Advertisement

The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

The Definition of Insanity

 

You may have heard it said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. Today I heard an even more succinct translation of that colloquialism. This person who is in recovery from addiction stated, laughing at the irony,  that insanity is knowing what the outcome will be; same as it ever was and making the decision to engage in the self destructive behavior anyway. He wasn’t sure what led him to fall into that  literal and symbolic hole again and again. I wondered as I sat with him about the nature of this learned behavior and what it would take to him make better choices. I often share with my clients this poignant poem written by Portia Nelson:

Advertisement

Autobiography In Five Short Chapters

Chapter I

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.

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 this same place.   But it isn’t my fault.   It still takes a long time to get out.

Advertisement

 Chapter III  

I walk down the same street.   There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.   I see it 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

Advertisement

I walk down another street.

How many times have I walked down the same street, imagining that THIS time, the sidewalk will be nice and smooth, no bumps or pitfalls?  Plenty. I (like all of us) repeat patterns because they are familiar and I think that is the way I am expected to interact with others, or perceive a situation. It is when I reflect on outcome that I am able to honestly assess what is in my best interest. It is that classic ‘fearless and searching moral inventory in 12 step parlance,’ that each of us, regardless of if we are in recovery with which we are called on to engage. I do it every day, asking myself if I have brought the best of who I am into each encounter with a fellow being. Gratefully, mostly I have been able to say a hardy YES! I guess that makes me (relatively) sane.

Previous Posts

A Lunar Legacy
I discovered this morning that a man whose life touched countless others, not merely by virtue of being shot up into outer space in Apollo 14 and land on the moon, but even more importantly, became an explorer of inner space, had died on ...

posted 6:14:48pm Feb. 06, 2016 | read full post »

96% Trusting
Lately, my life has resembled a roller coaster ride that has had me gripping the safety bar with eyes closed as I had a few years ago when I was on the legendary California Scream in Anaheim, during twists and spins that turned me upside down in ...

posted 1:40:26pm Feb. 04, 2016 | read full post »

The Trigger Is The Treasure
"The moment we have an expectation or require anything to make us feel whole and free we have committed it and ourselves to a form of bondage; and in our desire for freedom and liberation we have become its slave."-Erica Taxin Bleznak This ...

posted 10:21:06am Feb. 01, 2016 | read full post »

Masterpiece and Work in Progress
When you think of the word 'masterpiece,' what comes to mind?  Likely a stroll through a museum or art gallery filled with richly hued paintings created by legendary artists such as Renoir and Matisse and marble sculpture carved by ...

posted 9:27:26am Jan. 26, 2016 | read full post »

Being Essential
Snuggled down under covers while white stuff wafts down and sleet taps on my roof. Wind gusts awakened me at 3:33 this morning and blessedly, I was able to go back to sleep and immerse in dreams. I rolled over again at 8:15, grateful that my ...

posted 10:54:41am Jan. 23, 2016 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.