It’s all my fault

Nearly seven years ago I went on my very first (and only) mindfulness retreat.  As part of the weekend I met, fell in love with and then married my now wife, Kay. 

Okay, we didn’t get married that weekend, but you get the idea! 

Recently, Kay reminded me of a poem we read on that weekend as part of a meditation that I had forgotten about.  In fact, I probably didn’t even register it at the time.  My life was in chaos.  I’d closed my business, lost a relationship, Josie was living in Cornwall and my Dad had fallen ill for the last time. 

It was a time of upheaval, uncertainty, fear, and change.  I wasn’t the person I am today, and I certainly didn’t recognise the truth in the poem.   

Everything that is happening to us feels like it’s uncontrollable and chaotic.  It’s easy to live in denial, apportion blame and make excuses for things you can’t do.   

It’s also easy to take responsibility for what you can control, take ownership of your decisions past and present and hold yourself to account (kindly) for your part in being in the situation you’re in. 

This poem articulates all of this.  You may not “get it” (I didn’t), you may get it but think it doesn’t apply to you, or you may recognise yourself in it. 

Whatever your viewpoint, it’s yours alone. 

I hope you enjoy it: 

There’s a hole in my sidewalk by Portia Nelson 

Chapter 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. 

Chapter II 

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. 

Chapter III 

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 IV 

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

Chapter V 

I walk down another street. 



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