On growth, self celebration and the lesson of less is more.

Growth is a funny thing – it can sneak up on you under the deep disguise of uncertainty and a disturbing sense of destabilisation.

As I have sat down here at my computer, wondering what to talk to you about as the festive season draws near, two questions emerge that speak of my own experiences of the year, and themes that have emerged from our lovely Movement ART participants throughout the course of the online programme.

I invite you to pause with me and ask yourself two questions:

What do I know now that I didn’t a year ago?

What have I been willing to consider that I wouldn’t have a year ago?

I am willing to bet that you won’t have to stretch too far to think of something that you have learned, whether voluntarily or in response to the changing times. We often overlook the achievement of that expansion of capability or self awareness, dismissing it as a simple response to necessity, rather than recognising and celebrating our fortitude and determination.

The second question is trickier. It is deeper, meatier and more personal. It asks us about our beliefs, and if we dare to challenge our truths.

One of the key discoveries that many of our course participants have identified this year is “less is more”. This is much more challenging than it might appear – chronic over-delivering is one of the ways that we cover up all sorts of personal baggage. Those three little words, less is more, can threaten to expose the darkest little corners of our own sense of self worth, where we see our value, how we attempt to keep ourselves safe from criticism, complaint and judgement, and how we measure our own self worth. We dress it up and present it to ourselves as meeting patient needs or client expectations, but is it really?

As our participants bravely challenged their vulnerabilities and beliefs to consider this in their clinical settings, they encountered surprises. They discovered that now more than ever, what people really need is less doing and more being. Fewer technical explanations and fancy techniques and more being supported with the practitioner’s presence and quiet attention. Fewer activities and more time to explore the felt experience of them. The experience of respect, when they are no longer told what they should feel but instead offered the space to work things out for themselves. The precious opportunity to pause and reconnect with themselves, to discover new possibilities and make new choices.

The benefits worked both ways. We have regularly heard on our live events this year how both the patients and practitioners are experiencing a greater sense of calm and control. We heard of how time to honour worries, sadnesses and fears led to more space for shared creativity and wonder. Most of these practitioners joined the programme expecting to learn how to deliver more, but instead, through self, awareness, precision and discernment, they have learned the difference between “more” and more effective, more relevant and more responsive to the patient’s actual needs, rather behaving based on projections from our own beliefs and insecurities. It has been a delight to see so many practitioners step into practicing in a way that is more authentic and more reflective of their unique talents and qualities.

However, it didn’t necessarily feel good to start with for everyone, and it won’t feel good all the time for anyone! Growth is quite often uncomfortable, awkward and messy as we examine our old structures and remodel them, and that can make it feel all wrong. We get caught up in that feeling and think that everything is falling apart and that we’re failing. We pluck on those old insecurities again. For this Christmas though, see what happens if you accept that feeling for what it is – the disturbance that creates motion, the deconstructing that allows for expansion.

Now yourself those two questions again:

What do I know now that I didn’t a year ago?

What have I been willing to consider that I wouldn’t have a year ago?

I am already congratulating you on what you find out. Growth is not for the faint hearted, but if you are reading this, then heart is what you have plenty of.

Merry Christmas, everybody.



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