Welcome to the Winter Solstice! As this year draws to a close and the days in Seattle so very dim and short I feel grateful to be done with 2020 and also aware that I don’t want to take any time for granted. This is the darkest part of the COVID tunnel so far with in-person visits with loved ones few and far between for the next few months. But it’s also the closest we’ve been to the end of the tunnel. Soon you will see glimpses of light and other encouraging signs. I think the worst is over. I wish you good health and happiness and some space within you for calm and a feeling of safety. Thank you for being here.

I’m thrilled to announce my short story collection Home Is A Made-Up Place has won Hidden River Arts’ 2020 Eludia Award and will be published by Sowilo Press in 2022!

Last week on And Then Everything Changed my guest Crystal Webster shared her story of learning how to live with loss while alleviating that sense of grief for others. 

Next week Diane Windsor joins me to talk about her new young adult novel Stuck about two friends, a cancer diagnosis, and the debate over vaccinations. Our conversation covers her own experience with her son’s cancer, their relationship, addiction, and navigating medical care.

Self-careI’ve been thinking about stretching and also 𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘦𝘵𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨, about staying flexible even when our minds want to dig in and bunker up. I did a little research into the first kind of stretching to figure out why it feels so good. (Article cited below)⁣

⁣“Humans have a natural tendency to avoid things that cause pain and to seek activities that feel good. Stretching is no exception. Your body’s natural reward system makes stretching feel good to motivate you to keep your muscles at optimal tension.”⁣* The Benefits of Stretching and Why It Feels Good August 28, 2020-Healthline⁣

Stretching is satisfying because it’s good for our bodies. It increases flexibility, improves circulation, and relieves stress. It can help induce feelings of calmness and relaxation.⁣⁣

So why do we sometimes shy away from stretching ourselves in other ways, like switching up our favorite morning drink or taking a new route on our walk, trying a new approach to something we’re working on, or choosing to cope with stress in a new way? Probably because we like to avoid risk and discomfort.⁣

But even cooped up at home we can stay limber. We can stretch ourselves every day: we can try for something that seems out of reach, learn something new, get more comfortable in a not-knowing space. There are so many ways to keep ourselves stretching and growing.

What does stretching mean to you? ⁣Sometimes even the question can open up some room within that you didn’t realize you needed.

I hope you stay safe and healthy. Happy holidays!