Falling upwards

About three weeks ago I had a chance encounter with a ( I’m searching for the PC term for this…) ah…a ‘human access tunnel’you know, those all commonly occurring cavities in the pavements and roads , rendered so by a covert scrap metal industry and a slack municipal service.

Yes, I fell into an uncovered manhole, on a particularly dark evening abandoned by both celestial and said municipalities electricity services, whilst leaving the home of my ailing step mom who I’d come to visit.

It wasn’t nice.


I’ll spare you the gory details – save to say that I lay on the pavement, writhing in the most excruciating pain whilst strangulating the expletives that were marshaled on my lips – ready to rip but cautioned by a quick glance at my step mom who, herself in pain, was trying valiantly but unsuccessfully to beckon the neighbors to assist.

The sense of isolation and momentary forsakenness served to fuel a gut wrenching primal scream, which I surrendered to, uninhibited , in full glory.

And then from the darkness, as if summonsed by the wail, three figures approached in succession.

One, a shady looking character , who cast a furtive glance in my direction and scanned the belongings that lay scattered all around me…but strode on hurriedly, almost as if frightened by the spectacle. The next , a couple who appeared to be in an intense, animated conversation, their voices dampened by the darkness that shrouded their mutual focus, passed by too, seemingly oblivious to my fall from grace:)

What was striking was that both parties appeared to be unruffled by a figure lying on the pavement and another knocking furiously on the pavement doors.

It was eerily numinous, this whole scene – redolent of archetypes signaling a vision or omen of some sort …portentous and potent enough for me to gather my wits – despite the searing pain – beckon my mom to go inside and shut the door whilst I attempted to stand (and thus confirm no broken bones) and to drive home…alone.

Needless to say, the next few days were marked by a painful hobble.

Whilst the bruising has somewhat abated, the incident continues to plague me as the night seemed to herald a sort of seismic shift in the way I’ve since started examining my life. Indeed, the hematoma that marks its descent down my leg, highlighting new areas of bruising each day, in its quest to finally dissolve and thus demonstrate the body’s remarkable process of healing, has illuminated remarkable insights about the souls journey in reacting to life’s wounds.

True, I had commenced this journey before the fateful event but that fall signaled a firm commitment now, to a path that I may have previously been dithering about.

It was thus with a sense of serendipitous delight that I stumbled upon this poem in a book that has kept me enraptured for the past few weeks i.e. The Middle Passage – from Misery to Meaning in Midlife by James Hollis and which no doubt has afforded me with the appropriate lens to view the recent occurrences in my life…and to walk freely.

So I’m sharing this in the hope that it may resonate with another soul hoping to embark on a similar journey…without necessarily falling into a hole:-)

An Autiobiography in five short chapters by Portia Nelson


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 forever to find a way out.


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.


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.


I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.


I walk down another street.




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