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


Intuition and Insight



I’ve felt the chill this winter — shoulders up around my ears, back rounding, ribs binding, heart contracting, shallow breathing, eyes squinting, jaw tightening, steps shortening, fear of falling.

This last Saturday, I went into an art class happy to meet a friend there, but reluctant to put paintbrush to paper. I knew the class, called Transformational Art, was about an inner exploration and not about creating pretty pictures. That made it all the more disturbing to me. What if lots of discomfort showed up?

Well, discomfort did show up. I felt self-judgement, self-criticism, comparing, and competing. I didn’t like myself nor what I saw on paper. The negativity felt solid and permanent.

Then, as I started to discard my first painting the teacher — artist and life coach Elisabeth Vismans, came over and said, “What are you doing? You’re not done.” I got a little angry. I didn’t love the painting, but it had gotten to a place where I didn’t hate it. What if more stuff came out and the painting got ugly again?

A few well-chosen words from Elisabeth, a few nudges and whispers, and I got back to it. Elisabeth stood with me as I closed my eyes and painted. I jabbed and splattered and rubbed the colors onto the paper. I began to notice knots loosening in me.

Of course! When I let go and allow feelings to move about, they change. There’s transformation.

In my next painting, I experienced a new freedom and a new happiness in the creative process.

It’s no surprise to me that, since the class, I’ve gotten back to daily meditation. The fear hurdle surmounted, I don’t have to steel myself to sit. I can transition into meditation gently with curiosity, knowing that I am safe and will feel better in the long run. Serendipitously, on Sunday a friend introduced me to a very helpful smartphone app for meditation called Insight Timer. Lovely bells, guided meditations, a community feature connecting us to friends, groups and other meditators around the world, a note-taking option, reminders and a way to track our practice. Good stuff.

I’m so grateful to friends who are leading me to explore and grow. Many thanks to Sigfried for his support of my meditation practice and to Francesca for inviting me to join her for an art class. We found the art class at VisArts in Rockville, MD. Elisabeth Vismans also teaches from her studio in Frederick, MD, at Glen Echo, and even by phone.

Love & Light,


16 Comments to Intuition and Insight

  1. Myra Tate's Gravatar Myra Tate
    February 18, 2014 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Dearest V, you put such a “good face” on your life that I am surprised each time that you say you are struggling. I am so glad that you allow for your feelings and best of all, are aware of how they change and how you grow. many xos

  2. Francesca's Gravatar Francesca
    February 18, 2014 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Valerie dear,
    It was such a special treat to be able to share this experience with you. You encouraged me take this class, despite my leaning towards a mosaic class instead. It’s true it was terribly uncomfortable to be told to just let the paint flow. When Elizabeth old me to use my hands I thought, “but what about my manicure”! I want t be in control. The brushes gave me more or that feeling so that’s what I wanted to use. I loved watching you explore and express your creativity. I know your muse is proud of you!
    Blessings and joy,

  3. Myra Tate's Gravatar Myra Tate
    February 18, 2014 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    I looked and looked at your painting – the surprising thing is that I sense a body beneath what seems to be a voluminous robe, and her face is telling me about her “interior”. Beautiful, very beautiful. The more I look at it the more I see into it. Though this may not be what you had in mind, to me the form is a woman in “accepting” thought. I’m reading Samuel Beckett and Zen Buddhism by Paul Foster, before I read Waiting for Godot by Beckett, for my Spirituality Book Group. Then, quite serendipitously, comes your painting and the condition of (possible) distress you felt, yet accepting a guide to help you move forward.

  4. February 19, 2014 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    It’s so great to see what you are capable of when you give up control and act from your intuition. Beautiful !! And it is so you.

  5. Sissy's Gravatar Sissy
    February 20, 2014 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    Wait…that is YOUR painting above?

    • February 20, 2014 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      Oh my … I LOVE this … amazing painting isn’t it? and we were not going for the end result, not for a pretty picture, but entirely for the process and look at the end result … so insightful and beautiful !!

  6. Sissy's Gravatar Sissy
    February 20, 2014 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    OK…I know that it isn’t supposed to about beauty or a competition or anything like that, but is it ok if I tell you that I assumed it was a professional work of art, like the others you show in this space? I also LOVE it.

  7. Em's Gravatar Em
    February 24, 2014 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Valerie –

    When I opened this page I was immediately drawn by the artwork. As it wasn’t credited, I had to wonder where it came from. Wow, what a compelling story behind it!

    Thank you also for reminding me about the Insight Timer. I’ve sat with groups that use it, and it seemed like fun. Now I discover it also has links to guided meditations, which I can’t wait to use. So again … thank you!

    – Em

  8. Em's Gravatar Em
    February 24, 2014 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Valerie –

    Sometimes I find guided meditation just breaks things up enough to recharge the batteries.

    So thanks for the tip about Susan … I’ll definitely check out her website!

    – Em

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