Stories from Dr. Yukari, Story #19-2, There is a hole in my sidewalk

[ Stories from Dr. Yukari ]

Guided by the hope of St. Nichiren, we continue to work towards a peaceful society. Honolulu Myohoji Mission collaborates with Psychologist Dr. Yukari Kunisue, a trained and experienced therapeutic life coach, to offer a safe online space: Stories from Dr. Yukari



I first heard of Portia Nelson’s poem, There is a Hole in my Sidewalk during a training that was offered to be substance abuse counselors. After my day job ended, I would attend a night class at the community college on Big Island where I was given the opportunity to study with former drug addicts and reverting addicts. 

It wasn’t until then that I realized that there are so many drug abusers in Hawaii. In addition to alcohol, marijuana, crystal meth, or methamphetamine, other addiction are major issues on the islands. I learned that former abusers came in all shapes in sizes and were even regular businessmen, housewives, seniors, college students, or even high school students. My classmates ranged from Asian Americans, local Caucasians, mainland Caucasians, or immigrants from the Pacific Islands. A family member of a teenage addict shared their story which was a comparison to purgatory.

The holes that Portia Nelson mentioned in her poem were often the real-life holes that people fell into at different points of their lives. Despite knowing that the holes were there, they continued to fall in. While some were getting out of the hole, others were looking for another path. When the poem was being read out loud in class, many of my classmates nodded pensively. 

Nelson’s poem is often cited in self-help and psychology books. The poem offers us a tool to reflect on our life on a deeper level. As a struggling Hollywood singer, Nelson often found herself falling into those holes. Drug abusers also fell into these metaphorical holes countless number of times. We can understand that there are holes everywhere in the life journey. We all have to work to avoid falling into the hole on our sidewalks. No matter what your situation may be, there are always ways to get out of the hole and find other sidewalks to venture out on.