Finding a road less rutted!

Blow HornBy Susan Caba
Resale Evangelista

I came across this poem in The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, by Sogyal Rinpoche, and have since learned it’s quite well-known in self-help circles (don’t let that put you off!). I like it because it shows not only understanding of human nature, but compassion for our foibles. I think I’m on Chapter Three but veering toward Chapter Four. It remains to be seen if I get to Chapter Five. That would certainly help simplify my life.

An Autobiography in Five Chapters
– by Portia Nelson

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.

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.

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.

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

V
I walk down another street.

Portia Nelson was a cabaret singer, actress, song-writer and vocal coach. She died in 2001, at the age of 81. The poem was published in 1977 in her book, “There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery. The book was re-issued in 1993.

3 thoughts on “Finding a road less rutted!

  1. Pingback: Steering Out of Unhealthy Ruts in Life’s Road | Wayfarer

  2. Jone

    Wow, this is the most beautifully poignant “habit breaking” piece! Thank you for sharing it–I’m working on walking down another street.

    Like

    Reply

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