walking down the street

hole in sidwalkThis is one of my all-time favorite stories on self-discovery.  Sometimes it is easier to understand concepts when they are told in the form of a story.  I often think of this when I am learning new things about myself.  It helps me to see where I am in the process.


Autobiography in Five Short Chapters
by Portia Nelson

Chapter One

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.

Chapter Two

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.

Chapter Three

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 open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter Four

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter Five

I walk down another street.

It is amazing when that day arrives and you can clearly see the hole in the sidewalk and consciously make the choice to walk down another street.

Yours in transformation,




sun and cloudsThere have been times in my life when I have felt like I was in the zone.  You know the feeling.  It’s when everything seems to flow with ease and time has no meaning.  The zone is always a fleeting place to be, yet great importance is placed on being there.  It is associated with happiness and pleasure.  When outside the zone, I seem to lose my perspective, my sense of where I am going. How is it possible to be so on in one moment of my life and so off the next?   I used to feel uncomfortable during those “off” periods of time, afraid that I would never find my way again, but I have learned to trust that each moment has meaning, one is not better than the other.

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moments of perfection

Yesterday I turned 53 years old.  I woke up to an empty house, brewed some delicious coffee, a.k.a. nectar of life, and commenced my morning sit.  For me a perfect morning is one in which I can spend some time just sitting still in the morning.  Sometimes, I’ll sit and listen to what is going on inside me and other times I will get some light work done on my computer.  Either way, it is a delight and puts me in a good space for the rest of the day.  On my birthday morning, I was pleasantly greeted by two emails from people that I don’t hear from very often, one almost ever.  It was such a treat to receive such nice words and birthday wishes so early in the day.

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checked out

While sitting at my desk today, a co-worker came by and held up a large canister of assorted miniature candy bars and offered me a snack.  I held up my hand and declined.  I then went on to explain my recent quest to lose weight and the changes I’ve made to my diet to assist me in reaching my goal.  I took a bite out of the carrot I brought for lunch.

While chewing the carrot, I noticed and odd feeling and did a quick check-in with my self.  I realized that a multitude of emotions were flowing through me:  anger, resentment, frustration, boredom, deprivation, emptiness, and anxiety (to name a few).  Could this be withdrawal I’m going through?  I missed eating, the instant “ahh” sensation that happens when I put a favorite food in my mouth, and feeling satiated.  I was suffering and I didn’t like it.

I’d like to tell you now that I am no stranger to the process of withdrawal.  I have quit alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, and coffee before.  I understand the feeling of intense want, when all you do is think about the substance you crave.  I know that it comes and goes like a wave.  I know the agitation, the obsession, and the searching for relief.  Food has become a substance that I crave.  It offers me a way for me to check out, to dull my emotions when they become overwhelming.  Stuffing food = stuffing feelings.  Now what?

Food is something that we all need.  It is not something I can give up like alcohol or other abused substances.  It doesn’t work on an all-or-nothing plan.  It’s far easier for me to give up something altogether than it is to moderate.  Moderation has never been one of my strengths.  I have known for a long time that food has been an issue for me, but what I felt that day really opened my eyes, like another step up in my level of awareness.  It became clearer than ever.  I believe that we are all capable of making changes in our lives when the time is right, that we have to live all the mistakes necessary for us to learn the lesson.  I know that I not only have to make healthier food choices, but also find a different way to deal with my emotions.  Knowing that feels overwhelming, but I only have to do this one day at a time.  Being present in life requires attention.  Time spent using substances and checking out is a waste of your life’s time.

What are some of the ways you check out of your life?  What could you accomplish with that wasted time?  Next time you go there, notice the feelings and understand the emotions behind them.  Until we become aware of what is driving us, we will continue on the same road.

Yours in discovery and transformation,