. but not completely. i had to let go of my beloved knitting as i could no longer hold the needles properly.
suddenly, i opened my heart in compassion to everyone who is living with some sort of change in mobility/disability. wow! this was only a thumb, not a leg or an arm or a neck or a back.
then i decided to try to train my right hand to do some of those tasks. progress was made and my right hand has become more adept. next step...train my right hand in fine motor coordination. at this moment i discovered zentangles (www.zentangle.com).
each zentangle is a unique piece of art, created with mindful attention, using repeated patterns. perfect! this is exactly what i need to reframe the loss of agility in my left thumb. with the deep mindfulness each tangler (anyone who creates zentangles) approaches her or his work, i can work very slowly to express myself in a way that strengthens my right hand at the same time as i am in a meditative state and creating new grooves in my brain. this is a no-brainer for me! all my favourite qualities wrapped up in a creative endeavour that will keep my brain from shrinking.
most important to me is the mindfulness. certainly my right hand slips or doesn't quite do what i would "like" it to. with this art form that simply doesn't matter. each zentangle is unique and bears the stamp of its creator’s mindful attention. i'm brought to the present moment with each stroke of the fine-line pen. each pattern has individual shape and form that can be varied in many ways.
no two are alike.
just like all beings.