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


Profound Protection of the Heart



When I was first hurt, our friend Damaris organized a gathering to send love my way. A little bird tells me that today’s gift of Happy Valentines Day hearts on our dogwood tree are from that same amazing woman.

Today’s love, hearts and flowers remind me of a name I was given by Vietnamese Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh. The name he gave me was “Profound Protection of the Heart.” To me, it was a koan – a riddle. Is it the physical, emotional or spiritual heart? Am I giving it? Am I receiving it? Is it coming from inside me or from something other than me? Do I need it?

This is the name we all carry inside of us—“Profound Protection of the Heart.” It’s our calling. Can anyone deny that we are meant to practice profound protection of the heart? But what is it? Who’s heart? And why doesn’t it come easily?

Most of my life it made sense to gratify every food craving. It felt like protection. It kept my heart from knowing the painful feelings that were coursing through me in the midst of chaos. It intoxicated me and distracted me. I moved through life large and poised and wrapped in cotton wool.

Of course, the relief was temporary. Misery followed. Emotional pain would cut through the padding… so I would eat more.

It was only when I entered a 12 step program in 2007 that I began to call this addiction. And it was a year later, after three meetings a week, three phone calls and three weighed and measured meals a day, with no food in between and no flour or sugar, that I had a revelation. I actually believed I was a food addict! I was grateful to finally know it. Here was the problem and here was the solution, not only to my weight, but also for my life.

So, every time I wanted to give in to craving, I began to surrender to kindness instead. I learned that a weighed and measured cup of yogurt is worth its weight in kindness.

Gradually, one day at a time, with the tools of the program, I gained the freedom to give away 70 pounds, to wear a size 8, to discover new passions, to trade self-recrimination for self-respect, and to give up dishonesty for integrity.

Giving up flour and sugar meant that I was finally awake enough to see that gratifying every craving was no longer serving me, perhaps it never had. I always wanted to know what was going to happen next… to protect myself and others from the vicissitudes of life. I thought that eating and feeding others was a very reliable reaction so I used it all the time. Guess what. It didn’t protect me or the ones I love. Life still happened.

I’ve been told that every addiction is a denial of freedom. Recovering from addiction brings many miracles, but freedom is scary. Freedom from food addiction means I can no longer use the obsession with food to distract myself from the deeper problems, difficulties and losses in life.

Following the January 18, 2011 accident, in late July I recovered from the nausea that contributed to an unhealthy weight loss of 30 pounds. I started to eat “normally”, including flour and sugar to gain the weight I needed.

Now, I’m back to the beginning of recovery from food addiction, praying for a grateful heart, an abstinent day, and the knowledge that kindness is the most profound protection of the heart. It’s always an option.

Sometimes it is difficult to see which is the kindness choice and which is the craving choice. My heart of hearts knows the difference. I just need to ask and then give in.

Admit defeat. Surrender to kindness. Protect the heart.

Love & Light,


2 Comments to Profound Protection of the Heart

  1. Myra Tate's Gravatar Myra Tate
    February 14, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    Dearest V, you have become the mother, I the child. Love, Mom

  1. By on February 15, 2012 at 1:21 pm

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