Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters


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 this 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 . . . but,
my eyes are wide 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.

P.S. Dan of a Mindful Heart
has informed me that the author
of this piece is Portia Nelson.

P.S.S.  Bagman and Butler suggests
that for some people
 we would have to add a 6th chapter:


I buy a shovel
And start digging
A new hole.

P.S.S.S.  Liss from A Memory Forever suggests
two more lines would complete Bagman and Butler's
addition.  They would be:

I fall in . . .
It's still not my fault!


  1. ah, i love that. you have captured so many a life here, and very well at that...

    keep walking.

  2. Now Bonnie, that is a fantastic autobiography.

    I love this post dear friend.

    Love Renee xoxo

  3. I'm sorry, I want to invoke copyright infringement here. That is MY life story you're talking about.

    Although I'm still looking for another street to walk down.


  4. Brian: Yes, keep walking and remember you can turn, make a u-turn, or a detour whenever you want . . . usually.

  5. Renee: Thank you. I know that right now you are stuck on a street where there seems no way to get off. Illness and grief are a long avenue to travel. You are not alone, and I hope your new street appears soon!

  6. Barry: I held my breath for a moment there - it could very well have been you that wrote it!! You have such a way with words.

    Yes, that bumpy, twisting cancer boulevard is one long and winding road. So many are being detoured onto it and can't find their way off. We all have to work (fight) to get the government to direct more of our tax dollars to eliminating that dreaded boulevard which takes so many lives - and to get busy opening up a whole new avenue - we could name it HEALTH.

  7. I love this Bonnie , so very true as we travel along the road map of life.

  8. Brilliant. That is the story of my life, and of so many others. Just the simple realization that there is a different road is always half the battle, and so many never figure that out.

  9. My BFF Shirley and I always tease each other that there is always two dips in the road. (We're it!=D)
    At least you are not missing the "hole" experience.

    The happy part is you can walk. Some cannot. You will get there. We are sending positive thoughts to help you navigate your road safely and in good health. It's 7 p.m. on Tuesday Nov. 3..... here it comes.......
    Love from Linda and Barry.

  10. We can learn from mistakes, change our ways, and still get where we're going!

  11. In April I posted this same piece.

    It's written by Portia Nelson.

    I suppose it's a good thing when your poem is passed around the internet so much that it loses proper attribution and is signed Anonymous....but then I wouldn't know.

  12. gleaner: thank you.

    Alaine: thank you too.

    Jeff: Easy to forget there are other options.

    Linda & Barry: 'two dips in the road . . ." lol.
    Thank you for sending along your good energy. How kind.

    Dan: Did not see your April post, as I only started blogging in mid June. Thank you for letting me know the author's name. I found the piece in a book by James Hollis, Ph.D. that I am re-reading entitled, 'The Middle Passage'. It was written in 1993 and Hollis attributed the 'poem' to 'anonymous'. I doubt that he took it from the internet . . . but somehow he didn't know of Portia Nelson.

  13. Its been a long time since I have seen this and I wouldn't know who to attribute it to either :) I am reminded of this saying and I don't know who said it either but the definition of insanity is doing the same things over again and expecting different results! Here's to the new street within everyone's grasp if they choose to take it.

  14. Is there anyone who has not gone down that route?
    I know the inside of the hole very well, but guess what, just like the writer, I now see it coming for miles and avoid it every time.

  15. I havent read this before. Simple but powerful..I love the photos..

  16. This is perfect and ever so true! We all keep doing things the same way over and over, blaming someone else for the end result and then just wallowing in the mire of self pity. In the end, it is about us changing (and others around us which we can't really change) and making everything work. Love this!

    By the way, Joshua Bell was hired by the Washington Post to play as an experiment to see who would actually stop and listen in the metro. I fear they got the end result they thought they would!

  17. Yes, I've liked this poem for years. The co-dependency creed. Of course, I can't help thinking that, for some people, there is a sixth verse to it:

    I buy a shovel
    and start digging
    a new hole.

  18. Vicky: Yes, here's to a new street - that we find ourselves or build ourselves - and then name as we choose.

  19. Friko: Yes, I don't think there are many holes that could snare you!

  20. Alicia: Yes, it is not just the 'hole', but the meaning, attributions, blame that we engage in while we're in it!!

  21. Bagman & Butler: PERFECT!!!! So true. Thank you.

  22. Funny poem and true to life! Now what would the poet make of my stepping into wet cement as a teenager? I had to choose another rout to school because the waiters at the pizza joint that brought me water kept cracking up every time they saw me. I still walk around with my head in the clouds.

  23. Sarah: My guess is that you stepped in wet cement only once. We can all go down a 'wrong' path and stumble (or get stuck!) but do we keep doing what derails or hurts us?

    As for your head in the clouds - that is probably as it should be, for an artist like yourself. You cannot be watching your feet - and your head in the clouds is where your ideas and inspirations and dreams come from. All we have to do is check out, now and then, if the road we are on is the one we want to be on.

  24. I like the addition of Verse 6. It is true that some people just like drama. but verse 6 needs 2 more lines:

    I buy a shovel
    and start digging
    a new hole .....

    I fall in
    It's still not my fault!.

  25. Liss: I love it when posts get added to by readers - and this whole thing (or should I have said hole thing) becomes interactive. Thanks Liss - I will add it to post.


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