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The A to Z Guide to Life - Letter 'B'. Monday December 14, 2015

'B' is for 'Biography'. One of the most influential poems I have ever read, is by Portia Nelson. Slightly adapted here for the UK!

Chapter I

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the pavement.
I fall in.
I am lost... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.

Chapter II

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the pavement.
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 pavement.
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.

Chapter IV

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

Chapter V

I walk down another street.

Without doubt, one of the most important lessons we must learn is that we have a larger role to play in writing our life story, our life script, our own drama that we have ever been credited for. This is why Portia Nelson's poem is called, "Autobiography in Five Short Chapters" and not "Biography..."

I realise that, technically, I'm cheating here. Today's blog should be under the letter "A" but my belief is that we all start at the letter "B" as if other people are responsible for writing our biography.

This is understandable given that we have to grow up largely dependent upon others. But maturity is a coming of age rite of passage where we take responsibility for our role in what happens next.

It's a great moment in everyone's life when we each realise that we can go from B to A and take responsibility for the roles we play, the cast we surround ourselves with, the plot we follow, and the happy ending we can work towards. Perhaps this is Life's greatest work.

Is it time to switch roles?

Is it time to change the cast?

Is it time to write in a change of plot?

And what do you really want in the end? What's really most important to you?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Lex Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 4:59am

the room above the garage Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 6:12am

Hello Lex, that poem was influential for me too...first time I realised I could make choices and have depression. Thank you for bringing it to us. I like this A-Z guidebook! Love ratg X.

Lex Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 7:06am

Thanks RATG... my encouragement tanks are on 'Empty' at the moment, so I appreciate that! Time for me to make some choices about the company I keep and write more time into the script for encouragers like you! L'xx

the room above the garage Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 2:42pm

Completely you guard you fiercely and before anything else. The tanks need extra stocks at this time of the year, sleep and nutrition being my top tanks. Saying the word tank is leading me into saying it so much it sounds that game :-D Ah more daft fun...tis a recipe for a head holiday.

Robert Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 7:17am

Someone who always had a freindly ear for my concerns and grumbles once gently asked me what (who) was the common factor in all my life experiences.

Lex Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 7:29am

Might need to lead me a bit further, Robert... Lxx

the room above the garage Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 2:45pm

I guess the common factor is yourself? So your friend was gently guiding you to look at your own part?

Robert Tue, Dec 15th 2015 @ 8:33am

Thats it exactly. A good lesson for me.

Hopeful One Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 8:09am

Hi Lex - a splendid blog, we are the 'masters of our fate and the captains of our soul' to quote from 'Invictus' the well known poem by William Earnest Henley.

But what if we make it B for Breath? This wonderful thing we need to live but also can becomes the focus of meditation as we carry it with us all the time and it costs nothing leading us into mindfulness.

Then Chapter V in the poem by Portia Nelson could be rewritten as

'I walk down the street and realise that there was no hole at all'

For the full story seepage 83 and 84 of Andy Puddicombe's book 'Getsomeheadpace' entitled'The same street'

But enough of that seriousness.

Here are a couple of Tommy Cooperisms to get the endorphins going today.

A guy walks into a pub with a lump of asphalt on his shoulder. He says to the bar man give us a pint and one for the road.

I went to the doctors the other day and I said, 'have you got anything for wind?' So he gave me a kite.

Lex Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 8:18am

Making me grin... bless you for that... and for the links. Lxx

danielle Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 9:34am

HO - that is one of my favourite films and favourite quotes! and of course, a lot of love for your jokes! thank you

the room above the garage Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 2:44pm

HO, you are my light! One for the road... I am actually doing little shoulder shaking at the stupidity. Love it x.

Sally Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 8:16am

I was revisiting Dorothy Rowe 's excellent book Depression: The Way Out of Your Prison the other day, and still find her words to hold true. 20 years on! And this poem, Lex , puts it in a kernel too. Cheers! Always v sound and thought provoking your blogs

Lex Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 8:19am

Thanks Sally... I think we've got some choices to make today. There is a "Way Out"! A good one! Lxx

susan Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 8:53am

Hi Lex. I find it much too easy to ramble around in my particular rut without being truly awake and aware and fully conscious. You've awakened me this morning with your wise words and important questions. Have a good week and know that your blogs are so helpful and much appreciated. Really looking forward to the rest of the alphabet! Xx

Lex Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 10:35am

Thanks Susan. The encouragement and the input of the members of the community like your good self are often the highpoint of my week. You have a good week too. L'xx

susan Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 10:49am

Lex, you asked what the most important thing is. I meant to answer earlier. For me, it is the relationship I have with God, the Universe, Truth, the Light, the Infinite...whatever you wish to call it. That relationship dictates the one I have with myself. And the one with self dictates the quality of all other relationships. So being spiritually in tune is my most fundamental need. I figure if it's right, everything else falls into place, making it easier to change roles or switch the cast, etc when necessary. Go well and thanks again. xx

danielle Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 9:38am

Hi Lex, another great blog which comes at a poignant time for me. Last week was rather dire and led me to having thoughts along the lines of 'what is the point' and 'if this is how miserable life is then i dont want it' - i thought of terrible things but luckily no actions were taken. After a lovely weekend where I felt happy for the first time in ages I realised that life doesnt need to be clouded by the horrible anxiety and depression. I chatted to my OH last night and told him how terrible last week was and how I didnt realise how bad it was until I felt happy and had that comparison. I have decided to take the plunge and visit the GP again for some medication. something I have resisted until now but if it could make the difference and mean I am happier more then why not? my happiness is important to me and whats more I am scared I may feel like I did last week or possibly worse and do something about it next time - I dont want this as at the weekend i found myself thinking how wonderful life could be and so glad i didnt follow the urge. Definitely in need of this change of plot, I am taking control and this awful disease isnt ruling me anymore. xxxx

susan Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 10:41am

Hi Danielle, it sounds like last week was just ragingly awful for you with all those terrifying thoughts. So sorry! Glad you've made this decision to give meds a try. That is a strength move--you are taking control. They won't mean that life will always be wonderful, of course, but hopefully will help keep you from the abyss. Let us know how you get on. xx

Lex Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 10:41am

Dearest Danielle, I'm so glad the weekend gave you a different perspective, and that you are taking action to prevent feeling that low again. Is there a chance that you can have some uninterrupted time when you can let your inner creative child do some future-scaping? This is where you let your imagination run free with the thought, "What if there were no limitations, and what if I wasn't afraid? If this were true, what would I attempt then?" It's fantasy, but it's a good one. It might help you work towards that script changes. L'xx

danielle Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 11:41am

Susan, it wasnt pleasant. I have resisted meds so far - but when thinking about it i dont really know why. I have tried 2 lots of CBT and whilst it works at the time I feel myself slipping afterwards. I have the end result of more happy times in mind, so does it really matter how I get there - I will keep you posted, thank you for the kind

danielle Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 11:42am

Lex, thank you. That certainly sounds like a worthwhile exercise I will give it a go :) you are always so full of wisdom and support, thank you xxx

the room above the garage Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 2:48pm

Danielle, although I don't do the meds (have done 2/3 times though), I'm of the opinion that "whatever gets you through" at that point, IS the right thing. You can edit this later, go with your instinct and get thee to the GP. Your mind has taken you there for a reason. Keep us posted xxx.

Hopeful One Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 5:39pm

Hi Danielle- so sorry to read that you found yourself in that dark place. But look you thought it out and realised it was not the right solution for a TEMPORARY problem. That is a BIG plus for you. I too once asked 'what is the point' and 'if this is how miserable life is then I don't want it' The answer for me was 'True there is no point - the point is the point that I give life'. So I took on activities that seemed to suggest a point- learning to paint and sing (point gaining a new skill),just doing things ( point I was making use of my time on this planet), go out and meet people ( point I am not an island but part of a greater main). So see if you can find some points that make sense to you no matter how small for they are yours. Perhaps CBT is not for you. Have you tried person centred therapy?The way you were feeling suggests you definitely need the meds to stabilise the brain chemistry because until that happens no 'talking therapy' can get a look in..

Paul Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 11:02am

Excellent blog Lex the audio version is superb with the music between sentences spot on, must have taken you ages to do that. Many thanks Lex
I have been falling down the same hole for years always worse this time of year. We could do with some concrete to fill the hole in.

I will also finish in a daft joke as they help me when low.
My overweight sister in law went to Africa to help starving children. She helped a whole village, we got a letter of thanks back from that village they said she was delicious!


Lex Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 11:27am

Hi Paul, that joke tasted terrible - I loved it! Reminded me of the two cannibals eating a clown. One says to the other, "Does this taste funny to you?" Bad taste! Thank you for the encouragement on the audio. Yes it takes a lot of time, and I was questioning the value. But I believe with all my heart that spoken is more powerful than written on some occasions. Give that we can do both, there's a real opportunity to meet the need for more than just a preference for the written word. You've made my day... now, go find some quick setting cement so you can fill up those holes so that others don't fall down, then, go, walk down another street! I'll meet you in the Cafe half way down on the right hand side - the sunny side of the street!!! L'xx

The Gardener Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 2:06pm

The hole in my pavement is swallowing me. Mr G came out of hospital 10 days ago - I have not had a night's sleep since - between 6 and 10 times a night he wakes me. All sorts of excuses, mostly to pee - every hour? Nothing wrong with waterworks. I am not filling in forms - nearly falling over w

Lex Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 2:39pm

Sometimes it takes 'time' Dear G... wish you lived nearer... our thoughts are with you Lxx

the room above the garage Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 2:51pm

I hope I'm not posting bluntly, I'm just rushing through... Is it possible that to have any type of life together, you need to consider having a life in different homes? The strain on you must be immense. I remember the lack of sleep from having tiny babies destroyed my ability to think or plan. Keep talking TG. X

oliver Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 4:56pm

we also fall in holes but we can learn to go around the holes in our live. i think the holes in live are also some things we do every month the same. Sometimes we hurt others, or are inattentive to small things,
so these are also holes with which we must deal

Lex Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 10:10pm

I agree, Oliver. Sometimes is little, regular holes, that spoil the day. We can be attentive to those too. Excellent point. L'xx

The Gardener Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 5:00pm

Got disturbed - a very cheerful friend arrived, most welcome - her mother is at about the same stage as Mr G but not so demanding. The daughter who was scared of seeing her Dad again after 11 months came - what a tonic - like her mum a bit of a rusher around (she has taken over my role in our business) full of enthusiasm - looked at my plans, encouraged them, added helpful additions - great with her Dad - but also very concerned with what I was going through - did not realise till she experienced it in the same house how stultifying and restricting life is. The lack of sleep is actually making me ill - bad mistakes, even stumbling - dread nights - no suggestions work. Took daughter to airport - returned, no builders, land-line phone silent, mobile won't work with our thick walls - hence feeling in a big hole. Cannot remember when I had a cheerful word from Mr G - part character - hyper-critical pre illness, now nothing is ever right. There is some hope - he is physically much stronger, has a very safe 'walker' on wheels (all bottoms of walls need re-painting) and I firmly get on with things in other rooms. Still lose my rag (in my head) with people who say 'you must have a life', it is a pipe-dream - make the best of what you have - danger is clinging to really unselfish friends as Mr G clings to me. But they have the answer, they need not come!

Frankie Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 5:55pm

Evening dear Gardener; would it help to imagine Mr. G in happier times and what he would say to you now in your position? As we watched my beloved mother-in-law fading in her nursing home (over five years - first anniversary just past) never getting any recognition or conversation, the one thing that kept me going was the strong belief that the person she used to be would have been horrified to see the person she had become; can you get any carers in to help ease your load? Even if only for a couple of hours a day ...? Once again I salute your determination to "get on with things" .... Frankie

Frankie Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 5:55pm

Love this Lex - thank-you!
Frankie x

Lex Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 10:12pm

L'xx Coffee again soon, I hope!

LillyPet Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 11:32pm

Hey Lex, I like the re writing of your story! I have a story that I'm reliving at the moment! I've noticed that I've comef

LillyPet Mon, Dec 14th 2015 @ 11:39pm

Whoops! Sorry pressed send too soon!
I've come a different route this time though, I'm more calm and feel more in control of what happens to me and it feels good! LP :) xx

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