Finding the Balance

I often accuse my husband of not thinking things through. It’s a lame thing to do, because I’m no full-circle thinker, God knows, but I guess it’s easier to point the finger than to look at it wiggling back at you. I tell him he needs to set goals, make plans, move ahead in doing what he wants with life. I harangue and cluck-cluck and just see his blocks so clearly. Of course, I don’t say a word about my issues. Out loud.


I don’t know, I just want to blame things on someone. Much of my life, I’ve felt like there’s invisible plexiglass surrounding me and however I try, I keep running into it. Sure its boundaries may change, but it’s always encircling and resisting me. But for it, I could move ahead. Break free.


And that is such bull. But still, I’m on some sort of track that I can’t jump. And do you remember that self-help passage from Portia Nelson?


Probably, but here it is again:



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 street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend that 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.


And let me clarify. By “moving ahead,” I don’t mean financially, or career-wise. I’m talking enlightenment. I make the same emotional mistakes again and again and do not seem to be taking another street. In quiet moments, like this, I resolve to stop taking the same road, to rise above it if I must, to stop being so angry, so unfulfilled, so uneasy. Because that’s just it. I’m not changing my ways. I want to be a better person, to achieve synchronicity in my life and relationships, to meet my goals, to write that book already, and yet, I fall in holes. And I dug those holes. How’s that for irony? I’m tired of fighting my shadow, and of watching it flit through my fingers just when I think I’ve caught it, calmed it, made it listen to reason.


And it is so surely my fault. Something in me wants to resist change, to do the same things I’ve always done. It’s like that something is a rubberband, or a surveillance ankle bracelet, letting me get only so far, then it snaps or zaps me back to the beginning, as if I never took a step in the first place.




When I worked in Corporate America, I recall starting a project — something messy usually — a brochure or a newsletter from scratch; a deal that required me to conduct interviews, to string words into paragraphs, edit and polish; and I felt sure it’d never come together. But I’d make a call, get some words, massage the copy and the thing that seemed so impossible became a thing that got mailed, that people read, that had artwork and a design, a theme.


If only I could apply those principles to me. To know that one step taken is never subtracted, that there is no back to the beginning. That moving forward can feel like bricks or it can feel like butterflies, but as long as you feel it, as long as you want it, hard or easy, it’s as it should be.


Just words. Those are just words. Action. I crave action. And air moving through this house, and peace settling in my mind, and muscles contracting, and music playing, and doing. I want to be doing.


12 Responses to “Finding the Balance”

  1. Diane says:

    GET OUT OF MY HEAD, Woman!!!

  2. Shelia says:

    Since I’m always doing and that leads me to “jump” into the damn holes, I’m now trying to learn to be. If I can BE different first, then maybe I’ll be able to DO differently too. I really like centering prayer. The book Centering prayer by cynthia bourgeault is a good explanation of how to get centered. I’m still learning how to be, but I like how it feels.

    Sending hugs and love!

  3. Blognut says:

    I totally get this. You are in my head too. I have so much I’m trying to get through that is mostly me, in my head, wrestling with the past rather than living in the present (which is pretty damn good).

  4. MommyTime says:

    This is good, the choosing a new street without potholes. Just be sure you don’t take your old shovel with you down that street, and you will be just fine. You can do it, my friend.

  5. Kizz says:

    This reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend years ago. We were walking our dogs and his wildly exuberant dog went the wrong way around a street sign. It took endless tugging and calling and insisting to get him back to the right side. We concluded that he had no concept of “leash” so couldn’t understand that it was trying to guide him. Then my friend said, “I wonder what the leash equivalent is for us?”

    Ever since I’ve been thinking, “Well, crap, now I wonder too.”

  6. JCK says:

    Me, too. I hear you SO well. You know you can do it. It is just the doing it that is so bloody hard. Sometimes it takes lots of baby steps, and falls, but then you take the walk. Go! We’ve got your back.

  7. Da Goddess says:

    Girlfriend, I am SO sending this to about a million people. I’m also going to print it out (or GASP! write it out by hand) and post it on my mirror in the bathroom.

    It’s awesome. Simply awesome.

  8. that was pretty cool! i’ve often found that, when i actually want to accomplish something – you know, a means to an end – i have not STOP thinking about it for a while and JUST DO IT. if i stew in my own thought juices for too long, i get carried away with other shit.

    (sorry for the Nike quote, but damn those 3 little words say so much.)

  9. i hate “TO” STOP thinking about it for a while. damn typos.


    omg, i’m sorry deb.

  11. tinsenpup says:

    I think of it as 10 steps forward; 9 steps back. I accept it. I embrace it. I look a year back and it is always a wonder how far I’ve come.

  12. […] with my life, and I’d have to answer everything and nothing. I’m out of balance, as I wrote before, and frustrated, and worried, and anxious, and angry, and moody, and flat out of energy. All states […]

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