Transformational spaces that explore + cultivate wholehearted living


Life in five short chapters

Every so often I find myself repeating a habit or behaviour that I thought I had seen the last of. Those moments range from not expressing my needs, compromising rather than taking a stand or playing small when deep down I am longing to step into my power.

On those occasions when my self defeating habit rears its head, I silently tell myself that at least I am aware and that ‘when I know better, I will do better’. What often comes to mind during those moments of reflection is ‘Life in Five Short Chapters’ (from “There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk) by Portia Nelson.

Chapter 1

I walked down the street and there is a big hole in the sidewalk and I fall in – I am lost. I am helpless. It isn’t my fault. It takes forever to find the way out.

Chapter 2

I walk down the same street and there is a big hole in the sidewalk; I pretend I don’t see it and 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.

Chapter 3

I walk down the same street and there is a big hole in the sidewalk; I see it is there and I still fall in. It is a habit, but my eyes are open and I know where I am. It is my fault and I get out immediately.

Chapter 4

I walk down the same street and there is a big hole in the sidewalk; I walk around it…

Chapter 5

I walk down a different street.

In many aspects of my life, I am walking down a different street. Yet in some aspects, I see the hole and I still fall right in – only this time, I now have wonderful allies who support me (and vice versa), in walking down a different street.

Safe travels!


2 thoughts on “Life in five short chapters”

  1. Hi Ade

    Thanks for sharing this. I can relate to all three of those moments. I am recently also becoming strongly aware of placing others’ needs before my own.

    So when I see a hole in the sidewalk I will become aware, take a look inside (because I’m nosey) and find something to cover it up with to keep myself safe next time – and also help to keep others safe.

    That way, I can walk over it next time instead of falling in!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share Article

You might also like...