It’s Not The Sidewalk’s Fault

Excerpt from, There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk, by Portia Nelson

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

Chapter I

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in. I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.

Chapter II

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter III

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in. It’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault. I get out immediately.

Chapter IV

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter V

I walk down another street.

Reflection

Meeting the eyes of wisdom – they don’t seem so wise at first, do they? Then you catch them again, and again, and again. Maybe on the 5th or 10th or 1000th meeting, you notice they’ve had something to say all along.

Shit happens, as they say. What in your life causing you to suffer now? Is it your relationship with someone? Stress about money? A desire that seems impossible to fulfill?

Whatever that thing is, what if we look at it as the hole in the sidewalk? It’s the same exact problem every day – it’s not going to change, even if you wish it would. It seems then, the only sensible thing to do is carefully change your relationship to the hole. Can you not let it bother you so much? Is there anything you can do, slowly, gradually, to avoid it entirely? If you have some dream that seems like it will never come true and its driving you crazy, is it really a healthy dream? In some cases, adjusting might be easy. In some cases it might take time. Either way, if you recognize the freedom you have to change your relationship with the hole, suffering can begin to melt…


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