Attempt #2, 2008
Today, Melisa makes a commitment that she will quit smoking for the second time this year. In the years that I have known her, Melisa has been a force of giving to reckon with. Inspired by a ‘feed the hungry’ project we did years ago, she now runs the ongoing Downtown Women’s Center project. Scheming up ideas on what to cook, what the ladies would like to eat and how best to make them feel loved, she inspires the rest of us to cook with her and to show up with our hearts full of giving.
Yet, one thing is hard to understand, how is it that we can care for the welfare of others, while ignoring the welfare of our own selves, Lighting up cigarettes and otherwise inflicting harm upon the one being that we have the most control over.
I examine my own life. Why is it so hard to break free from the things that cause me harm? The same habits, the same attachments, over and over again keep coming back to snatch my happiness. I hear stories of self-mutilators who consciously inflect pain and harm upon their bodies and decide that I too am one among them. Is it a lack of faith that we have in ourselves, that somehow we are unworthy of good things, or are the addictions really just too deep? All I know is that I keep drinking water from the same well, even after knowing that the water has been poisoned. I keep banging my elbow in the same spot over and over again.
Either way, Melisa seems ready, she’s making her conquest public. If you have any words of encouragement for her, please post them. If you have had trouble letting go of something that you knew was not good for you, I know that Melisa (and I) would love to hear from you.