There’s A Hole In My Sidewalk

Today, I had the opportunity to attend my first ever mindfulness conference within my school board.  This I believe is a milestone in the education system.  The size of the audience demonstrated to me, just how much of a presence mindfulness is beginning to have in the lives of parents, educators, mental health workers, children and teens.  We had the privilege of listening to and engaging in conversation with Dr. Amy Saltzman, creator of the Still Quiet Place book and mindfulness program.  One of the most impactful aspects of the day for me was this poem she shared:


There’s A Hole In My Sidewalk: Autobiography In Five Short Chapters ~ 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.


The ‘hole in the sidewalk’ is a metaphor of life. To see our habits as our own may be the realization we need to make a change… and to find another way. We need not keep repeating what holds us back.

Are you currently stuck in a hole?  What’s the next best street?

I love the timing of life.  My poetry unit is beginning this week with my Grade 4 students.  I will undoubtedly be sharing this poem with them and hopefully you will pass it along to the kids in your life too.  As Dr. Saltzman quoted today, “We can prepare the road for our children, or prepare our children to deal with potholes in the road.”  

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  1. I love this as an introduction to a poetry unit! I think it would also be great for elementary guidance and circle time. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I love those ideas too. I hadn’t thought of using it in my community circle. Thanks for the ideas 🙂

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