Digging Out Of The Hole

© Lorne Craig

The tears are rolling down my cheeks as I convulse with laughter at the recent e-mail from a friend who is working on my new website. I have asked for a status report on my project and the reply comes back as follows: Resistance Autoreply: From the desk of ….. “Thank you for your e-mail. I will be in resistance until Monday February 23, but will return your message once I am back from the state of denial.” I pick up the phone to thank him for my morning smile. “I am digging myself out” he tells me “I’ll be back on my feet soon.” It reminded me of a lovely poem that I frequently refer to in my spiritual coaching work. It’s titled: THERE’S A HOLE IN MY SIDEWALK Autobiography in Five Short Chapters by Portia Nelson. The first chapter goes like this: I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost . . . . I am hopeless. It isn’t my fault. It takes for ever to find a way out. It is such a brilliant analogy of life before we become conscious, and move away from the state of victim. If you find yourself in the same situation again and again and it is never your fault, then you are living the first chapter of the poem. Like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day you repeat the same story over and over without realizing you are stuck. The first step to moving on is awareness. Frequently it takes someone else to help you perceive that you are actually attracting the same situation into your life over and over again. Once we are aware, we move onto the second chapter: 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’m in the same place. But it isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time to get out. This is the stage of denial. Although you are aware of your pattern you aren’t prepared for the conscious work that will result in a shift. It’s easier to pretend the hole isn’t there but of course there is always a rude awakening. This is where a coach or therapist can support you to see your own resistance to changing your behaviour. What unconsciously draws you to repeat over and over an action that no longer serves you? You start to appreciate and take responsibility for your life, which allows you to move to 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. My eyes are open I know where I am It is my fault. I get out immediately. At last you know where you are; you recognize your environment but like a moth drawn into a flame you just can’t find away of avoiding the hole. Now you slowly learn that you actually have choice. Stephen Covey writes in The 8th Habit that “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In those choices lie our growth and our happiness.” Our choice allows us to move to chapter four: I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it. You have learnd to see the problem situation and avoid it. Then a miracle happens. It is my belief that universe sends us the experiences from which we learn our key lessons in life, and once we have practiced sufficiently that we can move on and avoid that aprticular hole in the road. We are ready for chapter five: I walk down another street. At last we no longer confront the hole on a regular basis. We have completed that piece of our soul’s journey and we can move on. We stroll confidently down the new street feeling a sense of pride in our accomplishment. And then it happens; Crash! We fall in a brand new hole: totally unexpected and of course it’s not our fault!

1) I walk down the street

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I fall in.

I am lost . . . . I am hopeless.

It isn’t my fault.

It takes for ever to find a way out.

2) 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’m in the same place.

But it isn’t my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.

3) I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it is there.

I still fall in. . . . its a habit.

My eyes are open

I know where I am

It is my fault.

I get out immediately.

4) I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.

5) I walk down another street.

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