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Small Moves Can Lead to Big Changes

cockatiel takes a shower
Pearl is clearly loving our new casa – the new posh “parrot showering station” is a particular favorite!

Contact” is one of my all-time favorite movies, and not just because it stars the always fabulous Matthew McConaughey in one of his (many) best roles.

Actually, Jodie Foster’s character, scientist-turned-alien-seeker Ellie, is my favorite character.

She is so impatient! She is impatient with herself. Impatient with other people. Impatient with technology (we can all relate to that). She is even impatient with the aliens to buck up and make a bona fide appearance already.

And yet, right from the opening scenes, she is unknowingly given all the wisdom she will ever need by her dad, who counsels her again and again….

Small moves, Ellie. Small moves.

Speaking of which, I made a small move of my own last month.

Actually it was a big move, in that I moved our whole household from one casa to another casa. But it was also a small move, because the casa we moved from is located just one house over from the casa we moved to.

Yet, newly situated in our new abode, I have to say this might just be the biggest small move (or the smallest big move) I’ve ever made. Everything is different!

For starters….it is quiet. Oh so quiet. Sure, there is the occasional circling weather helicopter or barking dog. But gone is the blaring television and nonstop music from our old casa. Gone is the constant yelling and anger I had to cope with from my old nearest neighbor there.

In their place is a sweet-natured, friendly new set of neighbors. There is more space both inside and outside. There is a slightly greater distance between our little garage apartment casa and the larger houses that dot the lots all around me – just a bit more breathing room that makes a world of difference in how I feel when I move about our new space.

Inside, there are twice the windows with twice the natural light and they are shiny new windows at that – a real rarity in a historic neighborhood where you can tell how windy it is outside just by listening to how hard your window frames are rattling against one another.

outdoor tortoise enclosures
Malti (left) and Bruce (right) now have beautiful brand new, sturdy, level platforms to support their enormous outdoor habitats!

The new enclosed outdoor tortoise play area is wider and longer than the one we left behind.

And the turtles’ new permanent outdoor enclosures are safer because of wonderful new custom-made┬ásturdy level wooden platforms for each turtle habitat – one for Malti and one for Bruce.

My precious 21-year-old soul bird, Pearl, loves the whole setup of our (his) new space – he particularly enjoys the new shower and has already taken twice the showers in our new space that he ever deigned to take in our old space.

And me? I am slowly shaking off the two and a half year crust of grief and stress I didn’t even know had formed around me while living in the old place. This is a home my former longtime partner has never seen and does not even know exists. We did not break up here. There are no memories of him here.

I needed this. Desperately.

This new home gives us all a fresh start. It brings new fresh meaning to the cliche “so close and yet so far.”

Our first night in the new space, one of our new near neighbors went out back, picked a bunch of fresh ripe grapefruits off their tree and gifted them to us. It was literally the perfect welcome gift!

Now, is the whole setup perfect? Nope. Sure isn’t. There are still things I could/would/would like to change.

But perfect was never my goal, anyway.

I was aiming for progress.

Particularly, with moving so suddenly and literally just down the street, I got the chance to put into practice everything I’ve been studying and learning about over the past several months about letting my intuition lead.

In past years (decades), my head has always insisted on being in charge when it comes to such things. I had gotten really used to listening to it and it could get quite loud and grumpy when anyone challenged its leadership, so it often felt easier just to acquiesce.

But not this time.

This time, freshly steeped in several months of intuition studies with Sonia Choquette and supported by nearly three years of daily practices with Adriene Mischler’s Find What Feels Good online yoga classes, I finally had the inner strength and inside-out support system – a firm, fresh foundation if you will – to promote my intuition to the head honcho role.

The difference was … palpable.

Practicing Yoga With Adriene nearly every day for nearly three years has given me a new vocabulary to work from. Every day, she reminds us to “find what feels good” – not what sounds good, what should feel good, what other people think would be good for me – she affirms that I need to focus firmly on what feels good. Now. Right now. In this moment. What resonates. What clicks. What prompts the inner-me, the intuitive-me, to say “Yes. This.”

Reading and studying online with Sonia Choquette (if you are not familiar, she is a wonderful author and intuitive coach) for the past nearly a year has helped me realize I truly am not alone. There is help and support all around and within me.

Sonia’s work reminds me of what another beloved mentor, Byron Katie, often says, “this is a friendly universe.”

Finally, during this move, I felt it. Tangibly. I felt it not just each day but each moment of each day.

Every single time a challenge arose, whether it was just feeling exhausted physically or exhausted emotionally from trying to navigate difficult transitions while making new connections or even exhausted mentally from trying to figure out how to accomplish practical tasks I knew were possible but had never personally done before, I automatically turned within.

“Please. Help me.” “Show me the next step.” “Give me guidance.” “Help me feel which choice is right for us.”

Who was I talking to? Sonia Choquette calls them “spirit guides.” Adriene calls them “the inner teacher.” Devout friends I know call them “angels.” Byron Katie calls them “the friendly universe.”

I call them the best, most constant, most faithful friends a gal and her little flock could ever ask for. Never in my life have I ever witnessed so many small miracles stacked up so close together in such a short period of time. Ever.

They weren’t big miracles, although those were there too. The biggest big miracle was that I was actually able to have the presence of mind (soul?) to put what I’d been learning into practice when a sudden opportunity to move arose like a tsunami wave right in front of me.

I still remember the exact moment I made the conscious decision – okay. We are doing this. I am putting my intuition in charge of this move and I am doing this. I am going to use this move to see if all this stuff I’ve been learning about is really REAL.

It is real.

But the majority of the rest of the miracles were really small, tiny, infinitesimal miracles – the kind of miracles that often get explained away at best and outright ignored at worst.

Here are some examples.

The brilliant weather that began on my move day and literally concluded just as I was putting the finishing touches on the new outdoor tortoise enclosures at our new place four days later.

The fact that every time I lost my keys (and there were many times) and reached within my spirit to ask “please show me my keys” there they were.

The beautiful souls of my new landlords who helped me move the heavy stuff and built the secure tortoise and box turtle platforms and then wouldn’t hear of getting paid for it (!).

The avalanche of writing work that arrived just as our move was winding down, compensating for a week of freelance work not done and making sure I could meet our financial obligations at the old casa and the new in full.

I could go on and on.

All my life I have been so so SO hard on myself for living what feels like a life that has lagged so far behind the pace of others my own age. And yet that outward trajectory has never been what I craved anyway (as much as I may admire it in others).

What I have always craved is this – proof that the inner world is real.

Proof that small moves not only work but are essential if anything else in life is to work.

With great respect and love,


Small Moves Can Lead to Big Changes

Shannon Cutts

Freelance writer. Author. Cockatiel, redfoot tortoise & box turtle mama.

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APA Reference
Cutts, S. (2020). Small Moves Can Lead to Big Changes. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 25, 2020, from


Last updated: 1 Apr 2020
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