This is the kitchen where we talk about food, life, and recovery—a spiritual path to healing and peace.

You are invited to keep coming back to A Cup of Kindness to share your experience, strength and hope; fears, doubts and insecurities; and to pick up information, inspiration … and have a little fun!

My story
In January 2007, at the age of 51, I joined a 12-step program and began my recovery from food addiction, losing 75 pounds in the process. Read more…

In January 2011, at the age of 55, I began my recovery from a multi-trauma accident, 36 fractures, damaged lungs, and post traumatic stress. Read more…

I am deeply grateful for all the kindnesses, large and small, offered to me in recovery. Here I am... alive… still making progress … still not perfect … finding a new way forward in a growing community of women and men who share a lot in common around food and life.

I hope you'll join me in this kitchen and let me know what's cooking with you.

A Cup of Kindness

Open Heart Project






I was moving from one low yoga asana to another. Falling over onto my bum, laughing, I said, “And I was just thinking about how graceful I was becoming.” Our neighbor-yoga teacher, Sophia Spencer, said, “Yes. We need to build strength and stability, before we can find grace.”

I just looked at her for a moment. Those words sounded true to me on so many levels.

Three years and counting after the accident, I continue to build a foundation of strength and stability. I lift weights with Jenny Payette at the Y, walk with Miranda-the-labradoodle, practice yoga, and now my movement therapist, Ellen Barlow, has introduced me to gyrotonics. I still think through my walk, but each day in a more fluid way. Relax shoulders, lift chest, firm belly, breathe into ribs, spiral left knee a little out and right knee a little in, lift right knee, extend leg, heel-toe, come up over right hip, balance on right foot, engage left hip (gluteals and hamstrings, too), reach left leg, heel-toe… and so on. All of this work is transforming a wonky, limping, frustrating, contracted walk into a gliding walk. The thinking and the practice, the strength and the stability are the foundation for a return to grace.

Seven years and counting after coming into 12 step Recovery from food addiction, I continue to build a foundation of strength and stability. I weigh and measure my food, attend meetings, call fellows, read literature, write, and do service. I am not one of those abstinent from Day One, never to break again. Yet, as I gain experience and grow stronger, the promises of the program keep manifesting. A new freedom, a new happiness, peace, serenity, more interest in others, and realizing that G-d is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

None of this could happen without being broken first and then working to heal. The broken places are cracks where Light comes in. Healing, we fill the cracks with precious metal, stronger than the clay that makes us.

Kintsugi (“golden joinery”) is the Japanese art of repairing damaged pottery with gold. It restores functionality to a broken vessel, but also adds beauty and worth. It turns brokenness into the most valuable part of the piece. It makes imperfection perfect. The vessel becomes more beautiful for having been broken. Thank you, G-d.

Love & Light,


12 Comments to Grace

  1. Myra Tate's Gravatar Myra Tate
    April 16, 2014 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    “And G-d said, Let there be light, and there was light.”
    It shines through you constantly, dearest girl.
    A lot of the time, you glow.
    I know things are not easy for you, and yet you make it look like they are.

  2. Mark's Gravatar Mark
    April 16, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this wonderful post! All the best to Gregory and you.

  3. Theolyn's Gravatar Theolyn
    April 16, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Valerie, another beautifully written essay!
    Valerie, you are a graceful, poised, lovely young woman. You are the only one that knows where the “cracked places” are, and they continue to heal. May you continue to have the power and strength of your inner being.


  4. nicola's Gravatar nicola
    April 16, 2014 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    yes and the vessel is beautiful, too.
    As always, very inspiring insights . Bless you and your family
    in this well deserved springtime.

  5. Em's Gravatar Em
    April 17, 2014 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Valerie –

    I love your description of kintsugi. My sister has a beautiful celadon bowl … her son had it repaired in this manner as a gift for her birthday. It is now a unique treasure on proud display. Yes, the broken places become the most valuable and interesting parts of the piece.

    Did I tell you I’ve been reading Pema Chodron’s book, The Places That Scare You? She writes about bodhicitta and it’s relationship to being “broken open” by life’s events. To let the light in at the break, if you will. Total oversimplification, but your post today is giving me new insight on the concept. Thank you!

    Have a wonderful spring day,


    • Em's Gravatar Em
      April 17, 2014 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      Oh dear, I mean “its” not “it’s.”

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>