CZT Family Tree
We always say that the Zentangle Method attracts really awesome people. We have had the pleasure of working with wonderful Certified Zentangle Teachers (CZT) all over the world and we are excited to share these wonderful people with the entire Zentangle Community. Through our new series, CZT Family Tree, we will introduce individual CZTs.
Today, we are excited to introduce Elisa Murphy.
Name: Elisa Murphy
CZT seminar: #15
Hometown: Milford, Massachusetts, USA
Favorite Tangle: Tripoli
Favorite Place to Tangle:
My super sunny back porch! It's at the top of a hill so it feels like I'm sitting in a tree house. I love being in my PJs, grabbing my quilt, huge cup of coffee, lap desk, tangling supplies and heading out there to snuggle and tangle.
How I use the Zentangle Method in my life:
For me, it's all about metaphors and philosophy. I think about the cues I give while teaching a class and challenge myself to carry them over into my thoughts. Here’s a quick example. The tip of the micron pen is super delicate. If you press down too hard on it, that nib is going to bend and feel nasty to tangle with. Like the micron pen tip, if I try to force the way I want things to go, sometimes it just doesn’t work. If I ease up and give life room to “ﬂow,” my experiences might just be a little easier.
My Favorite story or memory about teaching the Zentangle Method:
This is going to sound weird, but my favorite memory about a Zentangle class hasn’t happened yet! I’m writing this in February. I can honestly tell you that my favorite memory about teaching a Zentangle class will be on March 10th. Let me explain.
Two weeks ago a woman from my youngest daughter’s school PTO (parent teacher organization) asked if I could teach a fundraiser for their school. I was psyched! So many parents at school have voiced curiosity about Zentangle but have never made it to a class. This fundraiser might be the motivation to ﬁnally get some to try it out!
I got my calendar out and asked for the date. March 10th. UGH. FULL STOP.
Here’s the thing. I have two daughters. I always will. My youngest daughter, Hannah, is 11. My oldest daughter, Rachel, died four years ago. March 10th is her 18th birthday. So now what? What do I do?
After an emotional and loving conversation with my husband, I reached out to my fellow CZTs on social media and ﬁlled them in. The response that I received was breathtaking. CZTs who I know and others who I’ve never met reached back with support and solid, thoughtful suggestions about how I might weave something about my kiddo into the class as a private way to celebrate her. One CZT then gave me the “Ah ha!” thought that I needed. She asked (paraphrasing) wouldn’t it be a beautiful gift from your daughter if you teach this class and there’s just one person that comes who really needs it?
Yup. She’s right. That’s why I became a CZT in the ﬁrst place. I want to make a difference and help. I started practicing the Zentangle Method while trying to ﬁnd some grace and direction. The possibility of teaching a class on Rachel’s 18th birthday and possibly introducing some of that grace to another who really could use it? That’s priceless. The class is scheduled.
This – the class that hasn’t happened yet – in my opinion is the Zentangle philosophy coming to life. The product (teaching the class) isn’t what’s important. The true beauty is in the process. I’m challenging myself to grow in a way that has me feeling excited, but also vulnerable and uncertain. Not only my husband, but also my CZT family, near and far, showed up and reminded me how beautiful the growth process can be, while still acknowledging the struggle.
I am truly blessed that when I think about the classes I’ve taught, I am in awe of the connections and joy they have brought as I share the Zentangle Method with others. This one’s different though. Deciding to teach this class challenges me to my core. It’s a huge step in my quest to ﬁnd grace as my journey continues without one of my children here to kiss goodnight. With the love and support of my Murphy family as well as my CZT family, this is by far the most powerful CZT experience.
On top of all that, I’ve already discovered that there is a person coming who just might be that “one person who really needs it.” How cool is that?
Through my experiences as a CZT, I have learned:
I have learned to measure my success as a teacher by the experience folks have, not how closely they follow my instructions or how their tiles look. If a student leaves my class feeling a little better, a little more conﬁdent, a little more peaceful than when they walked in the door, then THAT’S my success. That’s why I do this.
If I’m not tangling, you will ﬁnd me:
You will find me taking care of my family, volunteering in the community or desperately attempting to ﬁnd the secret to effective time management and focus. I’ve decided to take my teaching to a level beyond “hobby” and into a successful business. It’s totally out of my comfort zone but that’s where the growth comes in.
Zentangle Mosaic Name: Elisa
Thank you so much, Elisa!
We look forward to sharing more CZT stories in future blog posts.