Be the Cause

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.


  • Sukh

    To amp up her commitment, Melisa registered for a 10K marathon:

  • Cheryl

    For Dear Melisa (from an email I sent yesterday),
    Bless your heart! You go girl! I don’t know you well, but hope you don’t mind me saying, I’m so very proud of you and so happy for you! It’s such a great thing you are doing for yourself. Bless your precious heart!
    With love and blessings and tons of support,

  • Cheryl, me again!!

    Now my comment on dear Sukhy’s blog,
    What I keep thinking of is the version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on youtube that has been played over 9 million times. It has very beautiful pictures and “What a Wonderful World” is sandwiched in…quite soothing to hear and view.

    But my first love is Dorothy singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in the “Wizard of Oz”, also on youtube. And what I think is that we have all felt something like that one way or another, especially as children, and especially as adults, because our little, inner child is still there…and maybe it’s the little child in all us just needing so much to be loved that sometimes causes us to do stuff that’s not in our best interests (because why?, heck sages have bantered that about forever practically); but then sometimes we unfortunately, unwittingly hurt someone else, sometimes very badly…all so sad. You know what I think, we just all need to love and be loved; we are all created from love, it’s just all about warm, fuzzy love…okay group hug, feel the love. : ) : )
    So one more thing, I really appreciate Sukh’s and Melisa’s bravery…okay so now what I’m thinking is “Lion King.” Y’all, we all, can be courageous and strong and with help from individuals like Rafiki we can be the best we can be in this “wonderful world”…yeah. May I also recommended, Louis Armstrong’s version of “A Wonderful World”…(also on youtube)…okay time for another group hug, feel the love : ) : ) and have a blessed day full of love for yourself and one another… : )

  • gianna

    Melisa! I looked up the 10k info…end of August! I’ll see if I can join u! Girl, u are so brave and special and I wanted to share these song lyrics with you…that remind me of how we all have stuff to conquer in our lives:

    Braided Hair by 1 Giant Leap and Nineh Cherry

    Chorus: We’ve all got things that are hanging about
    Things that make us cool,
    Things that make us whack,
    Things that make us mad
    Things we wish we never had done
    But they’re just the things that make us real
    Not the maps to guide where we go from here
    The road twists and braids our hair
    Until we all get there

    Now…can you help me get off the Iced tea?? :) I’ve cut down to one a day…so that’s good. That’s just what I’m dealing with today…

    Love ya, girl!!! I’m cheering for u!!! :)

  • Sonali

    Yeah, addictions in general are funny things. I cant tell you how many times I’ve intended to change course, quit, stop the habitual patterns of my life. They may seem harmless at first, but the chronic, compulsive, start/stop fixations itself is what causes me ultimate harm. I mean, there’s a reason they call it Doritos & not Dorito.

    Melisa, I am with you my dear friend – more than you know. Go Melisa!!!!!!!!!!

  • Hey Melisa! YOU CAN DO IT! I am so proud of you for taking this step to better your life…and for taking even more steps in completing a 10k. Which 10k are you doing? I am going to be running in the Nike Human Race 10k on August 31st. I blog about my running experiences on

  • When I need to break my self out of bad habits I always think of the phrase “Mind over Matter”

    F[orget] the cancer sticks.

    The best advice for overcoming addictions I’ve heard is to train yourself to ask yourself a question like “is this in my best self interest?” And I think you’ve asked yourself that question and came up with a good answer.

    The other thing is to come up with a good addiction to give yourself pleasure when the old habit gives you cravings. Jogging is good. Yoga is good. Something like that…

    3 people I know quit last year and have not gone back to the cancer sticks. One of them knows someone that’s continually writing the industry to stop selling the cigarettes.

    We all talk about what a capable person you. So, we got faith you’ll finally quit the cancer sticks.

  • melisa

    My quit date is tomorrow (Monday, July 21). There’s really no significance of that date, other than the fact that that’s when I’m going cold turkey….for the umpteenth time. Last night I told my friends of 15 years that I’m going to try to quit again. After they finished chiding me for smoking, they ultimately expressed their doubts. They’ve heard this many times before. That made me think how it may be harder to garner support from people who know your past, who may continue to see you through the same old lens they did from years before. It also made me think how each of you — Sukh, Gianna, Cheryl, Sonali, Supun, Dave — who I have not known for very long, relatively speaking, can express your support for me here. I almost feel undeserving of it all, knowing that I can potentially drop the ball and pick up the ciggies again. Thank you, with all my heart for caring so much.

    Sukh, I keep thinking of how to answer your questions. Bad habits are forms of self-medication. At some point that bad thing brought comfort because it distracted from something unbearable. There are some folks who think that returning to the bad stuff shows weakness, an inability to learn, an inherent dysfunction. For someone who’s trying to change, that’s pretty hard to bear — so much so that they internalize all of that….and so the cycle continues. That’s one theory. I’m honestly kind of tired of trying to intellectualize the process and look for a psychological explanation. In addition to strolling, maybe I’ll pick up meditating. Wouldn’t it be cool if we all got addicted to good stuff like meditating? No one can knock that. What are some “healthy” addictions, if you will?

    Dave, I’m doing the Nike Human race. Although, they call it a race I think that I’ll only be able to walk….but maybe I’ll be forced to run a few feet from time to time to see my Kanye. Come hell or high water, I’ll pick up the pace to see my Kanye.

  • melisa

    And when I said that I’m sick of looking for a psychological explanation, what I meant was I’m looking for something else….another way of attacking these problems/questions. Not dropping them altogether :)

  • annonymous

    Supun, great advice, so supportive, you have a big heart. Well actually, that’s all of you…that’s so wonderful.

  • cindy

    melisa, wonderful for you! let me know if there is anything I can do to help you – I wish you positive energy in your endeavor.

  • viral

    Thought that this thought by a familiar friend was relevant here:


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