As we start a new year I thought it might be time to take a fresh approach to life and see if we can’t make this the best year we’ve had the privilege of living. I recently heard this really great story, so I’m going to take this month’s column to pass it on. The story comes from a poem by Portia Nelson and it was quoted in a book by Wayne Dyer which I read recently. The poem is presented as an autobiography in 5 short chapters. So without further ado, There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk —
I walk down the street.There is a deep hole in the sidewalk I fall in. I am lost…I am hopeless.It isn’t my fault.It takes forever to find a way out.
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’m in the same place. But it isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.
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.
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.
I walk down another street.
This poem has been picked up by the 12 step programs (AA and others) and is really a great description not just of addiction but of life in general. We’re all walking down the street of life and we all fall into the occasional hole which, of course, is ‘not our fault’. But as we find our way out and continue to grow we eventually come to realize that whatever it is it is always our fault. Notice how acceptance of responsibility results in getting out immediately. Life’s lesson learned there is no longer a reason to languish at the bottom of a deep hole. You now get out and move to a smoother path.
Life doesn’t happen TO you it happens FOR you. Life is what you make of it and you can fight the good fight and battle it all you want, but the only way to stop falling into its holes is to accept personal responsibility for your wayward steps and to allow life to move you to a smoother path. We call that new street ‘Enlightenment’ and you were born with the map to it in your heart. Be still and listen. It’s been calling out directions for your entire life.