autobiography in five short chapters by portia nelson

Poem: “An Autobiography in Five Chapters” by Portia Nelson

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autobiography in five short chapters by portia nelson

Portia Nelson survived breast cancer in the 1970s, a time when being diagonsed with cancer was a death knell.  She also survived throat and tongue cancer (thought to be caused by years spent singing in smoky cabaret and night clubs) in the early 1990s only to succumb to it later in 2001.

I hope you enjoy the simplicity and staightforward tone and wisdom of her poem as much as I do.  Ms. Nelson sure knew what she was talking about!

An Autobiography in Five Chapters by Portia Nelson

Chapter 1 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 2 I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the side walk. 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 3 I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I 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 4 I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.

Chapter 5 I walk down a different street.

___________________________________________________

Angela Loëb helps people rediscover and use their gifts so they bring who they are to what they do in life. http://about.me/angelarloeb ___________________________________________________

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  • Autobiography 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 helpless. It isn't my fault. It takes me 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 am 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.

Copyright (c) 1993, by Portia Nelson from the book There's A Hole in My Sidewalk. Reproduced with kind permission from Beyond Words Publishing, Hillsboro, Oregon.

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Autobiography in Five Short Chapters – Portia Nelson

  • Words of Wonder
  • Autobiography in Five Short Chapters…

autobiography in five chapters

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 me forever to find a way out.

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.

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. my eyes are open I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.

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

V I walk down another street.

by Portia Nelson

A mindfulness classic, this one. It came to mind last week as a friend shared some exasperation about repeating habitual patterns in stressful situations: “I thought Krishnamurti said that the seeing is the doing! Why is this popping up again and again?!”

Much could be said about that, in fact Krishnamurti himself has said it several times and in different contexts (for example when speaking about the art of listening, here ).

But it seems to be very human to fall into the same hole several times (as Dianne Reeves sings about in The First Five Chapters ) and the sooner we can smile at ourselves for falling in yet again, the faster we can get out again… and find ourselves in another street.

kristine

Author:  Kristine Mackenzie-Janson

Kristine has been practising Tibetan Buddhism since 2000, and spent four years working and practising meditation on Holy Isle, Scotland. She has trained extensively with Rob Nairn and has been teaching mindfulness and compassion as a lead tutor for the Mindfulness Association since its early days. She offers eight week courses and drop-in sessions near her home in Edinburgh and mindfulness supervision both in person and by phone. Kristine is also a qualified art therapist, having earned her BA (Hons) degree in 2004 at the Hogeschool Leiden in Holland.

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Poem – Autobiography in Five Chapters by Portia Nelson

Jane 24 Comments

October 29, 2012

autobiography in five short chapters by portia nelson

The following poem or short story – Autobiography in Five Chapters by Portia Nelson reminds me about gift of life and how sometimes we are just not paying attention or are living life on auto-pilot . The beauty is – it can be changed.

If you liked this poem, feel free to have a look at these as well –

  • I’d Pick more Daisies
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24 comments.

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This is by Sogyal Rinpoche from the Book of Living and Dying.

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Thanks LeeAnne – I’ve seen it in several places. Thanks for letting me know – not sure who the ‘original’ author is 🙂

[…] — Portia Nelson […]

[…] Even with education, prepping, and movement, we can slip backinto the deep ruts of habit. For example, after we broke through the sheetrock, watched more videos, adjusted our strategy…there were occasions that it still happened. It is the same with our self-growth. Even when we know better, even when we have strategies, we can slip back into the deep ruts of habit. (My favorite poem about habits.) […]

[…] Autobiography in Five Chapters […]

[…] you like this poem – you may also like Autobiography in Five Chapters If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting! Poems, […]

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Portia nelson: "autobiography in five short chapters".

autobiography in five short chapters by portia nelson

1 comment :

An oldie - but always a goodie. It hit me right in the face.

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Exploring Life’s Journey: An Analysis Of “Autobiography In Five Short Chapters”

  • September 12, 2023

Table of Contents:

  • Autobiography and Life's Journey in Five Short Chapters

Chapter 1: Embracing Imperfections and Learning

Chapter 2: unveiling patterns and cultivating self-awareness, chapter 3: embracing change and liberation, chapter 4: navigating challenges and building resilience, chapter 5: the epitome of inner peace and self-acceptance, the unveiling: understanding the metaphor.

  • Is "Autobiography In Five Short Chapters" a literal autobiography?
  • How can I observe the classes from the poem to my life's journey?

Can everyone attain self-attractiveness and boom?

Key characteristics and profound details.

In the vast expanse that is human life’s journey, there could surely be a tangled web of events that come together to mold the way that we see the world and the way that we think about existence. Learning about oneself is among the most important things we can accomplish. It is a process with no beginning or end permeating all we do.

In the article “Autobiography in Five Short Chapters” by Portia Nelson, existence is portrayed as a symbolic road map that directs us through the intricate labyrinth of personal development.

Autobiography and Life’s Journey in Five Short Chapters

As we take our first steps into the story of ‘Autobiography in Five Short Chapters,’ we face a harsh but freeing truth: Life is a complex fabric made from errors and incorrect turns, much like the intricate plots we explore in The Best Horror Books of All Time .

This chapter is indeed a powerful lesson. Our flaws are not marks on our adventure, they are, as Memoir Writing Services would suggest, the very essence that makes our stories worth telling. Alternatively, steps that help us develop. Life’s journey has its share of incorrect turns, like when a traveler takes a detour they didn’t expect.

Therefore, in this chapter, we are informed no longer to run far away from those times but to simply accept them.

Doing this lets us discover the precious training that includes every mistake. By admitting our weaknesses, we make room for progress that modifications us in profound methods, a journey well understood by the experts at Book Editing company .

As the story moves into the second phase, it evolves to talk about the complex styles that make up our lives. Just as nature has its rhythms to which it moves, so do our movements and selections observe clean patterns. To see these developments, you need to have a variety of self-focus, which moves us toward the heart of authenticity, a theme deeply explored in the article Understanding the Genre and Its Significance .

In this part, the focus is on noting what we do and how we reply to it.

By bringing these habitual topics into the mind, we benefit from the power to break out of loops that are not supporting us in development. As we start this path of self-discovery, we are reminded that self-recognition is the compass that guides us toward a Life’s journey that is in step with our innermost truths.

The 1/3 chapter is about accepting change, an effective reminder that it will always be a part of our lives. Holding directly to horrific conduct and situations that prevent us from growing is an antique trap that greatly slows us down.

The poem offers clean advice: to grow and exchange, you must shed the garments of the beyond and step boldly into the brand new, echoing the transformative journeys found in Best Non-Fiction Adventure Books .

This idea goes to the heart of what it means to change as a person, which has loads to do with letting move of what is thought. Getting freed from awful habits, no matter how comfortable they are, takes a formidable act of braveness that moves us toward a vibrant destiny complete of opportunities.

Challenges and setbacks are like habitual topics in the complex tapestry. This is existence. In the fourth phase, we discover ways to build resilience, a tree’s capacity to reinforce its roots to stand up to storms. When facing troubles in our lifestyles, our power facilitates us to discern a way to bend without breaking.

The tree photo indicates how we can address troubles and pop out of them higher.

This phase tells us that, just like a tree’s roots go deep to find food, we need to build up our inner electricity to get beyond issues that would get in the way of our adventure.

In the center of the ultimate phase is the goal of our journey: to locate inner peace and take delivery of ourselves.

The story in this chapter is an ode to the deep change that comes from self-love and understanding. Self-compassion is sort of a street that ends in inner peace. Each brick breaks down the partitions of self-judgment and grievance.

As those partitions fall, we step into the brilliant light of welcome. That’s an area in which boom occurs naturally. This chapter shows us how crucial it is to be genuine to ourselves, a concept also central to the process of Writing Your Life Story . It tells us that if we do, we can stay full of concord, authenticity, and constant boom.

“Autobiography in Five Short Chapters” is more than only a bunch of phrases. It is a mirror that suggests how each person grows and adjusts. As the primary man or woman receives through these elements, so can we get through the winding roads of lifestyles.

Each chapter suggests how our choices, challenges, and modifications work collectively in a complicated show, much like the layered storytelling found in Classic Books to Read at Least Once in Your Lifetime . It tells us that our lives aren’t perfect, that there are patterns that matter change, that we should be sturdy, and that the ultimate goal is to discover inner peace. This piece of literature has always been in high regard of Ghostwriting Founder; that’s how you can know its importance, much like the impactful narratives crafted through Content Development Services .

Is “Autobiography In Five Short Chapters” a literal autobiography?

No, it’s a symbolic poem with the help of Portia Nelson that symbolizes private growth and self-discovery.

How can I observe the classes from the poem to my life’s journey?

By embracing the concept that errors, alternate, and self-focus are all a part of a transformative journey.

Yes, those are accepted aspirations and potential through introspection and a willingness to study.

We are the creators of our memories inside the large picture of existence. As we study the deep thoughts in “Autobiography in Five Short Chapters,” we must listen to its recommendations.

Accept your journey’s errors, traits, changes, sturdiness, and inner peace. Hence, accept your character components with open arms; through them, you can create a story that is uniquely yours. This story is going to the coronary heart of what it is to be human.

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Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

  • Posted on: February 28, 2013

The following story, “Autobiography in Five Short Chapters,” is something that we tend to use with clients going through a variety of tricky issues. How does it apply to your life?

Autobiography 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 helpless. It isn’t my fault. It takes me 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 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. 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.

Copyright (c) 1993, by Portia Nelson from the book There’s A Hole in My Sidewalk. Reproduced with kind permission from Beyond Words Publishing, Hillsboro, Oregon.

Going through some tricky issues? We can be of assistance! You can contact us to make a counseling appointment or read about adult counseling . If you liked this post, you can read How to Journal for Therapy and The Two Wolves .

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AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN 5 CHAPTERS

I walk down the street. there is a deep hole in the sidewalk., i am lost … i am helpless. it isn’t my fault. it takes me 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 am in the same place., but it isn’t my fault. it still takes a long time to get out., 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 around it., i walk down another street..

Portia Nelson was a woman with many talents. She was a singer, songwriter, poet, actress, pianist, painter, and photographer. She was most famous for her appearances in the prestigious, award-winning 1950s cabarets. She has performed in all major cities like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Europe. Her graceful figure and beautiful features matched perfectly to her elegant repertoire in silvery soprano, flawless diction, and intimacy. Portia’s first film role was Sister Berthe in the famous movie The Sound of Music (1965) which set a trend and she got cast again for a nun role in a couple of movies. Her longest-running role was on television where she played nanny Mrs. Gurney in the show “ All My Children ”. Her well-known poem, “ Autobiography in Five Short Chapters ”, became a backbone of twelve-step programs used by various self-help groups and psychotherapists.

Early Life: Portia Nelson was named Betty Mae Nelson by her parents. Youngest of nine children, she was born in Brigham City, Utah. Her parents were Danish descendant and were Mormons. Portia quit college in 2 years and moved to Los Angeles seeking a career in music.

Notable achievements : If ever someone wrote Portia Nelson biography you will find how multi-talented she was. She had an amazing career as a cabaret singer, music arranger, theatre artists, writer, and actress. However, the most notable cultural achievement was her milestone book, There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk. Portia Nelson poems from the book were later turned into Broadway musicals. It was presented in the prestigious York Theatre in Manhattan. Portia Nelson Autobiography in Five Short Chapters became one of the highly popular self-help writing of all time.

Later Life : Portia dedicated her later life to writing songs and poems. In early 2001, she was honored at a MAC/ASCAP Songwriters’ Showcase in New York. Nelson was a two-time Cancer survivor. First diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 1973 and in the early 90s, she was diagnosed with tongue and throat cancer. In 2001 her cancer recurred, and she finally lost the battle. She died in her New York apartment in March 2001. Upon her request, her ashes were spread at Kolob Canyons in Utah.

Portia Nelson quotes from her poem “Autobiography in Five Short Chapters” are used by various psychotherapists and motivational speakers, which will live forever.

Portia Nelson Quotes

Autobiography in five short chapters pdf download.

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  • Inspirational Quotes

Meaning of Autobiography in Five Short Chapters by Portia Nelson

"Autobiography in Five Short Chapters" by Portia Nelson is a poem/song that explores the journey of self-discovery and personal growth through a metaphorical representation of a person's life. The song consists of five short chapters, each describing a different stage of the narrator's life when they encounter the same hole on a street.

In Chapter One, the narrator falls into a deep hole and feels lost and hopeless, unable to find their way out. This chapter symbolizes a time when the narrator may have faced a difficult situation in their life with no sense of direction.

In Chapter Two, the narrator walks down the same street and falls into the same hole, but this time, they choose to ignore it. This chapter signifies the common human trait of repeating the same mistakes and not learning from past experiences, which leaves the narrator feeling hopeless yet again.

In Chapter Three, the narrator becomes more aware of their actions and realizes that they keep falling into the same hole out of habit. They acknowledge their fault and take steps to get out of the hole immediately. This chapter depicts personal growth and self-awareness in the narrator.

In Chapter Four, the narrator has learned from their past experiences and chooses to walk around the hole instead of falling into it. This stage symbolizes the narrator's decision to break away from old habits and take control of their life.

Finally, in Chapter Five, the narrator chooses a different path and walks down another street. This chapter represents the final stage of the narrator's journey toward self-discovery and personal growth, where the narrator has moved on and is ready for new experiences and opportunities.

Overall, "Autobiography in Five Short Chapters" is a metaphorical journey of personal growth and self-discovery, where the narrator learns to overcome obstacles, break away from old habits, and make positive choices for their life.

This meaning interpretation was written by AI. Help improve it with your feedback

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COMMENTS

  1. PDF Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

    Autobiography in Five Short Chapters . 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. II. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I still don't see it. I fall in again. I can't believe I am in the same place ...

  2. Poem: "An Autobiography in Five Chapters" by Portia Nelson

    Ms. Nelson sure knew what she was talking about! An Autobiography in Five Chapters by Portia Nelson. Chapter 1 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 2 I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the side walk.

  3. PDF Autobiography in Five Short Chapters by Portia Nelson "There's a Hole

    Autobiography in Five Short Chapters . by Portia Nelson "There's a Hole in My Sidewalk" Chapter One. 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 Two. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the ...

  4. Autobiography in Five Short Chapters by Portia Nelson

    Autobiography in Five Short Chapters - I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. Autobiography in Five Short Chapters. By Portia Nelson. 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.

  5. PDF Autobiography in 5 Short Chapters

    Autobiography in 5 Short Chapters by Portia Nelson act I I walk, down the street, there is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in… I am helpless… It isn't my fault… It takes forever to find a way out. act 2 I walk, down the street, there is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend that I don't see it. I fall in again.

  6. Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

    Kristine is also a qualified art therapist, having earned her BA (Hons) degree in 2004 at the Hogeschool Leiden in Holland. Autobiography in Five Short Chapters - Portia Nelson - Words of Wonder - 1 I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk I fall in. I am lost ... I am helpless.

  7. Autobiography In Five Short Chapters by Portia Nelson

    7 books45 followers. Follow. Portia Nelson was a true renaissance woman: author, singer, composer, lyricist, painter, photographer, and actress. She has appeared in such films as The Sound of Music, Dr. Doolittle, The Trouble with Angels, and The Other, and she appeared on the television soap opera, All My Children, as Mrs. Gurney for many years.

  8. PDF Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

    AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN FIVE SHORT CHAPTERS by Portia Nelson Chapter One I walk down a street There is a deep hole in the sidewalk I fall in I am helpless It isn't my fault It takes me forever to find a way out Chapter Two I walk down the same street There is a deep hole in the sidewalk

  9. An Autobiography in 5 Chapters

    An Autobiography in 5 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 me 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.

  10. PDF "Autobiography in Five Short Chapters" (aka "The Hole")

    "Autobiography in Five Short Chapters" (aka "The Hole") by Portia Nelson Chapter 1 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 2 I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don't see it.

  11. PDF Autobiography in Five Chapters Portia Nelson

    Autobiography in 5 Short Chapters by Portia Nelson is a poem from her book There's a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery Autobiography in Five Short Chapters . Title: Autobiography in Five Chapters Portia Nelson Created Date: 6/11/2021 11:40:54 PM ...

  12. Poem

    The following poem or short story - Autobiography in Five Chapters by Portia Nelson reminds me about gift of life and how sometimes we are just not paying attention or are living life on auto-pilot.The beauty is - it can be changed. ONE I walk down the street There is a deep hole in the sidewalk I fall in.

  13. An Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

    This poem by Portia Nelson reveals the importance of living intentionally, constantly learning and growing, and how failure is part of the journey.

  14. Portia Nelson

    Portia Nelson (born Betty Mae Nelson; May 27, 1920 - March 6, 2001) was an American popular singer, songwriter, actress, and author. ... One of her poems, "Autobiography in Five Short Chapters", went on to become a highly popular self-help and recovery text. The ...

  15. Portia Nelson: "Autobiography in Five Short Chapters"

    Portia Nelson: "Autobiography in Five Short Chapters" Stephen Levine: "Half Life" Janine Pommy Vega: "Which Side Are You On?" Nina Corwin: "What Morning Looks Like" Nura Yingling: "Step Six and Step Seven" D. H. Lawrence: "Maximus" Izumi Shikibu: Untitled ["Although the Wind"] Edgar Lee Masters: "111. Ernest Hyde" Laura Davies Foley: "The Offering"

  16. PDF AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN FIVE SHORT CHAPTERS

    AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN FIVE SHORT CHAPTERS by Portia Nelson 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 me forever to find a way out. 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.

  17. Exploring Life's Journey: An Analysis Of "Autobiography In Five Short

    In the article "Autobiography in Five Short Chapters" by Portia Nelson, existence is portrayed as a symbolic road map that directs us through the intricate labyrinth of personal development. Autobiography and Life's Journey in Five Short Chapters. Chapter 1: Embracing Imperfections and Learning

  18. Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

    by 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 me 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 ...

  19. Autobiography in Five Short Chapters: a poem by Portia Nelson

    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. Source: Portia Nelson, There's a Hole in My Sidewalk, Simon and Schuster , 21/02/2012, accessed via Google Books on 15 July 2018.

  20. Autobiography in Five Short Chapters, Portia Nelson

    Autobiography in Five Short Chapters by Portia Nelson (https://veeroes.com/autobiography-in-five-short-chapters/). This short poem is about Habits. A person ...

  21. PDF Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

    Autobiography in Five Short Chapters ~ Portia Nelson ~ Chapter 1 I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. ... Chapter 5 I walk down another street. FREE AT LAST! PERFECTION, PEOPLE . Author: PudiRest Created Date: 11/11/2014 6:56:51 PM ...

  22. Autobiography in Five Short Chapters, Portia Nelson Poem

    Her well-known poem, " Autobiography in Five Short Chapters ", became a backbone of twelve-step programs used by various self-help groups and psychotherapists. Portia Nelson was named Betty Mae Nelson by her parents. Youngest of nine children, she was born in Brigham City, Utah. Her parents were Danish descendant and were Mormons.

  23. Meaning of Autobiography in Five Short Chapters by Portia Nelson

    Portia Nelson. May 22, 2023. "Autobiography in Five Short Chapters" by Portia Nelson is a poem/song that explores the journey of self-discovery and personal growth through a metaphorical representation of a person's life. The song consists of five short chapters, each describing a different stage of the narrator's life when they encounter the ...