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  • Fe Robinson

Autobiography in five short chapters

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 forever to find a way out. 


II. I walk down the same street. 

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. 

I still don't see it. 

I fall in again. 

I can't believe I am in the same place. 

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 there, I still fall in. 

It's habit. 

It's my fault. 

I know where I am. 

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 a different street.


Autobiography in Five Short Chapters, Portia Nelson from Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying


I love the wisdom in this piece of writing.  So often we imagine change to be a one-off thing, we decide to change something and it shall be so.  Seldom is this actually the case.  Awareness and acceptance are essential stages along the way to being able to be different and to make different choices.


A key part of the change process is recognising that while the hole we keep falling down may not be our fault, it is only us who can stop falling in it.  Responsibility for digging it and our presence in front of it is often shared and diffuse, responsibility for finding a different street now is ours alone.  This can be a tricky mindset shift to achieve, and psychotherapy can be helpful in navigating it.


What deep holes would you like to stop falling in?  Which different streets may you in time choose?



woman standing in front of a fork in the path

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