Transitions: long live retirement!

07 July 2023 | Inspiration
Robert Moore
Member: London
I retired – or so I thought – from acupuncture practice in 2018. I left my role as admissions manager at the BAcC in 2017 and shortly after, took a sabbatical from my 30-year practice in Bethnal Green to spend five months on a round-the-world cruise.

On return, and quite unexpectedly, theatre work began pulling me back to performing – at the Young Vic, the National Theatre and the John Gielgud Theatre in London’s West End. (I was a classical ballet dancer when I was young, with a ten-year career, before my body gave up on me!)

The joys of easing down, no commuting, relinquishing professional responsibilities and being so routinely structured were exquisite to experience.

Being fundamentally a sensualist, I didn’t want to forgo the pleasure of these sensations. Balancing this with always having and needing to earn a living was part of the adjustment I was eventually willing to make.

But it was clear enough to me that acupuncture was very much a part of me – in my daily management, self-regulating, observations, reflections, thought processes, enrichment, nourishment, perhaps even lifeblood.

I already had a developed sense of observation from working on stage. And in danger of sounding romantic, I felt studying traditional five element acupuncture at Leamington under JR Worsley in the early 1990s was another great opportunity – to see people in a more formalised, categorised way yet allowing for manifestation to be personal, individual and wide-ranging. Training in my middle years, it was perfect timing to be looking for meaning, fulfilment and a different direction.

And I found it. The system of to see, to hear, to feel, to touch felt as though I had struck a nugget of gold, almost a secret of the universe. If each of us as practitioners and members of society could apply these principles to ourselves and to others, I thought, and if world leaders could exercise the knowledge that came as a result, what a better place the world and its people would be.

Well, yes absolutely – seriously naive, but indicative of the impact the system had upon me. Being reminded of our fundamental connection to nature and referring to nature and the seasons as a blueprint to live in step with – it all seemed so logical and became essential in becoming an effective practitioner.

Contemplate some of the point names we have the privilege to work with, energetically supporting clients on their journey: Spirit Gate, Nourishing the Old, Grasping the Wind, Heavenly Window, Eyes Bright, Soul Door, Rich for the Vitals, Walking on the Verandah, Palace of Weariness, Bright and Clear, Great Esteem, Gate of Hope, Very Great Abyss, Support and Rush Out, Abundant Splendour, Great Enveloping.

Retirement means different things to different people. To me it meant only relinquishing regular, salaried, professional responsibilities; stepping back from the front line of complementary, holistic practice; letting go of the commuting, the structure of being in regular work.

So my point is, retiring from a subject that amounts to a vocation, a philosophy, such a logical, elegant observation of life and seeing it manifest in people and nature is impossible. Clinical practice, yes, life practice, no. It enriches me still in so many ways and informs me when treating clients and when socialising and out in the world. To see a classic manifestation of a CF (causative factor) – in or out of clinic – is a day when I look to the gods and nod to JR.

Now, I treat occasionally – quite happy to not have the demands of running a professional clinic with all that that means, yet not ready to give up the hard-gained skills, honed and practised over 30 years and still open to learning more. Once relinquished, I would probably never recover them. And belonging to the professional body I see as an ongoing achievement, difficult to give up.

I trained with a great bunch of people who were also looking for something else… the camaraderie, the connections, the friendships, the studying together that resulted were also part of the rich experience then – and what continues today.

Long live retirement! Longer live acupuncture!