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



Frieda By The Fire by Jon Katz at BedlamFarm.com

Frieda By The Fire by Jon Katz at BedlamFarm.com


As I set off walking Miranda-the-Labradoodle yesterday morning at 5:15am, I noticed my wonky hip, tight low back and numb leg. My thoughts were, “Ugh. This hurts. It’s always going to be like this. What if this leads to something worse? What if… ? What if… ? What if… ?”

Miranda stopped. I stopped. My loopy thoughts stopped. I breathed in the chilled air. This came next. “Wait a minute. Because I have this challenged body, I lift weights twice a week. I practice yoga three times a week. I walk twice a day. This is all good. I will keep aging as well as possible.” My mind changed. My body felt better.

Our walk continued. Miranda stopped. I stopped. I noticed an old feeling. Not good. What was it? I investigated. It was attached to two recent breaks from my spiritual practice around food.

It was that old way I used to feel — letting myself down day after day, eating and drinking everything I wanted… which was nothing of the nourishment that I really, really wanted deep down inside.

Words came up — shame, guilt, misery. Not words I like.

Deep breath. Chilled air. We started walking up the steep hill. I focused my attention on the touching sensation of breath at the nostrils, my expanding chest, the work of my legs.

Hey! Wait a minute. Could I think of these two breaks as fuel, helping me up the hill? Yes. They are the kindling. My deep breaths are the oxygen. This epiphany is the match. The fire is purifying my emotional body.

These scraps of wood of my imperfection create the setting for progress… for honesty… for questions. My body wakes me up. My mistakes focus my attention.

I felt so much better. I asked G-d out loud for the willingness to practice my food program fully and cleanly, just for today. I’m so much happier when I do. It is such a gift to feel confident and assured that I am leading my best life.

I can be happy around happy people. I can smile and really mean it. I can notice the things that go right. I can enjoy simple pleasures. I can be of service. I can really listen to others. I can see defeat as temporary, not my fault, and a challenge to do better. I can allow myself sacred time to be Quiet and connected to a Higher Power.

Miranda and I came inside. We had our weighed and measured breakfasts. They were good.

Love & Light,


Thanks to Jon Katz for his photos, blog and books, especially Izzy & Lenore… which brought me back to reading in 2011. Meet Jon at http://www.bedlamfarm.com.

8 Comments to Kindling

  1. Myra Tate's Gravatar Myra Tate
    December 28, 2013 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    Look out! You are inspiring me! xoxoxom

  2. Roberta's Gravatar Roberta
    December 28, 2013 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    I completely understand this!

  3. Amy's Gravatar Amy
    December 29, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Lovely post.

  4. Em's Gravatar Em
    January 3, 2014 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Happy New Year to you, Valerie!

    Thank you for these words of wisdom. Again, so timely and personal. Learning self-forgiveness means letting go of the habits of self-condemnation and shame, which run soooo deep. It is part of the practice of mindfulness … the operative word being practice.

    “My mistakes focus my attention.”


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