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 me forever to find a way out.

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.

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

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

V
I walk down another street.

by Portia Nelson

 

A mindfulness classic, this one. It came to mind last week as a friend shared some exasperation about repeating habitual patterns in stressful situations: “I thought Krishnamurti said that the seeing is the doing! Why is this popping up again and again?!”

Much could be said about that, in fact Krishnamurti himself has said it several times and in different contexts (for example when speaking about the art of listening, here).

But it seems to be very human to fall into the same hole several times (as Dianne Reeves sings about in The First Five Chapters) and the sooner we can smile at ourselves for falling in yet again, the faster we can get out again… and find ourselves in another street.

kristine