Autobiography In Five Short Chapters
Several new clients have said to me recently, ” I wish that I had found you when I was in my 20’s. I could have saved myself a lot of pain and wasted time”
While I love hearing that our time together is powerful, I also know that this statement is not entirely accurate.
See, we are not ready to change and heal until we are. And not one millisecond sooner.
I have seen it time and time again in my own life, and the lives of my clients. We get where we are going right on time. And when we are truly ready, there is no stopping the universe from putting the teachers, healers, mentors, sisters, relationships and catalysts smack on our path.
Until then, not a minute is wasted. We need every ounce of spiritual ass-kicking before we are ready to cry “Uncle”. To surrender. To let go of everything and everyone standing in the way of our growth.
Portia Nelson’s poem, Autobiography In Five Short Chapters, sums this process up for me beautifully!
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 me forever to find a way out.
Ummm…yep. There was the longest time in my journey where I did not even see the hole. Did not even know it was there. Until I fell into it. Hard. Repeatedly. And I had no idea I could get myself out. It was up to someone else to rescue me.
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 the same place. But, it isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.
Did I mention I fell in the hole repeatedly? And let me tell you how pissed off I was at myself that I did because I should have known better. It was the insanity of trying to brow beat and strong arm myself into doing better. But you can’t loathe yourself into self love. It doesn’t work. I just got deeper and more stuck in the hole. It was almost better when I did not know the damn thing existed. At least then, I could plead ignorance.
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. Its a habit. My eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.
Somewhere along the way, I realized that if anyone was going to save myself, it had to be me. I could no longer afford to wait for others to pull me out of the hole by changing their behavior or doing what I wanted them to do.
Clients describe this to me at their first session as their moment of truth. It’s this intuitive knowing, often precipitated by a pivotal, eye-opening event, that their own personal Day of Reckoning has arrived. The time has come to finally stop running away from themselves.
Chapter Four: I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.
YYYAAASSSSS! Oh, the freedom in this! It’s when you end THE toxic relationship, or stand up to your mother for the first time ever, or tell your boss that you will not work overtime without pay anymore. It’s seeing the hole, and choosing differently for yourself because you are worthy of more than being stuck in a deep, dark place.
Chapter Five: I walk down a different street.
To me, this is a huge reason why I do this work with people. The unpacking of story and recovery of self allows people to actually want a different street. And different streets are amazing, They are expansive. They invite possibility. They are creative and filled with new scenery, people and places. Anything can happen on a different street, and it’s exhilarating!
I remember this sense of aliveness and vitality when I discovered there was another way. A novel path that I could forge myself. Nobody else’s footprints were on it but mine. It was uncharted and unprecedented. I did not have to do life the way my family did, or have relationships like I’d had in the past. It was up to me. And man, was it liberating! So it is for my clients. And so it can be for you.
So this is your reminder, love. Wherever you are on your path, you are not wasting time. Even if you are still stepping in the hole.
You are simply preparing to walk with your eyes wide open and your head held high down your different, magnificent street.