Learning as I Go...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters
by Portia Nelson

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 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 am 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.


Every time I read this, it is so powerful. Truly inspired. Pure truth. And it brings me to a reflection of where I've been... and where I am headed. How many holes am I continuing to fall in? Sure I think about that. I must, if I am to grow... But even more than that thought, for me, right now, is the thought--

How many new streets did I finally walk down after falling so many times?

I suppose because I am at peace with my life right now (with minor tweaks and adjustments needed every day of course), I read this little bit of writing and I am grateful-- deeply grateful that I finally made it to those last two stages again and again with important things. Relationships. Friendships. Career choices. Moral choices. I am grateful that as I moved through my 20's, I slowly figured the lesson out again and again with the things that really mattered.

And yet--- I am pretty sure that EVERY lesson learned came after falling in that hole again and again. Ya know? Just....... knuckleheaded me, stubbornly walking into holes until I get it.

Anyway.... no real point, no real conclusion here... Just reflecting. Glad I made it to where I am. Hopeful I will learn to walk around future holes in the road. Certain of my growth, but deeply aware of the work left to do.

And mostly, grateful for my little life.

{p.s. photos above: #1- circa 1996, age 19....#2- circa last month, age 31}


  1. Oh my word! That is perfect! I can't believe how deeply that's resonating with me today. THANK YOU!!

  2. Very insightful, as always. I love how much you reflect on the past and how much you plan for and think about the future. You are a unique soul. You were beautiful then (I think we met in 1999, right? and you are absolutely beautiful today)
    This post reminded me of a post I just read at "a daily scoop". I love it! (You can link to that through my blog.)

  3. I think that is just us as humans... that we keep walking into the same hole before our brain adjusts to a different way of thinking. ;) I love that you posted that poem, I too have read it over and over.

  4. That reminds me of two things:

    1. Groundhog's Day w/ Bill Murphey (falling in the same situations over and over again)

    2. "The Road Less Taken" by Robert Frost (did I remember the title correctly?) was one of my favorite poems in the world! It sure does make a difference what we do every day, and the choices we make will lead us to some sort of happiness or misey. Like you, I am happy where I am (although life is stressful & hectic)...and I wouldn't trade it for anyone else's!

  5. ...on second thought, I think it was titled "The Road Less Traveled"...anyhow, I like it!!! :)

  6. I really like your hair in the 2nd picture! In 1996 I was 14. Weird. I wish I looked as good as you do with short hair! I also agree with Melanie, I needed to read this especially today! :)

  7. Funny how that poem seems to reflect my recent life as well... falling in the same pits, even when I thought I'd learned to walk around. I thought I'd finally chosen to go down a different street, only to find that either it was still the same one or that the new street has the same holes, which is just as bad, right? The great thing is that we are given time to keep learning, to keep trying until we finally get it right...or finally find the path without the pitfalls...

    Thanks for the reflection.

    (And Tamara- it's called "The Road Not Taken" :) - it is definitely one of my favorites of Frost...)

  8. Dawn(orngpikkle)9:50 AM


  9. Love it. Thanks! I think I'm in Ch III, but, you know. Growing.

  10. I think my autobiography is on like 15 chapters by now....and I keep falling into that same darn pothole. Makes me wonder where all my tax dollars are going...

    Geez, there I go again, falling into another hole....

  11. I read this yesterday, and I just cna't stop thinking about this poem! Thank you so much for sharing it. It's simplicity is so moving.


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