A friend recently shared this poem below with me that I remember seeing before and loved. How easy it is to fall into the trap of doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. Yesterday, I went to walk my dogs on their respective leashes and as I was walking by one of my neighbor’s houses, they let their dog out the front door and it came running towards us. My two large dogs started pulling in different directions barking and growling as the dog continued to come towards us.

I ended up losing my balance trying so desperately to control the dogs that I fell down. Fortunately, the owner was able to get his dog before it got to us. I was mad though. I had thoughts like wanting to contact the police, suing him, etc. When I calmed down though, I realized, I had another choice. I could just walk my dogs on another street or at another time where it would be unlikely for that to happen! I suddenly felt peace! It’s not to say that it is right or wrong to do any of the things I thought about but, it feels good to know I have a choice!!!!!!! I can change my inner dialogue. I can ask myself how I am responsible. And, then take the best action for me!

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 me 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.

Copyright (c) 1993, by Portia Nelson from the book There’s A Hole in My Sidewalk. Reproduced with kind permission from Beyond Words Publishing, Hillsboro, Oregon.

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